Saturday, October 13, 2012

Time waits for no man . . . or woman either

Well as I approach the end of my term I wanted to Introduce next year's Mayor.  Chai has been a friend of mine for a long time at Pennsic and has the honor of taking up the mantle of running Pennsic for PW42.  She's much more of a social media mogul than I am so while I'm pleased with the progress we've made both on the website and here, expect bigger and better from her. 



I'm not going to wax poetic here but I did have a great time and I'll leave you with one image which was burned into my retinas on day one of the event and all the excitement we needed right out of the starting blocks.

                    (Photo courtesy of Anthony Moringello)

So in future years when things aren't quite going perfect and it's a bit muddy or rainy, or too cold or hot, just remember this. Things could always be worse, and the worst Pennsic I've ever had has always been better than the best day I've ever had at work. :)

Thank you all for your support and I look forward to seeing you again next year!

-Manuel

Friday, September 7, 2012

Water . . .

Ok, water was an issue this year.

  • low to no water pressure in some locations at some times of the day
  • Orange water in the jugs at the battlefield

Both of these things are related.  Cooper's lake has several water wells on the property which manage the water that flows to various areas of the campground and their own houses.  Unfortunately this year one of those wells failed a quality test. 

What happened?
As I understand it, the well cap cracked and some squirrels began dumping their trash (read used nuts) down the well.  This all happened prior to Pennsic and the well was cleaned out and repaired.  Unfortunately just before the event, the well failed again on organics so possibly not everything got cleaned out but in any case, that well couldn't be used.

What had to be done?
So the other wells had to make up for the loss of one source.  That meant pressure was down, especially in certain areas (I got lots of email from E22!) when water got diverted to other areas to cover for the loss.  A well that provides water to one of the Cooper's houses was diverted to help also but 10,000+ people use a LOT of water.  Also, with the redirection some chlorinated water was getting diverted to locations where it doesn't normally go.

What was the result?
Well at certain times of the day, certain blocks had no water pressure at all.  We tried to plan that for times when most people wouldn't be taking showers (like after dark) but everyone has a different schedule and for some that was a problem.  Also, at one point chlorinated water was being diverted to the waterbearer's tent on the battlefield.  Now I'm not a chemistry expert but as it's been explained to me, when water with high iron content gets mixed with chlorinated water the iron precipitates out of solution and you get... orange water.  So it would come out of the spigots crystal clear and 20 minutes later it looked awful.  Our filters do a great job of clearing sediment out f the water but they don't work on Iron that magically appears 20 minutes later.  Safe to drink, but after looking at it who would want to?  So once we figured that out we had to redivert from some different sources.  So for those of you that had no water pressure from late morning to early afternoon, it was going to the battlefield.   

What about the future?
Well now that the Cooper's know, they have plans to replace that well for next year.  I expect next year we will have good pressure and good volume all over. My experience has been that when the Cooper's decide to fix something it gets done.

-Manuel

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lost and Found . . .

So, lots of emails from people who lost things.

Let me exaplin how this works.  We have a Lost and Found department.  People drop things off during war that they've found, people stop by during war and see if things have been found that they lost.  We go the extra mile if we find an ID or medallion since we can track those folks down at war to return things to them.

After war, everything gets packed up and stored until next year.  People routinely recover items at war that were lost in previous years and next year you can check in and see if your particular item was recovered also.  We keep things for at least 2 years before we auction things off.  For things like wallets with ID's we do spend time after the event tracking those folks down and mailing them, but for the rest, it may be there, you just have to be patient.  Our lovely and dutilful lost and found expert Baroness Johanne i Visby tells me she's already received *thousands* of emails.

Oh, and if anyone found a brown leather mug with a carving of a rose that would be mine (It's even in my profile picture to the right). sadly it never made it into the lost and found. :(

-Manuel

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wrap up

Hurts to be over.

I had a great time and I want to thank all those folks that stopped by to introduce yourselves.  As you can imagine we had a lot of things that went really well and a few things we need to improve.  Overall I'm very satisfied with how things went but I thought i'd take a moment and comment on a few things.

1.  E-Troll  -  Vast improvement.  People got through quicker and easier than ever before.  Even with the lightning strike and printer downtime we still managed to put more people through Troll in a shorter time than ever before.  Since we had such an unusual crush on Saturday I can only be thankful for the new system as the wait would have been even longer without it.  Thank you all for being so patient and understanding.  Future improvements include a stylus for signing documents as I'm sure you noticed like I did that signing wth your finger was in no way recognizable in my opinion.

2.  Benches at Bus Stops - Credit where credit is due, Devon, the mayor for PW40 came up with this one last year and our expansion of that this year got a lot of praise.  There are always going to be times where there is a bit of a wait for the next bus and a place to sit made this a lot more comfortable.

3.  Parking  -  I expected some praise and some complaints.  All I got was praise.  The streets were clear and the number of cars was down dramatically.  I know it made my Pennsic better by not having to constantly weave through parked cars through every street.

These were the top changes this year and all positive with a few changes we can make to improve them even further are in the planning for next year.

One observation to consider for next year is site closure.  This year everyone was required to be off the site by Noon on Sunday.  That didn't happen.  The Cooper staff were still chasing people off the site as late at 8pm on Sunday.  Some people didn't realize they needed to be off that early so we will communicate that better next year.  Some people got stiffed by their campmates leaving early and had far too much teardown on Sunday for a limited number of people.  None of those are really good excuses.  There were also a lot of camps that just left huge piles of trash behind.  I realize the dumpsters are overflowing long before you get there, but you still have an obligation to get the trash to the dumpster even if it's just beside it.  I would expect next year there will likely be repercussions for leaving late and leaving a mess.  And it will be reprecussions for your camp, not necessarily just for the individual who is last out so you might want to plan next year for what your cleanup crew is going to be and not hope the last guy out makes it in time and cleans up all the trash.  I expect you'd hate to lose seniority on your block for that, but something like that may be the result.

Now I will say there was a majority of folks who did head out on time and left their camps pristine.  For those that did, thank you again.  It's thins kind of behavior that helps us keep up good relations with the Landowners (The Coopers), and allows us to keep our requirements simple and use the maximum number of days for the event rather than having to end early to allow for more cleanup time.

Finally I'd like to thank the staff, and everyone who volunteered to help.  I met so many of you who volunteered to help at the Watch, Info and Disability Points, First Aid point, and the technical services crew.  The event would not run so smoothly without your help so thank you all.

-Manuel

Monday, August 6, 2012

Volunteers!

Well as war week starts things are going very well (Knock on a tent pole).

I do have a need for any of you already on site and willing to help.  We have a need for volunteers to drive golf carts for our disability transportation service.  The service this year is proving to work  very well but it's frustrating for us when we have carts available but no one to drive them.  If your able and have a valid drivers license we would appreciate volunteers who can sign up at Watch point to drive for a shift.

Also a plea from me that if you do sign up for a shift either for disability or the Watch, please honor your commitment and show up.  It's hard to adjust when someone who's promised to serve doesn't show and it's too late to get others who may have been willing.

Thank you again and I sincerely hope your all enjoying the event!

-Manuel

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ready for this weekend . . .

Troll is now up and running with all equipment and the backup systems are also repaired and ready to go for the weekend.

Also, anyone already on site who would like to trade in their hand written receipt for a printed one can return to Troll with your handwritten receipt, medallion, and ID.  I'd strongly reccommend you do that when things are slow and not wait for this weekend.

We have begun towing cars violating the parking policy as I promised I would. Please read it, understand it, believe it.

-Manuel

Monday, July 30, 2012

Troll Update

Well the Bad just turned a little better...

I just reviewed the numbers from this year's Troll and, believe it or not, at the height of the longest lines at Troll on Saturday we STILL trolled in more people per shift than we did last year.  That tells me two things.

1)  We had a lot more people show up in a smaller timeframe this year than in past years.

2)  Even though our new E-Troll system was a bit gimped after the lightning strike, ITS STILL FASTER THAN THE OLD SYSTEM!

While I'm not happy that people had to stand in line so long, at least I know it was caused by a surge in volume of people and not a weakness in our new system.  In fact, I'm pretty damn impressed with the new system.

So no one should worry about Trolling in this coming weekend. (Just don't all show up at once!)

-Manuel