Archive for the ‘Pentathlon’ Category

Caid Pentathlon 2013

With my usual ironclad grasp of detail, I thought that the next Caid Pentathlon was in 2012. I grant you that I usually do my Pentathlon entries at the last possible moment but I’m trying to do better. Therefore I was thrilled to realize that Pentathlon is in fact 2013. Much better!

I am entering. I entered 3 Pents in a row and took a break last year to judge. I needed the break and judging experience but I really missed being a contestant. I know there is a question in some quarters as to whether Laurels should enter. This is not due to some theoretical universal expertise; everyone enters at least 4 categories and no one is an expert at everything. It’s more due to judging needs. Frankly Performance and Composition seem to be covered as I was only a judge in a single section last time. I don’t need to skip Pent so I can judge one section. If I were an expert in a bunch of period arts with a heavy number of entries this might be different, but I’m not. So there.

I’ll get smart and align my Pent entries with my A&S 50 Personal Challenge, and I always try to create things that I can use or that entertain others. Win-win (-win?)

Yet More Pentathlon Ramblings

I know this is a little silly to decide whether or not to do Pentathlon in 2011 because it is less then a week after the last one, and was my 3rd one in a row. Mind you I find Pent immensely rewarding and I’ll still be involved as a judge if they need me. I’m just not sure that I want to do a 4th one in a row, I’m tired!

If I do it again I’ll do it the way my household was discussing: to choose entries as desired, do them during the 2 years just because I want to. Document them as I go because that’s just good practice. Then IF I choose to enter Pent again, I’ll have the majority of the entries done and their documentation completed. If I decide not to enter then that’s good too, since I’ll still have created all this cool stuff.

If I DID do it again then I would stretch myself into new areas. Which of course is the point anyway. I’m taking a page from Eilidh’s book (blog) and listing possibilities that interest me:

Visual Arts

  • Period models. I swear that I’m not just inspired by the famous Bog entry, although that was GREAT. I entered a roombox in a previous Pentathlon and want to do it again, but this time model the exterior of it to fit a real-life exterior more than I did before. This would be the firehall of my persona’s Anglo Saxon farmhouse.
  • Heraldic display. This will be the entry I MEANT to do for this last Pentathlon and ran out of time. A peacetime gonfalon.

Culinary Arts

  • Preserves and/or Wine (fruit). The common theme would be to use my own apples. I have 5 gorgeous apple trees and have thought for a long time that it would be cool to use them in a Pentathlon entry. I do not cook in general  but I can do this. Apple butter is another thought… would that be a condiment? Not sure. Anyway, using my own apples would be the deal. Otherwise I’m not that interested in culinary other than eating!

Performance Arts

  • Performance Arts, Other. Storytelling, which is arguably my best performance type.
  • Vocal performance. I sing but I don’t play an instrument, so I want to learn the harp to accompany myself. This is a long-held goal  anyway for me.

Fibre Arts

  • Needlework: Counted Thread Work. I will finish a half-done project that I love, a copy of a piece by Mary Queen of Scots.
  • Surface Embroidery. This will be embroidery on garb, most likely a gown for me.

Functional Arts

  • Leather: Shoes. Another project I didn’t get to on time. This one would be 12th century lady’s slippers with embroidery. BTW, if you hear shrieks of anguish coming from my way don’t worry — it’s just me figuring out how to make a turnshoe.
  • Book Arts. Not sure here — I’m thinking a portable writing book. I can’t remember what it’s called —  it attaches to the belt in its own pouch. It’ll come to me.

Compositional Arts

  • Poetry. Anglo-Saxon poetry is full of the richest images and metaphors imaginable, I love it.
  • Research or How-To Paper. I’m a professional writer so I should be able to get this straight. ;>

So there you are. As I said earlier, IF I enter Pent again it will be because I already have all of this cool stuff done. (I hasten to add that none of it is finished or mostly started, so I am staying within the 2-year rule.)

Pentathlon 2009 — Finis

Caid’s Pentathlon is a Very Big Deal. It’s a kingdom-level Arts and Sciences competition and display that happens once every two years. It’s a rather huge production and the kind of competition that immerses you, grabs you, shakes you like a dog, and spits you out.

O.K., just kidding about that last part. But it’s true that when you enter Pentathlon, it’s a long-term commitment to create at 5-10 entries in 4-6 different categories, at various self-assigned skill levels. So for example, here were my entries starting with the category:

  1. Performance: Dramatic Reading — The Wife’s Lament. I was tired and screwed up some of the words which is quite the trick when you are READING your entry. My dear friend Beathog thought that was the funniest thing ever when I told her about it. ;>
  2. Performance: Other — A story I called “The Trial of the Dead” from the Eyrbyggja Saga. This one went very well, complete with an improv’d bad joke at the end. This is my favorite kind of story — bloody rain and ghosts making dinner and Norse revenants shooting the breeze around the fire. I love this stuff.
  3. Performance: Persona Presentation — It also went well although I totally thought I had blown it. I just have too much fun with this kind of thing though, so fortunately the judges were amused and liked it after all.
  4. Composition: Prose — “The Wolf’s Story.” This was another fun entry, an original composition in the style of the Ynglinga Saga from Snorri’s Heimskringla. This story follows a werewolf throughout 4 generations of the same family. Very Norse saga-ish, where everyone is going along a’viking and minding their own business, and suddenly some dwarf shows up under magical standing stones that are doors to another world. And no one blinks an eye. I love the sagas.
  5. Fibre: Costume Review. This is a live modeling in front of the judges. I modeled a Norman outfit I had made — a bliaut (not laced) and a mantle. The ermine-lined mantle was killer but the gown was just O.K.
  6. Visual: Heraldic Banner. This is the entry I spent the least time on and boy did it show! I wasn’t upset because I went in knowing that, and I can use it to decorate my pavilion at war.

The other two categories that I did not enter are Functional and Culinary. I didn’t choose Functional because I’m not good at making stuff, and I didn’t choose Culinary because I pretty much can’t cook and don’t care to try. There you have it.

So in miniature this is Pentathlon. Oh, I should also mention the self-assigned skill level part. I don’t mean that we judge ourselves. A large crew of generous Laurels and other category experts do that, and a hard job it is too. But you assign your own perceived level per entry: Apprentice, Journeyman, or Artisan. I put Journeyman on my Visual and Fibre, although in hindsight I should absolutely have put Apprentice on the banner. Journeyman was O.K. for the costume review even though I didn’t place. I put Artisan on the performances and the composition because I’m pretty good at those and could teach those skills. It came out well and I was pleased. My warmest thanks to all of my judges! My great thanks also to Their Majesties who spent all day at Pentathlon trying to catch all of the visually displayed arts and performances that they could. Long live Sven and Kolfinna, and love live Caid!

And of course grateful thanks to the event staff and their helpers. Just — thank you. Words cannot express.


I titled this post “unfinished” because that is so often the story of my life! I plan projects well and start them well, but it takes me forever to finish. I just don’t like the process, I am so easily bored. It really affects me both in the SCA and mundanely. I knew this anyway, but really noticed it this morning when I went to update my list of A&S 50 persona projects. I’ve been working steadily on several projects so I assumed I could put in updates, but no — the new projects were all in process! Ack!

Some of this is unavoidable since several projects are slated for Caid’s Pentathlon. Two projects are done (one poem, one prose piece) but I won’t post them until Pentathlon is over. And the rest of the projects will be done by the April deadline and Iwill post them then. But still.

What I want and need to do — both in the SCA and mundanely — is pick a project and finish it. I can’t work on more than one project at once anyway, so why not target its completion and just do it? And with a longer project, plan it in stages and milestones and do that. It’s completely obvious and I get that, but I still struggle to do it.

So. Here is my public plan for my SCA projects: pick one project (or portion thereof) and get it done. Then start the next one. I believe it will look like this:

  1. Finish my research paper on late Anglo Saxon burial practices (I’m weird like that).
  2. Write a poem in the Anglo Saxon style and provide documentation.
  3. Finish my red checked wool by March 7.

O.K. — here I go. Wish me good hunting, because if I can learn to take projects to completion than my life will be much, much improved.

Early Entries in the Mail

Hurrah! I postmarked my early Pentathlon entries and entry form yesterday, the last possible day to do it. Of course. For those of you who do not live in Caid, Pentathlon is our every-other-year kingdom arts competition. This will be my third time entering, and my first time to do both my individual entries and helping with a team entry.

I knew that I had until 11 am Saturday morning to get my envelope in the mail at our local Post Office, so was a little disturbed to find 18″ of snow outside my door. Oops. Luckily it was soft and powdery and the berm at the end of my driveway wasn’t frozen. So I got the envelope to the P.O. in plenty of time and I didn’t even have to dig out! I’m sure my pastor was relieved as well. During our last big snowstorm he helped the widows and single moms dig out their driveways, and he was TIRED.

Pentathlon takes place in April, but compositional entries are due Feb. 7. This year I am entering the following:

  1. Prose (early entry) — Excerpt from a saga, following the pattern of the Ynglinga Saga. Ynglinga is Snorri’s history of the kings of Norway, included in his longer work Heimskringla. I love how it mixes the historic with the supernatural. It starts out with the history of Odin, which should give you a clue. It then continues with the kings, with each king getting his own numbered section. The saga will tell about the king’s marriage, sons and wars — and then the  king meets a bad end by following a dwarf through a standing stone. All in a day’s work. It was hard for me to get into the cadence of the simplified and straightforward prose style, but I finally got it. Most of the sections end with poetry of an entirely different style, so I did that too. Once Pentathlon is over I will post the composition.
  2. Persona (early entry documentation) — The actual persona entry will be a live persona presentation done before judges. I did this two Pentathlons ago as a 15th century English persona, and this time will be doing it as an early 12th century English persona. This is my favorite thing and I look forward to it. The early entry part is the documentation, which helps judges to ask questions of the persona.
  3. Heraldic gonfalon — I found a wonderful extant banner done in appliqued figures on velvet. I’m not particularly good at handwork but I enjoy it, and I will use the completed gonfalon outside my pavilion at wars.
  4. Costume review — A full court Norman bliaut. I found the most amazing fabric a year ago. It was — drumroll — FREE. And it looks like a golden embroidered samite. I’ll be doing a bliaut (may not be side-laced though), mantle, undertunic, shoes, veil, braids, etc. Basically Norman bling. I’ll be using Estrella War to do the beading SO IT HAD BETTER NOT RAIN.
  5. Dramatic interpretation — The Wife’s Lament, a wierd little Anglo-Saxon poem/story. No one understands it and it’s all very mysterious, but it sure is fun to perform. Given my propensity for ghost stories I claim that the Wife is speaking from beyond the grave. I’m starting and ending the piece in its original Old English. Pentathlon rules require using English that is understandable to an audience. Middle English will often fit the bill, but OE won’t. But I decided that starting and ending with a few lines in OE will frame the work while still sticking to this very reasonable rule.
  6. Storytelling — Along with persona work, this is my favorite type of performance. I’m doing a ghost story (told you I loved ’em) from the Eyrbyggja Saga. Just rip-roaring stuff where the good guys ride in and put some fearsome ghosts on trial. I don’t have a Norse persona but I placed my Anglo-Saxon persona just outside the Danelaw. That way she has a great excuse for knowing these wonderful stories. (Note that Pentathlon doesn’t ‘t require entrants to follow persona guidelines, but I prefer to do it when I can.)

All of these will fulfill some of my A&S 50 Persona Challenges, and I’ll mark them off once Pentathlon is completed. As with the Prose entry, I’ll post all of my documentation and pictures of the physical items.