In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Ye Olde Ren Faire

So this past saturday, despite the fact that I had work I should have been doing, I trekked up to bristol wisconsin with friends to the Ren Faire. We had gone the previous year, arriving rather late in the afternoon, and spent a few hours wandering around shopping and tossing all sorts of sharp instruments at balloon studded boards. The thing is, I don't really like the ren faire. Or rather, I don't like it when I first arrive. John came up with a pretty good analogy for my ren faire experience. The ren faire is like someone with a bat constantly whacking you over the head with garish and cheesy horror. You're overwhelmed by this display, reeling from the assault on your senses (and sense of good taste) but slowly, you become numb to the horror and you start to enjoy yourself. This is pretty much the natural progression of my ren faire experience. I arrive basically hating everything and everyone. The costumes are obnoxious, the actors/volunteers playing parts are even worse, and the entire atmosphere makes me want to liberally spray sarcastic and caustic comments, which I do. By the 2nd hour in I start to mellow and by the end I was actually sorry to have to leave. The pattern was pretty much repeated this year to the T, and no doubt contributed to make me such enjoyable company for everyone else that day.

The entire gaming group with the exception of Otis was going up that day. John, richard, melissa, and I would be heading up as one group and Luigi and Butch would meet us there. I know I've posted pictures of the latter two before on this LJ, so it's not a big deal that I didn't get any shots of them this time around. Luigi had a couple of friends with him so we didn't spend very much time together as a group and we never did run into Butch. He was there the entire day and the area wasn't that large, but it seems we still managed to miss catching a single glimpse of him.

So on to the story of the ren faire....

It was decided that we would get an early start, meeting at John's place around 10am. It took a pretty impressive effort for me to get there on time only to find that not only was I the first one there, but that everyone else was running late. Feh. If I had known that I would have gotten more sleep. As I was walking up to john's apartment I snapped a picture of his two cats, who were busy peering out the window looking for birds or whatnot. Michiko is on the right and is a nasty, vicious, pain in the ass that I think john should punt down the street. The cat is jumpy and damn unfriendly. If he hadn't had it declawed, most of us would have to wear some sort of protective garment just to go near the thing. On the left is Hanako, who is a one-eyed sweety. The complete opposite of her dark cohort.

I sat around for a bit and waited as john finished getting ready and when richard and melissa pulled up, we were all set. After a false start or two (john forgot his camera), we were finally off to the renn faire...weeee.

Here's a picture of john in the van fiddling with his new slr digital camera. You can see he's also brought his drinking horn which he insists on using to quaff beverages at the renn faire with.

A hour or so later...we had arrived. The bristol renn faire. On the way, we passted some far that had a giant cow whozit along with what I was told was Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox. John and I both tried to snap pictures, but he was the only one who succeeded. It takes too darn long for my camera to turn on and zoom and by the time I was ready there were hedges and trees blocking the way. Feh.

I dunno about fantasy, but manure certainly ruled there. It was hard to avoid the stench from the moment richard rolled down his window to pay for parking. We arrived around noonish and there were already hundreds of vehicles parked in the lot.

So here was the entrance to the ren faire. A castley cottage sort of structure where one payed ye olde 19 dollars and 50 for admittance. As I was snapping this picture with the fruity looking guy in the foreground, john and I came up with a contest of sorts. The goal was simple, to snap a picture of the gayest looking costume on any man. Having had last year's experience at the ren faire, we both understood that the costums for men tended to run from mildly gay to unbelievably villagepeopleesque gay. I don't recall what the wager was, but we'll both present our photo series and have you, the fine people of life journal, judge the winner.

Ye olde gates to the ren faire. You can see some nut in the balcony. I'm not sure exactly what she was rambling on about but I think she was offering people tea or something.

Richard, John, and Melissa. Melissa had bought that outfit last year at the ren faire and spent an excessive amount of time trying to find a new one this time around. At this point we're just loitering looking around for luigi and butch. The former showed up with a couple friends eventually and we continued to wander the faire.

Another shot of everyone standing around waiting.

Ye Olde Clevage. What amount there is anyway...

Crazy fairy lady. I sincerely hope for her sake that the paint or whatever that is comes off. There were a couple of fairypeople running around trying to act 'fey'. I think in general they overshot fey and were firmly straddling demented. There was a lot of prancing about and herky jerky sort of movements.

This thing was sorta spiffy. It was set up right near the entrance and I guess was supposed to be a combo fountain/wishing well of sorts. At this point, john and I had left melissa to her dress shopping with richard to accompany her. He needed to hit the ATM and I was just bored out of my gourd looking at those dresses.

Hooooooahhhhh! *drool* I believe this fine lass was selling pickles. I meant to go back and stuff a tip or two in there just out of general principle, but somehow I never got around to it. I'm sure she was making a very good living.

So we went to the Mud Show, which apparently has a website here. It consisted of two wanks running around smooshing mud all overthemselves in a contest that pitted one half of the audience against the other. It was the spartans vs the trojans. We ended up being trojans. If I remember correctly, our theme chant was 'Trojans! Trojans! We will never break! Huh! *pelvic thrust*'. Of course the contest came to a tie and to determine the winner we would see which side donated the most money. In this picture, one of the women for our side went up to attempt to bribe the judge. There were quite a few good efforts like this, including melissa who ran up with a bill in her clevage. It's good to be the judge I guess. In the end the judge ate mud and a good time was had by all. I swear to god these guys should team up with some schools and run their own scared straight program. If there's a better reason to stay in school, I'm not sure I've seen it yet.

There's me with my everything I've ever needed to know I learned from gaming shirt. I wonder why my hair is lying so flat. Oh does that sometimes.

It's the giant jester monster. This thing was at the last year's ren faire too and I assume just like everything else, it's pretty much locked in until it rots into tiny pieces. There's never really anything new at the faire. This year was pretty much the same as last year and I'm sure the year before that. No new venders from what I recall, nor games, nor things like the giant jester whozit.

It was soon after taking this picture of the giant jester whozit that I bumped into Elise. Like I said earlier, we chatted for a bit and it was pretty spiffy. John and Richard went looking for places that sold kilts and I went with melissa to some place selling jewlery.

Here's melissa with her new purchase. Without zooming into the image, it looks like some sorta buffy the vampire slayeresque sort of metal thingie. Spiffy I guess, but I'll wager it was pricey.

Look! The mongols are invading! Melissa tried to talk me into picking up a fur hat. I thought about it briefly, but really, what the heck would I use a fur hat for? I can just imagine walking down the midway in this sucker....sure it would scare off the muggers but only because they'd think I was criminally insane. Add to it a sword of some sort and I'd look like attilla on weekend leave.

Woot! Or better, a flail! I loved this flail. Love, love, love. I really wanted to pick it up but I couldn't justify spending 280 dollars on it. On my left arm you can see a metal spiked shield. I'm not sure you can make out the spike at this angle but it's right in the middle and extends a good 3 inches or so. Heh, it puts a little pep into your shield bash. This particular store was wonderful. The swords just looked real if you know what I'm talking about. I have a bunch of blades, all more embellished than anything they had there but their items had a simple elegance to them. God knows what I would do with them if I had bought them but I pity the next mugger I ran into if I kept it on me.

So what's a ren faire without a grand melee to the death...of the balloon that is. After getting all padded up and topped with a giant metal helmet we were about ready to make war. I'm feeling sort of pissy that my sword was completely bent though. The goal is to smash the balloon on the top of your opponent's head. John, richard, and I went for what felt like an eternity with the first person hitting 5 winning. Here you can see me getting belted up. The blonde girl you see lacing me up kept bending over and displaying a pretty fabulous set. Richard pointed them out to john which began an extended debate on how old we thought she was and if she was under 18 you can oggle jailbait boobies when they're pretty much thrust into your face. The jury's still out on this...any opinions?

Here's richard all suited up and ready for combat. Soon we had the ballons strapped to the top of our helmets and the battle began.

Hooooooahhhhhh! The problem with a three person battle is that when two people engage each other the third person moves in and snipes. Here you can see me facing off against john and richard moves in for the sneak attack.

But no! Victory is mine! Here you can see my happy dance as richard and john are marched back off to their respective corners. I ended up actually being the first to reach three hits, which would have been the game except we had payed for the grand meleee, something everyone momentarily forgot. So two more touches to go.

Here's me facing off against richard with john playing the sniper. As I'm sure you've noticed, height placed a major role, and richard as the tallest, had a clear advantage there. It also didn't help that I had a tendancy to defend a lot, bending back which allowed the person attacking to whail on me from above. The other problem is my sword was all bent and crap. It really needed to be a bi stiffer IMO.

Here's a nice shot of me managing to snipe richard. You can see he lost his balloon but I still have mine, at least for the time being. There were a lot of double-hits that were resolved by a fraction of a second difference between us. In the end, richard got the last touch by one of those fractions of a second.

Whew! It was hot as heck under all of that and it wasn't even a warm or sunny day. I'd hate to imagine what it would be like to have done that in 90 degree heat and a blazing sun.

This is Jill. John and I bumped into Jill at the last ren faire and when we found her she was still running the plate breaking game in the corner. Last year while we were there some kid came up and offered her a dollar for a kiss. She's probaly the oddest person at the ren faire. She's all tattooed up and much more metal than lace. While we were there this time she showed us her new ear stretching. She's also, as you can see from the picture, more than a bit, err, nipply. The top was perfectly seethrough. I'm sure that made her quite popular among the ren faire visitors.

John taking a whack at the...the...what the hell is this thing called again? Anyway, it's a lot harder than what I remmeber from last year. Neither of us were even close to rining this bell and it would have taken someone with arms like the governator in his prime to hit the top.

Here's me taking my swing. I had john snap this picture. Compare to the above and see how much better my picture of him was than his of me. Uh huh....

So we sat around and waited yet again as melissa tried on more outfits. Across from us was the dungeon tours. I told john that it was certainly his cup of tea and he should have checked it out. Maybe it would have whips and chains and floggers. Speaking of one point he and the guy manning the chainmail bikini stand got into a conversation about his favorite hobby that sounded like greek to me. He left with yet another little whipping toy. How many of these things do you really need? You'd think that if you're whacking the heck out of someone with it, it all feels the same after a while.

Here's Melissa in the new outfit she was thinking of buying. I told her it looks like someone pulled down a set of grandma's curtains and decided to make clothing out of it. It was not an attractive outfit IMO. I think in the end she decided to order the red one...which is basically just like this except a maroonish red color. Whatever floats her boat I guess.

Whooooo! Everyone loves those upskirt shots. Hubba hubba.

Richard with his favorite dressup person, the valkerie. She didn't really do anything for me but whatever floats his boat.

Yeesh. Now this was a saucey wench. I told john that based on her inviting sort of attitude, he should have spun on a knee and given her something to really grin about. Overall, john got as much action at a ren faire as it's possible to get without breaking laws.

It's me with the giant jester whozit. I had a real desire to knock the guy over...but I figure that's only natural.

A nice group shot. Spiffy. Oh, and before I left I bought myself a handheld catapult. It's spiffy.

Here's me at IHOP with everyone after the ren faire. You can see the spiffy blue feather that I won breaking plates. I also had a chance to launch opened half&half around with my hand catapult. It was spiffy. I managed to decorate a few cars and from what I'm told, hit someone with someone else's chewed gum. Good times...

So those are the ren faire pictures. I'll have the contest entries up at some point whenever john gets his ready and you can all vote.

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