So we were all supposed to meet up at John's place before setting off, but a slight navigational snafu on my part meant that we ended up leaving seperately. The drive up wasn't unpleasant until we hit the traffic around Six Flags Great America at which point it began to suck mightily. The most irritating part is that there was no cause for it. When we finally reached the six flags exist, relatively few cars were taking it and there were no accidents or reasons for rubber necking. Most likely what happened is some moron decided to slow down for no good reason hours ago and caused a backup that everyone else had to deal with. On a sidenote, it's also a tremendous ripoff that you have to pay double the posted toll on the highways there if you don't have IPASS. Fuck you, Illinois.
Despite those issues, we got to the faire grounds in a tolerable amount of time and at the very least, beat Melissa and the rest there.
Here's a nice group shot of everyone else just inside the entrance. I guess I should have gotten into the picture too, but it slipped my mind at the moment. From left to right, it's jstad, candierain, Melissa, mock26, pionki and her husband.
Last year we had a photo contest at the renn faire which went over quite well. The two categories were 'gayest costume' for men and the 'overstuffed sausage' competition for women. This time around we went for generally ridiculous and I snapped quite a few shots that I think have a good chance for contention. I've managed to boil it down to two:
Frankly, I can't believe this guy leaves the house looking like this. We ran into him at one of the insult shows where people pay a person to insult their friends. Someone coughed up $20 or so to target this guy, which seemed like shooting fish in a barrel quite frankly. My favorite part was when the insulter speculated that with the bumps on both sides of his forehead, he looked like he was being simultaneously fucked in both ears.
And here's entry #2. I have no clue exactly what he/she/it is supposed to be dressed up as but it make for a pretty disturbing combination. As far as I'm concerned, the chest hair sticking out the top and the purse just really completes the ensemble.
The day started out quite warm and with the sun out it was quite a misery to be walking around. I was guzzling water like a camel but it wasn't until the sky turned overcast that the day started to imrpove. We spent a lot of time wandering around the various stalls and I ended up making my cliched stupid renn faire purchase. Each year I end up spending money on some useless piece of crap that then sits in my closet until the end of time. Last year it was the wooden flail and the year before that a wooden shield/sword set that would only be sized right if I were 4 feet tall. This time around I decided I wanted to buy a wand. On the face of it, this wasn't as stupid as it might seem. I had signed up to play in a Harry Potter larp run by the BYOV and it was a Bring Your Own Wand event. The stupid part came in when I decided I wanted to get a sheath along with the thing and also that I had to pay $25 more because I needed a black wand and not just a pansy white or wood colored one. $50 dollars later, I had my wand and a ton of buyer's remorse to go along with it.
Here you can see me putting it through its paces with a few practice unforgivable curses. When I left the DnD group, other people were added and my 'victim' is the husband of one of the new additions. We spent a lot of time wandering around with them during the day, though apparentrly not long enough that I actually remember names or anything.
After seeing how spiffy my wand was, mock26 obviously had to go along and buy his own. You can see here that he's already thinking up alternate uses for the thing so as to get his money worth.
Since both of us now have wands, I guess this was sort of inevitable. Cue the dueling!
I had the princess bride scene running through my head the entire time. Of course I didn't go for the whole 'I'm not left handed' ploy. My philosophy has always been to crush my enemies with overwhelming force and never give them a chance to respond or recover once I have them down. It always seemed to be a much more prudent idea.
ARRRRGGGGHH. He got me!
Here's a picture of jstad pimpin' old school. The cigar really adds to the look is what I'm thinking.
Here's a picture of John with Mr pionki. I never ended up having much interaction with the finns overall. A few words here and there but that's about it. I did get to obliquely inquire if it's true that the finnish are the irish of scandanavia. That had been khavi's insight about the finns a while back and to date, it sums up just about everything I know of them.
How's this for a suckyass job at the renn faire? Standing out in the sun all day with your eyes closed, pretending to be a statue. You must really have to draw the short end of the stick to get stuck doing this. I'm surprised that none of them keep over from heatstroke after a while.
On a sidenote, we also bumped into Elise again at the faire. I got to chat with her a bit before the store she was working at got too busy and it was fun like always. She's always a card and I got to catch up with her a couple of times, though briefly, at gencon as well. It seems that there's never enough time in the end for socializing and meet and greets at the convention. Everything's always so rushed with scheduled events and whatnot.
It of course wouldn't be a renn faire without the cliched axe throwing. Here's john taking his turn and doing quite well overall. Not that he hit the target he was supposed to be aiming for or anything, but at least he got the darn thing to stick in the wall a few times.
I had considerably more difficulty with the task, though I must say the better action shot photo. I think I only ended up hitting the wall once out of 4 tries. I kept letting go too late and skewering an unoffending hay bale sitting on the floor. This just wasn't my event.
And so that was a day at the renn faire. After getting back to the hotel and resting up for a bit, the lot of us went out to dinner at a mexican place near Melissa. The finns finished their meal early and by the time I got up there had gone back to john's place for some rest. So ended day 2 of my trip to chicago.