Anyway, on to the countdown.
The trip to the Renn Faire has been a tradition for years now. The only major difference is that Richard wasn't able to join us this time around. His aunt was really ill, like kick the bucket ill, and he was flying out to help out his mom in California. That would mean that I wouldn't see him until gencon. Taking Richard's place was Melissa's new boyfriend, whatshisface. I'm not calling him to be pejorative, well, not only to be pejorative, I really can't recall his name at the moment. Mark? Rich? Steven? I really can't remember. It must be the Alzheimer's creeping up on me. Anyway, whatever his name was, he decided to join us.
We made the trek out there in my rental car. With the free upgrade, it was nice and roomy and a fairly pleasant trip. The only downside is I swear the distance grows further and the journey takes longer each year. I started to get the feeling we were on the road to nowhere before the trip ended. It didn't help any that we ran into a spot of traffic north of the city and spent some time in bumper to bumper. Here was a video John took of the journey:
We ended up stopping at a rest stop before reaching the faire where I was able to snag some food. I was hungry and I figured if I ate something beforehand, it would be less money I spent at the faire itself. Cheesy Bean and Rice Burritos = Num num num.
I had also remembered to bring my handicap parking placard this year after remarking last year that it was a gyp that gimpy people got to park right at the front. We got to cruise past all the huge rows of parked cars and snagged a spot near the entrance.
The Renn Faire never really changes much. I can't even tell you how many pictures I have of the entrance, but each year I feel the need to snap another one. It's just one of those uncontrollable impulses.
While John and I were waiting for Melissa and Nameless to buy their tickets, we spent some time chatting with our fellow Renn Faire attendees. There are always lotsa familes who go and at least have their kids are dressed up in semi-period clothing. I always thought that was sorta nice as a family outing. You couldn't get me to put on a jerkin for anything though.
I'm always surprised when I see a picture I didn't take in the pile. Since I didn't take them, I have no memory of it nor why someone felt it was a worthy shot. I think I'm chewing on a wooden skewer there. Oral fixation and all that.
Since nothing ever changes at the Renn Faire, we end up visiting most of the same booths each time we go. It's like I experience my own little reverse time dilation field. It never feels like we only do the Renn Faire once a year. As I'm walking its streets, it always feels to me as if we were just there a little while ago.
Here's a shot of Melissa at the hat shop. We always stop there for a couple of novelty pictures with the goods. I'm pretty sure that none of us have ever bought anything though for a while I was really tempted to buy this huge furry sonofabitch that I thought would be good for Chicago winters.
This is what it looks like when you try to take a picture of yourself in a high wall mirror and the flash doesn't go off.
Here's another bigass furry hat. I'm really sorta curious who buys these things and then what they do with them. I think it might be entertaining to walk around wearing one, but I might be a little off kilter there. Certainly, I've never seen anyone sporting headgear like this just walking down the street.
At one point, I made the mistake of pointing out a booth to sold cigars and tobacco to John. He, of course, had to go on over and buy himself a stogie. It stank and at one point I accidentally got burned by it as we were walking. That's the second time in my life now that a lit cigarette/cigar has used my arm as an ashtray. I still remember the first time it happened when I was a kid, maybe 8 years old tops, in the mall. The psychobitch didn't even apologize or show any concern as I recall.
It's not like the cigar was all bad. It did provide a couple of nice picture opportunities. I thought I also took one of him 'lighting' the canon with the cigar, but apparently not.
Another perennial favorite is taking pictures while we prance around with the various wooden and metal weapons that they sell there as souvenirs. I'm more guilty of this particular practice than anyone else.
For some reason, I just love the idea of swinging bigass swords around. Just never grew up I guess.
Bit of a mismatch in weaponry here.
And of course we have to have a kill shot.
I really seriously considered buying the damn thing for a while. Temporary insanity i think. I can just imagine the mess of trying to get it checked as baggage. I was pretty sure that the airline was going to balk if I tried to convince them it qualified as carry-on. Besides, what the fuck would I do with a 6' long wooden sword once I got home anyway? Last year's trip to the Renn Faire was the first in which I didn't buy anything horribly overpriced and stupid. i've walked away previous years with wooden wands, sword and shield sets, a wooden flail, etc. All of which are sitting in my closet right now, never having seen the light of day. I managed to resist the impulse though and so I'm now extended my no-buy streak to two years.
While at the Renn Faire, we also engaged in some of the games. They had one of those frog launching ones that are similar to ones I remember playing as a kid. Those were usually on a boardwalk or at Six Flags and had rotating lilypads on a pool of water. The idea was to rocket your rubber frog from its launching pad and land it inside on eof the lilypads. I still remember some of the game runners being absolute dicks and demanding that all the floppy arms and legs be inside the lilypad for you to get a price. Assholes.
Is that the cheesiest prize you've ever seen or what? I have no clue why the fuck the Renn Faire prices are so god awful. I mean, it's not even a half-assed effort. You'd find better crap any day of the week in one of those toy vending machines they have at grocery stores. I'm not sure where they have to go to find crap this wretched to hand out. Even the dollar store wouldn't sink this low.
Here we have a video of John attempting to climb Jacob's ladder. It didn't go all that well.
And now that I'm actually watching the video, I discover that Nameless's name is actually Dave. Well, I guess it's a good thing I actually said it on video at some point just to remind me. On a sidenote, the guy did almost nothing at the Renn Faire. We couldn't convince him to try anything. I couldn't tell if he was just standoffish or if he was just the cheapest guy on the planet. The only thing he would try (coming up in a video) he would only agree to if I paid for it.
Fudge. I was going to continue linking more videos but it looks like Google Video just shit itself and died. Oh well, it looks like we're back to pictures for a while.
Anyway, one of the most amazing things happened as we were walking around the Renn Faire. I was just marching along, actually thinking random thoughts about Felicia Day, when I saw someone whose image had a neuron in my brain jumping up and down. It actually took me a few seconds to put it all together but I had just run into Kat. The incredibly unlikelihood of this occurrence cannot be overstressed. I had last seen her around 4 years ago and she was in the process of leaving the country for Australia. She was trekking off to marry a Kiwi and none of us figured we'd ever see her again. She had mentioned that maybe they would move back to the states one day but none of us had really kept in touch. To actually run into her quite a distance from Chicago at the Renn Faire the one time a year that I'm actually in the area was just amazing.
Here's a picture of her with her new hubby.
We chatted a bit and I got the impression she had only arrived back in the country relatively recently. It's sort of sad that the Chicago contingent of the sissy's have pretty much shattered by now. Almost everyone has either moved on and those that are left in the area haven't kept in touch. I haven't had contact with anyone since the last time I was in town.
And here's a picture of me and Kat. She posted a comment on the LJ in response to an earlier entry about the coinkydink so maybe we'll manage to keep in touch until I pop back to Chicago next year. Actually, there's a chance that I'm going back to Chicago in April. There's a True Dungeon event they're going to be running in Carbondale, which is in south Illinois. The nearest major airports are in Chicago and St Louis and I'll probably pick the former and just make an extended trip out of it. We'll see how it goes though.
Yay, it looks like Google Video is back up, and thus, you get rewarded with a didgeridoo.
I managed to resist the urge to buy one or try playing one for myself. Not that robin hood there really tried to sell me anything. I don't think he actually tried to sell anything that was in the shop. Definitely a very laid back attitude.
And here the games continue. John and I had a little competition with one of the games.
Again, some of the shittiest prizes I have ever seen in my life. I'm also offended that they are even called prizes. It would have almost been better if they just told us that the thrill of victory was the real prize. At least you can sort of respect that sort of shlocky bullshit.
We also got Dave to participate in one of the games after I agreed to pay for it. He was just not all that much fun. We could have dragged a manequinn around with us for most of the day and i would have been hard pressed to tell the difference between them. When he did open his mouth, it just felt like he was jumping up and down on my last nerve. This is likely because he was just a general killjoy and I sort of feel like that's my job. Just because I'm not being negative at that particular moment, doesn't mean that I've relinquished the position.
While walking about, I found some dressed up guys throwing axes to determine who was the most manly and studly of the bunch.
John and I gave the axe throwing a try a little later on. I don't have video of it, but suffice to say we were not as skilled. I did manage to get one of them to stick in the wall and that was about it. All of my shots tended to be low. I still remember commenting that in battle I might not kill someone but he'd have a hell of a limp for days.
Alrighty. Pay attention because this is my absolute favorite video that I took at the Renn Faire. It's just fantastic. Out of everything I saw at the Renn Faire, this is what I really regret not buying.
Now, is that fucking cool or what? It was really cheap too. I guess there's just not a lot of things you can do with a bigass pile of animal faces. I imagine most women don't want the heads attached to their fur coats and the like. John and I offered to buy one for Melissa so she could attach it to that fur purse she picked up. I'm sad to say she turned us down. Hell, if I had the chance again, I'd have bought a few faces. It was pretty cheap too from what I recall, something along the lines of $5 a pop. I'm not sure exactly what I would do with them, but i think it'd make for some hilarious secret Santa presents.
So that was the Renn Faire more or less. We ended up staying until mid afternoon with a storm front started to roll in. As we were making our way to the exit, we crossed a bridge across the lake and saw an amazing sight. There were people tossing bread over the side and a swarm of fish were fighting for tidbits. In addition to goldfish and catfish, there were also lotsa turtles. I <3 turtles. It's about the only regularly consumed animal that I've balked at eating out of sympathy.
John had just bought a roll or a loaf of bread or something from one of the bakery's and passed out chunks of bread to the rest of us. It was amazing watching the hoard of creatures all fighting to be the first to snap it up. I started video taping but almost immediately ran out of room on the Flip Ultra. I deleted a few of the earlier clips I didn't need and then resumed filming. It wasn't until I went to upload the videos that i found that there had been some sort of monumental fuck up. It didn't save the later videos for some reason and all I had was that initial little tidbit that lasted like 2 seconds. I was pretty pissed at the time too.
Oh well. here are those two seconds.
I think I should also mention that the weather was absolutely perfect that day. It was actually cool and often overcast, which I'm a huge fan of. I hate the scareball with a passion. There have been years where going to the Renn Faire is like visiting a suburb of Hell and it's nothing but heat and humidity. We really got lucky this year with the mild weather and I for one was grateful. Even then I ended up downing liquids like crazy. I didn't spend all that much money on food, but I must've blown near $15 on drinks. If it had been a normal August day, I'm sure the expenditure would have been worse.
In the end, none of us really ate all that much of at the faire. In addition to those burritos I consumed beforehand, I had some of the garlic mushrooms and a strawberry waffle cone. No one went for a turkey leg or any of the other things you could consider to be staples of a Renn Faire.
The drive home was pretty non-eventful. I stopped off at a 7-11 on the way so I could grab a slurpee but that was about it. We all ended up just loafing around at John's place for the rest of the night. Everyone else picked up some Sushi takeout while I had Whoppers. I know many might disagree but I got the better end of that deal. I just don't get sushi. Dave also managed to be a little more interactive and interesting. We all got into a giant discussion about race and politics and I always find things like that entertaining.
And that was more or less it.