bonny_kate: (Default)
I keep meaning to post, mostly about my lack of posting. Every time, though, that I resolve to post more often (say, once a week) life becomes very busy once again. But, in spite of the business, I am still going to try to post once a week (even if I don’t have time to say much). In the interests of time, here is my life of late measured out in bullet points.

- I went to the Renaissance Faire with Maggie, Joel, Irene, and Dan from D&D (this is how I introduced him to Maggie and Irene, so they spent the entire day calling him “Dan from D&D”; there is a moral somewhere). It was a good Ren Faire, although the jousting was sub-par (I have become more picky and less easy to please when it comes to jousting the more experience I have; this applies to other things as well). They had a new show, of falconry, and brought out falcons (although they did not fly them because of the presence of a multitude of ducks, which the falcons would be inclined to go after) and flew two owls (they were lovely) and a vulture (it was comic). We also saw Serenata, which is a group of musicians that sing Renaissance songs from around Europe (Italian, Spanish and English). The Ren Faire deserves its own post.

- I have started working again (sort of). I worked in the same building as Joel for a month, covering for someone out on medical leave, and then spent a month not working. But they called me (rather desperate) and asked if I would be willing to work on-call. Since the work is decent (if not what I would like to do permanently), and the people are very nice (so much better than my last job), I agreed. It means that some mornings I am called around eight in the morning and pack my lunch, put on job appropriate clothes (rather than a t-shirt and jeans) and drive to work to be there by ten. This is rather a stretch for me, as I am the sort of person who likes to plan things out, and am rarely spontaneous. But it is hard to plan if you don’t know what you are doing tomorrow (so I must consider if I should do the dishes tonight, and have less time for cuddling with Joel on the couch, or leave them for tomorrow, when I may have time to do them during the day, or may not if I’m working).

- I’ve been reading. A lot (recommendations are welcome, as I’m running out of books to read). I am making up for six miserable months of being engaged and having no time to read (you would think it would take more than six good months to make up for six lousy months, but in fact it does take longer to recover). The book I would recommend to ya’ll is Shades of Milk and Honey (this deserves a post unto itself). It is a fabulous relaxing read, and I think anyone who likes Jane Austen with a fantasy twist will like it. It is Jane Austen with magic, but it is not simply a re-telling of any of her novels, nor is it the sort of magic one generally finds in fantasy novels. Rather than being Pride and Prejudice With Magic, or some such, it is occasionally reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, occasionally it reminds me of Sense and Sensibility, and there are bits I am sure refer to Northanger Abbey. It is lovely, and I can’t help but like the main character, Jane, who is plain but remarkably accomplished, particularly in the art of glamour. Glamour is the only magic we see, and it is an art that accomplished young ladies are expected to know a little of, weaving illusions to complement their watercolors and musical accomplishments. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the end, but overall I very much enjoyed the book. (I discovered the author in a roundabout way, after reading her Nebula nominated novella, which is a fabulous sci-fi mystery about a detective and his AI partner whose avatar is Mae West.)

- Joel and I have been married over seven months. It is fabulous and wonderful and still occasionally unbelievable. We still occasionally have our misunderstandings, but being married is just so good, and so much better than being engaged. I know some people have had a hard time adjusting to being married, but it has been remarkably happy and blissful and easy for us.

- I started the ridiculously complicated process of legally changing my name (I waited until after we got our tax refunds so as to (hopefully) simplify things). So far as I could tell, I had to actually physically go into the Social Security office to turn in my application, since they wanted to see not only my marriage license and birth certificate, but my driver’s license. So I waited an hour, turned in the paperwork, and will hopefully have a new card soon. Then I can go into the DMV to change my driver’s license (something else that must be done in person). After all that, I can finally go about changing my bank information, car registration, insurance, and all the million and one places in which one’s name is listed legally. Eck. I find it frustrating that this is such a long, involved and somewhat painful process when it is so common.

- I’m trying out the next RPG (*gulp*). Joel is currently the DM (in non-RPG terms, the narrator / monster creator), and he’s finishing up a D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) campaign. Once that finishes up, it looks like we’ll be playing Exalted (I would describe this, but I have no idea how to because I don’t know that much about it, except that it is a fantasy setting RPG). I’m playing around with a few ideas for character creation, but also waiting until we have more world building details before I worry about it too much. Allison (previously the only girl in the group) is helping me out with how to go about character creation (helpful both because she thinks of things in term of character and plot instead of numbers and mechanics (Joel is super into the number and mechanics side of things, and my eyes start to glaze over rather quickly) and because she is the only one in the group to have played Exalted). If I find that I don’t like it, I can always kill off my character in a spectacular way (which makes my morbid side happy).

- I’ve been thinking lately about gender roles and expectations, especially regarding toys and fairy tales (I should probably post on this at some point).

- I’m planning a road trip to Hearst Castle in a couple of weeks to meet up with Charis and Sharon (Syf). I know this will make many of ya’ll jealous, because it will be awesome.
bonny_kate: (kaylee)
So, the Ren Faire was great fun. The Koroneburg Ren Faire is somewhat smaller than the Nor Cal or So Cal Ren Faires, which means that it has a much larger selection of cheap weapons (instead of really expensive ones that you could really hurt someone with), but a much smaller selection of hats. Overall, it's a nice Ren Faire, but I'm glad we alternate.

In our usual glorious tradition, we got all costumed up (Maggie, Liz, Irene and I) in our proper pirate costumes (Liz pulled together a fabulous costume, including a $7 corset (!) and Irene borrowed a sort of medieval dress from a friend), and then went to MacDonalds for breakfast. I'm not sure how MacDonalds for breakfast became a tradition, but it is now firmly entrenched in our Ren Faire tradition. We were more or less running on time (no mean feat) but by time we stopped by to add Joel and Nathan to our number and all that, we ended up at the Ren Faire at twelve instead of eleven (when it opens and the time we were aiming for). This is also one of our Ren Faire traditions. We never get there when we say that we want to, but because we aim for fairly early it's alright.

We remembered this time right as we got to the Ren Faire to take a group picture (second time now, we're breaking our tradition of taking it at the end when everyone's hair has fallen down and things are lost and people are sunburned). But for some reason the battery on my camera was really low (I'd checked it the night before, I'm sure, and it was *completely* full, so I'm not sure what happened, unless it was deceptively high because I hadn't turned the camera on for a while), so I had to go right back out and back to the car for my spare camera battery (this was annoying because the exact same thing happened at the previous Ren Faire in Nor Cal, and I had checked the battery this time). But the battery was switched and many pictures taken without fear of running out of battery.

We wandered around the Ren Faire and looked at shinies (daggers, swords, various other weapons and occasionally jewelry, but mostly sharp things), and tried on hats and masks (of course). Part of the point of going to a Ren Faire is to look at all the shinies (it's up there with watching the joust and having a reasons to wear a costume). The Ren Faire was surprisingly empty; there seemed to be hardly anyone there (this might be because we often go to Ren Faires on the very last weekend). Because it was so empty, more of the vendors interacted with us (always fun) and gave Nathan a hard time because he was the only one not in costume. Since it is a relatively small fair, we went back and forth the length of the fair a couple of times (this was also due to the lousiness of the map, which didn't list the names of stages).

We watched two people who payed to race the rats, which was amusing because there was an entire commentary and story before the actual race (starting at the pub, mentioning the damsels in distress, and all the villains).

Maggie bought a dagger, which is nifty and straight with a neat hilt and a smallish design on the blade (and it was only $10). It came with a sheath, but because she didn't have a belt I ended up wearing it as the easiest way of carrying it. I went back and forth on a similar dagger (I am notoriously indecisive when it comes to costume things) but finally went back and bought it because even if it wasn't the exact dagger that I really wanted, it was still nifty and so much better than my plastic one. Metal daggers are so much more fun to play with that it's a bit scary. So much more solid, and a bit of an edge (although not that sharp, but also not of the plastic sword dullness). This meant that for most of the Ren Faire I was wearing three daggers (my plastic one, my metal one, and Maggie's).

The joust was very good this time. This was the other reason (besides cheap shinies) that we came back to Koroneburg. The joust the last time was excellent, but it was traumatizing because the evil knight won and killed all the squires. This time was much better. There was none of this nonsense about being hit with a lance and jumping off the horse five seconds later. There was the usual bit of trying to catch rings on the end of the lances, and then the actual joust. The black knight killed the blue knight (who we were cheering for because according to Maggie and Irene he is the cutest knight of any of the jousts), and Maggie and I had a sort of sinking moment where we thought 'not again', but then the green knight who had been presiding over everything stepped up and although he didn't have any armour, soundly killed the black knight (huzzah!). Also, the banter back and forth was highly amusing. But the crowd was ridiculously not into things (you're supposed to cheer, people).

Irene and Maggie took pictures with the knights and horses. Maggie was trying to find her sunglasses (she never did) and I had to drag her over to take a picture with the blue knight, but apparently the last time we were at Koroneburg she really wanted a picture with him, and *didn't tell me* so this time I was determined that she should get that picture.

After the joust there was supposed to be an archery tournament, but it wasn't where it was supposed to be (a similar thing happened with the trebuchet demonstration; it wasn't where it was before and we missed it) and by time we found it we didn't actually see any of it because the show we wanted to see was starting soon and the archery was running late.

The final reason we went back to Koroneburg was for the Queen's Swordsmen (which were Maggie's favorite show, pretty much ever. Liz missed out because she was watching the juggler (I am against jugglers at Ren Faires because of several bad experiences; they always have the same horrible style and the same really lame jokes)). The Queen's Swordsmen were tucked into a back corner, and not nearly as funny (also, I don't remember that they were nearly as bawdy before. I expect a certain level of bawdiness at a Ren Faire, because that's just the way things are, but we try to avoid the worse shows, and I certainly would have remembered the mangled scene from Taming of the Shrew (if you are thinking that there is no sword scene in Taming of the Shrew, you're right; there isn't but that didn't stop them from doing the scene with Petruchio and Kat), although I think the mangled scene with Romeo and Paris was pretty much the same. It would have been so much better without mangling Shakespeare). Maggie was amused that at one point when one of the actors came down and was making insinuations about me (it was a v. small crowd) I had unbuckled my new dagger and was just pulling it out when he stopped (I'm not sure what I was about to do, but it would have been interesting because the actor had left his sword on the stage). The audience, in spite of being small, was quite into things, though (a good audience really improves a show).

I think that what would make Ren Faires really brilliant would be actual Shakespeare (not just mangled bits in shows). I would go to two hours of a decently done comedy, and quite enjoy it (this might be managed if it was produced by a local junior college; we have a Shakespeare festival every fall), and it would be quite appropriate to the Renaissance. Sadly, this seems quite unlikely, because Ren Faires really aren't geared towards the sort of people who usually watch Shakespeare.

It was a good Ren Faire, because the weather was quite nice (only a bit warm, but not too bad), we had a good size group (more people really do improve the experience), the joust was excellent and I bought my dagger (also, I avoided getting sunburned, which is always a good thing). Introducing people to the whole Ren Faire thing is fun.

After, we bought fast food (Ren Faire food is exhorbent). Either people didn't give us as strange looks this time, or I'm immune, because I didn't notice it at all (either for breakfast or dinner). Then Maggie, Liz, Irene and I went back to Irene's house and crashed. We ate watermelon and watched Princess Bride and all our favorite bits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
bonny_kate: (kaylee)
"It began quite simply," said Kate, sitting back in the tan armchair. "I wanted to visit Maggie in San Francisco, and we thought we wanted to go to a Ren Faire. Then Irene decided to come, and Liz was planning on going to San Francisco that weekend anyway."

So begins the -

The Girl-Who-Went-To-The-Ren-Faire's Tale

Well, Friday we (being Liz, Irene and myself) drove up to San Francisco. Then we all crashed on Maggie floor. Now, she has a studio apartment that she shares with her roommate, Nikki, and so there isn't much room. Since the two of them are only there for a few months for a program that they're in, we really were all on the floor. I'm still not sure how the heating in the apartment works, except that you have to flip a switch in the bathroom, thereby turning that room into a sauna and the rest of the apartment into something comfortable.

We (having now added Maggie to our number) were planning to leave on Saturday by nine or so, and even managed to leave about then, but by time we got breakfast, gas, and Irene got cash it was later (of course). You can't rush these things. Interestingly enough, nobody at McDonald's really stared at three girls in pirate Renaissance garb. Who would've thought. Then we drove south an hour and a half or so to the Ren Faire. Now, the directions to the Ren Faire were remarkably vague, and really only included an address. So we get off the freeway, Irene is driving at this point, and drive along this road. Which sort of splits. Which turns into sort of a freeway, the kind with occasional left turn bays and very occasional off ramps. We eventually see a giant sign with a picture of a giant pie on it, and at the top it says "Casa de Fruta" and across the bottom it says "Renaissance Faire" with the date. Note a smidge of directions that we saw at all. Liz is fascinated by the giant pie sign. We drive past the Case de Fruta, looking frantically for signs, and as we drive past I see a sign for Renaissance Faire parking. This is quite exciting, because we found it, and crazy because now we have to turn around and go back. We find the exit, and guided by two or so pitiful, small signs, find the parking and manage to find the park entrance. Hurrah!

The Ren Faire was quite good, and larger than I expected. Since we got there about noon, instead of ten, we only managed to see both jousts and the Queen's show, but the jousting was excellent. Really, the worth of a Ren Faire is determined firstly by the jousting, second by the shops, and third and lastly by the weather. The jousting was quite good, none of this nonsense about jumping off of horses, and quite amazingly nobody died. After the Coronasburg joust where the evil knight won, and the So Cal Ren Faire where it was obviously rigged, this joust was great. The first joust we cheered for the Scottish knight, which made Maggie happy, and I think he won. The second joust we cheered for the French knight, and I really don't remember if he won. Incidentally, the real reason to go to the first joust is to find where the best seats are for the second joust, because the second joust is usually the best. So that was great, and I learned that all three of my friends are much more into horses than I, and had to pet them, and take pictures with them, and ask intelligent questions about them.

Now, I remembered my camera, got all the pictures off, and brought it with me to the Ren Faire. However, I neglected to check the charge on the batteries. So, not more than a quarter of an hour after we had got inside (cleverly taking pictures before entering the Faire, on the theory that if we didn't do it then, we never would), I realize that the battery on my camera was low; really low. So Irene and I went to fetch the spare battery from the trunk of my car (my camera is lovely, and is a Canon Digital Rebel). We got our hands stamped with "peasant", the guy at the gate blew on the stamp, which was quite strange, as he took our hand, stamped it, and then, as though he was going to kiss it, blew on it. Ren Faires are a strange thing. We retrieved the battery, and got lost trying to find Maggie and Liz, but it all worked out because we found the place for the joust. Strangely, we got lost several times at this Ren Faire. I blame it on the maps.

The Queen's Show was alright, although not that great, as I didn't think the Queen was that great this time. Her British accent sounded fake and contrived, and didn't help things. But the Sir Francis Drake was good, and the Shakespeare was decent. The bit of Pyramus and Thisbe out of Midsummer Night's Dream was alright, and amusing at times, although I was sadly disappointed in the Wall and Moon, the Lion was amusing.

There was much trying on of hats in between things, and there was one lovely hat that I quite liked, but I am afraid that I will never like a hat as much as I like my current pirate hat. It is thick black felt, rounded, with a brim that is wider in the front and narrows in the back. I added a band around it to match my bodice, turned one side up, put a few peacock feathers on the side, and an elegant button on the side that looks like an antique broach. If you think of a Renaissance riding hat or a three musketeers hat you are on the right track. I like my hat.

Liz found a hat, a red Renaissance riding hat (Etsy has some lovely examples), with a tall crown and jaunty brim. She also decided exactly what sort of costume she wants. Of course, she must have a dress to match the hat, and the hat will not go with the pirate/peasant/wench sort of look that Irene and Maggie and I have. Rather, it is an elegant, sophisticated hat, and needs to go with an Elizabethain courtier's dress. So, the flat, thick, triangle shaped bodice, with the large sleeves, that vees out from the waist to show the underskirt, all in brocade, is what she wants. But, she has never sewn on a sewing machine before, and isn't even sure she'll like sewing (Maggie has found that she doesn't have the patience for it, but Irene likes it, so it's a tossup whether Liz will like it), so I think we'll start her with something simple, like an apron or a cape. But I digress. The point is, she didn't buy the hat because she wasn't sure that she wanted to build a costume around a hat. I say that the hat is the hardest part, and it makes complete sense to build a costume around a hat. Not that I was pushing her to buy the hat, because it is expensive if you aren't sure you want to make the costume.

There were many and diverse adventures, but I think my favorite involves Irene. We were headed towards the exit, because it was nearly time for the Faire to close, and we saw the Master of Ceremonies from the jousts, in conversation. Irene, quite understandably, wanted a picture with him. Now, he was in the midst of conversing with another gentleman regarding the affections of the lady between them. So when Irene asked him, he simply took it in stride, took her hand, and began kissing the hands of both ladies. He ended by saying "this one [meaning the other lady] tastes saucy, and this one [Irene] tastes sweet."

Thus endeth the tale of the Renaissance Faire of Northern California, and beginneth the tale of Finding a Restaurant at the Ninth hour of the evening.
bonny_kate: (Default)
I realized that I haven't yet gone on about the Ren Fair, so I shall do it here for a bit. The simple summary is that it was quite fun, but very hot, and the heat made it not quite as fun as it could have been, but that's alright. This Ren Fair was particularly huge, and though the jousting wasn't as good as others we have seen, it was still quite good, though much more obviously staged. Oh, and the good and virtuous knight won, which is always a good thing (the last Ren Fair we went to the evil knight won after killing not only the knights but also their young squires, and it was tramautizing). But the lady who played the queen was quite good, which helped make up for the not as good jousting, and the singing group we randomly saw was quite good. Not only was the singing good, but the banter was amusing, and so good that you knew it must be scripted, but it didn't feel scripted.

Oh, and we all got henna tattoos (we being Maggie, Irene ([ profile] rushnsamrn) and I), which is very fast, and it was quite fun to have. But I didn't know that once you put the paste on, you have to keep putting this sugary lemon juice on it for a while. Very strange.

I was looking for a hat, but the one I was thinking about getting was much more than I wanted to pay, and it wasn't the perfect hat anyway, so I didn't buy a hat at all. There were tons of hats, though not really that many choices, because most of them were just variations on the same hat (differences in color and whatnot). This Ren Fair was huge, and there were many costume shops, although sadly, not as many sword shops (all the sharp shiny things at this Fair were made by hand, so they were very lovely, and very expensive).

It really didn't feel like we did that much, but we saw the musicians (whose name I have forgotten), got our henna done, saw the Queen's Joust, saw the Queen's Show (which was quite fun), saw the Joust to the Death, and generally wandered around the Fair a lot. Quite fun, and I hope we make it to a Fair more than once next year.


bonny_kate: (Default)
Kate Saunders Britton

April 2017

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