Why the Renaissance Faire is Amazing

IMG_2439

I discovered in the last year or two that if not for Christmas, the Renaissance Festival would be my favourite time of the year.  The only one I’ve attended (and apparently one of the best ones, according to friends who’ve gone elsewhere) is at The Castle of Muskogee in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  Yes, this castle is a permanent structure!

Credit: The Castle of Muskogee
Credit: The Castle of Muskogee

I first attended the Renaissance Festival there in 2011.  I was immediately hooked!  If we’d realised that we would go every weekend, we would have bought season passes and saved loads of money on tickets, haha.  We also attended the masquerade ball, one of the separate events that happen Saturday evenings after the faire ends for the day.  (I’ve already talked about the masque ball, and my meeting the Doctor, here.)

Now don’t hate me for saying this, but to me it’s like a convention to the nth degree.  At cons, it’s getting together with people who have similar interests, meeting/seeing famous people (while it’s more their characters I want to meet), and buying lots of stuff you don’t need.  All that is super fun, and the conversations, parties, and making friends with fellow fans is the best part.

Credit: James Gibbard, Tulsa World
Credit: James Gibbard, Tulsa World

At a Ren faire, it’s getting together with people who have similar interests (or at least like to dress up and/or pretend to be someone else for a while), living in another world with characters from that world (and seriously, the volunteers at this one spend a full month beforehand getting into character), consuming at least somewhat period appropriate food and drink, and buying lots of stuff you don’t need.  Not to mention the shows: duels, acrobats, bards, magicians, knighting ceremonies, singing pirates!, and so much more!

Italian soda and a falafel plate for lunch.
Italian soda and a falafel plate for lunch.

I’ve gone as myself attending an event, myself dressed up and in another world, and even in character attending a yearly festival (who says there’s no such thing as a vegan pirate? 😋).  I’ve gone with one person, several people, and even by myself (honestly, that’s my favourite).  However I do it, it’s always some of the best fun I have all year.

 


 

If you plan on attending this particular Renaissance Festival, here is a list of my absolute favourite things.  This is neither a complete list, nor have seen everything there is to see.

Shows:

-Tribal Circus, Italian Piazza
-Jolly Rogers (my favourite singing pirates), Castleton Harbor
-Brothers Dimm (get there early, as this tends to be a popular show), Mud Stage
-Heroic Knights of Old Joust (most popular), Tournament Arena

Food & Drink:

-Jerusalem Café (labelled vegan options!), Village Center
-Cappuccino Inn (coffee shop!), Italian Piazza

There is one place in the Village Center that has sweet potato fries, my favourite food at the faire, but I keep forgetting to see what the place is called.

Shops (doesn’t include clothing) and Games:

-Lilystrations (watercolour paintings by Lily of Tribal Circus), Italian Piazza
-Badger Blades (really Hubby’s favourite), King’s Highway
-Majikah Perfumery, King’s Highway
-Aerie Books, Celtic Quarter
-St. Sadie Soaps & More, Celtic Quarter
-Tomato Jerk, Celtic Quarter
-Medival Mapmaker (historical AND nerdy maps), Castle Keepe


Bonus:

sq500-78ef141ad5d2e781e59d34cc4ff6804a
Shia LaBeouf spotted at The Castle in 2015.  (Click pic for article.)  Sadly, it was another week before I attended.

#TBT – Non-Mummy’s Mother’s Day

This entry was originally posted on a blog I was writing back in early 2012.  I recently had reason to go back and look for something in that blog, and I thought I’d share this again here.  And yes, I wrote this post before I became vegan.


This was quite a busy and fun weekend.  Friday, all of us girls in the family here got our nails done together.  Saturday, I helped retrieve the Edible Arrangement for a baby shower my sister-in-law hosted.  –I’m not a huge pineapple fan, but it’s amazing covered in chocolate 😉–  I then went with my mother-in-law to help in the nursery at a church.

Sunday.  Mother’s Day.  I took my “son” to the Renaissance Festival at the Castle of Muskogee.  He’s only nine years my junior, but he’s always looked at least 5 years older than his actual age.  (He’s not biologically mine.)

Because he looks like an adult, I’ve recently been carded to be sure I was over 16, and it was just the two of us, he got a lot of “girlfriend” comments.  I threw a couple of them for a loop by correcting them with “mother.”  It was hilarious!  One guy suddenly stopped walking, and with an über confused look on his face, was like, “What?”

Another guy selling flowers motioned the basket toward him and said, “Hint! Hint!”  I pointed at Son and said, “Son!”  The man’s first reaction was, “Well, hey, it’s Mother’s Day!  You gave him life; the least he can do is give you a flower.”  Then, our appearances clicked in his head and he said something to the extent of, “Wait, how are you his mom?”  I just laughed and told the truth: that he’s way younger than he looks and I’m way older than I look.  Then, he said, “Now I definitely believe that!”

Sadly, of course, my brain didn’t come up with a comeback to the other comments until it was too late.  One was “That girl in the blue is much better looking than the one you had with you last week!”  Wish I would have thought at the time to say, “I’m flattered that you think his mother is more beautiful than his girlfriend!”

Even in the Elder Scrolls and Fable games, I always stop to listen to the bards.
Anyway, the Ren Faire is always so much fun, even though most of the time we’re just walking around and looking at overpriced items in the shops.  However, there was a small shop we finally wandered into that had items for far less coin than others.  I walked away with a mid-length cloak for $38 (instead of about $180 for a full-length), and we both got awesome-looking hoods for $12 each.  The one thing I wanted to buy for my costume (a ruffled skirt to go over my dress) was $250.  I’d only brought $160 🙁.  At least now I’m more motivated to make it myself, haha.

After walking around in the rising temperatures and bright sunlight for 5 1/2 hours, we decided it was time to head home.  Since it was the last day of frappuccino happy hour at Starbucks, and still 30 minutes left in it, we headed there so I could get my fix.  I was expecting it to be packed, and we would have to be brave among the stares in our cosplay, but there were only about four people inside.  The only one who said anything about the costumes was the lady in front of us in line and we talked about the Ren Faire for a bit.

They can’t even spell my fake name right, haha.
When ordering my drink, I gave them my character name (Amaryllis) to put on the cup.  Just one last Renaissance Festival moment to enjoy before I called it a day.  I was spent… and I so want to go back!

When I Travelled With the Doctor

Photo shoots can be great fun, despite the 35-degree temperatures (about 95 Fahrenheit) x.x . (It made me feel better knowing that while I may have been sweating uncomfortably, “the Doctor” was wearing a wool coat, a hat, and a scarf.)

This shoot was about the Doctor’s companion; the Doctor was more of a prop. We had costumes for the 4th Doctor and the 11th, but we ran out of time for a costume change. (Honestly, I preferred both our outfits that would have been worn after the switch, but maybe that can happen another time…) Despite the fact that the man dressed as the Doctor for the shoot didn’t have curly, bushy hair, but did have facial hair and glasses, we made it work.

And yes, I’ve dyed my fringe pink :) .

IMG_0289
A university student is offered the adventure of a lifetime.

 

IMG_0290

 

IMG_0291

 

IMG_0299
“Sunflowers on an alien planet!”

 

IMG_0298
The Doctor explains the liquid planet.

 

IMG_0294

 

IMG_0295

 

IMG_0300
Standing guard as the Doctor works on the alien ship.

 


 

As an extra treat, here’s a pic of the three of us eating Sour Patch Kids (“jelly babies”) with our “TARDIS stick”:

11535910_1180120512013560_5842290983404882743_n
Hot weather means that the photographer can stay comfortable wearing a bikini top, while the Doctor wears a coat, hat, and scarf.

When I Met the Doctor

The first time I finally went to the Renaissance Festival, it was magical!  We attended every weekend and most of the extra festivities that happened on Saturday evenings at an extra cost.  (If we’d known we’d go more than the first weekend, we’d have saved so much money by buying season passes.)  I bought a beautiful renaissance dress the second weekend.  (Which I later wish I had done a bit differently.  After last year’s purchase, I’m finally satisfied with that outfit.)

One of those nights was a masquerade ball.  The four of us who went had fun shopping for masks.  We were all Whovians, especially the two of us girls.  Before we entered the castle, still taking pictures outside, I saw a man walk by who was dressed as the Doctor.  David Tennant’s Doctor, to be specific.  I pointed it out to my friend, and we were both too excited.

The following poem is based on that night.  It’s the true story up to the asterisk (*), then my imagination took over.

231128_1792075888543_3378882_n

My Night With the Doctor

‘Twas two thousand eleven
at a Renaissance Faire.
The four of us dressed for the occasion
and did up our hair.

That night, there was a Masquerade Ball.
Everyone looked so neat.
We passed a man in a striped brown suit
and white Chucks on his feet.

My friend and I looked at each other in shock.
Could this be true?
Had we just seen the Doctor
with the TARDIS so blue?

As our men stopped to take pictures
of gargoyles and such,
she and I looked for the man
who saves the world with his touch.

“There he is! There he is!”
I excitedly whispered to her.
He was talking to another man
and we didn’t want to be a bother.

We finally headed back inside the castle.
We followed the Doctor closely behind.
When we caught up we said hello
and asked for a picture, if he didn’t mind.

She asked if he was with someone,
but he said he came alone.
It sounded like he’d just lost a friend
when he spoke with that tone.

We were too nervous and excited
to say more than “thank you” and “good-bye.”
But as the night went on,
we wanted to say another “hi.”

As he stood by himself,
on the other side of the room,
we decided we wanted to dance with him
and wanted to soon!

The men who were with us
were fine with it all.
So she finally got up the nerve
and walked across the hall. *

The Doctor accepted her invitation
and they began to waltz.
Not long after they start dancing
the music halts.

Another song began to play,
so they danced again.
I watched in anticipation for my turn;
the excitement hard to contain.

I walked over as the song came to an end.
The band waited for the conductor.
I couldn’t believe it was my turn
to dance with the Doctor.

At first, I was nervous
and stepped out of place,
but he reassured me
and encouraged my grace.

He swept me off my feet.
I utterly adore him.
Now I understand why
his companions fall for him.

I was having a fantastic time.
The music ended far too soon.
I planted a kiss on his cheek,
as it was very opportune.

Before he left, he asked our names.
We answered, “Sasha and Kuri.”
He said they were lovely and waved good-bye,
then a tear made my eyes grow blurry.

At the end of the Ball
there were fireworks outside.
We all chose the back of the crowd
at which to reside.

The show was brilliant,
and just before it ended
we noticed a blue box in the sky,
the man inside contented.

He waved us a farewell;
a new adventure to ensue.
This was my amazing night
with the wonderful Doctor Who.

Sadly, at the same time that Sasha (name changed, as usual) started toward the Doctor to ask him to dance, he left the building. We looked for him all night, but couldn’t find him :( . Him just being there still made our night, especially since that was the first time I’d seen Doctor Who cosplay in person. At the time, the show was barely entering main-stream-geek level in America.

I spoke with some other Whovian friends about it soon after, and they suggested that the Doctor seemed a bit off/sad because it was him right after he’d lost Rose :'( .  It’s so sad, but I’ve forever accepted that explanation.

Another Dream, More Doctor Who

It’s been a couple of days already, so the entirety of the dream is a bit fuzzy.  Mostly what I remember was near the end.

**Something messy and very dangerous needed to get cleaned up, and I (partly as a character) was the one made to clean it up along with another person whose identity was fuzzy at this point in the dream.  The mess was quickly cleaned up, but we had also become covered in it and needed to wash it off ASAP.  After we washed it all off, the two of us had become River and the Doctor (Smith).  (But we were also sort of me and Hubby.)  We walked each with an arm around the other’s waist, all smiles, and feeling wonderful as if we had just had an amazing time together, when suddenly he collapsed, dying.  I quickly reached my other arm around to catch and hold him, and started screaming for him to stay with me.**

I awoke with a nasty head cold and a fever, so I decided to do nothing but watch my YouTube subscriptions and every Doctor Who minisode.  All I thought about all day was the Doctor and River.  What sucked is that in my dream he was wearing his series seven clothes, but I’m not particularly fond of those episodes; I wanted Amy and Rory.  However, The Name of the Doctor was sufficient for the Doctor/River stuff.  It’s a give-and-take: better hair and clothes, or better episodes?  Haha.

My Parents Are Married, Thank You

Having finished pretty much everything I can do in Skyrim and still have fun (including all of the add-ons), I finally, legitimately started a new character. (Any other time I’d started anew was because I just didn’t have my saved game for one reason or another — left my thumb drive at home, played at a friend’s house on a different console, etc.)

This time, my immediate plan was to be a Nord and marry Onmund from the College of Winterhold. When it came time to customise my character, I chose to be an Imperial. Why I made that change, I really have no idea. Many times since then, I’ve thought “Why in the world did I choose Imperial over Nord?”

During the Dark Brotherhood mission to “fix” a wedding problem between an Imperial and a Nord (really, the only reason I joined the Dark Brotherhood this time was to get the wedding outfit from this mission), one of the Nords in attendance called me an “Imperial b******.” I just walked away and said, “My parents are married, thank you!” (Though now that I’m writing about it, I think it’s coming back to me… It probably had something to do with the Thalmor/Stormcloak war, and since I wanted to side with the Empire this time I figured it would be easier for an Imperial to do so.)

Anyway, when I joined the College and soon met Onmund (as he’s an initiate at the same time), I started to reconsider him.  After being married to an Orc with my main character, Onmund just doesn’t seem like “my” type anymore.

After a few more hours of play, I finally found all the fire salts I needed for Balimund.  I was wearing my Amulet of Mara and we ended up engaged.  I was a little excited and immediately set out to get the wedding dress.

NPC_Balimund

Having my wedding outfit, I spoke with Maramal about setting up the wedding, then waited until the next morning for the guests and Balimund to arrive.  When he did, I froze.  Not the good sort of froze like being nervous about marrying or being overwhelmed by his good looks.  No, it was the bad sort of froze.  I’ve never been a fan of mustaches.  I say “grow it all or shave it all.”  (The “rules” for that aren’t strict; a goatee is perfectly fine — even a disconnected goatee, depending on the rest of his look.)  But the mustache on Balimund’s face…  It’s the worst kind.  It looks exactly like the mustache one of my uncles had all the way into the late 90’s, along with his mullet.  I have no idea why I hadn’t noticed it before Balimund and I got engaged!

IMG_4006
Actual shot from my game.

Call me shallow, but it traumatised me a bit and I called off the wedding.

IMG_4007
Actual shot from my game.

I would have felt worse about it, but I figured I might as well find out what would happen if I called off a wedding.  Maramal got mad and told me to leave, having betrayed the sanctity of marriage, or something like that.  Balimund was upset as well, of course.  But it seems like I’ll have no trouble being able to marry someone else.

So, my search continues.

Doomsday Zombie Army

Dreams are the best. (Or at least they can be.) Most of the time I love my dreams, but usually it’s just because it’s mine and I watched it happen. Talking about it to someone else, however, usually ends with them responding with little interest.

I thought I’d share this one, though, because it involves my favourite movie (2012) and zombies.

land-of-the-dead-water-small
Original picture source unknown.

It started toward the end of the movie when people are settling into the arks. However, unlike the movie, everyone from Ark 3 was immediately boarded to other arks and people gained roommates. I arrived at my room, where Adrian Helmsley had also just arrived as my roomie. (I somehow knew that Anhauser was our other roommate –oh, the drama that could ensue, LOL–, but he wasn’t there.)

Adrian had already left for the bridge, but I soon left to explore, feeling that something was wrong. I soon found out that zombies were quickly approaching the arks and everyone was “battening down the hatches.” I ended up exploring down into the lower decks, not realising that someone who was slowly turning into a zombie was following me. Not yet a zombie, he finally caught up to me and we continued exploring together. Overall, he became increasingly more aggressive. He eventually started actually being after me, but struggling to hold onto his right mind. Right before he lost his mind to the zombie, he purposefully became entangled in a damaged part of the ship and urgently told me to escape.

I headed toward the ark’s gate, suddenly knowing that I had a friend who wasn’t on board yet. I don’t recall if I found that friend, but zombies were at the gate (it was raised a good 15 feet from the ground, so they couldn’t get in) and some people were being thrown out because they were turning into zombies. I had accidentally fallen out and into the rising pool of water below, among the zombies. I don’t remember exactly how and when I found out, but the zombies had incredibly super strength. Although I was scared of them, I was more afraid of not being able to get back onto the ark than I was of the zombies. As I watched one of the zombies approach me, I suddenly realised that they weren’t after us, but wanted to fight for us. (Though against what, I have no idea.)

There it is: my full description of a dream that seemed much longer… and better… Oh, well.

“Is Star Trek Still Relevant?”

voyagerCrew

This question came up in a Star Trek: Voyager forum of which I’ve been a part nearly since it opened in 2007.  The most recent poster had mentioned that because she didn’t watch or read as much Star Trek as she once had, she felt like she was losing her fandom and letting the franchise down.  I decided my response was worth sharing here.


I also sometimes feel as if I’m letting the franchise down.  It’s not that I don’t like Star Trek anymore… I’m just an adult with more –dare I say it– important things to do.  And there’s so much more of which to be a fan, too.  Stuff that’s happening now instead of re-watching shows that ended eight or more years ago (and which we’ve seen eight or more times, haha).  Once I got into the new Doctor Who it slowly started to outshine Star Trek as a main definition of my geekiness.  It took a few years, but I finally realised it sometime recently.

Yes, I do still admire Star Trek as a part of who I am (even right now I’m drinking out of a Star Trek tumbler I was given for Christmas).  I would even consider Star Trek as the foundation of my geekiness.

–Star Trek got me interested in astronomy, which in turn got me interested in other sciences such as quantum mechanics/physics.

–Star Trek is where my story writing ability really improved.  Even though, for personal reasons, I’m not allowed to write fictional stories anymore, I wouldn’t be as well off to be able to write for blogs and newsletters without it.

–I’ve learned a lot of my favourite “fancy” words from science fiction.  Most of them were from Star Trek, but one was from Stargate Atlantis.  If it hadn’t been for seeing Robert Picardo in an episode of Stargate SG-1 I would never have started watching Stargate Atlantis!

–Star Trek got me interested in science fiction, which is a huge part of my life whether I watch it, read it, write about it, talk about it, make music videos about it, or… I just exist :o).

So, no, I may not watch it very often or even think a lot about it anymore, but it still flows through my blood, empowering the geek I am to do whatever it is that I do best.  Whether it’s what I enjoy, what I do, who I befriend, or just being a geek and watching every season of some show in a week, I know that it’s all thanks to Star Trek.

But even the foundation needs a bit of maintenance every now and then :o).