Renaissance Faires

If you haven’t gotten the idea already from any of my past blog posts, people in my life are big on tradition.

But not like Anatevka Fiddler on the Roof tradition, more like traditions that have no ethical or moral significance other than they’re fun and we like to do them.  We do have serious religious traditions, but these are the more frivolous ones.  In the last post, I discussed camping.  Now, it’s the Renaissance Faire’s turn.

But I want to approach this blog post a little bit like an entry on the blog “Stuff White People Like.”  So, for all my non-white brethren reading this blog:  nerdy white people LOVE these Renaissance Faires.  LOVE THEM.  We dream of the day we get to constrict our waistlines with the cunning use of laces and leather restraints.  We die slowly inside every day we are not allowed to gnaw on turkey legs, watch jousts, guzzle mead, and adopt the FLOOFIEST ACCENTS IN EXISTENCE for the sole purpose of playing adult dress up.  I live for it, and I know I am crazy.

Over the years, it has become my personal mission to get more people to come because I want them to drink the RenFaire Kool-Aid.  Aside from that, it has also become important to be to get some of my friends of color to come because these things are too damn white-washed.

Look how diverse we are! (I realize this is borderline insulting.  Don’t blame me, blame Olvera Street.)

I have convinced several of my friends to attend these faires with me, none of whom were particularly ecstatic beforehand.  That is, until they walked through the gates to the faire and their MINDS EXPLODED WITH THE AMAZINGNESS.  Because EVERYONE should want to go to the Renaissance Faire.

One such girl was my spontaneous, lovable, whip-smart friend, Torey.  She’s on the left.

Hear ye, hear ye, we are about to get medieval on your ass.

In my freshman year of college, I broached the idea of attending the Renaissance Faire to her.  She agreed, but grumbled the whole way, muttering “this is some white people shit.”  As soon as we got inside, her eyes lit up and it was as though she was a unicorn in fairy land.  The crazies in costumes, the stalls selling jewelry, fabric, garlands, swords, archery supplies, all of it fascinated her.  Every year since then she has attended the Renaissance Faire.  She even hand-sews her own costumes, and she made an entire outfit for our friend Maydelle as well.

Torey and Maydelle squishing me with love.  Maydelle’s costume (on the right) was hand-sewn by Torey.  Doesn’t Maydelle look fabulous?

A year ago, Torey and I invited Maydelle along with us.  While we were there, a man named J-Bev introduced himself to Torey and Maydelle and asked to interview them for his show “Kickin’ It Caucasian,” targeted at revealing and explaining activities mostly attended by white people to others of a different race.  Unfortunately, Torey and Maydelle got cut out in the final edit, but here is the episode:

So, the point of all of this is to say that, regardless of preconceived notions, weirdness should know no race, creed, or gender.  If you’re weird, you’re weird, tough cookies.  And welcome to my world.

In fact, to emphasize the point, I’ll post some of my favorite Renaissance weirdos throughout the years:

My dad.

This guy always cut his apples strangely and had a funny riddle to go along with it.

These Bold and Stupid Men who always had a way with the ladies.  Giovanni Vespa and Bolt Upright.

Granted, a gorgeous woman, but still a gorgeous woman dressed up as Queen Elizabeth I, and therefore weird.

This guy creeped me outttt but he was weird so he made the final cut. The thing he’s blowing on is a flute carved in the shape of a woman. Kinky.

Both of these girls.  Oh wait, one’s me! Awkwarddd…hey everybody, look at Pan!

Jousters!

There’s always large groups of horny single men at Renaissance Faires. They’re weird too.  (Torey made her costume here, as well.)

Captain Hook and his saloon wenches? Yeah, yeah Becca, we know you’re not a wench, just go with it. (My friend Becca’s on the right.)

Oh, and these horn dogs.  What did I tell you about large, roving groups of weird single men out for the kill?

So the point is, every time is different, even though it takes place in Irwindale near the Santa Fe Dam consistently every year.  So before you judge it, go!  Experience it for yourself.  Have fun!  And, as Torey learned, this isn’t only “some white people shit.”  It’s mostly just “nerdy people shit.”  (Shout out to Tor for this one because she da besttttt and I love her mucho.)

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

…Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string are NOT a few of my favorite things.  (Although, who doesn’t love kittens?  So maybe what I just said isn’t true.)

I’ve compiled a list of just ten to start with, mostly to get the merriment going.

Ten Things I Love:

1.  Reading the Youtube comments section.  Then I feel better about myself, but worse for humanity.

2.  Remembering that I am not Kristen Stewart.

3.  Smelling old books.  When the lignin breaks down into vanillin within the book pages, it literally smells like nirvana.

4.  Rewatching my favorite shows and movies, and re-reading my favorite books

5.  A bright spring morning

6. Writing music

7.  Women with big floppy hats drinking mint juleps next to their Jalopies

8.   Shetland ponies

9.  Thinking about Shetland ponies

10.  Pictures of Shetland ponies

This will change your life:

Wild West Shetland Pony Showdown

He’s always hungry, too.

On a separate note, it’s April 25th!  Let’s celebrate with a good ol’ ‘Miss Congeniality’ quote:

Long Hair, No Care

“Long hair no care” is a wonderful phrase generally applied to black women who don’t feel the need to grow out their natural hair or get extensions for the purpose of fitting into the mainstream Eurasian idea of what a “beautiful” (read: conventional) black woman should look like.  (This is so racist and outdated.  Grow up, world.)

So naturally, because I love this phrase so much and because I’m white and this is what we traditionally do, I am going to take a good thing, imperialize and bastardize it, and then apply it to myself in a vain attempt to appear relevant.

I have long hair, and I don’t care–about my hair, about my clothes, about all of it.  (See photographic proof evidenced below.)

(This is me, demonstrating “Long hair, no care.” Note the not caring.  I also included non-prescription pseudo-intellectual glasses to demonstrate the compelling need to communicate to others that Holden Caulfield is swell and Kerouac is too mainstream for our taste.)

Everyone, I think, goes through a time in their life where they simply stop caring about how they appear to other people.  Some are older, some are younger, some have never cared in the first place.  In any case, some days you just don’t care.  I am fortunate (and unfortunate) enough to be at that point in my life.

It goes in phases; a cyclical journey that traverses from getting up in the morning an hour before you have to leave so that you can shower, put on make up, and dress fashionably, to waking up 5 minutes before you have to be somewhere, rolling out of bed, and leaving your house, acne exposed for the world to see.

Some people have days like that; I have year-long spans.

That’s not to say I NEVER dress nicely; these periods of long hair no care are usually interspersed with fancy dinners and similar activities where it’s necessary for me to appear presentable.  But in my free time, it’s yoga pants.  Limited to no hair brushing is done.  Minimal make-up is applied.  And I’m not going to apologize for it.

I like to think it’s because I’m totally confident in my appearance and have done away completely with all insecurity.  But that’s not it; it’s that I’m lazy and mostly have nowhere to be that requires me to impress people (like, for example, a job interview, because as I mentioned in an earlier post, people are still not hiring, despite what you may have heard).  This blog is about the TRUTH, and there it is.

Embrace the yoga pants, ladies.  (You’re welcome, gentlemen.)

Holi Crap!

My hair is dyed red.  I don’t know how long it will be this way.  (I’m on the left in the photo above, obviously.)  I have a permanent brown residue lodged under my fingernails.  I have a dark blue and purple spot on my solar plexus and a sock tan line sprinkled with orange pigment.

It is thirty-six hours after Holi, and I am still scrubbing vigorously at my face with a loofah to remove the red dye stain.

It was the most awesome. day. ever.  Seriously.  Look at all the color:

Now, I know what you’re all thinking:

Of course Lindy’s entirely coated in chalk.  She’s a weirdo.  That’s what weird people do.

And this is entirely true.  I mean, this is just a typical Tuesday in my life:

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Just another picture with a drag queen.  Booooring.  Been there, done that.

But NO.  Normal people do this too.  Every year!  Thousands of people celebrate Holi!  They can’t ALL be as weird as I am, can they?  The answer is no.  No, they cannot.

Holi, or “The Festival of Colors,” is an Indian festival celebrating spring, unity, and brotherhood.  People of any social class (caste included), race, gender, etc., can come together and launch small mountains of organic colored powder into each others clothes, hair, and skin.  It’s a whirl of airborne blue, pink, green, red, orange, purple, and yellow. The colors are supposed to hide differences between people and even the social playing field, where friends and strangers run around laughing, screaming, listening to music, spraying each other with hoses, and squirting each other with water guns.  Everyone looks the same after a while; you can barely tell your friends from everyone else.

Your clothes WILL be ruined.  I took down my ponytail in the shower afterwards and was shaking congealed clumps of powder off my head for a good 45 minutes to an hour.  IT WAS GREAT. Unfortunately, the powder occasionally makes its way your mouth.  It tastes great, if you were one of those kids who liked to eat dirt.  My insides are most likely orange now.  It’s especially flattering when you eat green powder and your teeth make you look like Shrek before he got the girl.

Now, according to the pre-directions, I coated myself with 50 SPF sunscreen to avoid too much color seepage into my skin.  Which I would have done anyway, because I’m one pale mother-effer.  But lo and behold, the sunscreen didn’t work (shocker) and I had to use water to wash some powder off of my face.  But what they neglect to tell you is that putting water on this powder is like giving Miracle Gro to a Venus Fly Trap.  Your problem just gets worse and worse.  The water SPURS THE STAINING ONWARDS.  In fact, I would go as far to say that the water actually helped SET the color stain INTO my face.  The other three lovely Indian friends I was with didn’t have a problem with this.  It just washed right off their beautiful caramel skin while mine just sank deeper.  This is what I ended up looking like:

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FREDDY KRUEGER.  I ENDED UP LOOKING LIKE FREDDY KRUEGER.  The green part on the left of my face wiped off and all I was left with was the open-wound flesh color spread all over my face.  It looked like someone had peeled my first layer of skin off.  I was a dead zombie movie extra!

So naturally, since I looked like an extra out of a horror movie, we left the Holi event at Sand Hill Field in Stanford and decided to go get lunch in a public place without changing or showering.  Granted, it was an Indian place, so they probably knew it was Holi, but BOY, was our entrance heart-stopping.  All the customers who didn’t know what Holi was were just open-mouthed staring at us like they were raised in a barn by wolves and had never seen a dead zombie extra before in their lives.  Psh.  Uncivilized.   Two of my friends had cleaned up and one friend was covered in dirty clothes but her face didn’t stain too badly, so I was especially salient.   Fortunately the guy behind the counter was Indian, so he knew about Holi and was cracking jokes the entire time.  It’s like, what do you say to someone showing up looking like that?

“Hello ma’am, yes, would you like a mango lassi and some naan along with your human brain tandoori?  Or do you just want the brains raw?”

They were all super sweet and helped us out a lot.  Visit Tava Indian Kitchen in Palo Alto.  Their “burroti” is basically just an Indian “burrito,” so I don’t know why they renamed it, but it was deliciousssss.

Holi was a super fun event and we rounded off the day getting a visit from some old college work friends from Southern California and chowing down at a Greek restaurant in San Jose. (It’s called Opa!  With the exclamation mark.  You should go there.  Order the spanakopita and the spicy feta mac and cheese.  Or the gyro, for my carnivorous friends.  It WILL change your life.  They do corkage fees too, so if you’re ballin’ on a budget you can bring your own vino.)

We then went home and I celebrated the resurrection of Christ, seeing as it was Easter Sunday.  But I celebrate the resurrection of Christ every day.

So that’s my PR plug for multicultural excursions.  Try out a Holi event near you if you ever get the chance.  Who’s going to Holi celebration at the Hare Krishna temple in Spanish Fork, Utah next year?  It’s the biggest Holi celebration in the Western Hemisphere.

Look at these psychos.  I’m so in!

Everybody Poops

An introverted friend of mine asked me recently why I felt so comfortable around people and if I was ever intimidated by them.  Why I hardly ever got totally starstruck, feared teachers, etc.

This conversation is paraphrased.  My answer started simply.

Me: “‘Everybody Poops.'”

Friend:  “What?!”

Me: “Have you ever read the book ‘Everybody Poops?'”

Friend: “Um, ew.  No.  What is it?”

Me:  “It’s a children’s book written to explain to kids how every animal and every person, big and small, has to poop.  It might be a big poop, it might be a little poop, but it is still just that—poop.”

Friend: “Okay…”

Me:  “Now, listen.  Every time I’m in a stressful situation, I remind myself that everyone poops.”

Friend: “I still don’t get it.  What does poop have to do with anything?  This is gross.”

Me:  “Chill out for a second.  Do you agree that everyone poops?”

Friend: “Yeah.”

Me:  “It’s a metaphor.  It means, no matter how much stature someone has, no matter how much money they make, and no matter how many people are kissing their ass and drinking their Kool-Aid, they still have to enter a restroom stall, lock the door, and crouch in an exceedingly undignified manner to poop.”

Friend: “I get it, I get it.  We’re all the same, people are people, yadda yadda yadda.  But how does that help me if I have, like, a crazy fire dragon boss?”

Me:  “Picture them pooping.”

Friend: “I DO NOT WANT TO VISUALIZE THAT.”

Me:  “NO, NO, NO, I don’t mean picture them ACTUALLY pooping.  It’s not like that ‘picture the audience naked’ thing.  Gross.  When you see them, imagine that they just had a caffeine-loaded macchiato and a roast beef sandwich.  Soon, that’s gonna hit their intestines, and in about 15 minutes or so, they’ll stroll out to the gender-separated room of their biological designation and ‘drop the kids off at the pool.'”

Friend:  “What does ‘drop the kids off at the pool’ mean?”

Me:  “It means poop, hon.  Like everyone else in the world who just consumed a roast beef sandwich and a macchiato.  Just like you would have to do.  They are no different than you, really.  So just picture them, vulnerable, crouched on the toilet.  Just like everyone else.”

Friend:  “That’s a really roundabout way of repeating what I was saying before, that everyone is the same.”

Me:   “Maybe it is.  But everyone is NOT the same.  We just have this one commonality that links us all together, from termites to elephants to your neighbor Bob down the street after his wife Judith’s infamous meatloaf.”

Friend:  “I think I get it.”

Me:  “Good, because I don’t.  Can you let me know what it all means?  All I got was that everybody poops.”

Why I Dread Dinner Parties

I attended a dinner party recently that was mostly made up of people older than me that I didn’t know.  I have yet to figure out why I continue to do this, because every time I do it always turns out the same.  At this point, I think I would rather be covered in paper cuts and coated in lemon juice.

You may be asking why I hate dinner parties so much.  I DON’T hate dinner parties.  I LOVE dinner parties.  There’s food and music and people and an infinite potential for the evening to go well.  It’s the GUEST LIST where the crucial decisions are made.  Choosing socially adept people who will contribute interesting conversation as well as fun can be very difficult, but if chosen right, can add to the cohesion of an evening.

A while ago, I made a post about “Do Not Discuss at Dinner” topics (religion, sex, and politics).  Well, based on this most recent dinner party, I’ve  decided that the three “Do Not Discuss at Dinner” topics should be changed.  No longer should they be religion, sex, or politics.  No, because discussing religion, sex, or politics could actually lead to socioeconomic awareness and maybe get people involved in charities or something similarly important.  And people certainly get passionate about them!

No.  The three “Do Not Discuss at Dinner” topics should now be these fatal interest-killers: real estate prices, taxes and financial planning, and work drama.

EVERYONE deals with them and NO ONE likes doing it.  Why do we insist on discussing things that make us miserable at events that are supposed to be enjoyable?  It’s like when you go out after work at a job you hate with your coworkers to wind down and all they can talk about is work.  You’re in your off hours, they’re not paying you to discuss your miserable job off the clock!  If it makes you unhappy, but it’s not changing any time soon, why spend any more of your designated free time thinking about it?  Let your free time be your free time.

If I ever make it to be old enough to find any of the following topics piqing my curiosity–if I resort to any of them in absence of anything else interesting to say–I’ve clearly gone senile and please euthanize me immediately.

I hate dealing with real estate prices, finances, and a miserable job when I have to; why would I want to deal with them when I don’t?

Arguing with Idiots

Over the course of my (granted, short) existence, I have come to learn two essential things: 1) Discussion of relevant social, economic, and political issues will always get heated and 2) arguing with idiots makes you an idiot.

I had the joy of having one such conversation recently.  And as always happens, there is one person in the conversation who refuses to listen and sees the short time allotted for you to talk or make a point as time for them to form their next argument rather than actually trying to learn something from a different perspective.  This time spent ignoring everything you’re saying is also frequently used for coming up with creative insults, veering off-topic to tangential issues, and reducing your thoughtful argument into a straw-man argument and then shitting on the dumbed-down, simplified version.

I really do enjoy talking politics. In fact, the three “Do Not Discuss at Dinner” topics (religion, politics, and sex) are my FAVORITE ones to discuss.  I’m just far more careful and selective about who I discuss them with now.

We live in a society that values didactic bombasts, interruptions, and “Crossfire”-style disagreements than calm, carefully considered, and respectful discussions.  I have no interest in these cataclysmic battles of ego over substance.  You learn nothing from your opponent other than how loud they are able to yell in an enclosed space.  It is a fruitless exercise in vanity and completely 1) not instructive and 2) crass.

When I discuss policy or some other controversial issue, I enjoy discussing it with someone who is 1) respectful and 2) who is not afraid to say and express ideas that are different from my own and that I can learn from.  That’s not to say that I will be swayed to agree with them necessarily, but at the very least it helps me understand and strengthen my own position.

I just think we could all do with a lot more listening and a LOT less talking.  So many people have fallen in love with the sound of their own voice; you can’t learn anything new if you TALK OVER OTHERS.  It’s arrogant for a person to think that their opinion is the be-all, end-all of reasoning.  LISTEN.  Stop putting words in other people’s mouth.  Stop assuming they’re uneducated, or stupid.  Stop assuming YOU know everything there is to know about the subject.  And for Pete’s sake, stop using Triple-Letter Premium Square Scrabble words to prove a point.  Unless you are reciting an epic poem or defending your doctoral thesis, these have no place in your argument.  I love big vocabulary words, but it doesn’t impress me that you use them to add some false validity to your argument.   No one will value what you say if they don’t understand you clearly.

So my solution is to only discuss these things with people who are willing to listen, learn, form thoughtful arguments, and be as objective as possible within their capabilities.  But truly, stop arguing with people who don’t want to listen as well. It’s a waste of valuable energy, achieves nothing, and distracts from time that could be used productively.  THAT’S why arguing with idiots makes you an idiot.