Chaos Attraction

Dickens Fair, Year Three

2016-12-19, 11:43 a.m.

So we finally made it to Dickens Fair this year after all, I was having my doubts that was going to go on.

After last year’s fair I had intended on having more of An Outfit to wear to it. It ended up being kind of a halfassed effort on my part, which is to say that:

(a) I thought I could wear one of the blue skirts I had around the house, like either one of my RenFaire skirts or the blue skirt I got there last year. Unfortunately that latter skirt is too big (shouldn’t have bought it while trying it on over 3 layers) and the RenFaire skirt just looked raggedy-ass with the fancy blouse I got last year and intended on wearing. I ended up just wearing a long black velvet skirt with it.

(b) I had also knit a bolero jacket (supposedly boleros were in during the Victorian era) and a neck frill. The neck frill went quite well with covering all the exposed flesh on my neck from that blouse, and it got compliments throughout the day. However, when I tried on the bolero with the whole outfit...I just didn’t like it. It hangs slightly weird on the right hand side, it didn’t look right...I think I am going to just frog it and make something else. Maybe look for a Zouave jacket pattern instead, I saw those on some women and it looked better. I ended up wearing a black velvet blazer with the whole thing since the blouse has short sleeves and the Cow Palace isn’t terribly warm, especially at the edges.

So after I just gave the fashion update.... after arriving at the fair, I went into a bonnet store, and of all things, fell in love with a bonnet. Yeah, I know. Seriously, a bonnet?

But it’s beautiful. It’s blue with purple trim and ribbon and I just started staring at it when I walked in there. I figured it was going to be a few hundred dollars (looking by comparison to the one bonnet with a price on it in the vicinity), but when it turned out to be a lot less than that, the words “I’ll take it!” just shot out of my mouth. I wore it the rest of the day and it looked lovely. Even if figuring out how to deal with my hair in the thing is going to be interesting. It kept creeping out, but when I grabbed my emergency hair stick and tried to use that to skewer it out of the way, the hair stick made the bonnet come off the back of my head a bit. I eventually gave up on that.

I do think I am going to continue working on this outfit for next year, though--I did get a discounted book on Victorian costuming so I can attempt to do it right in the future. I also ended up buying a children’s loom (a little wooden thing) which Meg can maybe help me with when I’m visiting. I’ve never really gotten into weaving because that requires giant looms and no portability, but if this is portable, hey, why not.

We went to a few shows: the “Entr’Acte” which was just a few singing acts of silly songs, the “All’s Well That Ends Badly” Shakespearean mashup show I end up seeing every year, and a new one, “Revenge of the Bandit Queen,” which was kind of odd in its definition of revenge because the Bandit Queen bites it halfway through the show--yet in the grand tradition of melodrama and hammy acting, she ends up spending a lot more time on stage dying (or just plain dancing to kill time) long before she comes back as an angel. We watched a show about drawing in which some kid describes something weird and then they make up a story to justify whatever monster they created--sample dialogue: “Squirrels supplement their income selling hot dogs.”

We attempted to figure out how to put a puzzle ring back together. This was...oy. I know people find me off-putting (as they tell me constantly), but for once I was kind of finding someone else off putting, namely the lady trying to teach us how to do it. It’s not like she said anything wrong, mind you, but I ended up feeling kinda stupid anyway. Maybe it’s just what happens when you have to give the same spiel over and over and over and over and over again for five weekends and watching people’s stupidity becomes rote, I don’t know.

I had a few random sightings:
(a) Marley in chains
(b) Some kind of winter fairy
(c) The absinthe fairy (my phone died and I could not photograph her, which bums me the heck out)
(d) Queen Victoria and Prince Albert a few times
(e) Father Christmas
(f) what appeared to be some kind of Wild West Mexican dude--I was wondering what fair he wandered in from
(g) Negan from The Walking Dead. Okay, I know geek events tend to have random people dressing up in something not exactly period appropriate (for example, you can usually spot at least one Tenth Doctor at any Renaissance Faire), but The Walking Dead? At Dickens Fair? That’s just...strange. But yeah, I don’t even watch that show and I can figure out scruffy guy, leather jacket, bullets around the waist, and suspicious baseball bat. This, oddly enough, led to...
(h) A dancing zombie Victorian girl at Fezziwig’s. Well, if Negan ever finds her I guess that would give him something to do with his time.

We had a great time hanging out at Throckmorton’s, i.e. the mad science lab. This year we met his new lab assistant, who’d only been in the job for a week after someone else blew off his own arm. He told us about how they catch ghosts and then release them out to the country where there are no street signs so they can’t find their way back to London. We also hung out with Professor Throckmorton--my mom attempted to explain my cousin Bill’s science jobs and that didn’t exactly translate into the proper context, but later he was all, “You know, I grew up in pretty good times to be a white man. Now that I’m getting older, I don’t mind uh, dying so much given how things are getting worse.” Lucky for you, sir.

I also got to overhear the following from someone working at the fair: She had put a pointsettia in her hair and then got told they weren’t period appropriate because England didn’t have pointsettias at the time. She was all, (a) my character is an American and they had them there, (b) I put in TWO pointsettias at this point because go big or go home, and (c) “it’s the last day, what are they going to do, fire me?” Muahahahahah.

It was lovely. I just love going to some other world for a time instead of this one.

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