Soo tired. But I figure I need to get this letter off since the rest of this week will be a little hectic. But both me & the Wifely get paid this week, so huzzah.
Speaking of "huzzah"s and "pip-pip"s and "prithee mightst thou have a runcible spoon"s, we just got back from RenFairing in New Haven. I made a new friend in the first night, that being Tommy, one of three cats who live at my friends Burke & Michele's house. There's a Primus/Tom Waits song called Tommy the Cat, but this one's considerably less dissonant. What?
Anyhow, once Tommy found out that I like scratching big, fluffy cats behind the ears, he became my big, fluffy, face-sleepin' pal. I woke up to the tickle of his foot fur up my nose more than once during the night. That's love.
So dig this: We drove through three states in 3 hours on Saturday. I know, I checked for wormholes too, but this seemed to take place in realspace. I realize that those receiving this letter are not all Texans, so allow me to demonstrate: My friend Gustavson and I drove through three states at a time once, from Arlington, Texas to Flagstaff, Arizona. It took 300 YEARS. By the time we reached Flagstaff, I was talking to Ritz crackers and passing out from sleep deprivation. States in New England are more like suburbs in Dallas/Fort Worth:
"Where are we?"
"I dunno. Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Irving, something like that. Does it matter?"
"No, not really. Look, there's a Starbucks."
Connecticut is pretty much Rhode Island is pretty much Massachusetts, as far as I can tell. Look, there's a Dunkin' Donuts.
Dunkin' Donuts is to New England what Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute bands are to Texas. You can't fart in New England without fouling someone's donut. Back before my Atkins Diet days, Dunkin' Donuts was anathema to my refined taste buds. I was a Krispy Kreme man, believing as I did that if I was gonna eat a donut, by God, I was gonna eat a fucking DONUT. Eight layers of sugar over an ultra-fried hunk of greasy dough. Al Qaeda itself couldn't devise a more deadly weapon.
Though I did note that the general New England populace is rather trim of build, despite the ubiquity of Fried Sugar Death Rings. Must be all the angry hopping they do during Dubya's speeches. New England small towns are really weird that way. All of this liberalism floating around, and not a black person in sight. Because of course all liberal areas are full of black people. Sometimes I really am a big, dumb honky.
And one of the places big, dumb honkies go is King Richard's Faire, located in lovely Carver, Massachusetts. The extra "e" denotes it as a Renaissance Faire. It is given this designation despite the fact that the Renaissance itself is only rather dimly alluded to in the faire's proceedings. Mostly it's a Stuff Your Church Is Scared Of faire. Pentacles, pentacles made of brooms, pentacles with dragon eyes in them, Gandalf's Pentacle-Shaped Hobbit Domination Collar, etc. The latter, of course, is what draws big fucking dorks like me.
On a lovely, warm Autumn day, we pulled into King Richard's Faire behind a leather-tunic'd warrior on a steed named Harleye Tesseract Davidsone. While we parked with the peasant folk, he went straight to the special Harley Parking Area. Biker faeries are an odd lot, mostly there to scout for chicks wearing corsets. He probably scored.
After passing the most Yankeefied English merchant ever, we entered a big wooded enclosure filled with...well, here are highlights:
1. Pygmies. Not really, but that would've been cool.
2. There were midgets, and one of them was walking around in the tiger cage. I thought perhaps it was feeding time, but alas.
3. Archery. Ted Nugent I am not. If I'm ever stranded in the woods with only a bow and arrow, I will be forced to go vegetarian.
4. Smoking wizards. They don't go back behind the scenes or anything, they just sit there in their wizard hats and puff Marlboros out of their scraggly beards and into your face. That's when you realize that the outfit is really the only thing separating a wizard from a wino.
5. Falconry. Although to be honest, the coolest part of this show was the owl. I hadn't realized how gigantic owls are until I saw this one in the flesh. Now I see why they didn't have any pygmies. Too tempting.
6. Championship Celery Slicing. No shit, they had all these guys out on the tournament field vying to be King's Champion, and one of the tests was to gallop by and slice a dangling stalk of celery with their mighty swords. See, if I'm ever stranded in the woods, I want a sword instead of a bow & arrow. It has to be a forest with celery in it, though. Or watercress.
7. Pygmies. They really should've had pygmies.
8. "You, in the 'got mullet?' T-shirt! I like you! You get a 10% discount!" Yes, that's exactly why I wore it, you fucking chain-mail wearing carnie. Impressing Blumpfold the Codpiece Maker is pretty important to me these days. Ever since my fucking brain exploded in the microwave last Super Bowl Sunday, you shit-hawking imbecile. Christ.
9. Ligers. I must confess, I've argued with Wifely for a long time over the existence of these things, but I am hereby shut the fuck up. This thing was definitely a cross between a lion and a tiger, and he was a big sonofabitch. Another threat to the pygmies, I guess. Though anyone in the audience would've been suitable fare for this thing. They had him up on stage with no fence or anything, which either speaks of the faire's confidence in their handlers or to the fact that they've never seen The Ghost and the Darkness. I mean, I guess they had the King's Celery Slayers ready at hand, so who's worried?
10. Bees. The fucking bees in the dining area had no interest in any food that was not a turkey leg. And what did I buy? Burke and Michele are sitting there calmly with their fries and honey mead, while me & Wifely look like spastic Soul Train dancers:
"You know, Kierkegaard wrote that..."
"Aaaggghhh, fucking bees! Aaaaagggghhhh!!!"
"And really, the Greeks knew more about bean dip than was previously..."
"Aaaaggghh, get 'em off!! Aaaaaggghh!!! My eyes!!!!"
At least they didn't point and laugh. I would have.
11. Laughing Fat Caucasian Man and Laughing Fat Asian Woman. We ran into them several times throughout the faire, and they always said something incomprehensible and laughed at us. I've come up with a few possibilities:
a. "Got Mullet? HA, HA, HA, HA!!"
b. "Big, dumb honky! HA, HA, HA, HA!!"
c. "Eat poo strong bad, Pikachu! HA, HA, HA, HA!!"
Who knows, maybe my 8th grade talent show video has found its way onto the internet somewhere and they've recognized me from it. I did "I Love Rocky Road", man!
Anyway, the faire was fun. We had a little bit of daylight left afterwards, so we went to Plymouth Rock, the entry wound of the Puritan Work Ethic. It had always seemed to me that Plymouth Rock must be a big, distinctive land feature, otherwise why call it anything? Why wouldn't it just be a friggin' rock? But Plymouth Rock is just a friggin' rock, about 4 feet across and 2 feet high. So you look at it in hopes of inspiration or epiphany about the first stirrings of what would become American culture.
Yep, sure is a rock.
THE rock. Rockamundo.
Or is it? The little sign would have you believe that 100 years after the Pilgrims landed, a guy named Elder Faunce correctly identified the very rock that the buckle-hats sat on, or tripped over, or crashed the lifeboats into (my American history could use a bit of a tune-up) all those years ago. I suspect Elder Faunce found a lot of things:
"And that's where I saw the mermaids, behind the burning bush!"
"Come on, Elder, let's get your medication."
I say bollocks. Doesn't matter anyway, because rocks are way older than Pilgrims, so I just amazed myself with that thought instead. And it was Plymouth, regardless. Beautiful coastline right there, and there's even a Mayflower replica. And Squanto, encased in carbonite! I know, it's a statue, but wouldn't it be cooler? There was also a group of people doing a groovy little circular dance that looked vaguely Jewish in origin, and that was fun.
After that we made our way back to New Haven, stopping somewhere in Rhode Island to eat some mighty fine seafood (baked scrod with lobster & scallop stuffing, oh, man...). Numbed our brains that evening with Men In Black. How is it that I can watch the original fifty times and still laugh, but I feel like chewing my own arse off about 30 minutes into the sequel? In movie history, there are few sequels that are better than the original. Terminator 2 and The Empire Strikes Back come to mind. But the rest? Crap. So when people start thinking about Bigass Movie Part II, they'd best have their schiesse together, that's all I'm sayin'.
On Sunday, we explored Connecticut a bit more. We went to the shore next to the Thimble Islands, which are, predictably, very small. Each island has a decent-sized house on it, and you can just imagine growing up on one of these things:
"What, you mean I'm stuck on an island out in a bay out in the middle of nowhere? Scare me some more."
Me, I'd yell "Get off my lawn!!" at all my neighbors.
Wandered through a neighborhood in tiny Guilford, where Wifely had the best comment ever: "It's all very Murder, She Wrote, isn't it?" And that's about all there is to say about Connecticut.
Except Whoopie Pies. A Whoopie Pie is a big, puffy version of the great southern Moon Pie, but for some reason it looks about 10 times more fattening. These people must have the metabolism of a squirrel in heat.
That's about it for this week. My parents are coming to town this weekend, so we're lacing up our walkabout shoes. It gives us a chance to feel like natives instead of rubes who still haven't mastered the Subway Stance. (The Subway Stance is a mysterious method of standing on the subway with no hands on any rails, and somehow not getting tossed violently into your neighbors' kidneys. I swear I've seen it in action, and I wish to become a Jedi.)
Two things before I go:
1. I saw an ad for a fast-food product called Buffalo Chicken Kickers. That sounds more like a group of people to me than a food item.
"How long have you been kicking chickens?"
"Oh, ever since we moved to Buffalo." Kick. 'Bock!!'
2. I saw a pencil-sized hole in the plastic subway seat, and written beside it in rather ridiculously demonic letters was, "D was here!!" Uhh, okay. I could not possibly be more impressed.
Seriously, dude, I bow before your mighty hole-poking abilities. Don't hurt me. I'm just a big, dumb honky in a RenFaire-bought codpiece. It was 10% off.