Monday, September 8, 2008

30 Years, Renaissance Festival and &fmt=18

It seems that each day at work a new shipment of goods arrives at our loading dock for distribution throughout the facility. From large flat-panel TVs to computers and office furniture. There's no lack of funds for all things shiny and new. Still, no money however for pay raises for those of us who do the demanding job for which this facility exists but plenty for those who watch from a safe distance. We're about to enter our 3rd year of no such raises while management shrugs their collective shoulders and looks forward to their yearly raise.

Speaking of work; I was given a letter of recognition yesterday to commemorate my 30 years of government service. They were five months late in their recognition of my achievement as I crossed that milestone back in April but management apparently had more important things to do then than to acknowledge my service.

Rachel has a new boyfriend. It's been nearly one year since she and Grant broke up. I'm actually a bit surprised that she waited as long as she has before jumping back in again. Meet Tanner. He's a nice kid. There's a bit of an 'opposites attract' thing going on as Rachel is very studious and Tanner is not but such is life. We're looking forward to getting to know him...I think.

The four of us went to the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee last weekend. It's been 7 or 8 years since we've been there and I don't understand why we've waited so long to go back. We had a great time. I don't remember it being so large but from the people I spoke with it hasn't changed in size since we were last there. I would say that the amount of people in character has grown considerably. That wasn't us. We play the part of nerdy white people very well.

Tanner and Rachel went their way and we went ours. We stayed in touch through text messages throughout the day. There's quite a lot to see and do and although it's a family atmosphere for the most part you need to know that you're bound to hear some (at times) explicit remarks of a sexual nature along the way. I'd like to think that most of it goes right over the heads of the younger ones. Sort of how I didn't realize until years later why on the show Petticote Junction the town was named Hooterville. Speaking of hooters; if that's your thing, the Renaissance Festival is your place.

Tammy and I wandered our way around the outer perimeter of the grounds and then hit the shops along the inside. There were several stained glass shops but just one which we felt had some very unique and well-crafted pieces. A place called Timberwind. If I'm not mistaken I've seen their work before at the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis. Tammy and I like to think that we could do something like this in our retirement, not necessarily at the Renaissance Festival because I think that would be a difficult place to get a foot in the door but possibly something on a smaller scale.

Later in the day we got a call from Rachel telling us that she ran into Brent (my nephew, her cousin) and his girlfriend, Erin. We wandered over to where they were and spent some time together watching some Irish dancers. Erin mentioned that she used to work here a few years ago and that she enjoys coming back.

It's not a trip to the Renaissance Festival without a glass (or two) of Mead. It's a drink made from fermented honey with fruit, herbs, and spices blended in. They tell you ahead of time that it tastes a bit like a cross between beer and wine. It's unlike anything I've ever had. It's okay but I think you have to acquire a taste for it. I prefer either a glass of wine or a beer but I'll certainly try it again the next time we're at the festival. When in Rome...

We spent nearly 8 hours walking the grounds and taking in the scenery and still we didn't see it all. Parking is free but they'll ding you for $20 at the gate to get in. It's well worth it. We thought the food prices were very reasonable at about $5-6 for most things. There's plenty of other stuff to spend your money on as well besides food and drink.

I found a new appreciation for riddles while were were there. We came upon a couple in a small booth shouting out riddles for people to try and answer. I'm not good with riddles but Tammy is. It's still fun to try and think outside the box for the answer. Here's one for you...

I am heavy going forward but backward I am not. What/who am I? Or, name something a man steps into which a dog does? Can't think of the answers? Watch the video.

I nearly left my video camera at home figuring I'd just work on some still photography but I'm glad I thought otherwise.

The video link above is formatted in a way so as to give it a higher resolution when viewed. How I got the better resolution was by adding this code to the end of the video's URL... &fmt=18 Try it. Bring up a video on YouTube and view it with and without the code to see what I mean. I think what's happening is that by adding this code you're tapping into the full file which YouTube also has available rather than just the more compressed default version. They may not code them this way automatically so as to save on bandwidth. I'm not sure. A shout-out to my older and wiser brother Bryan for that tip!

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