Apparently this is my week for weird gendered interactions.

I'm in Stephen King country. Specifically, I'm at Indian Acres Boys' Camp, near Freyburg, Maine. I'm here to help the ever-amazing Susan de Guardiola teach a week of Titanic-era dances at an International Folk Dance camp (the dancers rent the camp from the boys' camp). It's stopped raining, and the organizing committee, who are mostly about my parents' age is bustling around putting up "etnhic" decorations and pinning people's names to their cabin doors. 

Camp starts tomorrow, but in order to save the committee some money, I travelled here yesterday with a fellow I know from the Hogtown contra dance community, who, at 54, is one of the younger members of the organizing committee. Walter is a nice-enough fellow, whom I've known well enough to dance with for about 15 years. After 10 hours in his car yesterday, I feel that I know him rather better than I did before, but I don't think I'd go so far as to say he's a friend. He is, however, the only person here so far that I've ever met before. So, when we arrived yesterday, he introduced me around, and we went out to dinner with a bunch of the other people from the camp.

Today, after breakfast, as I was cleaning up my plate, one of the older gentlemen—let's call him Marv—spoke to me. "I just want you to know," he said, "that I think you're a very nice person, and if you and Walter stay together, I hope you'll be very happy." 

I blinked, smiled, and said something like "Umm, thank you, but Walter and I just travelled down together, we're not an item." Then, to forestall any further peculiar assumptions, I said "I am actually seeing someone in Toronto."

Now, of course, I believe firmly, on no further evidence than this exchange, that Marv is carrying a torch for Walter (who, in 15 years of Saturday night dances I've never observed to have any romantic interests at all, so who knows what his orientation is?), and was trying, sweetly, if misguidedly, to be gracious in perceived defeat. 

[personal profile] sabotabby posted some of the spoils of our not-very-suitable-decoration phototreck. I was confident that we hadn't captured the extent of weird seasonal decorations even in our kind of boring neighbourhood, but took a break to get ready for the various festivities.

Turns out that there's more in our very neighbourhood:

Exhibit 1: The Underinflated Penguin

A 6-foot-tall inflatable Christmas penguin, standing and waving outside a little urban house. The penguin wears a Santa hat decorated with holly, and is waving cheerfully. Because it is a bit under-inflated, its head is tilted at an angle reminiscent of a spinal injury. The penguin is illuminated by Christmas lights and the glow cast by a wicker-and-Christmas-light deer in the garden beside it.

It's not that I'm opposed to decorations. But I do like some sort of consistency. And I really generally don't like inflated things that are not balloons. Underinflating your penguin causes it to look like it needs the services of a chiropractor, or maybe an EMT unit with a spinal board.

Exhibit 2: On Second Thought, Inflated May Be Preferable

Hanging limply  the porch of a little urban house, an empty, too-small-looking Santa suit, complete with beard, but NO FACE.

Okay, hanging empty stockings I understand, though you're supposed to do that indoors, on the mantle of your fireplace, or, if you don't have a fireplace, wherever you can hang a stocking. I'm not sure what an empty Santa suit conveys. Are they waiting for St. Nick to fill his own suit with his jolly self? (Hint to the denizens of this house: that suit is TOO SMALL.) It looks more to me as if they killed Santa and are hanging his pelt outside their home as a trophy, or perhaps as a warning. Eep.

On Christmas day, captainmushroom and I went for a walk and hit Unsuitable Decoration Mecca.

Exhibit 3: The Upholstery Shop

A storefront window. Above the window, the sign for the shop says UPHOLSTERY. On display are an upholstered couch surrounded by an assortment of tchotchkes: a cadaverous dummy wearing a tinsel Christmas-tree headdress, several superhero dolls and action figures, a framed portrait of Henry VIII, a church. On the couch are a Ken doll, a gargoyle with reindeer antlers, a nutcracker, and another framed Renaissance portrait (I'm not sure of whom.)

Oh man, I don't even know where to begin with this place. It's just AWESOME. Here are some details:

A detail of the left-hand side of the Upholstery Shop window. In the window are a cadaverous dummy wearing a suit and checkered tie, topped with a headdress made from a conical tinsel Christmas tree. Seated on the dummy's extended left arm is a Robin superhero doll; on its right arm is Lisa Simpson. In the foreground is a small model of a church, completed with steeple. Straddling atop the church is a female superhero. Beside the church, and much taller (about 2 feet tall) is a toy soldier figure.

The cadaverous zombie guy is a permanent fixture of the window, as are, I think Lisa Simpson and Robin. The tinsel headdress is seasonal.

A close up of some items arranged on the couch: a model of an overstuffed armchair. Seated in the armchair is a Ken doll in a white suit. Seated on the couch in front of that Ken doll is another Ken doll in its underwear. Behind the chair is a model of Chuck Norris in a Santa hat. Norris's face is plastic, but his body is quilted. Flanking the armchair are a blonde Ken doll in a sparkly top and a Barbie doll in what appears to be a Space Adventurer's suit. In the forground the head and shoulders of a rather phallic toy soldier are visible.

Quilted-body Chuck Norris doesn't wait for Santa. Quilted-body Chuck Norris is Santa. You better watch out!

The bottom left corner of the Upholstery Shop window, containing a small red sign saying XXXmas, and a photo of a very buff shirtless dude in a Santa hat. More permanent fixtures in the window include a tribal-style mask, some geraniums and fake flowers, and Canadian flag.


More decorations in the window: a Norman-Rockwell style picture showing two small children, one dressed inexplicably as a cowboy, peering through the banister of the stairs as a pyjama-clad fellow kisses a fellow dressed as Santa, under the mistletoe. Beside this is a small painting of very buff, shirtless guy reclining and wearing red trousers and a Santa hat. On the other side of the Rockwell-style picture is a portrait of Henry VIII. In the foreground is a small model of an upholstered chesterfield.

There's really nothing unsuitable about the Daddy Kissing Santa-Claus picture, except for the Rockwell-esque style, but somehow I think my mom would find it objectionable. No, I have no idea what Henry VIII is doing there.

A close up of the Daddy Kissing Santa Claus faux Rockwell picture.

You need to see the Daddy Kissing Santa picture up close to fully appreciate its delicate, nuanced portrayal of the holiday spirit.

A close up of the church montage. A small model of a quaint country church, completed with steeple. A snowman is placed beside the church. An action figure of a superhero is on the other side. Straddling the church is a female superhero. A Santa Pez dispenser stands outside the door of the church.

I don't even. All I can think is that no Christmas idyll is really complete without random superheroes.

And finally, the saddest Christmas gargoyle I have ever seen:

Obscured by reflections in the windows, a stone (or faux stone) gargoyle crouches on the upholstered couch, its hands wrapped around its knees. On its face is an expression of deep sadness. It has been adorned with red felt reindeer antlers.

This gargoyle is SO SAD FOR BEING A REINDEER.

I haven't posted about the wedding in Ottawa, mostly because other people have, and I've been swallowed by my life.

I received the beautiful invitation from [personal profile] commodorified , [personal profile] fairestcat , [personal profile] random , and [personal profile] rayne in the mail, after [personal profile] mycrazyhair  warned me it would be coming, and I arranged to take two whole days off work to travel to Ottawa with her, despite my trepidation about travelling the week before the Dance Flurry, meeting new people in general, and weddings in general.

We had an awesome trip. I am really glad I got to see the MacFlails get married, to dance with them (and with [personal profile] dagibbs—finally!); and to visit [livejournal.com profile] audrawilliams and see [livejournal.com profile] human_loser once more before he vanished back to the west; to experience the most breathtakingly epicurean vegetarian cuisine I have ever eaten, to hang out and breakfast with [personal profile] toft , [personal profile] curgoth , and [personal profile] neeuqdrazil ; to meet whole bunches of very interesting, kind, funny people; and to dress up pretty and dance with my girl.

To the MacFlails: It was lovely to meet those I met, to spend some time with you, to witness your marriage, and to laugh and danc

Thanks to the MacFlails for inviting me, for having an awesome wedding, and for providing me with an opportunity for such a very enjoyable weekend. [personal profile] commodorified , you sure know how to make a girl feel welcomed and appreciated (or at least ogled). You are a lovely, lovely family, and I'm so glad to have witnessed your beautiful wedding.

[personal profile] dagibbs , after all that geeking out at various parties, it was lovely to finally dance with you—thanks for taking me out on Saturday night. Thanks to [personal profile] neeuqdrazil  for driving us all home.

And [personal profile] mycrazyhair  wins an AWESOME SWEETIE award for organizing everything, and being generally awesome.

My life, it does not suck.

zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Sep. 10th, 2009 09:22 am)
The Uruguayan government just approved a bill to allow same sex couples to adopt children:

The bill was approved 17-6, with most of its support coming from legislators of the ruling leftist Frente Amplio coalition, which has a majority in Congress, and from two of the three senators of the opposition Partido Colorado. The measure passed the lower house in August and is expected to be signed into law soon.

"Whether the couple is gay or not should not be a matter of consideration," said ruling party Sen. Margarita Percovich, who sponsored the bill. "What matters is if the family is able to educate and stimulate the child to grow as a fulfilled human being."


The Catholic church, of course, does not approve.

Seems that Uruguay's government has made a lot of laws granting homosexual people more rights, ending bans on gays in the military, and legalizing civil unions (the new bill states that couples in a legal civil union would have equal rights when adopting children, so married couples may still be privileged in adoption, I'm not sure.)

via The Galloping Beaver.

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