I'm still at work. Bleah.

Still, this is a breather before the storm of the next two months, wherein we will be visited by friends, relatives (possibly from both sides) and also become visitors ourselves at two weddings in two different countries, three days apart.

Normal people try to spread this out over a whole year, I think.

This weekend, we caught up with Jeff D., a friend from Toontown who was in the Bay Area on business. It was great to see him again, and I am happy we moved to a place that is easy to get to and that people commonly pass through. As much as I love Toontown, neither of those things are true there. We went to see Little Miss Sunshine, which I really liked. It has a dance number that immediately went into my Pantheon of Nail-Bitingly Repellant Performances.* It is not a kid's movie; there were a couple of pre-teens in the audience when we went, and I can't imagine what the parents were thinking.

So I was thinking of combining two of my self-improvement goals by telling myself that I would only buy yarn that I'd biked or walked to get. From now on, that is (she says, hiding the latest $80 bill**). There are three decent yarn shops within a half-hour or so bike ride, after all. I still haven't found a yoga or pilates class that fits my schedule, so I'd like to do something active, but on the other hand my dance class is twice a week now.*** I have to reduce my aphid level, after all.

In other news, I woke up on Friday morning and my head was covered in ants. That was pretty horrible. Every other place we've had ants in the house, their entry point was obvious, and liberal application of repellants and traps solved the problem. The bedroom is different; I can't find where they're coming in, and (except for that one time during the heat wave, and on Friday morning) they don't congregate. It's just that every time you look at the bed, there're three or four ants on it.

Random Amusements:

700 Things Mr. Welch Can No Longer Do During An RPG
Lord of the Peeps
Five Geek Social Fallacies - maybe I don't miss LARPing all that much
What to do when you can't win an argument - maybe I really don't miss LARPing all that much.

* The other current members being, of course, "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers and "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" from Drop Dead Gorgeous

** But it was for gifts! That doesn't count!

*** I'm taking the Beginner/Intermediate class as well as the Beginner class. It is so damn much fun!

So much stuff!

Alamalan finally got here, after a travel saga that would cause strong men to weep. Happily, he's staying for an extra couple of days, to make up for the initial schlemozzle. So, as will happen, we're doing all sorts of stuff that we wouldn't normally do, and dragging poor Alamalan around with us when I'm sure all he wants to do is relax. I also made him fix up my plants.

Saturday was an all-too-brief tour of Napa Valley with Carl and Tam. Much wine was drunk and not enough food was eaten (at least on my part). Sunday was a trip to The City, mainly to visit MOMA but also to do the standard touristy things. I was hoping to get to the Golden Gate Park and, specifically, the Gee's Bend quilts, but wandering and shopping snuck up on us.*

Monday was supposed to be local wandering, but I ended up having to do jury duty for half the day. I'm almost totally unfamiliar with the legal systems of both Canada and the US, so the novelty kept my interest for about an hour or so, but I was very, very glad to finally be excused. There's a pool of about 40 people, of which 12 have to be picked.** So they randomly pick the first twelve, and then the lawyers apparently do a game of demographic-balancing, taking turns replacing various "unsuitable" jurors*** with new ones from the pool. The trial wasn't anything particularly interesting (a contested DUI charge****) and would have gone until Thursday. I think I was excused because one of the questions was whether I had any friends who worked in law enforcement or the court/justice system. So thanks, Chris, Zena, Calvin, Jared and Rob!

And Tuesday I had to work, so I just put our guest on a train pointed towards The City and he managed to amuse himself for a whole day, buy cool new boots, and find his way back! Yay!

And today I had that long-awaited doctor's appointment, and found out that indeed, I should exercise more, eat more fruits, vegetables and fibre, and lose a bit of weight. Told ya. However, the doctor did have a good guess about a crazy-making-itchy rash that's appeared right below my navel; she thinks the lacquer has worn off my jeans button, exposing the nickel and causing an allergic reaction. Here I was blaming the new laundry soap, but the nickel explanation makes more sense, considering how localized the rash is and that if I wear earrings with nickel my earlobes swell up like kumquats.

It's been a busy week!

* I bought a lovely dress in Chinatown, but suffered severe body-image issues when I realized that I needed an XXXXL (yes, 4XL). Then I realized that my skeleton is a Chinese size XXL, and felt a bit better.

** My take-home lesson from Monday was that I should do everything in my power to keep my fate from resting in the hands of twelve average Americans.

*** Unsuitable for the purpose of obtaining the verdict they want, of course. Completely unsuitable people seem to be weeded out before this stage, mostly. Mostly.

**** Do things like this need a jury in Canada? I thought it was just for murder and stuff, not some frat boy claiming that he can still drive after six beers.

Yeah, the same song twice in a row, but it's just so damned appropriate.


So R:tAG got all the photo credits on this trip; go to his blog to see 'em. In the picture of our hotel room/railway car, you can just see my head peeping out the bathroom door... this was on our last morning there and I was still en déshabillé.


Fourth funniest GenCon moment: R:tAG's company had a recruiting booth on the exhibition floor, separate from the booth actually advertising their game. There were only four employees attending, including R:tAG, and all of them are gamers and therefore wanted to be elsewhere during GenCon. So various spouses and friends frequently ended up manning the booth. So when the official GenCon photographer came 'round, none of three people in the picture of the booth actually worked for the company they were shilling.

Third funniest GenCon moment: R:tAG and his boss were in the company booth when three very large and very hairy drag queens came up. Fans of the game, apparently, they excitedly asked which of the two men was "Statesman." R:tAG's boss (who plays Statesman) wordlessly pointed to R:tAG.

Second funniest GenCon moment: This happened to a friend of a friend, but I did meet him and witnesses who swore to its truth. This guy was at GenCon this year. His wife doesn't game, but came along for the trip. The guy has gamed at least once a week since he got married, and has a wall full of minis and books. So, he bought a D&D board game and brought it back to the hotel room. His wife flipped out upon seeing it, screaming "YOU PLAY D&D?????!!!???" and went on a fifteen minute rant about how she couldn't face any of her friends or relatives now. I am still not clear what her problem with the game was, but I am baffled about what she had thought all the weekly events, paraphenalia, and the bloody con that they were in town for were about, exactly.

Funniest GenCon moment: Seeing Freelancer Five's techique of defusing discussions that are getting heated.*

Spending Money:

I only ended up attending two games, both Cthulhu Live LARPs run by the PST boys and they were, as always, awesome. R:tAG and I might be helping them run Something Cool at Origins next year, and I am wiggly with excitement.

We saw the PEG people, and Dan F. and Don K. from S'toon, which was an unexpected pleasure (unexpected to me, anyway), and even Raven and Shades from Edmonton whom we hadn't seen in... must be ten years.

I bought a very nice mask, and a very nice corset. Lord knows where I'll wear either, but they sure are pretty.

I didn't buy a new game called Qin: The Warring States but I should have. I might like to run a one-shot of it. I'll have to watch more wuxia movies to see if I can set the mood properly and get some plot ideas.

I bought the new Order of the Stick book but didn't manage to get it signed by Mr. Burlew, alas.

We bought some art from Andy Hopp, creator of Low Life and a nice guy.

Once again I didn't buy a T-shirt with "DON'T TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER" written on it. I am strong. I don't need more funny T-shirts.

And I'm still a bit tired.

* It consists of saying "Penis!" over and over and over again, getting louder each time, until eventually he is standing up, shrieking and waving his arms. I can personally attest that it is impossible to continue an argument in those circumstances.

For once, thinking of an appropriate song lyric title was very, very, very easy.

Unfortunately, we left for GenCon mere hours after the whole no-liquids-creams-or-gels thing came down.* Fortunately, we listen to the news every morning, so we were apprised of the situation, as they say, and packed accordingly. Unfortunately, the news also said that it was now recommended to get to the airport three hours before your flight, and the only way we could do that at that point was to bend the laws of space and time. Fortunately, we still made our flight, with mere minutes to spare. Unfortunately, this had put me in a suboptimal mood.** Fortunately, the flight itself was fine and I had found airplane-suitable knitting. Unfortunately, our hotel had no room to match our reservation, which negated any effect that the knitting had had on my mood. Fortunately, that meant we got a really schmancy room, which (this being a railroad themed hotel) was an actual Pullman rail car, one of 26 parked indoors and converted into a nice suite.

Unfortunately, we'd missed the first day of GenCon. Fortunately, the events we really wanted were on Friday and Saturday, and it's more about the socializing*** for us anyway. Unfortunately, I had no cool costume to wear this year. Fortunately, the costume contest was at the same time as one of the LARPs I really wanted to attend anyway (or maybe that's another "unfortunately" since I did really want to see the contest. Fortunately, the LARP was excellent. Unfortunately, I've lost track of the alternations of fortune with this parenthetical nesting).

Unfortunately, our flight back was early this morning, so between the new length of time it now takes to do the bag-check and security thing, and the three-hour time change, and that I actually went to work today, I'm going to continue this post later after I've slept. Fortunately.

* When memes collide!

** The kind of "suboptimal" that has roughnecks staring at me wide-eyed with their knuckles pressed against their teeth, and Marines reaching for the smelling salts.

*** The kind of socializing that comes in pint glasses, especially.

I need to work on my snap decision making. Even having a week's notice for something, which is really not very snappy at all, doesn't seem to be enough for my poor spongy brain. We're going to GenCon tomorrow! The dishes aren't done! I'm not packed! I haven't even looked at the events list to know what I should pack! I can't even look at the events because the website's been disabled! The toilet is leaking and the landlord's out of town!* I don't have any airplane-compatible knitting! I can't decide whether to go to dance class tonight or not!


ADDENDUM: It's 9:30 PM, and I decided to go to dance class. I found out that I keep a surprising amount of my stress in my hips. I always thought I was more of a lat person in that respect. But my shimmies looked like a Devo imitation, and the Pigeon Pose during the end-of-class cooldowns was a special flavour of hell.

So now I'm more relaxed, but dog-tired. Aaaaaaa.... enh.

* He's back and informed now, and should be surveying the damage this afternoon.

Well, nothing like a last minute decision. Last year we were going to go to GenCon, then decided not to, then decided to. This year, we decided to, then not, then to, then not, and now, since cheap airfares and an excellent hotel room have once again fallen into our laps, we've decided to. And it's next weekend. At this rate, next year we'll decide to go the night before. I guess certain friends have really inspired us with the whole spontaneous trip thing. Monkey! Go!

Just buying generic tickets and whining our way into events seemed to work out pretty well last year, and honestly it ended up being more about the socializing anyway, so I'm looking forwards to it. I'm not sure I'll be able to manage a prize-winning costume this year, though, as I am short of both inspiration and time.

On a completely different (and more annoying to me) topic, check out the new "Plus Size" clothing option in the Yahoo Avatar. I'm using it there to the right. Plus Size. Yeah, right. How about "human size"? And it's such a limited choice of clothes! I'm hoping that if the Yahoo folks see enough usage of this option, they'll increase the alternatives (or add an independant control for body size) so I encourage all y'all Yahoo Avatar users to use it.

And on yet another different topic, I've been considering using public transit to get to work, since I found this very cool utility that's like MapQuest but that tells you what buses/trains/etc. to take to get from A to B in the Bay area. Marvelous thing... you can set it to give the quickest route, the cheapest route, the route with the least walking... very very cool. Unhappily, the quickest route is 1 hour and 20 minutes for me. Cost-wise, I think that would be $99.50/month since that route involves taking CalTrain... the all-bus route would take 1 hour 40 minutes and be $61.25/month.

It takes me about half an hour to drive to work on the average, and I fill up about every ten days... about $100/month at the current prices. There's wear and tear on the car and I suppose the possibility of getting into an accident.* But, of course, I have the luxury of following no-one's schedule but my own.

I suppose I should pay the day fare and try it out one day. With a trip that long I'm worried about getting sick.** But just think of the moral high ground I'd achieve! And if I could knit without getting ill... hmmmm...

What do you, the viewers at home, think?

* I'm not counting the licensing and insurance costs; since I'm not giving up my car completely, those are a constant.

** I don't get sick when I'm the driver. It all has to do with synchronizing action and reaction, I guess.


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