Yeah, I’m still on the right side of the dirt. There was just a lot of running around this weekend and then lots of work on Monday and Tuesday.

Friday we ate ourselves stupid at a fondue party (a couple that I will hereafter refer to as The Hillfolk make excellent fondue), Saturday it was up to Berkeley with another couple* for a flea market, Tribal Throwdown, Lacis, and a St. Patrick’s Day supper, Sunday it was otters and then over to yet another couples’ for High Tea and meeting their new baby boy, Monday and Tuesday it was all-day meetings with people from my company’s new development partner, then staying late to catch up on all the work that didn’t get done because of the meetings. Whew.

The flea market was great, as flea markets tend to be. Such an odd assortment of stuff! I got some patchwork and mirror belts for dance – with some long scrap yarn* fringe these will look cool, I think. R:tAG found a board game (Trinity Battleground) for cheap, too.

Tribal Throwdown was good… smallish but that’s how I like my conventions. I took a workshop with Jill Parker and realized once again that it takes me much longer than most people to learn kinetically. I don’t think dance workshops have a good ROI for me; I need repetition, mirrors, and patient teachers who are willing to explain the same thing a bunch of different ways (usually not practical in a typical size workshop). This was on the same weekend as Rakkasah and I suspect there is an ugly story behind that, but in practice it’s not bad since Rakkasah is more general and Tribal Throwdown (as implied by its name) focuses on ATS and tribal fusion. From what I hear, though, the vending at Rakkasah is amazing. Like, football field-sized room amazing. Probably a good thing I didn’t go. I’m not performing, so there’s really no reason to buy lots of pretty, sparkly things… mmmm… shiny…

OK, I’m back now. After the dance thing (the men went off to do a tour of the gaming and book stores of Berkeley while we danced) we went to Lacis which is The Most Amazing Historical Costuming Store EVAR. The web site is sort of sad (over ten years old!) and does not reflect the jaw-dropping glory that is Lacis. And it turns out a friend of ours* has started working there, so I spent about two hours there without even really realizing it, and didn't even see a whole room of the store, and only left because they closed the shop and kicked me out (and because my companions were all agitating for supper. Wimps.). So we had sushi at the Drunken Fish for our St. Patrick’s Day supper****

Sunday was a members-only preview of the Wild About Otters exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, so we took The Hillfolk down to check it out. Otters are cool. R:tAG was pleased.

Oh, and somewhere in there we saw the new animated Hellboy – Sword of Storms movie. It was really quite good. I think I prefer animated to live action for stuff like this (Exhibit B: Clone Wars)

And my parents are coming for a visit next week. Busy, busy, busy!

* The female half is in my dance class and is also a costuming geek, the male half is a computer/gaming geek and therefore gets along with R:tAG very well. I might have to come up with blog-worthy nicknames for them since we’re hanging out a lot.

** I have a little bit of scrap yarn.

*** One of the couple with whom we went to the idyllic mountain stream

**** Last year we had Mexican. Our general policy for holidays is to find a restaurant of an ethnicity as far away as possible from the one celebrating the holiday. Irish pubs are for Cinco de Mayo.

We’re on daylight savings three weeks early, by government fiat, so today is a day of confused computers and general brain-lag because all of a sudden it's an hour later than it should be. Luckily my Mom called yesterday to remind me it was happening (she knows that, having been raised in a sane place, I tend to forget these arbitrary time changes).

I’ve just been accumulating links for the past few weeks and saving them for a day where there is nothing else particularly of interest. And that day is here!

We went to see 300 yesterday. I liked it, but I think R:tAG liked it more than I did. I think the movie appeals especially to something in the male hindbrain even though visually this is a movie for the ladies, what with all the leather posing pouches and the CGI enhanced abs* and all. We did get a few giggles from one scene where the narrator describes Leonidas as standing in front of the Persians with his 300 men behind him… and what’s actually behind him is this little turtle of about 15 shields. I started snickering and R:tAG whispered “Maybe they’re all in a hole” which made me snicker even more**. And poor Ephialtes… it’s not enough that his name was already synonymous with Benedict Arnold, he gets portrayed as a deformed monster? And Xerxes? The hell?***

We also saw Ghost Rider last weekend (which was powerful weak IMHO and others’) and Talladega Nights, which was funnier than I thought it would be. It’s sort of unfortunate, though not really, that the two movies are getting blended together in my head. I mean, both have racing guys in suits covered in logos (with pornish girlfriends and good ol' boy sidekicks) screaming about being on fire… I’m not crazy, it’s true!

Anyway, on to these links!

Person Cosy - I have so had days like this.

Huggies Thongs

The Awful Guide to Graduate School

Squee! - They’re making a “The Dark is Rising” movie, and it’s got Christopher Eccleston in it!

Scott Adams’ Happiness Formula - Similar to the old “Good, cheap or fast; pick two” axiom.

Bulwer-Lytton 2006 Fiction Contest - the long-running contest for the "best" (i.e. worst) opening sentence of works in various genres.

NFCTD - So, so pretty

Order of the Stick - This is always funny, but Mr. Burlew has really outdone himself with this one (no background required)

OK, these last two are knitting-related, sort of, but they’re so ridiculous that I think they’re of general appeal:

Scarf - This is a pattern. INSTRUCTIONS for wrapping a hank of yarn around your neck. For when actually making anything from it is just too much work

High Fashion Knitting - This just made me stare and laugh. The sixth picture in particular. How much would you have to pay someone to wear that?

* Really, it was excessive. At one point I thought it looked like nothing more than a parade of McRib sandwiches in red cloaks.

** The other time I snickered was when a Spartan referred dismissively to the Athenians as “lovers of boys.” O RLY? Though I did appreciate that they kept a few indicators that the Spartans continued homosexual relationships into adulthood – i.e. that the dismissive remark was on the order of “They are lovers of boys… we are lovers of men!”

*** My biggest problem with the movie was how much it felt like thinly disguised Republican propaganda... the small group of Manly Aryan Men (are there that many blonde Greeks?) bucking the cowardice of the (old and/or diseased and/or corrupt) opposition and going to defend themselves against the evil and degenerate threat from the Middle East... eeesh.

On Saturday there was a huge treasure hunt in San Francisco; a yearly event held in honour of the Chinese New Year (it takes place on the same night as the big parade). Our genius friend who’d written the Palo Alto one asked us to join his team, so of course we said yes. It was really really fun. We cockily entered the “Regular” level instead of the beginner one, even though we’d never been on one of these before, and the five of us solved 14 of the 18* clues. Not enough to win or place (there were hundreds of teams) but a very respectable showing for novices not from the city, I think!**

The other fun part was that there were additional prizes for best team name (i.e. most awful pun) and best costumes. Since it is the Year of the Pig, the names and costumes were all porcine in nature. The top costume was a group in lab coats with pig tails in the back – Team Niels Boar (the lab coats also had pictures of “boar”on atoms) with a close second being the Porkchop Assassins - ninjas with pig noses. The top name was “I Never Sausage A Team!” The pig is the best animal for puns, I think, what with all the pork products.

Next year is the Year of the Rat, I believe. I’ll have to get the costume and pun ideas percolating. We didn’t have time to do anything impressive this year… next year will be different!

Also different next year will be my level of preparation. I’d thought my foot was healed but it wasn’t***, so I started favouring it, which gave me blisters on my other foot. We were walking briskly for about four hours solid, up and down hills and stairs… a lot of walking and no time for breaks. We ended up relying heavily on a more foresighted team-mate who’d brought crackers and fruit. Also, I’d brought along a laptop thinking internet capability might be useful. It would have been, had we been able to actually connect anywhere. We weren’t, so the laptop was just dead weight. Next year I will beg, borrow or steal a Blackberry or something.****

Live and learn!

* We would have gotten more if it hadn’t been for New Year’s; the crowds and the parade itself turned into a huge strategic consideration which delayed us several times. On the other hand, it lent a wonderful air of surreality to the event; looking for the inscription on a manhole cover by the light of sparklers and firecrackers, while people with banners and huge masks ran around.

** Even the top five teams only got 17 out of the 18.

*** I should have known this from my last dance class, where I decided I could try barefoot spins again, which ended up with the instructor dabbing the carpet with paper towels and asking me if I had hepatitis.

**** Or perhaps I will have an iPhone by then... I am not schlepping a laptop again, though.


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