The food was to die for, the hotel suite amberley put me up in was a lovely place, and the gaming was a blast. Of course, when I got home, I immediately got sick (ran a 100 degree temp yesterday and hurt so much all over that I was doubling up on ibuprofen just to feel human again) and am still in the throes of recovering from that, which is why the lack of updates and pictures and things the way I usually do travel logs, so this may be a bit more sparse than my usual adventure logs.
I love that amberley made a wiki page for the whole weekend, with a full list of everything that we were thinking about doing and then we could pick and choose as we actually went.
The flight to Oakland was uneventful, and I got there late enough that we missed most of the traffic and we got to Dublin, CA fairly quickly. We ate at a Mimi's Café there, and the onion soup was quite good. We got to talk during the drive, dinner, and went to the hotel to check me in and explore the suite and the sitting room for a while. I think that was the only time the TV ever went on. *laughs*
We were up fairly late in the morning, meeting at the Red Tractor in Dublin at 10 a.m., and I had a two egg breakfast with the usual things, including the cheddar biscuit. Yum. I bought a ton of stuff at the local Trader Joe's, and then we went to see "Let Me In".
It's an American remake of a Swedish movie about a weak, picked-on boy and the vampire that moves into his apartment complex, with all the attendant, messy problems that involves. Especially when the vampire needs life blood nearly every other night, and anyone the vampire bites and doesn't kill comes back as a vampire. After far too much vampire fare that's more 'reasonable' (i.e. snacking works, takes an extraordinary step to make a vamp, or... uhm... sparkly) this was a horror treat, in many ways. The motions of the vampire in the frenzy of the hunt was brutally inhuman and showed how horrifying that kind of speed could look.
It was a very complete story, I thought. Though amberly was able to point out the somewhat pointless differences from the Swedish movie, it seemed like most of them had been made to appeal to American audiences. Still...it's stark and gory and the body count is pretty amazing. *laughs*
We visited with Julia and diony for a while, and enjoyed it very much.
We spent time at Daiso looking for fans and origami paper before meeting Chrisber, Christy, Teo-chan, Earl, Cat, Trip, Marith, Ken, Cera, and a Peking Duck for dinner at Chef Chu's!
I'll admit I had a soft spot for the Peking Duck, though. And they served it with the steamed buns, the little green onion brushes, and the hoisen sauce, and the skin was perfectly crispy and rich with duck fat and the meat was all taken from the bones to allow the waiter a much easier time of serving it when he got to the table. He actually set each portion delicately on its bun and spread the sauce and gave each individual their part. Whew. It was very nice.
We talked, stayed until late, and then went home, slept, and got up when we could and picking from three different possibilities, we settled on San Jose to eat ramen at Kumako Ramen. We found out that it was actually quite salty as well. We'd been thinking of going to Halu, but we'd remembered it as being very salty, so thought we'd try the newer place to see how it went.
We also went into Nikaku and I got more origami paper, and then we just meandered through a grocery store, where I lamented only being able to carry so much through security. With the salt still lingering in my veins, we happened across Banana Crepe, which is an odd little store that does crepes and, of all things, Hawaiian Shave Ice.
I didn't actually think I could eat the whole thing, but I ended up eating the whole thing. The ice texture is so fine it just melts in the mouth and it's silky with the beans and milk. I haven't been to a real Hawaiian shave ice place for over a decade, so it was so nice to do that again.
We then went to Mobo Sushi and ate a good load of lovely California style sushi. I love how unrepentant they are about their style. And it's a delicious style indeed. I happily indulged in their Sunset, which has lovely crisp tobiko eggs with a tiny quail egg yolk perched on top and tuna wrapped about the sides.
That was very nice indeed.
Another lovely night, and a far too early morning, and we were breakfasting at the Red Tractor at 8 am. This time I took advantage of their lovely strawberry waffles, and inhaled them with whipped cream. Lots of whipped cream. *laughs*
We arrived with no incident in Oakland found good parking and got to EndGame for the Minicon. amberly is very involved and active in the gaming community, and has a really great relationship with the owner of the store, so the owner held a slot for me in both of amberley's games. The first was using the "Don't Rest Your Head" gaming system and when we sat down to character generation, we were told to make characters that fit a small down in Iowa.
Which allowed one recent bride (married two weeks ago, Congratulations!) to channel all the Bridezilla she wanted. *laughs* We all fell in line with various character who had been high school sweethearts of her and her husband-to-be, and best friends all around, and then the story turned good and spooky.
I think my favorite part is still the Bazaar at the heart of the dreaming, where one can get anything they truly wish for, but at a price. Nearly everyone traded something away and got something they desired back, and everything stood for itself and something more.
I was actually rather... unhappy with my character in that game. I waffled a little too much and Paige never quite came clear for me; but everyone else had very vivid characters, and they were very fun to listen to. I did some talking, but I felt kind of slow and a little sad about that. The decisions I made were all right, but they weren't nearly as deeply character-based as I would have liked. So it is.
The second game went better, after a lunch of Italian beef sandwich and Meyer's lemon shortbread and good sugar-based Cream Soda. *laughs*
Apocalypse World is set in a world fifty years after the Apocalypse. In the book it's more of a Road Warrior type complete with a Psychic Maelstrom that allows some people to read minds and stuff. amberley used the War of 1919 plus a much, much heavier flu epidemic as his backdrop, and as his story goes, "So many people died, that there was a line waiting to get into Heaven. Then a wind blew all the ghosts away, into the trees." So you have to be careful of forests, and especially careful of what trees you cut down for firewood as burning a tree with a ghost in it frees the ghost...
Lovely and haunting and just enough spooky and gritty all in one. People could pick archtypes. I got Waters -- the Operator. There was Absinthe, the Battle Babe, Marsh, the Brainer, and Kal, the Angel who were my crew, and we were out delivering gasoline by pack-mule across the forest. I think the best thing is that the whole crew gets to pick what their goals are, which say something about the crew itself. One of the ones we picked was "Answering Questions", about a little town named Harvest that just disappeared.
Of course, as part of our delivery we get bushwacked, and violence ensued, even though we all had our turn trying to talk them out of it. *laughs* Both of the bushwack's leaders died, and the third stepped in to surrender. That was nice.
But we healed up one of them, dealt in an odd way with exorcising a ghost, got to find out a bit more about Harvest, Marsh settled a piece of his past, and we got the gasoline, minus one burnt mule and two tanks, to town, but paid the difference in weapons off the dead leaders. The rest...well, I think it might be spoiling the game for someone else, as the truly spooky and haunting parts should be used again. *grins* If you have a chance, go play with amberley at End Game. If not, I might write up the game in a separate story, from Waters' point of view.
It was a great, but tiring day. We had a very light dinner at Breads of India, went back to our beds and fell deeply asleep.
We gave up on plans to go to the Alternative Press Expo and went, instead to dine at In and Out, the burger place, and I read books at Amberley's apartment. I managed to get $$60 worth of books delivered to my house and then three more boxfuls coming as well as the Dresden Files RPG books that I bought at EndGame. Plus extra cards for Apples to Apples. I got back to amberley's in time to check in for my flight to Southwest, within a minute, and got A22 and A28 on my two legs of my flight, which was pretty darn good as A1-15 is always reserved for those that pay $10 more. Then in a fit of fitness desire, I swam in the hotel pool for 20 minutes.
Mind you, it was raining and 50 degrees out, and the heated pool leached steam into the air with every gust of wind. *laughs* I loved it, though, and it felt good to do, and just move about for a while.
We went to Zorn's, which used to be near where amberley used to work, so he knew the menu well, and recommended the corned beef hash, if I liked corned beef hash. And I really love corned beef hash, and they did a truly marvelous job of making corned beef hash. It was meaty and creamy and crisp all on the outsides and utterly amazing with eggs and toast and a big fat slab of hash browns that were all crisp and oniony as well.
It was a lovely breakfast. Heck it was a lovely trip, all in all, many, many thanks to amberley's organizational skills! I was very happy with how things turned out.
Too bad I forgot to eat lunch completely all the way home, and ended up in DIA famished and impatient and snappy at everything, so instead of trying to crowd onto a too-crowded shuttle bus to the parking lot, I ate a Panda Express Panda Bowl with chow mein and orange chicken and felt mildly better.
Got home, unpacked, fell over, and tried to catch up on things. My eye is doing better with a combination of the drops and the systemic antibiotics, I think. Thing is some flu thing hit me hard yesterday, and I was down with a 100° temperature and shaking like a leaf. So I slept a lot, and ached like crazy, and didn't sleep so well last night, so I'm looking forward to night fall again tonight. We'll see how it goes.
But I managed to finish another chapter of Twin Souls, got the next Winter War elements lined up, did a little research into a Iruka/Kakashi BDSM Scene fic (mmm...fire play, that's one way to get warm), and am going to probably just take hot echinacea tea with honey and watch something like One Piece. *laughs* Want to edit the next East and West chapter, really, but didn't have quite enough brain today.