March 22nd, 2007



(yes, this is a series of journal entries in reverse order going back as far as I can remember about stuff that's happening)

Westercon 60 hotel room and party room are reserved, and emails are in to hotel@

Rewind 2

I've been getting tired of the stock iPod headphones; even though I don't beat the crap out of them, they just don't last. I did get a set of Griffin Ear Jams, which has contributed to me sticking with them as long as I have.

Still, it was time (particularly with flights next week) to get better headphones. We were at the mall last weekend, and the Apple Store at Oakridge had Shure E2c earphones in stock. I had been considering Etymotic and Bose earphones too, but nobody had Etymotic in stock, and the Bose earphones are a young product that was getting mixed reviews on comfort.

Oy gevalt.

If you've never worn "noise isolating" headphones, you don't know what you're missing.

The earphones block most ambient noise, much like decent earplugs. The upside? You can run the earphones at much lower volumes than you could regular earphones or noise-canceling headphones. The downside? Well, I found that I can hear myself walk when I'm wearing them. Internal sounds, like chewing and breathing, are much more noticeable.

Still, it's worth it. Definitely worth it.

Rewind 3

Sunday was dinogrl's birthday, and we all went up to Bombay Garden in Newark for a bit of dinner. Indian buffet is definitely vegetarian-friendly, so for once Spring wasn't foraging for the rare good vegetarian dish.

Service was crap. I think they expected us to hunt the wild waiter with a tranquilizer gun.

Food was amazing. With the prevalence of stewed dishes, Indian holds up very well to being served from a steam table. About half the selections were vegetarian, or at least ovo-lacto vegetarian (yoghurt and eggs are a regular staple). They did a great mango lassi, even if we had to dart a waiter to get some. Naan was excellent, but we had to dart another waiter to get it. Getting a bottle of sparkling wine was even more difficult, and the waiter couldn't open the bottle (so dave_gallaher had to).

I don't think I'd ever eat off the menu there (probably starve first) but I would definitely consider eating from the buffet at the new one that just opened in Santa Clara.

Rewind 4

Ran around Livermore on Sunday afternoon, after kingwyatt's party and before dinogrl's party.

We knew we had wine club selections to pick up, we just had no idea how many. We also wanted to talk to the wineries about ordering some wine to ship out to Costume-Con 25 in St. Louis for our party in the consuite after F&SF masquerade.

We had a club pick-up at Bent Creek, but the Howells and the Heinemans were vacationing in Spain, so we couldn't place an order.

We had a club pick-up at Cedar Mountain, and even though Earl and Linda were vacationing in Canada, we were able to order a case.

We had a club pick-up at Steven Kent, but they're a bit pricey to buy for an open party. OK, they're a lot pricey to pick up for an open party. On the other hand, we had half a case of wine for the pick-up, and snagged a few bottles of the unfiltered Merillee Chardonnay that were available.

We weren't sure if we had a club pick-up at La Rochelle, but it turned out we had a case and a half of Pinot Noir to pick up.

Because we couldn't place an order at Bent Creek, we made a stop at Thomas Coyne (who doesn't do a wine club, so we had no pick-ups). We were able to arrange an order with them.

BTW, Bent Creek, Cedar Mountain and Thomas Coyne are the wineries for our post-CC26 wine tour.

Rewind 5

kingwyatt hosted a little St. Pat's party on Saturday night, featuring corned beef and whisky.

Yes, I know, a traditional Irish St. Pat's dinner is spring lamb and whipped potato with leeks, but I don't really care (and yes, I saw the Good Eats that explained why corned beef became popular with Irish immigrants).

Corned beef was great. I avoided the cabbage, but it looked pretty good. We brought two dozen oysters as appetizers, and the rest of the gang brought some really fabulous cheese and side dishes.

Then there was the whisky. Nobody brought anything I hadn't had before, but it was all good. We brought the tail end of a bottle of Lot #5 St. George Single Malt Whisky and a new bottle of Lot #6 to compare.

"Flux" and "Apples to Apples" were played, and a good time was had by all. K and I stayed overnight rather than driving home after all the whisky (well, it wasn't really that much), and headed home Sunday morning.

Rewind 6 (Sunday, Mar 11)

britgeekgrrl, iamradar, kproche and I went to St. George Spirits to taste the new Qi White (white tea and orange liqueuer; it's really strange but it's really good) and to show off the St. George Spirits Special Forces Uniforms. As it turns out, the office manager at St. George hadn't let anybody know we were coming, so it was just the tasting room manager and one of the tasting room crew members who got to see them.

On the upside, it was a quiet Sunday afternoon, so we were able to take pictures in front of the stills. I haven't done anything with them yet, but they're pretty fabulous.

Afterwards, we ran to Valley Fair to get mini plasma discs from Spencer Gifts, and then over to ladycelia's for a late barbecue and drinks. It was a pretty relaxed evening.

Rewind 7 (Sunday, Mar 11)

After emailing back and forth with Katie (the gbacg_costume workshop coordinator), we planned to go to Costume Academy in Berkeley, the annual GBACG workshop day to talk up Costume-Con 26.

Of course, that involved getting up early the morning after San Jose Coronation (after the DST shift), which was a bit painful.

Still, we got to Berkeley about 15 minutes after lunch break had started. In addition to catching up with a bunch of folks who are already registered for the con, we found a surprising number of people who had no idea such a thing was happening. This was corrected.

We also introduced these people to the joys of badge ribbons, handing out "minion" ribbons to a number of the attendees (instructors and dealers in particular). It only took a few examples to get the point across.

Rewind 8 (Saturday, Mar 10)

For the first time in several years, I had no responsibility at San Jose Coronation. K had volunteered to organize flag bearers (so I carried the American flag) and was in Allen's candidate number, so we did have to go to hospitality in the afternoon.

I had a few drinks while K did his rehearsal with Allen and Rachael St. James. Hospitality was rather lightly attended, mostly by people submitting protocol books. Didn't look too good for attendance, but since coronation was in the Odd Fellows Hall, at least it wouldn't be too crowded.

So much for that idea.

Even though hospitality was pretty quiet, everybody showed up for Coronation itself. The room was packed solid and kept getting busier.

Coronation started an hour late, because the folks with the protocol box showed up an hour late.

In spite of the crowd and the delay, the show actually went very well. Long, but well. The MCs breezed through protocol (sometimes a bit too quick for the people getting ready to walk). There were a lot of command performances, but they were, to a one, excellent.

Ava and Allen beat "no" and were crowned Empress 37 and Emperor 37.

Still, I could have done with getting home before midnight.