January 8th, 2008


West Kingdom 12th Night

It's been almost a decade since I attended an SCA event. It's been longer than that for K. Since West Kingdom 12th Night & Grand Coronation was here in San Jose, in our Costume-Con 26 hotel, we decided we should go.

Mind you, a decade usually means clothes that don't fit anymore, and that's where we both were, so we decided to leverage the Japanese we made for the PEERS Mikado Ball. We also were going to do new daimon hitatare kamishimo for something a little spiffier to change into later. Going nihonjin, it only made sense to throw a Japanese party/reception to promote the convention.

The best laid plans, though, get spoiled by a busy holiday season, a crashed hard drive, a major power outage and sinus wonkiness. Both the costume plans and the party plans took a serious hit and ended up being scaled back. The hitatare didn't get done (or started for that matter). The party shopping didn't get started until Friday night (along with K's hair appointment).

On the positive side, we had the able support of gurdymonkey in providing decor elements and advice. We also got our Momoyama-period square kataginu and eboshi done in time.

We got to the hotel around 9:30 on Friday night, checked in, got our site tokens and had dinner with semy_of_pearls and shadowwalkyr. Afterwards we met finickynarcane and some friends in the bar who offered to help us get the word about our party on Saturday afternoon. It not being late enough, I sliced off a bit of ikat in the sewing room and made up quicky noren for our door decoration, staving off the bad case of scale-back.

Finally, we went to bed.

The power outage, of course, messed up a bunch of stuff, and meant that we had to run out Saturday morning to get some last decor bits (a folding screen) and, since we were out, do a bit of shopping. We found plastic 2 oz. cups for emergency sake cups at Diddums (where we were looking for paper lanterns), good green tea at Peets (where we were looking for tea and a kettle), new doorstops at Office Depot (where we hadn't planned on stopping), more paper lanterns at Cost Plus (where we hadn't planned on stopping but should have though of) and an electric teakettle at Target (which was the back-up plan if the kettle at Peets was too expensive, and it was). That put us back at the hotel around 1:00 with a 3:00 opening time.

It was a good thing we weren't doing the League of Evil Geniuses party. This could be set up with time to fit in a shower in 2 hours.

We spun the beds against the wall to create a large divan and clear space in the room. We spun the desk against the wall to clear space in the room. Most of the large and very western furniture in the room was draped with a rather nice blue-green ikat to disguise it (you would be surprised how big a difference this makes). The desk was draped with a cherry blossom print. Lamp shades were replaced with paper lanters. Smaller cherry-blossom paper lanterns lit with electric tea lights were scattered around desks in the room. Sake was iced. Snacks were sorted. Showers were taken, and we could finally get dressed. Yep, we were at an event for almost 18 hours (including sleep) before we could get dressed.

(Yes, there's a fair bit of expediency and theatricality in the decor. I know that round paper lanterns aren't period-appropriate Japanese. They did, however, create an excellent illusion, and I've got a line on better square wood-frame paper lanterns for future Japanese parties.)

We opened a bottle of Yoshikawa (I think) Imported Dry Sake and a bottle of Yaegaki Nigiri sake; both were very popular. I decided to save the other two (better) bottles and the bottle of ume-shu for later. The mochi (orange mochi and melon mochi) and the cheesy mochi puffs (the best cheezy-poofs you will ever try) were the breakout winners in the snacks, and the Takoyaki puffs were even very well received.

(Ditto on the food and drink; I haven't got a lot of solid evidence on whether any of the snacks were period-appropriate and I know some weren't, but people liked them.)

The party was very quiet from 3-4; it turns out that was when Gemini & Mari's Coronation Court and First Court happened. Things picked up after 4:00, though.

We were scheduled to close at 6:00, and we did. Several of us went down to the sushi bar for dinner (natch), and then did a bit of shopping before re-opening the party at 9:00pm. Yep, we still had sake and snacks, so we re-opened.

There was still some of the other sake, but we opened the bottle of Shirakawago Sansanigori (my favorite nigori) and the giant bottle of Oni-Karakuchi ("The Demon's Dry Sake" or, as we called it, "Demon Sake"). Both were superb. We also opened the Choya Ume-Shu for folks who like sweet stuff.

We had a decent, if small, crowd. We were two doors down, though, from "The Night of 1,000 Jell-o Shots" party. It was crazy, and overflowed into the hall regularly. There was enough interest that we stayed open until about 1:30 am (and outlasted the Jell-o shots). When we decided to close, we took the remains of the sake (the tail-end of the Yoshikawa and Oni-karakuchi) to check out the other parties.

There was a rather wild party still going on at the other end of the second floor, attended by their newly-crowned Majesties; we checked it out for a few minutes, and then headed up to the 5th floor to the Wine & Cheese party. By the time we got there they were down to dessert wines, soft cheeses and chocolate pate. They weren't done yet, though. It was most excellent, and as they were running out of wine we left the sake bottles for them to finish.

gurdymonkey wisely accepted our offer to crash in our spare bed rather than attempt the long drive home, and helped us pack out Sunday morning.

All in all, a good weekend. We made some useful connections at the event, threw a great party, and had a good time.


I get more and more disillusioned with "first past the pole" in a multi-way race. Anyone who declares the Iowa Democratic Caucus as anything other than a 3-way dead heat or the New Hampshire Democratic Primary as anything other than a 2-way dead heat (with Edwards making a distant but respectable third place) obviously forgets that more people voted against "the winner" than voted for them. They also forget that neither state is a "winner-take-all" delegate assignment election. The same goes for the Republicans, with McCain, Romney and Huckabee all turning in respectable vote percentages and delegate counts.

It's going to be a long and sloppy primary season. We've got Nevada and South Carolina coming up soon (along with the rogue caucuses and primaries in Wyoming, Michigan, Florida and Maine that violate party rules). Unless something goofy happens with Democratic superdelegates and Republican unpledged delegates (Clinton already apparently has a fist full of Democratic superdelegates), we might even make it out of Super Tuesday without any candidate having enough delegates to gain the nomination.