I had downloaded the non-web printer driver set-up, so the load went just peachy.
Breakfast was quick (a pattern for the weekend, but also an exception for each day), and I arrived to find one of my group already waiting. I was down 7 seats from a full bus, and as we were collecting Julie and Greg Sardo showed up to check in. They needed a nap, but their room wasn't ready so they joined us too.
Our bus arrived, the incomparable Al from Mercury Tours, and he got us on the road post-haste. We easily made Scharffen Berger with shopping time to spare. Bill arrived with Sakuta-san (who had flown in from Japan that morning) just in time for the tour.
I've lived in the Bay Area for 9 years and have never gone on the Scharffen Berger tour. Big mistake. It's really cool. It's even better with a big bunch of friends. Terry, tour guide extraodinare, made a bunch of jokes that we all got. It might be the first time a tour got every joke. We also surprised him by wanting to keep our hair nets and beard nets.
The schedule from there was pretty tight, but we had about 50 minutes for lunch at Café Cacao. Oy, was it worth it. The Niman Ranch Jambon (ham) and Gruyere Panini was amazing. I think everybody was thrilled.
From there Al got us promptly to St. George Spirits, which was (not surprisingly for a Thursday afternoon) dead-empty. Our gang of 18 lined up at the bar and proceeded to taste the whole line, including an apple brandy that wasn't on the list and both the old "Lot #6" and the new "Lot #7" single-malt Whisky. We also pulled out the bottle of "Alchemist Series #1" Wasabi Vodka from 2005 that I brought, and that the folks at the distillery hadn't tasted any of in over a year. It had mellowed out a lot, but it still had a strong, rich (and strange) flavor.
Lou (the tasting room manager) and Dave (the junior distiller) took us on a tour of the facilities. People were well impressed by the stills, the aging area and a big vat of orange blossoms macerating in vodka. Much alcohol was purchased.
Al got us back to the hotel by 4:45 (only a little later than anticipated), a happy gang laden with chocolate and booze.
I don't remember much about dinner, I'm sure it was at the Coffee Garden. Wait, I do remember. Pre-reg pick-up opened while we were at dinner, and we could see the desk from our table. There was a steady rush for badges, but the line moved quickly and they stayed open nearly an hour later than they anticipated.
We went up to hospitality, and found a few people hanging out. That picked up a little after 10:00 pm, and by 10:30 the room was busy. This is a sign the convention has really started.
Around midnight a few of us went up to our room and discussed logistical issues going on at the con over drinks. Or, rather, we went up to the room for drinks, and as non-committee folks trailed out it shifted to discussing behind-the-scenes stuff. Now that the weekend is over, I've changed my opinion on a few of them. A few I still hold the same position on. I think, though, as things played out these issues ended up being relatively minor. We did, though, stay up until almost 4:00am talking these things through.
Sleep: 4-5 hours