bunny_hugger, skylerbunny, and I were ready for dinner, with almost no preconceptions about what to get except it needed a vegetarian option, since she's reliably vegetarian and I'm trying to get more that way. We would have liked to meet up with bluerain and company to eat, too, but they had more complicated schedules, from having a presence in the Dealers' Room and from bluerain's status as a Guest of Honor. I'm not certain of the precise order of events but I am fairly sure we spent a fair time Friday evening in the hotel lobby hoping to meet up and form more definite plans, only to end up concluding good grief there's some huge dogs here.
And there were, in what I suppose was a bit of the hotel tolerating the presence of animals for the convention. They weren't doing anything too exciting besides being pets there in a busy, positive, cheery social situation. The most eye-catching animal was a Great Dane who was, I estimate, larger than I was from birth through June of this year, cumulative. I couldn't help looking at him and saying, ``I will never laugh at Marmaduke again ... which, admittedly, I wasn't really at risk of doing.''
Eventually we concluded that getting together for dinner just wasn't going to happen tonight, but perhaps it would tomorrow night, and there would be miniature golf at one of the two indoor miniature golf places which had been located to this point. We didn't think the Con Suite food would make for a suitable dinner, so we set off outside to get to a restaurant, walking briskly because I had left my jacket back at our hotel since, after all, how long were we going to spend walking outside anyway? The nearest restaurant to the hotel's front door ... looked to be a little too pricey for us, not to mention a little too upscale for people dressed in sweatpants or T-shirts or bunny ears, and we turned to aim for the family-style Italian place across the highway.
Now, I don't mind a modest walk through the cold. I know that when it's in the 30s out (and not raining or snowing or such) you won't get frostbite right away. Nevertheless, we were building up the minutes outside, and the Italian place seemed to be receding about two steps for every pace we took toward it, and yes, there were street lights to stop the highway but there's crossing that even as we were dressed and, you know, there was this other restaurant just out the front door that maybe we should try instead. Also, this is my first winter not being fat, and I do need to rebuild my instincts for how to be out in the cold without getting too frozen. There's ways to walk, and stand, and just to be in the cold; I still need to re-learn them, in much the way I still have to get used to how I look in mirrors.
It's possible that the distance from where we changed direction to the other restaurant wasn't the same as the Italian place would be, but we weren't forced to sit waiting for traffic lights for it, so it felt like we were going somewhere nearer. The place turned out to be American cuisine, so we were able to get nachos and pizza after a wait that wasn't quite too long, and for which they gave us those little pager-boxes which I don't think was actually used to summon us when they were ready. Also they had a little newsletter which we scanned for curious information.
After we were finished eating, we got back in touch with bluerain and all: they were ready for dinner. Care for us to come along?
Well, more, would there be another time we'd be likely able to get together for a meal? They'd have just as scheduled a day Saturday, and on Sunday bunny_hugger and I would have to set out in the early evening in order to get to her home --- she had work Monday morning. We figured that we could go, sure, and we'd just get something to drink rather than a second dinner, and we'd have the chance to talk some.
The larger group had wanted to go to a pizza place, which seemed reasonable; the challenging thing was, how to get there? We had just too many people to go in orv's rented car, and we started hearing talk about plans to make two trips or to go in one car and a taxi or two taxis or maybe two men and a midget with a unicycle ... what we settled on was probably where we should have started: they'd take as many people in their car as they could, and we'd take a taxi, and that should be fine. It would be perfectly fine, in fact, had our taxi driver known just where the pizza place was. We were able to give him the address from the con book, and his satellite navigation system seemed to accept it, but he was really uncertain about it and eventually called the restaurant. It turned out that it was a hotel restaurant for another hotel in the area, one nobody we knew of was staying at, which may explain why its street number was funny and drew such skepticism from our driver.
The conversation turned out fairly light and bouncy and cheery, with talk about bluerain's career, and skylerbunny talking with kevinjdog about his (Kevin's) local hall-of-fame spot, which he (Skyler) had visited recently. We slightly disoriented the servers by having three people interested only in drinks and there was minor confusion about who got what appetizers, but given the size of the group and the odd end that we made that's probably only normal. And there was a curious little conversational piece: a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 quotes traded back and forth.
I'm a big Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, and about the only thing I regret in it is that I didn't listen to the friends who in 1992 were telling me I just had to see this show. (In my defense, my friends had a terrible track record guessing what things I could stand, although they were right about They Might Be Giants too.) I even regularly commit acts of fan fiction for the show, and fairly often lead MiSTing nights on spindizzy_muck. But for all that it'd take some careful deduction to notice that fandom in my routine daily life; it just doesn't come up very often. I felt a little bit like I was being gently nudged to identify the riffs from Werewolf or The Giant Spider Invasion or The Creeping Terror and to throw out my own catalogue of favorite riffs.
Well, I didn't want to feel like I was testing their fannishness by answering the trivia-question of what-episode-is-this-from, and maybe I could come up with a roster of favorite riffs, but they weren't popping into mind easily so I figured I should just let things drift. And for the rest of the dinner, and weekend, they did, and I don't think it did anyone any harm.
It happens that I did work a favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff into casual conversation, several times over the weekend: ``I had no preconceptions.'' This would be a ready answer about things I might prefer and if I would be all right having them some other way. If anyone caught the episode it was from, they didn't say either.
Trivia: To negotiate a settlement of the War of 1812, Lord Ashburton proposed to American peace envoy Albert Gallatin, then in Saint Petersburg, Russia, that they negotiate in either London or in Gothenburg, Sweden. After extended debate Gallatin proposed London (which would keep British delegates from delaying talks on the grounds they could not get instructions from foreign secretary Lord Castlereigh); but Speaker of the House Henry Clay, joining the peace delegation, opposed leaving Gothenburg. On Castlereigh's suggestion they compromised by holding the talks in Ghent, Belgium. Source: Union 1812: The Americans Who Fought The Second War Of Independence, A J Langguth.
Currently Reading: Reluctant Rebels: The Story Of The Continental Congress, 1774 - 1789, Lynn Montross. I'm reading this because it started to bug me that every book on the Revolutionary War mentions the Continental Congress for about three paragraphs in declaring independence, then mentions how it couldn't raise taxes and barely held together, and then we blur over to Shay's Rebellion. I mean, they had to do something for fifteen years. They had to do more than just send John Adams to things so he could disapprove of them.