austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

So I booked my seat and confirmed a reservation

We'd expected to make Thursday a quiet day, giving us a chance to breathe and relax after the excitement of the amusement park and to get ready for the excitement expected for Friday.

Our only really specific goal was to go to a nearby mall and pick up bunny_hugger's new contact lens prescription. This started out in a very good place, at the bookstore where she occasionally works part-time; there's always plenty of things to look at in a good-sized Borders-class bookstore, including this time what appeared to be an author's chat with a comfortable number of people in attendance. I'm kind of glad I don't need to go on promotional tours, as the author of mathematics books that nobody ever buys for themselves and only barely read for themselves, since the chat-in-a-bookstore seems like a really agonizing process, but it sounded like a pretty good session going on in there.

Nothing particularly odd or entertaining happened in the picking up of her contact lenses, so we went to the mall's arcade for entertainment instead. bunny_hugger had a game token which she hoped to use to play Dance Dance Revolution, and as best as I could tell she did rather well on her set. I got some change and we played Ms Pac Man, in which bunny_hugger completed 84 boards and got to the first thirteen movies besides getting ten extra lives; I got nearly two-thirds of the way through the first board. All right, it wasn't that imbalanced, but it still wasn't pretty.

They also had an air hockey table so we tried out that. We did pretty well getting quite a few nice volleys, and if bunny_hugger beat me convincingly, I'd like to point out she was helped by two own-goals that I managed. We were left mid-game wondering just what score the air hockey table went up to, but as there was no attendant in the arcade we had no way of knowing except to keep playing until the machine made us stop. We proved to be playing to seven points.

Another game which interested us was a jet landing simulator. This had a pretty plausible-looking replica of a jet's cockpit and the promise of the chance to try landing at airports in either beginner mode, where you just worry about steering and speed, or advanced mode, where you also have to worry about stuff like whether the landing gear is deployed. Really tantalizingly there's also the option of pushing a button to get the co-pilot's advice on the situation.

I put my token in and ... got nothing. I put in a second and ... got nothing. There were several plausible options for start buttons, none of which accomplished anything. Rather than keep feeding tokens into it I chose to glare at the machine with looks of pain and frustration, which should have left it feeling extremely guilty. If there were any attendant I'd have reported the game broken or gotten a refund, but instead, all I got was the phone number to call to report problems; I resolved to call and, I was sure, have some weird event result from this. I haven't got around to calling yet. But the spirit was there.

bunny_hugger's rabbit needed some supplies, so we had a little detour to the pet food store. That was easy enough to find, and we spent a little time wandering around taking in the current stock of fish in their little artificial ``river'', plus the varieties of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils on display. I also realized what seems like a curious genetic anomaly attached to guinea pigs.

Many animals, if you have something bred for in one species, you can find it bred for in another. For example, there's long-haired guinea pigs who look like the non-stick end of a mop. You can find similarly long-haired versions of rabbits, and cats, and dogs, and so on. Similarly many of the basic spotting patterns you can see similar versions of across the domesticated animal line.

But one of the interesting variants of guinea pigs is the Abyssinian, the kind with eight or more sworls in their fur so it looks kind of like a turbulent water flow in fur. It's really striking. So where are the Abyssinian rabbits? Or cats? There are dogs with rather erratic furs, but nothing that's got that long and swirly combination like guinea pigs have. It seems odd that only guinea pigs should have the genetic potential for that sort of fur, and yet, I don't know of it in other animals. Am I just missing it?

We were getting hungry, though, and bunny_hugger had an idea for just where to eat --- a restaurant near campus that she used to visit regularly but hadn't been to in years. Along the way to supper we happened to meet one of bunny_hugger's coworkers and we had a nice little chat with him, which shows the sort of thing that will happen when you use a parking garage you don't often go to.

The restaurant, actually a combination restaurant and bar, has the bar/eating area up front, connected by a relatively long corridor --- with a Galaga machine midsection --- leading past the bathrooms to another eating area. This prompted me to report to bunny_hugger that there was a whole other restaurant in back of the restaurant. Well, it's really the same restaurant, just that one's more the lunchtime entrance and the other's the dinnertime/bar entrance, but it still made for an engagingly odd geometry by my eyes.

The particular attraction at the restaurant was a ``smeed sandwich'', a pita sandwich featuring a not particularly explicable version of cracked wheat along with hummus and which proved stunningly delicious. It's another of those things where they're doing great stuff with processing grains and I can't say it really tastes like anything else. I'd never thought of wheat-cracking on these terms before. The hummus was rather good too, although I'd only gotten the plain hummus rather than a more exotically spiced one; my thinking had been that if the smeed had turned out unsatisfying at least the hummus would be a safe side dish. I shouldn't have worried, but, I worry naturally. You know me.

So it was a quiet day. We still got to play some games, and not play another, and had a really good meal. What's to dislike?

Trivia: Secretary of State (and Acting Secretary of War) James Monroe considered personally leading the United States expedition to recapture Detroit from the British. Source: Union 1812, A J Langguth.

Currently Reading: The Bodelian Way, Louis Trimble.


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