The bus stop wasn't exactly at the corner, but I walked down the street a bit and found a bus stop and waited. This bus also seemed to be running late, but it finally arrived, and I flashed my Day Pass and took a seat and read Powers. I was a little afraid of missing the stop, but the museum was at Seattle Center, which was also home to the Space Needle, so I figured it would be hard to miss. I did ask my seatmate if he knew what stop to get off at. He gave me a little bit of guidance.
We approached the Space Needle, but I didn't really know where the bus was going to go. How close would it go? Would it go right past it? Finally, I decided that it was close enough and all I really had to do was walk toward the Space Needle. It was hard to miss.
I didn't know the most efficient way of getting there, but then I remembered that I had a tourist map in my backpack! I was glad I'd gone ahead and taken it from that guy at Pike Place or wherever. I called Omnis, who said that they had just gone in, so I wasn't even that late. It still took me a few minutes to figure out how the hell to get to the museum, but I found it.
Admission was $15, and it also included the Experience Music Project! Huh! I hadn't planned on checking that out on its own, but since it was included, why not?
I called Omnis again, who told me that he and Laga were by Kermit. In the basement was a Jim Henson exhibit. We saw all sorts of Muppets and old Muppet videos and sketches and photos and experimental films by Jim Henson. I had no idea he did weird experimental films! But he was a really smart guy, it seemed, who thought about what he was doing. You see a Muppet, and it just looks silly, but you don't think about what it actually takes to create something like that.
There was also this thing where you could be in a Muppet band! I criticized the little kids for not being Muppet-y enough. The drummer wasn't drumming! Come on, do something with your hands! Move the thing around or something!
Then as we were standing around, the woman said she needed two adult volunteers, so Laga and I were totally game. I got the Jimi Hendrix Muppet! I would have preferred to be Kurt Cobain, but some girl was already Kurt. The song we got was "Mahna Mahna," which is not a very good song to rock out to, exactly.
We could see on the monitors what the audience on the other side was seeing. We tried to stay crouched down so our heads weren't showing and raised the Muppet only enough so that our arms weren't showing. I wasn't sure how to move Jimi's left hand and guitar without making my own hand too visible, however. What I discovered is that controlling a Muppet is way harder than it looks! I mean, I wasn't sure what to...do. When professionals do it, the puppets feel alive, like they have personality. I could sway Jimi back and forth and have him mouth the words, maybe headbang, but it was all so scattered! Sorry, little kids, for making fun of you before!
We also liked the walls of Muppet fur. It was soft and fuzzy, and the impressions would remain. Some people had created some pretty neat art on one wall, whereas we had just rubbed it gleefully.
The exhibit was not that large, and we soon found ourselves in the Sci Fi Museum proper, where I started to lose track of Omnis and Laga, but we were all doing the thing at our own pace. Omnis was playing with a console that gave information on all kinds of spaceships. They had Moya! But apparently not Serenity. There was a neat little display of different Visions of the Future, from Blade Runner to The Jetsons to The Matrix. They had the model of the Death Star! Basically, though, the museum was filled with lots of random-ass props from sci-fi TV and movies along with old first editions of sci-fi novels and magazines. There were categorized displays of anything you could think of. Weapons. Helmets. Uniforms. Scientific equipment. There was a lot of Star Trek stuff (from "The Paul Allen Collection"), so I could geek out over the communicator and the tricorder and Kirk's tunic. But I found that seeing random-ass props behind glass was really not all that exciting.
What was interesting was the displays focused on various sci-fi themes like teleportation and cloning and dystopias. Because they had a lot of interesting books that I had not heard of but can now not remember. But I mean there have been books with pretty damn cool concepts! Like one where people have no arms so they can't fight each other or something. And one where the speed of light is only a few miles per hour. It fascinated me that an author could just take one simple idea and then build an entire book around it, think about all the consequences and what it would mean for humanity and then explore it. That's what science fiction is all about, anyway.
Upstairs, I ran into Dana and -t and their husbands, who were leaving the first floor as I was entering. The first floor had a pretty awesome display of the Baroque Cycle manuscript...WRITTEN BY HAND. Stacks and stacks of paper in CURSIVE. WTF, Neal Stephenson?? Also? The pens and DISCARDED INK CARTRIDGES he used to write the books. Really? Ink cartridges? Shut up, museum.
There was even a display on fandom! Aw. I never thought about it, but fandom pretty much started from Letters to the Editor. That was the place where fans could make their voices heard at first. Then there were conventions and Webzines and...wait, hold on a second. There was a screenshot of the Internet Review of Science Fiction, a Webzine.
Take a look at the Section Editors represented.
Yoon Ha Lee? Like...yhlee? I didn't know her personally, but she was good friends with rachelmanija! Holy crap, cool! I had to furtively snap these illegal pictures so I could show her that she was in the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.
The museum was pretty small. We did it in about an hour, although you could spend a lot longer there if you actually read and watched everything.
I found Omnis and Laga at the gift shop, beside which there was a Star Trek Scene It! game. Omnis and I were not that good at it. Laga pressed a penny into a souvenir.
Then it was on to the Experience Music Project! Where we were first greeted by a tower of guitars...some of which were playing themselves! They were programmed by a computer; you could see some of the picks moving and listen on the headphones.
I again lost track of them as I flew around. I was less interested in music history than I was in science fiction, and I was already sort of museumed out. Whatever, LEARNING. I did, of course, take a little time to appreciate the entire section on "Louie, Louie." And, as any MOBster knows, I was compelled to do the Louie Dance. I also appreciated the display of stuff from the Seattle music scene, like various instruments from Nirvana and the original printed lyrics for "Burden in My Hand" and "Lump." This just in: Chris Cornell doesn't know the difference between "there" and "their" ("Oh no, their she goes"). It was neat to see some old lyrics for "Lump" crossed out and replaced with the ones we knew. Just little phrases or words that either didn't scan as well or, more interestingly, just gave the song a different feel.
One room had a sort of "Evolution of Guitars" thing that was kind of cool. I saw Kurt Cobain's favorite guitar!
Upstairs, there were a bunch of boring poster prints or something. But they also had this thing where you could pretend to be a rock band at a concert or something? I wanted to do it with Omnis and Laga, but they were heading out. As if on cue, however, someone called my name...and it was Teacup Guy! I asked him if he wanted to rock out with me, and he was game. We got in line behind a French guy who asked us if we wanted to rock out with him, and we were game. He had chosen the band name I Am Alone, but we decided to keep it even though we were three people now.
We watched an instructional video before going in. The French guy had already claimed guitar, and there was no bass for TCG, so he took keyboard, while I took drums. The French guy had chosen "Purple Haze," which I didn't know (although I discovered I did know the mondegreen, at least). The instruments were real, so I could bang on the drums all I wanted, but we weren't supposed to worry about how we sounded since the song was playing above us anyway, and the recording of screaming fans would not be affected by how much we sucked. So we just had fun. I was better at fake-drumming to Jimi Hendrix than being a Jimi Hendrix Muppet. At the requested moment, we all made rock star poses when a picture was taken. Afterward, of course, they tried to sell us said picture and a DVD of our performance. They did allow us to watch our three minutes of fame for free, though. It was amusing, but not worth twenty dollars. We all got ticket stubs of our concert, which was pretty cool. I AM ALONE played the Onstage Performance Auditorium...for $60! Damn, we were an expensive band.
The French guy departed, and TCG wandered into a section where you could play instruments, but it was very crowded, so we left. I'd spent another hour or so in the EMP; he'd spent a couple hours there. He'd wanted to see the Sci Fi Museum, but he was also ready to head back to the hotel, as was I. And, to my surprise, he wanted to walk. I hadn't realized it wasn't that far! He said he'd walked there in about twenty minutes, showing me the tourist map. Well, huh. I was fine with walking. He liked walking to relax and clear his head.
We plotted our course and set out. Another thing he liked about walking was seeing how the neighborhoods changed as you moved toward downtown. You could actually see the same street morph from a more residential district to shopping shopping shopping! At one corner, I actually saw Kristin and Erin and Fay at the opposite corner going shopping shopping shopping, but they didn't see us.
It was getting close to 5, and I was a little hungry, but I wasn't sure what dinner plans were. I decided that now would be a good time to satisfy my desire for a piroshky. I told TCG of my intentions, and he said he was up for a snack as well. He called sj to see if she wanted something, and she requested a plain bagel. We walked down to Pike Place Market, and I found Piroshky Piroshky. If only I had come to my decision earlier and also realized that other streets besides Pike could take us down to the market, we wouldn't have had to double back so much. I got the smoked salmon paté piroshky, and TCG got the mushroom and cheese or broccoli and cheese or something like that. My piroshky was warm and tasty, but it only seemed to make me hungrier. TCG got a bagel from Three Girls Bakery, and we trekked back to the hotel.
Since it was between 5 and 6, there was free wine again. I took a seat next to the standing Cass and Trudy Booth and SailAweigh, who engaged in sexually explicit conversations that defiled my virgin ears.
"I don't think I'm old enough to hear this," said Cass, looking at me, "so you definitely aren't!" Cass and Trudes joked about being [Caucasian] white [she-]devils, as they are wont to do.
Cass kindly asked me how I was doing and how I'd been, wanting to catch up with me, but I guess I was very tired and moody at the time and not too responsive. She asked me what the craziest new meat I'd had recently was, and I couldn't remember. I'd pretty much gone through them at this point; 2008 was nuts. The craziest thing I'd eaten was still kangaroo.
Once the free wine stopped flowing, we took the elevator up. Trudes was afraid my mom would kill her for being around me, but I assured her that my mom would probably not kill her. Trudes was still afraid of her.
Up in the Hospitality Suite, it was The Time on F2F When We Watch Fanvids. Fun times. There was a freaking hilarious Stargate: Atlantis vid for "We Built This City" that was awesome even for those of us who didn't watch the show. "It has sparkles!" exclaimed Dana.
Fay complimented my "I'm famous on the Internet" shirt.
People had already had dinner or weren't planning on going out before Prom, so I considered making it a tradition to go get cheap food and bring it back to the Hospitailty Suite, as I had at my last F2F. But I walked around the area and could not find anything to my liking and, anyway, I discovered that I actually was not that hungry! The piroshky had taken a half hour or so to kick in, but I felt satiated enough to last a couple hours. So I went back to the HS and hung out until it was time to get dressed for Prom.
And then I got dressed for prom. It was easier for me than it was for all the ladies changing into fancy dresses and corsets and whatnot. Or even for the men changing into fancy suits and kilts and whatnot.
Scola had a very James Bond vibe going for him.
Meanwhile, the pretty pretty princesses ran all around!
I think Lillian has learned how to smile for the camera.
The plan, Plei said, was to let the girls run around and get tired early on so they could then crash upstairs and let the parents have some fun. That plan didn't exactly work out since they were bundles of energy, but no one minded having them around. Except maybe Juliana this one time.
It's not a Buffista Prom until smonster bellydances! Her first song of the night was Supernatural-themed, although I didn't recognize it.
She was truly a Woman in White. Except not dead.
We had nourishment in the back, some dips and such. Guacamole, tapenade, spinach-artichoke and the like. There was also a large mirror.
MY HEAD ASPLODE!
Oh, but then the right song came in, and it was time for SWOOPY DANCING!
Later, the familiar opening of "Blister in the Sun" came on, and we all clapped at the right moment. It appeared to be a Prom favorite; I remembered it appearing on the playlist three years ago as well.
Everyone knew what to do when the song got to the soft part...
When I'm walking, I strut my stuff, yeah I'm so strung out...
Down, down, down they went. The proto-Buffistas were learning the dance at an early age. And then...
LET ME GO OOOOOON!
I spent most of Prom wandering about. Like in the Hospitality Suite, there were lots of little groups conversing, but I didn't know which I belonged to. I knew I wouldn't function well at Prom, though; I've never been to a formal, and even though this was just a bunch of friends dressing up and dancing, it still wasn't my scene. Plei asked me how I was doing. I said I wished I drank, as it would make things a lot easier. I vocalized the thought I'd had before, that I wasn't good in large social situations even with people I knew. She pointed out that Dana wasn't drinking and still having fun, so I was clearly just a loser. I may have added that last part in my head.
It didn't help that everyone looked intimidatingly hot! Omnis was rocking his suit, buckle, and boots, celebrating his recent move to Texas. Drew is at home in a kilt. Meara looked excellent in a corset that was off-the-rack but could have been made-to-wear, it fit her so well. And in her later dress (oh yes, Prom involves costume changes), she was ready for the red carpet. Drew declared it perfection.
"Erin," I said, "you look lovelier than usual."
"Thank you," she replied. "You look very dapper."
There was an unplanned black-and-red theme running through our outfits; if I had known, I would have brought black pants! I would have matched with Pete.
On the topic of outfits, I did get to play hero. Erin had bought an awesome necklace that matched her dress, but there was a tag in the back that wouldn't come off. Kristin tried to get it out to no avail. I said I could go get my [shaving] scissors, expecting the old "That's fine, we'll figure something out," but I got to be useful! I went back to my room and got the scissors and came back. Krisin snip-snipped, and I returned them to my room. I like being useful.
Omnis was very useful, as he set up his computer to Skype with Shir...all the way in Israel! She had woken up early to be able to join Prom by proxy, and she logged on just in time to see smonster's second dance...to My Chemical Romance.
I did some dancing of my own. I couldn't not dance to "Closer," and then there were some Fall Out Boy and Cobra Starship songs. And the Buffy theme to rock out to. At least I didn't have to feel self-conscious in this crowd since no one would judge and we were all just there to have fun and enjoy ourselves.
Laga would not let the dance floor go to waste and continued to rock out all night. She was very energetic and fun to watch, kicking her legs and jumping around.
After midnight, the party moved up to the Hospitality Suite, where much debauchery occurred.
Fay's responses, as always, were classic. If you look closely, you may notice that we are keeping her.
Sean was able to Skype in; he was really sad about missing the fun, but he had his first show to open. We all took turns standing in front of the webcam and talking to him.
"Sunil!" he said when he saw me. Aw, he was excited to see me. He was perhaps more excited to see Trudy's boobs, however, whose owner he identified before she identified herself. Since he missed the bellydancing, smonster gave him a private show.
"We don't see your hands!" someone cried. "Show us your hands!" He stayed on for a while, and then he came back later on.
Eventually, however, I was too tired and I went to sleep, leaving the rest to their shenanigans.
I slept in Sunday morning. It was Father's Day, so I called home and blah blah blah arranged marriage deadline.
We were all zonked in the Hospitality Suite, but we were all sitting in a big circle, which I liked because it included everyone. We were supposed to only have the room until noon, but Juliana had wrangled us an extra ninety minutes or so. We had it till 1:30...or the mythical 1:45, which kept being touted as an unsubstantiated alternative.
SA and Dana and her husband and I were hungry, so we walked down to Pike Place Market for lunch. SA suggested Beecher's Handmade Cheese, which had the world's best mac and cheese. She had to go pack before checking out at noon, though, so she left. I wasn't sure about the mac and cheese, so I went with the crab sandwich instead, which was...all right. There wasn't much crab in it, and all it was was crab and cheese for ten bucks. The fun part was watching them make cheese on the other side of the glass, though. We saw a giant tub go from a vat of liquid to a giant pile of curds.
Back at the HS, afternoon plans were being made, most involving shopping. Some wanted to go to Diva Dollz, which sold corsets and fancy dresses and accessories and that sort of thing. I was not really interested in that excursion. I heard SA and Fay say they were going to go to a bookstore.
"I love bookstores!" I said. "May I join you?" I could!
But, oh ho, it was a trick! Because our large group was heading to Pioneer Square, where we first stopped at...Diva Dollz! Curses! I sat on a cushion and read Powers and stole glances at the cute saleslady as the women looked at and tried on pretty outfits.
But then we went our separate ways! SA and Fay and Toddson and I went in search of a bookstore. The one we had been told to go to was closed, but we found a nice used bookstore to poke around in. And then we spent a fair bit of time in this neat little store with arty, oddball gifts like a crocodile staple remover and a magnetic decision maker and transparent playing cards. Everything was overpriced, but it was cool stuff.
We had passed a Jimmy John's on the way, and SA was totally craving a Jimmy John's sandwich, but she wanted to split it. I would totally split it, as I hadn't had Jimmy John's in at least three years. There was one with turkey and avocado that she liked, so she ordered that. I pulled out my wallet and found that I didn't have enough singles to pay for my share. She gave me the little handwave and said, "It's on me." Aw! We were totally buds.
Mmm, Jimmy John's. I wasn't obsessed with them, but they were good.
We had run into Frank, who had come from a big bookstore down the street, so we walked a couple blocks and found Elliott Bay Books. It was big; we agreed to meet back at the entrance in forty-five minutes. Buffistas can spend hours in a bookstore; it's good to set limits.
I spent a lot of the time in the Children's Lit and YA section. There were so many cool books! I became entranced with a book called The Name of This Book Is Secret, by Pseudonymous Bosch. I flipped through it. The first page is a big "WARNING: DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS PAGE!" And then you read beyond this page, and the narrator says, "Good. Now I know I can trust you." The first chapter is all Xs, and the second chapter apologizes for not showing me the first chapter because it would tell me too much about the story and the characters, like, you know, what it's about and who they are. It seemed like a fun, clever, metatacular book that I would enjoy. And it was only six bucks! I didn't know whether it was as good as it sounded, though. It was an Edgar nominee, and there were some favorable review quotes, but...I'd never heard of it.
Then something else caught my eye! The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya!! As in...the first light novel! In English! In book form! Eeee!! I coveted it. But I didn't know whether this bookstore was cool for selling it or whether it would be available at Borders. So I found SA and asked to borrow her portable Internet. Browsing on an iPhone is a bitch, but I did find that my Borders in Emeryville likely had copies, so I was good not to buy it here.
But I did decide to buy The Name of This Book Is Secret because sometimes it's nice to just impulse-buy when you're on vacation. (If you have read the book or heard anything about it, please do not tell me anything. I want to go in with no preconceptions or biases.) SA was very pleased that I had bought the book.
And then we trekked back!
The HS had been emptied at 1:30...or 1:45, which meant the Buffistas had migrated downstairs. The vampire people would not, in fact, leave the lobby.
Fay had a fabulous idea to have us sign her copy of Will the Vampire People Please the Lobby? She passed it around. Also, she liked my Hyperbole shirt. Fay liked all my shirts! I like Fay. Meanwhile, we watched Buffy vs. Edward on a laptop and were hilaritized.
Then it was time for Jilli to get ready for her book tour! First, she posed for me.
Buy Gothic Charm School! On sale now!
She also did a practice reading to prepare for all the public reading she'd be doing over the next couple weeks. Pete suggested it was best to do it in front of her friends who loved her first. I took a picture with flash to give her the true fan experience.
Finally, it was time for dinner. Except I had other plans! So this would be it for P-C Among the Buffistas. Hugs all around!
When I hugged SA, I told her it was great to meet her, and we totally bonded.
"We totally did!" she said. "That deserves a fist-bump of bonding." So we did the fist-bump of bonding.
Laga remained! Since it was after 5, there was sangria and Mario Kart Wii set up. She didn't really know how to play, but it's not a difficult game to learn. I personally kicked her ass on a number of races, but for some reason her goddamn teammates kept narrowly pulling her team ahead of mine. Grr!
My ride arrived, and then it was time to hug Laga goodbye as well! Sad.
Stephanie, a friend of mine from Rice, greeted me outside with a hug. I don't think I'd seen her since I graduated. Her fiancé, Mike, was driving; he was also from Rice. And not just Rice, but the MOB, the best and most awesome scatter band in the world. And not just the MOB, but the Show Assistants. It was a special kind of MOBcest.
As we drove away, I had conflicting feelings. I felt more comfortable with my Rice friends, whom I'd spent years of actual face-time with, but I suddenly missed the Buffistas fiercely.
We went up to Capitol Hill and found a parking spot right by 22 Doors. We snagged a table. It was Happy Hour, which meant we could get discounted truffle fries as an appetizer. We were soon joined by Audrey, another Show Assistant I hadn't seen since graduating. In fact, Stephanie hadn't seen her since graduating either, despite their living in the same city. It was an SA Reunion! Not be confused with an SA Reunion, which is when SA and I see each other again.
We all caught up on each other's lives and munched on tastily oiled fries dipped in aioli. I had come here for the famed veggie burger, however, which, to my surprise, was not touted on the menu. It was simply an alternative to the burger. No mouth-watering description? No "Voted one of the 12 Best Burgers in Seattle"? It was a $12 veggie burger, talk it up a little.
But I guess it spoke for itself.
I took a bite.
It was pretty tasty. Not mindblowing, but very interesting and different for a veggie burger. It was almost like a falafel patty, really.
Then it was off to Old School Frozen Custard! It was only ten blocks away or so, and they did not mind a walk. We talked and joked along the way; I feel at home with Rice folk. They are My People, as they say.
The custard place had a decent crowd for a Sunday evening. It appeared their flavors were vanilla and chocolate + a rotating flavor. Today's was cherry cheesecake, which didn't appeal to me. I was up for chocolate, and since it was a little chilly out, I wanted it with hot fudge. Some of their sundaes were very enticing, however.
So frozen custard basically tastes like frozen yogurt, but it's thicker and more solid, which makes it feel a little more substantial and superior. We were all happy with our frozen custard. Audrey was happy with the sign in the bathroom, so I had to go see for myself.
You definitely want to read it.
And then we walked back a little ahead of schedule. We still had some time for lollygagging before I had to get to the airport, but there wasn't much to lollygag about, so we commemorated our Show Assistant Reunion.
Mike is tall.
Mike and Stephanie whisked me off to Sea-Tac, and then...it was over! I was alone! No more friends! No more Buffistas! Woe! It had been a fun time, and now my fingers hurt.
In conclusion, polar bear.