Before covering the events taking place on the first Saturday of May 2009, let's take a trip on the Way-Back machine to the last Saturday of April 2009 where I met up with several fellow idiot man-children to obsessively wave our overcompensating clubs around while attempting to shove our balls into several strange holes like professional golfers. In other words, we were celebrating the birthdays of Rico, Jonas, and Wendell at Milpitas Golfland Outback Steakhouse.
It began with the basic Milpitas Golfland activity. Jonas reigned on Pump It Up and Dance Dance Revolution. Charie and Janelle-Ann practiced on Para Para Paradise. Rico and Viking the token white guy played fighting games. BART Boy played DDR and racing games while Karen was dodging my camera lens. I bought a round of Pepsi and played a couple embarrassing rounds of DDR and Para Para Paradise while under a solid painkiller haze.
As great as the video games are, a trip to Golfland must have miniature golf otherwise we could have just as easily played our own video games at home while chatting online. So miniature golfing we did. Or rather, the men went golfing. And when a bunch of men come together with limited chaperone support (Karen in our case), the men de-evolve into idiot man-children with the combined IQ of a lobotomized monkey. The women stayed back to practice their Para Para and talk feminine things like gossip or how they will take over the world after the man-children club themselves to death with golf clubs.
When playing golf with a female, my ability increases in direct proportion in how much I want to prove to her that I have enough coordination to play a simple sport. But when playing against my fellow idiot man-children, I could care less whether I hit the golf ball or someone's knees. Simple hole in one shots could now take seven frustrating strokes... and it did. Though I did manage at least one hole in one. Rico managed three. The Pepsi took its toll during the game as my swings became wilder. And as my golf ball hit Rico's head, the lesson on this game of golf was when you drink, don't drive. This was the final score among the five of us, give or take a few strokes for bad math, bad handwriting, and good cheating:
Jonas: 48; BART Boy: 50; Rico: 67; Viking: 68; Tom: 54
After scraping Rico off the golf course, we headed to Dave & Busters for dinner. But D&B was too crowded due to the Sharks game so after a game of Sliders against Jonas we tried Outback Steakhouse. Wendell and Rico's brother joined us and between yelling at the Sharks game playing there and typical rabid fanboy in-jokes, we somehow managed not to get kicked out.
Now that I've completed that contractually obligated birthday party coverage, let's get back to the Valley of the Dolls and beyond. Claudine alerted me of a Ball-Jointed Doll (BJD) tea party in Santana Row. Since Santana Row is relatively in my neighborhood, I opted in and brought everyone's favorite killer Yo-Joe. Mi-DORI is still awaiting her spare parts so she guarded the base. I just reported on Lisa's Tea Treasures for an assigned Podcast and was ready to eat and drink my own words as a customer.
A guy like me going for afternoon tea is as masculine as a guy like me owning a doll and making videos of said doll for people to watch. But I enjoy the afternoon tea as an escape from the banality of normality. For a quick hour, I can take in a simpler, elegant time amid company, a light meal, and freshly brewed tea. That day while enjoying boysenberry and Earl Grey tea, I noshed on the" My Lady's Respite:" A variety of tea sandwiches, portobello puff, scone, madeleine, mini chocolate puff, and a mini tart. Oh, the pinky thing is not a matter of dainty handling; it is to balance the teacup with its obnoxiously small handle.
Given the infrequency of BJD events compared to conventions, I am still slow to pick up who is who. Fortunately, the dolls are recognizable enough for us to know. Yo-Joe got a long well with a Yo-SD girl over some well crafted prop cake. Then Claudine arrived late--after calling my phone that I left at home--and brought her Chabelita to form a basic love triangle. Leaving the three alone, Yo-Joe danced with Chabelita before taking tea with a terrorist. While Chabelita is a confirmed 4-year old, Yo-Joe's age still remains a mystery.
When tea ended, the post tea gathering took place at the nearby Pinkberry frozen yogurt shop. Meanwhile, I ducked to its competitor Red Mango to sample the new Tangomonium flavor.
I returned to Pinkberry for a few quick shots before heading out to my local comic book store to partake in Free Comic Book Day. I like the concept of Free Comic Boo Day. It is a day to sample new comic books while enticing me to visit the comic book store to buy its goods. Out of my haul, I naturally liked the IDW "Transformers Animated" and "GI Joe" double issue. The "TFA" sample dealt with Optimus Prime meeting a certain evil leader of the Decepticons while "GI Joe" had a couple chapters involving the rise of Cobra and founding of the titular military unit.
After some rest and a shower, I drove to San Carlos for this month's PEERS (Period Events & Entertainments Re-Creation Society) ballroom dance event. I initially had doubts about writing monthly reports for PEERS events. It would be very tempting to simply reuse photos from previous PEERS events while copying and pasting text with words like "visually impressive costumes" or "marvelous band" with dabs of "I danced like a walrus with two left feet who wears shoes on his head." But my journalistic integrity prevents me from such lazy work. Besides, PEERS changes its costumed theme each month so people would probably notice when a photo of a Steampunk mechanical genius is placed in a report of the PEERS Secret Agents' Ball. So for May 2009, PEERS held an "Unseen University" themed ball based on the "Discworld" works of Terry Pratchett. From what I could gather about the costumes and the nearby books, the best way I would summarize the "Unseen University" is, "It's like Harry Potter, only good."
I threw on my cheap cape and cheaper wizard hat over my civilian clothes. It passed for a costume and was easy to shed in favor of dancing. With my "I Love Brains" button, I guess I passed as a zombie wizard. Given the humorously absurd nature of the Discworld, it worked. After seeing the Harry Potter costumes and playing around with the children wearing them, perhaps I should have just worn my Slytherin.
Thanks to the intel from Facebook, I knew that most of the people I was supposed to know were not attending this PEERS event. Nevertheless, I started to recognize people from previous PEERS events like Jean and the now recovered Erica. A new face, Melinda made an impression to the crowd dressed as a legally blonde Christine Daae with a good mix of bubbly energy and enough "blonde intelligence" for comedic effect. Even though I only looked upon the character designs of "Unseen University," I appreciated the visually impressive costumes at the ball.
The marvelous band Avalon Rising performed their wonderful mix of polkas, waltzes, set dances, and that Congress of Vienna that still continues to confound me. I shot some of the dancing action and concluded the dust kicked up from the dancing caused all the damned ghost globes that appear whenever I shoot dancing action with flash. I also learned that martinis and dancing that involves spinning around in circles is not usually a good mix.
When I was not shooting costumes, talking to people, enjoying a drink or two, and waiting for the room to stop spinning, I was dancing with any lady willing to place herself in my good hands. Age did not matter as I danced with ladies of my age, older than my age, an eighth grader, and even a five year old. I decided to try out this whole "socializing" thing during the social dance and asked my partners what they did outside of PEERS and their dancing experience. I was amazed at the variety of careers people had. What struck me as odd was the occasional dance partner who said it was her first PEERS event and dancing in general despite gliding along the floor so gracefully. Either they were naturally gifted in dancing, they had previous dance experience elsewhere, they were just modest, or they were lying.
It looked like Avalon Rising took the critiques of their constant death polkas during the previous Girl Genius Ball and removed most of the damned yet fun dances. To mix things up, they added a few swinging songs "with rocks in it," a song with no official dance--although belly dancing and samba were suggested--that allowed people to experiment, and even a tango. While these dances may go off tangent from the Victorian Ball, they made for nice coffee breaks to cut loose and find out what moves would work in upcoming dances. I seem to do better once I can stop thinking about the dance steps and focus on moving my partner and avoiding the masses of human flesh careening toward us.
When Avalon Rising took intermission, attendees received several performances. Melinda as Christine, with her partner Susanne as Agnus, performed "Think of Me" song from "Phantom of the Opera." At another intermission, the White Rats Morris Dance group performed with bells, handkerchiefs, and sticks. These performances are featured on this playlist.
Amid the wine, women, and song, my camera battery died and I forgot my spares. Oh well, I guess this was my cue to dance the night away. At the very least, this time I did not I dance like a walrus with two left feet who wears shoes on his head. When the dance ended, I said my farewells while looking forward to the next PEERS event. In the meantime, I finally had bugger all to do next weekend minus Mother's Day and can relax and prepare for the next string of events.
Pictures are copyright by Tom (Scarlet Rhapsody). If I took your picture, feel free to use it on your site or cosplay gallery. This site was brought to you by the font Heartland Regular. Many thanks to Chaz Boston Baden for the image resizing and watermarking program.