November 22, 2008: Leader of the Pack

How does an improperly socialized guy like me handle three consecutive afternoons of social events that have nothing to do with a convention? Friday night karaoke. Saturday afternoon party at Milpitas Golfland. And top it off with a doll gathering in San Francisco. There's not enough alcohol to keep me chipper for all three afternoons.

The easiest way to handle this was to cancel Friday karaoke. Aside from "Twilight," there wasn't any movie conveniently playing before the night of live singing, dancing, and general tomfoolery. This gave more time to prepare for the other events and less alcohol in my system.

I received the text about BART Boy's party at Milpitas Golfland weeks ago and mistook the date as Thanksgiving Saturday. Luckily we all cleared it up. I seriously need to hire an assistant who can manage my calendar and help me tell my ass from my elbow. Bored with sitting on my elbow, I began Saturday morning with a quick visit to work for supplies and research. My right leg was cramping up after work so it was time for the cane. Father called me to join him for lunch. Hot miso soup and cold beer go SO well together. After lunch it was nearly time to hit Milpitas Golfland.

I arrived and soon enough several others did too. The only person out of the group missing: BART Boy. Whether it was Mexican time or Asian time, he arrived about 10 minutes after his "about 5 minutes away" text. My greatest highlight was diagnosing what was wrong with the Pump It Up machine on the first try and fixing it. Even "House" doesn't do that on his show. Another great highlight was buying a pitcher of Pepsi for those around. The gesture may have been greater had I not decided to drink the last amount for myself.

With my leg still cramped, it was Para Para for me followed with gun games. As the cramp lessened, DDR with the cane became an option. Then I got greedy and DDR'd without the cane. Oddly enough, my right leg suffered no damage. My left leg shot up in pain and I was down. Luckily I already had my cane handy. I never held it left-handed before. First time for everything.

More familiar and new faces arrived. Eh, it's a good opportunity to meet and mingle. Remembering who was who is another matter. Jonas had his groove on at Para Para while BART Boy and Craig stepped their way through DDR. The specks of light on that picture is either dust, sweat, or ghosts. The main event of Milpitas Golfland was the four-way race between Panda, BART Boy, E F, and Jonas. Despite going to Golfland, we did play golf during the first visit.

Instead of settling on the tomato flavored cardboard posing as pizza at Golfland, the group of 25 drove to Dave and Buster's for dinner and more games. I rode with Patrick and Mike and took in the oddity of Repo! "The Genetic Opera." We had a two hour wait that Patrick and I killed with games of shuffleboard, trying to understand D&B's chip to actual money system, and eventually seeking couples counseling through an arcade game. Imagine how many relationships could be solved by giving them guns and tossing the couple onto an island full of giant creatures. The craptacular play through is easily seen in part I and part II. In the end we ranked as classmates who'd go out for dinner and nothing more. And it wouldn't be a birthday without someone getting surprised. In this case, Jonas was the lucky one.

A return trip to Golfland followed. My class work obligations early Sunday sent me home early to prepare. As I left I learned that I need to pack a few metal coat hangers in case of emergency. I heard golf was actually played when I left.

November 23, 2008: Then He Kissed Me

I planned to use BART to get to the Doll meet up at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. But the class work meeting took priority and took the time intended to wait for BART. The meeting went well, but let's face it: work sucks. Upon dismissal, I drove to the Gardens. Traffic was light but road closures and lack of parking made up for it.

I spotted Claudine, Astro, Di Di, and Kyle (aka the first guy I ever kissed) upon arrival. There were plenty of other doll collectors present. I was the only guy at the meet who was packing a doll. I propped up Yo-Joe (everyone's favorite homicidal doll) and the relatively new cast member Mi-DORI (The Cleaner) onto the doll table and shot away. Like most of the other doll meet ups, I found myself too distracted shooting dolls to shoot people.


The potluck food was excellent and conversations ranged from dolls to con plans and anthropological studies. Curious passer-bys passed by and noticed our dolls. They came to take a look and ask a few questions such as:
-"What are you doing?" (Best answer was "This is like a car show but with dolls.")
-"Is this a birthday party?" (No.)
-"Are you selling them?" ("No, but Volks and Junkyspot are.")
-"Can you tell me about them?" (Have you met my friend, Claudine?)
-"Why do those two have guns?" (Have you met my friend, Tom?)

The most refreshing part of these inquiries were that no one commented about the creepiness or how scary they looked. Then again, plenty of children were present during the inquiries. I Most of my doll interactions involved Yo-Joe x Chabelita. I already have a lot to photos to work with, so I might as well keep this going. First, Yo-Joe made room for himself by removing unnecessary obstacles.

Everything was going well until the pigeons arrived. Talking to them didn't work. Kicking them didn't work except for one (Don't worry, Claudine, I won't tell anyone it was you who kicked it). And shooing them away didn't work. Yo-Joe and Mi-DORI decided to try shooting them.

The pigeons fled, but Mi-DORI got carried away and began targeting other things.

Sometimes it's better to leave Mi-DORI alone. So Yo-Joe returned his attentions to Chabelita. A little gift-giving...

One piggyback ride...

And who knows what can happen?

As overheard, "Yo-sized dolls are so much like crack." They are simply addicting. I shot a few more dolls before the event's conclusion.

After seeing the dolls swarm in on an innocent owner, it was my cue to leave.

After the SF Doll meet up, I made a quick visit to the Great Mall for the grand opening of Ku Day Ta, a new tea shop that's a hop, skip, and a jump away from the movie theater. It's a quaint tea shop that makes for a delightful post movie refreshment. I like the Asian decor (Thai? Malaysian? I can't tell.) and the unique snacks like citrus almonds. The tea ranges from subtle aroma to robust flavor. I recommend the cherry tea and would avoid the watery lycee tea. The tea is pricey, but it's great for the occasional treat.

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