Since I knew that Carl had something at 12, I didn't worry about getting up at all. I did wake up at about 4 and at 5, and then lay in bed, sleeping, waking, and thinking, mostly about Lone Wolf and Cub, and all the forces that had shaped Daigoro, who could love playing with children on the beach, be sad at their leaving, and be a child amid the incredible amount of death he was seeing.
The whole series is so sad. It's almost all about destruction and death, though, mostly, it's also about Ogami figuring out the moral end to the situation, even when it means a mountain of corpses.
I had an idea, years and years ago, about a group of consultants that go into businesses and say, "100,000 nuyen and your problem is solved, but you have to explain your problem to us completely before we can accept. To avoid problems, afterwards, you know." Killing corporations is never as clean as the perfect cut from a sharp blade, but there are things that can be as close. And there are always rotten corporations.
Finally, I just had to get up, and I had to shower and wrestle with the pumping stuff until I was satisfied. It was hard to use after being unused to it. So I just had to mess with it for a good, long while. I needed the practice. By 11, I was all showered, pumped and everything, so I went downstairs to ask if we wanted to just hit Starbucks and have a fast breakfast.
Instead, Carl took me to the Red Tractor, and it was a fast food country food place. You actually walked up to a counter and ordered there from a big billboard menu. There was bacon, eggs (how many?), home fries, and a cheddar biscuit. Since Carl highlighted the cheddar biscuits, I got that full breakfast. I ate away happily, and found that there were actually three or four eggs. I didn't need all of them and didn't eat all of them, but they were really good with the rest. They were, however, mildly undercooked for 'over medium'. I wasn't too sad about that, though, as the biscuits were everything Carl said and more. They actually had thinly sliced scallions in them, so they were beautifully oniony along with the rich chew of cheddar. They were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Yum. It was a great breakfast.
Afterwards, though, since I'd had orange juice instead of coffee, I really wanted a Starbucks coffee drink, so we went to the Starbucks that was right across the mall from the restaurant. Mmm... espresso.
I had been thinking about napping while Carl worked on his turn for the game he was in; but the Lone Wolf and Cub books sucked me in, and I had to read them, instead. I ended up taking the last three of them with me to the Con, when Carl was done.
On the way to the Con, both of us were very happy with the whole plan we'd done. Getting there on a Thursday and letting me sleep for a whole night without interruption, and getting in a good meal and taking our time with everything meant that nothing was rushed. This was a very good thing indeed.
We got to stop at Trader Joe's and Carl was very patient with me as I went up and down the aisles and got all kinds of things. Fruit, raw nuts, cans of soup and chile, cornbread mix, and even a huge jar of mayo. The Cooks Illustrated folks had said that Trader Joe's all natural Mayo had stood out as being excellent in the taste test. Yay! So I got that, and prayed that I could fit it in my suitcase. As I was checking out a lady handed me a long-stemmed, red rose. Ooo! Valentine's Day! I loved it.
We found Bruce in the Con Registration line, after we'd checked into our rooms. The line was so funny in that so many of the faces were familiar. It was good to see Bruce, and he'd scheduled time this evening to be with Carl and talk with him and do stuff with him. So we decided to game together. Earl walked up while we were sitting at a table in the bar just yakking with a lot of folks that gathered around us. Richard was one of Bruce's friends, too, and wanted to play, too.
We all wanted dinner first, though. Since Carl and I had only had breakfast, we were kind of hungry, and given the acupuncturist's suggestions, the fact that the menu was all sushi and steak made it easy to just get a good steak, have them cook it medium rare, and enjoy the well-aged meat!
Yay! Flavorful beef!
I bought a beautiful Filet Mignon, and got a sugar yam with some honey butter on the side. It was very tasty.
Sadly, we learned that through U.S. Airways's website incompetence, that Bryant wouldn't be joining us for the weekend. They'd actually LOST his web reservations. That was very sad. Also I found out that it was unlikely that Trip was going to make it, either, and Cera was sick. So I was sad to not see either of them. But I'm sure there will be other visits, and in July, John and I are planning to go through the Bay Area at some time, so we'll make the time.
We went to Carl's room and gamed there, after I pushed pretty hard to play *something* rather than just sit around and talk about stuff. I really wanted to game instead of just sitting around. So I pushed, pushed, pushed for it, bit but bit ad we ended up in Carl's room playing his Buffy-like FengShui game.
We were all characters that were named after the actors that played the people in Buffy. There was a list of girls that were being killed, and, of course, Charm and I were on it along with a Freshman named Michelle, who actually said yes to Nick (played by Bruce) when he asked her out to the Prom! Woo! That was pretty cool.
But Alyson (played by Earl) managed to get some really nasty robot-hounds to go after Michelle instead of Charm and we had to take Nick's convertible after a van that had kidnapped her. Oops. Allyson managed to blow everything up, I managed to take out some of the robots, hounds, and such, and Tony (played by Richard) nearly got killed. Nick did really well, and took out a lot of stuff, too, but most of it blew up when the gas tank blew up when the power line hit it. Whee....
It was a really fun run, just a baby one at four hours, and folks got to stretch their gaming muscles. I liked that a lot. It was really cool to interact with Earl, Bruce, and Carl again. Fun to watch the ideas fly and all that.
John called in the midst of the game, but I wasn't in combat, so I just wandered off a little ways and got to talk with him. Jet had slept all night! Woohoo!! I guess John had gotten him so tired, he had no problems sleeping, and without any incentive to get up and nurse, he'd just slept through the night. How very cool.
It was really cool to hear from John about Jet 'talking about you', just saying "Mama... blah blah blah... momma..." in the car, and how John had patiently explained that Momma had gone away for a while, but would be back. I thought that was really neat.
John also mentioned that taking care of Jet by himself was a lot of work. I thanked him for doing it. I know that isn't why John mentioned it, which I would have doubted from anyone else. He was just telling me what was, but it didn't hurt to thank him for it.
Of course, then I had to mess with the early to bed thing, and read the three books that I'd brought with me from Carl's. It was really, really good. When I was reading the series that Frank Miller had sponsored from Dark Horse, they'd printed it BIG in American Format, and they'd messed with it, some. This small book format was wonderful. It was so much easier and faster to read. And I wanted to go back and read it over again a few times. Yay! The other thing is that since I wasn't able to start from the VERY beginning, I didn't have the bigger story to frame the small pieces. So I got tired of it about 100 issues in, as I had no idea where the story was arching to or WHY Ogami was doing all the things he was doing. I was losing names, losing how stories interlocked, and with the once a month format, there was way too much time between issues to remember any of the details.
Having even just the last three books Right There, made it easy to go from one to the next and link the stories, to see where they were headed and how. The plot arc was easy to see. The good thing was being able to see them. The bad thing was realizing that the optimum way to read this series was to have them ALL Right There.
If I wanted them, it would be best to get them ALL, and at ten dollars a book, it was going to be expensive. it was, however, also going to be really, really good to have them all at once. Knowing the ending made me really want to see all the steps to that place, how they got there, and what it was that drove them to the last stroke. What made it even more desirable was just seeing how Daigoro had evolved from the beginning to the end and I wanted to see how he'd gotten there. To have so much... courage... so young.
Assertion? Self-assurance? To know ones own soul so steadily as to not be afraid of death to carry out ones known duty... and he was ready for that at the end and even had a solid demonstration of it in a very spectacular way even before the end.
I wanted to see how that grew and was nourished.
It's also interesting to see several things that some gaming systems have attributed to Chinese beliefs showing up as pieces of Japanese beliefs of afterlife and heaven and hell. The weird mix of Buddhism, Shinto, and mentions of the Yama King. I'll have to read some stuff about them all.
Anyway. It intrigued me a lot, and I thought about it a lot as I got ready for bed, a bit later than I should have gone. I'll have to look for the books when I get home, or something.
It's been a good day, all in all. Nice to get eased by into gaming with a closed game with people that I knew from before. It was just nice to do . It's all so familiar, too.
I didn't do any better with the pumping today, either. Ah well, I guess it's just the way it's going to be