< June 20, 1998 >

The Dancing Ferret

The morning was lazy again. Just eating whenever we got up and then meandering out the door around noon or so. Mom was slightly confused by our slowness, but we didn't have anything specific that was going on when and where and how.

Before the vacation ever even started, I realized that I'd changed a lot from how my parents did things, how my blood family did things. They love to plan every detail, feel unsettled when it's not All There, when the Plan isn't there and then worry themselves sick until everything become what it should be again. The force that fights it is basically John's ability to enjoy any situation, and if plans don't need to be made, then just riding with what happens. Saturday was very much a What Happens Happens kinda cool day. It was nearly a relief to get out of the house and get into that mindset again. Cut loose from the expectations of a Plan for every moment or a Purpose for every action.

The only vague ideas we had were to go to Tommy's sometime, check into the Burbank Holiday Inn and settle there for the night, and to hit the Bordertown party and sometime or another bring back a gallon of Tommy's chili and meet up with Kathy the next day at the restaurant she pointed me at through the web page. That's it. The rest would be gravy.

The drive up I-5 would have been easy, but my new sunglasses were giving me headaches and gradually more and more blurred vision. So I traded back to my old sunglasses, which were clear but also clearly inadequate against the strength of the sunshine down South. So I spent part of the drive swapping sunglasses back and forth with mild swearing and some time without any sunglasses at all. It was easy enough, though there was construction in the center of the drive that we neatly avoided through the judicious use of the Californian carpool lanes, which are different than Washington carpool lanes in that they only let people in and out of it at particular times.

We got to the 101 and just took it as it was lunch time, and headed off Rampart and then went left at every light and right at every stop sign as Lloydies go left at lights. We reached Tommy's, stopped and got lunch. Yum. Tommy's in Hollywood is an experience, though more especially at night, and even more so way early in the morning/late at night. 3 a.m. is prime time as nearly nothing else is open, so you get the wild mix of biker gangs, Hollywood stars in limos with the munchies, teenagers in their dad's leather interior convertible, and all others. At lunch time it was just the mid-day mix of suits and t-shirts and the like, and the speciality there is the chile burgers, with this especially glutenous chili that nearly sticks to things and contains completely unidentifiable masses, much spicing and a unique texture.

Very memorable.

After that visit we got back on the freeways and made our way to Burbank, got to the hotel with no trouble whatsoever, and had a great time on the king bed for a good while. Yum.

A nice, deep nap and shower later we dressed up to go to the Bordertown Party. As you might tell from the pictures of past parties, it was something to be dressed for.

So I put on my coin pants, the black silk jacket and a tank top. With the green hair, it was different enough. John donned his signature Hawaiian shirt and shorts and the two of us wandered to a lovely local Mexican restaurant with the intent of eating good Mexican food. It was something that was necessary. For a bit we'd thought about Tony Roma's but it seemed a waste of an opportunity.

During dinner and on the way to the party, I worried. I hate the habit, but it's there. I had no idea exactly what to expect, and I had no idea how it would be organized or how it would work out, so I worried about it. John just laughed and hugged me and said that we'd have fun. He was right, I should trust him more often, too. The food was absolutely excellent and so plentiful that neither of us could finish. The tomatillo sauced tamale and enchilada were delicious and far more than I could eat. John's carnitas were solid pork chunks bigger than most steaks. So it was way too much for him to finish.

So we had to leave some and then go over to the party at about 7:30 p.m., which, by the schedule was half an hour late, but when we got there they were still setting up. There were three really nice guys at the front gate, taking money, selling t-shirts and talking with folks coming in. The all had crew t-shirts, black with the Dancing Ferret logo. One guy there was pleased to find out that we had come all the way from Seattle, and told us that he was going to the Gorge (at George, yes, George, Washington) to either see a rock show or go wind surfing down the Columbia River Gorge. That was an amusing exchange. As we walked in the first thing that there was to notice were all the security folks in the black t-shirts as well, as they were all very simply *huge*.

It also amused me that the bar and dance place was called The Dancing Ferret as that is the place in the books, which was already noted in the advertising, but it was cool to *see* it. Getting there early was not a bad thing. Not a lot of people, so I was able to wander about and see things with John before more came. There was an outside courtyard with two food staffs waiting. Inside was the Stage for the bands, and a large listening room/dance floor that L's to the bar area. At the far end of the L of the dance floor, were stairs up to an art gallery that was also part fun house, with wending passages and odd camera settings and a bank of TV's and monitors. A fan blew past part, a crazed chess setup crawled up the walls of a sitting room kind of thing. It circled back on itself, to go back down the same stairs. To the far side of the bar were both the dealers' room and a bunch of tables, chairs and lounging areas along with two enclosed booths for Tarot readers and palmists.

A band was playing to standing listeners, the band going at full energy, though it seemed odd next to the completely still audience. I guess I'm used to people dancing while listening, but I know and realize that it's likely just me, as I love to express music enjoyment through body motions, and through dance. Just close my eyes and go with it.

Between bands were various DJ's that played much ravish bouncy techno beat stuff that was just a joy to listen to. I should just buy a collection of techno-rave stuff and bounce through work with it. It's just something I need to do sometime. Likely ask Greg Samson for recommendations as he's good with that stuff. The bands got steadily more interesting, though all of them had good, danceable stuff somewhere in their medleys. We danced eventhough my knee was still tentative, but the coat and the pants made it nearly imperative to move and move well. That was nice.

Also between bands were striptease pole dancing performances by various of the bar folks that had a great time titillating and teasing and moving for everyone. They got the most cheers, and there were both male and female dancers so everyone got an eye-full. Though one of the women just knew what she was doing, and it was a joy and turn-on to watch.

Somewhere in there we stopped at the tarot booth for a reading for me, and I got a full thirty minutes of thought and advice and things to think over, turn around in my head and wonder about. I specifically asked about career things and the answers that came back match up in interesting ways. Like continuing as I have may be lucrative and provide me with a solid financial base, but it won't be heart-satisfying. Emotionally satisfying. That the new path might loose much more creativity than I've been able to express lately and that it would be something that would be hard. That the financial gains of staying, the reaping of what's been sown would be soon, but after that...

Well, we'll see. I can't seem to put two words together in a story, haven't for years. Then I started this journal and there's something here, but I'm not sure what, yet. Anyway, it was all there, in cards that repeated even after being shuffled and cut to what should have been the middle of the deck. The Star, the Emperess, the three of Cups, the various Wands of growth and Pentacles of Wealth and cups of emotion. Not a single Sword, other than a four of Swords that indicated the immediate past. And I'd have to say that the time since the surgery has certainly been a time of retreat, of healing from wounds, of rest from the everyday before getting back into it.

It's also likely the reason I'm rethinking my life.

It does get tiring, sometimes to have it be nothing but work and sleep and whatever other thing I can hammer into the edges and cracks.

John and I also saw Will and Emma kinda crouched behind a table, signing things for people, so we walked up, asked them if they wanted chairs, and then went out to the eating area and shanghi'ed two chairs and set them down for them behind the table. That was pretty funny, in some ways, as they really were grateful, but no one before that had thought to even bring chairs in for them.

I then asked her about the purple shawl that I'd knit so long ago. It'd taken about three years to knit, and was one of the Shetland shawls that I'd made, and what was nice was that she lit up and knew what I was talking about. That was keen. In fact, when she moved to L.A. from Minneapolis, she'd said she'd had to rethink all her shawls, had first put the purple one aside as To Be Packed and then decided on the rest. She'd also found the shawls much more useful in the L.A. area because of the smallness of the temperature differential. Finally, she noted that, before the shawl, she'd actually worn very little purple, so it was the shawl's fault that she was wearing a lot more of it.

That was fun. We then talked about their script, that they'd manage to sell, but the producers were looking for funds to fund it, as it's an animated feature length SF movie. That'll be interesting to keep updated about. Most of the books that they'd had in the works were all out in print by now, which was easy for me to keep up with. But they were working on more script stuff now that they were in LaLa land. Which makes much sense.

It was nice to just talk for a while.

John and I then wandered back out to dance for a while, until the clock struck midnight, which was when my knee turned into a pumpkin, or at least a very acheful joint. The place was also gradually filling up with cigar smoke as some Columbian folks had set up their cigar and espresso shop and folks were buying and puffing. Also, as time went by and the bar sold more drinks and, at midnight, the drink prices went down to half their original price, so folks were getting more and more drunk in ways that made it less comfortable for me to be there. I have odd paranoias that get triggered when folks in psuedo-military uniforms start getting more than mildly drunk. So we walked back to the car, with friendly good-byes to the guys at the gate and then drove to an In and Out and bought milkshakes because everything else that might have had dessert was closed. So we went back to the room, drank milkshakes, and I wrote some, and then we went deeply to sleep.

This was around 1:30 a.m. the Bordertown party was planning on lasting until the sun came up, being a proper solstice party. I admire their tenacity, but felt just a touch older and wiser as I fell asleep not too wiped out or messed up.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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