Let's review the schedule of this weekend past:
Friday night consisted of going to see Pirates of the Caribbean (Not at Emery Bay, that other theater... the one by the public market). Before I go ANY further, tell the critics to develop a sense of goddamn fun, already, and go see this movie. Non-spoiler assessment -- The movie is NOT too long (though there was a scene or two that might have been better pared by 10 to 30 seconds), there WAS a plot. Tip: Rent the previous movie, "The Curse of the Black Pearl", to either see it or refresh your memory. Watch the final scene after the credits, or a major sub-plot device of "Dead Man's Chest" will make NO sense at all. The acting is fine, Depp is in great form (duh... can't WAIT to see if he and Burton can do Sweeney Todd justice. What, you hadn't heard? No, I'm not kidding), and the movie is just HYSTERICAL. And fun. Like I said, some critics apparently need a transfusion of same.
Even waiting to see the movie was fun -- there was an incredible amount of eye-candy, including this one lovely black woman I swear I've seen before. She was wearing Roni's long skirt, with reflective bits, in a lovely dark maroon, red, and black paisley pattern. Roni was relieved, as she has almost worn the same skirt, and we know how awkward THAT would have been.*
We were having so much fun chatting with people on the line, and marveling at how many people arrived in costume (all hail ren faire geeks!) that I never even cracked the book I had brought. We had arrived early to make up for the horrible seats** Roni and I had to endure for the Superman Returns: The 3D iMax Experience*** the week before. In fact, I was first in line -- thus I achieved perfect seating nirvana. Woo!
Saturday I was up early to take Roni and Kim to the California Extreme Gaming Expo in San Jose. For thirty dollars you could play hundreds of pinball and video games as often as you liked, including vintage and prototype games that would make your jaw drop. I actually found the game of my youth, PinBot -- and discovered I could still play it. I got to play games I always wanted to try, like "The Addams Family", "Dr. Who", "Flash Gordon", and "Tales from the Crypt", this last having a force feedback thing that made the whole machine vibrate in a way to make my aching flipper wrists happy.
Fave Geek Moment: The impetus for going to the expo was a co-worker who has become the go-to guy for repairing the laser disc players in the rash of games from the mid-eighties that used video discs to provide the game playing graphics. Remember this was when most game play was 8 bit (if you were lucky) sprites against very crude backgrounds, if at all. I'm talking about games like Dragon's Lair****, Firefox (the world war flying ace game, not the browser) and... Road Runner.
The latter actually was never produced as a Laserdisc based game due to the reliability problems rampant with the players -- arcades were starting to refuse to stock the games because they were down more often than up. Atari had developed Road Runner to use actual animated backgrounds and transitions (including a priceless "That's All Folks!" when the game ended). I got to be there to watch one of only TWO prototypes of the game fire up and be played.
After 4 hours, we drove Kim home to Alameda, and took off to Santa Cruz for a lovely mini-vacation at Well Within. We wound up home just shy of midnight.
You'd think Sunday would have been more restful, as Roni and others were taking a friend to Teatre Zanzinni for her birthday -- easily not to be home before 10:30. I actually did try to relax, watching cartoons and hanging out with Kim. However, I apparently managed to be TOO lazy, and wound up not able to sleep until 3 AM.
And now you know why I crashed early Monday and Tuesday night. Despite all of this I've managed to get to work on time all three days, and actually feel somewhat productive. I can't believe that I'm only two and a half weeks from my anniversary date! What a wild year it's been.
As always, there's more... I know I haven't talked about my 4th very much (it wasn't really all THAT eventful, though there are highlights)... but this post is already too long for most people to more than skim it. Later!
* Actually, it would have been a good excuse to strike up a conversation with a total babe -- if Kim and Roni were in the top two babelicious category, she was an easy third.
** My own damn fault -- we didn't get to the Metreon in SF until 30 minutes before the show, thanks to an extended support call at work I couldn't just drop. We wound up on the far right side down in front, which is not unlike watching a move on the side of the building from the corner of the same building.
It still rocked.
*** If you don't want to brave the crowds to see "Pirates" this weekend (because word of mouth WILL make it hold at number 1, I predict!), go see "Superman". It's remarkably good, surprisingly deep into character development, but has plenty of moments of wanton destruction and Superman saving the day -- and even a touching homage to the "Can you read my mind?" sequence from the first movie.
**** Back in the days that Dragon's Lair was first released, it cost a dollar a game to play. I actually blew a few bucks trying to play the game, but really, REALLY sucked at it. Of all the video games at the expo, Dragon's Lair was the only one I played -- I'm more of a pinball guy these days -- and I STILL am Dirk's Bane.