Started with dinner at Cobra Lily with Aaron and Kirsten. Cobra Lily is a tapas bar run by the same people that run the more established Cobras & Matadors. Great food for sharing, lots of interesting spices and sauces. Taters, ham/chicken croquettes, yummy crispy lentils, asparagus with walnut vinaigrette and a hint of stinky cheese and a tender steak with tomatoes and some far-too-stinky-cheese-for-me on it, but that was easily scraped off when the chef wasn’t looking. The pitcher of sangria was so-so; I much prefer the stuff Kirsten makes herself. I believe Rebecca asked me to grab the ass of the waiter, though for the life of me now, I can’t remember why. Best of all, we got taken to dinner in repayment for the affair of the dropped digital camera. Now if only a certain blog pirate would whip his underlings into posting the damn pictures from Spirited Away, that whole fiasco can be laid to rest.
Afterwards, the four of us jetted over to the ImprovOlympic, where Patman was performing sketch comedy with the rest of his class. We got there late and pushed our way into the packed house and cheered him on. Pat clearly has a career as an Elton John impersonator. I’m sorry we missed the Renn Faire sketch he wrote, but we had a good time nonetheless.
After that, we debated whether we wanted to see Underworld with the Enigmans, but passed that up in favor of bioluminescent waves. There’s a red algal bloom off the coast, and at night time, when the waves crash, the little beasties give off an electric blue light.
We packed our minibar with martini fixings, picked up Kirsten’s sister Corinne, and headed for Dockweiler Beach. Along the coast road there, the glowing crashing waves were easily visible from the road. It was pretty freaky. We were somewhat put off by the fascist parking details. Tow-Away No Parking after 10PM. But as we went along, there were quite a few clusters of cars here and there. We decided that they couldn’t tow us all, and parked.
As we hiked along the road, it was increasingly evident that the other cars were not parked there so that people could go to the beach and look at glowing waves. The cars were mostly occupied, with windows rolled down a little bit to let the steam escape.
Eventually, we made it down to the beach, and hiked away from the parking lot lights until it was relatively dim. Sadly, the bioluminescence was less noticeable, but still very cool. I mixed martinis and passed them out and we watched the waves crash for a while. As we started heading back up the beach, I noticed a cop car up there and started to get worried as it came to a stop beside a parked car. I slogged as rapidly as possible through the sands to get there. It soon became apparent that the coppers were shining lights into the vehicles, and sending the trysting couples on their way. Having not found anyone in my car, they left it completely alone, which was a relief. This was not how I intended to scout out the location for the second Miskatonic University game, but it worked for that, too. There were a few people using the firepits, but not many. I don’t anticipate a problem commandeering one for the game. On the other hand, I can’t very well create a twenty foot tall bonfire there, but I’ll try to have something better than a handful of twigs.
On Saturday, we went to lunch at the Inn of the Seventh Ray, as I mentioned before. My step-brother and his fiancé are thinking of getting married there, so we and they and my dad and his mom were there to test it out. I guess the couple had eaten there before, so it wasn’t completely new to them, and she’s vegetarian and the place is very vegetarian-friendly without being totally vegan. It’s up in Topanga Canyon alongside a dry (in September, anyway) creekbed. Rebecca and I got there early and poked through their New Age Shoppe. We stifled our urge to giggle and then met the rest of our party and got seated. Service was abysmally slow, but I think that was all part of the New Age atmosphere they offer there. The waitress asked “Do you feel ready to order now?” The correct response is probably “yes, I have become attuned to the nature that surrounds me, and the healthful vibrations that emanate from this peaceful idyll.” My actual thoughts were closer to, “Damn right, bitch. You left us here for 45 minnutes and we’re all starving. Of course we’re ready to order.” I’ll give the waitress credit for one thing, though, she had that menu memorized down to every last ingredient. And she definitely looked like she had taken a dose or two of Gleemonex, so perhaps there are some strange benefits to the Inn. Though, on the other hand, her sarcasm, cynicism and humor receptors have apparently been damaged beyond repair.
Anyway, I had the Seventh Ray Salad, which is described as “Tossed tenderly with a 14 herb dressing directly from the secret files of the Master Alchemist, Saint Germain, so I expect I shall achieve immortality if I continue eating that salad there. It was indeed very tasty, albeit small, and I give the Count a great deal of credit for inventing the zesty lemon dressing. Rebecca and I had to skip out a little early on the lunch (we hadn’t planned on being stuck in a New Age slow time warp) so we didn’t see the area where the weddings were held, though we could hear the one going on at the time. I enjoyed the meal and the conversation, but I’m not sure it’s a place I need to visit again. (Afterwards, tardpenguin told me that she had been there and the service was slow - so it looks like it's always like that)
As I said, we left because we had an appointment with octaNe, the Psychotronic Game of Postmodern American Trash Culture. I played Asphodel, an 11 year old psychopathic Goth girl with platform boots, a commando knife and a headless doll that suffers from a nameless internal anguish. Rebecca played Valentine, a vampire with a coffin strapped to the back of his motorcycle (I rode in her sidecar). Steve was some hardcase or another, and Marshall played the motorcycle-riding lovechild of the Dude and Gandalf.
The game system is more of a storytelling advice. Basically, if a player rolls good dice, he gets to describe what happens. If he doesn’t, the GM describes what happens. As written, which is how Jason played it, the players can completely surmount obstacles with minimal effort. Afterwards, we thought of ways to keep that from getting out of control. If HOL is a game best played shit-faced, octaNe is best played in some sort of drug haze, where the players are talkative and not too competitive.
Everyone has bullshit skills that flesh out the character, so Rebecca’s vampire had a skill “Trenchcoat moves cinematically in slow-motion”. My gothgirl had “Stimulate Pedophile”. Rebecca used her skill more frequently than I did, but I certainly did use it. Jason had set up a place for us to spend the night with some whacked-out family, and Bubba had a doll collection with taxidermed little girls, and there was still an empty space left that was just my size. Bubba’s trousers were soon tented, but I’ll forego the horrific details. By the end, my clothes had been torn off and I had killed two people (since my other main skill was "Stab Something"). Girl power!
The family was just a preliminary for tackling the Aztec Mummy, but with the way the rules are written, defeating the Mummy was an anticlimax. Slaughtering a whole family was a lot more fun. (Well, ok, we didn’t kill the midgets who lubed up Steve in the bathroom and gave him the best sex he’d ever had in his life.) All good clean fun, courtesy of Jason.
Sunday afternoon, I was starting to feel a little ill, but I didn’t say anything about it, and Rebecca’s company was having its annual garden party/dinner. We went, and chatted for a while. I felt bad enough that I didn’t even have a drink – can you imagine? Anyway, Rebecca started coming down with the same thing, and it hit her much harder. We left early and both had miserable cold symptoms. We woke up feeling like shit on Monday morning, so we both stayed home. Rebecca lay in bed, moaning. I was better off, but I found I couldn’t concentrate enough to read, so I alternated between playing videogames and lying down doing nothing. Later, I watched a quarter of Monday Night Football, before the Raiders’ suckiness became too painful to watch.