Today's coffee, courtesy of the AEG, is White Chocolate Obsession. I like white chocolate. I have been told on occasion that I am obsessed with coffee. This tastes like rubbing alcohol (maybe slightly worse). I'm going to be drinking a whole pot of it because two of our usual coffee drinkers are out today, and the AEG curbs her caffeine consumption after 9:30. I can't stand to see even the most revolting coffee go to waste, but now that this stuff is beginning to cool down, it's starting to test my personal code of ethics.
Anyway, yesterday was mostly a good day.
I got up around the time I'd normally be up to go to work so's I could meet crabmoon, and renny1780 at laviorli's apartment. From there we picked up phil_bond, drove on to Janesville to meet up with lord_alucard and theenigma42, and then set out for Schaumberg, Illinois to visit seanorange.
My God, that's a lot of LiveJournal accounts.
Anyway, we arrived at Mitsuwa Marketplace (which is actually in Arlington Heights, but who's bothering to keep score?), hooked up with Sean, and did some shopping. Sean, Caleb, Lindsay and I had already been to Mitsuwa, of course, but the others hadn't. They enjoyed themselves, but we should probably come back sometime when we're wealthier and have more time to browse. The grocery store and the Yuki Discount Store seemed to have more empty shelves than usual. The Marketplace is always crowded and yesterday was no exception, so business must be good. Perhaps high gas prices are affecting which and how much merchandise they stock. I'd promised a couple of people that I'd pick up some stainless steel sporks and some Pocky, but there were no sporks to be found, and the Pocky selection was unusual and somewhat limited. I didn't recognize most of the flavors, and some of what I was actually looking for wasn't in stock. fuzzyinthehead, you had requested that I pick up a small variety of Pocky for you, so I have. I didn't buy a lot, and I don't remember what I purchased, but I don't think they were flavors I'd tried before. We can discuss later.
Midway through our shopping trip our friend Dustin showed up. Dustin (who has a livejournal, but I can't find it) is somebody I went to high school with. We sorta kinda got to know each other during a long, antisocial period of my life (or rather, during my life), and our friendship suffered because of it. Ultimately we didn't hang out in high school a whole lot, but we sort of bonded over the fact that we were both somewhat depressed game programmers with an interest in music composition. We didn't have many common interests, and even our common interests came from opposite positions. He was reading Mercedes Lackey and I was reading Peter S. Beagle. I was listening to Brave Combo and They Might Be Giants, and he was listening to Green Day and Stabbing Westward. Our couple of joint game-design efforts fizzled because he wanted to write Mechwarrior and I wanted to write Space Quest IV.
Dustin was on the football team. I used to play a mean game of Zoom/Schwartz/Profigliano ("I am a Klingon warrior!").
After Mitsuwa we went to the nearby Japanese toy store (which used to be inside Mitsuwa). I don't particularly care for this place because I'm not terribly interested in anime, action figures, or paying to play DDR. Everybody else loves it, though, so that's fine. I'm not sure who actually contributed, but Lindsay collected $4 from people who aren't me, and everybody but Dustin crammed into a photo booth to take ridiculous pictures. After taking several shots, Lindsay was dismayed to find that the machine would only let her have a printout of one of them. The touchscreen allows users to draw on the picture before printing it, so she added halos, freckles that looked like infected whiteheads, and other embelishments to the picture. It printed out as a sheet of six stickers, and even if I get one I'm not going to post it here. Sorry.
Anyway, once we were done looking we went back to Sean's apartment. It's the kind of one-bedroom apartment which would cost $900-$1200 a month in Madison, but he's getting it for $600 and we're all jealous. Video games, Transformers and Quantum Leap were discussed, and Caleb hooked up Sean's Super Nintendo so he could make me play a little of an old game called Out of This World. Somewhere I have a copy of Out of This World on a 3.5" disk (well, actually my copy of the PC release was called Another World, but again, nobody's keeping score so it's hardly worth mentioning). If this entry weren't already really long it would be worth discussing its technical merits and how brilliantly ahead of its time it was, but so much of the afternoon was spent watching the game that nobody ('cept maybe Caleb) would want to read a dissertation on it.
Sean made curry for everyone and even had the tact to make a meatless batch for the vegetarian/vegan crew. Apparently I'm alone in this, but I don't think it matters a whole lot -- vegetables in curry tend to keep their flavor, but meat (and maybe this is just my sense of taste) doesn't. Either way, the curry was a hit which is kind of funny since my Friends page is full of "the curry was delicious but my digestive system hates me this morning" posts. I guess I'm lucky in that my mom likes spicy foods and spice combinations which are unusual to the Western palate. I grew up with Indian curry so this stuff doesn't bother me in the least, and it was really, really good.
We took a walk outside and received strange looks and got yelled at by more expensively-dressed people who didn't think we belonged there. More video games were played and some of the group went swimming. We put in the movie Party Monster, but everybody talked through the opening scenes and decided to turn it off within the first fifteen minutes instead of giving it a chance. We played Apples to Apples until we got bored. Keith won; Tom and I tied for second place. I was upset that Tom picked "Hiroshima - 1945" over "Lobster" when the category was "Bright." Have you ever been in a dark room with a lobster? Didn't think so.
After the game I checked my e-mail and found that my mom's best friend Marilyn had died. Marilyn was close to our family, especially during the year or so before my parents moved. She had an inner-ear disorder which prevented her from driving and kept her mostly confined to her home in Arizona, but in 2003, a series of unfortunate and unforeseeable events forced her to move back to Wisconsin. She couldn't afford her own place so my parents offered theirs and she lived with them for a little more than a year. When her son's lease ended, he found a bigger place and she moved in with him around the time my parents were moving into their new house. I hadn't seen much of Marilyn after she moved, and I regret not having spent more time with her.
I called my mom and checked to see that things were okay, and by the time I got off the phone it was 10:00 and people were talking about going home. Then (to my annoyance) we stayed until 11:30. I got home a little after 2:00, which is just not a good thing when you have to be up at 6:00 for work. Otherwise though, it was a great day, and I thank Sean for his hospitality.
This morning I took my lunch very early because my mom needed to get in contact with Marilyn's daughter whose phone number is unlisted. She lives near where I work, so I went over to her house. The idea of doing this sort of thing terrifies me because it's a great opportunity for me to say something awkward and insensitive, but it was quick and went very well, and for this I am thankful.
Now the coffee is cold, and it's even less palatable.