Category Archives: John

Misc entertainment update

Going to see if I can’t get back in the habit of small updates rather than waiting for big epic weekends full of stuff to write about.

Aside from an unhealthy obsession with the news, which I don’t really feel I can be blamed for at the moment, I have managed to lift my eyes up from Twitter long enough to peek at a few other things.

I’ve started reading the Discworld series from the start, after having jumped around the canon over the years, I swear I had read The Colour of Magic before and found it middling but have no memory of any of the plot and rather enjoyed it. The Light Fantastic already shows his writing getting stronger imho and has hints at the end of those emotional blows he can land. Lots to go.

Taking a short break from that to finish the second of the Southern Reach trilogy. It’s good, though maybe not quite as fascinating as the first book. Part of that is on me for having read it in fits and bursts, eeriness doesn’t stand up well to distracted reading habits I suspect.

Visually John and I have been speeding through Steven Universe, which aside from being marvelous is the perfect length to squeeze in here and there when schedules are tight. We’ve just begun season two and the plot is getting thicker and deeper. The DCU (DCTVU?… okay Arrowverse I gueeess) is also continuing to entertain; Supergirl, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow-the last of which is exactly as fun as it should be and even more so in season 2 if you ask me. Is it nonsense? I guess, maybe-in the same way some of the best comic books are… and it addresses race in a time travel context more directly than any other show I can recall (aside maybe from Quantum Leap but well, that’s a whole other discussion). Only tangentially related to genre, we also have Boston Legal in the rotation for some good Spader/Shatner bonding. Which reminds me, I really do need to go back and watch everything James Spader ever did, because damn he’s good.

 

Eastercon 2017: Innominate

On Good Friday we started our day with a solid Novotel breakfast buffet, which is a good way to get into convention headspace. We had plenty of time before our train so we packed up and then popped into town for an hour or so, visiting the local Forbidden Planet and then to the station to catch our train to Birmingham for Innominate, the 2017 Eastercon.

The train to Birmingham was uneventful, though the second one was so packed we had to hop on different cars just to squeeze in. Still, we made it in one piece and the shuttle to the Hilton made up for the indignities of public transit. Once settled into out room we picked up our badges, hung our art, and headed to the bar for our first beer of the weekend, in that order.

The art show was a good first impression of the convention; busy, well attended, and full of cool stuff. John had brought art donations to raise money for Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, some of them rather nice and a couple of questionable quality but high entertainment value. I had brought a couple of old pieces, a handful of new ones, and four of the fans originally created for The Dark Market. I am happy to report that my sales were the best I’ve had and I went home with only two of the ten pieces I hung. TAFF did pretty well itself, selling three pieces of art but raising nearly a thousand pounds in the Fan Fun auction to be shared with The Get Up-and-over Fan Fund and the Lazlar Lyricon effort to bring over some Brazilian Douglas Adams fans.

Attendance this year was just over 900 people and the layout of the facilities was good, with everything radiating out from the central hotel lobby/reception, making the the con feel full and vibrant.

Across from reception was the fan bar, British conventions famously center on the bar and encourage this by bringing in a local brewery to run a real ale bar. This year it was from a place called Purity Brewing, and although the selection was good the pints did run £5 each which was a bit rich to rely on for the whole weekend. Instead we picked up some beer and some vodka in a trip into town and alternated with the ale.

Behind the real ale bar was the actual hotel bar and lounge area, which was in use more as a quieter place to have a coffee or food and relax in comfy seating. Directly in front of the entrance to the hotel, between the reception and bar was registration, with the fan lounge behind it and programming down the hall to the right. All right there and easy to triangulate, with the added advantage that finding anyone mostly meant heading to the lobby and looking around a bit.

The fan lounge was in the con suite model in the sense that it was a large room with large tables for people to shit and chat. The hotel had set up a row of “street food” stalls along one wall, with baked potatoes, Indian, Caribbean, and British food on sale for relatively reasonable prices, and drinks at the end. It was a very convenient arrangement and relaxed enough that people could bring in other things from elsewhere without fuss. On a couple of occasions there was even delicious surprise birthday cake.

Being a holiday weekend there were several other events going on nearby, the Insomnia 60 gaming convention at the NEC convention center and a Boyzlife concert in our wing of the hotel. This last was new to me but I am told that it is in fact a frankenband composed of members of Boyzone and Westlife. The former meant that there were a fair amount of people about in nerdy shirts that were not in fact part of our convention while the later was just a bit confusing. We only really noticed the outside world on our brief trips to dinner and one excursion into Birmingham, where we kept it nerdy by visiting the really cool Nostalgia Comics and the world’s most labyrinthine game store location.

I had intended to volunteer a bit over the course of the weekend, but the couple of times I popped by to check in there didn’t seem to be much need so I ended up pretty free and clear aside from needing to take my art down at the end of the weekend. I didn’t attend a ton of programming, but opening ceremonies were good with Pat Cadigan’s energy kicking things off nicely and Dr. Emma J. King‘s explosive presentation following on its heels.

Also a blast was the Pyjama Disco by Jo Playford and fan GOH Colin Harris, it was well attended and the room had surrounding tables for people to chill when not dancing. I spent several hours on the dance floor with intermittent excursions to the fan lounge for cake and conversation. The setlist was nicely varied, with a fair amount of fan favourites but a good range from old school to current.

After the success we had with pre-arranging dinners with friends during Gally, we made a point of deploying the same method again in order to make sure we got time with some of our busier friends. This involved two excursions to the NEC adjacent food mall, which is basically just full of chain restaurants but in a weirdly impressive setting. We had Nando’s with some of Third Row and the next evening Pizza Express with Claire and Mark, the latter in particular I feel we never get to spend as much time as we think we will during the convention. We did get to hang out a fair bit with the inimitable Tobes, and I got some American time with Dave McCarty when he wasn’t busy smoffing – we primarily talked about our mutual love for Mexican food IIRC.

Meg Frank was there but I felt her presence more as a passing breeze of glam and glitter, sensed and then gone in the night. Anna and Hogg we got some quality time with on and off, never as much as one would wish for but luckily just enough to plot some plots for Helsinki.  We squeezed in a too brief chat with Fran Dowd at breakfast and saw Doug and Julie mostly in passing as their busy schedules permitted.

Oh, and I got roped into running the Fanzine Lounge at Helsinki, so that’s bound to keep me out of trouble for a minute.

Gally

The culmination of our February trip was of course Gallifrey One.

There were multiple reasons I was excited to go; I missed last year, I hadn’t been to a proper convention in a while, and of course it would be my first trip back to California in a year. But I was also excited to have John attend his first Gally.

The morning  in Santa Monica started with a bad omen, a broken statue of Mercury, god of travellers. But perhaps because a replacement was procured speedily her was a forgiving god and our trip to the hotel went smoothly, as did our eventual plane ride home, although we did get lost between the bus and the LAX Marriott… so take that as you will.

At the hotel we found we only had one bed and had to get a rollaway, which was a bit annoying-I wish they would guarantee that somehow. Beds sorted we went and  stocked up on supplies for the weekend; snacks, beer, and a couple bottles of wine. By the end of this I was pretty pooped and needed a shower and change of clothes to get into convention mode so John went off to participate in the traditional In & Out burger run that kicks Gally off while I puttered about getting ready.

As it turned out I had misunderstood the description and the burger run was an actual outing where the entire group walks to In & Out and orders individually, which frankly seems like a terrible idea. But John had In & Out, which is a rite of passage, and got a ribbon out of it to boot so all’s well that ends well. He also came back with several new Pokemon, as the new expansion had just launched. Luckily the hotel had five pokestops of its own so they were pretty thick on the ground all weekend.

Fed and cleaned it was time for the ice cream social, which is a con event but technically takes place before the convention officially starts. There were good ice cream flavours and by this time Palle had arrived and Bryan and Mette where running around as well. They introduced us to some of their friends, and I ran into a few people I knew pretty quickly. We finished off the night mixing questionable drinks in their room, including a pint glass of a surprisingly good irridescent green drink.

Friday was the first official day of the convention and we started it with a Denny’s breakfast. Previous years I have occasionally ventured out of the hotel for food but didn’t realize there even was a Denny’s nearby. Probably I would have been less excited about it when I lived walking distance to a diner, but breakfast food is one of the great American traditins so that was nice.

Back at the con it was time for the Opening Ceremony, which may or may not have been replaced by Radio Free Skaro interviews. I thought it had but someone later said that there is still a more traditional guest intro kind of thing later. In any case the interviews were good but not the right energy level for a con kick-off so we left after a while and spent the rest of the day in a variety of panels. I enjoy behind the scenes stuff so always get a kick out of the classic actors telling war stories and/or current folks discussing the industry-and I got plenty of both during this Gally, as well as a top notch interview with first time guest Lalla Ward and a hilarious Naoko Mori and Gareth David-Lloyd joint interview.

The Friday evening event this year was The Idiot’s Lantern. Basically a series of comedy sketches centered around Doctor Who, ranging from really clever and funny to pretty silly. Annoyingly there were some people sitting behind us who did not like the show but also seemed to forget they were free to leave, thank goodness they eventually remembered. The best bits were probably Tony Lee as Captain Kirk and a silly but amusing Kylo Ren sketch with a surprise Rick & Morty twist. After the show I assume there was drinking, it’s all a bit hazy tbh.

Saturday is the big day on any convention, and we kicked it off with a visit from Andres who swung by and took us to have breakfast at The Coffee Company which was jam-packed but worth the wait.

After that the usual blur of panels took, chatting, and costume gawking took us to the afternoon where we managed to squeeze in a quick recording for the Geek Girl Crafts Podcast up in the room before heading down to Latitude 33 for our first hotel dinner of the weekend. We joined Jade, Erik, Jean, and Chris and there was a lot of Star Wars geekery, primarily between John and Jade. Like, a LOT. We were seated near the entrance so got to say hi to various folks as they came in, reminding me a bit of the good old days at the Coffee Garden.

Saturday’s centerpiece is of course the Masquerade. This was the first year no one I knew was participating, but it was still an enjoyable show with Tony Lee as MC. I may be mistaken but it seemed like there were also fewer Master division entries than usual. But there was definitely some good stuff up there all the same. And like at most conventions there was a halftime show while the judges, including Jude Hudson herself, went off to deliberate.

Normally the halftime is some sort of gameshow, but this time was a bit of a surprise as we got a band instead, called Awesome City Limits. Its no secret that I love it when conventions expand their usual repertoire, especially in regards to live geeky music which has experienced such an explosion of variety and talent in the last decade. And this band was pretty great so I was quite a happy camper.

The judges came back with their decisions, most of which I agreed with entirely, and then it was off to get some alcohol in my system in order to be ready for the Night of the Living Dead Discotheque. I had been excited to experience the DJ skills of Paul Condon, who was in charge two years ago and had been listed initially in the schedule, but Shawn Crosby did a fine job in his stead and I got a lot of dancing in. Once that wrapped (sadly early) there was a certain amount of running around culminating in the lobby, of course, where some people where running this all-night ribbon contest that was strange and confusing to my poor drunk and tired brain but all the same very entertaining.

There were no interesting early panels on Sunday thank goodness so we staggered off to Denny’s and generally had a chill day of watching one panel after another in the main room, partly because they were the most interesting ones and partly because of inertia. Then it was time for closing ceremonies, sad but always a bit of a love-fest. We left before next year’s preview in order to have dinner with Leigh Ann and Leo at a joint Italian and Persian place nearby. It isn’t fusion, but rather has the two cuisines separately. We chose the Persian and had some really amazing dishes including a pomegranate based one, fesenjan I think.

Sunday evening at Gally means drinking the last of the booze, trying to talk to everyone you have missed, and generally sucking the marrow out of the convention. We spent time in the smoking area watching the cool kids compare ribbon trains, and in the lobby getting increasingly maudlin, and we made facebook friends with a Gally fellow-traveller who happens to be local to us in Southampton. And then, sadly it was bedtime. But Gally always saves that last bit of magic for you, and we had a brief but lovely encounter with the luminous Lalla Ward on our way up to our room, and a final late night chat with the charming Simon Fisher-Becker.

And that was it, Gallifrey One was over for another year. Monday morning we ran some errands nearby, got back in time to say goodbye to friends, and then boarded our plane back home.

Birthday

This past weekend John had a friend over and massive amounts of gaming ensued, which I mostly skipped except for a game of Battlestar Galactica (I lost) and one of Power Grid (I lost a lot). We did leave the house once or twice as well, once to hit 7bone for a burger and on Sunday we popped out briefly to get a pint with his visiting uncle.

But Monday it was time for my birthday! John had to go into London for work-related activities and as my birthday present he took the next day off and we got a hotel for the night. While he was off presenting his poster I met up with a friend of Jade’s named Miko who lives in London and has many overlapping interests, life being life we both ended up running late and we had less time to hang out than I had hoped but it was still fun and hopefully I can make it back up to the city for a more extended visit at some point.

Once John was done he made his way to the hotel and we popped over to Queensway street, where there’s a whole street of restaurants that Miko had just clued me into. We had a light lunch at a Persian place to lay a basic foundation for the evening and then got changed before heading down to the Soho area. I had a list of likely looking places that might do for a drink, but not a strict itinerary. We started with happy hour 2-for-1 martinis at a trendy, kinda slick, but still fun place called Dirty Martini and then moved on to a very friendly bar called Graphic which was hosting a gin tasting. The tasting was already wrapping up when we arrived, alas, but we still had a couple of pretty great cocktails served in paint cans (presumably to match the theme). By now we were properly hungry so we hit an American diner which has alcoholic milkshakes. Mine was pistachio and rum and extremely good. Satiated and tipsy we headed through the freezing night in the direction of the hotel in order to get a nightcap at a warm and cozy bar in the Zetter Hotel. This was the perfect place to end the night and even the subsequent walk through the cold didn’t quite defeat the afterglow from their very civilized cocktails.

On Tuesday we woke up late and had a solid continental breakfast at the hotel before making our way towards downtown. We popped into a few stores, has some barbecue at Bodean, and then wandered in baffled circles in Soho trying to find one of the delicious looking French pastry shops that had seemed plentiful earlier in the day. Luckily John’s instincts led us to what I’m sure must be the cutest pastry shop in London (and which Wikipedia assures me is the oldest) Maison Bertaux. Despite being quite sated from our plentiful lunch it was difficult to restrain ourselves and we ended up leaving with three slices of assorted cakes to bring home to Southampton.

We wrapped up the extended weekend drinking coffee on our new sofa, eating a lovely and surprisingly light chocolate mouse cake, and watching Her.

Valentine’s for once

Usually on February fourteenth I find myself at the LAX Marriott along with a couple thousand other Whovians. This year I wasn’t able to attend Gally but I did get a nice consolation prize; my first proper Valentine’s Day with John.

We started with breakfast at a little Portuguese cafe near our flat which reminds me a lot of similar style Spanish places. They do an English breakfast but I had a chouriço com batatas and John got steak and eggs, both were good and cheap and started the day off well. We dipped back into the real world to get some chores done and then headed down to the city’s indie cinema, Harbour Lights, for a special Valentine’s Day screening of Casablanca. It’s been a while since I’d seen it and it’s still fantastic of course, but I had forgotten quite how funny it is as well. Finally in the evening we had hot chocolate sand read for a while before ordering some very nice pizza from a place we hadn’t tried before. A successful first Valentine’s together and I hardly checked the #gally1 hashtag at all!

And now today is the last day before I start my first job here, up the road a bit in a town called Eastleigh. It’ll be nice to feel that much more properly settled, though I’m really not looking forward to getting up early again.

Year of the Monkey

January went by quickly but has left me in a pretty good place, with most of my settling in processes sorted out including UK banking and NHS, and with a job on the horizon. I also got my computer repaired and my room somewhat set up, and less productively played about a zillion hours of Pocket Mortys.

During the month I also got some more exploring done in Southampton and John took me to his favorite burger places, a Vietnamese restaurant with good pho in our neighborhood, and an excellent Mexican place in Portswood. We also found out that the kebab place nearest us is actually really good, which is super handy. His brother visited and I joined in a Star Wars roleplay which I admittedly didn’t hate and may even have enjoyed.

We went into London to see the Cosmonauts exhibit at the Science Museum and a recording of the John Finnemore Souvenir Programme at the BBC, both of which I really enjoyed. Later in the month we joined his family to see Cirque de Soleil’s Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall and had really good American style barbecue.

All in all well done January.

So far February is doing its level best to keep up the excitement, and not only by hitting the country with Storm Imogen. We spent this past weekend in Leicester to see some of the Leicester Comedy Festival. I really enjoyed both of the comedians I saw; Sophie Hagen and John Robertson (of Dark Room fame) and John also saw a third show on the Sunday. It was nice to spend some time in Leicester again, the city is looking great and has a few new cocktail, beer, and food places so I’m looking forward to showing people around in May.

 

Hugo Novels Shirt

My clever husband has put up this sweet design on Teespring, available until June 30th;

hugoshirt

The famous Hugo Award rocket, filled with the name of each Best Novel winner since the first awards were given. An elegant window into the history of our genre, in T-shirt form!

Shirts available in men and women’s cuts: be sure to click the drop down menu if you want the latter.
“Worldcon”, “Hugo Award”, the Hugo Award Logo, and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Trophy Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society. They are used by permission of Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention.

SubZERO Festival

These past two weeks my shifts have tended to run an hour or two longer than usual due to a coworker being on vacation and simultaneously I went up to four days a week. While this means some welcome extra money in the bank it also meant that come the weekend my lazier inclinations were kicking in and I was looking at doing nothing at all if I could help it. Luckily Joe Price pinged me on Thursday night about the SubZERO Festival in San Jose and I had no real excuses to say no.

On Saturday afternoon we drove down to our friend Radar’s house in San Jose and found street parking on the block. She’s well situated near downtown so we headed over on foot with her and her friend Matt. She recommended The Craftsman as our first stop for a couple of drinks and some food. Immediately upon entering I noticed the art on the that I recognized from the Clockwork Alchemy art gallery, specifically a George Méliès tribute by Steamy Tech.

I figured I’d be tempted by the plentiful food trucks so I  only ordered a plate of croquettes with my beers. I quickly realized I’d miscalculated a bit since my breakfast had been nearly eight hours earlier. Oops. Still the beers and food were great and we had a nice time chatting with the friendly and knowledgeable bartender. I also noticed a stack of board games on the counter, apparently Wednesdays is Game Night which they encourage by offering a free bottle of beer to anyone bringing their own board game or Magic deck. Pretty swell.

After The Craftsman we wandered into the sunshine to check out the actual festival. The vendors were all artists and craftspeople and along with Steamy Tech’s booth I also saw a couple of other familiar faces from Clockwork. There were dance performers, a fashion show, a stunning body painting booth, and activities for kids plus two stages for music, one at each end.  We caught the very end of a fun pirate band called O’Craven and although I looked fondly at the food trucks we decided it was time to turn around and head up a block to meet up with Bryan and Mette.

The joined us and we headed to The Ritz, which seemed disconcertingly tiny until we realized there was a whole other space with a stage and dancefloor. The front room had a bunch of local artists on display because of the festival, which I guess a bunch of venues participated in this way. We had some beers and generally nerded out for a bit. I even got a little dancing in which was nice, though it was early enough in the evening that it was mostly just me out there making a fool of myself as usual. Eventually Kevin and Andy joined us and we all headed over to our third venue for the evening; the Back Bar. This was a fun divey sort of place which had a punk rock band called Kittenhead which I enjoyed quite a bit.

This was the only negative of the evening, and a minor one at that. At one point I noticed a guy watching me a bit to intently. I was on alert but even so he managed to rather weirdly stroke my forearm and hand as I moved out of the way for him walk past. I kept an eye on him from then on and both myself and Mette checked in on a woman he seemed to be bothering a bit later, luckily she said she was fine and he wandered away from her not to long after. Eventually he walked by visibly weaving and I remembered that this is a problem with a known solution! I went to let the bouncer (a super chill dude I’d been chatting with earlier) know what the deal was. It always takes me way too long to remember that creeps are not a problem that club patrons need to handle themselves and that (good) venues are usually happy to be warned about potential trouble rather than having patrons leave due to discomfort. In any case the guy left on his own volition as I was talking to the bouncer so all’s well that ends well.

Able to relax now we watched show for a little while longer and chatted with a couple of the roller derby girls that composed the majority of the audience. By now Kevin, Andy, Radar, and Matt had all retired for the evening leaving myself and Joe Price plus Bryan and Mette. Although the band was good the audience was failing to match their energy levels and I was getting a bit restless so we popped over to The Caravan, which also had a pretty good band called Bad Acrobat playing, and then finally to Post street for a brief stop in at a bar whose name I’ve now forgotten but which had a couple of delicious late night food stands outside. I got chicken wings on the way in and a quesadilla on the way out and as we staggered off to find a cab I made a drunken Facetime call to John, who was barely awake. Joe got me back to the city and I was in bed by 5 a.m. or so, which felt pretty satisfying given that’s the time I set my first morning alarm on workdays.

 

SLO and Santa Monica

The morning after the wedding we slept in and then had a nice buffet breakfast at the Hyatt before packing our bags to head south. John’s parents picked us up and after dropping his brother George at SFO we hit the road towards San Luis Obispo and our ultimate destination; the famous (infamous?) Madonna Inn.

Now I remember hearing about this place back in 1996 when I attended LACon III with my friend Laurie. I have a memory of driving through the central valley in the pitch black middle of the night and her waving vaguely at the darkness to the side of the road as she described this unlikely sounding hotel. Obviously I’ve heard a bit more about it since then but it always has had mythical proportions in my mind, associated as it was with my early memories of fandom and being in the States. In any case I was pretty excited about finally seeing it for real, but also a little worried it’d be a letdown. Happily it was anything but! The place is ridiculously over the top in all the right ways, no irony or hipness here, just glorious pink everything and a very mid-century California sensibility. But all of it well made and with a lot of thought and care put into the construction and design. The pool area in particular is a wonderful throwback that makes you feel like you’re on your way to a party at Jayne Mansfield’s pad.

John’s parents were kind enough to book us into the Yahoo room, which was cattle ranch themed and decorated with pictures of the Madonna family. The bed was made from a wagon and the ceiling painted blue with sparkles to look like the night sky, there were dozens of other great little details as well but the standout was the waterfall shower. We ate in town at a really good BBQ place called Firestone on the first night and on the second me tried the Madonna Inn Steakhouse, whose menu was thematically old-school; meat and vegetables and big fluffy cake for dessert, but equally well done. The restaurant decor was if anything more insane than the rest of the place, like dining in Liberace’s bedroom.

It was a relaxing couple of days, spent mainly in the pool or hot tub with a morning off exploring Morro Bay, home of a big rock, a small skateboard museum, and a deep sea rescue vehicle. On the third day we set off south again to spend the rest of the week in LA. John’s parents got an AirBnB in Hollywood while he and I stayed at my sister’s place in Santa Monica.

On the Monday we had to head to downtown LA to get my purse from John’s parent’s (I left it in the car as we carted our luggage up, oops) but Ashley took the opportunity to show us some landmarks. First we visited the old Hollywood grandeur of the Biltmore, and then we headed over to The Standard which is a modern place done up in an amazing seventies style. Unfortunately the famous rooftop pool at the latter was closed for repairs, but it was still pretty cool. After parting ways with his parents the rest of us stopped for some amazing tacos at a place called B.S. Taqueria. So damned good.

Tuesday we went to Disneyland with my sister’s boyfriend Andres. Neither John nor I had never been before so it was all new to us. I intensely disliked Space Mountain (well, I enjoyed the lead up) because the ride takes place mainly in the dark and was just stressful, but enjoyed the rest of the rides. My love of crazy old weird stuff meant I was fascinated by the weird time-capsule that is the Tiki Room, wished there was more original Tomorrowland stuff to see, and enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion quite a lot. Star Tours and the Indiana Jones rides were both good as too, and as a Tarzan fan I liked the tree house even though I know it’s just the retrofitted Swiss Family Robinson attraction. I was surprised that the park felt smaller than I expected, though maybe that was partly because we didn’t really want to dine there or do much shopping aside from t-shirts.

Wednesday we explored Venice Beach with John’s parents, starting in Santa Monica. We stumbled across the carousel, which I never knew was there and has a great retro soda fountain and ice cream counter called Soda Jerk USA. We got drinks and then stopped at the original Hot Dog on a Stick for a corndog before walking along the beachfront to Venice. I insisted on making everyone gawk at the Bordello Alexandra and then we got pupusas and chips for lunch and watched the skateboarders do their thing for a little before heading back to meet Ashley for a cocktail at The Bungalow. That evening was the central event of the visit; a dinner with John’s parent’s and all my local siblings. We ate at an upscale Mexican restaurant which was nice but unfortunately sat us far too near to the live music despite there being plenty of other available tables. Still, the drinks were plentiful, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the desserts were tasty, so the evening accomplished its goal nicely.

Finally Thursday rolled up, John’s last full day here. John’s parents picked up up and we heading up to the Getty. Now I love the building and grounds of the Getty, but unfortunately our visit coincided with the only day of rain in the year so far, so of course most of the beauty of the place was lost to us and the flaws in the signage and layout of the museum were more evident than I remember from my first visit when I was distracted by the scenic views and splendid gardens. Still, we saw a decent photography exhibit that included Chris McCaw (who it turns out is the brother of Fanboy Planet’s Derek McCaw) and a wonderful Turner one that included unfinished works and watercolors. When we had our fill, John’s parents dropped us off at Ashley’s and we cuddled, moped, and watched Community until we got hungry. Dinner was at a slightly pricey but delicious burger place called Pono. We forgot an umbrella and got rained going and coming back but it was worth it for the milkshakes alone. Back at Ashley’s we polished off a bottle of champagne to cap the evening off.

Then Friday dawned and it was time to say goodbye. We had breakfast with Andres before he went off to work, John wrote some postcards on the balcony, and we idled away out last couple of hours together before his parents whisked him off to the airport. I moped about till Ashley got home and cheered me up with some wine, ice cream, and Netflix.

Saturday was my  own last day in Santa Monica and after an abortive attempt to go see Mad Max: Fury Road (it was sold out) I spent the morning reading and relaxing until Ashley got home. We had planned to go out for drinks but found ourselves entirely unmotivated so we repeated the previous evening’s formula to great success. Pistachio ice cream is the best y’all.

Then Sunday morning rolled around and it was time for me to go home, or back to San Francisco anyway.

And that’s the honeymoon (or the proto-honeymoon, I think we’ll do something more coupl-y and romantic later on). Now we wait until its time to file paperwork and get me to the UK!

After the Wedding

(Catching up on the last few weeks here, gotta make an effort to post in a more timely manner.)

After the ceremony at City Hall we headed as a group to my local  diner (alsoJohn’s favorite purveyor of American-style breakfast) the good ol’ Tennessee Grill. Once done with breakfast John and I took a couple of hours to relax and chill out before heading over to the evening’s festivities over at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero where Leigh Ann was generously hosting a celebration/reception/minicon for us.

At the Hyatt we found Leigh Ann and she gave us our room key to go settle in. I changed into something more retrofuturistic (or at least silver) and John happily had his hair coiffed by Mette.  Done with that and fortified by a glass of champagne each, we headed down to the Eclipse Lounge to party once again in the shadow of the Wicker Death Star.

The event was perfect;  from the convention style badges and enthusiastic ribbon trading by all involved to the amazing cake made by Linda and accompanying space-suited cake toppers crafted by Bryan and Mette. Almost everyone I wanted to see there made it and it was a little surreal to see people from the different parts of my life meeting.

Richard Man generously gifted us with some professional portraits, which came out beautifully. The camera he used was pretty awesome all on its own. John’s parents have met some fans before but I think this was their first time in the thick of it so to speak, they seemed to enjoy themselves all the same. Likewise my roommate Palle’s parents came along and I greatly enjoyed seeing them mingle and meet Mette in particular. My best friend from my teens even made it, having recently moved up to the Bay Area. All in all it was a great group and everyone seemed to have a good time.