I composed the initial part
of my holiday write-up from a motel in Ohio, USA. Thus, it seems somehow fitting that I now write its counterpart, concluding the holidays
from a hotel in Tokai, Japan![*] Without further ado, here is a summary of the last two states visited in the Nomad 2009 Decemberween Five State US Tour! Have at it, gentle readers!Day Nine:
(Thu Dec 31) Arrived in Michigan with gyades
, where I greeted my darling tawneypup
and her husband, plasmonicgrid
. After settling in, we were introduced to Little Big Planet
and the four of us spent a couple of hours bonding over the Playstation 3. When finished, I took a call from the future -- the charming cheshcat
, the beautiful bunnypip
, and the marvelous miss_amaranth
phoned from 2010! We chatted for a bit, then it was time for homemade pizza paninis!
Guests[**] began arriving at half eight -- in total, fourteen people attended, making for a cozy little group. We played a couple of games of Bag of Nouns
-- each time I was on the winning team by just a razor-thin margin of victory! I passed around the Signspotting
book that cheshcat
had given me for Yule -- it was generally a huge hit, with much laughter ensuing! At midnight, we watched an animatronic Dick Clark ring in the new year -- and decade! -- as we enjoyed malts at midnight! Yummy!
We got comfortable in the new year by chatting and having random attacks of silly string
. Around two o'clock in the morning, it was suggested that we go to sleep... but we played Apples To Apples
instead! Despite an early lead, I came in third with six cards to my name. Apparently, I am "pure" & "eternal"... as well as "chunky", too! More sleepy -- and slightly tipsy -- musings followed, so it was nearly six o'clock in the morning before people finally made their way to Dreamland. Definitely a fun way to see out the old year and welcome in the new one!Day Ten:
(Fri Jan 01) After a lazy lie-in, tawneypup
and I went out for a delicious breakfast of omelette and hash browns and pancakes! Then we exchanged gifts before packing up for the drive to Chicago. gyades
drove on first in his car; tawneypup
and I followed half an hour behind in hers. The weather outside was frightful -- much snow and ice assailed us. Still, my dear Tawney handled the roads expertly... and the slow speeds required gave us all the more time to talk in the car! When we finally ran out of things to say, we spent the last hour or two singing various and sundry songs together, especially a few duets!
On our arrival in Chicagoland, the three us of went out for a dinner of Mexican food... followed up by games! I managed an amazing rally to beat gyades
at air hockey... only to lose the next game to tawneypup
. I then scraped by a win -- in overtime! -- against gyades
in foosball before we all headed in to the Lazer Tag arena. This time around, I tried a new strategy: Hide in one of the highest spaces and try to pick people off sniper-style. It didn't pay off, though; not enough people in my field of view to rack up sufficient hits. Out of fourteen players in our free-for-all, I ranked only twelfth -- compared to tawneypup
(clad all in black ninja gear) at #3 and gyades
at #5. Oh, well -- better luck next time! After our session shooting each other in the backs[***], we returned to the Event Horizon for some good old fashioned Rock Band. That topped off the night well, until we were all ready to collapse into bed!Day Eleven:
(Sat Jan 02) After waking, gyades
and I made our way to the Morton Arboretum to wander about the grounds. Although this magnificent arboretum is located only half a mile from the Event Horizon -- making me a frequent visitor when I am local -- this is only the second time that I have dropped by in Winter. The ground was covered in snow and the sun glistened beautifully off the shiny white surfaces! I had never seen the arboretum like this before -- it was absolutely lovely! We drove slowly through both sides, stopping in the middle to wander on foot. We attempted a gnome hunt... but found too many gnomes were hiding beneath the snow! Whoops!
After we returned to the Event Horizon, we let the games begin! tawneypup
and I played Tic Tac Doh!
using my Icehouse pieces
, each winning several games. We then moved on to Martian Chess
-- also an Icehouse game -- where I won. By this point, xirpha
had arrived; we broke out Betrayal At House On The Hill
and played with all four of us. Interestingly enough, we stumbled on the one scenario -- out of fifty -- where there is no
traitor! Instead, the four of us had to collectively defeat our evil twins, which I am proud to say we managed without sustaining any casualties! Go us! By this point gyades
was feeling a bit off so he went to take a nap whilst xirpha
and I how to play Ingenious
; the first game was a close win for xirpha
(eight points for him, with seven for each of us), whilst the second was a much more dramatic win for tawneypup
(eleven points for her, seven for me, one for xirpha
. Next up, we played Empire Builders
. This was a close game -- and a long one! -- but I managed to achieve a victory! By this point, the lovely wyldekyttin
, & unclevlad
, as well as the charming emrldgirrl
had arrived! We introduced them to the now-infamous Bag of Nouns
, which was a hit! I teamed up with wyldekyttin
against the rest... but, alas, we were undone! At the end of the game, we were behind three points!
We had a little time to chat and schmooze before we needed to head out to catch the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
. My dear friends, I am proud to say that your favourite Nomad is a Rocky virgin no longer! Before the show, us virgins were rounded up and made to mimic barnyard animals having an orgasm -- my turkey garnered great laughs... and came in second only to the walrus! The show itself was lots of fun! The shadow cast was excellent and came equipped with very elaborate props! Of course, I have no basis for comparison... but tawneypup
has seen half a dozen such productions of Rocky
-- and she thinks that this one was the best! Originally, we had planned to dress me up as Magenta for the show; to that end tawneypup
had brought a French maid's costume with her. Alas, time did not allow... so there are no compromising photos to share with you, gentle readers! Perhaps next time!
The cinema itself was impressive, with a fantastic ambiance and seating at conference-style tables. This permits a full restaurant menu, with food and drink delivered throughout the show. I very much enjoyed the venue and plan to return on future trips to Chicago -- either for Rocky
or just for other movies! The admission fees are quite reasonable (only eight dollars), though everyone is required to purchase at least one item from the menu. No complaints there -- tis a good deal! Meanwhile, I owe thanks to wyldekyttin
... as the surreptitiously intercepted and paid the restaurant check for tawneypup
When the show ended, we bid them farewell... then returned to the Event Horizon to collapse into bed once more, circa three o'clock in the morning! Day Twelve:
(Sun Jan 03) Vacation over -- hop a flight to Japan!
Thus completed the Nomad's Twelve Days of Christmas in the US of A -- all in all, it was an excellent holiday and a wonderful start to the new year! Now I am in Tokai, batteries recharged and eagerly looking forward to the start of our next collaboration meeting tomorrow! The experiment is turning on now
so these are some very exciting times!!
[*] Hey, I've got a name to live up to!
[**] Other than gyades and I, of course!
[***] And front. And shoulders.
[****] Indeed, I would have thanked them sooner -- and in person! -- except that I did not learn of this until after we had already parted ways for the night!