Yesterday was the Borderlands party for seanan_mcguire's book Rosemary and Rue, which I'd promised to see with tiferet.
Also yesterday, maidenus and her consort came to San Francisco for a brief visit.
The plans for the visit were interesting, especially given that her consort decided that driving was the best option. jai_dit was skeptical about this, particularly given that the Bay Bridge is closed this weekend for construction.
I got off to a bit of a late start, particularly given that I wasn't headed directly there. Every now and then, I get what I would not exactly call premonitions, but Rather Strong Hunches, which are often enough borne out that I would do well to listen to them even when I think they're pretty silly. (Things like "take another route or you might die" -- and I did have a pretty close brush; "bring your GPS", and sure enough we were lost at 2am and Drewface had to Google Map us, and times when I did listen and then had to make use of just what I'd been prepared with.) This time, The Whispering was saying "Buy a damn cane."
I tried stopping at the new drugstore on the corner of the Awful-Ass Double Intersection, but alas, it is so new it is not yet open. Then I tried parking at the drugstore in the Westlake Mall. Oh, my darlings, parking there on a Saturday is absolute ass. I would have done better to park in the far end of the Trader Joe's lot, as it would have been quicker. I circled the parking lot, sharkwise, and got tripped up by other people doing the same. Help us all. I did eventually get a parking space, and found a very lovely cane, black with navy blue metallic blops. Hooray!
I got on BART -- my timing was in fact impeccable, as I heard the train approaching just as I was getting on the escalator. I wielded my Cane of Justice to help zip me up said escalator, and got on the train before the doors shut. Win!
Several text messages later, I waited for JD up top of Embarcadero Station. There was notable crosswalk fail. We met up; I got there slightly after 3:30, and JD arrived at 4; we checked in with Maiden & consort. They were still on their way. As JD had predicted, there was traffic. JD checked in with tupshin, who had been enjoying San Francisco on his motorcycle.
JD and I took the F to Pier 39. I pointed out the scare quotes on the warning about video cameras on the bus. The bus driver tried to give me a discounted fare on account of the cane, but I didn't have change, so I paid full fare anyway. There was what was evidently a very cute small dog that people took pictures of. Maiden & consort called and we found each other in the crowd. There was hugging. We headed for the arcade end of things. We paused in front of the carousel, where Tupshin found us. Tupshin shook hands with the consort, hugged Maiden, and then there was a very hilarious hug-collision as I reached for Tupshin, Tupshin reached for me, and JD reached for Tupshin. Tupshin hugged me, then JD, then did the "what the hell" shrug, and hugged the consort as well.
Introductions having been made, we proceeded to the arcade, where JD and Maiden had DDR fun (Dance Dance Revolution, not Double-Data-Rate RAM), Tupshin played something or other, and I'm not sure what the consort did. I wandered off after a bit of DDR-watching to look out the window at the ocean. There was a lot of fog, but there were pelicans and boats and a sea lion, plus the ubiquitous seagulls. I had taken the precaution of saving Muni maps to my netbook, and we determined that the best route would be to take the 47 until it connected with the 26, and then take the 26 to the bookstore.
Before the bookstore, however, there was supper. Tupshin looked around and decided that sourdough was good unless anyone else had objections, which no one had. (The conversation involved something like "Sourdough good?" "Works for me." and Tupshin bounding off in that direction, full speed ahead.) There was turtle bread and teddybear bread! I got a sandwich on the grounds that I would probably be even slower about eating soup, and the festivities at the bookstore were already well underway. The cafe staff mangled my name in the most interesting way I have seen yet: "Ash" instead of "Azz". At least it started with the right letter...?
The usual amount of giggling and gossip and chatter ensued. Stockton's fireworks display came up. I realized that I should really update my LJ interests list. (The translation system was designed by B.S. Johnson, see.) This came up apropos of Brad, and Brad's recent adventures in Perl.
We got a round of pictures, mostly with everybody with their cameras out visibly taking pictures of everybody else.
I headed off in the direction of the 47. I wasn't quite sure where exactly it was, but decided I'd walk until I found the appropriate bus stop. I eventually did find it -- I'd overshot the bit where it was closer to the pier, and had to go inland two blocks to intersect with the route, and backtrack a block to get a stop. I arrived just as the bus did, and my transfer was still good. The bus was relatively unoccupied.
Somewhat later, a scruffy and slightly smelly guy sat down next to me, and cheerfully started up a conversation with a guy in an adjacent seat, talking mostly about cooking. One of the things that I was startled to "learn" from the conversation was that certain foods leave deposits in the urine, which builds up in [his] uterus. (Even if he were a transman, which I do not believe he was, his grasp of anatomy is still to laugh.) The dude he was speaking to eventually got off the bus, and the scruffy dude invited one of the people who was standing, a young Asian man (I believe Chinese) in a nice suit to sit down in the seat that the other dude had vacated, saying that standing up on the bus is dangerous to nice clothes. The young dude declined the invitation (and sitting down is equally dangerous, I think -- who knows what is on the seats), and the scruffy dude continued chatting, detailing how much he appreciated Asian culture, and showing off the dragon tattoo he had on his right forearm, which he uses to remind himself of important principles of his by looking at it. "That way, as long as I have this hand, I'll remember!" he assured us all, but then added, somewhat worryingly, "I'll lose this hand first; I really should have put it here" (indicating his left forearm) "but that's where I have a tattoo of a woman, because I'm Hispanic, and everybody wants to treat me like a white guy, but I got this tattoo to show them that I was not a white guy." He talked affectionately about his relationship with his mother, and how he was the only one who spoke Spanish to her. Then he got back onto the topic of food with the young man. The young man at first displayed that boggle-eyed look that one gets when one is thinking "This person cannot seriously be saying this, of all things, to me, of all people!" but gradually broke into a big grin, possibly at the sheer outrageousness of it all. Possibly the crowning moment of sheer surreal was when the scruffy dude mentioned how Chinese cooking in particular was excellently healthy and nutritious as it was all vegetarian.
The young dude had to get off the bus, and shortly thereafter the scruffy dude realized that it was his stop, and scrambled off as well. I was not quite sure where my stop was, but after the bus hit Mission, I decided that this was in fact where I should get off, and did so.
Getting off was a bit of a production. I am not yet used to the cane on bus steps, and I was slower than I usually am on the bus steps, and bus doors close fast and hard (dangerous). My wrist got closed in the doors; it hurt and there was a red mark. The doors opened up again after I smacked at the open bit again, and the driver made alarmed noises, and I got off safely. The bus stop on Mission was the right one, although (I found out later) not the one I'd been aiming for, but it all worked out.
Borderlands is between 19th and 20th st, not 18th and 19th as I'd thought. I got off the bus a stop too early, and was very confused walking down the street, confused and lost. I thought of calling Kiri, started to, then stopped; I walked on until eventually I found it, literally calling Kiri again and turning around and seeing the store. (Happily for me, I wasn't seriously lost, as Kiri had forgotten her phone at home.) I came in, hugged Seanan, got a book, got it signed, then wandered through the crowd to the back of the store.
Borderlands is a small bookstore. I had wondered how it was that they had a great space cleared in the middle, for a small stage area and seating, when normally there are bookshelves there. I got my answer! They cleverly use rolling bookshelves for the book areas that are not attached to the walls, and had stuffed most of the normal free-floating bookshelves into the back area, with a small hall left to access the bathroom, and a tiny aisle so one person could sit on the couch. I poked about at the books back there. I spied The Sword of Maiden's Tears, which taunted me with its very nearness and lack of ability to be reached.
A guy wandered back into the back section, and we did the "Shall we dance?" routine in getting him back into the back past the shelves and me. We chatted briefly, and he encouraged me to ask the guy on the couch to reach me the book. (He struck me as cute, and also struck me as resembling the best friend somewhat, although Kiri later reminded me of my basic skill level in face recognition, and said that the guy looks nothing like, to her.) You can't take the sky from me. (I'm visible for all of 2 seconds, and so's he, back way back in the back by the window.)
There were drawings for prizes. I had arrived late, and had missed some of the music and drawings and other festivities. A cheer went up every time someone found that their ticket was a match. (Someone commented on this, being appreciative that everyone was so nice and cheering for the person who won rather than groaning that they did not win, and the next time, there was a collective groan from the people who did not win, but universal cheering resumed with the ticket after that.)
Seanan read Chapter 3, to general cheer.
I contemplated getting a second copy, for EV, but I haven't read the whole book yet, and I don't know if it will be suitable. Shockingly, EV's parents have forbidden Phillip Pullman!! I also realized that "Evening" is a perfectly good name for EV, although EV is already Evander in some cases.
I recognized spectralbovine and said hello. He seemed a little surprised that I would recognize him as we have interacted so very little on LJ. Kiri explained that I have a pretty sharp memory as LJ-things go, especially given the pending question about pingbacks that awaits someone with better knowledge of the code.
There was the last set of music. I didn't find my camera in time to get all the music, and the color is rather horrible, but I did get the two last songs. (Someone, please tell me that the editor one got on video?) instrumental, 2nd to last song. I regret that my camera angle didn't let me catch much of the fiddler's magic. My camera flashed red at me and I gave thanks for the not-exactly-a-hunch-more-an-experience-w
There was a pause to allow final purchases, Seanan's mom read the buttons on my hat, there was the final drawing, and then we got the hell out of there. Kiri and I went across the street to Burger Joint and gossiped over dinner for her, fries for me. I checked my wrists, and they were OK, post-bus. Drewface called, to complain that I'd earwormed him. Some of the other attendees of the party joined us, and there was general chatter and hilarity, including one particularly silly moment where someone complained about texting in the same room, and the guy who was in support of this habit said that if it was on the small screen, he could focus on it, versus the 360° world of blaring sensory impressions. My eyebrow lifted at the 360° bit. "Eyes in the back of your head?" I asked. He, of course, illustrated his point perfectly by missing what I'd said entirely, to uproarious laughter from the group.
This party wound down too, and Kiri walked me to the BART station, gossiping the entire way. I discovered, as I had been doing the entire day, that I could actually walk with the cane, and in fact the combined trekking was more than I usually did, and I was ready to keep on going, because when my knee started to complain, I could use the cane and give it a rest, rather than having to either stop and rest or continue through the pain and make it worse. It's really rather a positive feedback loop: knee goes dodgy so I have to take it easy on it, legs take the excuse of going easy to lose their tone, walking becomes worse, knees get worse when bothered, and it just doesn't get better. If it hurts less, I walk more. Cane ftw.
I noticed something else as I got down to the platform level in the BART station -- a middle-aged man saw me approach with my cane, and got up and wandered off and let me have his seat. It is a much more pronounced effect than walking up in more pain but without a cane.
I came home without incident, and took my netbook to bed with me. I tried to do some suggestions-ing, but kept falling asleep in the middle of typing up a comment, so I called it quits for the night.