... and after a brief hiatus:

John Barth, Lost In The Funhouse
Cut on dotted line.
[fold on solid line]
Twist end once and fasten
AB to ab, CD to cd.
It's a Moebius strip, get it?

Well, ok, so I've been a little behind. I started out last august, ready to write up pages and pages of stuff, just stuff, about what I've been doing and thinking and feeling. I had a whole rant mapped out, things about people not learning enough and how our species seemed doomed to do the same stupid things over and over because nobody was willing to learn. But I waited too long to write it all down, and the mood passed, and now I'm not sufficiently rabid about the topic to turn the notes into paragraphs. So I'll stick to the vacation slides aspect for this installment.

The past, er, 9 months in review

(the abridged, vacation-slide version)


We roadtripped to Disney Land for Chris' sister Julie's graduation (not to be confused with my sister Julie, nor her husband Chris). I stayed with Suzy, who works in San Dimas (a small town in southern california whose only claim to fame is being the setting of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, where Keanau Reeves got his big start). Disneyland was cool, although I'm starting to think that large parts of it were not designed with children in mind. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride comes to mind.

Julie's Wedding

My sister got married in July. I got to see nearly every relative I have (well, all of the ones within two generations), and spend a bit of time back in Newtown, Connecticut (founded in 1705) where I went to high school. Newtown's second best claim to fame is the flagpole running through the center of main street, which also happens to be a major thoroughfare. After it was knocked down a couple times, and after the town realized that they couldn't widen the road because it was hemmed in by two churches which just happened to be historical landmarks, they decided to reinforce the flagpole with a 50-foot steel shaft embedded deep into the ground. Now cars wrap themselves around the flagpole. To alleviate this problem, the thoughtful folks have posted a tasteful "Keep Right" sign, sure to ward off those pesky vehicles.

(Actually, Newtown's best claim to fame involves a particularly gruesome murder that made national papers but isn't the kind of subject to bring up on a family page).

This event is big enough... well, ok, this event has enough pictures to justify a separate page.

IHOP Halloween Party

We had a little shindig at the House of Pain around the end of October. Phil wanted to do a small-scale Game with a theme of "Citizen Payne", a loose ripoff of Citizen Kane, in which a wealthy individual named Charles Foster Payne has died and left an inheritance for a collection of relatives.. except that Payne was murdered, and somebody in the house is the guilty party.

We ended up with about 30 guests, and ran them through a scaled-down Game that took about 6 hours. We had punful tie-ins to a slew of horror movies (after the Citizen Kane idea started us down that path, there was no stopping). The body in the window seat from Arsenic and Old Lace, the heartbeats from behind the sheetrock wall in the basement was from The Tell-Tale Heart (the players had to bash their way through the correct wall with a sledgehammer). There was a body floating in the pool with a copy of the Great Gatsby in the pocket, and a demented manuscript by the typewriter a la The Shining. Last but not least was the graveyard with handmade tombstones. Crafted with care by Phil, the three concrete markers for the graves of the Payne family weigh hundreds of pounds each and have refrigerator-magnet letters to record the names. We expect the tombstones will be there forever. The graves had real-looking skulls buried in them (courtesy of Mike's brother and his archaeological bone-casting lab) with a map painted on top; the guests had to dig them up by flashlight while ominous "ch-ch-ch" noises filled the darkness.. then Stephen jumped out of the bushes with a hockey mask and a small chainsaw roaring, and chased them up the stairs.

One of my contributions was a Marathon map of the entire house. At one point in the game, guests had to choose two champions to play the game, and had to battle their way through the virtual house (while being hounded by Simeon the marathon stud) to the basement, where a loud heartbeat thudded in the place where they had to go in the real world.

Christmas FNDC

One of the growing traditions of our little Friday Night Dinner Circuit (apart from the tradition of eating on Saturdays) is to do a fancy dinner around the winter holidays every year. This year was the biggest yet, with 25 attendees, drinks in the rooftop ballroom of a really nice SF hotel (not quite nice enough for me to remember the name, alas), and a huge dinner in a restaurant with the strangest interior decor I've ever witnessed (lots of brass tubing, like the inside of an espresso machine, merged with large banana-split-shaped light fixtures). The bill came out to around $1500, and Mike was quite impressed with his dessert, described as a "Neo-Classical Baklava".

The smaller christmas dinner took place with my parents, who were out here from their new home in Chicago for a week. The six of us (Julie, Chris, me, Melissa, mom and dad) had a nice big roast on a makeshift table in the IHOP dining room (while it is called the "dining" room, nobody ever has dinner there, mostly because there isn't a dining room table in it).

Brian Warner <warner@lothar.com>
(spellchecking graciously provided by Melissa Jones).
Last modified: Fri Nov 14 00:27:16 PST 1997