The ESO Dinner!
This year’s ESO Dinner took place at Uncle Julio’s. I was not familiar with Uncle Julio’s , but the best case scenario was that it would be a new and exciting dining experience. The worst case scenario was that it would be miserable and terrible and I would spend the rest of the night in the bathroom in my room disposing of Uncle Julio’s cuisine out of both ends and would have another excellent post about a nightmarish dining experience.
Unfortunately this one landed somewhere in the middle.
Side Note: I tried to be much more aggressive about taking pictures over the weekend, but there were still things I failed to capture – the massive Men’s Room stall, Uncle Julio’s, Little Pond’s impressive Doctor Five and Ten costumes. Overall I did a bit better but still fell short of the sort of visual documentation I feel that you, the Phantomaniacs, deserve. I promise HeroesCon will be better.
While we waited I chatted with Anthony Taylor and his tattooed friend and once we got to the table I sat down across from Mark Maddox, another individual I have been wanting to have a conversation with for quite some time. I have to say, being at diner with Anthony and Mark was pretty exciting. I’ve been on podcasts with both of them and find them to be interesting guys, but those talks are always specific and directed. It was going to be cool to just shoot the shit about whatever.
Or it would have been if the Loudest Person Ever hadn’t been at our end of the table. Now, he was not an unpleasant fellow. He was frequently entertaining as a matter of fact. But I’m not sure there was a time when he was not talking. So at one end of the table the Loudest Person Ever was talking about… whatever he was talking about. And at the other end Director Faber, Judy, Doctor Geek and his wife, the De La Torres, and several other folks were engaged in pleasant nerd conversation at normal volumes. I was right in the middle. Almost literally on the dividing line. I had ended up not quite across from Mark Maddox and one person over from Anthony Taylor, so the conversation I was anticipating did not ensue.
Side Note: I am presenting without comment the fact that one of the Loudest Person Ever's topics of conversation was that he was so concerned about the environment that he considered the amount of fuel a truck would use to deliver an item when he ordered something online.
I was, however, across from a fellow from New Zealand whose name I never picked up. He had been in the Colin Baker Q&A with us and was a very nice guy. We chatted through dinner and had a generally good time. I was conscious of my responsibilities to bring somebody or bodies back to the Holiday Inn Chambodia after dinner, so I restricted my alcohol intake to two Miller Lites. That was definitely a good thing.
The staff at Uncle Julio’s were zealots of pleasantry. I have never been served by a more aggressively polite staff in my life. If we had been in a movie, I’m certain it would have turned out they were chopping people up and serving them to the customers. That’s part of the reason why I ordered frog legs – there’s no mistaking frog legs for anything other than frog legs. I also ordered frog legs because I’ve never had them and I was honestly trying to goad the night into being an experience a bit on the bad side. It seemed poised to topple and I thought frog legs might be the factor that tipped it over.
I still don’t know why, but the wait staff was very pushy with water. They brought me three even after I told them to stop. So not only was the crack between our pushed-together tables separating me from the lower-volume portion of our party, there was a literal wall of water there. Every once in a while I would peek over it and attempt to insert a comment into the normal conversation, to no avail. They couldn’t hear me over the Loudest Person Ever (I do not begrudge him his vocal intensity – he is a performer and I’m sure it comes in handy).
My frog legs were a massive disappointment. There was barely any meat on them, what was there was difficult to separate from the bones, and they tasted like fishy chicken. I was highly amused by their little feet, though. I think something might be wrong with me. Were I in less distinguished company I would have picked up a pair and done the ol’
Probably best that I didn’t.
One of the young waiters – who I feel was likely an aspiring actor – assured me multiple times the frog legs were awesome. I honestly can’t argue the point because those were the only frog legs I have ever had. I have no frame of reference. But I will say that if there are frog legs in the world that would make the ones I had last Saturday seem awesome then I do not want them because they must taste like shit. At one point that waiter stopped behind me and said, “They’re awesome, right?” and I shrugged and said, “No, not really”. I think I actually saw his bottom lip pooch out as he walked away.
After I finished the three ounces of meat that came on my frog legs, I voraciously devoured the eight beans and twenty-seven pieces of rice that accompanied my meal. There was also a pile of guacamole, but I don’t eat things that look like fresh infant shit. I may ingest fully-footed amphibian legs, but I’m not a lunatic.
After dinner our vehicular situation changed up a bit and I ended up driving Mark Maddox, so we had our conversation after all. I made a wrong turn at one point and we ended up on this poorly-lit road beside I-285. I’m pretty sure he thought I was going to drive him somewhere and kill him. Sorry, Mark.
I dropped the artist off back at the Holiday Inn Chambodia and then went to the nearby gas station to fill up my car and buy some beer. I really needed beer. Actually, I really needed liquor, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune at the hotel.
The gas station was terrifying. I suppose it was karma for scaring Award-Winning Mark Maddox. When I walked inside to get my beer, this guy that looked like a cross between Suge Knight and Geter from Platinum Championship Wrestling was pointing and talking menacingly at the clerk, who was very Indian and very angry. Apparently the massive, sweatsuit-wearing customer thought the clerk had short-changed him and the clerk did not care. To be clear – the clerk was not contradicting the man. He was simply telling him to leave. The man was growing understandably more agitated and just as I thought he was going to reach through the window and pull the clerk’s little mustache off, he turned around and stomped out of the store. It was at this point that I noticed another Indian dude standing in front of the counter, with his hands on his hips. I realized he was there to provide backup to the clerk. I looked at him and said, “What were you gonna do?” and he just shrugged.
I got back to the hotel and the Grand Hoff and Little Pond were there. I told them where we had eaten and they both laughed. Those two are fancy-pants food people that don’t eat at lame places like McDonald’s and The Cheesecake Factory and while I would mock them for that, they are typically right about restaurants. I ran back to the room to fetch my beer bag and stick a mask in my pocket – just in case – and went back down to chat. I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like, so it was nice to hang out.
The Masquerade was at 10:30 and it was hosted by none other than the fabulous Lt. Moxie Magnus, Chief Cosmetologist of the Starship Enterprise (under Captain James T. Kirk). Moxie was in a variation of Doctor Six’s wacky costume:
Moxie did a fantastic job of introducing the contestants and making them feel at ease on the stage whether they were performing or not. It was a fun show, with an opening sketch involving pretty much every Doctor at the con. That was followed by all kinds of different performances from all kinds of different people. I was kicking myself for not signing up. I still can’t quite explain why I didn’t. About halfway through Mrs. Troublemaker called, so I stepped outside to talk. She had been spending the whole weekend with her family, so I felt bad that she couldn’t be having fun with me and the Ponds.
By the time I got back in the Masquerade was over. I sat and chatted with my pals some more and we talked with various con-goers. Then I remembered a flyer I had seen in the elevator. It had said that there was a kinky sex party in room 23, with a furry and a dragon from Honah Lee…
Wait, that’s the wrong con.
It said there was a room party in room 44soemthing and that it started at 11:30. It was well past midnight at this point and I suggested we should go and see what was happening. I think the Ponds were winding down at that point, but they accompanied me up anyway. There were two rooms with parties adjacent to one another. The one on the right side of the fourth floor hallway seemed empty and quiet, but the one on the left was chock full of people and liquor. Among those people were none other than elusive conversationalists Anthony Taylor and Mark Maddox. I introduced them to Little Pond and the Grand Hoff, who promptly left to return to their home deep inside the perimeter.
I stuck around and talked and took some pictures:
Our conversation grew so nerdy that it pretty much drove off any females in the area. It was impressive. Eventually I grew tired of yelling over everybody else and excused myself. It was weird – I wanted there to be music, but it was already so loud in there you couldn’t hear very well. I make no sense sometimes.
On the way back to my room I was distracted by another flyer – this one advertising a party in room 101. I decided I didn’t have quite enough material yet and headed out for another room party experience.
I arrived at room 101 and the door was closed. A sign said to knock loudly because there was music. I didn’t hear anything. It was a bit creepy. I actually turned and started walking away, but then I steeled myself and rapped loudly on the door four times like a Time Lord’s heartbeat. A little fellow opened the door and invited me in. There were a few people in there, among them Scaroth:
And Martha Jones:
From earlier in the evening.
There was music playing quietly and even a little light system going on. The room had a king-size bed and a couch and folks were on both. I stood. I talked to Martha and Scaroth about Doctor Who and various other things for a while, and then who should show up but the illustrious Dan Carroll! He joined our conversation, turning it to the subject of Zen and Indian food. After a while I decided it was time to turn in. Checkout was at 11 Am and I didn’t want to be scrambling around, trying to pack everything up.
I should explain here that I had never been to a room party before. I had no idea what to expect and was eager to have wacky stuff to write about. But I suppose these were relatively tame room parties. Fun, but tame. After I got back to the room I laid out my attire for the next day and packed all of my bags.
Come back tomorrow for the final day of TimeGate 2013 and a look at the Vendor Room.