I missed the birthday party because it was on Wednesday, and I didn't want to risk crossing the 520 bridge during rush hour... apparently, I should have removed the 'during rush hour' qualifier, because when I tried to go visit them on Saturday, around noon, I ended up stuck on the 520 bridge for about an hour. I'm not sure what was going on -- everyone was trying to get off onto Montlake boulevard and the back up from that exit literally extended all the way to 405. Thus the hour crossing the damn bridge, most of which was spent getting to the damn bridge.
Ironically, the only reason I was even crossing on 520 was to try to avoid the horrible traffic that I'd gotten stuck in the last time I tried to head over around noon on a Saturday using I-5 (~30 min crawling through downtown) and the time before, using I-90 (~45 minutes parked on the 100 feet or so of interchange from 90 to 5). I'm not sure what to try next time -- 99? Circling around the entire lake on the surface streets instead of using any freeway? Taking the Tacoma narrows bridge to Bainbridge Island and then coming back across the sound on the ferry?
...taking the bus would still be slower. And the whole reason they invited me over was so that they'd have enough cars. >:)
Anyway, once i finally arrived, we headed up and around the lake to this nifty little park built around an old seminary or something -- my god, that building is HUGE! And apparently deserted? We spent most of the day climbing down a precarious path to a little sort-of-beach on lake washington, where their new puppy Ruth refused to go in the water, despite much urging. Walking back up was actually easier than walking down because we took a less dangerous path... the dangerous path was more fun of course. >:)
That night we played a couple board games, Ticket to Ride (which my mom stomped us all at) and Carcasonne with *no expansions*. WTF? It's an entirely different game... an entirely different, very very short game. There were a total of three cities larger than two tiles, and with no big guy to easily steal cities from people, the best I could do was leech off of two of them. I got closed out of the big farm, but still managed to squeak out a victory over Anna, who had two of the cities (but not the biggest two) and the big farm.
Sunday I went back over in the morning so that we could go down to Seattle Center and play ancient video games at the pinball expo. Parking was free, but OMG RAGE! They had slanted parking spaces... narrow, evil little slanted parking spaces that would have been fine except that for some ungodly reason they required you to *back in*. Because there's nothing I like more than trying not to hit the BMW on the left or the Lexus on the right when I can't fucking see what I'm doing. Oh, and then to do it ALL OVER AGAIN because I picked a parking space with a red curb, that apparently means it isn't really a parking space even though it has clearly painted parking space markings around it and a sign directly behind it saying 'park here'. Obviously, whoever designed that setup hates cars.
...that's not exactly a joke. There's a contingent in the Seattle traffic planning bureau that genuinely wishes everyone would just bike or walk everywhere.
Anyway, the expo itself was pretty neat, although all the good pinball games had people camping on them for hours going for world-record scores, or just playing out a four-player game with all four players being themselves. A lot of the interesting arcade games were free, though, since everyone gravitated to the popular ones. I got to play Pack Rat, Satan's Hollow, Pheonix, Sinistar... and oh my god, Sinistar was even more sadistic than I remembered. So, it was fun, although my feet were *killing* me. x.x
For lunch we ate at the little Seattle Center food court, which is notable only because I got an Orange Julius for the first time in years and years and was instantly re-addicted. I had a very hard time not going back and getting another one after I finished the first. It's sort of hard to stop myself from driving to the nearest one right now -- I think there's one in Bellevue Square?
They also had some people singing traditional African songs, some of which were in weird languages, some of which were in English, and some of which I genuinely couldn't tell. At least it was all vocal, and thus not ear-splittingly awful, like (say) the piano player they always have at Fry's.
I left before dinner to head over the game night at G'razel's place, but no one else showed up, so we talked about the [REDACTED] for a while and then I headed home and watched a little of the backlog on my DVR. And stuff. And now... back to work. Even though I feel like I'm ready for the weekend to start after a couple days hard socializing.