Ah, but what a wonderful weekend it was.

Fresh from the elation that my story had made it to the papers, I’d driven off to see Jen in the wonderful Chicago suburbs. I didn’t realize just how wonderful these suburbs were until Saturday afternoon, when we drove up to Schaumburg for some overdue shenanigans. There, I experienced my first taste of Chipotle, and many grueling hours of zombie killing, and DDR at Gameworks. I found Chipotle a very tasty diversion, and Gameworks an immersive one. We arrived at Gameworks around 7 pm, where we met up with Ryan and crew; we didn’t make it out until after 12:30 am.

Of note, there are three DDR machines at this particular Gameworks, though one had a screen that was turning pink, another had a slightly unresponsive pad, and yet another had a partially discolored screen. It didn’t matter, I played on them until I couldn’t play anymore. Jen would have played more, she says, but made the mistake of wearing sandals that day. I had the misfortune of selecting “321 Stars”, “A”, and “So Deep”, all on Heavy, as one of my final sets, just to see if I could do it. Those songs reduced me to a shuddering heap on the floor, but I’d managed to finish all three. Later I played “Bag”; Sure, it was on 2x to make the arrows readable, but my skills on arcade pads are somewhat questionable without the added difficulty Bag provides.

Somewhere between DDR sets, Ryan attempted “Paranoia Survivor Max ONI” and made it almost to the end before giving up. He was so close! Two of his male friends offered him fellatio should he complete the song, so one has to wonder if he didn’t fail on purpose out of sheer disgust. Unfortunately Ryan and Co. had to leave early, as Gameworks throws out everyone who is under 21 and not accompanied by a parent after 9 pm. Ryan had his moment of glory regardless of his early departure, so we wished him a good night. I found it somewhat disconcerting that once they left, I was the best player left in the Gameworks. Am I the only person above 21 who enjoys mindlessly stomping arrows to techno music?

Sometime after Ryan left, Jen suggested we try the simulated roller-coaster. This device consists of a long swing arm with a capsule attached to the end. The arm can rotate in a semi-circle, and raise and lower the capsule, while the capsule can spin at the end of the arm. The capsule has a screen on the inside, somewhat reminiscent of those old white hydraulic space shuttles at most fairgrounds. Now, a virtual roller-coaster doesn’t seem too daunting, but I had just played a few rounds of heavy DDR, and rehydrated myself for many long minutes sucking at a drinking fountain. Did I let the water settle before getting into a spinning device that would do its very best to emulate a roller-coaster that could never actually exist? Of course I didn’t. I leapt right in with Jen, sure that something as mundane as water couldn’t be upset by mere rotation. I say now that I’m glad they provided a panic button, because I was about to lose the entire contents of my stomach, water and all, about two minutes into the ride. On the plus side, the guy running the ride says he’ll be at Anime Iowa and Anime Reactor; good to meet anime Fans, wherever they are.

Sunday was much more tame: a trip to the mall and dinner with some of Jen’s friends. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was Italian, and the food was delicious.

All in all, a very good weekend. I can see how it’s much nicer to live in an area where there are other actual people, so there are things to do for fun aside from bar-hopping.

Since then, I’ve felt quite under the weather. Not sick per se, but I’ve spent most of today in bed trying not to breath too hard. I guess it was a week of far too much fun and excitement for my system to take, and it’s paying me back the only way it can. How’s that for gratitude? I don’t care, I’d do it again in a second! Now, if only it would stop raining for one freaking day so I can mow the lawn. What, has the midwest become Washington?

It’s all too much!