Wednesday, December 8, 2010

B-Fest 2010 - Thursday

Okay, I realize it's almost time for B-Fest 2011, but dammit, I took the time to write the thing, so I'm going to publish it anyway.

I must apologize to all you fantastic readers of film land up front for this B-Fest diary.  You see, my parents got us a GPS for Cthulhumas this year.  “Yes,” I hear you saying.  “What’s your point?”  My point is, no funny road stories.  No getting hopelessly lost and nearly being mugged and raped by exploding winos; no accidentally stumbling across Satanic deities of the workin’ class man; hell, there wasn’t even any swearing when I drove through downtown Chicago!  In the Board of fucking Trade district!  Really!  My darling Mina told us exactly how to get every place we wanted to go. 

Now, I tend to be a bit of a Luddite.  I held out getting a DVD player for a long time.  Not until my first year of college was I able to enjoy the wonder that is the commentary track.  As I type this, Malorie is installing our first HDTV and BluRay player.  I only recently got a proper cell phone, and I still had to have Mal program my voicemail, which I still haven’t entirely figured out how to run.  My giant, meaty thumbs constantly press the wrong buttons and I curse at it using words like, “consarn it!” and, “dagnabbed contraption!”.  I still don’t have an MP3 player.  I carry a selection of CD’s in their jewel cases (Caselogic books are the work of Pat Robertson - what, you thought I was going to use Satan as the absolute symbol of repulsive evil?) and change them by hand in my single-disc dashboard player when I want to hear a different band.  You kids and your magic sound wallets.  Bah.

But I have what you might call “road rage”.  Therefore, the GPS is the single greatest device ever invented.  MRI’s?  Wheelchairs?  Laser scalpels?  Particle colliders?  Stuff and nonsense, says I.  A magic box with a voice that tells you how to get places without getting lost is the culmination of man’s evolution.  But, like I said, no funny road stories.  Unless you count Bergerjaques’s manhood being undermined by a tiny computerized map with a soft woman’s voice.

So, we left Mason City around 5:30am and arrived at our hotel about 12:30pm.  Wasn’t that exciting?

Shortly after we arrived, I gave Tim Telstar a buzz to find out how far out of town he was and if he wanted to meet up somewhere.  Turns out he was just pulling into the hotel parking lot, so a few minutes later I had in my hands The Box.  This Box was a shoebox that he’d spent most of the last year filling with ecological catastrophe end-of-the-world SF novels.  In short, a Box of Bleak.  Also a Box of Awesome.  Thanks, Tim!

We headed into Evanston to get Tim some parking passes, because even though they stop enforcing student parking at 4pm on Friday, he got nailed with a hefty fine a few years ago because campus cops have tiny penises and like to wield their miniscule power whenever they get a chance.  After explaining to the parking officers what B-Fest was (seriously, I don’t expect them to necessarily care about the movies, but this has been going on at Northwestern for years, how do people not know why every year at the same time hundreds of people in Godzilla t-shirts who don’t go to school there converge on their campus? Probably the same way when I was at Wartburg a customer at the video store I worked at asked me if I was going to the big game and I had no idea what she was talking about - apparently it was homecoming and we were playing our biggest rivals), we headed back to a place called Ken’s Diner.  Ken’s is a very authentic 50’s style diner with good if slightly overpriced food, and a young kid with a yarmulke and those twirly sideburns learning Hebrew in the corner.  No, really.

And then the Tiki shop.  Ah, the Tiki shop.  Right next to Ken’s in the strip mall was a place called…I can’t remember.  Doesn’t matter, it’s probably closed already anyway.  Point is, Tim got really excited and said we had to go in when we were done eating.  I think we all instantly regretted the decision the second we stepped in the door.  This place was, as Malorie put it, like someone’s living room, but for sale.  There were maybe 20 or 30 items for sale in the whole place, and it was pretty much all crap.  And yet, we all walked out having purchased something.  All of us but Tim.  Sweet irony.  Osco Sean got a ukulele and threats to have ukulele music CD’s mailed to him by some hobo in Hawaii that the owner knew. BMMB regular and B-Fest first-timer El Dogo got a tiki bottle opener.  Mal got some necklaces, and I got one of those bottle openers, plus some lemongrass scented candles.  Stop laughing.  I like pretty candles.  Screw you.

By this time the rest of the BMMB crew was arriving at the Morton Grove Best Western, so we all gathered in the lobby for a bit.  Ed brought me a Grocery Bag of Awesome, filled with Doctor Who New and Missing Adventures, plus some Target novelizations of episodes.  Between the Box of Bleak and the Bag of Doctor, not to mention meeting up with all my once-a-year-in-meatspace friends, this was an awesome day.  Large mid-afternoon meals are, however, not conducive to going out for dinner, so while the rest of the crew went to eat, Tim, Sean, Malorie, and myself retired to our room, where I fell asleep until it was time to go to the Hala Kahiki.  I have no idea what those three got up to while I was be-snoozed.  Maybe something kinky with the food left in our room’s fridge by the previous guests.   Thanks, Best Western custodial staff!

This year’s Tiki bar trip was much more fun for me than last year.  They gave us our own little room in the back, although this was probably less out of deference to us as beloved customers than they just didn’t want a bunch of rowdy geeks scaring away the normal customers.  Here the full BMMB B-Fest 2010 contingent met up in full force, minus Ed, whose friend unfortunately forgot her ID.  BJ and I shared a Volcano, which is a giant ceramic punchbowl shaped like a volcanic island, filled with rum and sherry, and with a flaming shot of 151 in the caldera.  Skip and I-can’t-remember-who shared one as well.  They wasted good booze by letting their 151 shot burn while they sipped.  Their excuse was, “We like fire”.  Yeah, me too, but I like booze more.  We blew ours out and drank that first, through very long straws, while staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, like some drunken, bespectacled Lady and the Tramp who know an unhealthy amount about exploitation movies.  We also got to meet Telstar’s brother, who looks startlingly like Ricky Gervais.

Much drinking and loud talking ensued, followed by going back to the hotel for more drinking and loud talking.  Santo gave me a copy of Goth Kill, which sounds like a joyous train wreck, and we discussed the merits (or lack thereof) of Napalm Death, blast beats, thrash metal, and big-dog little-dog vocals (that’s a genius analogy, Santo).  As much as I always want to stay up and get totally tanked and spend hours talking, B-Fest is a big day.  You’ve got all day Friday to do tourist stuff, and after you’ve put in what would normally be an entire day’s worth of activities, it’s not time for go to bed, it’s time for go to B-Fest!  So Mal and I hit the sack.  On a side note, while I drank what, unless Hala Kahiki viciously waters down their drinks, must have amounted to at least six or seven shots of rum, plus a slug of bourbon and another of rum at the hotel, I wasn’t even buzzed.  I suspect bar fraud, because even though I’m a bit of a drinker, that should still have put a dent in my tolerance.

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