Burbank, Gears, Insomniacs, and Adventure!

First of all, I apologize to Cynthia and the LA ETCers whom I did not get to visit with on my trip to Burbank this weekend. As always, I figured I had more time than I actually did, and my stay was packed pretty full!

After arriving and hugging and feasting and post-travel napping, I spent Thursday evening with Drew and Josh, re-acclimating to Gears of War by playing Horde mode. For those of you unfamiliar with it, in Horde mode you are placed on a multiplayer map, and must defend yourselves and survive repeated waves of enemies. It was fun, I will admit, but the nervousness associated with camping and defending a single location, waiting for the enemies to come to you, was EXTREMELY stressful. In the long run, I ended up leaving the Horde defense to Drew and Josh and watched, which was entertaining but not so stressful.

I did, however, thoroughly enjoy playing co-op campaign in Gears of War 2 with Josh the next day. My biggest flaw in this game is that I am essentially useless with the Lancer’s chainsaw bayonet, and when any enemy comes within an arm’s swipe of me, my default strategy is to scream “GET IT AWAY FROM ME!!!” and flee towards my partner (who, usually, is much more adept with the chainsaw than me). Once I picked up a sniper rifle, though, I was all set. I will always be a sniper at heart, I think, when it comes to shooters.

Josh and I didn’t make it through the entire game, but got a decent way in. We were balancing our Gears day with cooking, which was awesome. I haven’t gotten many chances to do a lot of cooking while in grad school, so I wanted part of my mini-vacation to consist of at least baking bread. We baked bread, made mango chutney, and roasted a chicken for a lovely Friday night feast, and I felt satisfied in having gotten to cook and having nourished another human. My love of cooking, afterall, is rooted in feeding others.

On Saturday, Drew, Katy, Josh and I visited the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which I will not even attempt to explain here. It is simply a place that one must visit to comprehend. Nonetheless, it was awesome. That evening was the Insomniac Christmas Party (special thanks to DBang for getting me in) so I got dressed up all fancy-like for the occasion. My outfit had been pre-approved by the Get In Line team for maximum fashion, and I’m happy to say that I mingled all night in my fancy shoes without walking like a velociraptor once!

The party was wonderful, as I got to reestablish bonds with all the Insomniacs I’d worked with over the summer. Many were surprised to see me there, and all were pleased, and there were many hugs all around.

On Sunday, Drew and Josh and I went to the La Brea Tar Pits. I’m happy to say that we successfully located a new-forming pit that hadn’t been bordered off yet, and poked it with a stick. This was the primary purpose in visiting the pits, but visiting the museum was fantastic. They had recently uprooted a mammoth, and the people in the observatory area were working on the skull. This was pretty exciting, as generally they are sorting out mouse toes and other such tiny work.

Sunday evening was spent in the laziest of fashions, with board games and more Horde mode and food and cake. It had a slightly melancholy feel, as I had such a wonderful weekend and miss Drew and Josh SO much! I will be sad to say goodbye this morning, but grateful for my fantastic visit.

Alas, my beloved Insomniacs, I miss you so! This trip was a Christmas gift well-spent.