Thursday came at long last.  The glorious day to revel in my geek glory. 

It began with a text message.  “LESS THAN TWELVE HOURS!!!!”

The weather turned cold and rainy for this day, but did I let that deter me?  No way!  I tanked up my van with some gas, cursing the rising prices, and hit the interstate.  Rain and hail, you shall not get the best of me!

Jamming with my iPod, I reached DC in a decent amount of time.  Good thing I headed in early, later one of the main bridges all but shut down due to some sort of mega-accident.

My trusty Lola, GPS from the Gods, directed me to the parking at the FDR memorial where I saw Kate standing under an umbrella.  Pulled in, sorted through all the various gadgets, and away we went.

It was so cold along the water.  And by cold, I mean absolutely and utterly freezing.  And by that I mean I am surprised we were not on the 6:00 News.  “Two girls froze to death today at the Tidal Basin attempting to photograph the cherry blossoms.  Film at 11.”

We snapped some photos, discussed photography, relaxed, and just had a fantastic time.  We climbed into Kate’s car shivering with sopping wet feet.  Was it worth it?  We’ll let the picture be the judge.  Unfortunately, we just could not snap as many as we would like, but that is OK.  Here’s hoping a few came out anyway.

Now, time to take off for our separate functions.  We wanted to grab a bite to eat, but the 45 minutes it took to travel maybe three miles nixed that idea.  Instead we just went on to our destinations in our cars, cold and hungry.  She to the National Geographic Society for a discussion by author Doug Fine regarding his book, “Farewell, My Subaru”, and me to a “Girl’s Guide to Gaming” at the Numark Gallery.

Girl’s Guide to Gaming?  As if I really need a guide?  I grew up gaming.  It all began with the Pizza Delivery game on our PC, written entirely in BASIC.  It progressed to logging onto the BBS’s across the country to download Prince of Persia and Duke Nukem.  Arguments between my father and I over if a console like Nintendo was truly worth the money.  Trying out new Atari games at my neighbour’s house, her Uncle got us pre-releases.

Did my gaming adventures stop there?  No, I played EverQuest when it was still fairly new.  I beta tested Earth and Beyond.  I stood in line to buy City of Heroes the day it released.  Now I play Guild Wars and am debating hacking World of Warcraft so, like Mr. T, I can have my very own Night Elf Mohawk.

And the consoles?  Oh the consoles.  Made my way through those as well.  Leading up to my son’s prized Wii I wrote about only a few short weeks ago. 

Girl’s Guide to Gaming?  I could probably write it.

They don’t need to know that, though, do they? 

The first to arrive at the party, I was only 20 minutes early.  With the sun setting and the temperature dropping to below freezing, I decided not to wait outside any more.  I ducked in and begged to just stand in the doorway until the party started.  Instead, I get ushered in by the pack of very beautiful young women running the entire shindig.

They take my coat, bring me a drink, offer me food.  That hit the spot.  I left my house shortly after lunch, and now the clock creeped towards seven.  The only way things could possibly get better?  Cocoa to warm me up!

Then the fun began!  The girls adorn my wrist with a large gold link bracelet complete with Nintendo logo hanging from it.  The gallery has four stations.  At each station I can sample a game on snazzy black DS Lite’s.  After playing the game for a bit, they hang a charm from my bracelet.  At the end, I get a cool prize!  Prize and jewelry?  SCORE!

I start with Nintendogs.  My boys LOVE Nintendogs.  Truthfully, I only sometimes pet their dogs, and of course give the proper adoration over the virtual beasties.  I bathed a gorgeous beagle and took her for a walk.  Gave her treats and she brought me a stick!  My efforts garner me a large gold doggie dish with a bone sitting inside it.

From there I move to Mario Kart.  I love racing games.  No, I mean I REALLY love car games.  I do not want to contemplate the hours (and quarters!) spent at the local arcade as a teenager playing Pole Position and Spy Hunter.  Uh oh, Spy Hunter music stuck in my head!  In Mario Kart, I raced the other guests at the party.  Guess who came in first both times?  You betcha!  Go me!  I love that you can spit out banana peels and turtle shells to play just that much more a vindictive game.  It was like Pole Position meets Spy Hunter.  SCORE!  And all with cute little Mario people.  Add one black and white checkered flag heart to my charm bracelet, please!

Brain Age 2 at the next set of comfy couches. I plop myself down, filled with interest.  We have Brain Age for the DS, what changes were made?  As you all know, we like the brainy games and call playing them as part of our home-school-day!  Now, it was noisy, major distractions, you get the picture.  I blame this for my pitiful Brain Age of 61.  There can be no other explanation!  (Or it could be that I froze my brain to death at the Tidal Basin.  Take your pick.)  I trained a bit, and presto, nice golden light bulb joins my other two charms!

The last station.  The Station of DOOM!! Planet Puzzle League.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  I sat down, a DS lands in my hands, and a gorgeous model shows me how to play.  Cue tunnel vision now.  Twenty-two minutes later my game ended and I left the puzzle planet to return to reality.  The noise returned, the people returned, and I found out apparently someone took my picture.  How did I miss that?  I shudder to think how THAT will turn out!

Twenty-two minutes of obsessive time-suck that can only be likened to – Tetris Mania.   A cute pink high heel joins my bracelet and now my charm collection is complete.  Huge and heavy charm collection, I might add.  Nintendo did a great job with this.

What now?  Some more snacks and then my handy dandy Nintendo gal, Danit, unzips her fanny pack.  Now, I have to make a side comment here.  I thought fanny packs the worst fashion statement ever.  No way to wear those things and look decent.  Either you look pregnant, like you have a second person growing out of your hip, or a butt the size of Texas.  No way can these be a good thing.  Not true on our five Nintendo girls.  They looked fantastic.

So what was in the fanny pack, you ask?  That’s right, MORE GAMES!  Next thing I know, I’m playing WordJong.  I love Mahjong and I like word games.  They got married and gave birth to WordJong.  Awesome.  I try out My French Coach and practiced my rusty language skills.  I weighed my brain with Big Brain Academy. 

And then out came the prizes.  Yours truly now owns a beautiful pink DS Lite and Brain Age 2!  Yippee!  I set it all up with my name (Lady Ozma), my fave colour (purple!), and my birthday.  (And yes, my sons already have me in pictochat!)

One more gadget for Lady Ozma as I move towards filling my Batgirl Belt.  The only problem?  This one doesn’t match all my other gadgets in cool and sexy black.  That is fine, as pink rocks.  It is girly, it supports breast cancer, it is pretty. 

And it fits so nicely in my purse.  Now, how do I find all these games?  My wish list includes every last one of the games I played last night.

Gaming is far too expensive but oh so worth it!

After the game, Lynne and I went for some snacks at a lovely Spanish restaurant.  Good food, good friend, good chat.  I am so glad I met her, that she invited me to the party, and that we got to hang out!  Next stop, Renn Faire! 

The only bad thing came on our way back to the cars.  Some slacker tried to ditch out of work nearly an hour early.  Locking our cars in the garage.  Oh, I don’t think so!  We met up with another couple trying to get their car.  Thank goodness they recognized the car park guy and tore into him.  We got in after all.  Yeah, you better believe you are letting us in, loser.  I am NOT going to sleep in the rain and cold of DC on the street.  You can guess again. 

We get into the car park and I kid you not, the elevators were off as well.  We tried them, the doors opened, the doors closed.  And we went NOWHERE.  The buttons did not work.  I hate elevators.  They give me the heebie jeebies.  I immediately panic but thank goodness this guy was with us.  He pried open the doors and became my hero!  He gets a great big two emeralds up from Lady Ozma!  The woman he was with also found us a shortcut on Level C to get to Level D.  No kidding, we had to walk through the entire garage.  Did I mention I was in my boots with something like two inch heels?  Thankfully chunky heels!  Why not take the stairs?  Oh we learned our lesson.  Lynne and I stood at the door and held that open.  The lady held open the next door.  And our wonderful man ran down from A to D and tried… the door was… wait for it… yup!  LOCKED!  He ran back up and we started hoofing it.

So the round up review:
Cherry Blossoms: Beautiful
Weather: Terrible
Nintendo: You rox my sox
Nintendo Girls: Two big 10 karat emeralds up!  Fantastic job!  Friendly, fun, knowledge-filled.  I want your job!
Venue – Numark Gallery: Fantastic location on 6th and E.  Right near everything and a good space.  (Though apparently not big enough for the Wii’s the girls said they normally put up.)
Spanish Restaurant: Gotta go back there.  YUM!
Hockey Fan Couple: Follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City anytime.  You rock!
Parking Attendant/Garage: You suck.  The weather was better than you.   How do you like that?  Beat out by freezing rain and arctic feeling winds coming up off the nasty water in the Tidal Basin.  Someone is overpaid.  Thank goodness my parking was FREE with my event.

Now, I’ll catch ya later.  I’ve got a DS Lite to give some love to!

–Lady O

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