Sacramento was another leech-ish trip. Some friends went down to Sacramento for a conference. Carolyn found cheap tickets from Spokane to Sacramento for that weekend. And Rich lives near there and had a friend with a house where we could crash. It was perfect. Friday we took off work so we could drive up to Spokane to catch our flight. We arrived in Sacramento with no problem, but Dave, who was leaving from Pasco, got delayed a few times and arrived much later. We hatched a plan whereby Rich’s girlfriend, who didn’t know Dave, would hold a sign that had his name and phone number, as well as and a scandalous screen name. The rest of us watched and recorded as people walked by and read the sign and smiled. Eventually Dave came down the escalator and saw his name and got very confused. The rest of us moved in to capture the moment, and soon everything became clear. Unfortunately, he hadn’t seen the screen name. He had only seen his name and was trying to figure out who the person was. It was still pretty funny.

We went to an authentic Korean restaurant where they cook the meat on the table, and you make a sort of burrito out of a lettuce leaf. It was tasty, and there were some really neat side dishes, like tiny little dried fish that you eat whole. From there we went to an indoor go-kart place, where we got suited up and took to the course. I was definitely the slowest of the bunch and got lapped, but I just couldn’t figure out the proper technique. I definitely have more fun doing it on video games. Back at the house, we played a quick game of poker and I won $5. Then it was bed time.

We woke pretty early in the morning and changed into our paintballing clothes. Then we left for Vallejo, about an hour away, stopping at Starbucks for breakfast first. I haven’t purchased anything from a Starbucks in years. Seriously. I don’t even know how to order there. So when I tried to get simple chocolate milk it took a while to communicate it to the barrista. Chocolate milk mocha? Hot chocolate? Chocolate milk with ice? Medium? What size is that? How do I ring up chocolate milk? Is it hot chocolate? Ugh. What a frustrating experience, and all for just some regular cold but not iced chocolate milk.

Paintballing did not start well. I was having an impossible time with my face mask because it kept fogging up. I couldn’t see anything, so I was getting out every round in short order. It was afternoon before I even hit my first person. Once I did figure out how to stop the fogging, things got better. I was improving rapidly, and had some good plays, but took a few beatings, with hits at close range to my palm and side that still have very distinguished bruises over a week later. It was fun, but doing it in Unreal Tournament is definitely more fun. Maybe if I could see better and had equipment that didn’t shoot in random directions I would like it more.

When we were done, Carolyn and Rich’s girlfriend met us with wine and cheese and crackers they had acquired in their tour of Napa while we were fighting each other. Then we drove back to Sacramento and changed and cleaned up. We brought Nick, Carolyn, and Dave to their hotel, and while they checked in we parked and found the sushi place where we were going to eat. We all met there and had some really good food. It was very tasty. There were so many people dressed up for halloween in all kinds of fun costumes. It was fun to watch. After dinner, the 7 of us split up; Dave, Nick, and Carolyn went back to their hotel, and Rich, his girlfriend, Al, and I went to a club called Avalon. Fortunately, I had the foresight to leave my stuff in the car instead of at the hotel, and as we passed the car I changed into my Napoleon Dynamite costume. This turned out to be a very wise decision. When we got to the club, it wasn’t so crowded, but as it got later, it got completely full. There were beautiful people everywhere, with great costumes, and every few minutes someone would stop me and get a picture with me. Rich had my camera, so every time it happened he’d get a picture of me too. Girls would come up randomly and dance with me, guys would give me a high five, it was a great night. The club even entered me into the costume contest with a prize of $500. I got up on stage and did the dance and got huge cheers from the crowd, but in what many labeled a travesty and a rigged contest, I only took 3rd of about 10. It would have more than paid for my trip to Sacramento. Oh well. The night was amazing already; no sense being disappointed about any part of it. After the contest, we discovered the salsa room, where I immediately owned the floor and had random girls approaching me to dance. At one point I was even dancing with two at the same time, which is extremely challenging. There was one girl who was a good dancer, but a scary follow. She looked good, but wasn’t following me, and did a few aggressive moves that are not typically on the social dance repertoire, like a huge dip backwards without any warning. I was very grateful for my sake and hers that I had my feet in a good place and my hand solidly on her back. We did one more tour around the club to get some more pictures before finally leaving and driving back to Al’s place.

In the morning we met the others for brunch. Then we went to old town and wandered around in the stores there for a bit. We were pretty sore from the paintballing, but it was still good. Then Carolyn and I got a ride back to the airport while Nick and Dave went to the conference. We flew back to Spokane and then drove back to the Tri-Cities and were home by about 8 on Sunday evening. It was a really fun weekend trip, and it opened my eyes to the possibility of doing short trips like that more frequently to other places. It really helps to have people you know who live in the city you are visiting and can take the time to have fun with you.

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