Bay Area Darkfriend Social

August 24, 1996

In addition to my summary below, I have copies of summaries written by Emma Pease and Pam Basham.

See the picture I took at the social.

Rather than followup in bits and pieces to Emma's and Pam's fine summaries of the Berkeley DFS, I'm going to write a coherent (I hope) description that highlights my memories of the event. Here's a table of contents whose primary purpose is for me to promote my own writing by enticing you to read it with catchy section names:

  1. Darkfriends in the City of Love
  2. "Who would play..."
  3. Strip Dancers and Hookers
  4. Beer
  5. Butter
As this is a hypertext document you can immediately skip down to the most appealing-sounding section ("Butter", I'm sure).

DIRECTIONS: Read each story carefully and answer the questions at the end. Mark only one answer per question. Use only a #2 pencil. Erase mistakes completely. There is no penalty for guessing.

I. Darkfriends in the City of Love

I visited the Bay Area last week for several job interviews. I like to meet darkfriends when I travel (remind me to describe sometime how a fellow DF and I were standing next to the altar at my sister's wedding), and so in preparation for this trip I contacted a few BAD (Bay Area Darkfriend) people.

Don Harlow organized the social to be held at the Taiwan Restaurant in Berkeley at 6:00 on Saturday 8/24. He warned us about parking... He said that he'd gotten one parking ticket from a time when nobody in his family or using any of his cars could possibly have been anywhere near Berkeley. He got another ticket from when he stopped for 10 seconds to drop off his wife... the ticket came in the mail and bore the note "Car drove off". The kicker, though, was when Don drove past Berkeley and merely thought about parking there. His ThoughtCrime was picked up by an experimental remote cerebral sensor, and he got a ticket. It, too, came in the mail but bore the note "Driver changed his mind."

Most parking was legal by 6:00 on Saturday, but few spaces were available. I had to park "right near the Clarendon Metro Stop", as Pam joked. Actually, I think the subway sign said "Berkeley". Anyway, I found a space near the Wells Fargo Bank. When I later mentioned this at the table, I almost precipitated a fight. Geez, you West Coast folks take banking too seriously.

As my hike back from Clarendon made me a few minutes late, I walked right into the restaurant to see if I could find some darkfriendly- looking people. Sharon (whom I didn't know before she introduced herself) recognized me from the picture(s) on my webpage and welcomed me over to her table. I asked her if any other darkfriends had arrived yet, but she said she didn't see any. She said there were some suspicious-looking people in the next room, though. I looked through the portal and saw a table full of suspicious- looking people, with a very suspicious-looking copy of ACoS perched atop their table like a lighthouse beacon guiding befogged darkfriends to safety. Sharon and I joined Don Harlow, Ester Harlow, Courtney Footman, and Emma Pease.

We ordered food and I started passing around my "Newsfroup Family Photo Album". It's a collection of pictures from past socials I've been to.

Our food arrived. Esther's dish looked like pea pods in snot. Not yellow snot like when you have an allergy or green snot like when you have an infection, but plain-old clear snot. It looked like a 600-pound snail crawled across her plate or like a whale coughed on top of her peas.

Anyway, enough of that. All that snot talk is starting to make me hungry.

Pam Basham, Kevin, and P.J. joined us. They had driven from LA for the social. Pam and Kevin wondered if driving ~400 miles for a social made them "weird". As there were two East Coasters at the table (myself, from North Carolina, and Courtney Footman from New York), they certainly weren't the weirdest by distance measure. Of course, I had an excuse. I was staying in Oakland for a few job interviews, so I didn't pay to travel to the DFS. And, the flight from home to the Bay Area was only about 7 hours, which is considerably less than John Novak's and Pam Korda's "You drove 15 hours just to have lunch?!" car trek from Illinois to a DC DFS.

We squeezed around the table to make room for the three new arrivals. Apparently the only DF group that can afford more than one table are the Texans. Maybe Texan tables are really small. Or maybe Texans are really big. (Maybe that 600-pound snail was from Texas.)

II. "Who Would Play..."

The nine of us put our brains together to form one super intellect to answer some of those burning questions about the series. Between us we were easily 3 times as smart as a normal person.

We discussed our thoughts about Cadsuane. I said, "I think Cadsuane is really just Verin in disguise." Several people mis-heard that as "PERRIN in disguise."

We talked about Faile. We started with an initial vote, in which about half of us said we liked her and half of us hated her. After a few minutes, I think we all agreed that Faile will be a better person once she works out some problems.

Someone at the social -- it must have been a newbie -- brought up the perpetually asked question of who would play which character in a screenplay/animation of the series. Don (I think) quickly diverted it to, "Which Sesame Street characters would play...."

I don't remember what everyone else suggested, but I thought that Big Bird should play Rand, and Snuffaluppagus should play Lews Therin, since only Big Bird sees Snuffy, and everyone else thinks Big Bird is crazy.

Ernie and Bert would be Aginor and Balthamel, largely because of their silly laughs. Also, Ernie and Bert have been rumored to be gay, which sorta fits with Balthamel being reincarnated into a woman's body.

Imagine Cookie Monster as Eamon Valda. "Darkfriends. Me smell darkfriends! Oh, darkfriend everywhere! Me kill darkfriends!! Aaah-ROMP-chomp-chomp-chomp-chomp."

Finally, Oscar the Grouch would play Faile. And Nynaeve. And Egwene. And Elayne. And just about any female character, now that I think about it. :)

III. Strip Dancers and Hookers

You may have heard rumors about my recent visits to strip clubs.
You may have heard rumors about what I know about hookers.
I stand before you now to say that these rumors are completely,




                                        without a doubt,

true. So I might as well tell the story now so that y'all hear it straight from the... er... goat's mouth.

[What's that? FAMILY newsfroup, you say?]

Friends, I'm getting complaints from the viewers already, so I'll have to forgo my description of strip clubs. I will, however, tell you about the Hookers.

A fellow named Michael Hooker is the chancellor of UNC Chapel Hill. The local school newspaper loves to have fun (or so it is my opinion) by carefully wording and warping its headlines. For example, Hooker arrived to take his position last year around July 4th. Above a picture of the would-be chancellor looking at a fireworks display, the newspaper ran the headline, "HOOKER COMES WITH A BANG!"

Another funny headline that now adorns my wall ran in the paper the morning after the chancellor's wife, Carmen Hooker, addressed a women's support group. "HOOKER ADVISES WOMEN TO BECOME INDEPENDENT OF MEN", the top of the article read.

So of course it was understandable that when I read headlines like "Morris accused of affair with hooker", I wondered why so many newspapers in other cities were trying to use a local joke.

IV. Beer

Sometime during the evening I mentioned that I'd like to go out to a pub afterwards. P.J.'s eyes lit up. "Beer?!" he whispered excitedly. I think only Pam, Kevin, and I heard. The rest of the table were discussing something totally worthless like X-Men comics. "Beer" because a monosyllabic mantra that we mouthed across the table for over two hours, until we finally managed to ditch the homebodies and go out for a pub crawl.

"What time is it?"
"It's beer o'clock." -- P.J.

We headed down to Telegraph Road, the collegetown strip section of Berkeley. Pam's already given me flack about my insistence on finding street parking. We only had to park 3 blocks away; that's closer than the chinese restaurant that's "right next to the Clarendon Metro Stop." More than the cost of parking in a garage, my concern was that all the garages we saw said they closed and locked up at 1am. At that point, I didn't know that Berkeley closed down and rolled up its sidewalks at 12:30. I honestly thought we could stay out until 2 or 2:30, in which case returning to find one's car under lock-n-key until 9:00 the following morning would be almost as bad as the parking travesty at the recent DC social.

As Pam already griped, the summer weather in Berkeley was very un-summery. Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Twain always was a master of understatement.

Just to remind myself that it was mid-August and not mid-February, I got an ice cream cone at the coffee shop we went to first. It didn't melt but rather froze solid as I ate it. PJ wisely got hot coffee.

Berkeley's a weird place. It's not just the 50 degrees F weather in August, but the people. Berkeley has the highest per-capita population of panhandlers I've ever seen, and they come in all ages from about 15 to 85. In Berkeley, 10% of the men look like Jerry Brown. Another 10% look like Jerry Garcia. 40% of the men over 40 dress and act like teenagers. The women are weird, too, of course. I saw this one gal who had her tongue pierced and had something that looked like a vacuum cleaner attached to it. All I can say is, I'll bet her blow jobs are outta this world!

We picked a decent-looking pub (Raleigh's) and entered. Right inside the door was a young guy with a dog. The dog was lying in front of the table, licking his balls. The guy was scopin' the room. I was tempted to walk over and say, "Look, kid, you're trying to pick up babes, but I gotta tell you, the dog lickin' hisself in front o' the table is a real turnoff." Instead, I just made fun of him behind his back.

We grabbed a table near the back (far from Puppy and Boy Wonder). P.J. and I went to get some beer. Pam sniffed at our choice. Kevin drank a coke. That left P.J. and me to drink most of 2 pitchers. Burp. We didn't complain.

After the bar kicked us out at closing time, we returned to the car and found that the tree P.J. parked beneath had begun to eat the car. I fought valiently to get to my door -- tearing the hapless tree limb from limb, you might say -- and managed to tumble into the vehicle with minimal damage to myself. One of the branches caught in my door, so I opened the door to free it. Then I decided that having the branch caught in the door was really funny, so I opened the door again, grabbed the branch, and slammed the door on it. We drove off with my little cutting from the Tree of Life. Gee, does this mean I get cast as Laman in the next "Who would play..." thread?

V. Butter

The four of us intrepid pubcrawlers got the munchies as we drove off. Unfortunately, not only does Berkeley shut down at midnight on weekends, but pretty much everything else around does, too.

We found an all-nite diner somewhere near the hotel Pam, Kevin, and P.J. were staying at. I think the restaurant's name was something like "Hot Links and Eggs". I don't really remember... I was drunk at the time and was trying to focus on my driving. :)

A better name for that diner would be "Free butter with every entree." Everything we were served came with butter. Rolls? They come with butter, of course. Eggs? butter. Sausage? butter. Even the chocolate/chocolate-chip muffin I ordered came with three dishes of butter.

We left behind most of the butter, along with one of the rolls. Actually, I'm not sure whether that was a roll or a dislodged brick from the exterior wall of the restaurant. They both made the same thud and left the same type of dent when dropped from a small height.

I was both very tired and very beered, so I drove out to my car, stumbled home, turned out the door, opened the light, undressed my bed, and hopped into my clothes. Or at least that's how I remember it. It was all okay when I woke up the next morning, except I couldn't figure out why there was a traffic cone and a meter maid's ticketbook on the floor of my room.

Back to the Darkfriend Socials page

Bill Garrett