Tom held a Christmas party at his house this weekend. The usual gang was there, and it was a lot of fun.
I'd been talking about how Renee wanted to put together a costume for the next Kumoricon, and Valeska offered an old Singer sewing machine she no longer uses for Renee and I to noodle on. I picked it up at the party, receiving a brief tutorial on loading thread, the bobbin and stitch patterns. I'm really grateful to Valeska and her husband for parting with it.
I think the food choice was Lisa's idea. We had fondue. Three actually. There was a cheese fondue for dipping vegetables and various breads in. Then we had a hot oil fondue for cooking bits of shrimp, pork and tiny sausages. Finally, there was a chocolate fondue with banana slices, marshmallows and apple slices. I sampled a bit of everything, too much, really. It was all quite good. I ate a lot of raw veggies, as they were good. I brought some raw veggies and a bottle of wine to go with the cheese.
Tom's idea of the gift pool worked out great. Great for me, anyway. I'm afraid my gift idea was a dud. My enthusiasm for a book I'd been reading lately, Mind Performance Hacks, was not shared by the gang. John Jackson got it, and though he is normally laconic, I think he was a bit more somber than usual. "I don't know what it is."
The way the gift pile worked was that we all piled our gifts in one area, then we drew lots to determine the order of drawing gifts. If you saw a gift that someone had already unwrapped that you knew you liked, you could 'steal' it from them, and give them your number. Well, I was second or third, and got the DVD box set for season one of Robot Chicken. I'd have been quite satisfied with that, but Alan 'stole' it and gave me his number. When I drew again, I got an art book for Disney's Fantasia. Can't remember who stole that, but I was back in play.
In the end, I got the last package, and it turned out to be a perfect fit: Akiba Biyori, a collection of cosplay photos interspersed with photos of Akihabara, by photographer Yoshimitsu Takano. This is a lovely little paperback book, and a perfect collection of ideas for Renee as she ponders costumes for Kumoricon.
As if that was not enough, I retrieved a book that John had brought for me the previous month at Tom's. I'd forgotten it, even though it was really cool, a gift from him after his trip to Anime Expo 2006. The book, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne - A Tanemura Arina Illustration Collection. The artist illustrates one of the characters Renee and I have followed in the past, and has a very beautiful style.
After the gift unveiling, we went downstairs and Alan demonstrated his new game, Viva Piñata. He more or less accurately described it as the Xbox 360 version of Animal Crossing. He guessed that Renee would like it, and given the number of hours she's logged on Animal Crossing, I figured he was right. But she assures me that she has no interest. Go figure.
All told, it was a very nice evening, and I'm happy to have such cool friends.
[caught in the time trap... posting this a week late]