The Friday before Christmas I was invited to a Christmas party hosted by Steve, one of the Bemani people I've met from up in Chicago. We got a bit of a late start, a couple of slight navigational errors, and I actually got pulled over only about a mile from our destination. I think I was too busy trying to figure out where we were/where we were going to notice that I was speeding. Fortunately, the cop just sent us on our way with barely a verbal warning.
Steve's party was good fun. I noted many familiar faces, but I only had a few names attached to them. Between the Midwest Showdown 2, a couple Anime Centrals, and online, I've at least seen a number of that crowd. But Steve, baerish, and zaps00 are the ones I've had the most contact with. It was good to get a chance to catch up with them in a low-pressure, slower-paced environment that most of our previous encounters.
Steve had also just welcomed a IIDX machine to his collection of arcade games that makes the "toys" in my basement seem downright "normal." ;) We had been watching that particular machine through a mildly checkered eBay run...twice. It's really only the third actual IIDX machine I've had the opportunity to play on. I guess I had forgotten just how cool they really are.
Lissa and I stayed the night and then went to IKEA in the morning. Lissa had been wanting to go for sometime. Being in Chicago already made that work out finally. :) Lissa had been before, I never had. Lots of neat stuff at really reasonable prices. I liked it. Too bad we don't have one here.
Before we left Chicago we had lunch at the food court at Mitsuwa Marketplace. I finally had the bulgogi and kim chi I'd been craving for the past several months. Ironic that I'd get my korean food fix at a japanese market. Oh well...it was fantastic! We split a bubble tea, stocked up on some yummy japanese snacks, and made our way back to Indy.
Christmas was a little later this year. We usually go over to Lissa's mom's house in the morning to open gifts with her family. This year her sister was at her boyfriend's family's house in the morning, so we didn't get started until the afternoon. Lots of great gifts going around. Big highlights: Lissa, her sister, and I went in together to get a new computer for their mom. I got a laptop for Lissa. I actually waited in a line at CompUSA for it early in the morning the weekend before. She seems to be getting a lot of use out of it, so I guess it was a good gift. :P Meanwhile, I got a poker table. I can't wait to have some people over to help me break it in. It also has folding legs making it at least semi-portable. So who knows, maybe I'll take it with me somewhere, too.
Monday we went to see The Polar Express in 3D at the IMAX theater. Great movie, and of course the IMAX presentation was unbeatable. I'm convinced that's the only proper way to see a movie: big screen and big sound in a facility that obviously actually cares about the quality of their presentation. Beyond that, the week at work was pretty uneventful. Lots of people were out-of-the-office and things were pretty quiet.
Meanwhile, I started making some moves to save some money online. I started the process of moving my domain registrations and web hosting accounts to GoDaddy.com. It should save me > $150/yr.! I am pleased.
Rounded out the year with a now traditional visit to thebrymaster's new year's party. Got a chance to catch up with people, and I got a casual poker game going. I made it to the final two out of eight people playing and decided to pretty much just lay it all out at that point and let luck determine the final winner. It was about a quarter to midnight, so I didn't feel like drawing it out. Two hands, I was done...time to watch the ball drop. :)
And that brings me up to 2006. Lissa and I have just been chillin' at home today. I finally got caught up on my friends page. I think I dipped as far as skip=200 in the past 2-3 weeks, but I wiped out the last 20-30 today. Lissa's been ripping CDs to fill up her new laptop with music and her car's MP3 player--her Christmas gift from last year, too. And together we watched the Colts finish up their season on a high note and made good use of the new DVR to wipe out most of the rest of the day.