There's a woman currently working the POS position at the Fremont store named Medoc (it's easy to default into pronouncing it like "rhymes with Medic," but when she says it herself I hear equal emphasis on both syllables: "Med-ock"). She's from New Zealand and moved to Seattle from there six and a half years ago. I don't know yet how she came to work for PCC, I should ask her. We recently bonded a bit over a mutual love of puns, which we now send to each other relatively frequently in work emails.
And then, at the end of November, she mentioned a monthly event at a bar in Ballard called Peddler Brewing Company, which they call "Pundamonium" -- and, I later learned, they more frequently just call a "Pun Slam." It's about six miles from home, which is much farther away than most things I go to socially, but I felt this one would be worth it. She suggested we go sometime, as neither of us had ever gone before, and we agreed it would be easiest to wait until after the holidays and go in January.
This place is located just past the 15th Avenue bridge heading west on Leary Way, and apparently caters to cyclists -- hence the name, Peddler Brewing Company. I did not realize until we arrived last night that they only had beer, no hard liquor, but at least they had hard cider, so I was content with a glass of that. Shobhit had a half-flight of beers, and kept having me taste them even though we both knew I would hate them. I was going to say I don't know why he does that, but actually I do: it's because he has always been a sharer. He wants to share whatever I've got, and he wants to share whatever he's got. He always has. I think, for him, it makes it feel like we're closer in some way. I, on the other hand, have always had a selfish desire for what's mine to be mine, and certainly don't want to partake in whatever gross thing (or, in the case of food, usually too-spicy thing) he's got. We're so compatible! I mean, at least I sort of get it. The beers were still disgusting, and after the last taste especially, I had to use my own cider just to wash out the taste.
Anyway! The event began at 7:30, and at my request we left home at 6:50 since Google Maps said it would take half an hour to get there and I had no idea how hard it would be to find parking. Not hard at all, it turned out; we found parking on the street literally behind the place -- and there was an opening in the space that made it super easy to get in through the back end. The place looked rather small from Leary Way, in the front; it turns out, they have a massive outdoor seating area under a canopy in the back, with a stage. So, when I told Shobhit we'd be inside all evening and he had no need to bring gloves, I guess I was totally wrong.
I had told Medoc not to be too offended if it took a minute for me to recognize her, as although we've seen her a few times at stores, it's been seldom enough for her appearance not to sear into my memory. We meandered past the crowd at long picnic tables, and once we were near the front of them, I saw Medoc standing up about halfway back and on the other side, waving frantically. So then we made our way to her and sat down on the bench. Medoc had brought another woman with her, the new HBC Coordinator at Fremont named Tiah.
Shobhit and I went to get drinks, and when we came in through the back door, that was where we found the table asking for the $6 cover -- which we never paid. We totally evaded the event fee! Shobhit had no qualms with that whatsoever, in fact delighted on basically pulling one over on them, but I actually feel kind of bad about it. I definitely want to go to this event again (I doubt Shobhit will; he was telling me he was ready to go when the event was barely half over, which was annoying), and the next time, I will make sure to pay the cover. I mean, they amass a more than decent crowd for these events so the $12 they didn't get from us is hardly going to break them, but still. It's the principle of the matter, which actually means something to me. Of course, I still never paid it last night, but whatever. Neither of us had any cash on us.
The event itself turned out to be sort of like a cross between Amateur Comedy Night and a poetry slam -- hence the name, of course, "Pun Slam." Ten contestants who get in on a first-come, first-served basis sign up and are each given a different topic, which they are allowed to mull over for up to an hour. I have no idea how long Medoc and Tiah were there before Shobhit and I arrived, but it may very well have been at least half an hour, for them to get relatively decent seats, which they saved for us.
Then they take turns going up to a mic, using as many puns as they can with the given topic as a parameter. The topics range in difficulty: "candy" is pretty easy; I felt bad for the guy who got "insurance." Each of them are then given 10-point scores by about six judges in the crowd, who hold up their scores with wipe-away boards. These increasingly had drawings of penises on them as the evening went on, which I never quite understood.
The contest goes in three rounds, and all ten contestants get to go again in the second round. The increase in difficulty there is that instead of getting an hour to mull over their puns, they each get a new topic only about a minute beforehand, so this time they have to come up with stuff far more on the spot. One guy I had felt bad for the first round, whose set largely fell flat, came back in the second round surprisingly strong -- and he came within one person of winning the whole thing in the end. It's fun to see something like that happen.
The four highest-scored people then compete in a "pun-off" in the third round, each of them trading off puns about a topic taken out of a jar of pieces of paper with topics written on them. The aforementioned guy who had been weak in the first round really excelled here, but in the end, barely lost to another guy who barely did better than he did when doing stuff off the cuff.
Shobhit was saying "I'm ready to go when you are" before even the first round ended. He was cold, and, I suspect, a little bored. He actually got a little more engaged during the last rounds with higher stakes, and laughed more at that point. Puns in particular though are kind of difficult with someone who speaks English as a second language. I suspect he opted to come with me last night only because he was free and would get a Social Review point out of it, but I know he won't be particularly eager to go again. I will be, although my going again on my own will be contingent on access to the car. Busing back from Ballard on a weeknight past 9 pm will involve two buses and likely take closer to 45 minutes. Still doable, of course, and perhaps I will do it sometime.
Until recently, Peddler's calendar was only showing this event once a month, on the second Wednesday. Now they've doubled it, adding it to every fourth Sunday. We got up to leave almost immediately after the winner was announced, as even I was getting tired and I didn't want to get to bed late, but I said to Medoc, "We should definitely do this again!" She agreed, and Shobhit and I were on our way.
He said at first that he wanted to drive, but when he added, "I'm a little buzzed," I said, "Shobhit, if you're a little buzzed then I should drive." Probably we were both fine, but his actually saying that made it pretty important, I thought, that I drive. He didn't argue and he got right into the passenger seat, and I drove us home. I was in bed not long after -- just before 10:00, in fact.
I've got two irritating health issues going on now, a cold and cough taking way too long to get over -- I took NyQuil for the second evening in a row last night, which zonks me out and then leaves me feeling tired all the next day -- and what appears to be a stye on my left eyelid. My lid is all swollen and puffy. Pages I find online recommend not using makeup when you have one, but I don't regard that as an option. I didn't the last time I had one either. I did wash off the eye makeup completely before sleeping last night, at least, which is generally not something I ever do. (Maybe I should, to prevent these from happening too much in the future.) But I have never once come to work without makeup on and I don't intend to start now. It's still a bit swollen but at least it's not quite as irritated today as it was yesterday. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.
I just got back from lunch with Karen at the Six-Seven Restaurant at the Edgewater Hotel. It had been a while -- we last had lunch on December 14, and the next one, which was originally scheduled for December 28, ultimately got canceled. She and her immediate family always flies back to Massachusetts to visit her extended family for holiday visits the weekend before New Year's, and at first we rescheduled that week's lunch for Tuesday, December 26, the day after Christmas. But, when I emailed her to confirm that morning, she had to admit she forgot about it and was too busy to get out of the house that day, preparing for flying out the next day.
So today we shared the Truffle Macaroni and Cheese again. I ate at least three quarters of it. The waitress split the parking validation of $10.70 (Jesus Christ that's a lot) on both of our bills, and instead of waiting for it to get corrected, she just gave me $6. But then I insisted on giving $1 back because I ate most of the macaroni. "Well, you're a bigger person than I am," she said, and at first I heard that as in the metaphorical sense. Ha! Well actually, Karen is literally a little person -- a fact easily overlooked when she is also a wheelchair user, so it doesn't seem unusual to be looking down to her like it would with someone actually standing. She meant that I am literally a bigger person than she is, and thus need more food than she does. Of course, calorically speaking, I still really should not have eaten any more than half that incredibly rich dish, but it's just so fucking good! I'm pretty certain now my weight will be up again tomorrow. I've been hovering around 148-149 lbs for weeks now. If we would just finally run out of this seemingly bottomless supply of chocolate at work, that would be helpful. Another broker left me two large Tony's Chocolonely chocolate bars on my desk just yesterday.
I actually made better time than usual when meeting her for lunch, though; I often don't get back until as late as 1:30. Now it's only 1:10 right as I finish this up.
[posted 1:11 pm]