A Great And Crazy Week (Cascade Entry)
Day Two; Friday, June 1st -- Graduation. In the morning I woke up for the Baccalaureate Mass (Mass=Catholic Church service) followed by the Baccalaureate luncheon, both of which were good. The Mass itself was beautiful, but I won't go into more details than that. It was kind of weird that we were wearing a graduation robes/hats because it somewhat felt like we were graduating, but whatever. The luncheon's food wasn't good at all, but luckily I wasn't really hungry anyway (when I'm excited/sad/a bunch of other emotions I'm not often hungry), and it was awesome being able to hang out with people for one of the last times. Definitely the last time all together, which is sad. I am very glad that I was able to talk to most of the people I wanted to, however, and there was much hugging/promising to hang out with/etc., all emotionally tolling. I just hope everyone (including myself) actually does as they promise and do make an effort to hang out with people. I know I will try.
So then I went home for a couple hours and then it was Graduation itself. My brother unfortunately wasn't able to come (he's in a Seminary, aka studying to become a Catholic Priest), but my sister drove down from UCLA and a friend of the family (mostly was my brother's friend, but is mine as well; he's also becoming a priest but is on "summer break") came as well, along with one of my grandpas. The graduation ceremony itself was really nice, and I really loved the Valedictorian speech, even though it was super long (okay, maybe it was just because of the person who said it -- my prom date -- but still, it was a very good speech! =P). She was able to find a perfect balance between school/goodbye/thank-yous/God/etc. After graduation was spent taking a bunch of pictures, saying goodbyes, etc. I really wasn't that sad yet because I was comforted by the fact that I would still (hopefully) hang out with the people I truly care about. After all that I went to dinner with my family at Hof's Hut. At home is when it finally hit me when I was reading all the notes people signed in my yearbook. I honestly shed a couple tears, mostly for one person in general who is the most amazing person on earth and her note was super long and super nice and awesome. Because I realized that while I'll still hang out with her, I won't see her every day any more, and she's the best friend anyone could have. But anyway, then I had to pack for BricksCascade and it was then that I realized it was a little after 2am and I should probably go to bed since I had to get up at 4am for my flight, so I promptly went to bed and finished packing in the morning.
Day 3; Saturday, June 2nd -- As I said above, woke up super early to finish packing and to allow time to drive to LAX/get there an hour early for my 6:15 flight. Flew into PDX, then sat in Starbucks for a while to eat breakfast/wait for Jason (xccj) and crew (Micah [Kakaru], Russell [Micah's brother], and Steven [Swert] -- we all stayed at Jason's house) to pick me up because Jason was writing a story for my contest (lol, I was on my computer in Starbucks, browsing around, and saw Jason post right at the time he was supposed to be at the airport =P but it was all good, because I needed breakfast). We went straight to the convention, where I got to see Andrew (B6), Pat (DV), and Madison (Nukaya) again, as well as meet Rob (Janus) and Becca (Hahli Husky) for the first time. Honestly, now I realize why everyone is all "Janus is amazing" -- he really, really is. And it was super awesome meeting Becca because she's the Library Queen and just an awesome person to talk to so it was awesome finally meeting her in person. I also got my brick badge (unfortunately, now for the second time [this also happened for BCon], I forgot my brick badge so only had the generic Cascade one) and staff T-shirt, which is awesome.
Later that day I saw Kelly (Bink) and Thomas (Sumiki) again as well, as I had met the former at BCon and the latter at BFair. Sumiki, along with our group (from now on, "our group" = Myself, Jason, Micah, Russell, and Swert) started playing a Bionicle board game that I still don't completely get mostly due to ignoring Jason when he was explaining and spending most of the time texting while we were playing, lol. But still it was really fun, and I definitely won.
But then Kelly came so we abandoned the game and after that went to lunch at a mall, where on the way we all jumped/danced/played on these huge cement balls (we also did this at BrickCon, so it was a must to do here =P). At that time the other BZP group were on their way back and saw us, and B6 was later like "we saw a bunch of people in light blue shirts doing stupid stuff on these balls, and I thought 'is that our staff?' Then we got closer and I was like 'yep, that's our staff.'" Then at the mall Micah and Sumiki and I were awesome and went into a dental office and asked for a toothbrush (we debated getting food, walking into the office, eating said food, then walking out [among other ideas], but I and Sumiki couldn't've kept a straight face and we all decided against it), where Micah actually received one (it was one of those crummy, use-once-with-a-little-toothpaste-already-on-the-toothbrush toothbrushes). Then we ate lunch, and after I introduced Micah to Cinabon cinnamon rolls, which I think are the best cinnamon rolls ever. On the way out of the mall we discovered a different dental office, so of course had to go in where Micah and I again asked for toothbrushes and toothpaste. At first they said they didn't have any, but after talking with us for a while they gave them to us but told us not to tell anyone. We didn't. But this worked out, because they were actually nice toothbrushes/toothpaste, and I didn't bring any toothpaste on the plane because I didn't have one under 3 oz. At some point we were also doing the "What is Love?" Jim Carrey skit, where people bobbed their head in a "car" (a few seats joined together in the middle of the Bionicle table).
Then there was the Awards Ceremony which was cool; Kevin Hinkle answered a lot of questions. But more importantly afterwards we went to our fancy dinner with our group, along with Rob, Becca, Andrew, Pat, and Madison. We sat across from Rob and Becca so mostly talked to them, which was very fun. A lot of people wore dress shirts and tie, but I was unfortunately the only one that went all out with a suit and bowtie (I wanted to wear a legit tux with the special shirt, cummerbund, shoes, and bowtie, but I decided to wear a normal dress shirt instead as that would've been too dressy). I swear one of these days everyone will wear suits. : D Awesomely, Micah did wear a sports coat, which was close. Anyway, that was at this amazingly good Italian place (their fettuccine alfredo was amazing) and had an awesome time talking. Then our group went home and I forget what we did but we stayed up pretty late.
Day 4; Sunday, June 3rd -- We all had to wake up fairly early because I wanted to go to Mass at a church near the convention center, so Jason and the rest awesomely accommodated, even if I was a little late. Micah actually even wanted to go with me, so that was cool. He's not Catholic, and he said the service was a lot different from his (he's Christian), but it was still cool that he went. It also gave me someone to walk back with since Jason just dropped us off and headed to the convention, but it was only a couple blocks away. And, amusingly, we saw Rob and Becca walking by the church toward the convention, and if it wasn't for them we would've missed the church (we told them what we were looking for, and Becca was like "you mean that Catholic church?" and pointed to the building right behind us. Not my proudest moment, considering it was brick and had a cross so should've been visible but I guess I wasn't looking for it well haha. Anyway, so Micah and I got out and Rob/Becca took our spots and were driven to the convention.
The convention itself was a lot of fun. Sumiki wasn't there, unfortunately, but we still had a lot of fun. Our group talked with Rob for a long time about how he would've done a lot of Bionicle storyline, and most of it I agreed with. It was fun discussing Bionicle and how much it could've been better and everything haha. I also spent around 4 hours talking to Rob alone, as I was doing something important, so it was really cool being able to bond with and talk with Rob, as he really is an awesome, awesome guy, especially since this is the first time I had met him. Later in the day I also was able to talk with the other Andrew (B6), Pat, Madison, and Becca a lot, which was awesome as while I had met all but Becca, I still had never really talked to them before in person. Then there were closing ceremonies, more talking with people, group pictures, and then saying goodbye, at least to the people not in our group (Andrew, Rob, Becca, Pat, and Madison).
But the night was young (and since we were young that night, we decided to set the world on fire haha #weareyoungsongbyfun) for our group, and still had awesomeness ahead of us. I had not seen Avengers yet, and really wanted to, so we all decided we would. My thoughts? It was a really good movie. I won't dispute that. But all the same, I didn't think it was amazing. But anyway. I may or may not write more on that later (probably not). Afterwards the mall was closed, so we had fun getting lost and trying to get out (poorly designed mall exits are poorly designed).
When we got back to Jason's house we played "Assassin" with Nerf guns in his huge and awesome backyard (there's a small medow, then his backyard is literally a forest). Yes, I know that's not too uncommon, but hey, I'm from Southern California. =P And I love forests. Anyway, then after a while we played capture the flag, which while was awesome in theory, with only four people (Swert didn't play), pitch blackness, wet grass, etc., it wasn't as awesome as it could've been. =P But it was still incredibly fun. After that, even though it was like 2am or something, of course Micah, Jason and I weren't tired (yay for almost no sleep the whole weekend!) so we decided to do a review of the...Ghost Train, I think? Some Monsters set. Anyway, that was fun, filled with hilarious and (somewhat) inappropriate jokes; I feel bad for Jason who has to edit it all if we ever want to post it on BZP. =P But again, it was really fun, and we ended up staying up past 4am before we all decided to go to bed (from that set, since we all pitched in money-wise, I got to keep most of the plane as well as a Ghost minifig, as that's all I really cared about).
Day 5; Monday, June 4th -- Monday we woke up to see Micah and Russell off (aka, Micah jumped on my bed to wake me up =P), and while I did say bye, I was unfortunately in the shower when they actually left. Micah really must stay longer next time (and I must arrive sooner), because he is one of the most awesome guys ever. So anyway, it was just Jason, Swert, and I, and we spent the bulk of the day driving to and from Tacoma to drop Swert off. Once in Tacoma we visited the Lego studio that Swert works at, I got to meet Dan Parker, his boss, for the first time, as well as get a tour of the studio which was really cool. We all went to lunch at the foodcourt there, then we drove Swert to a bank so he could pay Jason some money he owed him (which, while by Swert's definition was only a couple blocks away, was actually several miles, but it wasn't bad =P), then we dropped off Swert/the Mata Nui island at Swert's home. Jason and I had a great road trip back (but again, I wish Micah and other people were still there...we must do a huge bro trip some time!).
So we were talking about a bunch of random stuff on the way back, and it started raining. We (well, mostly "I") wanted to stop at the Lego store, which was quite a bit out of our way, was still fun -- like I said, the car ride was fun. There I picked up the LotR sets with Shelob and the Gandalf arrives ones, because 1) they were the cheapest; and 2) I really wanted those ones anyway. At some point I hope to get the more expensive ones, but I had already spent a lot of money on this trip haha so just stuck with those (Shelob comes with three rings and two Stings [the sword Frodo carries], which is awesome, and the sets themselves are cool). On the way back from the Lego store it started to pour. And I don't mean California pour, I mean pour like I've barely ever seen before, where Jason had to drive at like 35-40 MPH (along with the rest of the people on the road) for a long time. But we made it home safely. We then spent the rest of the night building a couple sets, watching Pirates of the Caribbean (which I unfortunately fell asleep during, which is weird because it's one of my favorite movies, but then again I hadn't had much sleep and watching movies makes me sleepier sometimes), and eating Goldfish.
Day 6; Tuesday, June 5th -- Tuesday we slept in a little bit ('till about 11), and then went outside to view Jason's backyard for the first time in the daylight. We played with his super awesome dog for a while (who I think fell in love with me, and I definitely fell in love with her -- my dog's lame and won't play fetch or follow you or anything =[), and then went into the forest a little bit to a creek where his dog played in while we admired. Seriously, that forest is so amazingly beautiful, and it is awesome that it is his backyard (reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes...). Then we spent the day touring Portland. We parked at a mall near the convention center because Jason had to return some shampoo for his mom, and we also got Jamba Juice and four bite-sized Cinabons just for the heck of it.
We took the tram to downtown Portland, where we went to this super amazingly awesome place called Powell's Bookstore. We only spent an hour or two there, but I could have easily spent the whole day. I ended up spending more on that than anything else I had the entire weekend (including Lego), because I love books and they had a bunch of books I had been looking for forever. It was fun trying to stuff them into my already full backpack, but hey, it was worth it. And they weren't a bad price, either. Then we went to this place called VooDoo donuts, which, while I don't like the name, the donuts there were amazing. I had this Oreo one which was simply genius of whoever thought of it. Then we walked around the waterfront for a long time to kill time, talked to a cop for a bit (who went to UC Riverside, so he knew the area where I live), then rode the tram back to the mall where Jason drove to the airport. We stopped at a Target along the way to again kill time where I got new headphones and, yes, another books (A Song of Fire and Ice, by George R.R. Martin, because I've been meaning to read that series forever but haven't found it for cheap [aka, at this used bookstore I frequent because of its cheap prices] probably because it's so popular, and it was a good price). Anyway, then I was dropped off at the airport and that was that. Had a nice and safe flight home, so that was good. But I went to bed fairly soon after I got home as I had to wake up early.
Day 7; Wednesday, June 6th -- As I said, I had to wake up early. Why? To have surgery to get my wisdom teeth taken out. Yes, fun. #sarcasm. But really, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and there is thankfully not much pain so far (I've only had to use the triple-strength Motrin they gave me, rather than the stronger Tylonol with Codine so far, so hopefully it stays that way [even though people have mentioned they wished they could see me with Codine, haha]). So today I've been a little groggy and incoherent, mostly catching up on the Flash Fiction contest (yeah, I know, perfect timing with Cascade/graduation/finals/school, right? Eh, oh well; it was fun). I hope to have the remaining polls done soon.
And that's about it. It's been an amazing week, and while I wish some other people could've been there, it was super fun and I really look forward to hopefully going to BrickCon and seeing most of them again. I definitely already miss everyone, and as I've said before, we all need to move to some small town (Micah's town could work... =P) and have a BZP town so that we can hang out every day. But more than that (and actually realistically =P) we must have a week-long road trip sometime around a convention, or maybe just in the middle of summer/winter/spring break for the heck of it.
Now I am off to finish a few contest things and then bed!