So with Chris taking her car out of town and Dar picking up an extra shift, I was left with the need to get to work, and from thence to the Browns' abode, and no vehicle with which to do so. So I asked Crystal to pick me up, hauled all my tournament shiz to work with me (this involved my adorable sea turtle pillow accompanying me to my desk, to the awwwwwwing of my coworkers), and then had her drop me at the Barbur Transit Center. I guess we got there just early enough for me to catch the bus ahead of the one I'd planned to; not wanting to take any chances, I got right on. This resulted in me showing up at the Browns' half-an-hour earlier in the morning than we'd been invited to show up, which was only mildly awkward.
The Browns sat me down in a cushy chair in their living room and turned the lights low, which was thoughtful, since I'd been up all night and only managed to get three hours of sleep the day before (I've been sleeping poorly lately, WHY DEAR GOD WHY), but I was too jazzed to nap, so I sat and looked out the window and listened to them bustle about and try to brush their daughter's hair despite her screaming. They left to drop A. J. at her grandmother's and pick up the van, and I solemnly vowed to guard their house.
Todd showed up first and I let him in, and we chatted for a while. We see a large black vehicle pull up in front of the house and Todd says, "Is that the van?" But, no, it turns out it's a STRETCH EXPLORER. A shiny, gigantic stretch Explorer. We're sort of gaping at it, saying, "That can't possibly be for here, that can't be one of us," and then the door opens and Rick steps out. So then our jaws drop to the floor. And he saunters casually over to the house as if this were entirely normal and I practically trip all over myself to get to the door and ask him what the hell that was all about. ...Turns out his dad is a driver for a limo company. So Todd and I are laughing and joking that that should be our ride to Boise and wishing everyone else had been here to see Rick roll up in his pimpin' ride.
...As it turns out, we should have mugged his dad for the stretch; the Browns reappear and the bastard car rental company doesn't have the van they reserved. We sigh and grumble a little, and resign ourselves to splitting up in personal vehicles; Todd goes with the Browns in their car, and when Nan and Mandy show up Rick and I ride with them in Nan's car. But first Master Brown takes us on a tour of her fabulous fabulous house. Mister Brown then gave over his portable DVD player (that's right, I'm tired of present-tense) so that we could all watch Bethany Wolf in the car. ...That's right. Having lent it to Mister Brown, and then to Don, Don had passed it to Nan, who had brought it with at Mister Brown's insistence that we should all watch it. ...He is like, our new biggest fan. So after picking up caffeine, filling the tanks and helping ourselves to Mandy's home-made inari, we headed off to Boise, and Rick queued it up, and we all watched it (well, Nan listened) while I provided commentary. I will never cease to enjoy indulging my masochism where that movie is concerned; god, every time I watch it I forget how embarrassing it is. ...But, it got us all the way through the Gorge, and Nan and Mandy seemed to enjoy it; Rick said it was "interesting".
We stopped in Pendleton for Burger King; it was warm and sunny, holy crap. I enjoyed looking at all the burly ranch-hand type men driving around in their pick-up trucks with their dogs. ...I think I no longer like Burger King, though... the grease that they use for frying these days tastes weird.
We continued on into and through the Blues while I enjoyed bouts of nostalgia, pointing out notable Whitman TKD-related spots. I found to my distress that I was not sleepy at all; I mean, okay, the point was to stay up all day so I could sleep well at night and be in good shape for the tournament, but I needed to be able to survive the 6:00 practice at Grandmaster Knife's dojang, first. I managed to grab a few minutes of shut-eye, but nothing substantial.
We reached Boise with just enough time to check into the hotel and change into our dobaks before heading to the aforementioned practice. To my horror, what Nan and Mandy had hinted at earlier came true; the Browns immediately started organizing the three of us into a tournament team with Ms. Tindal (sp?) from St. Helens, nevermind that we had less than 24 hours to practice together, and I'd only ever even seen Mandy and Ms. Tindal at tournaments before, and never trained with them. But Ms. Tindal is awesome; she has a fun personality, and she did a great job of whipping us into some kind of team. Within minutes we had Kwan-Ge synchronized. We agreed to save the rest for Saturday morning after I told her the amount of sleep I was operating on, and in any case the practice was starting.
Grandmaster Knife's son ran it, which was interesting, I don't think I've ever even met him before. It was refreshing to do some Boise-style work out again. I won't go into detail, but between the 100% humidity outside and the 30-odd-people-sweating-buckets-inside-of-t
A note: our hotel kept a bowl of those creamy mints at the front desk, omg yum. We liberated several every time we passed through.
We ate at Marie Calendar's, a place I've only eaten at once before. I had the most freaking delicious salad ever, and a huge glass of strawberry lemonade, and then a big slice of this cinnamon apple pie ohgoditwastasty. We returned to the hotel around 10; Nan and Mandy were nice enough to let me shower first, since at this point I was about to pass out, and they were also nice enough to give me the bed, so I was out like a light at 10:30.
Nan and Mandy woke at 6:30; I lay around in bed for a few more minutes before joining them downstairs for what was actually a quite excellent hotel continental breakfast. We hooked up with Ms. Tindal and commandeered a meeting room to practice our team stuff: synchronized Kwan-Ge; Ms. Tindal leaping over Nan doing the splits with a kid doing a back-arch over her, with me and Mandy holding two boards by ourselves; and then a sparring demonstration starting with two sets of jumping-spinning sidekicks from everyone at the beginning. Rick and the Browns snuck in to watch us while eating breakfast... now that's mealtime entertainment.
When we decided we'd practiced enough, we beelined it to the jacuzzi for a good soak. Oh man did I need one. Mister Knife's practice had worked me over, and I was hella sore. Then we all got dressed, gathered our stuff, stole some food from the breakfast room, and headed for the high school for the tournament.
We did the usual pre-tournament stuff: practiced our team stuff some more, did the group warm-up that always makes me feel intensely badass, listened to Great-Grandmaster Kim give adorably nonsensical speeches about how much he loves us in his Korean accent, watched as he made a bunch of people sing a song in Korean on the spot, and sat through Grandmaster Knife's long-winded tournament instructions and confusing explanation about how we were somehow similar to particle-collision experiments.
Then it was the team competition. Our break failed massively, even after Great-Grandmaster Kim added more board-holders to the set-up; we had to reduce the break to one board. Oh well, we tried. I enjoyed watching the other competitors. ...Adam Isla was there! :DDDDD Yes, apparently I do still have a crush on Adam Isla, with his pretty face and his flawless, beautiful form and his adorable little toes. ...Adam Isla who's like, four years younger than me OH GOD I'M A DIRTY OLD HAG.
After the team competition there was nothing but black belts for a while, since we'd be needed for judging later. It was nice to get all of my events out of the way real quick. I kicked ASS in sparring, whoo. Breaking... was interesting. My roundkick through two was an easy one again, and my spinning sidekick was more successful than last time, although I did better at breaking the laws of physics than breaking the boards. I had three boards, right? The front board broke. The back board broke. THE MIDDLE BOARD REMAINED UNBROKEN. ...I don't know how the hell I managed to do that.
Somewhere in all that, and taking pictures of Portlanders (Nan and Mandy sparred each other, with Nan taking the gold in her division, whoo!) with the Browns' camera, Jeremy Henckel tracked me down. He'd come over with a small team from Hawaii (yay!), and we'd both been pointed out to each other as Whitman Taekwon-do Alums. We chatted for a while... he's totally awesome, I like him.
I had some time to shove food in my mouth while watching my teammates break and spar and such, and took lots of pictures (that camera is awesome... one of those where you hold down the button and it takes lots of shots). The black belt men's sparring was a lot of fun, since I had Mister Brown, Rick, and Todd to cheer for, as well as Adam Isla (*sigh*) and Jeremy Henckel. Our Portland boys didn't do so well, and Adam kicked Rick in the head a couple of times. I then spent a goodly time being a corner judge for Mister Brown's sparring ring.
Then it was time for the Grand Champion rounds. Women went first; since Nan and I had both won our divisions, we were eligible to compete. I was in the first match, and got my ass handed to me by an advanced black belt from Boseman. Nan lost to a Bosemanite as well. Oh well. I'm not too broken up, since I'm only a 1st dan; winning would be nice, but it would've been unlikely, and the girl I lost to went on to become Grand Champion, so, uh, she was really good.
I cheered for Jeremy in the men's rounds. I definitely did not cheer for Adam Whatshisface (not Isla), who is extremely talented, but spent all day HURTING PEOPLE. He was scary as hell. But he lost in the final round, so nyah.
We had the award ceremony; Nan and Mandy both had sparring trophies, of course, and I came away with shiny 1st place trophies in sparring and hyungs. ...I credit my very tiny division, only four 1st dans. Note, I got no breaking trophy; our division was combined with the advanced black belts for that. Anyway, I was happy to receive my trophies from Grandmaster Knife; I think he was proud of me.
Afters we took a Portlander picture, and then Jeremy grabbed me for a Whitman Taekwon-do Club Alumni picture; it was me, him, a nice couple who graduated in the early 90s omg, and our current Men's Grand Champion, AWWW YEAH GO WHITMAN. ...Missionaries, Missionaries, we're on top!! >:DDD I think someone's going to send the picture to the Alumni Association, and Jeremy says he'll send me a copy, in which case I'll pass it along to the Club.
...So that was fun. We helped the Knifes clean up the gym then hightailed it out of there in a thunder storm to meet Grandmaster Knife and a whole crowd of people at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Then we headed back to the hotel; Master Brown joined us in the girls' room and we took turns showering (by rank ^_^) and then, to help me stay awake, we played cards. Master Brown taught us this awesome awesome game she calls No Name, which is fabulous. You play it in rounds with two packs of cards shuffled together, starting with 6 cards in your hand, then 5, then 4, then 3, then 2. The point of the game is to get rid of the cards in your hand. You do this by laying cards down on the table in groups of at least three; the groups have to be either all the same number, or arranged like a straight flush. You can make groups from the cards in your hands, or by cannibalizing groups already laid down, rearranging as many groups as you need to, so long as at the end they all have at least three cards. You must lay down at least one card each turn, and if your cards are insufficient to this purpose, you must draw until you can make a play. When one person runs out of cards, the rest total up the value of the cards in their hand (aces are 1, pictures are all worth 10); the scores are written down, and the next round begins. The winner is whoever has the fewest total points at the end of the game. Players cut the deck to determine who goes first in the first round; after that, player to the left of the dealer goes first, and the deal rotates clockwise.
...It's an AWESOME GAME.
When that was done with, we all went to bed; Master Brown insisted that the TV being on wouldn't bother her, so I stayed up a couple more hours watching a nature documentary on PBS, and then switching back and forth between the 50 Sexiest Men of Film of All Time and Mythbusters... apparently, you can escape from prison using ropes made from either bed sheets, human hair, or toilet paper, but tossing a rod into the spokes of a motor bike does not make it flip end-over-end as seen in the latest Indiana Jones movie. I went to sleep at 3 a.m. for a 6 a.m. wake-up, and that worked out well.
The way back involved more napping, and reading of Discover, and eating tasty casava chips and shortbread cookies, and discussing wind-energy while driving through the Gorge and admiring the new wind turbines. Before that we stopped on the Cayuse Indian Reservation for a pit stop; I'd never been inside the store before, it's pretty freaking sweet. You can buy anything in there. I enjoyed the remote-control bulldozer, and the sculptures of squishy cars, and the mushroom table and "toadstools", and the large weaponry collection including the usual cheap katanas, and wooden nunchucks and squishy foam practice ones, and the helmet of Sauron. I also spent a great deal of time gazing lovingly at a large plaque of arthropods embedded in resin, going into passionate throes of adoration and bio-geekery at the spiders, crabs, centipedes, scorpions, cicadas, ants, and really freaking awesome beetles frozen in time in all their brightly-colored, spiny, many-legged glory. ...I WANTS IT SO BAD.
Turns out Nan and Mandy live like five minutes away from my apartment, so we kicked Rick out at the Reservation and split off from the other car when we reached Portland. Furthermore, as Nan was driving through my neighborhood, she's like, "Hey, I used to live here, that used to be my house, and hey, I lived in this apartment complex when I was five!" ...Small world.
So, uh, then I passed out. And I think I shall take my own example and do so again, shortly. In summation, tournament was exhausting, but hella fun.
In other news, Ok Go is playing at the Wonder Ballroom this Friday night. HELLS YES. See, this is why I'm living in Portland. CONCERTS. I could be at home, and not having concerts, and that just wouldn't be as much fun.