So how did it all turn out? My friends Steve and Earl (not Steve Earle), both bloggers, have written up the night. Steve was live blogging during the dinner, and Earl put together his write-up after the fact, being busy as one of the event photographers. So you can get some different perspectives there.
From my point of view, the event was a huge success. Not everything went exactly as planned, but it still went without a serious hitch and everyone had a good time. Well, everyone who was there. From Jeff and Heather’s point of view, it didn’t go well at all, as Jeff had to go to the hospital that afternoon and they missed the whole thing. Fortunately we heard the next day that it didn’t appear to be anything serious, so we were all relieved. Still, it was too bad we couldn’t have the whole group there. I shall try and impress them again in the spring.
Here’s all the gang at the table, thanks to Earl’s photographic skills. He’s even managed to be in two places at once, behind and in front of the camera!
Here’s a shot of Steve loading up his plate with pork. Still game by the sixth course; I as host was suitably impressed! At this point I have to confess I was running out of steam – if no one had eaten any of this, I would not have been surprised or even disappointed. But as Earl pointed out in his blog, it’s just too easy to keep popping one more of those tiny potatoes into your mouth even when you’re full to bursting. Anyway, it doesn’t look as if Steve is just taking a tiny bit out of politeness, and for that I thank him.
Here’s a shot of me with my tray of ceviches, because Mom will want to see some pictures of her son, and also because it showcases the delightful painting of a crystal skull I have from my god-daughter Miranda, who is a formidable artist. Bits of that painting show up in other photos, but everyone should have an opportunity to admire it in its entirety. I’m sporting quite the madcap grin by this time, aren’t I? One could attribute that to the relief of having it turn out successfully after all that preparation, or my delight in my friends’ company, or (if one were feeling churlishly accurate) to the amount of wine and margaritas I’d consumed by this point. Let’s just call it a pleasant mix of all three, shall we?
Steve and Audrey had ordered me a Christmas gift, but since it was so apropos for this particular dinner they gave it to me in September – thanks to HBO’s serialization of Game of Thrones, one can now buy mugs of the Great Houses of Westeros, and they got me the Targaryen mug. Blood and Fire! Here’s a shot of the four lads who have mugs of their own – Mike and Scott sport the Greyjoy kraken, Steve is a furious Baratheon man, and now the Targaryen three-headed dragon burns in my blood. You will have seen the various mugs popping up in various photos, but here they all are associated with their disreputable owners. Mugs with mugs, if you will.
There are lots of ways to judge the success of a party, but here’s one way I judge this one – when I went to turn in (exhausted) at 4:00 am, my friends were still up drinking and talking and laughing together. Sure, some had gone home in a reasonable fullness of time, but those who could stay did. I really enjoy throwing these parties, and some of that is because I like to try and be a hubris-worthy host every now and again, but they would be just as enjoyable if I could have the same group over and order up some pizza. Let it be known throughout the lands that they are a good and worthy group of friends!
I have this daydream that some day George R.R. Martin himself will be scanning the Internet for articles about his series and stumble across this blog. He’s been known to show a good-natured interest in the “foodies” that follow his series and cook food mentioned in it, or (in my case) simply inspired by it. Anyway, George, if you find yourself looking through this, thanks not only for years of good reading but for a great idea for a dinner party! If you ever find yourself in Edmonton, Canada – for a convention or some such – I’d be pleased to re-create the menu for you.
Now I heave a great sigh of relief and look forward to weeks of trouble-free take-out and Ichiban noodles before I even dream of picking up a recipe book again.
Postscript: uh-oh! In the spring a bunch of us got together to buy our friend Doug the biggest and most expensive cookbook in the history of mankind – Modernist Cuisine. It just arrived yesterday, and I took it over to him so he could open it up. There’s some crazy ideas in there I’m already burning to try! I fear that instead of my sensible pizza idea, next Geekquinox may involve some Modernist weirdness. I may have a problem. Heh.