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13 August 2018 @ 01:57 pm
Loserfest  
On Saturday, I drove up to Frederick, Maryland to go to Loserfest, a gathering of devotees of the Washington Post’s Style Invitational humor contest. Kyle organized a number of activities and people were free to choose which ones they wanted to attend.

I started with the tour of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Actually, I got to Frederick in time to grab a cup of coffee (from Beans and Bagels across the street) first. As for the tour, we got a 45 minute version of what would normally be a two-hour tour, which mostly meant that we didn’t have time to read many of the signs. Our guide, Bob, was informative and entertaining. We did get tags that would let us go back to see the rest of the museum, but I don’t think many of us managed to do that.

Next up was lunch at JoJo’s Restaurant and Tap House. I had a very nice seared tuna salad, with assorted greens (including spinach), goat cheese, raspberries, blackberries, and candied walnuts, along with a poppy seed vinaigrette. I think everybody was happy with what they got – and with the wide-ranging conversation.

After lunch, I browsed a couple of stores (including a comic book and game store, but I can’t really buy games until I inventory what I have) before walking over to see the annual National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race. The competitors ride a variety of pennyfarthings, both antique and modern. There were competitors who came from all over – including other countries, such as Sweden. The racer with the most interesting story was Bill Soloway, who had a specially decorated bike and a jersey supporting organ donation, as he was the recipient of a heart transplant. We watched the first qualifying heat, then made our way a few blocks south to Clue IQ for our next activity, an escape room.

The room we did was called Conspiracy and had a number of puzzles involving things like the Masons, faked moon landings, aliens, JFK’s assassination, and so on. The production values were high and the puzzles were interesting and challenging. We didn’t manage to escape within the allotted hour, but we had good teamwork and we had fun. We found out afterwards that it was their hardest room, which might not have been a good choice in that only two of us had ever done an escape room before. But it also allowed the largest number of people to participate.

We walked over to the Delaplaine Arts Center for a quick look at an exhibit called Tacky Treasures, which was moderately amusing but not really my thing. Kyle also had us look out a window at a mural of an angel on the Community Bridge over Carroll Creek. When we went out and looked at the angel straight on, it was decidedly distorted. That’s a good example of anamorphosis.

I stopped to check email and facebook briefly, then strolled up Market Street, stopping in a bookstore because I can’t not stop in bookstores. We met up for dinner at the White Rabbit Gastropub, which had an impressive beer menu (and the nice touch of offering their draft beers in 5 ounce servings for those of us who are not big drinkers). I got their steak and fries churrasco, which was tasty, although the fries were a bit saltier than I’d have preferred. I also split a chocolate taco (chocolate waffle shell with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce) with another attendee. I should also mentioned that the décor included a stuffed elk head, which we named Lawrence Elk.

After dinner we went over to Serendipity Market where Kyle had arranged for us to use their loft to play games. We stuck to the adult version of Code Names. I did remarkably well when it was my turn to be spymaster. But the best play of the evening was when Anne clued "dick" and "kitty" with "Whittington." Overall, it was a fun day

I had opted to stay overnight in Frederick, so I drove over to the Hilton Garden Inn. It was decently quiet and the bed was comfortable, but I still felt that I slept poorly. In the morning, I got breakfast at the nearby Silver Diner and drove home with no issues. I stopped at the supermarket once I got off the Beltway. I’d heard that there was going to be an attempt to fill up the parking lot at the Vienna Metro to keep the "Unite the Right" neo-Nazis from being able to find parking, but there appeared to be lots of spaces available at 10:40 or so. There was also a very visible police presence. News reports (including a couple from friends who were out counterprotesting) indicate that the white nationalists were far outnumbered by the civilized human beings opposing them.

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