... See, this is why I can't have anything nice. Or start anything without coming back to it immediately. Considering the end of the Monterey trip is now over a week old and yet I still have this post sitting here unfinished. (Actually I have several posts sitting unfinished. This is simply the oldest that I still intend to finish.)
I originally wrote "So while San Francisco is far enough away to be out of range without a fair few hours to spend, Santa Cruz is close enough to be an evening's worth of adventure," but then I never actually wrote that post. So, from a slightly different perspective then!
When we went to Santa Cruz, all that we knew about it was that my brother had been there once and had a decent time. There's a boardwalk there, you see. Very Coney Island, theme park-y in general. (Not that I've ever been to Coney Island, but still.) And because I am extraordinarily single-minded in what I count as "fun"... my brother and I went straight for the arcades. Went back and forth between two of the ones we found playing DDR pretty much constantly.
I believe I've mentioned Dance Dance Revolution before. Well, it's an entirely different experience playing it in public. Mostly because the stakes are higher, at least in my opinion. Screw up in your basement on your own pad and no one has to know about it. Screw up in public in front of the small crowd that occasionally gathers when I play DDR, and that's a little more embarrassing. And yes, I do get crowds. Not often, and not very large ones (never more than a dozen people, really), but people will stop and watch for a moment when I'm on the pad.
In this case, the half-dozen people that had gathered to watch me take on one particularly hard song on an In The Groove machine (which is basically DDR in all but name, kinda like Stepmania) actually applauded when I finished. That's not at all common, and frankly it's even more embarrassing. Which doesn't mean I disliked it, but I have no stage presence and no real sense of how to acknowledge that kind of thing. (And I was exhausted to boot.)
But, it does in the end make it all the more fun. Being decently good (if not excellent) at DDR is fun, yes. Having other people see that is even better. This is why I have never yet passed up an opportunity to play DDR in public, and that chance alone made the trip to Santa Cruz worthwhile.