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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Night of Decadence

A few weeks ago, Paul IM'd me to ask if I'd be his date for the Google Holiday Party. Since Crystal was going as Karen's date, he had a spare billet. Knowing how Google feeds their people on a daily basis, the opportunity to see how they party was irresistible.

So Friday night, we gathered at Kev and Rachel's house, got gussied up, and piled in the limo. After an hour's jostling journey to San Francisco, we arrived at Pier 48. For some bizzare reason, I assumed that it would be a normal gathering with dining at tables and so on. Ha!

The theme was "Googlympus", as in Google as Mt. Olympus. Each of the rooms was hosted by a different Greek God. After checking our coats, we began in the Aphrodite room. It was French themed, with swings and a 10 piece band doing orchestral versions of popular hits of the 80's and tiny little Croque Monsieur sandwiches. They also had a place where you could put on big wigs and get your photo taken. We decided to do that later.

Next up was the Dionysus room, with Flamenco dancers, grape stompers, and a yummy green bean dish to go with the little shrimps or sauteed mushrooms. We moved on, hoping to get a full tour, then come back to our favorites. Next was the Poseidon room. It was under the sea, so there was a man in an old fashioned scuba suit floating overhead, and an odd mix of pulled pork and red beans and rice and sushi. Lots and lots of sushi.

Next came the Zeus and Hades room, with ice blue and red lighting rotating very slowly around the room, and Hades and Zeus duking it out in a sort of Olympian light saber fight. There was also an amazing band - African lap harp and upright harp, mixed with pre-recorded ambient synthesizer stuff and a drum beat. I can't begin to explain it adequately, except to say that by the end of the night, Karen and Crystal opted to stay in the room just to find out if there was a name for the band, a CD, or other contact info. (The band, it turns out, was very happy to have fans, especially two hot female fans.) This room also had the most fabulous chocolate thing I've ever eaten. It was somewhere between a mousse and a cake. It was dense and rich and fabulous. You could then dress it in muddled raspberries, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. After eating about half of it, I kissed Paul. Him,looking a little surprised, I said, "Thanks for inviting me. I'm having a really nice time. And this is the best thing I've eaten in years."

So off we went to the Apollo room, that was sort of 1920's speakeasy themed, including performances from Alotta Bootay and Kitty Kitty Bang Bang. They had fried chicken sandwiches, a broccoli salad, more little shrimp in sauce, and a yummy black eyed pea salad. We stayed through the KKBB performance, then headed on to the Athena room. This one was rather oddly themed, with the Los Angeles skyline beautifully rendered in the background, and a whole sort of East L.A. Latino theming. There were chicken mole tamales and mini-tacos. Karen and Crystal stopped here to get airbrushed 'tattoos'. The rest of us soldiered on through the Morpheus room, where long lines abounded for the palm readers and tarot card readers, so we contented ourselves with rice krispy treats and a nice cup of coffee with a rock candy stir stick. Finally, we made it to the end of the line: The Hermes room, where I'm glad to report that some Greek food was finally present - lamb gyros or falafel in pita pockets. However, by then, I was stuffed.

Having finally made the circuit, we returned to the Aphrodite room to hear some more of the band, dance a bit, and try on some wigs for a group photo. Er, photos, as coached by their photographer. Allow me to just say, we excel at being silly.




After that we headed back down the the Zeus/Hades room for a little more chocolate. Now there was a woman walking around with spoonfuls of chocolate mousse on a tray. She fed them to you, letting you eat from the spoon, then turning it over so you could lick off the remainder. Google does decadence well.

We wrapped up our evening in different places, Paul and I returning for a bit of dancing in the Athena room before heading down to the restrooms and finishing up dancing with Karen and Crystal in the Hermes room. We gathered our coats and met up with Kev and Rachel and had the limo pull up to meet us seconds later. We all piled in, each taking a new seat, and rolled home in style, sipping port and singing along to the songs on 95.7.

I headed home to fall into bed to rise for Dickens in the morning, 9:30 dressed.

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