But not that kind of 'benefits'. No, in this case the benefits of friends is free sushi!
On Friday evening, Candy and Ryan (crazy cat lady and programmer, respectively) came up from Gilroy to pick me up in Cupertino, then head over to Valley Fair to pick up Sue.
Ryan circled in the car while Candy and I waited around outside Tarjet for Sue to show up. Then, right in the middle of me doing my tanuki impersonation (don't ask), some smelly mall vagrant approached Candy, and turned out to be a smelly mall vagrant that she actually knew (and wished she didn't. I found myself feeling the same way very shortly thereafter).
He proceded to make an ass out of himself until we noticed Sue trying to sneak past without being seen by the smelly mall vagrant. Sadly (for Sue at least) we managed to flag her down and eventually escaped from the presence of the smelly mall vagrant and in the process managed to rescue another friend of ours, who I think is named Hovard.
Hovard is from Norway, and we had no idea we would be running into him at a random mall somewhere in the bowels of Cupertino, but I'm quite glad we did because he's a really cool person.
The five of us, minus the smelly mall vagrant, all piled back into the car and headed down to Gilroy for some sushi at Ichiban. I was promised naked sushi boat girls, but it turns out that all I got was the Eat Train. I suppose I shouldn't be too disappointed, it was still very good sushi, and Candy and Ryan paid for it.
I ordered the Lava Roll which was very spicy and very tasty, and I also plucked a few dishes from the Eat Train when it steamed past. We all shared our sushi, and I enjoyed a few other varieties, including some very tasty avocado-tainted abominations.
Finally we went over to Ryand and Candy's crazy cat lady house and I enjoyed huffing the allergens for a while. There was much chatting and laughing to be had between us all, and additionally Thomas, though he was fairly quiet for the most part.
That was pretty much it for Friday evening. On Saturday I was hoping to meet up with at least some subset of Candy, Sue and Ryan as well as some other people I hadn't got to see yet, but in the end I had trouble getting anything organized so I just ended up having lunch with Aaron and met a few of the folk he rooms with.
I think I'm really going to enjoy meeting with all my bay area friends next year, and I really hope the Visa doesn't get messed up again or I'll be right pissed.
Also, unrelatedly, I vow from this day forward to never, ever set foot in an American airport again.