First, the goodies:

  • My photos - http://wonko.com/e2/debauch/
  • WonkoDSane juggling fire - http://wonko.com/e2/debauch/fire.avi
    if you'd like hi-res (1600x1200) versions of any of the pics I took, /msg me

    The debauch is over and fewer than three deaths were reported!* Hooray!
    * not counting ideath

    Noders I met:

  • Unless - one of the nicest noders I've ever met
  • qousqous - need I mention the impressive 'fro?
  • Joyquality - she's got joy in quantity as well as quality!
  • ideath - where does she keep all that energy??
  • moJoe - my own personal Jesus
  • dwyn - noders with accents rule
  • achan - goldfish-eatin' mofo
  • flamingweasel - I saw flames, but no weasel...
  • Svaha & Psyicide - left early to go to the Poetry slam
  • Pyrogenic - he brought movies!
  • prole - reminds me of my mom, only with a lot more alcohol in her blood
  • WonkoDSane - looks even more like Terry Gilliam in person
  • radlab0 - those green eyes are spooky.
  • Pseudo_Intellectual - more "intellectual" than "pseudo".
  • icicle - she kept giving me these icy glares...
  • DerekL - jolly old fellow...
    if I forgot you, please feel free to kill me.

    Ruminations:

    Eating at Spiffy's (where the daily Bible verse was Solomon 5:29) on the way to Seattle was amusing. The old Christians kept looking at us funny. And we laughed at some guy with plastic hair. There was also much discussion regarding the correct past-tense form of "smite", which I think we decided was "smitten". Or "smote". Or something.

    Noders are awesome. Seattle is awesome. We walked so much that my legs have literally stopped working now. We went to Sit 'n Spin for dinner, and tempers flared when WonkoDSane and I realized we had both ordered the SAME THING, and we had both given our name as "Wonko".

    After that we converged in a parking lot to assign people to cars for transportation to Chez Weasel, and some young punk in a crap-ass Ford Thunderbird nearly ran over a middle-aged guy. The guy flipped him off, so the punk jumped out of his car and tried to pick a fight. We noders watched with great interest, as they were both about six feet away from us.

    It ended with the guy walking away and the punk yelling incoherently after him, and I seem to remember WonkoDSane informing the punk that he was dumb (in slightly different words, of course), and then the punk got back into his car, mumbling something.

    It almost turned into the first annual E2 rumble. That would have been fun.

    Once at Chez Weasel, the webcam was set up and various activities began taking place. qousqous and Joyquality got to work making delicious sushi, while Pyrogenic put on a movie (But I'm a Cheerleader). Myself, WonkoDSane, flamingweasel, ideath, and I think maybe qousqous went to Fred Meyer to buy rubbing alcohol and tennis balls.

    Upon our return, the tennis balls were soaked in the rubbing alcohol and lit on fire, and then WonkoDSane and ideath made valiant attempts to juggle them while we all laughed and secretly hoped they'd light an abandoned building on fire or something exciting like that.

    Later, an expedition was sent to visit the Fremont Troll, but it stopped halfway there because we couldn't find ideath. After waiting for a while, a search party was dispatched, and a very drunk prole did the best to lead the rest of the group to the troll.

    Meanwhile, Eat Poop You Cat was played at Chez Weasel, but I didn't get to finish because WonkoDSane called from the troll and begged me to come pick them up because they were all too drunk to move. After following directions and getting hopelessly lost, I drove around randomly for 20 minutes and somehow found the troll. Then, following directions from an even more drunk prole, we managed to get back to Chez Weasel.

    It was 4am by then, and I decided I wanted my bed, so I bade farewell to the noders, ensured that those who rode up with me all had rides home, and rocketed back to Portland alone. I-5 is really awesome between 4 and 6 am. From now on, if I ever have to drive long distances, I will drive between 4 and 6 am. Also, I think the fact that I hadn't slept in 24 hours or so and that I was hopped up on Vivarin may have made the trip even more fun.

    I highly recommend noder gatherings. Even though I will not be able to walk anymore for several days.

    Afterthoughts:

    On the trip up, dwyn (who was following my car) nearly rear-ended me so many times I lost count. Did I stop too fast, or was he tailgating? We'll never know.

  • All right, all right, a disclaimer and a little shove to get the old Everything rumor mill up and running. A housemate of mine, who is also one of my very best friends, has mono. I have yet to be tested but have myself been feeling quite lethargic and yucky for days (have yet to receive official confirmation, however). So to wonko, all of you who monitored my glaring at the webcam or at them, I swear it wasn't on purpose. Yes, I felt like wet rotted cabbage for the majority of my time in Seattle. But nonetheless am glad I went. And the glaring was not on purpose. (Actually this apology does not apply to Chihuahua Grub, who said I looked 67 and death-bound. Fuck him, man, because I was, even if he made my day by calling the party and being silly on the phone with me, which I knew he would.)

    The delicious part (think naughty nodeshells, people) is that our gracious host, Mr. Weasel, is just getting over the kissing disease himself. This would be COMPLETELY hilarious if I had seen him at any point between the E2 Portland Tea and the Debauch. But it's kind of hilarious anyway. I would totally make out with weasel IF he would have let Wonko and me burn down the Space Needle, but alas, he did not. I recommended that he resign from his post as dean of setting shit on fire.

    I can't quite get over the surreality of noder meets in general. First, unless preceded by lymph (again with the damn mono references), I rarely use the word "node" in spoken conversation. It still sounds weird to me when spoken aloud, as do words like "XP" and "monkey, monkey, monkey, William Shatner." (Which we played on the grass at the Seattle Center, for a short time joined by a random mulleted blonde man and two lovely girls. I never imagined, when I created my E2 account a year and a half ago, that moJoe would one day say, in reference to me, "That's not fair! She's not running, she's frolicking!" or something to that effect.)

    It always feels like starting over to me. You might be awestruck at a particular person's nodes and /msg or e-mail them often and warmly, but find little to break the ice (ha ha ha) when you track him or her down at the proverbial punch bowl. It's not even the matter of reconciling or noder personae with our real-life identities. Even with mono I'm just as much a smartass in person as I am in the catbox. It's just that, with two computers running IRC and Java chatterbox, I discovered I'm still BETTER at it when I have to type instead of talking to strangers. And I can't help but think what Ann Landers would say about that.

    That said, some random observations:

    achan and flamingweasel for some reason shock me with the depth of their voices, though I'd heard both their voices before. achan won't mind me saying (because I will buy him cookies if he does) that his voice is almost low enough to make him evil. He isn't. He's just shifty and untrustworthy. I wonder if they let him back into Canada. (I have no doubts that P_I got home quite safely, but I won't say why.)

    I saw them juggle fire! But that's been said already.

    Monorail contains the word "mono." That was the bad joke I could not stop making.

    I meant to talk to all of you lots more, I really did. I will get my breath back shortly.

    I hate escalators and heights sometimes. But then I said, Christen, you are holding the hands of two very fine people, this is no time to fret. And I didn't.

    And God is finished with all us gruesome little noders became me hammering my thumb and breaking my jumprope and hating my kids with their balloons. I am full of diseases spread by dirty books but nonetheless came out ahead and (quietly, glaringly) happy. I owe you all a stack of pancakes and a six pack of beer.

    Zeroeth, thanks must go to flamingweasel for arrangement and orchestration of this most satisfactory debauch.

    First, I must thank prole for leading myself, WonkoDSane, and Unless to the Fremont Troll. More about that later, but I have a feeling she felt underappreciated about this so I thought I'd get to it first. We gave her pretty hard time along the way.

    On to the narrative!

    Meeting the Noders

    Saturday 3 PM: So we were all to meet at the fountain, and meet we did, and impressive the fountain was. True to promises, there were kiddies frolicking in the fountain. As I approached, about 40 minutes late, I walked right past a group of noders as I headed for a bunch of jugglers, which I thought was a good sign. Ironically, one of the noders I passed was ideath, queen of the juggle from the Ohio gathering. Soon I corrected my error and made welcome with that first bunch. Names flew, right over my head, being as bad with names as I am.

    Our way was made to another group of noders, and various antics ensued as bubble-making hardware was passed out. Svaha began attempting smoke bubbles, which when they pop create an enchanting "poof" of smoke effect. Some others as well as myself also tried to varied success.

    Saturday 5 PM: After some logistical discussions, it was off to the monorail. Seattle's monorail has only two stops. So we got on, sat, got off at the only destination we could have: downtown Seattle and walked to Pike Place Market. We saw some flying fish (and a salmon filet was purchased to supplement the psuedocrab already on ice for late-nite autosushi activities). We splintered, promising to meed in an hour at the totem poles. Some of us had parking issues to attend to later.

    Now that's what I call a sticky situation.

    I began walking about with Unless and some other noders, ideath and dwyn, perhaps? It soon became clear that our object was to get lost, and we would do the opposite of any helpful directions I might give having been around the area a few time in the past. Our path took us down the deserted bit of Post Alley, to the wall of gum. Hundreds, ney, thousands of passerby had contributed the results of their obsessive mastication to this wall, and we were to be no different. Someone produced three sticks of gum, Extra Sugar Free as I recall, and with only mild reluctance chewing and sticking was the result. Not just any sticking: a bright flourescent green E2 smack at eye level. I made the '2', ideath made the 'E'. You can see it in all its glowing glory thanks to dwyn's photos: http://pikka.net/debauch/pic/img_0170-lo.jpg

    I guided (such as it was) our motley band both to the fabled public elevator whose existence was doubted and the covenience store which sold American Spirits, the sort of place one wouldn't expect to find on the tory street of galleries and overly expensive food and clothing boutiques peppered about on 1st Ave. Eventually we got to the totem poles, not even late. Though I think we were the last to arrive.

    (skipping return monorail ride, more parkbound noders) ... As ideath can attest, we got to my car the very minute my parking pass expired. I looked at the ticket, then looked at the dashboard clock to see it change to one minute past my tickets expiry.

    time passes ... sit-n-spin ... drive to chez weasel as the lead car of our white/blue/red caravan (as in a bunch of cars, not the minivan) ... wonko and i fall behind (on foot, after parking) and search for the house ... meeting people ... stuff ... setting up xdvd player ... stuff ... lesbians ... ... to be filled in. Fast-forward past hours of organizing to when we actually left the house on the trip to the troll...

    Trolling for Fun and Profit

    We made it all the way to the end of 14th Ave W, the street on which Chez Weasel is located, before stopping to ensure all the trollers were present. Some people went back and forth a bit, and general confusion abounded, culminating in the realization that ideath had gone missing. Eventually she found herself, though no one called das weasel from chez weasel on the weaselphone to call off the ideath hunt. So we did. In the process of all this most of the trollers decided to head home. But four of us, those with the right stuff (backpack full of beer and smokes all around) braved being led by our dear drunk prole onward to the troll.

    Much discussion of the path to follow occured but was mostly irrelevent. W.D.s. watered many a bush along the way. It was dark, but pretty once we could see the water and the other shore.

    After crossing the Fremont bridge, we took some photos with the life-sized family statue, which had the trappings of a recent wedding all about it. Continuing down the road to Aurora, we passed a toppled concrete post. Unless and prole wanted to take it with us. WonkoDSane and I look suitably baffled, but don't stop them when they find a bit not still attatched to the ground by steel rods and unless decides to carry it off. He got it maybe a block up the Aurora hill when it was abandoned to the trip back. Of course, that trip back would not pass by the stone, but we didn't know that at the time.

    But find the troll we did. And proceeded to dink and make merry on the troll. At one point the moment was very punk, as we huddled in the crook of the giant's arm and considered sleeping there for the night. WonkoD got up and went for a walk, or so we thought. After wondering aloud where he'd gone off to (we surmised it was to once again relieve the pressures of his bladder) he stepped out from behind one of the bridge supports where he'd been sitting. Prole decided she was exposing too much of herself to the cold stone (at least that's what I thought she said) and went to lay on something resembling a bench down by the road. In a bit she was accosted in a way by two drunken frat boys who asked her if she was ok. Though soon she would swear it was she who accosted them. Really though there was no accosting going on.

    At one point some other seemingly drunk tourists were phoing themselves and the troll. One stuck his head up the troll's nostril for the camera. The things people do... Some of us (but not myself) even tried to pry open the engine cover of the Volkswagen Beetle cought in the troll's petrified grasp, but to no avail as the car seemed equally petrified.

    We did not call on Wonko (not DSane -- the one with the WRX) to retrieve us from the troll because we were too drunk to move. We had an excellent cover story: the underweight Unless had found himself overexerted (with an oncoming cold and 26 blocks or so of walking) as did we all to a certain extent. We didn't know they'd send out someone alone who had no idea of how to get to the troll! That our thankful selves (but mostly prole) were able to guide him back to chez weasel is a testament to something. Just what I don't know, but it was truly a significant testament nonetheless.

    The Rest of Sunday

    When did we return? I don't remember. But we put on The Big Lebowski and were entertained. By then it was late, early, whatever, about six in the morning. we ate some bread I'd brought, drank lots of water, and began shutting down, finally. I decided my own bed sounded really good, and drove back to Bellevue.

    I think these were all the movies variously watched over the course of the weekend: But I'm a Cheerleader, several episodes of Æon Flux, The Princess Bride, The Big Lebowski, and the director's commentary version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Which I actually spelled right without looking it up first!

    "The Prole abides."

    hmm. i could write an exhaustive postmortem of the gathering -- or i could transcribe the papers produced by noders throughout the gathering from the typewriter i kept set up on the table. yah. not much more to say than this. why? because i'm exhausted! noders are clean, but they are also difficult to wrangle and keep me up past my bedtime:
    --------------------------------------+---+-------------------------------------------
                                          |   |   
            ' 'the writeup contributed to |   |   
               by many (but not the most) |   |   
               people ' '                 |   |   
                                          |   |   
                                          |   |   
                                          |   |     
    riverrun, past eve and adams,         |   |   
                                          |   |   there is a gas t in across from flamw
    0x                                    |   |   
    "The transformation of children int   |   |   njj  kk
    to adults: a more horrific thing      |   |   
    I cannot think of. Except maybe       |   |   I've got your nodes... RIGHT HERE!!
    the trans                             |   |   
             formation of children into   | 4>|   Das Flamende Wiesel
    sausages," P*I said stroking          |   |   
    his twisty beard. "It&'s actually     |   |                      
    pretty interesting," moJoe replied,   |   |   foo.
    stroking his non-twisty beard, "if    |   |   
    youure watching the Discovery Chenn   |   |   
    el.                                   |   |   
                                          |   |   Eating too much sushi is oe of the
                                          |   |   worst thiigs oe can possibly do
                                          |   |   Yes, and I just did that.
    poop.                                 |   |   
    These toughts seem so random, but t   | 5>|   WHERE IS iDEATH?
    they are not. Unless, of course,      |   |   
    you eat the poop. Or not. I don,t     |   |   excusez moo mai un insect a descend
    know.                                 |   |   u a athere are impacts you n ever h
                                          |   |   ope or believe you could have. some
    I cannot type on this blasted thing   |<1 |   people want power and some ppeople
    Why?  Youn seemed to be doing prett   |   |   only understand what is hurt.
    y well.                               |   |   je ne comprends rien. je ne suis
                                          |   |   personne.il y a une fete ici, mais
              Up until the knuckles       |   |   ou sommes nous? qui sommes nous?
    popped for the final time, groaning   |   |   we hide in some sort of technolo
    qw                                    |   |   gical excuse for idenitie, mais it'
    under protest of their unceasing      |   |   s all ruse. we're floating and hopi
    If my chest were a cannon             |   |   ng something will comclear that we
    and ufair tr ieatment. nothing l      |   |   can claim cleanly.
                                    e     |   |   
                                   ft     |   |   there's nothing out there. we can
                   to fiir                |   |   only try to create or grab something
                          e               |   |   that will cause noharm. make them
                                          |   |   laugh, that's probably the best you
    i can''t tell if my glasses are       |   |   can even try to do. at least hold to
         the wrong color                  |   |   to themwhen the have nothing to do
             o                            |   |   but cry at what happens and  hat
              or  if i 'm reall           |   |   might have happened.
              i                y          |   |   
    see ng     ves                        |<2 |   
       i    kn                            |   |   
                                          |   |   
    SUSHI!!!                              |<3 |   
                                          |   |   
    WDS 0NZ j00 411. 5h!N3 0n j00 CRAZY   |   |   
    D!4M0ND!!!!                           |   |   
                                          |   |   
    i am so 3li73 that my pants don,t     |   |   
    fit.  when i defecate, w4r3z come o   |   |   
    out.  phear.                          |   |   
                                          |   |   
                     ((1))                |   |                    ((2))
    --------------------------------------+---+--------------------------------------------
                                          |   |   
                                          |   |   she will feed you tomatoes and radio wire
                                          |   |   
                                          |   |   
                                          |   |   #!usr/bin/perl
    Oddne s abountds, this is llo tech, h |   |   
    how does it work........              |   |   print "No node is complete without perl";
                                          |   |   print 'Except this one.&';
    fuck this noder shit.                 |   |   
    Alh kjg; g; ,jak jarrdl; ,jdl G ktr   |   |   if
    d gl H.soave Oops. QWERTY, damn!!     |   |   if i were at home I would probably
                  --qous                  |   |   eatitoese withomegemitewouldxprobly
                                          |   |   eat toa
                                          |   |    at toast with vegemite and avocado
    How could anyone type on a keyboard   |   |   for breakfast.  instead i have stra
    like DVORAK? QWERTY forever!          |   |   nge convenience store  pastries fet
                                          |   |   ched by qousqous. there is vegemite
    eat poop you cat                      |   |   in my backpack, but I,m not sure it
    teeth                                 |   |   would go that well on apple danish.
                                          |   |   
    flora tromped merrily throgh the jun  |   |   perhaps it would go better with some
    -iper  trees, even though they were   |   |
    bushes.                               |   |   nvolutiona ry polymers as an industrial
                                          |   |   
    I don,t konw that could be called th  |   |   solvent. Im remaining eternally skeptical
    the morning after as it was morning   |   |   
    before we went to bed...              |   |   
       "chez weasel, who;s calling pleas  |<6 |   
                                      e?  |   |   Yours,
                                       "  |   |   
                                          |   |   
    the typewriter has no square          |   |    the eternal order of people who have
    brackets and so it can;t be used      |   |   waited too long by half to make a trip
    for noding.                           |   |   to the b throom.
                                          |   |   
    The sky was lavender (or maybe        | 7>|   qousqous, joyquality, moJoe, reed,
    periwinkle). The revelers groaned     |   |   radlab0, p_i, icicle, (wonko),dwyn
    and soon fell over.                   |   |   and achan after moJoe whomI forgot!
                                          |   |   
    1/4 1/2 3/4 'pate' is a wood word.    |   |   
    'noggin' is an avocado pit.           |   |   ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES
    'head' is made of bone, but only in   |   |   onions are meaner.
    the most banal way. this is morning.  |   |   sweets. eaten like apples or sun-hot
                                          |   |   tomatoes, out of hand. bite
                                          |   |    
                                          |   |  
                                          |   |   Fadin fast to jukka, a noder party is lik
                                          |   |   a night in the chatbox, but with live
                                          |   |   ,action, added... Quite the (mis)adventur
                                          |   |   e?......
                                          |   |  
                     ((3))                |   |                    ((4))
    --------------------------------------+---+--------------------------------------------
                                              |
                                              |
    we &hearts; noders                        |
                                              |
    lost wandering the in exurban wastelands  |
           e                                  |
    to the  a t off here, an elastic spastic  |
             s                                |
    caravan on their way to a foodless wonder |
                                              |
    arrived and departed, juggling noders     |
                                  (danger!)   |
    along the danger-frought way. (danger!)   |
                                  (danger!)   |
               Xoh no. . . .                  |
                                              |
                                              |
     ((the rest of this page (empty) left out |
     for space reasons. oh, & this is num 5)) |
    ------------------------------------------+
    
    or perhaps there is:
    1. It's so funny to watch people who are used to the instant revisions afforded to us by these boxes we're all pecking at right now adjust to the impossibility of revision with a typewriter. I've included the screwups and used the <strike> where people put 'x's over the misspelled / unwanted word.
    2. Someone was feeling all fucking emo. I wonder who?
    3. Mad props go out to the Esteemed Prime Minister Qous, who made absolutely fabulous california rolls and salmon rolls for all of us lazy / drunk bastards. We luv qous!
    4. Wow. If the sushi wasn't enough, Secretary General Qous also brought a rad children's book he wrote (in german) about my username, illustrated by him and joyquality. We even got a reading in front of the Hurricane, all of us noders arrayed like a children's class around qous, who sat on a newspaper vending machine and read the story and its translation to us.
    5. *sigh*. The only slightly less than really cool part of the evening; a miscommunication led to stressing and worry. It all worked out in the end, though, so we can all just be happy.
    6. As with all large gatherings, there were plenty of little logistics problems and needs for me to lead others to places. As such, many times the land line was answered in this way, which was fine for most of my calls -- but the occasional telemarketer must have been a little thrown off.

    ...

    Ooh. Pics: flamingweasel.com/louds/

    ...

    did I say this?

    I'd really like to sincerly thank everyone that showed up. You all are the nicest group of some strangers, some aquaintences, some friends I've had around in a long time. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Y'all made this meet really all sorts of cool things, all of which I'd like to explicate but which has been said before.
    I noders.

    It's now August 6th, 3:57 AM. You probably think I'm crazy, but I am normally awake by 5:30 AM (now you know I am crazy.)

    What I remember

    August 4th, 5:30 AM

    I wake up and wonder why am I awake after just going to sleep at 3:00AM the same day. I do the shower/shave thing and get dressed but I have trouble finding my birth certificate. A missing birth certificate, I think, would be a great excuse for not showing up and then I'd be able to go back to bed.

    Eventually I found my birth certificate, grabbed my bag and walked up the street to the Mall so I could grab some money from the ATM. From there I called a taxi and cabbed down to the Greyhound station where I bought my ticket and sat down to wait for my bus.

    At 7:45 I board a bus with only 4 other people and I'm on my way to the land of oppurtunity.

    I had a bit of trouble getting through customs, they were giving me a hard time because I didn't have a return ticket.
    I didn't have a return ticket because Greyhound in the US wants you to buy a ticket for a specific time on a specific day and I didn't know when I'd be returning. Greyhound in cool land just gives you a ticket with an expiry date.

    I know now that they would've exchanged it for me if I wanted an earlier bus but at the time I didn't want to take any chances.

    Apparently my customs situation was aggrevated by the fact that I look shifty and untrustworthy.

    August 4th, somewhere around 9:00 AM

    I am in Burger King in Blaine WA eating a "croissant" for breakfast. What it really seems like is white bread baked in a croissant shaped mold.

    Two ladies in a seat in front of me are talking about lawsuits and old ladies breaking hips. At a table next to them is my bus driving spreading cynicism and dissent about his company. He then digs some pictures of Greyhound accidents he's had out of his briefcase and shows them to the ladies.

    The six of us (five + driver) get back on the greyhound and we're on our merry way back to Seattle. Along the way we pick up a lot more people, my bus actually fills up somewhere between Blaine and Seattle.

    August 4th, 11:30ish in the AM

    I am in Seattle. The bus station is positively squalid. They went for an Irvine-esque atmo in the men's room. For a city as large as seattle I cannot believe what a disgusting run down place it is. Seattle was beautiful coming in, with the boats, and the water. Nice of Greyhound to drive me through a beautiful city and dump me off in the ugliest part of town.

    I'd planned on being able to just putter around seattle for a few hours before meeting up with everyone else but after half an hour it became apparent that I wouldn't even be able to find my way out of the vicinity of the Station so I phoned flamingweasel to get the low down on the blow by blow. Like icicle I was quite surprised by his voice, but I must admit my own voice came as less of a shock.

    I asked weasel if there was a shopping centre or something nearby where I could kill some time but instead he offered to pick me up. Most kind of him. In doing so he had to expose himself to the Greyhound station from hell. I will never forget the sacrifice he made for me. Weasel, If you are ever in the Vancouver Greyhound station feel free to call me and I'll be happy to give you bus directions to my house ;)

    I think it was another 45 minutes or so before I met weasel, he was looking for me inside the bus depot and I was standing in the street. We drove back to his house where I met WonkoDSane who disappointed me with his lack of southern accent but was much fun nonetheless.

    Our beer run to Fred Meyer (wow, alcohol in a supermarket) was mostly uneventful except for the flaming boat on the way.

    BOAT ON FIRE! BOAT ON FIRE! PUT IT OUT! PUT IT OUT!


    The smell of burning boat wasn't really that bad, although I have no idea what lovely burning chemicals I was breathing in.
    They must have had it under control while we were driving past, because by the time we got out of Fred Meyer the smell and smoke were mostly gone.

    The time of day from here on is unknown to me since I don't wear a watch. After we got back to weasel's and put his beer in the fridge (buying beer cold is something else that's foreign to me) we did some juggling and then icicle called. This time weasel, having experienced the nightmare that is the bus depot and not wanting to be there any longer than necessary asked her to stay in a specific place before we drove off to meet her.

    After picking up icicle we realised it was 3:00, the time the meet was supposed to start. I, being The Man offer to get out at the place we're supposed to meet and find everyone.

    The fountain is a big huge metal hemisphere in a pit. After walking around most of the perimeter of the pit and getting sprayed with a lot of water I manage to find the first group of people{p_i, radlab0, svaha, psyicide} only because they had Pseudo_Intellectual with them. Somehow, pyrogenic managed to find us and after we refused to move, mojoe found us too. I followed mojoe back to the other group of people {mojoe, pyrogenic, dwyn, ideath, unless, wonko, qousqous, joyquality} and waited there for the previous group and the people not yet in attendance {flamingweasel, icicle, WonkoDSane, prole}.

    Once everyone arrived we took the monorail down to the market... more coming...
    First and foremost, flamingweasel rules! Stop claiming you have no organizational skills, you'd make a terrific tour guide.

    Second: pictures! http://pikka.net/debauch/

    Here's the chain of events as related from the dwyn side of things:

    The Day Before, Friday, August 3rd, 2001. After spending some time in the airport looking for a girl with a Lesbians! Monkey! Soy! sign, I finally spotted her in the baggage claim area. She does not have the mean look that her username implies, and current theories seem to indicate that she is not a suspect in the case of the three deaths that wonko reported. Later on I climbed Mount Tabor with ideath where we discussed the New World Order. Be afraid, for noders shall rule the world! At night we met up with the man with the toilet seats (who now hates all toilet seat references), had a few (too many?) drinks, and talked until I passed out on the sofa.

    D-Day, Saturday, August 4th, 2001. New characters: wonko (the not-sane), professor doctor prime minister secretary general qous and a very joyous quality, and Unless (don't ask him "unless what?"). Time for the drive to Seattle; lunch at Spiffy's along the way (they had religious pamphlets with checkboxes! Check here if you let Jesus into your soul and you will be saved!), smote (or smited?) each other, and rocked on!

    Let me tell you one thing. Finding your way around Seattle is easy, especially if you use the Space Needle as your destination. Always keep the needle in your view and you'll be safe. So we got to the fountain and, slowly but surely, the crowd of noders started to grow... Good thing flamingweasel had nametags, as I'm terribly bad with names. We took the Seattle monorail into downtown Seattle, saw the flying fish in Pike's Place Market, I tried to get lost with Unless, Pyrogenic and ideath, we all went for dinner at Sit 'n Spin and finally, after much fuss, we got to Chez Weasel!

    We had:

    Aftermath, Sunday, August 5th, 2001. We headed out towards Dixie's Barbecue, we managed to lose one of the three cars in the caravan along the way, only to find out that it was closed on Sundays. And that's when I had to drive off to Portland to catch my flight back...

    Now... When's the next one?

    First, the pix w/commentary: http://interimbooks.com/derek/e2/seattlepix.shtml

    It all started innocently enough...

    A few months back Pseudo_Intellectual /msg'ed me to ask, 'There's a noder gathering in Seattle coming up, wanna go?'. Sure! sez I, bookmarked the gathering node, and noted the date I thought he messaged me, Sept. 4th. Diligently I checked the node and followed the progress of the planning, I arranged for someone to watch the store, and eagerly awaited the coming of September.

    Fast forward to *August 4th*...

    Having a moment at work I was browsing E2 and saw WonkoDSane's writeup describing the tribulations he had on the way to Seattle. Hmm... I wonder why he is in Seattle when the gathering isn't until September? Let's go check the gathering node and see how the planning is going....

    Then the awful truth hit me... The gathering was *today* and I was missing it!

    First response, call Chez Weasel and leave a message on flamingweasel 's answering machine and a /msg on E2 asking him to call me at home and let me know when the noders returned, planning on catching the next ferry after that to Seattle and proceeding to Chez Weasel. Since I didn't have Weasel's cell phone number, this was the best I thought I could do.

    After a few minutes of planning along these lines, and letting my wife know (Honey, massive change in plans, I'm going to Seattle tonight, I'll probably be back late), an even *better* plan occurred to me;

    *Damm the torpedos, Full Speed Ahead!*

    If I waited for his call it would take about two hours to get to Chez Weasel, I'd miss an even larger chunk of the gathering. The new plan was to run home, shower, pack, and catch the six thirty ferry to Seattle. The downside to this plan was that I had no way of knowing if the plans had been changed, and no certainty that they were returning to Chez Weasel at any reasonable (or unreasonable) hour. O well, at least I hoped to garner some style points for boldness. Not knowing when, if, or where I'd sleep, I put this plan into action.
    Sidebar: When my neighbor asked me where I was off to, I replied: To stay with people I'd never met, in a place I'd never been, and I didn't know what I'd be doing once I got there. He accepted this stoically, having become accustomed to me over the years.
    And so I departed.

    After the ferry trip, and thoroughly awful Seattle traffic downtown, I arrived at Chez Weasel. (Which was no mean feat, outside of a few places I regularly visit, much of Seattle is terra incognita to me. Also, being the only noder not coming from the north, south, or inside Seattle itself, I had to fudge his directions a bit.) There I made the first pleasant discovery of the evening, flamingweasel had left his cell phone number taped to his door. Huzzah! This just might work out! I called him and discovered that they were nearly finished with dinner and would return shortly. After a brief adventure in finding dinner for myself, I returned and awaited the other noders.

    When they arrived, and after brief introductions, the party settled into three main groups, their membership not fixed, but fluid and interchangeable;
    • The Noders in the Webcam Room.

      Someone set up a web cam and two computers. Much merriment was had entertaining those who were there and those who wished they were there.

    • The Noders in the Living Room.

      Attempting to watch movies and carry on a conversation at the same time results in some *serious* decibel levels. (The movies were played on CD drive in a computer attached to the TV. A brief moment of panic occurred when the screen saver kicked in and the screen blanked out.)

    • The Noders who were Bent on Coating Their Lungs with Soot.

      I'm certainly glad that the walkway outside of the apartment was not a highly trafficked area... The noders gathered there, (Mainly prole, WonkoDSane, Pyrogenic, unless and myself), quite blocked it while generating vast amounts of smoke and conversation.
    I must add the seeing The Princess Bride done Rocky Horror was one of the more interesting experiences of my life... Part way into the movie, the expedition for the Fremont Troll departed. After walking for a few blocks qousqous caught up with us and asked the fateful question of the night: Where is ideath? With you we answered, but she left before *me* he answered... This resulted in the traveling group becoming subdivided....
    • Noders whizzing about in automobiles

      flamingweasel ran back to the house with Wonko and began searching the neighborhood.

    • Noders standing about on street corners.

      Being along the logical line of travel, we awaited where we were. qousqous, Joyquality, dwyn and myself.

    • Noders wandering in the darkness.

      WonkoDSane, Pyrogenic, unless and prole set off to seek the troll, with results described elsewhere.

    • A noder innocently picking blackberries.

      ideath realized she'd taken a wrong turn. At some point in her travels she found a blackberry bush, picked a mess of them and quietly returned home. She was eventually located there by flamingweasel, who then fetched those of us still waiting quietly on the corner.



    More Later...
    The List of noders I met, more or less in the order I met them:
    • wonko: a truly badass driver, and really a most excellent guy. i must find out if he LANs. he can call me at home.
    • qousqous: maker of possibly the best sushi i've ever had. i am still serious about paying a dollar to see him with a fro comb in that hair.
    • Joyquality: even if she weren't cool, directing us to Spiffy's is more than enough bonus points.
    • ideath: let me contribute to her zine, and is now on my short list of people that are cool to get lost with. and being a Sleater-Kinney fan is about 50,000 points right there.
    • moJoe: the dot product of Kevin Smith and Dennis Miller. in that he is intelligent, clever, witty, and funny as hell, and he seems to like ranting about things. much, much more attractive than Kevin Smith, though.
    • dwyn: the snake behind me, hissing "have another beer". the accent is cool as hell, and he can keep up with wonko driving. my new drinking buddy.
    • achan: my mentor. every damn word that comes out of his mouth is a pearl of wisdom. i'm going to kill him.
    • radlab0: her coolness and oddness augment each other exponentially. i liked her instantly; how can you not? probably my new favorite noder; go read Too Darn Hot right fucking now
    • Psyicide and Svaha: they left early, so i didn't really get to meet them much. i remember that psyicide seemed quite nice, and that svaha's nametag was incredibly awkwardly placed.
    • icicle: cool hair and an unfortunate disease. i wish i had interacted with her more.
    • WonkoDSane: one of our troupe of intrepid troll-seekers. i think he actually out-drank prole. i take comfort in the fact that he's older than me, so i have some time to get that cool.
    • pyrogenic: another of our merry band. a bit like the guy in prison who has all the really cool shit. i feel like i've known him for ages; if he were local, i'm pretty sure we'd be buds.
    • flamingweasel: the king of us. this man needs to become a teacher; he has the mannerisms, the voice, and by all evidence the ability. the fact that he looks a lot like Edward Norton makes everything i just said about him feel really damn weird.
    • Pseudo_Intellectual: i've never read any description of him, but somehow he looked exactly like i pictured him. struck me as terribly, awfully observant. and really very friendly.
    • prole: can only be described as effervescent: shiny and sparkly and potentially very painful. that was supposed to be clever and funny, please don't kill me. every time i glanced at her, for a split second i thought she was someone i knew (not anyone in particular, just someone i knew). this fucked with me the entire weekend. the leader of our troll-hunting expedition, which also puts her on the cool-people-to-get-lost-with list.
    • DerekL: the fact that he managed to show up at all was cool. many an interesting conversation over many a cigarette.
    I pray that I didn't forget anyone; if I did, you would be absolutely within your rights to kick me in the shins. All in all, an eclectic and excellent group of weirdos.

    "Of course you should come," said qousqous, "lots of low level users go to gatherings. Besides, you have already met Flaming Death." As though that awkward half-hour in ideath's kitchen were some sort of baptism by temporary tattoo: I have met noders, therefore I should meet more noders. Hmm.

    Still, I was curious, and part of me really did want to go. I almost backed out a hundred times, right up to the night before, but Saturday morning found me at qous's house, as the Portland Caravan converged. We loaded into vehicles (Wonko, Unless, qousqous and I in one car, dwyn, ideath, and moJoe in the other) and set off. I eyed Wonko warily as his spedometer crept into triple digits, but no major catastrophes happened. Qous and I suggested Spiffy's for lunch, the restaurant being a favorite among our friends. The food is not especially notable, but 1) it's called Spiffy's and 2) it has the largest and most interesting collection of religious tracts I have ever seen. By this time we'd gotten over the "these are strange people I don't know" factor and become a group of people traveling/hanging out together. The whole weekend I was surprised at the ease of this transition. I often forgot that I had only met these people a few hours before.

    We made our way to the Seattle Center, where the gathering gathered itself. Introductions here were strange, because no one knew who I was but they were soon introduced to my sad lack of artistic ability via the illustrations to Flammendes Wiesel. The afternoon blurs together. We rode the monorail, I hunted for an ATM that would actually give me money, we wandered the streets hand in hand, played games in the grass, and eventually found ourselves eating dinner at the Sit 'n Spin. Qousqous, Flamingweasel and I played Sorry! I don't know what it is about this game, but everyone always has 3 men home while I still have 3 men in start.

    Chez Weasel. The evening was pretty mellow. I watched movies, hid from the webcam, and helped qousqous make sushi. WonkoDSane gave me a juggling lesson, and in order to spread the love, bestowed upon me my own set of juggling balls, that I may practice on my own time. Whee! I didn't get to see the troll; I did get to play Eat Poop You Cat. I didn't know that I knew all the words to The Princess Bride until I found myself reciting them with everyone else. It was a laid-back night of noder love.

    Sunday morning got off to a slow start. Being a bit late for breakfast, we headed to Dixie's for lunch. We got stuck in traffic. Dwyn and the people in his car would have to leave as soon as we got there, because he had a plane to catch. Only 3 of the 4 cars eventually made it to the restaurant - but it didn't matter because it was closed. Sigh. There was vehicular reshuffling as the Portlanders decided to stay and dwyn headed back by himself. We retrieved the people in the lost car and headed to the Hurricane Cafe. After lunch, qousqous gave a reading of Flammendes Wiesel while perched atop a newspaper dispenser.

    We hung out a while longer Chez Weasel, and then qous and I were fetched by some non-noder friends of ours. We stayed the night with them, and took the train home Monday morning. (our ride had left early Sunday morning, and reportedly made the trip back to Portland in about 2 hours. Ack!)

    "Of course you should come," said qousqous, "noders are cool." And of course he's right. Everyone was just nice. This was one of the coolest bunches of people I've met. Special compliments and thanks to flamingweasel, who was fabulous both as a host and just as himself.

    Thank you everyone! Maybe I'll see y'all again in Portland.

    Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.