Gee, I wrote this on the train coming back and thought there'd be at least twelve amazingly humorous descriptions of the events that occurred (and didn't occur) at the gathering. Oh well, you'll have to wait for someone else to chime in with that [and the URL for the pictures of WonkoDSane (with Bart; and with ccunning; and with Amy, the waitress at the Court of Two Sisters; and, perhaps with others I didn't witness :))].


I have nothing witty to contribute. I just wanted to say it was great to put faces and real people with some of the names I've grown familiar with on E2.

And I want to thank for their hospitality those that performed hostly services to me at some point during my visit: aphexious, BAR, Templeton, and discofever.

And, without implying any deficiency in the others, I want to tell everyone that aphexious struck me as a very kind and thoughtful person, and my short experience with her convinced me that she is full of compassion and bon homie and joie de vivre. If you have the opportunity to share in her aura, definitely take it!

And, if you find yourself at Nola for dinner, definitely have the arugula/pear/cheddar/cranberry/toasted-pumpkin-seed salad. Probably the best salad I've ever had -- and it cost a dollar less than the menu said!

I’ll let the noders who came tell the stories. I am writing to say that I was paying attention, sometimes, and these are some of the things I remember.

People have said what a good host I was and blah blah denmother blah blah, but really it was the gang that made it work, because they were all willing to put up with my denmotherly requests. They were the ones who came to me, from many hours driving, flying, and waiting on the train to come here. Without them it would have been just me in my apartment, watching movies and drinking beer.

Apatrix

Decided to come at the last minute and was going to bring me a monitor. Challenged us to get his last name right, and Byzantine was very close, you said. You were quiet and attentive, sitting quiet like a vapor at times. I often wondered what you were thinking.

bozon

As usual, you were the pleasant surprise for all, the only god among us, older and wiser but very, very cool. You brought me a fossil that you found yourself and a pendant of lapis lazuli and turquoise. You hung out through the most random day of the gathering, through all the stops and waiting for others to catch up. People say you are ideath in the future tense, and you were always trying to get me to relax. I tried, I really did. It was really good to see you again and for you to be seen.

brassmule

Helped me so much with the reservations for the brunch and fronted the deposit when I couldn't afford to. Brought me a monitor, keyboard and scroll mouse. You were so kind and helpful in your silence, and you slept like a dove. You have such a good smile. We dressed you up like a hillbilly, and you even puffed on a cigarette for us, trussed up in my backwoods wares. You told me about working for Good Time Ice, and what it's like to work in blue collar land. You made me miss my old job.

briiiiian

The eternal bad influence. The man in golden light. Disappeared on us a few times, once for a chick (I'd heard), once to tune up disofever's bike (so I was told). This is the third time I'd seen you in person, yet you are as real to me as my own hands. You were lucky I didn't scam that sweater.

C-Dawg

Clearly the quietest one who arrived second to latest on that awful train ride. I hope you got to see some sights with Jurph and Jason, that you had something good to bring home. You left behind a baseball hat and yes, you are welcome for my hospitality. I hope it brought you safely (and quickly) home.

cahla

I had no idea what to expect, really. You have the cutest scrunched-nose face when you laugh, all open in the mouth and weetle cheeks. You and some others framed the circumference of the round little rug that Byzantine had lent me, drawing us in with your smile and your poofy stuffed elephant with the dirty paws. You were the one that asked jaubertmoniker, when he pulled a JayBonci on us and called, a question your team was stumbling over in Trivial Pursuit where the teams were basically two halves of a full room of people on the floor. You brought me a monitor and have enabled me to write from home again. You brought me a magnet from mkb. You brought me more than you know.

ccunning

I was glad I got to goof on you this go around. I hope you like those glasses amd that you managed to keep them after you left. Always the willing butt of jokes, always laughing unless you were sleeping. You convinced me to steal that Lambic glass from DBA, you bastard. Hope you enjoy that too and that we see you again. How many times did we say you could, um, you know? I think it was 3.

dann

You have a great smile and wild hair. And what cool corduroy. You were quiet a lot, as I am usually, and I wondered what it was you thought of the whole mess. Since you stayed with discofever, I didn't have to worry over you, and I'm sure you were glad, because you seem to take care of yourself just fine.

Dataknife

Quiet, and not able to stay at my place after all because of all the smoke at my place. Tall dude. Told me how he has to dangle his legs outside the tub when he takes a bath. Made a mix CD, a copy of which got left at my place. Instigated the umbilical connections of laptops on the floor, swapping photos from the weekend. I hope it was worth the trip, all this silliness.

Indra363

When you first arrived, I worried that you would have a good time, because you were quiet and we didn't know each other really at all. I was so glad to have a space in time to talk to you one on one, because I got to see what you were like and how you saw things. You brought me a cute cow magnet from Iowa and we talked about hating our jobs. I am also glad that we all went to DBA and found space in the back to see each other. You did mind erasers and a shot of flaming Vodka. Jesse Jackson once called you darlin' and you got see Rocky Horror at the 735 Club. I do hope you get to visit again.

Jurph

I was so looking forward to meeting you. The magnets of Ocean City and Bethany Beach made me so happy, you have no idea. And you simply must know what a hottie you are. Some of us girls were giggling about you. To talk about home with someone is such a gift. You made your visit here totally your own, and bless you for bringing me duck from NOLA. It will be a long time before I see Delaware plates again.

your friend Jason

Yes, you indeed did raise the bar for non-noder friends, and you made me appreciate the cool addition they can bring. Your friendship was refreshing to hear about, the closeness and unity of it, make me smile. While I'm sure we didn't make you feel left out, you fit yourself right in, like you were always there. Since neither of you had been here, I am glad to know it was such an awesome first time. I remember you saying something like, "there's all the drinking and drugs and shit and then, there's college." I admire your focus. I remember passing you two in your L-shape fortress by the window and how peacefully you slept. You brought a pair of horns you bought at a ren fest. You fell asleep waiting for some things, and I tickled your node once, but you likely didn't know it was me.

jethro bodine

You were the one that woke the gang Saturday morning. At first I worried that you would miss out on things because you slept all that day, and most of that night. When I returned the next morning, you were in the kitchen dormer, your head facing the window. You said you could see Orion in the sky. You and that mane and steely eyes. I liked standing on the steps with you outside, and I loved the $3.50 suit you wore to the brunch with black Chucks. With the pinstriped vest, you looked like such a skewed gangsta, when we photographed you with the cash wad from the brunch tab. Knowing you like to walk barefoot, see some road rash from your bike, all of this made sense on you.

karmaflux

My one image of you is you and your girlfriend facing each other, sitting on the floor in the kitchen dormer, sharing touches and coffee. At first you weren’t going to attend the brunch, but I’m glad you did. I remember how puzzled you were trying to find Suzy’s apartment, and how little time you got to sleep. I hope next time I can actually talk to you more, or that you and Carson can talk shop, or whatever it is you boys do.

your girlfriend, duffski

You have such a cool smile. I remember seeing you passed out in the back of Medieval’s car, and how sleepy you must have been. I remember you leaned against your boyfriend in the living room because you were tired and there was nowhere else to sit. Again I wished I could have talked with you more. Maybe you can come visit again and take part in the longest distance double-date in the history of noder-dom, or something like that.

Li_Kao

You have an evil grin. You told me of siouxsie’s recent losses, and how hard things must be right now for her. I wondered what you thought of all this madness erupting, and hoped you had a good time.

Medieval

Your party headcount changed so many times, I’m surprised anything worked out. Grr. What on earth did you do while you were here? You disappeared so many times. You were the lucky one who got to read the cards for your team in the Trivial Pursuit game. Your preowned police car got C!ed, and luckily nothing bad happened to it.

your friend servious

I told some people you looked cherubic with your long lashes and pale skin. You were the one who got the other geeks to doing something with Linux with cuss words. That was too funny. Like Medieval, you were not around much, but I hope you enjoyed what time got spent here.

Mitzi

First thing you did, silly bird, was step in an ashtray and then on the carpet with your big feet. You have such a big smile. There you were, always frettin’ that we would never really get to talk. The thing is that for gatherings, people seldom want to have heart-to-heart conversations. If you were able to get any out any of the gang, you were lucky. I remember you telling me about your friend who is paralyzed (gosh I hope I got the right chick) and how it happened, how sad and fortunate life it when it teaches you something. You fretted about money and almost losing your wallet, but we got you drunk anyway.

m_turner

One of the first ones to arrive. I had no clue you were coming from California until you got here. You taught me about infared film and what it does to pictures. You're also the reason, I think, that I have an entire cheescake in my fridge. I was glad to got to go touring with Jurph and Jason. You got an antique map of your home state. You have hair down to your butt and a goofy smile. Someone once told you, that with your beard, you looked like Brad Pitt from Snatch. You are a sweet geek.

NightShadow

Despite your tummy, the fact that Suzy never did get around to shaving your head, and the fact that Carson almost killed you twice getting in and out of his car, I hope you had a good time. While I was on round one of cleaning up the aftermath, you went on what sounded like a Beat rant about Café Coco to the audience leftover from the primary evacuation, afterwards discofever snapped his fingers in what I believe is Beat applause. You told me two things: that I am a kick ass denmother and that this isn’t all there is. I hope you are right, on both counts.

oenone

You told me about your struggle in solitude. You fell asleep on zot-fot-pig and played with WonkoDSane’s hair. You were 8th in the shower line once and likely got mostly cold water. I think you still have my sweatshirt I lent you so you wouldn’t get cold from the Tool show, but you can have it if you want, just mind the safety pins holding one pocket on. I loved hearing you talk, your accent. You were so cute when you were sleeping. You brought me an armadillo magnet from Texas and gave me your butterfly ring, which I now lovingly wear. You need to come back here, soon.

panamaus

I was so glad you came! It’s like meeting some long lost friend. Like bozon, you worried that I was worrying too much. You brought me a Florida magnet you'd been holding on to for a few years. You bought all these postcards and then left them here, silly. I hope I got a picture of you smiling, cause you gots a purdy one. We didn’t mention Adam; maybe it wasn’t on our minds, but he did (kinda) bring us together, because we both loved him. I am seeking to learn more about you.

your friend Lee

You introduced panamaus as a doctor, a gynecologist, even. You are a trip, dude. I did roll my eyes at your from time to time, but you were a bona fide hoot, all the way to your flamey dragon shirt. We talked about growing up on the beach; you read the letter to the editor I sent in. You made the dirtiest martini that I could barely stand it. You told me about your family, your children. You said you lost your soul on Bourbon Street. Well, I still think you got some soul, brother.

Pyrogenic

You have the most intriguing eyes, though they are hard to see under your brow. You were hoping to get your hair hit with Suzy’s clippers. You wore my redneck clothes too. You stretched out over the girls for a photo shoot at DBA. I loved the green shirt you wore to brunch. Now that I've met you, I'm reading all your nodes. I read your last daylog, and I don't get it. Every guy not with a girl is always the one I would have gone for, but it will never be me.

sauth

The token newbie that managed to fit in so well it was scary. I went to pick you up near Loyola and you're wearing an "I Am an Opera Singer." You were pale and bald headed and maybe a little nervous, but it didn't last long. You brought over video games and stayed just to be around all the noders coming and going in my apartment. You learned what we already knew: noders rock!. Since you're local and all, I am sure we will see one another again.

Toastido

The first thing you said to me when we woke you up from a nap in Bryan and Suzy’s bedroom was, “I thought you were a guy.” I didn’t know if that was in the Matrix sense or if I was looking particularly guy-like that day, but I forgave you. You have a cute smile. Like me, you feel old at too young an age. You brought me a bottle of wine as a thank you.

WonkoDSane

At the last gathering, I guess I got the wrong impression you were evil and awful and scary, but whether that is accurate or not, you were a teddy bear while you were, helping me not worry about the noise level at 3am. Still, you did coerce Jurph into stealing that pitcher from that bar on Bourbon, you smoking jacket wearing minx. So you’re evil, but it’s a good kind of evil. I hope I belched enough this time to make your trip worthwhile. You, I believe, were the one that brought me a magnet made of a small framed picture of a street sign with my username, Templeton. Handpainted all around it says "Home of the Wonkoalition, Nashville, TN." That is way fucking too cool.

zot-fot-pig

2001.10.30@16:48 zot-fot-piq says I am also missing a tape I made of the trip for tandex and the remote for my fighting robot. I probably have them both, but if you stumble on them...

Yes, I think you were the one who bought the battle robots. We swore one of them was actually saying the word “pussy” in a sentence. And Lego kits, one of which had a wee Chewbacca. You made an audio tape for tandex, who sadly and at the last minute, couldn’t come. I remember being lucky enough to be awake for the creation of Our Lady of Nocturnal Emissions as a patron saint for God knows what. And yay for flamey shoes!

Note: If I didn't mention you, tell me, dammit! We had 32 people total. I'd like to see you not leave anyone out. Also, I only wanted to put a snippet in about each person. You want me to plug you more, you gots to come visit like, 2 or 3 at a time or something.

This is what I remember about this trip:

Processed Cheese · Exit 15 · Bring me some pie, bitch! · The Patron Saint of Immaculate Emissions · How many times can Chad suck Carsons cock? · The Human Keychain · one way signs · bless your heart · glowsticks · chicken rings · chad’s fragile ass · 735 · peter meters · mapquest · Route 75 · Naked Gun · papasan · beads · Bart’s Moral Dilemma · Victor · Noder Crushes · boobs · tape recorders · crawfish · battle bots · the gigantic hole in my muffler · refrigerator magnets · kerosene · barrel of monkies · stripey gloves · cock smoking · legos · E · fuzzy dice · cloves · UPS · briiiiian · Mitzi · Indra363 · pyrogenic · Café du Monde · beignets · praline cookies · $74.99 · cavemen in three piece suits · nipples · navigators · plungers · cigar ash · m_turner in the catbox · Bob Ross and his fro · tightie whities · car bombs ·mind erasers · flaming dr. peppers · blisters · fuck me boots · fuck me pants · traffic · roadkill · Centerville, PA · elephant pilliow · jay who? · I’ve been tampered with! · gonads 8 · smarmy hitchhikers · blee-ach · brassmule · sequin boleros · Desire Oyster Bar · Fuckin New York · ccunning’s mix cd · hot lesbo action · boones farm · sweet dreams · nipple lamp · Stan’s Beverage · You put your weed in it. · sunrises · the Doves · Radiohead · nice dream · sea song

roger that

ha ha ha to you jaybonci... you missed one hell of a time!




This started with an attempt to reconstruct the past few days while driving home from Nawlins. By no means does this node even begin to cover the extent of the amazing time we all had, but that’s what other nodes are for. This is simply a reconstruction of as much as we can remember, for those who weren’t there, and for those who were! Thanks to all who participated in the #timeline discussion to put this all together. And please... take into consideration that the times are all fucked up by: 1. Lack of sleep. 2. Time zones. 3. Lack of sleep, 4. Daylight Savings Time, and 5. Lack of sleep... oh and of course, bad short-term memory from Mary Jane and various beverages produced by fermentation. Any corrections/additions please let me know! Also, keep in mind, someone else can tell you an entirely different tale than this... hopefully some people will fill in a few of the nodeshells for the more memorable times.

Pics can be found at:
http://pico.org/e2/nawlins/
http://hooloovoo.math.ohio-state.edu:8080/gallery/index.cgi?mode=album&startitem=61&album=/New%20Orleans
http://pikka.net/~regexp/pico.org/e2/nawlins


Thursday, October 25, 2001

  • 3:00 AM EDT: Depart Boston, Massachusetts in one red Chevy Blazer armed with caffeine, cigarettes, some clothes and a sleeping bag. Drive through Rhode Island and Connecticut.
  • 7:00 AM EDT: First rest stop on outskirts of New York City/NJ border. More caffeine, gas, sun rises over industrial New Jersey (see figure DSCN1619.jpg and DSCN1620.jpg).
  • 9:45 AM EDT: Arrive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 45 minutes behind schedule, pick up pyrogenic. Make a stop at the Wawa for h20, hit the road.
  • 11:45 AM EDT approx: Driving down the Pennsylvania turnpike, watching for Exit 15 for Carlisle, PA, exit 16 comes and goes with a sign for Carlisle. Waiting for next Exit 15, come to find out, next exit is 30 miles down the road. Use cellular communication device to call brassmule to find out 16 is indeed our exit of choice. He advises us to turn around. Note: k-rails dividing the turnpike make this impossible. Shortly after the phone call is placed, a state police barracks is noticed off the highway... grind to a halt, back up in the breakdown lane, and drive through the barracks. Follow a UPS truck outside an automatic gate and out the back. At this point, pyrogenic and myself are thrilled as we see an overpass over the turnpike and similar ramp with gate on the opposite side of the highway. We proceed to opposite gate to find out it is locked. After realizing there were no roads traveling parallel to the highway to let us back on, we backtrack to the barracks and meet a genuine nice officer of the Pennsylvania State Police. Explaining our situation to him, instead of taking my plate number and chewing us out and threatening to charge us with trespassing as most staties would do, he is kind enough to lead us to the gate and open it for us. Woo! Success! Back on PA turnpike to Exit16.
  • 12:15 PM EDT approx: Arrive Carlisle, PA. Find out brassmule’s car is still in the shop, pack up the Blazer with more stuff and head out. Make stops at the ATM in Bank of Carlile, Pilot Gas station and Wendy's for lunch. We then we followed in the 1337 footsteps of Chihauhua Grub and Infinite Burn and visited Stan’s Beverage for a special case of beer for WonkoDSane.
  • 1:50 PM EDT: pyrogenic, brassmule and myself head out on the PA turnpike west, approximately 3 hours behind schedule.
  • 5:00 PM EDT approx: Hit afternoon traffic in West Virginia. Drive a distance of about 14 miles in just over an hour.
  • Sometime after 5:00 PM EDT: Arrive at a gas station in East Ohio. After pumping gas, find out there is a rather large hole in the muffler of the Blazer (see figure DSCN1623.jpg). Comment on the noise, ignore it, hit the road. Brassmule inserts one Mountain Dew bottle into the spoiler of the Blazer and an extensive comparison was made of the nutritional value of a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup vs a random brand of Peanut Butter Cup. Boggle about the rebate offer for play money.
  • 7:45 PM EDT approx: Arrive in Columbus, Ohio at the residence of ccunning. Park outside his apartment, pick up cell phone. Place a call to Chad. We casually explain to him, we are still driving. I reach for the map and pick the furthest road from Chad’s house, and say… ‘Chad, we’re on route 75, how far away are we???” Proceed to listen to Chad freak out and cease the laughing long enough to explain we are out front. At this point, we remain 3 hours behind schedule. The van departing Ohio was scheduled to leave at 6:00 PM EDT, but zot-fot-piq had to work late and had yet to pick up the van, so our 3 hours behind schedule was no big deal, since after watching some Naked Gun, unloading the Blazer to the Van, discovering the Mountain Dew Bottle still in the spoiler (see figure DSCN1628.jpg), installing a CB radio on zot’s car, picking up air mattresses and FINDING the interstate, we ended up being about 4 and a half hours behind schedule.
  • 10:20 PM EDT approx: Find Interstate and hit the road. Van 1 consists of passenger 1 and driver ccunning, passenger 2 pyrogenic, passenger 3 me. Car 1 contains passenger 1 and driver zot-fot-piq and passenger 2 brassmule.
  • Sometime between 10:20 PM EDT and 4:30 AM CDT: Passed the time zone line, actual drive from Ohio via Kentucky to Tennessee was about 9 hours. Stopped for Chicken Rings at White Castle, gas multiple times, and I did some sleeping here… next think I realize, we...
  • 4:30 AM CDT approx: arrive chez WonkoDSane Nashville, Tennessee to find Mitzi awake to greet us. Jurph and Jason are sleeping on the couch in the living room. Drink a little; smoke a little; crash around 5:30 AM CDT.
Friday, October 26, 2001
* Days are approximated by periods of sleeping, no mater how short…
  • 8:30 AM CDT approx: Awaken, showers at Wonko’s, say goodbye to Jurph and Jason, pyrogenic takes Mitzi’s sporty little MR2 for a cruise around the block, WonkoDSane calls in sick to work.
  • 10:30 AM CDT approx: Depart Nashville, drive out of the city to avoid possible co-workers of WonkoDSane’s.
  • 11:15 AM CDT approx: Pit Stop at K-Mart. Purchase Star Wars Legos, one homophobic pachyderm elephant pillow, batteries for walkie talkies, one game of Battleship, various pairs of stripey and furry gloves, and one barrel of monkies.
  • 1:00 PM CDT approx: Subway for lunch, smoking at the gas station (see figure DSCN1633.jpg). Some time after 1:00 PM CDT, Car 1 and Van 1 played a game of Battleship via walkie talkies (see figure DSCN1639.jpg and DSCN1644.jpg). E-2 was a popular target... During game play, a stop was made for gas and food. Purchased Camel Jade cigarettes, one bottle of Boones Farm (see figure DSCN1653.jpg) was transferred to Subway cups, and smarmy hitchhikers were skillfully avoided.
  • 3:00 PM CDT approx: Arrive Memphis, Tennessee to pick up Apatrix. He directs us to the nearest Target via the ghetto back roads of Memphis. ccunning gave us much motion sickness by not being able to follow Apatrix’s directions. Purchased more Legos and Battle Bots, then defaced a Lego promotional display and shoplifted the letter E.
  • Sometime when it was dark CST: Stopped in Mississippi for Battle Bots in a rest area (see figure DSCN1672.jpg).
  • 11:00 PM CDT approx: ARRIVED NAWLINS! Found Templeton’s house, did a quick meet and greet and then immediately hit the pavement on foot in search for food. Aphexious directed us to a local deli where massive burgers and lots of greasy food was consumed. A group of people... Mitzi, WonkoDSane, ccunning, Apatrix, zot-fot-piq, pyrogenic, brassmule, panamaus, Lee, Medieval, probably more than I can remember were then led to 735 Bourbon Street by Aphexious. BAR the doorman checked Ids. We drank, some danced, some had experiences with the local barter system, but we all had a blast as exhausted as we were.
  • 2:00 AM CDT approx: Arrived back to Laura’s. brassmule, Byzantine, templeton and ccunning made arrangements to pick up c-dawg from the airport. Some beer was spilt, and most had retired around 5:00 AM CDT, soon after Laura bid us adieu for more suitable sleeping arrangements, and advised all the boys and girls to play nice while she was gone.
Saturday, October 27, 2001
  • 8:15 AM CDT: Jethro_Bodine, karmaflux and Tara arrive at Templeton’s and carefully step around Sleeping noders. They depart for a bar and let the rest of us sleep a bit longer... people wake up around 9:00 – 10:00 AM CDT, showers for most, and the first group headed out for [A head shop, Pralines, Café du Monde, and sightseeing. pyrogenic navigated us quite well through the city he has only been in once before. Some Voodoo Music Festival participants also left around noon for the show.
  • 4:27 PM CDT: Lunch was had at the Desire Oyster Bar: $276. Drinks at Remoulade, purchases at the Cigar Factory. Scoping out the Funky Butt for possible Jazz later.
  • 7:00 PM CDT approx: Arrive back at Laura’s house for a planned nap and to meet people returning from Voodoo Fest. Most ended up playing Trivial Pursuit, and the uberjoint was rolled. Jaubertmoniker pulled a JayBonci and called us.
  • 10:00 PM CDT approx: Realizing it was getting too late for the Funky Butt noders departed the premises and met up at 735 Bourbon Street. After waiting for several groups of people and Mitzi’s purse incident we headed for D.B.A., a bar inside the quarter. Mind erasers, car bombs and pimps, oh my, 360 degree photo, pinball, stealing a glad for Chad, and eventually back home. Insert marathon stoner session here. Everyone had crashed by about 5:30 AM CDT the next morning.
Sunday, October 28, 2001
*Saturday night switches to Savings time… Sunday, October 28, 2001
  • 6:00 AM EST approx: After about an hour driving zot’s car and pyro driving the van, we found a Waffle House and had breakfast. The sun was up at this point. More battle ship was played via walkie talkies. Car 1 Lost Van 1 in a most unfortunate wrong turn and after being cut off from walkie talkie range was skillfully reunited again.
  • 12:00 AM EST approx: Reached Columbus Ohio, Dropped off zot and ccunning, switched back into the Blazer. Hit the Road. Sometime in the afternoon the three of us left stopped at an Olive Garden for lunch, tipped the waitress almost 50% cause she wrapped us up breadsticks for the ride, stopped at a Wal-Mart and pyrogenic and brassmule were denied the Millennium Falcon. brassmule was pulled over by the pigs. Sometime that night we hit an insane traffic jam in western Pennsylvania. Spent 4 hours backed up in traffic, then re-routed through crazy hick backroads. Tried to return Mitzi’s phone calls a few times unsuccessfully. Reached Carlisle, PA around 2:00 AM EST.
  • 2:00 AM EST approx: Left Mike and Carlisle behind, back on the PA Turnpike, made a rest stop for some food and caffeine and gas. Pyrogenic drove, I got to sleep for about two hours. Then I took over, drove back to Philadelphia, missed the turn to take us to the city cause neither was paying attention to the roads at this point, just driving and talking.
  • 5:30 AM EST approx: Arrived Philadelphia. Watched the sun rise over the skyline from 20 stories up.
  • 8:00 AM EST: Parking meters turn on, I leave Philadelphia.
  • 9:00 AM EST approx: Blazer hits a guardrail, my head hits the steering wheel, I wake up.
  • 9:05 AM EST approx: Pull into a Taco-Bell parking lot, take a Vivarin and a nap.
  • 10:15 AM EST: Wake up. Drive through NJ. Hit morning traffic, alter course. Drive through NYC and CT.
  • 3:30 PM EST: Stop at the Family Republic Restaurant for gas, caffeine and novelty toys.
  • 5:00 PM EST: HOME


the more I wrote this node, the harder it was to finish, PLEASE msg me with corrections, additions, anything…

Let it be known that I am now breaking my solemn vow to never write an E2 gathering aftermath node, for this one purpose and this one purpose only:

A Public Apology

I owe an apology to Brian for nearly freezing him to death on the trip home. I had forgotten that my big fancy car did not have a working heater, and we both had very numb and tingling extremities when we got back to Tallahassee at 3AM on Monday morning. I'm really sorry, bro. And for the delays involving Lee... Oh geez... Next time you see me, just kick me, okay? Fuck. I hope the food in Mobile was a small consolation for the trouble. (Damn! That was cold too! Shit.)

___________________________________

I've made some apologies too for my non-noder friend Lee, but I've come to the conclusion that everybody has a different take on that, and I think it's best if I just let it go. He has some comments to share with you all. The links are mine... all the rest is verbatim.
Please extend my thanks to the friendly noders for their generosity and hospitality. It was a pleasure to meet (most of) them. Special thanks to Templeton for the accommodations (the best I've seen — hardly any rats!). Also, thanks to Brass Monkey for the cover CD. We've been bluegrassin' to Gin and Juice for a week now, beotch. Also, let Green Eggs and Hair (I couldn't remember her handle. Is it Asphyxia?) know I certainly enjoyed the tour of the Bataan Peninsula and French Quarter. Hope to do it again sometime. Then I'll be prepared and bring my leather pants with the ass cut out so I'll fit in down in the Fruit Loop. Yee-haw, sailor!
Thanks to everyone for their kindness in making Lee feel welcome. I genuinely appreciate it.

___________________________________

A Debt of Gratitude

Since I've gone ahead and started writing this, I guess I need to say a few more things that have been heavy on my heart. And these words apply to everyone I've ever met at an E2 gathering (all eighty of you at present count), no matter where you are or where you came from to join up with us at any given place or point in time.

Noders ROCK. And I'm not talking "Oh, you're pretty cool," or "That's a nice writeup you did about so-and-so." I mean NODERS FUCKING RULE. I have travelled by car and by plane to various far-flung places in my home country now just to meet with some of you for a few days at a time, and every experience I've had has been so amazing and magical and wonderful and memorable that I can hardly express it in words. There are not enough words. THERE ARE NO WORDS.

It all started for me with that flight to Boston. Huddled in the back seat of Adam's car between Will and Tedd as we rocketed through the night towards the Denny's in Nashua; sitting in the back yard with Ellen as wharfinger played guitar (he wouldn't want me to mention his real name, I'm sure); hanging out in Harvard Square with Narbey and Miller after my flight home had been cancelled. Or harmonizing (such as it was) with Andy and Bart and Chad and so many others underneath that overpass on the Appalachian Trail late one summer evening; sitting on the lawn with JP as the dew fell lightly on our shoulders. Or playing laser tag with Rosie and Kendall and Carla on a rainy Saturday night in Grand Rapids; shopping at Meijer and cooking all afternoon in that wonderful kitchen with Jared; pissing off Tom at 4AM as we tried to save the last of the fondue. Or lying on Scott's bed with Dann chatting in the channel on his laptop, goofing at the web cam with Kurt; riding in Conrad's police-issue Crown Vic to the Walgreen's for rubbing alcohol and tennis balls at midnight. Or standing on the balcony of 735 Bourbon with Suzie and Mike and Josh, soaking it all in that we were all together in this place, and that was really, really, really the only thing that mattered; browsing through the map store with Michael and Clarence, or sitting in Laura's living room with Ashley, engrossed in conversation, while Brian lit another bowl and we all just hung on to the passing moments like they were the precious fleeting quintessence of our lives. They were.

I could go down the list of attendees, mentioning all of you individually, but our watchful protecting denmother took care of that already. Some of you (bozon, Indra363, oenone, etc.) whom I barely got the chance to speak with, I want you to know that each of you made a very dear impression upon me that I will carry with me in my heart. For those of you who I have neglected to mention by name, trust me when I say that the time I was able to spend with you was most treasured, whether it was our first meeting or our nth. (You know who you are.)

I do feel that a certain amount of individual thanks is in order, however.

Carson, Suzy, Bryan, Ken: Thank you for hosting us in your homes and in your fair city, showing us around, and making the whole experience so comfortable. Since I've been there many times, I know that The Big Easy can be a strange and dangerous place, yet you made us all feel like we were welcome and safe. We all owe you a great debt of thanks for your hospitality and trouble. I'm pretty sure I speak for all of us when I say we love you very much.

And especially to Laura: Thank you so much for planning and organizing the gathering. All of the above applies to you ten-fold. It was so wonderful to finally meet you, to hug you and see you and be in your presence. I know we didn't get the chance to talk about Adam, but he was in my thoughts as I know he was in yours. And I feel that the day will come when we will both sit down over coffee and cry together as we share the common bond we have with him. Thanks for putting up with Lee. And thanks for being so special. I love you most of all.

___________________________________

A Minor Footnote

There are a lot of details about this gathering that I haven't mentioned. A lot of it is covered in the other noders' writeups here. I really can't recount all the things that happened to me, the things I saw and did, the places I went and the feelings I had. This is why I don't do aftermath writeups.

However, I did get to see Better Than Ezra, Tool, Bush and The Black Crowes perform live in the bitter cold on Saturday night. That was pretty cool. But to tell you to truth, I would much rather have spent that time at D.B.A. with the other noders. Because I can go see a concert any old time, but my time spent with other folks from E2 is rare and special, and I shouldn't have squandered it. Every moment counts. And this is something that I knew already. I won't make that mistake again.

Laura, honey... I know you thought that the Voodoo Festival would be a good draw to get folks to come down to Nawlins for the gathering, and that was a good idea. But in my humble analysis, we don't need any other reason to come to a gathering. We gather together so that we can all be together. That's all that really matters.

toastido and I left Nashville, in his little red bitch of a car, at around 6 AM on Friday morning. I had worked the night before and I was bushed. I don't recall all of the trip because I drifted in and out of sleep the entire way. Birmingham, Huntsville and a few other places jumped out at me, a few pit stops for gas along the way... it's all a hazy blur in my adled memory. I've slept since then. I know we were making damn good time. toastido likes to drive with his window cracked a bit, letting the cold air envigorate him. I'm from California (originally, not recently... I haven't lived in Cali since I was 7 years old)- Cali's lasting legacy on me is that cold weather hurts in ways I cannot endure. If it gets below sixty degrees my toes turn blue. I spent most of the trip down to New Orleans tucked away under my trench coat and not caring if a Mack truck ran us off the road or not as long as it was a warm truck.

We arrived in New Orleans in one piece by 2 PM Friday. toastido was getting navigational directions from his cell phone, which led us astray at odd angles. We learned quickly that to drive in New Orleans is to invite death. Inside of 20 minutes we managed to avoid 3 auto accidents. Our first impression of N.O.'s road and ways system was less than favorable. I think the words "New Orleans" "drivers" "shot" "roads" "should be turned into a parking lot" and "Oh, shit!" were screamed a few times- by me. If I didn't actually say them, I was definitely thinking them... and I was just the passenger.

We finally found our way to aphexious and BAR's charming loft apartment (hardwood floors, one-bedroom, cable modem, love seat- that about covers it). I've known both of them for a good while now and I have to say that they've done well for themselves, considering their circumstances. I'm right proud of all they've accomplished in such a short period of time- both independently and together, as a couple. I consider them to be damn fine friends and couldn't think of better hosts.

I wondered how the logistics of me sleeping with them would work out.

It seemed that toastido and I were the first to arrive. BAR greeted us, aphexious was still at work. Details get sketchy here, but I believe that m_turner was next, then c-dawg and finally Indra363. The rest were due to arrive later. m_turner, Indra363 and myself elected to take a stroll down St. Charles Street in search of consumables. Little did I know at the time, but this was to be the beginning of my misery in New Orleans: I ate cheese fries and paid dearly for it for 2 days straight.

Damn my stomach. I wish I had a new one. Can you order replacement organs through the mail? I ain't got much money, but my current stomach has got to go. It's on its last legs (mine).

Gastritis is an ugly, ugly thing for a person to endure. It's especially unpleasant when the patient is far away from home and is already stressed out.

We made a trip over to Templeton's place and met a few of the other noders (the cast was still pretty small at that point). Templeton's new digs are fab-u. From what I've seen of New Orleans, her place is better than decent. Very new and very clean (I suspected that by the time everyone went home, the place wouldn't look so new and clean anymore, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it held up under the strain- as did Templeton). Upon meeting Templeton I got the impression that she is 1) highly intelligent; 2) easily stressed; 3) very compassionate; 4) nervous as a housecat about large gatherings of people; 5) alone in ways that she doesn't or won't articulate and doesn't like it one bit. I never told her, but I feel a sort of kinship with her. I wish I'd had more of an opportunity to get to know her better and develop a friendship. She is a kick-ass denmother and the man she's with is lucky as hell to have her on his arm. I hope all goes well for them.

I won't go into many more details as I am extremely tired (just got back from work) and I need my rest, but here are some things of note:

Sleeping with aphexious and BAR, who extended the wonderous gift of trust to allow me into their bed. I pray that I honored that trust suitably. I minded my manners and got out of that bed when I felt it appropriate to do so. It was all very innocent.

Bourbon Street is chaos incarnate. I'm not a party-type person by nature, preferring to stay home or be in relatively stable environments. Bourbon Street was totally outside of my routine. It was fun and interesting to step out of my normal world and into a world of the unexpected. I never expected to actually hear the words "Show us yer tits!" outside of a strip club, but on Bourbon Street it's almost as common a greeting as hello and a handshake.

Bayou Bagelry: This place is about the best bagel shop I've ever been to. I went there every morning while everyone else was still sound asleep. I'm not much of a morning person because my schedule rarely permits it, but this was a nice change of pace for me. It was my personal quiet time to think about... well, everything. I enjoyed passing the dog that always barks at everyone else but was somehow aware of my ruined stomach and kind enough to silently watch me as I passed by each morning- to and from.

Voodoo Music Festival: I had to bow out on this early because the bass speakers in every corner of the park area were playing hell with my stomach. I was so unhappy that I missed Better Than Ezra, Bush and Tool that, had my stomach been fine and had I needed to leave for a different reason, I would have likely been sick to my stomach over missing them. I hope the other noders present at that event had a blast. It looked like it would have been more that just "fun."

The Tree of Life: There's this huge monstrosity of a tree in New Orleans called the Tree of Life. When I say "huge" I don't mean it to be taken lightly. I wonder if the tree itself is actually older than the city it resides in. If ever there was a climbing tree, this is it- and then some. I saw this wonderful testament to Nature's bounty with Jurph, toastido, Jason and discofever. Pictures were taken, branches were climbed and mother nature was appreciated. No one apparently knew why it was called "The Tree of Life", but upon reflection I think that the answer is self-evident. That tree is life. Gnarled, knotted, aged, old, thick, mossy, tough, massive and powerful, the Tree of Life is like a 3D/4D picture of life itself. It is experience in a hard world made beautiful. And I'm a guy- I don't say such things needlessly.

My first glass of wine. I've never had wine before because I simply don't drink alcohol. toastido bought some nice stuff (I guess) for aphexious, BAR and Templeton as a thank-you gift before we left. Just before leaving aphexious and BAR's place, we all four (sans Templeton) sat down to sample this wine. It was bitter and dry and wet and sweet and somewhat intoxicating. We drank it out of styrofoam cups and didn't give a damn. Hugs were given and received. Smiles were had all around. It was a good way to say goodbye to good friends. It was a singular experience, but not the start of a trend. I probably won't drink liquor again, but this time it was more than just the exception to the rule. It was practically necessary. I mean, c'mon. New Orleans, friends and wine... they're like a part of the whole package!

Indra363 is a good person to just sit and chat with (so is everyone who made it, for that matter). She, in particular, is exceptionally good at thoughtful silence, which is something I admire and respect in today's youth. I'm only 28, half way past my own youth, but seeing someone in their late teens thinking about something before actually saying it and even showing vast amounts of intelligence, wit and consideration is always impressive. Smart girl and a half.
I have just been informed that Indra363 is actually in her early 20's. Mea cupla. Even so, that does not diminish her sense of maturity one tiny bit.

Indra363, toastido, aphexious and Li_Kao: Guess what?(read the above paragraph carefully). >=D

The 735 Club: Two forms of culture shock were had for me in this place. First, I had my ass grabbed three times by any three out of some 1,000 shirtless, muscled, sweaty gay men- despite the fact that I was wearing a trench coat, cargo pants, sweater and looked patently straight. I've been hit on by men before, but ass-grabbing was something of a shock and not at all appreciated. My heart goes out to women who get their asses grabbed on any kind of frequent basis. Yuck. Firemen and police were called on the scene when someone was felled by some bad drugs (apparently). toastido and I watched the emergency services at work from the outside of the club because we realized that we were way out of our element inside the place. I also went to my first Rocky Horror Picture Show performance here (some thirty minutes after the ass-grabbing incident). I liked the show (especially the girl who played the role of "Magenta"- I know what I want for Christmas now! Her, wrapped in red and green Saran Wrap!), but I probably will never go to another one. It was fun, but it's just not my thing. BAR definitely has his hands full with that place. aphexious did the interior design and she did a kick-ass job. Hats off to her!

The Behind the 8-Ball Club: toastido, discofever and I played pool here for three hours and enjoyed ourselves immensely (I know I had fun, but then again, I won most of the games. >=D ). toastido and I brought our own pool cues from Nashville with us. I already know toastido's playing ability and he's no slouch at billiards, but discofever is a surprisingly good opponent! If you get the chance to play against him sometime, I wholeheartedly recommend that you give him plenty of bank shots- he has a hard time with those.

New Orleans, the city: Bring cash. Credit cards and check cards are accepted in most places, but cash is the preferred method of payment there. I'm not kidding, folks. Without cash in New Orleans, you're screwed. The ATM's slap you with processing fees ranging from $2.50 to $10.00! If your bank doesn't have a branch there, bring cash ahead of time (but don't keep it all on you when you go out- I watched three pickpockets at work while walking down Bourbon Street). The roads, as chaotic as they are, are all level. No hills or valleys to be found in this town. A person could walk all the way across it without really breaking a sweat, it's so flat. The concrete, however, is all built on top of swamp land, so its got pot holes from hell and cracks all over the place. That old myth about "step on a crack and break your mamma's back" thing should be forgotten about when walking in this town. If it were true, millions upon millions of mothers would be in traction for life. It is impossible to not step on a crack in New Orleans. The way they set the roads up is maddening. One-way streets all over the place and maps are totally useless. Driving in New Orleans is daredevil work. I suggest mass transit or taxis or even walking before I would suggest driving on your own... unless I have a particular dislike for you, in which case I would hand you the keys to your car with my blessing.

bozon is the most unassuming person I have met in years. She is quiet and thoughtful and I could see the gears in her head spinning a mile away. She didn't seem all that talkative to me, but she has the look of wisdom and experience. Maternal is definitely a quality I would attribute to her. However brief my time was in her presence, I felt totally comfortable around her. I had always nursed this mental image of E2 gods being impossibly young, overbearing, reactionary and imperical... bozon shattered that for me in about 6 minutes and I thank her for it.

All of the New Orleans noders were fantastic hosts. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful time and their gracious patience. They were attentive, resourceful, considerate, kind, generous, friendly and fun to hang out with. They're small in number, but good things come in small packages- so let it be with the NOLA crowd.

As vacations go, I really can't complain about NOLA, stomach issues aside. I had a great time when I could and wouldn't think twice about going back for another visit if ever I can afford it again- I'd go in a heartbeat. Traveling with toastido was a real treat and I'm glad that he's my business partner, friend and fellow noder. I'm sure, as traveling companions go, he's the best friend to take a trip with.

Meeting the 30 some-odd fellow noders was indeed a joy. I haven't mentioned my encounters with all of them, but suffice it to say that it was a lot like being amongst family. Each person is different and unique, which made the entire gathering more than just a memorable experience. I will take it to my grave as a lifefime of experiences packed into five days. In truth, this was my first real noder gathering. It might be some time before I go to another one, but NOLA will definitely hold me over for quite a while to come!

Thanks for a great time, folks! Life truly is richer with good friends to share it with you!

Day 0 - The road to Hell is I-265

My photographs tell the story of what happened, but I'll try to explain in words, as difficult as that may be. I'll start with the car, because that was the beginning of the end. We were going to rent a car, because my co-pilot Jason doesn't drive stick; this means we would have to buy a club, get extra insurance, and keep an eye on our watches the whole drive back. It would have cost us lots of money, despite what the online ads told us. It seemed that the longer I was on the phone with customer service, the more this car would have cost us. I think there was even a fee for crossing the dashed line and hitting those stupid reflectors. At the last minute, I said "fuck it." We took my Honda Accord, fuzzy dice and all, and we managed to make it through the entire weekend spending less than forty US Dollars a day--for those noders who are afraid of the cost of such a gathering, let me break it down. For $40 a day, we got:

First stop, Nashville. Having never met mitzi in person, we arrived, delirious but cheerful, wondering if they were stil expecting us. Turns out they were. Because of the time change to Central Time, we gained an hour. We wasted 10 or 15 minutes of it looking for I-265, which does not exist in Nashville anymore--be warned. After an hour or so of INVADER ZIM, I went to sleep on the fold-out couch, as did Jason. Sunday Girl attacked our fortified position with mixed results. I remained asleep; Jason did not. The Columbus Posse arrived: I remained asleep, Jason did not.

Day 1 - First Contact

Morning came, and I awoke refreshed. Jason woke up, too. After a brief stop at AutoZone for The Club and new wiper blades, we hit the road, abandoning Apatrix to his gruesome fate on the grounds that we wanted to spend as much time in New Orleans as possible. Waved a quick goodbye to ccunning, zot-fot-piq, Pyrogenic, brassmule, cahla, WonkoDSane, mitzi, and of course, Sunday Girl.

...

We filled up at exit 6 off of I-65 south of Nashville. There was a giant chicken. I highly recommend it. Master Ninja Theme Song!

...

We arrived at Laura's place later on that same day. Hugs all around, and again I was swamped with name-pairs. "I'm Carson--Byzantine. My beard will surprise you into thinking I'm not in the military." "I'm Angel--oenone. Later on I'm going to give you a Badtz-Maru keychain which will light your way home." "I'm Laura--Templeton. I have more love in this little apartment that you'll find anywhere else in the city--and I'm importing more."

Reunited with old friends from Columbus and Appalachia and already-new friends from Nawlins, we posse'd up and went to dinner at Angeli. After a delicious burger, and a fascinating conversation about various dogma with dann, we wandered around some more. Suzy showed up, with blue-green hair instead of the pink #2 buzz I remembered from Columbus, and announced she'd be guiding some of us around the Quarter. We ended up ricocheting around until we found a nice bar on Decatur street. In retrospect, we walked maybe 8 blocks. It seemed like miles with all the sights and sounds. When we got there, we divided our time between keeping the ball out of the holes and putting the ball in the holes. While waiting my turn to shoot, I noticed a scary amount of grafitti dedicated to the same phrase: RIP Adam. This was a noder gathering in a city full of voodoo--expect the bizarre. I took a photo, took a deep breath, and kept moving.

We went home after a bit, colliding with the lately arrived Columbus Posse and several more noders in tow; groups changed around just a bit, and a few of us made it back to Laura's. I went to sleep after about 2 hours of intending to go clubbing at 735. I hear I missed a great time, but then I made up for it on

Day 2 - Girls named Mary are trouble

October 27 has always been a weird day for me where girls are concerned. This year, it was Marie. Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Just like in Easy Rider, we saw her grave. But then, that whole bit was much later in the day. We woke up parched and unaware of what was going to happen, and Jason & I wanted orange juice. OJ. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. Being a second lieutenant, I decided to get directions from someone who would give me a straight answer. The answer was, "Go that way until you can't, then turn right." Cafe DuMonde, here I come.

About two miles deep into the ghetto, zot-fot-piq suggests that perhaps we're going the wrong way. We asked a painter directions. His patois was worth being lost, and is one of the three memories I'm keeping all to myself and not sharing. If you want to know how beautiful English can sound, get lost in the ghetto on St. Bernard street, and ask directions.

We turned around, headed back, and briefly chastised Vasco de Gama for his directions. They were correct, you see--he'd just been facing the wrong way when he gave them. Setting out for Cafe DuMonde once more, with Magellan and his girlfriend in two this time, we made it... just after they had run out of the orange juice which we sought! I vowed revenge, patiently remembering my quest for a Butterfinger McFlurry weeks earlier. Ask me sometime. It's a crappy story, but I like to tell it. Oh, but lest you think it was a total failure, the sight of Christoper Columbus eating a beignet and getting powdered sugar all over himself was well worth it. And them beignets were damn good.

At that point, our paths diverged. Jason and I had come to town with the expressed purpose of seeing New Orleans in all of its gaudy glory. Despite little or no noder accompaniment, we wandered off. We saw Marie Laveau's grave, listened briefly to a spiel about her from a tourist guide, and then in the pause between the two crowds of tourists, I left an offering, made a wish, and knocked three times. I had forgotten the first rule I ever learned as Jurph, which is: Girls named Mary are trouble. Marie was no different, and I have since learned to be careful what you wish for.

On our way back, we saw Louis Armstrong Park, a voodoo wedding, and some ducks which were clearly pure evil.

The day was only about half over.

I'm not sure how or why we got there, but we wandered around the waterfront with zot-fot-piq looking for an oyster bar which, we had been promised, would be full of moist noder flesh. We asked at least five times, "are there any oyster bars within a block of here?" and were told "no, but check that direction..." Each time, we'd set off in a different direction and find one within a block--but no noders. Finally, after a few confusing phone calls, we arrived at Desire. The food was delicious, the company exquisite: noders make any meal taste better. I categorically deny stealing anything. Lee, despite panamaus' apology, was a wonderful conversationalist--one simply could not ignore his opinions, and a lively discussion on the walk back ensued. We were bound, you see, for the Voodoo Music Festival.

When we got there, Snoop Dogg was on stage, asking for a moment of silence for the victims of September 11, 2001; in his own words, "that's some real love." I went off to a different stage and saw Better than Ezra finish their set. I also saw a heron, which should have been white, illuminated by the sunset, and it was a beautiful shade of red. But I am selfishly hoarding its beauty; this is another one of the three memories I am keeping to myself. Bush came on, and played their hits. It was fun, but I have never seen a crowd take less care of their own. It made me appreciate noders that much more. Finally, we wandered over to the last stage of the evening, and watched The Black Crowes play an awesome set. The energy of the crowd rejuvenated me, and by the time we caught a cab (blaring Bob Marley) back to Templeton's place, I was ready to earnestly begin having fun. It was well after 11pm.

You can read elsewhere about how I teased the drunk gay bicyclist. You can also read elsewhere about what was in Clover, or what we all ate. I spent my extra hour of Daylight Savings Time in that fabulous diner, telling oenone the "Fuck You, Clown!" joke, and singing along to Gloria Gaynor on the jukebox. Jason ate the pickle slices off our plates--all of them in one bite--and broke the ice for the rest of the evening, which was now 1 a.m. again.

We moseyed over to 735, and I was thrilled to find out that we were "on the list". It took me a moment to remember aphexious' real name, but she had indeed put our names in, and the word "Suzy" was enough to get us past the cage and onto the dance floor. BAR took our tickets--huzzah for noders infiltrating society! Angel had attracted a fan, and we were all having a great time (as near as I could tell). Just as my legs were beginning to regret the day, Suzy showed up. Another hour of dancing, give or take, completely re-energized me. Our local heroine slayed the stalker, and boogied like a woman possessed. Covered in sweat but dizzy and happy, we all grabbed seats at the bar. Our gracious hostess for the evening bought a round of drinks. I don't drink except in a few rare circumstances, but her hospitality was infectious; I chose from the very short list of drinks I enjoy. Guinness? None. Jameson? Score. So I had a Jameson, quickly. It had been a long time since Clover, I was likely dehydrated from the dancing, and, as I said, I don't drink. Deduce my reactions for yourself, or look at my photos. I was in the company of friends, and enjoyed myself greatly; I don't plan to do it again in the near future, but then, I hadn't planned to do it this time.

My last memory of the day was trying to get home before first light so my mind wouldn't fuck up and reset. I loathe having to readjust my internal clock. I slept very well. If I had to pick a day I enjoyed most, this was it. A week later, and I can still see flashes of the day burned into my memory vividly.

Day 3 - Can you spell hedonist?

My body was not pleased with me when I woke up, but I was not hung over. Mad props to everyone who told me to drink water. A fast shower, and we were bound for the Quarter again, this time for brunch at The Court of Two Sisters. A long, noder brunch, and I had the distinct pleasure of sitting with bozon. She is an amazing woman with all kinds of stories to tell, and I wish I had seen more of her. Dataknife and I resumed a conversation we'd started at Angeli, and got sidetracked into a million different threads. We were on Imperial Japan when the dixieland combo arrived and played Happy Birthday to toastido. Huzzah! Lest I forget the E2 is people, this brunch reminded me. I won't go into the nipple-licking, but the omelette was good. In fact, the food was the best I'd had all weekend at that point. I thought I was giving my wounded body the treat of treats. But I was wrong.

Many people began to leave, and the sad, quiet process of noder attrition began. Hugs and goodbyes were exchanged, plans for another rendezvous were set, and those of us who were left went back to home base. Jason, C-Dawg, m_turner and I set out with General Lee and panamaus to enjoy still more of what the Quarter had to offer. After a forced march quest for the elusive Mint Julep, a trip back in time to a Cartographer's shoppe, and trying aggressively to get Master Ninja Theme Song out of my head (or into someone else's), we parted company with Lee & panamaus. Then the four of us who remained headed back towards Emeril LaGasse's restaurant NOLA. We looked through the glass door at the host, but he was clearly not in the mood to open the locked door for riff raff like us. We called the number that was painted on the door from a cell phone, while standing next door to the restaurant. A tin can and string could have done the job. We were told that walk-ins were our best bet, but walking in would be risky. After about an hour of wandering aimlessly, we waltzed in about 5 minutes before opening, were seated at the bar, and were served drinks by a fairly attractive redheaded bartender who reminded me of Laura Prepon.

I'll be brief about my meal: I had the mirliton etouffe with crawfish and sweet potato shavings in a light cheese sauce, the hickory smoked duck in a pecan-bourbon glaze with fresh corn, haricots, and pecans, and a mocha-toffee torte in creme Anglaise with a fudge drizzle. It cost about $50. It was worth it.

We brought leftover duck back to Templeton, and then she & I bored the other noders to tears playing name tennis from our Delmarvalous past. That occupied the time between dinner and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Again, we headed to 735, and again, we were on the list. The speakers were far too loud, and hearing the callbacks wasn't really going to happen; I've never had to wear earplugs to Rocky before. But Science Fiction Double Feature made it all worthwhile--most casts put on a striptease, but how many casts put on a smoldering lesbian striptease that would be illegal in Utah? Yow. Lest I be accused of misogyny, I'd like to say that their Frank N. Furter was also very sexy. We had to head back right after the show, and so we said sad goodbyes to aphexious, BAR, NightShadow, and toastido, and wandered home again. At some point, I fell asleep again.

Day 4 - How much longer can one weekend get?

Woke up hungry and thirsty. Sir Edmund Hillary wasn't there to give us confusing directions, so Jason & I managed to get to Cafe DuMonde before the OJ ran out. Beignets and OJ... mmmmmmmmm. Upon our return, discofever--who I still regret not getting to hang out with more--led us to BAR & aphexious' place. After catching everyone up on their cultural literacy (Aphex Twin and eminem videos for all!), and saying goodbye to aphexious and BAR once and for all, we headed to see the Tree of Life. After a pit stop by the dancing James Brown at Walgreen's, we saw the tree. Call it the perfect end to a perfect weekend, and a great way to say goodbye to the raucous city--we played around like monkeys on the rope swing. I said goodbye (again!) to NightShadow, toastido, and the ever-gracious discofever. We hit I-10 and drove all afternoon to Nashville, studiously avoiding I-265.

Day 5 - "North! You want I-65 North!!"

Scott, Sunday Girl, mitzi--thanks again. For friendly bookends on each side of the trip, a welcome port at the almost halfway point, and of course, more wonderful conversations. Oh, and thanks for breakfast at Cracker Barrel, where I had blackberry pancakes for the first time ever. Yum. The drive north was mostly uneventful and relaxing. Although I had problems getting used to looking for I-65 north, my cheerful navigator kept me straight. I think I pulled my Achilles Tendon on my clutch foot in traffic near Louisville. I got home in time to order a pizza, and watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" with my wonderful girlfriend Erica.

When I add up the damage--two hundred dollars, a hole in my jeans, a torn Achilles Tendon, sore legs, chapped lips, a stiff neck, and some scratched paint on my front bumper--and then try to count the benefits to compare, I realize they can't be counted, nor compared.


When I got back from my first gathering, I felt a beautiful buzz for days afterwards. It was better than the rush of logging into E2 for the first time, better than discovering some insane editor had decided that one of my nodes was C!-worthy for the first time, better than when Mary said she'd go to the junior prom with me (after forgetting I'd asked for 2 weeks). At the time, I kept saying the same thing over and over: "I've never met this many cool people at once." Well, now I've met you all again, some of you for the third or fourth time, and it's not just meeting people: it's falling in love.

That dizzying rush like vertigo that enables noders to stay up all night long, makes noders do things they normally wouldn't, gives us all perspective into the lives of each other, no matter how dissimilar we appear to be--it's falling in love, no two ways about it. Just like when you meet the camp counselor who knows all 117 sailor knots and has big McGyver hair, or the physics teacher who can show you why gyroscopes work and knows when the best time of day to visit a Renaissance cathedral is, or the girl who's so electric that your watch stops and you can taste sparks in your mouth... it's a crush, it's passion, and it's love. This weekend, I fell in love with all of you.

New Orleans Recapped: A five chapter recollection.

Writer's Note: I am doing my best to recall the events that occured during the timeframe of October 26, 2001 to October 30, 2001. Some details may be sketchy, at best, and any resemblence to fictional characters or storylines is purely incindental. No purchase necessary. Redeem at local cafe for one (1) free cup-o-joe. Offer not valid to family and normal attendees of cafe coco. Not available in all areas, void where prohibited by law.

Chapter One - The Ride Down OR Evil lies beneath.

Dateline - October 26th, 2001 - NightShadow arrives at la casa de toastido, and promptly passes out. I stay up and play with everything on my computer until about 6am. NightShadow then awakens, and we decide to get the show on the road.

I've personally never been to a McDonalds before dawn, so this is new experience number one for this trip. Let's just say that the Steak and Egg Crossant at McDonalds is one HELL of a breakfast sandwich. We consume our breakfast in an astoundingly fast manner. NightShadow forgot his zippo, must turn around and go home. grr.

NightShadow recovers his zippo. I review the directions on my cellphone. My car stutters, and off we go.

Fortunately, we left way before Nashville Rush Hour on a Friday, so things were going smoothly. NightShadow promptly passes out in the passenger seat. The time is now 7:15am.

The drive down is beautiful. All of the trees have began turning colors, and leaves are blowing across the road. I have my window cracked, allowing the satisfying cool breeze to encompass me. Sunlight. Ick.

Welcome to Alabama. More road, less fuel, NightShadow wakes up and falls back asleep quite often. After watching for that I-20/I-59 branch from I-65, I resume mindless open-road driving for the next 4 hours. Eventually, we actually reach I-59.

Welcome to Louisiana Jay is now awake again, and we reach I-10. The most interesting maneuver I have ever pulled in my little Dodge Neon occurs at this split. I was able to merge back left after following faulty directions on my phone to merge right, and avoid a collision with fate by about 6 inches on both sides.

"Follow I-10 to exit 234, merge right onto ramp." Sounds easy enough, right? After exiting the interstate, we find ourselves lost in a vast array of maniacal drivers, and one way streets. After translating the beautiful coloration of the english language into viable directions, we made our way to Suzy and Brian's place.

"Knock, Knock."

"Who's there?"

"Noders."

"Noders? Who?"

"toastido and NightShadow."

"Oh, hey."

We get inside, are greeted by m_turner, BAR, and Indra363, and I immediately find the bed and fall asleep for the next 3 hours.

I am awakened to chattering in the next room. It's Brian and Laura. I stand up, and walk out of the room, stretching and grabbing for a cigarette.

"Hi, I'm Josh, and you are?"

"Laura, nice to meet you."

"Likewise. Hey, I thought you were a guy."

Giggles ensue. m_turner and myself hop into Laura's red car, and head back to her apartment.

Upon arrival at Laura's apartment, I find myself introduced to Angel, Ken, Dann, and Sauth. We chat for a good bit, and then, out of nowhere, the noder caravan containing both the rest of the Wonkoalition and the Columbus Posse pour in, make greetings, and immediately start battling robots and playing with legos. Then, as quickly as they arrived, they all departed to go rape and pillage in the French Quarter.

I stay with Templeton. We chat, smoke, and joke around. A copule hours later, the entire posse returns from food, drink, and other fun. Shortly after, Medieval arrives, bushed from the drive.

After an hour or so of random conversation, everyone departs to their respective sleeping quarters.

After getting back to aphexious' place, I hit up E2, then fall asleep.


Chapter Two - Party time OR The Big Bad Voodoo Festival

I wake up on the floor, in a sleeping bag. Get up. Shower. (Note: aphexious' shower is NOT meant for anyone taller than 3 feet tall). Get Dressed. Ken arrives to pick us up to head over to NOLA Noder Gathering HQ.

"Yea, I'm going to the Voodoo music fest. So is Jay."

I'm cast a dirty look by Jay, who's gastritis is killing him already. How was I to know that a little music and fun wouldn't get his mind off his stomach? We hop into Carson's car, and ride down to the park. After finally finding what looked like a good place to be dropped off, a New Orleans Police Officer begins to yell at Carson as we are starting to get out. I re-close my door. NightShadow is almost killed. Twice. It's all in good fun, no harm done, no feelings hurt. We stand in line for the Festival for roughly an eternity. Once we get to the gate, We're scanned for metals, and weapons. Jay loses a miniature swiss army knife. I'm scanned, and hand my coat to the coat searcher guy. He feels my pockets where I'm stashing my CD's and smokes, and asks me what's in my pockets.

"CD's," I respond.

"Good answer. Have fun."

He didn't even confirm it. I guess the acronym NoPD really does mean NO PD. We all head to the main stage, in search of Templeton, oenone, m_turner, and Jurph. We find no sign of them. Indra363 even walked around for a good half hour looking for them. NightShadow, unfortunately, had to go because of the bass pounding on his stomach, and Indra joined him. I'm sorry you guys missed a wonderful evening of music. I sat with Apatrix and we sipped on Alcoholic piss water. I then thought up the idea of actually CALLING to see where they were. m_turner and his hat are God's gift to a crowd. As soon as we met up with them, though, Templeton and m_turner left. Apatrix and I stayed with oenone, and watched Better than Ezra, Bush, and Tool. All in all, wonderful shows. Tool, however, rocked my socks off.

After the show was over, someone didn't think when they decided that a 6-foot wide bridge would help clear out 30,000 people effectively. We saw the guy in the tree at Voodoo Fest. We waited, and waited, and waited. My phone rang.

"Toastido. It's panamaus. Where are you?"

"Oh hey, we're still waiting to cross the bridge. Where are you?"

"Under the I-10 overpass.

"Cool. I'll call ya when we get outside the gates."

"Ok. Later."

Little did I know, this was nowhere in the future. He called back. We met by the overpass about 45 minutes later. Jurph was there. We decided that we could either try to hitch a ride, call a cab, or walk back. We started out walking. Jurph and his friend Jason are good with direction, as well as ideas along the way of how to get the Cops to give us rides back if they thought we were wielding a bong. Finally, we were able to snag a cab for four bucks a head. Thank you again for spotting me fare, J.R.!

The Taxi was clean. It also sported Bob Marley over the sound system. It was a very surreal taxi ride. We got back to templetons, and I was ready to pass out, but managed to stay awake, chat with Templeton, m_turner, and oenone about the show. The party gang showed up again, and left again. Apatrix, myself, and m_turner decided we should get back home. We walked with Apatrix down to Canal St., and finished our journey back to the Lower Garden District. A total of 32 blocks (more if you count the wrong turns) for m_turner and I.


Chapter Three - Sunday Brunch OR Good Lord that's a lot of money!

We head over to Templeton's in my little red bitch, which is now squealing at the agony of the streets. We arrive with no problem, and all head out for brunch at The Court of Two Sisters. I don't think I've ever paid $27 for as little food as I had. I know it sounds cliché, but any meal is better with noders and cheddar. The money was well worth the time we spent together in that restaurant. Many Pictures were taken. Many Stories were told. Many hugs were passed, nipples licked, and cards signed. I'm not sure exactly who got the 3 piece band to do Happy Birthday for me, but to you I want to thank for that ungratified sign of love and friendship. I really do appreciate it.

After brunch, I really don't remember much of what happened, except later that evening, Jurph, Jason, Apatrix, brassmule, and a couple others including myself, went to the Clover Grill. I watched Jurph attempt to kill a drunken gay bicyclist. It was good food, good friends, and the end of me for the evening.


Chapter Four - Day of Exploration OR Noder Hangover Part One

It was early. Well, Not exactly. Discofever arrived with Jurph and Jason, and snagged NightShadow and myself for a day of sightseeing. First was the Tree Of Life. This tree had to have been several hundred years old. It was a beautiful sight of power and a symbol of lasting life. We played in the Rope Swing. I tried to climb the Rope Swing. I burned my left hand on the rope. We hung around for about an hour, said our final goodbye for now's to Jurph and Jason, and headed out. NightShadow and I had brought our pool cues and wanted to play, so disco took us to Behind the 8-Ball club.

We get in, I grab an Abita (which, If I do say so, is one EXCELLENT local brew.), and begin to play. After finally finding a decent table, we realize that Discofever is a worthy opponent. After 3 hours of gameplay, we head to a little greasy spoon and have dinner. The food is cheap, and excellent. After dinner, we exchange stories of our experience this weekend, and head back to Suzy and Brian's.

It's 9:45. I decide to go online and play on E2 for a bit. I joined edev, and began checking out the inner workings of my favorite website. This goes on for hours, so I will not bore thee with details.

Around 2:30 or so, I get the munchies. I go on a nice peaceful walk down to the Walgreens, pick up some milk, oreos, and breath strips. Upon getting back, I see that aphexious and BAR just got in, and we all chat it up for a bit. Shortly after, I pass out.


Chapter Five - Time to Leave OR Thank you all!!

I woke up around 2pm or so. NightShadow is awake, packed, and ready. I shower, get dressed, grab NightShadow, and head to the A&P. I wanted to get a thank-you gift for not only our hosts for crashspace, but also for Templeton, the host of the entire event. I grab two bottles of fairly nice wine, and we head back over. We had a glass with Suzy and Brian, I packed the rest of my stuff into my car. We said bye to Suzy and Brian, and headed to Laura's to return the sleeping bag she so graciously let me use for the weekend, and give her my thank you. Suprisingly, we caught her at home. We chatted it up for a bit, exchanged hugs, and headed back for the road.

After the downtown tour of the I-10 Entrance ramps, we got on I-10 East, and headed out. The drive back was much more peaceful than the one in, and the I-10 bridge over the inlet was lit up beautifuly with the almost full moon. NightShadow slept, because, well, apparently NightShadow sleeps during roadtrips. I drove, and got us back, less about 2 hours of travel time. We got back to cafe coco, chatted with a few of the regulars, and headed home.

The End

I want to say thank you to each and every one of you who helped make this experience one that I will not forget as long as I live. (barring any memory disorder) YouoenoneallByzantinerock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Can't wait for the Mardi Gras Gathering that aphexious has mentioned plans of.. *snicker*

Wow, all of these long writeups about everything everybody else did at the gathering... so here's mine:

Dataknife goes to New Orleans or How I went to New Orleans and still managed to get enough sleep

I flew out from Kansas City, Mo. on Friday at 11:00AM CDT in a TWA MD-80. I had to connect in St. Louis, Mo.... where I was glad to discover that I was not one of the 20 people bumped from the overbooked flight. I arrived in New Orleans at 3:30PM CDT. I hauled ass down to the baggage claim area, got my luggage, and then began to look for the welcoming committe. Hrmm... nobody's here. I wandered up to the lobby (you have to understand that the New Orleans Airport is on 2 levels, unlike KCI) and began to hunt around for my ride. After 20 Minutes or so, I got tired of walking and called Byzantine and asked if I'd been forgotten. It turns out that discofever and I had just missed each other. He finally found me in the lobby of the airport.. he was holding a sign that said Lesbians, Monkeys, Soy. Quite distinctive. Discofever took me over to Templeton's pad where we hung for a little bit. After more noders arrived we went out to Angeli's for food. It was quite good. I listened to dann and jurph violate the resturant code by discussing both religion and politics over dinner. It was a good conversation, though. After we had eaten, we returned to home base and the partying began... well for everybody 'cept me. I'd only had about 2 hours of sleep a day for the 2 weeks before so I was beat. I pretty much napped on and off all evening. Eventually, the smoke got to thick for my lungs. I retired soon after to Discofever swank pad, where we met his roomie (she's good lookin' and no mistake). I crashed.

Saturday came, I was awake at 8a, easy. For the morning, we went to a small café and had a much needed breakfast. We then returned to the Den Mother's pad. Woah! There were noder bodies all over the place! They'd been packed in like sardines. I got introduced to many people, real names I promptly forgot (Bad with names, I am). I had decided not to attend the Voodoo Music Festival, so I gave my ticket to karmaflux's girlfriend. We bummed around all day, which I enjoyed. Went to Bourbon Street that evening... Fun, but just not me. It is now apparent to me why they say that New Orleans is the only place in the U.S. where you can debauch in public. Went to a bar called d.b.a, this place had an excellent scotch selection. I had a Macallan 18yr. Excellent. Went back to DiscoFever's around 1a, coded a port scanner. Crashed at around 3 AM.

Sunday we went to Court of Two Sisters. Good breakfast. Hung around Templeton's pad all day. Chatted, swapped photos. Impressed Mitzi with my long fingers and typing speed.

Came home on Monday.

I wasn't exactly my cheerful self on the trip... My personal life is in a wee bit of a shambles. I apologize if I offended anyone with my reclusive demeanor. I did enjoy myself, though.

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