Last update: Thursday, January 3, 2002 at 04:37:18

Thank you!
The gathering was a tremendous success! Warm weather (by Florida winter standards) graced us all, and in spite of a worrisome landlord and property management company, everyone had a wonderful time. My eternal gratitude goes out to all of you who drove for hours and days to spend some part of five days with 37 other noders and a few non-noder guests. We made magic and memories, and it was worth it.

__________________________

BEHOLD!
Come all ye miscreant Everythingians! Gather 'round!
(and ye would-be naysayers, take note!)

PRESENTING
a STUPENDOUS noder gathering in FLORIDA of
STAGGERING PROPORTIONS!

Held at the water's edge, upon the sugar-white sands of
THE WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES!

Gasp in AWE at the near COMPLETE ABSENCE of tourists!
(Elderly Canadian nationals excluded)
Be AMAZED at the breath-taking BEAUTY of the GULF COAST!
(Picking sea oats is illegal)
SWOON at the incredible LUXURY
of ample BEDS and SHOWER FACILITIES!
(Municipal water and power included - bottled water is optional)

FEATURING
A complete ABSENCE of
INFINITE MONKEYS!

It is virtually
GUARANTEED
that there will be NO
LIVE NUDE LESBIANS!

PLUS
at the big fish fry, there will likely be no
SOY!

It's almost TOO GOOD to be true! And yet,
THIS IS ALL TRUE.
(No warranty of any kind is expressed or implied. Travel at your own risk.)


WHAT!

An Everything2 New Year's Celebration
held right smack dab on the
EASTERN/CENTRAL TIME ZONE LINE
A veritable TWO FOR ONE party
Ring in new year TWICE... legitimately!
ONCE in Eastern Standard Time, and then
AGAIN an hour later in Central Standard Time
FREE CHAMPAGNE at BOTH MIDNIGHTS!

__________________________

WHERE!

The Forgotten Coast
"The Beaches," Florida
Mexico Beach • Beacon Hill • St. Joe Beach
RIGHT ON THE BEACH
(I SWEAR TO GOD!)
Gigantic BONFIRE and
spectacular FIREWORKS included
(please leave your firearms at home)

__________________________

WHEN!

December 28, 2001January 1, 2002

__________________________

WHO!

Actual attendees were
40
in number!

panamaus
Your Host
General Lee and wife
Fine, and you?

PLUS:

BAR
Billy
Bitca
brainwave
brassmule
briiiiian
cahla
cbustapeck
ccunning
dann
discofever
disgruntledwren
drunkenmonkey
galt
Gamaliel
GangstaFeelsGood
glyph
guinea pig
Illumina
Indra363
Infinite Burn
liha
Metacognizant
Mitzi
ModernAngel
mordel
perdedor
Phyllis Stein
Pyrogenic
radlab0
randir
Segnbora-t
TheDeadGuy
plus two guests (all with private lodging)
WonkoDSane and SundayGirl!



__________________________

WHY!

Because the family wants to be together again.
And because I said I would.


¡Informaçion!

Incidental background information
After Boston and Sparta, I opened my big mouth and said something like "This is so cool, I'm gonna host a gathering of my own one of these days." And somebody heard it. And it got passed around. And one date floated by and then another. Then Holland came and went, as did New Orleans. And again, I opened my big mouth and said similar words, citing a certain date. And so promises are promises (even if I didn't actually sign anything). So I'm as good as my word, dammit!

__________________________

MENU
what we ate, and ate, and ate...

Saturday
  • Breakfast - Prepared by ccunning and ModernAngel
    • scrambled eggs with cheese
    • bacon!
    • toast
    • coffee, milk, juice
  • Dinner - Prepared by panamaus
    • black bean burritos - a delicious vegetarian meal!
  • Supper - Prepared by your hosts
    • Fried fish (grouper, mullet, et al)
    • Boiled shrimp (per Bitca's family recipe)
    • Apalachicola oysters on the half shell
    • potato salad
    • cole slaw
    • baked beans
    • green salad
    • assorted fried veggies (squash, eggplant, pickles even!)
    • hush puppies
    • Baked Alaska for dessert (no, not really)
Sunday
  • Dinner
    • Dining out at the Port St. Joe marina
  • Supper
New Year's Eve
  • Brunch - Prepared by radlab0 and ModernAngel
    • Buttermilk Pancakes!
    • a variety of fresh fruit toppings or syrup
    • scrambled eggs
    • bacon!
    • toast
    • grits
    • coffee, milk, juice
  • Supper - Prepared by ccunning
    • mixed green salad with vinegrette
    • Turkey Gumbo a la Cunningham
    • crusty bread
    • White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert
New Year's Day
  • Dinner - Prepared by General Lee
    • ham
    • seasoned black-eyed peas with onion on the side
    • collard greens
    • rice (for those who like Hoppin' John)
    • cornbread

2001.11.17 at 19:20 (Wonkoalition) Mitchevious says a cornfed harvest mouse, a hooker, a nun, a circus midget, a flemish peasant woman, whips, chains, yo-yos, my grandma riding by a bicycle, and a duck

2001.11.18 at 00:44 (Wonkoalition) Mitchevious says said items are interested in going to FL with me


And now I present my friend and favorite E2 ass, brassmule, with his wicked cool Carpool O' Noders! (+ beer) (below)
8,000 cherry bombs and brain cells later:
The Florida Gulf Coast New Year's aftermath.

Bryan, Ken, Ted and I left New Orleans at 11pm Friday night en route to Beacon Hill, Florida. We arrived at around 5 am to a house littered with sleeping noders. Some of us tried to find a space on one of the three levels of the building, and some of us could not sleep. I, like the Christmas morning, wandered from room to room, trying to recognize noders by the tops of their heads, the muffled and sleep-matted balls of hair peeking out of dozens of sleeping bags and beach motif comforters. In some rooms, you could smell the morning breath as soon as you opened the door, the warm barnyard smell of unwashed breathing. Mike and Miller were asleep on the stair landings, and some were sleeping on couch cushions from the pull out sofas. The snorers were so well sprinkled throughout the abode, you'd think it was done on purpose, so that the collective wheezings would gently lull you to sleep.

I walked outside to a screened in portion of the top deck to see the remnants of the previous night that we had missed in our timing. I saw Brian's Zippo, many packs of cigarettes and half empty bottles of beer, red plastic keg line cups, and a bong. Yes, I surely had the right place. I tried to sleep a little, and Ken and I were up a bit before other noders began becoming aware of our shuffling presence. Ken contended that he had been up over 24 hours and didn't see a time coming when he would sleep, but as soon as Indra363 moved from her small space on a wicker love seat in the living room, he snarfed it and passed out for some time. I stayed outside as smoking noders began coming to tend to morning bidness.

Jared was one of the first ones to awaken, likely since he was right next to the sliding door leading to the smoker's corner and we kept having to walk over him to get out. He shook my hand and told me it was good to see me again, and that made me feel really special, that he remembered me at all. It had been over a year since I last saw him, when I attended my first real gathering in NYC in September 2000. Then Josh and some others began to surface and slowly the house began to stir. I again went from room to room to see who had been up asking, "Hi there. Who are you?" Many hugs were dispensed. Soon there was bacon and eggs. I had to learn how a Braun coffee maker is different from standard coffee makers: you pour in the water to replace the water that's already in there and kept hot for the next pot. Needless to say, I made a mess learning that.

There was/were:

• Many many empty cigarette packs that were decorated with wild designs in black Sharpie marker, most or all of which were done by Josh.

• A handful of ashtrays made from soda cans by Josh and Carla.

• A Lego robot which was guided via remote control/laptop. At some point, a soda can ashtray was put on top of it and it was programmed to make rounds toward noders on the deck.

• A suitcase full of Legos.

• A humongous wheel of 8,000 cherry bombs.

• 5 games of eatpoopyoucat.

• One glass bong with a Lego monkey (which had a Lego helmet from a Lego stormtrooper) stuck in the bottom.

• Several handfuls of shells picked from the beach and seemingly forgotten once they were laid on the deck's railing to dry.

Most of Saturday was spent smoking, munching, lounging on the decks to take advantage of warm sunlight, laughing, talking, and walking on the beach. Lee was gearing up for a big fish fry and had been gone for several hours getting oysters and whatnot. Many were still sleeping where there were extra beds, since the agreement was that if you got a bed one night, you were on the floor the next to keep the rotation fair. Sometime that day, David announced that the owner of the beach house wanted to show it to a potential buyer the next afternoon, and since the house is only supposed to house 8 (instead of the 30+ it was currently holding), some major cleanup was needed.

The fish fry was amazing. We had fried shimp, boiled shrimp, fried grouper, raw oysters, tempura fried vegetables, beer, and hush puppies. Then the smoking and drinking re-commenced. Lee gets major props.

I brought some peppermint massage lotion with me and later on in the night, I got to watch Pyrogenic being lulled into massage ecstacy with Kara doing one hand, me doing the other, and cahla working his toes. Back and scalp scritches were randomly passed around by yours truly. I was offered at least one marriage from those. Scritches is good.

I passed out, being the maw-maw I am, so I missed out on the late night run to a diner where the phrase Your condiment skills are making me randy! was uttered. More to follow on that.

The following morning, we were supposed to start cleaning up the house for the realtor, but we were called out on the beach for a group meeting. We were told by David that the house owner's dad lives 3 house over and was quite concerned about the noise, number, and length of the deck conversations the night before, not to mention the 9 cars in the parking lot. In addition, we were also told that there would be no one on the beach after 1am, especially if they are naked at the time (The second letter of the English alphabet is B. Think about it.) The tour of the beach house had been cancelled as a result, but we still needed to clean up more and be more attentive to our number and presence in the resort.

Later in the afternoon, Ted slept out on the beach while most of us went to a seaside diner that didn't serve alcohol on Sundays. Half of that party went on to tour an island that was supposed to have a lighthouse on it but didn't, while I went back to the house with the others to chill.

That night was just more of the same: drinking, the arrival of TheDeadGuy with non-noder friends, and the later arrival of WonkoDSane, radlab0, and SundayGirl. Ted, drunkenmonkey, Mitzi and I went out to the same diner the gang had went to the night before, John Boy's. I was still recovering from the bout of smoking earlier and was quite giggly, right up to the point where we got pulled over on the way back for going 66 in a 45. Luckily we were stopped by Air Force patrol, so the cost was $50 instead of the $283 ticket David got on his way back from my gathering on the same stretch of road. Still I had to fight the giggles in the car.

When we got back, Wonko had already arrived with 4 cases of Shiner Bock. We hung out for a little while and then packed up the car, said our goodbyes and headed back the New Orleans, arriving there at 6am on New Year's Eve.

Throughout the weekend, the overall feeling I got from the gathering was how good it was to see new people, people I've been wanting to meet, people I'd met either at my gathering or other gatherings. It felt so good to be included, to have people want to meet me, to have everything be so mutual among us. Since it wasn't my gathering and I didn't have to be the sole denmother (though I still couldn't not do my part at times), I was able to relax and be more sociable. I tried to say hello to everyone, even if I didn't know everyone well. It was a vacation I sorely needed, and Ted is to thank for getting us there in such good time and good company.

Things about noders:

galt is one of the quietest noders with the most interesting and thought-provoking face.

cahla and pyrogenic are Wayne and Garth.

perdedor took pictures with everyone's cameras when they weren't looking.

One of my hand massages, according to panamaus, almost turned him to "the other side."

guinea pig has lots of change in his pockets and looks good in blue painter's tape.

ccunning, jethro bodine, and GangstaFeelsGood are skillful mooners.

radlab0, when she's around a lot of people and doesn't know how to talk to them, gives away small toys in the hopes they will forgive her for not being able to interact much (the people, not the toys).

Purple hair dye is hard to clean out of a shower.

Mitzi likes to have real, serious conversations; in contrast, making her snarf on every inhale is downright fun.

ccunning's ass is STILL all talk and no action.

brassmule has a nice chest and is adorable as hell when he's sleeping in a stairwell.

Infinite_Burn's leather studded choker looked equally good on Mitzi as it did on discofever.

With the help of a blue camoflauge bandana and a borrowed cell phone, GangstaFeelsGood looks like, well, a Gangsta.

ModernAngel and I have the same birthday.

Indra363 deserves a job that doesn't give random drug tests.

My homenode is too long, everybody says.

(More to follow)

Moonfall On The Oceans Edge

I am, despite my best efforts, a different person when I am in a longterm relationship. The person I am involved with becomes an overriding focus that will cast a shadow on the other people in my life. For this reason I had avoided any lovers heavier than an occassional drink and fuck for many years. Aphexious was so much…beauty pain drama joy and bullshit in my life that it colored all my E2 experiences, and affected how I related to the people I met. This was the first gathering since my breakup with Aphexious and I hoped to make a different impresssion, to make some friends and build something better than I had before. I never expected to end the year like this.

5am Saturday morning and the only noder awake in the sea of bodies was Perdedor wishing he really could shoot the snoring monster asleep next to him. I had met him in Ohio and smiled a brief greeting as I made my way onto the deck to watch the moonfall and spend some time with my journal. Discofever sat in his own silence downstairs, too cold to sleep under a cloud darkened sky we watched the night end.

The mob arose mid morning and the ritual began. Hit the bong and have a beer, Team THC outdid themselves in quantity and variety of smokey treats this weekend. I'm a drinker myself but still spent my time at the table smoking Luckys and talking as much as I could. Mitzi provided an interesting ear, sympathetic conversation and the best religious discussion I've had in months. Thank you so much. Seeing Phyllis Stein and Indra363 again was wonderful, their company is always enjoyed. People drank and giggled, played on the beach and generally made asses out of themselves on Saturday. Bitca and I covered the beach with the Everything2 URL and left it for the tides. I hadn't seen her since I left Nashville and had been missing her. She painted my toenails vampire red and then started preparations for the Grand feast with Lee and Dave. The seafood boil was incredible we all stuffed ourselves on their homecooked delights. I had to curl up for a nap with Bitca afterwards, unfortunately in my rest I missed Guinea Pig going jungle, sounded like entertainment to me. I can't wait to see the photos.

When I woke the party was still going strong so I began drinking again until around midnight when Bitca and I decided a swim was in order. Christ it was ungodly cold out there and we didn't stay in for long. We ran back to our towels to the cheers and laughter of noders gathered on the balconies. It was a life affirming experience. We returned to the warmth of the house secure in our badassery and in dire need of a drink. This was when I met Metacognizant and ModernAngel who both decided to stay up till the wee hours of dawn with me and drink all the coffee in the house. Meta was introduced to the joys of bourbon and coffee and we all talked in the kitchen till 4:30 when I went for another swim with her. It was even colder and more life affirming.

We saw the sunrise and decided sleep was a good thing but it was not to be. The others begin to rise and so did we as all hands were needed to get the place clean for the realators and I needed to replace to coffee supply before a lynch mob was organized. We did a pretty good job all things considered and it seemed to help Panamaus relax a bit. He assembled us all on the beach for a prayer meeting, after all this was a church outing, and Dave told us about the owners father being three doors down from us. This made us all a little skittish since only eight people were supposed to be staying at the house. We agreed to calm things down and move all the vehicles in the drive to other locals. Sadly though skinny dipping was prohibited before 1am. Afterwards most of the noders took off for an island excursion leaving Jethro Bodine, Metacognizant and I to sleep away the afternoon. After a wonderfuly active morning with Meta I needed a nap.

Fortunately I woke up in time to talk with many new people and see some other friends. Chad was cool as ever and I can now say from personal experience that he does have a phenomenal ass. GanstaFeelsGood spent much time with Disgruntledwren and I was so glad to meet them both. He does look like a gangster, a very crafty one. Miller was friendly and very active with the sharpie, crafting a one of a kind E2 t-shirt for all to envy. We all drank and talked and the time passed all to quickly.

Ted and Laura wanted to head home that night to spend New Years in NOLA and have some privacy. Fair enough. Ken and I couldn't find anyone willing to make a six hour detour so that we could stay to the first so we hads to leave to. I wanted to see WonkoDsane and meet his new love. the gift bearing Radlab0 (she gave me a spaceman). When they finally arrived she was brilliant, one of the only girlfriends of his that I have ever liked. They came bearing an ungodly amount of Shiner Bock and Scott gave me two sixers to take home. They are already gone sir, thank you. We talked for a few minutes more, said our reluctant goodbyes and headed out into the night in Ted's low flying volvo. It was a better weekend than I ever imagined.

Highlights:

Metacognizant
Nightswimming with Bitca
Panamaus is the host with most
Phyllis Stein gave me a seashell
Three fine moons viewed from the couch
General Lee is a riot and always welcome in New Orleans
Discofever snatched the last of the bourbon from my hands, he is wild on whiskey
Pyrogenics cigarette pack art

Meeting people like these is what makes life worth living

It is dark at the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop. We learn on CNN Morning that burglars in India are plying their trade naked, by walking into peoples houses nude they embarrass their victims so much that the occupants leave. Thus allowing the burglars time to take whatever they want. Soon we are re-wedged into the Explorer, the BatUV . Daybreak. Delicate arcs of power lines swoop across the smooth purple gradient of the dawn sky. They are carried by stiff multi-armed stick figure Shivas who grasp their pulsing electrons gingerly.

There is nothing like the sight of an oil refinery at dawn.

Power lines grapple with the girders of suspension bridges and are sprinkled with tiny winking lights. I get the feeling of the raw industriality of the place, like it had no other purpose but to channel steel containers from boat to truck and back again.

Northeastern New Jersey, in the textured orange of dawn it all looks abandoned. Yet I know that it will soon come to life. This place exists for other places, the things that come here are bound elsewhere, cars, containers, airplanes. It's power plants only serve to light up the Avenue of the Americas at the heart of that nearby island, with the empire state building pointing up at it's center, like Barad-dur, black and spiky.

Baltimore. Vehicle swapping at Pyrogenics house, I ride with him. Night. The cop drawls "Just turn your headlights on, this is only a warning.....well, if you're disappointed I can give you a ticket." Then we drove across the street to the "Bojangles" and received the bounty that is bojangles grease soaked chicken delight.

Though most of the nighttime travel scenery remains the same, there is a subtle change in retail signage that signifies passing into a foreign region of the country. The high-speed pastiche of glowing signs slowly loses its Roy Rogers and Dunkin' Donuts, then adds Stuckeys and Waffle House.

Passing into Georgia we are edified by the big ass peach. Not the "big ass" peach, but the big "ass peach"

Atlanta. The next morning I left my pillow in the motel room, but Target (Tarjay) came to the rescue and provided me with a Hello Kitty pillow, to be my companion for the rest of the trip. Just as we prepared to leave, we had to return to jps to fix her computer, apparently it breaks if you touch it. That accomplished we rejoined everyone at the QT gas station and drove through the Atlanta rush hour. All the while we desperately tried to keep the 5 cars together.

Florida. Distant lights over a dark sea, not a new thing in the history of the world, but a welcome and soothing sight nonetheless. It is calming in the same way that "The Meaning of Life" playing in the living room is not calming. I could wax wistful, invoking the final passages of The Great Gatsby. But I think I won't.

Wren is sick, sick sick, poor girl, I hope she can uncurl from that fetal position tomorrow.

John Boys Shoppe serves good cheap food, several steps above Waffle House. So.....satisfying, and the waitress invites all 40 of us back tomorrow night. General Lee amuses us with tales of seasickness. And I have a fabulous bowl of grits, the king of breakfast foods. What more could I ask for?

Now begins the search for a place to sleep, find a corner and curl up...

Metacognizant laughs the loudest. And her hair is a smurf holocaust.

Day 2. Florida. Shit. I'm still only in Florida. Every time I think I'm going to wake up back on the road...
The ambience here is by The Ocean©, both sonic and olfactory, so damn nice. We have reached siesta time, everyone is mellow. I guess it's time for the introspection. I'm surrounded by people I only know slightly, but I do not feel alienated, everyone is nice. It is amazing to be here, after so long in the car. Weirder still is how that car trip feels like it was only about 8 hours, perhaps I'm blocking some of it out. It wasn' that bad.

....need lunch, or sugar, or alcahol...

....so many noders here...

Much noder love was exchanged in the massage line, oh yeah. We exchanged horrible horrible jokes, then walked on the overbright moonlit beach with brainwave. A convoy left for the waffle house at 12:40, it involved a bribe for a sober driver to take everyone, that was me, surprisingly. On our return we were pleased to note the arrival of Wonko and radlab0, who is the coolest. She gave me an elbow massage and a pack of bubbleicious. I have not blown bubbles in 15 years.

Pyrogenic can do the best beer cooler dancing to pulp fiction ever.

Day 3. Cooked bacon this morning, got to make it crunchy like it should be. Yesterday we ventured to the island of St. Vincent, which was supposed to have a lighthouse, but didn't. However, it did look exactly like the set for a bad Jurassic park knockoff, and liha make some startlingly convincing Raptor attack noises.

I have never partied this much, ever. I am enjoying the constant pot and drinking, keepin' the buzz.

The waves are calm and cool today. The sky is thin and stretched, but Zim provides merriment. "Why is there bacon on the soap ?" "I made it myself!" I was told, and I agree, that Zim rocks because there is no moral and because Gir is the id.

There were many funny things last night that I cannot remember.

Not as inviting as before, the outside is more wintery than on previous days, It has the cold blue January light about it. The ultra-white sand can look like snow if you're not paying attention. But this room is very cozy, and here are so many people to talk to. The sea is calm and weak, perhaps there is wind. Still, it beckons a walk. And a bonfire later. Napping abounds on couches in front of TVs and secluded on beds. I pen-tattooed Bitca's arm, opposite randirs manga star. It is all a swirl of caffeine, booze, pot and sleep deprivation.

I walked on the beach and listened to Dead Can Dance. I lay down and gazed up, reversing things. I imagined I was looking down at a layer of clouds and below it the blue, blue ocean.

Later on, at the bonfire, it was very cold, though he 100 yards of cherry bombs were impressive. Not nearly drunk enough, we walked back to the house along the beach and began drinking, for real. I finally slept at 3:30 on my hello kitty pillow.

New Years Day. Heading home, the cleaning and preparation were effortless, though the weather was cold. We headed to General Lees place for traditional southern new years feast: collard greens, ham, corn bread and black eyed peas. I ate two plates of it was so good, even though I was full. Going home is exciting too. So many things to get back to.

The weather sucks. slimy cold rain. Bitca is a buffy trivia goddess, and she glittered my eyes, so she rocks. Ccunning cooks a lot, and well. Mitzi states her opinions unequivocally. radlab0 gave me a kiss. wrapped in foil. maus rocks the house, and deserves all our praise. randir, well we already knew he was cool. indra: fun fun fun. Wonko makes a good school girl and provides us with crunchy Zimmy goodness.

As we sat at the Wendy's on the way out of town I was pondering the life of privilege we all lead here as young millennial Americans. None of us are "rich" yet it is possible for 40 of us from all over the country to do this. To meet on the internet, then decide to form caravans and gather at a beach house in Florida. Just the fact the we all have enough extra cash to rent cars and houses and buy food and alcohol is amazing. And we have the highway infrastructure and automotive technology and the disposable income and the free time not working on our fathers fields or some hellish factory to make it all happen. Truly amazing.

Day 6. I've never been to Kentucky, so it's nice to add a new state to my travels. Our numbers are dwindling, we drop off wren in an hour or so, soon we will loose the intrepid brassmule, as he splits off for his home in PA. The clouds are all cirrus, cold and distant, the light is bleached and the trees, bare. They follow the undulating ridgeline like bristles on the back of a boar, the only thing green now is the kudzu choking the hillsides. But there is joy, being homeward bound. And the fun of this whole experience is sinking in, and the smile cannot keep itself from my face, a grin of satisfaction at the accomplishment of so much at the cost of so little. All these people, gathered to join and to revel in our sharing; some are quiet and beautiful, others bright and giggly, all with a common purpose. Well, perhaps common purpose is going too far, our diversity is vast. What is unique is how each of us has found e2 and found in it some joy, some meaning specific to our lives and our dreams. It is finding this that ties us all together and makes us cross continents to be with others who have that same feeling.
I wasn't supposed to go to this.

Scratch that. I was, actually. Originally, anyway. I remember bugging panamaus about hosting a nodermeet down in Florida a long time ago and was surprised to hear that he was actually going to go through with it. My first reaction to the news was something along the lines of "Oh my God, I am SO there!" But money being money and school robbing me of the opportunity to get a proper job to amass the riches necessary for such a jaunt, I figured, "oh shit, I can't go." That was that. I was pretty much set on the idea. I mean, I had a whole three weeks off between semesters and I figured that time would be better spent looking for money-generating work, seeing as the previous semester spent studying gave me so little time to do so. I was really strapped for cash, surviving on my last $200 or so. I even had to come down my high horse of pride and call my sister back home to russle me up some funds, if possible. It made sense to divert my energies into money-making ventures like jobsearch, right?

But what happened? The Lord of The Rings happened. Or better yet, cahla happened. We (drunkenmonkey, cahla, cowofdoom and the custodian) had planned on seeing LOTR and, beforehand, we decided to congregate at a bar, Dick's Last Resort. Me and cahla, for some odd reason, decided to embark on a journey to the mythic land of inebriation before the screening. Two shots of tequila and a guinness later, she turns and asks me if I'm going to Florida with her and the monkey. I tell her no, that I really want to but can't afford it. It kept on going back and forth for a while with her saying "c'mon, it'll be fun" and me saying "sorry, I can't". Then at one point she says, with much authority, mind you, that I am, in fact, going.

She was going to cover my expenses.

I didn't know what to say and for a second said nothing. Soon, enough, however, I conceded defeat and said, "Okay, fine. I'll go."

I blame the tequila for the crumbling of my otherwise iron will. No, really.

The sad thing about meeting noders is that, well, we're everywhere. I mean, come on, the convoy itself had license plates from various parts of the country alone: Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio and then some. Hell, the accents revealed the far reach of E2 geographically not to mention its pull to one central location for us to gather at. It takes some doing for us to get together in such large numbers as we did this time. And ya know what? It was wonderful. It was great. It was amazing.

And it really sucked.

I mean, like I had written earlier, the sad thing about noders is that we're everywhere. Unfortunately, that means that we're everywhere other than in each other's backyards. I met some great people at that gathering that live hundreds of miles away from me. Hundreds. Fuckin' different area codes and different time zones and all that. And it sucks. So, what am I doing now? I'm adding to this aftermath writeup because I fuckin' miss them.

Yah, you read that right. I miss them.

It's funny, really. Not 'funny-ha-ha', boys and girls... more like 'funny-wistful-sigh'. I didn't think I could get sad over having met several handfuls of strangers and then coming home. Hell, I didn't even think I could be able to pair up E2 usernames with the real life names of these aforementioned strangers. But then again, I also didn't think I could let my life be touched by these self-same strangers.

And it has.

I wish I could just show up in Illinois and call up mordel to just shoot the shit with him over a beer and smile and listen to him talk entirely too loudly when he's had far too much to drink...

  I wish i could pop on by to Tennessee and get an affectionate and repeated elbow in the side from Bitca while laughing really, really hard while doing thoroughly inspired Invader Zim impressions...

    I wish I could pass by some tractor pull in Iowa on my way to Indra363's place to talk about boys and what moving to the other side of the country would entail and what the good kind of heartache feels like...

      I wish I could have the chance to go over to kick ccunning's oh so fragile ass in an Iron Chef competition in his own kitchen in Ohio ('cause, man oh man, he is so going down)...

So, all that really clings to my heart right now with respect to E2 are three things: the good memories that were created and enjoyed by all this one gathering, the selfish hope of possibly crossing paths with these wonderful individuals again in the future and the honest-to-goodness sincere belief that everything really is a community. I'm still amazed that something that is nothing more than flashing pixels on a monitor can bring together people from all over the country to involve themselves with each other in some meaningful and memorable way.

Hey, ya wanna play a game? You touch my life, I'll touch yers..?

Well, yah, it makes me sad. If I met you at this gathering and for some reason I seem contemplative or pensive or quiet, don't you worry none. There's nothing wrong. Well, not really. I probably just miss you is all.

I'm so glad I went.

Thank you so much, cahla.

Now that I'm back from family visits to someplace with reliable Net access, some quotations gathered during the days of the gathering (thanks to GangstaFeelsGood for adding some I wasn't around for):

The Big "No-No's":

  • House Parties
  • More than the maximum number of guests allowed.
  • No BBQ on decks, porches, inside rental units, or under a house or a townhouse.
  • No fireworks and firecrackers.
excerpted from the Anchor Vacation Properties Rental Terms and Conditions list

Constantly-repeated joke of the gathering:
"What's brown and sticky?"
"A stick!"

"a warm, popcorn-ceilinged pussy"
--General Lee describing the feeling of the warm house after being out on the porch after dark

"If you've softlinked me to Mr. T Ate My Balls, I'll hurt you."
--mordel to Gamaliel, who was writing on the back of his newly created E2 t-shirt

"How do you get a spider high?" -- cahla
"Really tiny joints." -- Jethro Bodine

"Dude, how many times do I have to get my ass beat to prove it's not fragile?"
--ccunning

"Dude, we're perfectly clean. We smoked all the weed that I had."
--Jethro Bodine reassuring everyone after the car he was driving was pulled over by military police.

"My ass has been fondled by more men than women this week."
--ccunning again

"I don't believe in C!hing safety."
--WonkoDSane

"We have determined that it is Communist China's fault that I broke that bong."
--pyrogenic

"Like soy, only stickier."
--cbustapeck describing the taste of glue paste

"This much noder love. Not to scale!"
--Bitca stretches her arms as wide as possible after we decide to watch The Princess Bride

"Your condiment shkillz are making me randy."
GangstaFeelsGood to Pyrogenic when he "quite artistically splayed ketchup and mustard on his burger, presenting it for all to see."

Which led to:
"Is my artful mastery of spreading things making you horny? Sorry, randy."
--pyrogenic to Metacognizant as breakfast was prepared

"If I had any more fun, I'd probably kill myself."
--panamaus, as we backed out of the beach house's driveway to drop the keys off at the rental agency.

/msg Segnbora-t with suggested additions or corrections.

January 1, The Year of our Lord 2002:

The Alpine in my Blazer, Babe the Blue Ox, has, as it nearly always does, mercifully picked a song which may just keep me from fucking dying: an obscure track called "Bound for Glory" on an even more obscure album by Barefoot Servants, a 1994 project led by a guy named Jon Butcher. He looks like Jimi Hendrix, sings like Rod Stewart (sort of), and plays a slide guitar that would scare the living shit out of Robert Johnson and the devil himself.

"Lay my head down on the (kitchen) table
Fix my Sunday coat and tie
They worked my body to a sorry state
On a tiny sailing ship bound for glory...

Sail away, there's money
In them cotton fields
Sail away, gonna strike it rich in America
There's room enough for everyone
In the ground below...

Now my daddy was a story teller
But the king, his daddy, was before him
High on the ocean under lock and chain
On a tiny sailing ship bound for glory...

How appropriate that there's a big ship passing by. I am currently engaged in what has become an annual tradition of "Burying The Shit" on the beach at the county line, after yet another wild dual-time zone hootnanny. Ooohh, my liver complains as the shovel does its work. I fear I have bruised it irrepairably (again). I'm studying the malevolent darkening to the west, as the gray sky begins to deliver blessed rain, just as I finish burying the remains of our splendid pyrogenic indulgences from the night before.

About that time, I let rip The Perfect Fart. Aahh..crisp and clean with hardly any flutter. The delicate aroma of decomposing collard greens and black-eyed peas soils the very air, surely an affront to The Maker. He responds in kind with a sudden, icy gale that blasts me with a million grains of beautiful white sand. I suffer sensory overload as I am suddenly plunged into silica quartz snowstorm.

I am then reminded of the long journey ahead for so many of my new friends, similarly fed, watered, and presumably gassing their way home. The maelstrom of my internal machinery dies down a bit and I am able to smile at the thought of the exquisite group of noders who came to visit our little corner of paradise to ring in the new year.

The cyborg crackle of Dr. Stephen W. Hawking and the National Weather Service broadcast eminating from the VHF in my truck warns of severe winter weather approaching the Deep South. I forget about my infinitesimal intestinal problems, minor miseries really. My bed, which I so desperately need, is only 25 short miles away.

Suddenly, in what alcoholics refer to as "A Moment of Clarity", my Mission Drive Within Everything changes from "Fine, and you?" to "Travel safely home, dear noders, for you are precious cargo."

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