Oratory Pleasure
aka
Hot Damn Node Slam

In the past six months, I've met almost a hundred noders. For every one of them there's something of a contrast between the way they speak and the way they write, despite any comforting similarities. This is especially true for the people I knew in real life before they became noders--this site opened up their minds to me in a way that no amount of hanging out and talking ever could.

What I propose is this: I want to combine your two voices. I want to hear you read your work ALOUD.

I'm thinking Friday, July 5, early afternoon, outdoors, on the grass. It'd be nice if we could be in a circle, in clumps, and not have to resort to the traditional one-in-front-of-many classroom atmosphere. Want to get involved? This is how it's going to work.

STEP ONE: VOLUNTEER.

/msg me and tell me you want in. I will add your name to this node. No one will be forced to participate. Although there are many of you who I will pester relentlessly, because I really want to hear you do this.

STEP TWO: NOMINATE.

Go through your own stuff and pick FIVE nodes, no more, no less, which you wouldn't mind reading aloud, and /msg me with the hardlinked titles. I will then add those to this node, under your name. I'm letting you pick the five because I don't want anyone hearing anything you're not comfortable with. We all know how we sometimes let the silence of this site pass for privacy. You have until 00:00:00 server time, June 26, 2002.

STEP THREE: VOTE.

Now this is the fun part. You do not get to choose which of the five gets read. WE do. Voting is open to everyone on the site, not just those fortunate enough to be able to attend Hot Damn 2. You have until 00:00:00 server time, July 3, 2002 to pick one of the five for everyone and /msg me with your selection. (For convenience, you can refer to the number 1 through 5 rather than typing the whole node title.) I should have the results posted a few hours after that. Obviously, you should wait to vote until the 26th, when all the options are up.

Q: What type of nodes should I pick?

A: ANYTHING. Poetry, prose, factuals, daylogs, even reviews of other texts are fine, as long as YOU wrote it. No public domain stuff or other people's lyrics. I mean, come on.

Q: What if we want to hear something by a specific author, but they didn't nominate it?

A: /msg the author, tell them you're a fan of the piece, and try to change their mind. You have until the deadline. Do not /msg me about this difficulty. I will say tough noogies.

Q: I use pipelinks to give my work added depth. How will this be accounted for verbally?

A: I am not going to sit there flashing an index card for every word of hypertext. You're just going to have to pick pieces that are strong enough at the two-dimensional surface level. Sorry.

Q: Should we pick pieces with high reps?

A: NO. Whether a node has been voted up or down should not and will not influence this in any way, except for this: If you think a quality node of yours has been neglected, maybe you wanna offer it up.

With that as a blunt segue, I give you my five nominations. I am not so cruel as to do anything to you kind people I would not do to myself. Am I scared of reading this stuff in front of you guys, who I consider amazing? HELLS YES. However, I hope you'll be scared too and that way if the fear doesn't cancel out at least it means we share something.

21 slammin' noders!

--Walter
  1. the last (and best) day of high school *
  2. CHINA CLIPPER CALLING ALAMEDA: Opera, Britney, and a really big snake
  3. September 12, 2001
  4. Dream Log: December 30, 2001 #
  5. Bon Voyage Monsieur DJ

--witchiepoo

  1. the mama and the dancing girl, unfurling
  2. punk as shit like a motherfucker
  3. my stuff is everything and baby can't touch my stuff
  4. I pray to God I can find the other sock *
  5. The Vagina Monologues

--QXZ

  1. the casino om *
  2. Bleecker Street #
  3. Shane MacGowan
  4. Great Wall of China

--Lucy-S (was not present during either session)

  1. A Preference For Silence
  2. Permian Basin Blues
  3. How to Bless a Seismograph
  4. ocean
  5. Darwin's Children

--Jurph

  1. How to begin poetry
  2. The Infamous Bell Tower Prank of 1996
  3. Tourist Children's Souls Taste Better
  4. Jurph Should Not be allowed to play with fireworks *
  5. Grapefruit Moonshine Beer Explosion

--jasonm (was not present during either session)

  1. sometimes, all you can do is be a friend
  2. Bumper Stickers about Kids who Beat Up Honor Students
  3. why I stopped eating plums
  4. Don't lie. Ever.
  5. Night Shivers

--Chiisuta

  1. A song in fear
  2. Fritz
  3. Rules of Recreational Trespassing
  4. We knew there would be kissing, and breasts
  5. It's always a good idea to tell people you love them if you do *

--Templeton

  1. My first comet
  2. it's a sin this not being ready, this not being up to it #
  3. onion skins and garlic shells
  4. put your hand here
  5. the rain that came today

--disgruntledwren

  1. Courting the Killer
  2. Followed shortly thereafter by "Sleeping With The Enemy" *
  3. A Lazy Night with the Big Bad Wolf
  4. Baseball Bats and Bloody Knuckles
  5. Dead people don't knock

--Segnbora-t (unfortunately could not attend)

  1. pedophilia
  2. having an S on a transcript rather than a B
  3. slave housing in the American South
  4. Peter the Great
  5. A Doll Like Me

--atesh

  1. Turkish numbers and counting
  2. I was a chess piece
  3. Flawed evolutions of a middle school kid *
  4. Turkish Curses #
  5. Garbage (by junkets) #

--WonkoDSane

  1. 32 Valentines
  2. I will show you fear in a handful of ducks
  3. Testing the Infinite Monkeys Theorem
  4. Dog look of curiosity #
  5. Righteous Cable Guy Vengeance *

--Strong Bow79 (unfortunately could not attend)

  1. The room is full of smoke and dialogue I know by heart
  2. The dream is always the same...
  3. The popsicle house
  4. January 30, 2002
  5. September 27, 2001

--tandex

  1. some people break so easily
  2. Hello broken thing, may I sketch your smash pattern?
  3. The kinds of friends that books could never be *
  4. Tunnel in the Key of G
  5. a little bit of sweet, a little bit of poison

--karmaflux (unfortunately could not attend)

  1. Why we long to be American
  2. The Rudest Way Anyone Ever Hit on You
  3. the Perry scale of intellectual and ethical development
  4. seagull on a stick
  5. I'm Changing the Climate! Ask Me How

--cbustapeck

  1. April 15, 2002
  2. Yak Butter Tea
  3. Going To The Sun Road *
  4. Nuremberg Chronicle
  5. October 7, 2001

--Chris-O

  1. Can i get a sketch?
  2. A Train
  3. I♥NY *
  4. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
  5. Governors Island

--Spackle

  1. How to use an escalator in a wheelchair
  2. Thanks Playboy!: A meeting of two noders *
  3. Disabled but able to rock
  4. Strange things homeless people (urban outdoorsmen) have said to me.
  5. Why Georgia

--dann

  1. 15 Shot, 8 Dead in Texas Shooting
  2. God's will v. God's plan
  3. Everything is a Family *
  4. Judge not, lest ye be judged
  5. Old Testament law doesn't apply to Christians

--LadySun

  1. scientific research is a felony *
  2. February 1, 2002
  3. Mumia Abu-Jamal
  4. Molecular Biology of HIV
  5. Mind's Eye Theatre

--cahla

  1. lifeboat exercises
  2. body shot
  3. what happens if my mom finds e2 *
  4. This faceless idiot, the long-haired, peace lovin' hippie boy
  5. parallel parking

--Chihuahua Grub

  1. full release diet soda *

--radlab0

  1. time machine *

--ideath

  1. Dear Willa (from Portland) #
  2. forgotten letter #

--misuba

  1. The drummer always gets laid #

--panamaus

  1. Voices of Old People #

--Transitional Man

  1. wife acceptance factor #

--Gamaliel

  1. i hate yuppies poem 138 #
  2. bisexual adolescent eskimo #

--NinjaPenguin

  1. october 8, 2001 #
  2. the true ending to the empire strikes back # (read with Gamaliel)

--pyrogenic

  1. March 31, 2001 #

--mordel

  1. Don't misunderstand this one, it was like palm against palm through a window #

--CzarKhan

  1. June 20, 2002 #

--Ysardo

  1. Dream Log: November 13, 2001 #




UPDATE 6/26/02

TIME FOR VOTEYNESS!!!

No, I don't mean voting this node up or down. I don't care about that. I mean it's time for YOU to read all the nodes below and /msg me with which ones you want the authors to read.

Keep in mind the best choice for oration may not be your favorite of the five; in other words, these works will play very differently spoken to an audience. Take advantage of that.

And, let me repeat, voting is not limited to the authors or attendees of HD2. ALL noders are welcome to pick, so that the community is behind this as much as possible. You can EVEN vote for yourself. Dig my mad democracy skillz.

TO MAKE IT QUICKER you can just refer to the number. Fer instance:

/msg Walter Walter 1 witchiepoo 2 QXZ 4

...etc., etc.



UPDATE 7/14/02

* = nodes read during session 1, Friday afternoon, front lawn

# = nodes read during session 2, Saturday night, back stoop

First off, I want to apologize to Lucy-S and jasonm for slamming while they weren't around. I blame it on my lack of organization. I owe them.

Next, I need to give a big thank you to everyone who attended Hot Damn 2. You were all exceptionally well behaved and attentive as an audience. I want to say I was surprised, but really I wasn't, because I had seen it happen in Boston. What did surprise me was the size of the audience. I figured non-readers wouldn't be interested in the event, but boy, were they.

The best example of how successful this was is that lots of others who hadn't gone through the "official" channels wanted to join in, and some authors (even ones who got highly nervous, like me) read twice.

Toward the end of the second session, a few things were revealed that I personally wish had not been. I don't want to disparage any of the readers, because I consider them all my friends. But I ended up being very glad that I came up with the voting-for-nodes idea (which had by then been discarded). In a way, it made the difference between scanning the C!ed wus list and the New wus list. Not so much an assurance of quality as a guarantee of material that others would find interesting.

Several readers said they wished they had selected different material of theirs that better emphasized the oratory element. It's definitely tough to know what aspects of your written work will be unwittingly amplified and downplayed by speech. I figured the learning curve on this one would be a lot higher, but we all made out smashingly. Plenty of laughter and a few tears. And we were all able to switch gears from any mood to any other with no difficulties.

I had expected this to be something new, a sort of combination of noder and node to create a super-interactive E2 experience. It struck me immediately, though, that it was instead a reductive exercise. No hiding behind "Wanna beer?" or "Let's go to the movies" or "Gee you're cute". I was reminded of how we met in the first place. It was not the simple coinicidence of proximity. It was the fact that we all have shit to say, and are all respectful listeners. I got that spark again that I first got a year ago when I was combing through the site and said to myself, "Hey, these people are actually good." And best of all, teaching each other about who we were as noders helped us all connect as friends.

Now. As for The Future. Plenty of folks said they would like to see this happen again, and I'm all for that. I personally do not want to be the one to run it, though. This is not because I'm lazy or it was a negative experience. It's because I want to see how a different chef would cook this up. (Feel free to use any of my ideas or ignore them.) And also because I can't make it to absolutely every gathering, as much as I'd like.

Once again, thank you all. Special thanks to zot-fot-piq, who loved the idea so much he taped all of session 1 (minus Jurph), and thanked me about sixty times. You're welcome, all of you. You made it happen. You are the brave ones.

AFTERMATH

I keep telling myself I won't do these. But I keep needing to say things. So I'll just have to suck it up and betray myself.

I am going to be the angsty boy who disagrees. I am going to rain on your parade. I'm sorry. This is important.

Did I have a good time? Oh God, yes. Too good. 4 am Sunday morning. Too many goodbyes at once. I nearly broke down in the fucking parking lot. Hurry up, Josh, find the keys. I can't hold this sob in much longer. Far cry from the teen who couldn't cry for seven years.

Once the sunlight came around, a lot more people woke up than said they would, and everyone was grinning again. We knew this was the Bonus Round, the extra time. Can't afford not to enjoy it. And then, more quality hugs from the same folk. Get some milkshakes and hop on the interstate. Hey, listen to that! We still remember how to belly laugh! Rockin'.

But then an awful realization sunk in. I was driving all day away from people it took me a miracle to find. And my mind was filled with THIS IS FUCKED in letters so huge I couldn't even read. Eight hours of shotgun daylight, useless to me. Tomorrow I'll wake up in my lonely bedroom. Tomorrow I'll be at work. Tomorrow these faces and voices will have faded. Time for the pissed-off music.

What's the solution? Pitch our tents together to make the Cool Kids' Camp? I wish that would work. But even if anyone could make us fall out of love with our respective cities, I wouldn't do it. I don't want to have to worry about stupid mundane shit while you're around. I want to be able to devote all my attention to you. Full stress vacation, full mental stimulation.

So this is the math I do to stay sane. Only a few days out of the year do I get this glorious freedom. No, it's not 365. But it's a lot more than zero. And that equals I'm damned lucky.

Well, Hot Damn here it comes again! The very reason I began to node returns.

A year has gone by and my portfolio grows thicker. I have found more models and more techniques. Elephants, water droplets and a Spiderman have occupied my attentions since last we met upon the electric ether. I now have a working camera to capture the creations of my brush. I shall return upon this birthday of sorts to continue in the revelry sought and found one year ago. Colorful paints in hand, I will make myself available as a humble body artist. Will I find a canvas so bold as to allow me to decorate it completely?

so, in plain and simple terms, I am bringing my bodypaints back to the HOT DAMN gathering. Much fun shall be had and colorful people will be met and made.

"Don't tell me you guys are still having this go-to-hell party!"

-one of zot-fot-piq's neighbors, day 4

We'll be legendary in Columbus, at least until this cycle of collegians turns over. We'll be infamous on Hubbard Street for a long time coming. Neighbors don't tend to forget (and seldom forgive) loudish people with arcane equipment hanging out on a front lawn for nearly five straight days. Somewhat to their credit, the only complaints came when the integrity of automobile paintjobs was ostensibly threatened by bottle rocketry. Good faith attempts to learn which of the cars belonged to the complainant, the better to avoid damaging it, were ignored.

Wholesomeness is going to the Columbus zoo to ooh at monkeys and manatees. Depravity is a field trip to Outland to watch noders get whipped by professionals. Contentment is standing on a screened-in porch and seeing a country yard filled with noders; noders under trees, in the pool, sitting on the grass, playing badminton. Amazement is hearing noders read their work, thanks to Walter's node slam. Drunkenness is the Klaproth. Incredible, overflowing hospitality is zot-fot-piq and _the_devil_. They gave us their home to overrun and their city to share, and boy did we.

E2 gives the finger to geographical limitations on friendship, which is beautiful and painful.

There's really no good way to do this; this aftermath thing. How does one sum up five days of infinitely tiny slices of amazing time? How about these:

I'm in the kitchen with my fingers in my ears.
jessicapierce tings, swishes, taps and waves on an oven rack,
and there's low music in my head.

We were lighting sparklers by dipping them into each other
and how brightly they flared when we did
was kind of an obvious metaphor

The sign on his unlocked door
simply read
"Noders welcome".

"Seriously, it's like 25 blocks from here". - Dis

This was the statement that precluded our two and a half mile hike to the Blue Danube. We were hungry and it was late so we started out for a place called Roadhouse Annie's that was only a block away. It was closed. It only seemed logical to walk 2.5 miles to the next open restaurant instead of walking back a block and getting cars.

The gathering was nothing short of amazing. I considered not doing an aftermath because it seems like no matter what I say, it has probably already been said about other gatherings. Then I decided that I didn't care.

The weekend had its ups and downs. There was the shower of doom at ccunning's place that was supposedly built to be handicapped accessible. Apparently I have never taken a handicapped shower because like everyone else there, I couldn't figure the damn thing out. All I could manage to do on a regular basis was make the handle fall off the faucet. However, ccunning had some wicked powerful air conditioning and a stocked kitchen which made the stay far better than just bearable.

I know I will never forget the gathering but it isn't because of the drinking or the fireworks. It is the people.

enth was my airport arrival buddy and is the only person I have ever met that actually looked perfectly natural with blue hair. He was also all about using people's real names which makes him mondo cool in my book. karma debt came with ccunning to pick me up and it turns out she appreciates good tequila and fresh spices just like me.

There were a lot of new faces and some that I had seen before. I enjoyed every minute playing in the park, getting icy rubdowns, jamming on the sidewalk, sitting on the steps and talking, reading to everyone about the power of playboy, drinking, watching the monkeys, shopping for vegetarian chili ingredients, and getting lost on the way to the zoo and not caring due to the good company and good music. I even got to hang out with a fellow parrothead.

I'll tell you the best part though.

The hugs.

The handshakes.

The smiles.

Where to begin... where to end... I feel changed after this weekend, I never knew that people can be so trusting, trusted, caring, and cared for, amused, and amusing, and most of all, missed. I got spoiled. I can't wait for it to happen again. Allow me to elaborate on this "go to hell party" and mayhaps it will make even less sense and have more pipelinks.

•• Went to a CD store called Magnolia Thunderpussy. Brainwave (if I remember correctly) said something to the effect of "They answer their phone and say Magnolia's, how could they not say Thunderpussy! I'd have to answer the phone and say Thunderpussy!"

•• Gamaliel and I went to a store called Yankee Trader's and I got many plastic ninjas to give to people. I ran out of ninjas, though. ANYONE WHO DIDN'T GET A NINJA, MSG ME!!! You will get a ninja. On the way to the store, we decided to stop in the convention center because it was air conditioned and we are big wusses who can't handle the heat. (yes, we are from Florida, let that boggle your mind a little). The convention center happened to be holding a convention for RPG stuff, and the nerdyness was unparalleled. We were awed, scared, and mad at the vending machine, all at the same time.

•• QXZ has the uncanny ability to match what he's wearing with a camo skirt, I'm still wondering how that one happened. He and Pyrogenic went for opposite ends of the spectrum in the drag category, but both were equally pretty.

•• Jessicapierce has mad hula-foo! She can hula all night long. We took a random walk to the park at 3am one day and I got questions like "How can u hula that around your neck and not cut off your air supply??"

•• The video game playing noders got into a game re-titled "Kill All the Chinese People Ever 3", and something else involving monkeys. Monkeys are hard to handle.

•• Enth clipped me w/JP's car. OK, OK, it wasn't that bad. I was walking around the back of the car and he decided to back it up at that moment. I just got a little whack on the shins. And he apologized and was not drunk. There is no one I'd rather have hit me with a car, I assure you. Enth's blue hair was neato.

•• Drunkenness is the Klabroth, the grossest drink in human existence. If I get anything nuked soon, the Klabroth msg will make me more nauseaus than usual due to the connection I'd make.

•• Nodeslam was the best idea ever. Walter is the shizit. I didn't catch much of part 1, but part 2 of Nodeslam in Zot's back yard was just surreal. Panamaus's rendition of his writeup was truly breathtaking. I had to try to keep my mouth shut when he ordered ice tea at the restaurant on the last day.

•• I'd like to again apologize to Bart for drinking the Tab in his fridge. It was so gross that I just passed it around to everyone else so they could witness the grossness. Sorry for pimping out your soda. I had no idea it wasn't public domain.

I'd like to thank (in no particular order): Mordel for being my leaning post, Gamaliel for the adult supervision, Sean for the sidewalk chalk, Jurph for an awesome samich, ccunning and karma debt for yummy food at Zot's parents' house, Party Christ for looking over us all, and so many other people that I can't even think to name them all. There are so many other things I can think of to write about.. the movies, dinner, chinging stuff, peacock feathers painted on me by ideath, noders by the light of the sparklers in Bart's parent's backyard, hugs... I have never met so many awesome people.I also really liked finally learning all of your real names.

I can still feel some of your arms around me, and if it was up to me, I never would have let go.

HOT DAMN. Well call me "Chris" and gnaw on my arm! (Oh wait, someone already did that.)

What a really fun 4.5 days that was. Yessiree, my noders-met-ometer has been kicked up really high as a result of this gathering, and I was happy to meet each and every one of you. (Even the ones where I said "Who? Ahhhh." in response to your informing me of your E2dentity. I think I just coined a new term. E2dentity. Go me.)

Driving north from Atlanta on Wednesday, I call Bart once I reached Cincinnati to find out where the hell I was going. I get directions, and eventually just call him back to get turn-by-turn instructions until I see him waving on his steps. I park in the lot across the street, and make my entrance. Over the next day or so, noders continued to arrive. I saw many new faces, and a few familiar ones. Prior to this meet, I hadn't met that many noders in person, and it was nice to up that count. As I came across person after person I was meeting in person for the first time, I realized something.

I already knew most of you.

Of course, I saw many friends that I had already met prior, but I also immediately connected with some brand new old friends.

I know of no other community where, upon meeting someone for the first time, we can immediately jump into conversations as if we were friends for years. The thing is, we all share the common thread of E2. While writeups give a glimpse into what a person is like, talking to a person (say, on IRC) goes a lot farther in establishing relationships. And then the gatherings fill in the final variable of the equation - meeting in person.

There's also the experience of meeting totally new people; those who share the same happiness that comes from E2, but haven't necessarily crossed paths yet.

Memories that stick out, because I was stupid enough to forget a notebook:

  • Singing along to an impromptu group rendition of Dancing Queen on Bart's porch with Qeyser leading the song and playing guitar, and seeming to be the only other person who knows all of the lyrics.
  • Borrowing a really silly sign from a nearby pizza place.
  • Watching WonkoDSane inflict movie-monster-like terror on an unsuspecting 747 by catching it mid-flight, ripping off the wings one by one, repeatedly smashing it nose-first into the ocean, and taking several bites out of the fuselage - all in stiff, monster-like movements.
  • Photographing every fucking thing and person in sight, amassing one hundred forty-three pictures total.
  • Discovering a new favorite state park.
  • Seeing Void_Ptr dressed for a night on the town in a duct tape top, with flashing blue nipples.
  • Seeing Pyrogenic dressed for the same night on the town in a black leather corset and matching miniskirt.
  • Chasing Cow of doom in an attempt to retrieve an aerobie.
  • Meeting what seemed like hundreds of other noders, all named "Chris".
  • Tasting, for the first time, the foulest of foul swill known as Pabst Blue Ribbon.
  • Experiencing the effect of wind chimes inside my head by standing in the kitchen, with a grill rack tied to my fingers which subsequently plug my ears, and jessicapierce gently running a fork over the grill rack.
  • Hearing lots of well-written writeups spring to vocal life thanks to Walter's Node Slam, and many fantastic noders and their writeups.
  • Sitting outside, talking to Spackle, WonkoDSane, and panamaus in the (sort of) cool night air.
  • Having Chihuahua Grub tell me to "Shut the fuck up, God Dammit!" because I didn't know he was about to start node slamming.
  • Seeing lots of friends again, many of which attended The Whiz-Bang Atlanta E2 Party, or Get your ass to Mars: an Atlanta E2 gathering (Whizbang the Second Coming).
  • Meeting Void_Ptr, because she's just so "fucking fabulous."
  • There's more, but it's all swimming in random patterns through my brain. Realize that I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the gathering, and it will take a lot to make me forget any of it. (Except the stuff I've already forgotten, which, is to say, not a whole lot.)

    Gatherings are a wonderful thing. They allow us to take our online relationships into the real world, and enjoy the physicality of actual, interpersonal contact. When each of us gets home, we will return to our normal, established methods of communication with one another, and continue our friendships... until we can meet in person again. Probably at another gathering.

    You're all my friends. I miss you.

    See you tomorrow.

    http://www.accipiter.org/gallery/browser/index.pl?album=hotdamn2

    So, the thing is, I don't really do aftermath writeups, or at least I haven't done them for the gatherings I've attended thus far. It's not that I disapprove of them or their place here, but just that I don't guess I have enough unique perspective to keep people interested -- my radical ideas about nodermeets have already occurred to others. Still, like Spackle noted above, there was so much content in this weekend as opposed to so many others that some of it just has to come out.

    More than anything else in the past year or so this has made me feel like part of the community here, like I was still at home. Reading about the last Hot Damn was definitely a step toward feeling isolated on the site, and now another one has passed and I'm 100% better, thanks. With that out of the way, here goes.

    Salient points, roughly chronological and with a lot missing:

    Getting off the plane, I was fairly worried about whether or not anybody would be there, having realized in the middle of my delayed flight that I never gave a new flight number after the establishment cancelled my tickets. Fortunately, Chad and Jen had done some pretty major social engineering work on the airport and airline, and were there to pick me up right in the lobby. Heh, later in the meet people would come up and say, to effect, "Oh, you're enth, everybody was trying to figure out what your name was earlier." Patrick was there too, from an earlier flight, and almost immediately we all got to see him do the famous escalator trick -- pretty hardcore.

    I owe Jeff a favor for thinking of the Node Slam. I owe Chiisuta for her words about love. I owe Jurph and Scott for making me laugh about hypergorics and cable repair. I owe Dan most of all for talking good on my family.

    Friday night I think it was, there was this plan for those of us sleeping at Chad's to go back there in a caravan, which got commingled with a plan by some of the NY crew to go get munchies, all this around 4 am. As it turned out, Gamaliel and NinjaPenguin got in jp's car, believing it to be headed toward food. This was apparently figured out before arrival at Chad's, but since the car I was driving was the only one with instructions, they couldn't just turn around and go back. Instead, we drew up a plan in Chad's front yard: I was most awake, so I'd drive the couple back to Bart's, and thefez would come with to keep me from falling asleep on the way back. Jeff, Jess, and Sarah, meanwhile, would go inside and rapidly lose consciousness. So, um, this was cool until we made the dropoff at Bart's, at which point I put the car into reverse and, um, ran it right into NinjaPenguin. Oh yes I did. Neither Chris nor myself heard or felt anything, so we raced against sunrise and were in bed by 5:30. It wasn't until the next day that I found out I had clipped Kristina, and thankfully she wasn't even bruised. Whew. To my credit, I was emphatically not driving drunk, having stopped drinking well before midnight; rather, the accident was caused by, as Jurph would put it, yes, sheer stupidity.

    WonkoDSane and radlab0 get their own paragraph because they are wicked cool in almost diametrically opposite ways, and the pair is more than a little bit amazing to see in action. Scott is quite simply a born storyteller (and shameless gossip (don't even try to deny it!)) with a heart of pure gold to counterbalance his imposing stature and wit. Julia is often quiet, except when she is saying exactly the right thing to exactly the right person at exactly the right time -- she generously shares hugs and other physical contact too, a quality lacking in much of society.

    THE ZOO! This may have started out as somebody else's idea, but it was picked up zealously by Jaypea and likely only took place through her firm insistence. And thank goodness. Toward the beginning we got to visit the zoo's three manatees, which were something like Ford Escorts that swim, if Escorts had charming whiskery faces and ate lettuce. I'd never seen any up close before, but they are wonderful critters. Later, the group got separated quite a bit, so it was myself, Walter, Meta, Pyrogenic, QXZ, JP, and jarsyl that got to see the monkey habitats. These were nice looking too, with plenty of stuff to climb, swing on, and hide in for them. We also saw some impressively colored zebra-horse things (?) and a kangaroo encampment too. All-in-all a wholesome, fun, and friendly shared experience.

    What else?

    I love mixing drinks. Made gins and tonic for a whole pile of people, was able to hide the plastic-bottle-gin's true nature well enough that people reported back the drinks being "good." Also mixed Absinthe cocktails for quite a few folks, including a meet host, who actually thanked me for doing him a favor -- this while simply absorbing his time and money, mind you :-)

    Glad Laurel taught Jess the rack thing. Beautiful underwater noises can be yours too for a low low price...

    For all of Chad and Jen's cooking in my presence, I got to eat exactly two bites of the (admittedly luscious) shredded pork, and that's it. Timing difficulties can't much be helped, but having to smell all that wonderful fresh garlic and then not eat any of it was not even barely fair.

    The Starliner Diner, with roughly thirty-five people sitting in at a long table and eating amerimexicuban brunch. Jared gave me a personal tour of the other room, I suppose in repayment for not helping his wife remove her wrist cast with a non-medical power tool.

    My brief goodbye in the parking lot didn't really start to hurt until the next day ... I woke up too emotionally spent to talk intelligibly with close friends, go to class, go to work, etc etc.

    Ack, this is far too sappy already; maybe interjecting the word fuck in bold right here will even things out a bit.

    Various crews; probably best to just do a text search for your name below:

    The porch crew. Chillin at the epicenter. Bart's front porch and yard actually, short term entropic focus for chairs, bottles, a found couch, a huge tree stump, and between four and forty brilliant humans. I met Void_Ptr here, we spoke of hair dye and bleach and such, and computer science and life decisions and eventually turning thirty and more. I got to talk to to Qeyser too, but only for about five minutes, which is too bad because he's interested in brain stuff too and I respect his work here. Saw Anark again, more excited than before about upcoming graduate school goodness. BAR was out here a lot too, full of experience tending bar and partying, and electronic music too. Last but not not not least I talked to Metacognizant the first of many times out here, she's a fucking genius and now a friend; it's a shame that I messed up her name so badly at first. Of course, everybody else was out here too on and off, talking, touching, drinking, living, becoming closer and closer....

    Word out and props up to my Chad's house homies: Kitchen master and ultimate nice guy ccunning, without whom there would be no crew at all, costarring with karma_debt, who kept some semblance of sanity in the house and talked some very impressive parenting. The inimitable storyteller and sharer of good cheer Spackle, who also demonstrated some mad crazy wheelchair-fu. What hasn't already been said about thefez? The good parts of it are all true... Impressed with witchiepoo's calm demeanor and soft words, she wasn't like I expected at all. Oh oh oh I got to meet jessicapierce and share smiles and stories with her; there is NO WAY I'm letting this be the last time we hang out. Lessee, chancel and jmc have huge brains, fast metabolisms, and enjoy bourbon (and chancel's into library science!) -- what's not to love? Wheloc was quiet, but one could see the gears moving fast behind his eyes. Ask disgruntledwren about barbies. Ask brainwave about shaved heads and import restrictions. Ask CzarKhan about spikes and collars as dress accessories, and about his morning-hair-fu. Finally, everywhere-at-once-man Walter is an honorary member here, only staying one night. Have I forgotten anybody? Tell me.

    Oh, and can't forget my quiet and unobtrusive (just as it should be) illicit substances crew. I'm not naming names, but thanks, it was a lot of fun and in one particular case a completely new experience -- valuable stuff yo.

    I'll see all of you folks again, don't you doubt it for a second.

    I initially wasn't going to do an aftermath (not "an aftermath w/u", no, "an aftermath": these things are events in themselves), since we left early and thus I felt iffy about covering the entire event. Then I realized that I couldn't possibly cover the entire weekend even had I been continually there. There was SO MUCH and SO MANY and SO MUCH and besides I was good and tipsy on various occasions throughout. So!

    On Thursday, wheloc and jmc and I take the sweatiest, hottest, most torturous drive ever down to Columbus, through thousands of cornfields unbroken by any sort of tree. Leather upholstery! Woo! John actually has to change his shirt when we stop for lunch.

    On the porch singing with Qeyser, pretending to know the lyrics to "Dancing Queen." Upon looking at the node, I realize I know even less than I thought. Uh, heh. Ysardo requests a little something called "The drinking song" and proceeds to sing it in an unbelievable Irish tenor, with a half-empty bottle of mead in his hand. Quite appropriate to the occasion.

    At the park with a loaf of bread, three aerobies, and thou. Mostly aerobies though. At least six occasions of aerobies stuck in trees. We (Jurph in particular) proceed to also get many sticks stuck in various trees, trying to get things down. Much shirtless action in the broiling sun.

    I swear, Chii and randir were wearing rollerblades for the entire weekend.

    Much sushi, with BAR, metacognizant, discofever, Jurph, Eric(k?)a, birdlace, and many others who currently escape me. The restaurant staff don't question metacognizant's bare feet at all; who knew? I have never had sushi before, and have currently decided I can do without it. I have texture issues. Now, wasabi, on the other hand. I will be eating rice, soy, and wasabi quite often in the future.

    Rosie and I sing two verses of the Brunching Shuttlecocks' Bjork song before our memories fail. Everyone else on the porch just sort of Looks at us.

    At Chad's, our air mattress slowly deflates, like a flan in a cupboard. In the morning, I do a bunch of yoga in the laundry room, freaking various noders out; later, I do more in the backyard, freaking all the neighbors out, while other people discover the root cellar (people still have root cellars?), through a trapdoor in the porch.

    Chad has strawberries growing in his yard! Scattered in the lawn, apparently wild! This is very exciting.

    Chad and Jen cook all morning, but refuse help; I drink three cups of coffee instead and get good and jittery. Later, Bart refuses help with his chicken, and czeano with his tvp chili. All the food was fantastic; however, DAMNIT, I WANT TO COOK! I SHALL BE COOKING at future things. I'm just sayin.

    I forget our toothbrush. Borgo tries to find me one on a cigarette run, but none are to be found. Several hours later, I get one myself, but return to the apartment only to find that borgo has another one waiting for me. Oh man! Noders are nice! Other evidence of the "noders are nice" phenomenon includes at least two instances of people (dann and mordel) insisting that I take their chairs.

    At the thrift store, Rosie picks out a taupe shirt for me. It's almost identical to one of jmc's which I generally try hard not to steal. Eee! Ok ok. Anyway, I don't buy it, such that I can keep, um, not stealing his shirt in the future. Yeah.

    Silly bonding moment. Me: "I'm 24." QXZ: "I'm 24!"

    I am awkward in social situations, and as such don't get really loosened up until Saturday night, by which point I am also getting pretty damn exhausted. Small problem, especially since various people were only just showing up. I don't go out dancing with various creatively dressed people; jmc and I go back to Chad's relatively early and crash. Hard.

    In the morning we are becoming nonfunctional, and overwhelmed with the far too many people everywhere. So we have to leave. Bart looks at us with sad puppy-dog eyes when we say goodbye. Oh man! Leaving!

    Souvenirs: many bottlecaps. Evil grey ninja (although I am hesitant to use the adj "evil" as he is only grey) courtesy of Ninjapenguin. Very sore lower back. The Dandy Warhols Come Down. $1.25 toothbrush. Polaroid of discofever looking very confused in the backseat of Void_ptr's car. Shotglass for jmc, which I suppose is technically his souvenir. People. Lots of people.

    I had a most excellent weekend, although there are about fifty people with whom I would have liked to spend more time. So. I will come back. I will be around. I will.

    Hello. People.

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