This gathering is officially CAPPED...
if you want to come please talk to me, but organizing for almost 80 people is rough, imposing a deadline is for my sanity!





April 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th, 2002
See new agenda!






The BAP has traveled to your noder gatherings!
We have roadtripped, we have stayed at cheesy hotels of doom, we have mutilated our cars, sacrificed our jobs, our families and our friends...
We have seen almost every state east of the Mississippi!!!


Time to pay some homage to OUR damn city!

Yeah that means you suckah!



the final number:
70
noders

3 non noders
1 mystery guest
and
1 ms. ninja-bong


There is a usergroup for this event called nodahs if you are not on it, let me know now!

And if you have an april birthday, the list is getting too big...
But rest assured... there will be shots in your honor



DON'T FORGET YOUR ENTRANCE FEE!!!

Yes, you must bring us a shot glass if you want in.
No, you don't have to get drunk out of it, but...
Yes, you must leave it for team tequila upon departure!



INFORMATION FOR j00!!!


cahla's phone number:
617.290.6963
(cell)
mail my phone at:
6172906963@messaging.sprintpcs.com
100 character limit!
also: 781.874.0686 is my home number...
my cell phone cuts out in my house occasionally...
but try the cell first anyway


cahla's address:
17 Emerald Street
Medford, MA 02155



directions to cahla's:

  • Remember: Boston is the home of the Big Dig. What that means is that traffic here SUCKS and the roads are a mess. SIGNS ARE YOUR FRIEND. If you don't follow them you can get screwed really easy. So pay attention. If you get lost, don't turn around! A lot of times you can not get off an exit in town and get back on in the opposite direction! If you screw up, call!


  • I live off Rte. 93 north of Boston. You need to get to this road.
  • If you are coming in from the south, you will probably be coming in from Rte 95. Take Rte. 95 North to Rte. 93 North. That simple.
  • If you are coming in from the west, you will probably be coming in from the Massachusetts Turnpike, IE: The Pike, otherwise known as Rte. 90. Take Rte. 90 East to Rte. 93 North. That simple.


  • Once you get to Rte. 93 North, you will drive through the city, it's a short but brutal ride if you don't pay attention. The exit number you want is Exit 32.
  • When you get off at Exit 32 you will deposited from the off ramp into a rotary. Follow the sign out of the rotary for Rte. 60 East towards Malden/Revere.
  • Once you merge off that rotary you are on Rte. 60 headed east, otherwise known as Salem Street in Medford. From here you are 3 minutes away from my house.
  • Follow straight along Rte. 60 for about 10 blocks. You will come to a small intersection with no lights and one unlabeled road off to your right. There will be a Dunkin Donuts on your left, and a white building labeled D.B. Mart as well as a Medford Bank on your right. Take that right onto the unlabeled Spring Street.
  • Follow Spring Street for one block. You will see Emerald Street labeled on your left. Take that left onto Emerald Street.
  • My house is three houses down on the right, #17, a red 3 story house with two doors. I am the LEFT door, name is on the mail slot.
  • Please, oh please, do not ring number #15! That would be my landlords who will not be thrilled to have their doorbell rung at ungodly hours! Thankyouverymuch!
  • Park anywhere you can find space. There is lots and lots of parking within that residential area.


  • If you are going somewhere else or coming in some random way, talk to me for directions!


AGENDA!!!



::::: wednesday :::::

airport pickups:
Mitzi 2:37 PM, United -- cahla
someone 11:31 PM (Delta) -- Chihuahua Grub





::::: thursday :::::

airport pickups:
briiiiian 10:33 AM, Delta -- cahla



Thursday Night Dancing!!
With our extra-special-'cause-he-is-arriving-early guest...
tandex

Manray
Cambridge, MA
manrayclub.com
19+ to get in, 21+ to drink
practically no dress code

*** If you are planning on attending let me know! ***
I will be securing places to crash for anyone who comes early...
cahla · tandex · randir · indra363 · chihuahua grub · jaubertmoniker · mitzi · Infinite Burn · Sondheim · briiiiian · drunkenmonkey





::::: friday :::::


IF YOU ARE ARRIVING FRIDAY COME STRAIGHT TO CAHLA's HOUSE
You will be picking up some supplies you will need for Saturday...

airport pickups:
Juliet 10:30 AM, South Station Bus Terminal -- ?????
WonkoDSane 2:40 PM, American -- The Custodian
herbman -- WORK, 4:30 -- ??
radlab0 AND karma_debt 5:50 PM, US Airways -- Illumina
girlface 7:06 PM, United -- dann
ModernAngel 10:30 PM, Delta -- donfreenut
panamaus 10:40PM on Delta -- donfreenut

road-tripping noders arrive all day...
THE PLAN IS TO BUY MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF PIZZA, DRINK LOTS OF BEER and...
VISIT WITH MS. NINJA-BONG WHILE PEOPLE ARRIVE

ie: party at cahla's house until it gets too big


should things get too cramped here, noders will travel to:
Lanes and Games
for bowling, pool, drinking...
and whatever else you can find to do


Travel back to sleeping arrangements for the night...





::::: saturday :::::

airport drop-offs:
metacognizant AM South Station Bus Terminal -- drunkenmonkey
yossarian 3:47 PM South Station Bus Terminal -- cahla
jaubertmoniker 6:00 PM Work -- cahla
ModernAngel 8:30 PM, Delta -- cab to airport


Scavangah Hunt
12:00 Noon
Boston Common
details on the way...

Prudential Skywalk
by 6:00 PM · Last step of the Scavangah Hunt
Noders meet at the top of the Prudential Building

Noder Dinner Out
8:30 PM · Dinner, DEFINITELY Vinny Testas in Back Bay
RESERVATIONS FOR 70 PEOPLE CONFIRMED!!

The Menu:

Appetizers:
Bruschetta Caprese
Fried Calamari
Salad:
Vinny's House Salad
Entrées:
Eggplant Parmigiana
Baked Penne Gratinate
Desserts:
Café Latté Cheesecake
Chocolate Bomba

Info for me: Tim @ 617-262-6699, 8:30 PM, $19.95 + tax and 18% gratuity
Scavangah Hunt Results will be tallied and winners announced after dinner


PUB CRAWL
10-11:00 PM Start · Locations:

These are the bars within walking distance from Vinny's
I will attempt to node as many as I can in the next few days...
Bar Code · The Blue Cat Cafe · Bukowski's · The Cactus Club
Charley's Saloon · Dad's Diner · McCarthy's · Pour House
The Rattlesnake · Whiskey's · White Star Tavern

You will have a T-Pass and people will be free to go wherever the want...
but the T closes at 12:45 AM...
people will be meeting back near Vinny's at 2:00 AM
then head back to their places of sleep...





::::: sunday :::::

airport dropoffs:
panamaus 12:20 PM on Delta -- dann (leaving at 10:30 AM)
girlface 2:30 PM, United -- ??
karma debt 4:00 PM, US Airways -- ??
yossarian 4:00 PM, South Station -- ??
Juliet 5:15 PM, South Station -- ??
someone 5:30 PM, Delta -- ??
radlab0 6:20 PM, US Airways -- ??

E2 Iron Chef Cook-Off
cobie vs. ccunning
cobie's sous chef will be OH CHRIS
and ccunning's is OH RADLAB

arrive at cahla's at noon
*** cash will be collected here then distributed to the chefs for the food budget ***
Please prepare to donate a few bucks to the cause...
in CASH so the chefs may shop with it!

1:00 PM · Secret Ingredient will be announced and chefs will go shopping
2:00 PM · Chefs will arrive back and start cooking
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM · targeted food time and winner announced!




Noders depart... ???





::::: monday :::::

airport dropoffs:
WonkoDSane 9:00 AM, American -- cahla
Mitzi 10:15 AM, United -- cahla
briiiiian 9:35 AM Delta -- cahla





EVERYTHING ELSE!!!

  • Bring bedding/sleeping bag/etc... most space is floor space! air mattresses if you got em!
  • Don't forget your shot glass for the host!
  • People who are not on planes... bring BEER. For Friday and Sunday I will supply the hard liquor. Please be a nice person and bring something to share, if everyone brings a bit, life should be peachy. Local brews encouraged!
  • Cash requirements are as follows:
    • Your travel costs (arbitrary)
    • Your cheesy souvenir costs (arbitrary)
    • Friday night budget, this could be zero if we are able to stay contained at my house, or you could blow $50 on bowling and booze... I won't know til that night, so be prepared!
    • Saturday Budget for Scavangah Hunt is $6 all day T Pass, $5 to contribute to your ride into the city's parking, $3 to get you to the top of the Pru, Approx $20 for dinner, give or take, and then whatever cash you want for drinking out.
    • Sunday Budget for E2 Iron Chef Cook-Off: I am going to ask for a voluntary $20 donation from everyone to go buy the food. If you can't give in that is ok, if you want to give $10 that's fine... the point is that it is voluntary. Everybody will be eating what miller and chad will be gracious enough to cook for us. By being nice and asking for donations, you then help out some other noders who are probably dishing out some big cash just to get here. So please, remember to bring cash, as it will be divided up between the chefs on the spot.
  • If you have special dietary restrictions, the cook off will have one dish from each chef be a mandatory vegetarian. If you need further considerations than that, please let me know!
  • The Pub Crawl. If you aren't 21 we will provide alternative options, but bring your ID, fake or otherwise. All places card and most every bar is 21+.



THE LIST!!!


Accommodations are listed here for definites!!!
The accommodations themselves, though...
are NOT definite!
They can and probably will change!
The other noders hosting people are:

1. cobie, drunkenmonkey and bommerman
2. Chihuahua Grub, jaubertmoniker, dann and Indra363
3. Orange Julius
4. The Custodian

So far it looks like we can fit everyone at these places...
If we start getting more people confirming to be here,
more accommodations will be by: Illumina

If you don't like where you are staying, let me know!






THIS NODE WILL BE UPDATED CONSTANTLY
Check back often
Last updated Wednesday 1:31 AM Eastern Time, April 10th, 2002.







To the BAP: to keep the nodegel clean and spiffy, if you have any comments you wish to add, msg me and throw the HTML on your scratchpad and I will add anything you have to say here!

For when the time comes, wharfinger has politely asked all aftermath nodes to find their homes right here under this writeup if you feel you have had a profound BAP experience.

dem bones has also asked me to inform you all that aftermath nodes will be included in the gathering nodes from (last week) now on.

jaybonci Good luck, BTW. You're totally on crack for hosting a gathering, but hey, that's cool.
jaybonci We love you to death for it.

jaybonci So how many people are interested in the orgy? I mean do I get the industrial shaving cream, or only the "family fun pack"












cahla         cobie          ChihGrub      HOTEL        OJ              own bed      herbman     custy   
mitzi         monkey         dann          wonko        jaybonci        donfreenut   jannie      QXZ
perdedor      ladysun        jm            radlab0      sophiescat      cowofdoom    cowboy      walter
liha          chris-o        indra363      IB           jocasta         illumina                 PS
chiisuta      moxie          ccunning      czeano       dmd             uncleozzy                PS +1
thefez        czarkahn       chad +1       cerrulean    kaytay          snowy                    PS +2
yru           jenn           tandex        sondheim     clampe          hemos                         
karmaflux     dis            karma debt    dizzy        CentriX
jethro        modernangel    girlface      katyana      meta
wren                         maus          voidy        guilded frame
crux                         zot           kendall      fatalberttheta
juliet                       sean                       pyrogenic
aresds                       burnboy                    N-Wing
briiiiian                    yossarian
ailie


"KISS ME QUICK"
-Anon xoxoxo
The note I received at dinner.

Yes. I got wicked retahded. There is evidence. I have the dark circles under my eyes and the battle scars to prove it. Thank you Cahla and thank you Miller. Because of all of your hard work, we were boozed up, smoked out, wined and dined, bedded down and entertained for a whole weekend. They deserve our thanks, our money and our first born children.

". . . and a Butterfinger Mcflurry."
-Crux, at McDonald’s, in full view of the Vermont
square dancing team (hubba hubba).

yru and I left from work at six, to abduct crux and bring him to BAP country (where the flavor is). Things were going well. Until we actually left. Foible one: We left the directions and phone numbers inside our workplace and had to detour to my apartment to get new copies. Foible two: We missed our exit twice. Foible three: We kept driving past chez crux. Foible four: We took a different route than planned and had to ask old codgers for directions. You’ve heard it. "Turn right at the old Johnson place, and hang another right at the brown dog. You can’t miss it!"

We listened to hockey, we listened to music, and we talked about how math is hard. Once we were close, I called thefez to find out if the party was still jumping, which in fact it was. After nearly crashing the car because we were so tired, we realized we better get there quick. It was time to get our second wind and I was getting excited.

"Calling fives. It’s not just a QXZ thing. Check the node!"
-Walter, when I questioned the validity of the fives rule.

After finding the house, I got my hug on. Chihuahua Grub was my first victim. Then it went on and on. Meeting people (iDeath, Jethro Bodine, Karmaflux, Mitzi and others). Seeking out the people I couldn’t wait to see again (too many to write here, you know who you are). Finding out that Cahla and Miller were still busy with details. Then I got a drink in each hand, a cigarette in my mouth and friends in my vicinity, and proceeded to party until the wee morning.

"No, but don’t tell anyone I’m not coming."
-Brassmule, when I asked whether or not he was coming.
He showed up a few hours later.

The Team Yellow Experience
A scavenger hunt. We didn’t know what to expect, but there were beach buckets and sand trowels involved, so it had to be good. Cahla broke us up into teams, which for the most part were not the people you arrived with and not your usual buddies, and then we bid on BAP noders, using future points as cash.

Team Yellow consisted of: Myself, Phyllis Stein, tandex, moxie, Kenny, and panamaus.

Our team picked out The Custodian, for 250 points, and he was worth every point we spent. He knew the city like the back of his hand, and we made great speed on our quest for names, dates, pictures and wangs. We started with a nice lunch, courtesy of our guide. Over food, Team Yellow agreed to do whatever it took to win and I went over some tips for successful lifting.

"Paul Revere died erect"
-Cemetery rubbing, by Moxie.

After the food and drink, the day consisted of walking and committing crimes. Crimes ranged from climbing onto public statuary to the theft of an actual copy of Touch the Puppy by Tandex. We handled dildos, scared the public by asking random walkers if they had heard of Brandon and Ricky and got really old people to make the devil sign. If we saw another team, we talked trash (well, I did). Team Yellow managed to get all but two of the required items, and a good bit of the booty, using super secret robot lasers. Or walking real fast. And on top of that we ate a fucking McFlurry!!

"Oh my god! This is like the third time you’ve mentioned spies! Now you’re just fucking with me."
-czeano, after I made what I
think was the first spy comment of
the evening. But I could be wrong.

Dinner that night was fun, and, yes, we all got seated pretty close together. Which lead to "mail". The paper on the table was quickly converted into insults and love letters and surreal comments. I’d like to thank the person who was kind enough to pass me a note, when I complained that I hadn’t gotten any mail.

"When I asked them to do that, I never
thought it would actually happen."

-Me, when Karmaflux and JethroBodine rubbed
their bare chests together, fulfilling my
dreams of homoeroticism at a meet.

The quote above pretty much sums up the after-dinner Saturday night. There was supposed to be a pub-crawl. But that doesn’t sound as appealing after walking four hours. So we congregated back at Cahla’s and had a replay of Friday night. It was a little more relaxing because we’d all gotten to know each other better.

Sunday was the cook off, but I know nothing about cooking, except it was all awesome. My thanks and props to the men and women who made my meal. We napped and played games and made music. And took our leave.

The Random Stuff:. . .experiencing Karmaflux’s super sexy handshake. . . Infinite Burn and Sondheim showing it to the fundamentalists. . . Cahla says "You finally brought your own cigarettes!". . . climbing the scaffold with Jethro Bodine. . . .grabbing Briiiiian’s ass, ninja style . . . QXZ keeping the party going in his own special way. . . Walter popping my wang on the nude dude. . . being kissed by moxie. . . donfreenut said "That was you?". . . the mystery of crux’s mom. . . .checking out she-male porn with czeano. . . the clampe-fez man-wall. . . tandex asking "What happened to Team Yellow?". . . Hemos saves the day. . . the nicest sleeping accommodations ever and last and best of all, getting to talk to witchiepoo on the telephone!

"Why don’t I ever bring my fucking notebook downstairs
when people are saying the cool stuff?"

-Cahla, in the basement. I don’t think
she ever brought down the notebook.

Let’s face it. Writing aftermath nodes is hard, especially after a big event. You are introduced to too many people in the space of a few hours and at the same time you’re drunk or whatever. When you leave it’s a surreal train of hugs and goodbyes. I haven’t written here about a quarter of the people I liked, or funny things that were said.

Didn’t see your name? A rose by any other. . . Don’t worry; I suck at names. But I can see your face. You turned to me and smiled and told me a story. And I’ll remember. Next time I see you, please do it again.

I have not been at this long, only a few months. Some of you have years on me, so maybe I'm not the one to be saying these things. Maybe I am, because whoever comes in later is likely going to have my point of view. But here's what needs to be said:

This thing is growing at an alarming rate.

Biggest gathering ever. Seventy noders. All crammed into one house, at a couple points. Shoulder to shoulder in the basement, the kitchen, the hall outside the bathroom. On the couch and the front and back porch. Noderland. It alarms me because I wonder what the hell these things are going to look like in two years, or even five.

But it doesn't worry me. And here's why.

This weekend, I figured out what noders do better than anything else, better than anyone else. What makes them noders. The game that the noders have mastered, that the rest of the world could stand to learn from them if only for a day, is this:

Adaptation.

Versatility, breeding improvisation. We all have specialties, but none of us would be as entranced by our surroundings if surprise wasn't our ultimate high. You have to assume the one next to you knows something you don't. You can't possibly cover all the bases, you can't be truly prepared, so all you can do is make sure those around you are equally unprepared for what you're about to do. Show your understanding of the system and don't just make it work, make it better.

How it plays out in real life is like this:

-----

Not so much a scavenger hunt as a goddamned quest. Last night all we cared about was getting high and laughing and now we are not just sleuths but athletes, running to get it all done in time. Of course there is still more drugs and laughter but the point is we all embrace a new way to get there when the old one is easier.

-----

We are seated at Asgard-length dinner tables, some 25 to a rectangle. The tablecloth is covered with huge squares of paper, 'cause, you know, noders are messy. And I can't remember who did the first one, but someone tears off a scrap to pass a note, like you did in middle school, and someone else responds, and a third copies. Fast forward an hour, and we don't want to put down the pens to pick up the forks. We see a new game and we're all game.

(I got an anonymous one that said, simply, "Dinner isn't the same without you." Hey Jay, can you finish that patch for us to read nodes in the author's handwriting? Then I'll figure it out. Thanks duder.)

-----

We're back on the steps in front of the Pru. It's dark, and lights in the ground make creepy upside-down shadows on faces. It is decided that there must be a wedding, to commemorate last year's, and so Bart and Laurel, both of whom live nowhere fucking near here, bravely step forward to make the commitment. And as Cliff makes a speech about what this love means and will always mean, suddenly it's not a joke anymore. I was more genuinely moved than I have been at weddings of blood relatives, in churches. I look behind me and sixty-five noders are standing there solemn. Passersby ask us to explain and we tell them hilarious lies. This is our dangerous psychotic cult; you stay out.

No matter what happens, drama or trauma, fight or flight, we can deal. But we all work to keep it cool. We know all about karma, and we are cyclically selfish. We know that what is freely given will be returned a thousandfold.



SECTION OF RANDOMITY


"Hi, I'm Walter."

hemos shakes my hand.

"Hi, I'm QXZ."

hemos shakes his hand.

"Hi, I'm JayBonci."

hemos bear hugs him. "Can I hump your leg?"


Faces always fade from my memory           but voices (as the ninja says) become inextricably linked to writings.           For instance, wren and Mitzi's words will now have that Southern shading,          while karmaflux and j-bo's become low, dry, and deadpan.           The deductions I make about you people are consistently right;           the assumptions consistently false.           I don't mind. I love being shown the true why.


FatAlbertTheta is a friend of mine from high school I had not seen in eight years. Neither of us knew the other was a noder. We did the standard catch-up talk, but mostly we just stood around chuckling.


Wren is the deranged evil little sister I never had. She is endlessly fascinated by porn and enjoys stabbing boys. Underneath this-- no, not under, alongside-- she is a vulnerable ball of sweetness. So all of you assholes being mean to her better fucking quit it. You're just jealous because she can write better than you, and I bet she's younger too.


The ways in which Carla went all out to provide the good times cannot be overstated. I glanced at the fancy clue scrolls and said, "Ah, she just bought these at a tourist trap." Then I noticed the yarns about Olde Captain Fez and the Butt Pirate Miller. Imagination was out in full force, and was responded to in kind.

I should have known that Christa would put us all to shame at the scavenger hunt. She's had so much practice with those damn puzzles. I acted like a bit of a dick when I discovered the degree of her success-- this, again, can be chalked up to jealousy. She got an extra hug on the way out.

My team lost pretty badly, but I'll never forget the way rival Mitzi said "You suck!" when I waltzed into Davey Jones' Locker and opened the exact right treasure chest under her nose. We both knew she meant the opposite.

(She, I must detour to say, is a belle without equal. Calm and dignified yet smoothly silly. Sam, wherever you are, you're a lucky dog.)

So as I hugged and handshook my way to the door, how could I not get depressed, because there was still an infinity of witticisms unspun. Once I get used to this, how do I go back to my own boring little week? Guess that's why so many noders move in with each other.

Cheers.

I've Been Everywhere

You may already know this, but I've attended a lot of noder gatherings. I keep on going to them because I want to and because I can. In that regard, fortune has truly smiled upon me. It's mind-boggling, really. I've nearly lost count of them all, but then again, I wasn't really counting them to begin with... I try to count the people I've met instead. Because Everything2 is made of people. And let me tell you, we are a truly remarkable colony of human beings: writers, artists, cooks, geeks, poets, lovers, pranksters, pioneers and adventurers. Sometimes I believe that this place could be named Everyone instead of Everything... it might describe what E2 truly is just a bit better.

And I've said it many times before: I don't do aftermath writeups. And generally speaking, that's true. But a search of my nodeshare will prove that I have written a few of them, and dammit, this makes one more. But you know what? Fuck it. I have experienced a magnificent day that I will remember for decades — maybe even for the rest of my life. And it isn't just "daylog material." It means so much more than that. It applies directly to this place, came into being as a direct result of this place, and defines (in a sense) what many of us are all doing here (though we didn't know it would come to this when we started). And in spite of my personal policy against it and my professional Editorial abivalence about it, I am about to lighten up for a moment and tell you why.

The Gruesome Details

Surprise! There are (almost) no gruesome details, but the basics are thus: I flew to Boston, got picked up by donfreenut and Chihuahua Grub at Logan, went to cahla's house and got drunk, went to sleep later. Woke up the next morning, walked, rode the T, walked, gathered with noders at the Pru, walked, drank, went on a very fun and silly day-long scavenger hunt encompassing some of Boston's most historic landmarks, walked, drank some more, walked, had a very expensive dinner with some truly delightful people, walked, drank even more, etc. (Noder gatherings can be great exercise!) And when it was all said and done, I met another dozen or so amazing noders I had never met before. I woke up on Sunday to be delivered back to Logan by dann, and flew back home. "Blah, blah, blah." It will be documented in this node by the others, in various forms and from various points of view, including all the great stuff I missed out on because I had to leave early. And that's all very, very cool to read, but it's not my writing style. Because I just don't think I can do justice to the experience.

As I've said elsewhere, all the details (gruesome or not) can't really be adequately conveyed in writing. At least, not by me. I suppose I could write lengthy prose about how magnificently beautiful the weather was (surely no more perfect a Spring day in New England has ever graced this world); how because it was Earth Day, we got to ride the T for free; that the Boston Red Sox pitched a no-hitter that day in Fenway Park and that I was THERE to see the rejoicing fans on the street; how the very streets and parks and golden dome-topped architecture of Boston's historic buildings were breathtaking at every turn; how I was lucky enough to gaze out upon a living sea of noders larger than any I had ever seen before...

I could go on forever, because every passing moment was magical. It was all so beautiful and memorable; a waking dream, in every sense. It was far greater than my ability to convey it all in words. And that is what I want to tell you about. Because as amazing as this noder gathering was for me, it was in a different sense quite ordinary. In fact, it was a highly concentrated and actualized sample of what every noder gathering should be (and with few exceptions, has been). I've been to a lot of noder gatherings, folks. And let me tell you something: This one was perfect.

The Perfect Noder

While I was on vacation in California recently, somebody made a half-joking remark about how I was on a search for The Perfect Noder. Everybody in the room got a good laugh out of that, especially me. But it got me to thinking: Am I really searching for the "perfect" noder? Is there even such a person? What is it that compels me to attend as many of these noder gatherings as I can? I was looking directly at nate while I considered this, but he simply grinned back at me like the Cheshire Cat that he is. I think Ouroboros offered to make us all another drink at that point, and I quickly forgot my quandary.

And then, two weeks later, I found myself sitting at the bar next to The Custodian in a place called Whiskey's, about a dozen yards or so up the street from where the Finish Line of the Boston Marathon is located, and I had an epiphany. I have some of The Custodian's words of wisdom to thank for it happening, but the realization was thus: I know who The Perfect Noder is. And I was so dumbstruck that I could hardly speak. Of course, I was pretty tired too, and I hope Custy doesn't think I was rude by being so quiet for so long. Shortly thereafter, a lot of other noders found their way to that bar, and while I was transfixed by this new understanding, their interaction with each other served to prove my insight was true in a way that was incredibly beautiful.

You are the Everything

So what was it about this particular noder gathering that made all the pieces fall into place? Alas, there is no simple answer. Every moment is a colorful tile, forming a mosaic of brilliant, reflective memories that you can only give meaning to once there are enough of them in place. Here's a very short list of semi-life-altering items for you to consider (in no particular order):

  • The view of the Boston skyline on a clear night, from the window of a banking Boeing 757 that's 5000 feet up, is beautiful enough to remind you of how you felt when you first saw fireworks as a child
  • The sight of donfreenut's facial expression when I held up my Butterfinger McFlurry poster (which I made to signal him down at the Logan arrivals level) was cooler than a cup of Abe Vigoda's urine
  • The innumerable hugs and warm handshakes upon arriving at cahla's house made me feel like I was walking into an idyllic family reunion (idyllic in the sense that you actually love everyone there)
  • Seeing the camera-laden dmd with young WonkoTheSane as his shadow was one of the coolest things I've ever witnessed at a noder gathering
  • Stealing a kiss from Cow Of Doom in a moment of drunken spontaneity was serendipitous, and reciprocated in a way that I can replay in my mind as if it happened in slow motion
  • Realizing with great awe and admiration over lunch that Chiisuta is built like a brick house (and she knows it, baby)
  • Shaking jaubertmoniker's hand upon leaving Sunday with a return grip so firm and steady that it spoke volumes, even while we all stood in that hallway muttering awkward words of goodbye
  • Realizing in Boston Common that the lovely moxie, when she's smiling and laughing, reminds me a lot of Templeton
  • Gazing at karma debt looking at me through the reflection of a beer tap backboard, and knowing all at once what mutual admiration really means
  • Watching JayBonci and clampe stalk my team of scavenger hunters through the streets of Boston like the true predators they are (they will help you if they can, but they will kill you if they must)
  • Kissing brassmule on his nose as he lay on his back in Prudential Center, just at the very moment that he realized I was there
  • Hugging cahla outside the restaurant after dinner in a moment of mutual understanding about what hosting a noder gathering really entails
  • Sharing a special moment with several noders while tandex had no pants
  • Seeing the gleam of concentration in hemos' eyes as he counted and recounted a two-inch-high stack of cash, preparing to settle our tab for dinner
  • Having my smile returned to me from across the room by Void_Ptr, communicating the understanding that noders who've hosted gatherings have about how much we love them
  • Holding radlab0 in my arms while she spoke into my chest, "I'm so glad you're here."
  • Trying desperately not to pander to karmaflux's vulgar and hilarious "secret handshake" display, even while submitting to be the "butt" of his joke (as usual)
  • The hug dann gave me outside the departures gate at Logan is among the most deeply sincere displays of affection I have ever felt in my life (dann's hugs are usually like that — I highly recommend them)
And these colorful moments are just a small sample of the thousands I have experienced in my travels to find The Perfect Noder. It's been a long journey, filled with tears and laugher, serious conversation and juvenile fun, getting lost and being found, blisters and sunburns, hot tea and cold sushi, jet lag and sleeping bags, smoking and drinking and eating and talking, candid embarrassments and genuine affection. This is the journey we should be seeking in our lives: Finding the beauty that is humanity.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

If you take only one thing from this missive, let it be this. Everything2 isn't just a web site. It might look that way on the surface, but trust me when I tell you that it is much, much more. It is made up of real, live, breathing, feeling human beings. It's a community in the most literal sense of the word. We are a tribe, with common goals and customs, rights, privileges and interests, all living in the same virtual place under the same laws and regulations. And this is a realization that I've made several times before, as have many others. But something happened to me on April 27, 2002 that I will take with me on my continuing journey through the evolution of E2. Because I now know who The Perfect Noder is.

If you were at this gathering, it's you.

If you've ever attended any noder gathering, it's you.

If you've ever longed to attend a noder gathering but couldn't, it's you too.

Because The Perfect Noder is any noder who understands that this game we are all playing here isn't just a game. All the writing and reading and voting and messaging we do here is simply a beautiful and elaborate technical means to an end. And that end is making personal connections with other people — people who touch our lives and lay bare its meaning. It's why we write, and why we play, and why we travel to make communion with one another whenever we can.

It's love, basically. And you can't get much more perfect than that.

(This is merely a half-hearted attempt to capture even the smallest bits of what this was for me.. excuse the rambling sometimes lack of focus.)

Sitting on the frontsteps waiting for jesus, I am afraid and my stomach is in knots. I only know these people in pieces, in words and what if I don't know them at all. I am thinking I will be too afraid to say anything of substance, anything at all. I think I hid it well, but I will say that I do not remember anything between walking in the door and tedd's arms.

This is for me, and this is for the people that didn't wander onto the front porch. I was watching all of you. Sometimes, I would walk slowly past someone and catch their eyes and I would smile but that is all, mostly, it is fear and it is intimidation but mostly fear. I've never been to a large noder gathering, I've rarely been to the smallest ones. I have to say, though, this thing was magical. I was utterly amazed at how well everything came together and while everyone has thanked carla and miller (as they should, a thousand times over), there were many many people driving all over the place at a moments notice to collect everyone from various city points, the airport. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Everyone. This would not have worked out, not nearly as smoothly, were it not for the people who were willing to chariot people around this crazy city everyday.

There were people that I came to this gathering for specifically, there were people I did not think I would find quite so absolutely gorgeous. There were those that I simply watched, from time to time, sleeping, talking, leaning against a wall. So many of you are sparkle'y beautiful creatures, some of you have such beautiful eyes. It was nice to finally meet all of the people that have been hanging around #e forever.. void'y, CowboyNeal, Infinite Burn. I especially liked meeting the quiet ones, even though we didn't exchange many words.. Sondheim, Aresds, Phyllis Stein, perdedor the ninja.. there were soo many of you, so so many. For the record, I will confirm that ideath does in fact positively beam magic and glowiness.

This next bit is for carla and miller, mostly, they put a lot of time and effort into the scavenger hunt and so, this is how it went for me (us): I remember mostly karmaflux and trying to break into the locked boxes to steal menus at the underground, trying to decide exactly which was the pirate's favourite sword, touching the puppy at the firehouse and how such a little thing seemed to give me something i thought i'd mostly lost, long ago. I remember when they rubbed the cock, getting a stern talking to by people more concerned with "the right thing to do" (or not to do) than some of us. I remember wondering why anyone seemed bothered by his enthusiasm, why anyone would want to drink at three p.m., and that I should love pigeons a thousand times more than I do to make up for how much everyone else seems to hate them. Our trip out to see jm, meeting up with the other groups, piling into the back row of seats on the bus. I remember the picture at the Commonwealth Ave. sign, and how we assured the lady when she seemed surprised we wanted the sign in the picture. I remember kflux carrying a board with nails in it around for a while, and the invisible weaving. It was an interesting, tiring day, and I have to say that marc, jenny and kurt were really the main reasons it was so much fun for me, especially when the group split up. Nick, kara, kat, chris, will and anyone else (I am seriously having trouble remembering names at present), it was a really good day, thanks to all of you.

I also have to mention that QXZ, jaubertmoniker, herbman and anyone else who participated in the musical aspect of this gathering.. you were amazing, and the perfect backdrop to the alternate level of reality I was in on Sunday.

There were people who completely threw me with their simple kindness, their smiles and hugs and the words that we tossed between eachother. WonkoDSane has, undeniably, the most friendly welcoming eyes I've come across ever. radlab0 is everything that you are thinking she might be, and much much more. yossarian is as dreamy as ever, and I got in as many hugs as possible, it was so good to see you again. I just want to keep going and going and going (but I won't, I won't). If I had to single out one thing that really stayed with me.. it would have to be the hug I got from hemos across the street from Vinny Testas. It was a really good hug, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Really. (I can't honestly single out any one thing, though, I loved the hugs the most. If there is one thing there was no shortage of here, it was hugs.)

-------------

Last night (Monday), the locals all gathered with tandex (who is the greatest, loveliest human) and we talked and we were all so funny I could hardly stand us. (Seriously, it was all too much, I laughed and laughed and it hurt.) OrangeJulius might possibly be the funniest most charming New England'er ever, and despite extreme exhaustion, a dry contact, and the waitresses attempt to poison him, JayBonci was also quite hilarious. It was a really good time, very low key, and we got to talk about all of you, the whole gathering. It was a great way to end an amazing weekend..

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Everyone. I have never been quite so in love with humans, this place.. thank you for the memories, and thank you for the tiny pink piggy, it means everything.
Well, if there's anything I can state about my experience at the MASS RETAHDATION that was last weekend, it is this:

Regret.

Regret I hadn't met so many of you before. Regret I hadn't had any sleep for 2 days and am apparently too fucking old to party for three days straight on three days of no sleep (must investigate dexedrine) and regret that the INCREDIBLE HONKING FUN of the Scavengah Hunt prevented me from meeting, greeting, hugging and phreaking more of y'all that particular day i was actually conscious.

Of course, that's not the last word.

The last word, as others have said much more eloquently, is this:

Love.

I love y'all. I love this place-that's-not-a-place-because-there's no THERE, there. I loved the gathering. I can't friggin' wait to meet and hang with more of y'all, and to be less lame at the next gathering I can make it to.

Ob. Random Bits:

  • panamaus and I jointly admiring the physical and talent-based attributes of our bartender at Whiskey's (who could, no doubt, kick my ass) and then (better!) being joined in said appreciation by Moxie.
  • Watching the 'non-noder friend' (yeah, right, for how long?) scramble fearlessly up a tall, stone, smooth, police-protected statue so some crazed nodahs could take his pic up there with the herbed woman.
  • Turning to Chiisuta's shout of throaty triumph almost primal, to see her brandishing the mighty Detex Watchclock Key, a blonde victorious Amazon.
  • Having QXZ and Walter show up at my place at around 5am, courtesy of Cow of Doom, without either making me feel (more) guilty for not being out OR waking my roommate.
  • Being told by the incredibly formidable CzarKhan "Man, I wish I'd brought my cloak."
  • Bouncing off of clampe after cornering too fast at cahla's. Given that I'm 5'11 330lbs, this isn't a normal experience. His must be muscle.
  • JethroBodine's silver toenail polish.
  • Cahla's roommate Kes hissing and spitting at me, before allowing that if I restricted myself to scritching her kitty head I coul dbe one of her favorites.
  • thefez aggressively...lurking around the dinner table, his unmistakable visage popping up next to various other seated noders across the room at odd moments wearing that particularly fezzy grin
  • metacognizant for being herself and providing Team Yellow with a critical photo of Lesbians! Monkeys! Soy!
  • Illumina and I playing post office at dinner since we were closest to the next table.
  • Hearing the manager at Vinny Testa's explaining to his five servers which nodah was cahla, since she'd arranged the dinner and was, in his sotto voce opinion, "fucking awesome."
  • The genial insanity of hemos, and the insane geniality of CowboyNeal.
  • WonkoDSane folding his huge self into my teensy Toyota MR2 at Logan Airport and laughing enough to shake the car at the sign in the passenger window I'd placed there reading "WONKODSANE/everything2.com/Lesbians! Monkeys! Soy!" ...and then taping it to cahla's front door when we arrived.
...and so, so much more.

Thank you all, and see ya real fuckin' soon.

It occurred to me some time during the meet that this was far more than just a meet; it was a fucking odyssey.

Most meets consist of your standard revelry - there's drink and drugs, music and maybe some skin. You always meet new noders; you almost always really like them. You always come away with memories and new friends; sometimes bruises or gifts, to boot. Then you go on and you post your pictures and you tell your stories of funny conversations, and the great node game goes on, and you feel closer to the community. Sometimes there is some sort of activity beyond standing/sitting/lying around partying. Often noders go on fun trips, little adventures into their surroundings.

But it has never been like this.

This was the biggest; that much can be seen just by looking at the orignal writeup. Seventy people? Was that it? All I know is noders were everywhere. And it was long; I don't know about the others, but three or four days of solid meet is quite a lot for me. Not that I wouldn't have stayed.

But WICKED RETAHDED was the most carefully organized, exquisitely produced, and downright deep meet I have ever attended. And we have to thank for it cahla, randir and the BAP. They all put so much planning and thought and care and love and money into making this thing for us to enjoy that we should all spend every upvote we have on them, forever and ever.

There were no deli runs here; fancy Italian resturant reservations and tons of food (good food, and may god bless hemos forever) for all. And good god, the scavenger hunt. It was like being in summer camp; we were split into groups, organized, given guides, given tools, given T passes - it was like summer camp, except of course, that instead of naptime all the campers get to go to a pub or three. Oh well. You get older.

It was educational. Oh, there was your booze, sure, and there were your special brownies - cigarettes and rock music and other mind-dullers. But there was fucking history, too. Historic districts and landmarks and tons of Boston trivia, lots of great touristy shit. And we had fucking fun doing it. They call that edutainment, folks. All orchestrated by Ms. Cahla and her BAPers.

We were well furnished on our journey: cameras for all - and money to develop film, even - buckets (shovels), and lovingly printed and designed directions. Because this is the real marvel of the weekend: the amount of energy, time, care and cash that Carla put into the gathering. The costs were gigantic. No care was spared. She made all the calls, kept lists, and updates, arranged travel and had time for mad partying with the kids. And she pulled everything off. This meet was a sheer wonder. Hell - once Chiisuta and yru and I were out of her influence, that's when all the bad stuff started happening.

We salute you, cahla and the BAP. May your names be sung with praise in the halls of Everything2 evermore.

(Excerpts from the Book of the Nation of Eahtoo)

The Old Testament

Genesis

     1 In the beginning was Nate. 2 Nate begat the EDC; and the EDC begat Everything2; and Everything2 begat the BAP; and the BAP begat many, many zany antics. 3 Nate saw all he had made, and, behold, it was very good. 4 And the evening and the morning were the first day.

...

     1 In a dream, an angel of the Lord didst descend to St. Carla of Medford from on high saying:

2 "Thou shalt build me a temple. It shall measure 70 cubits wide by 19 cubits long by 5 cubits tall, built entirely of gopher wood. 3 Thou shalt bring forth people from every corner of the earth -- the short, the tall, the young, the old, those near, and those far. 4 Verily, verily shall all partake in merriment for the duration of three days. Not four, and not two, unless thou then proceedeth to three. 5 Five is right out."
     6 St. Carla and St. Miller thus did plan as was commanded:

     7 From the tribe of the holy land came cahla, and Chihuahua Grub, and cobie, and cowofdoom, and dann, and donfreenut, and drunkenmonkey, and FatAlbertTheta, and hemos, and herbman, and illumina, and Indra363, and jaybonci, and jm, and Orange Julius, and Snowy, and SophiesCat and the custodian, and uncleozzy; And
     8 from the tribe of Phillipi came hamster bong; And
     9 from the tribe of Zoahar came dis and foxtrotjuliet; And
     10 from the tribe of Ammon came briiiiian, and karma debt, and liha, and ModernAngel and panamaus; And
     11 from the tribe of Moab came jethro bodine; And
     12 from the tribe of Jabbok came girlface; And
     13 from the tribe of Hebron came burnboy and czarkhan; And
     14 from the tribe of Ezion-Gezber came disgruntledwren; And
     15 from the tribe of Zobah came cerulean and czeano; And
     16 from the tribe of Arnon came clampe, and cowboyneal, and kaytay, and Kendall, and the gilded frame and void_ptr; And
     17 from the tribe of Micah came ailie, and aresds, and dmd and N-Wing; And
     18 from the tribe of Judea came Chiisuta, and crux, and infinite burn, and metacognizant, and perdedor, and Phyllis Stein and friends, and QXZ, and Sondheim, and thefez, and walter, and yossarian and yru; And
     19 from the tribe of Bethany came Mitzi; And
     20 from the tribe of Gideon came ccunning, and tandex, and zot-fot-piq and _the_devil_ (but our Lord didn't mind... much.); And
     21 from the tribe of Nazareth came ideath; And
     22 from the tribe of Gergesea came brassmule and pyrogenic; And
     23 from the tribe of Capernaum came moxie; And
     24 from the tribe of Samaria came karmaflux and WonkoDSane; And
     25 from the tribe of Azariah came radlab0;

     26 And thus on the Evening of April 25, 2002, the Year of our Lord, the sons and daughters of Eahtoo joined together in the Lord's house and merriment didst ensue as wast foretold.

Exodus

     1 Now these are the wanderings of the nation of Eahtoo through the wilderness, leaving captivity to the land of their sojourn. 2 The glorious leader spake then from on high these words, saying:

     3 Thou shalt wander through the deserts of the holy land in search of food and water.
     4 Thou shalt take with you no possessions but those which I grant to you.
     5 Thou shalt divide into the clans I specify to you, no more, no less.
     6 Thou shalt walk or take camels on your way. Chariots are evil in my sight.
     7 Thou shalt bring back and render unto me all that which I have commanded you to find.
     8 Thou shalt, at all costs, come in personal contact with the ark of our covenant.
     9 Thou shalt visit our brother, who is held in captivity in a far away, strange land.
     10 Thou shalt keep thine clans organized under leadership of a levite.
     11 Thou shalt, if thy so desire, purchase bondservants to help you on thy journeys.
     12 Thou shalt not return here until hath passed forty days and forty nights.
     13 And when the people didst hear all that was said, they trembled with fear and set to their appointed duties.

...

     1 Now are the chronicles of one certain clan: QXZ, brother of Walter, brother of Dis, brother of Dann, all begat of Wren.

     2 All were weary from the pilgrimage to Mount Zion, so they decided to feast on the milk and honey that were plentiful across the river. 3 After the passing of one hour, they set out for the land of Nod. 4 In the land of Nod, there was Mount Horeb where they thus retrieved five of the appointed stones and headed for Mount Sin. 5 Upon reaching Mount Sin, they partook in merriment and rejoicing with the Clan of the Sacred Fez before departing on their journey to the deserts of Zin.
     6 Upon reaching the burial grounds of deserts of Zin, they searched for the gravesite of the fallen father to no avail. 7 They then proceeded to wander in search of their brother jauberiah for 3 days, only to find him in a faraway, strange land, in captivity at a market. 8 Unable to free him, the clan didst wander back to Mount Zion to rest and fellowship with their brethren.

Judges

     1 At the appointed time, all the clans didst meet together with one another at the base of Mount Zion to have their actions judged by the King and Queen. 2 All were held accountable for their various deeds, both good and evil. 3 The judging lasted for twenty days, but at it's end, no champion of the nation of Eahtoo could verily be announced.

...

     4 Once all were prepared to overtake the Land of Milk and Honey, the entire nation circled round three times, gave a mighty shout, and the walls came tumbling down. 5 Led by the Queen, the nation ate, drank (except the young or chaste), and participated in festivities. 6 During the pillage, many messengers were sent to and from every corner of the land, sharing battle plans, tactical information, and mandates from the queen.
     7 When the enemy was wiped from the record of history and all prepared to depart, It was noticed that some soldiers had taken gold from the temple there, but after the call was sent out, gold was donated in abundance and Father Hemos prepared the sacrifice as was mandated by the Law. Amen. 8 Upon the coming of twenty third hour, the nation did depart to camp for the night.

...

     1 At the foot of Mount Zion that evening, Father Clifford joined Bartley and Laurel in the most holy of matrimony (until death do they part).

The New Testament

Acts of the Apostles

     1 On the morning of the passover, all arose and traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem for feasting and merrymaking. St. Jared of the tribe of Gideon was to prepare a sacrifice to rival the one prepared by the King, and all were gathering to take eat. 2 After many journeys to local markets, the materials desired by the king were arranged to offer the sacrifice. 3 All who weren't of the King's court or a bondservant of St. Jared were asked to leave the temple during the preparation.
     4 During the preparation, the nation of Eahtoo kept themselves occupied outside the temple by playing with dreidels, playing harps and singing, making burnt offerings at the gate of the temple, and worshipping a golden calf. 5 After three hours of preparation, the sacrifice was presented, and did find favor in the eyes of the people. 6 The saints performed many miracles, including turning water into wine, and the feasting didst continue on into the night and verily into the next day.

...

     1 Hear, O Israel the missionary journeys of your brethren! 2 Those who have found fortune to live in the Holy land rode their chariots to all corners of Jerusalem to gather friends and neighbors to themselves. 3 The queen, St. Tedd, some servants, and many brothers all earned the favor of their peers for bringing friends and neighbors from the far gates of the city to the temple. 4 One certain servant, who didst travel to Jerusalem recently, got lost many, many times, but had audience with the Queen to guide him along.

Revelation

     1 In the end, all scattered to the ends of the earth from whence they came. 2 A good time was had by all, and memories were made that time cannot and shall not destroy. 3 Many, many more people were witness to this account than could be recorded here, but they have not and shall not be ignored or forgotten. 4 The entire weekend was absolute magic, and all who came have my deepest heartfelt gratitude.

...

     1 Oh, hasten the day of thine return!

     2 Amen.

The text of Clampe's service:

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to speak a few words tonight about marriage. Marriage is a holy union made between two people; it is a guarantee that when you don't come home at night somebody will care. I know that this marriage may seem like it's temporary. I want you to consider, for a moment, that this will stick with these two people for the rest of their lives. Even should they move on to other marriages or should they become less attached to each other in the future, this night, with these people, who have met in this way, will become permanently imprinted upon their hearts.

So I want you, in all seriousness, to consider this union; to consider two people brought together, despite the boundaries of time and space, brought together for a marriage in which they may not be physically together, but in which, over time zones, mountains, and rivers, their two hearts will be as one.

You may exchange your vows.

I'm not going to sully this with links.




Administrata:
The retahded video will hopefully be edited May 11-12, and will be made available by the 14th or so in all your favorite formats and media.
Herein lie my recounts of a weekend well spent, beginning with the drive, ending with the drive. But those are not the most important things; this write up is an attempt to capture the unbelievable good time I had in Boston, despite minor drawbacks (and one major one, which was consequently overlookable when compared to the positive overload of the three days spent in the company of cool people). This noder gathering, despite that dorky title, was the highlight of a dismal semester spent studying and pining for those party days which I had thought were long gone, lost somewhere between high school and college, never to be recaptured with the same enthusiasm or enjoyment. Thanks to cahla and the BAP, I rediscovered what it’s like to hang out without a care in the world, for a couple days at least.

The Drive to Ann Arbor and Thursday Night
Since the drive was going to be so long anyway, and because there were three of us still in Holland despite years upon years of boredom and we were meeting the rest of our former Holland crew in Ann Arbor, Void_Ptr, her husband (Kendall), and myself made the decision to leave Thursday night and sleep in A2 for a few hours before taking off for Boston proper. The fact that several of my best friends, including MiZuNkY (my pseudo-husband of three years), were graduating in a few days, and because I needed to bestow them with gifts, also played into the leaving early equation. So I drove over to Rosie and Kendall’s house around 6pm, and after packing up the trunk of my microscopic Saturn, we were on our way.

We made it as far as Grand Rapids before stopping for dinner at the Cracker Barrel, where we all partook in the heavenly concoction that this particular establishment was well known to excel in creating :pancakes. They were fantastic. The three of us talked about computer games throughout the meal, and Kendall did his Tom Green impression of “Daddy, would you like some sausage?” This led me to conclude that he bore an uncanny resemblance to this comedian, an impression that still stands after several more days of contemplation.

Later on the drive we came across a purple pickup truck that was the exact hue of Rosie’s stunningly purple nails, a color I am known to be especially fond of. Even my car bears a hint of purple, disguised behind the moniker of blackberry to persuade customers it is not too offensive. I thought it was charming, as my current vehicle is the second car I’ve owned to be of this color.

We arrived in Ann Arbor around 9:15, and had made arrangements shortly before to meet the rest of our crew at the Fleetwood, a diner-style trailer restaurant where the schizophrenic and/or DID bums hang out on a regular basis. And the cooks there make incredible hippy hash, a dish that is locally famous for its deliciousness. It consists of hash brows, at least an entire stick of butter, broccoli, peppers, onions, and feta cheese. Hard on the stomach but well worth the pain, as I always say. Because we were slightly ahead of schedule, we stopped by Aaron’s apartment and picked him up before making our way to the restaurant. After finding parking, we met clampe, the gilded frame and Cowboy Neal at an outside table. After observing the disgusting coffee they were nursing, and because it was decidedly chilly, we took off for warmer places. After several failures, we ended up at Amer’s, one of my favorite places to eat.

Rosie had a Greek salad of daunting proportions, and Aaron grabbed some sort of leaky beef sandwich that caused the white bread to develop brown splotches until one not well informed would have thought it to be some sort of swirled rye bread. But he attested to its tastiness, and then polished off Rosie’s salad minus the brown olives. Kurt was there, and Scott’s girlfriend, Karen, was also present, the only non-Hollander, non-noder at the table. She appeared to be remarkably comfortable despite her glaring differences. And she was a wonderful woman. Those two took off slightly before the rest of us. The conversation was scintillating, the people were even better.

Kendall, Rosie, Aaron and I piled back into my car around 11 to get a short night’s rest before rising in the morning for the Big Drive. Only when we arrived at our sleeping place, we found it to be loudly occupied by Aaron’s roommate’s girlfriend, and one of my favorite friends, Stef. She is a native Boston dweller, and had a lot to say about our forthcoming trip. The colorful yet slightly begrimed bowl on the coffee table sitting next to the baggie full of plant matter didn’t seem to phase anyone except me, but I moved it out of sight nonetheless.

I gave Aaron his graduation present from my mom and I, a Rio mp3 player with a128kb memory. I had heard they were the most popular brand out there, and therefore must be of good quality, hence the decision to give Aaron that particular one. I had been all for getting him a Samsung yepp to match mine, but the more I thought about it the less I liked that idea. Couples who match are suspicious folk. So no matter how much I love my little toy, I had to get Aaron a different one. I went to bed shortly thereafter, while Rosie and Kendall continued to watch tv.

The Drive to Boston
I woke up after a restless sleep to the alarm clock’s awful beeping at four o’clock. I stumbled out of bed, threw on the first thing I grabbed from my bag, and woke Rosie and Kendall up. We were slightly delayed due to an injured toe on Kendall’s foot, for which I was deeply sympathetic having had similar pains awhile ago after long years of foot abuse brought about by high heels and uncomfortable shoes. I’m sure Kendall’s difficulties arose by different means, but ended in the same inconvenience. However, we were out the door at quarter to five, and met the rest of our crew at the Fleetwood once again for a quick breakfast. Rosie and I had our own table, from which we had a spectacular view of a man wearing three inch long, blood red acrylic nails and pink lipstick. He was also wearing earmuffs.

And then it was on the road. We followed our leaders in their rented Buick Le Saber, nearly double the length of my car, and were soon driving east into the sunrise. Rosie took several pictures with her miniature Polaroid camera, with which she began a book to commemorate out journey.

A few hours later, we pulled behind a van with a license plate reading ZOY. Instantaneously we all thought of “Zoy! Zoy!” instead of “Soy! Soy!” and a picture was taken almost instinctively. There was not much else of note occurring throughout most of Canada. We stopped for gas maybe. Maybe not. Around ten o’clock though, we arrived in Niagra. It was a necessity that we stop by the falls, on the American side. It was beautiful! As we walked from our cars along the path provided, Scott and I wondered at the conspiracy behind the large metal railing between us and the fast flowing rapids. There was some sort of power source leading into them at regular intervals, with no real purpose immediately evident. It must have been some strange energy source, although we weren’t sure about how the details of its workings.

After following Scott for so long and becoming used to his tactics (which included cutting off a semi right before our exit, pretending to go straight and then cutting across two lanes with no blinker and taking the exit dangerously close to the sign) enough so that I could anticipate them, Cliff took the wheel. He has a sporadic lead foot from hell, racing ahead at speeds upwards of 120mph for a few hundred yards, then settling to a comfortable 95. I became used to this too, after a few hours, and all was well.

More driving. After my seventh hour behind the wheel and a rest stop at Sbarro’s where I spent half an hour gazing at a six foot tall picture of faded lasagna, I switched with someone and zonked out in the backseat for three hours. When we were in New York I awoke, just in time for some confusion as to which state we were actually in. This led to being lost. But it did not last long, as we soon re-found the Mass Pike and were on our way once again.

Back behind the wheel. We arrived at Hemos’s house in a posh area of West Newton, where I met his beautiful cat and even more beautiful daughter. He printed off further directions for us, gave us a place to rest our travel-weary selves for a few moments, and then it was back on the road to cahla’s.

We arrived on cahla’s tree lined street without too much confusion, finding parking a mere two blocks away, and then it was time to meet the noders…..

Friday Night
I was tired and quickly became drunk. Upon entering the house, I remember a dark inside, followed by a bright kitchen crowded with people. I kept thinking of the phrase someone had said the day before, that this gathering would be like a cocktail party where everyone had read your diary. I saw dmd first, with camcorder in hand and nametag in place, looking me up and down in a very forward manner. I shook hands with several people, the names of whom I cannot recall. Chihuahua Grub made me a drink of mystery ingredients, garnished with a pink umbrella and matching straw. I played several games of Cathedral, all of which I lost. Novalis and WonkoTheSane tried to help me out. A ferocious game of Scrabble ensued, which Novalis swept with a 100 point lead due to the word favours.

I gave cahla the obligatory shot glass, inscribed my name upon it with a Sharpie, and had a brief discussion with Mitzi about a very strange occurrence. It turns out she originally heard of me through Salon.com and an interview I had done with one of their reporters for an article on pro-anorexia. Of course I am vehemently opposed to such a ludicrous concept, as the Salon.com reporter discovered, and this was in favor of the slant of her article, and thus she quoted me a few times. I suppose she added a link to my website in the article, as Mitzi clicked on it and consequently found the link on my website to our beloved e2. I thought this was decidedly coincidental and it has remained in my mind all these days until now, as I am sharing the story with you all.

I met so many people on Friday night, but due to my brain-dead state and Tedd’s skill with alcohol (and someone else who made me a few white Russians), I can’t remember a whole lot. I was definitely retahded. I do recall a kind handshake from the wonderful panamaus, as I was standing in the doorway to the hall to the kitchen looking decidedly unsociable. I apologize for my blandness, as I was very happy to meet him.

I finally met JayBonci, a man who has been my personal hero several times. He has gone out of his way so often for me and my inane requests, endearing him in my heart forever. I talked with clampe for hours in front of the stove about our overachievements at West Ottawa High School (he, by the way, outdid me by a long shot – however impossible I thought that to be). The Custodian helped me find a glass of milk. Walter tried without success to convince me his real name was something else. I remember shaking many more hands and exclaiming over many other people, but the details elude me, and I am sorry.

Orange Julius rounded up the gang staying at his place, and we took off in the early hours of the morning. I remember getting into Whitey, Jay’s 1988 Oldsmobile, with no heat, and trying to find Novalis’s home which even he did not know how to get to. But somehow we managed to arrive safe and sound at OJ’s house, and soon after showers and changing, everyone was asleep.

Saturday
JayBonci and I slept in until 10:30, just as I had planned. OJ provided us with a quick and varied breakfast catering to any taste before we left to make the long journey to the Pru.

It began with the walk past a house that looked a little shady, a little off, a little unfit for the neighborhood in which it was situated. After my instantaneous observations, OJ and FatAlbertTheta informed us that it was, indeed, a crack house. Or at least a house that was highly suspected to be involved in such things. A few minutes later its title was revised to a crack home, although I missed the details on this. The walk to the bus continued. We passed a Lego man and his blood brother who were bearing mints in block shaped boxes, begging us to visit their newly opened store. The Lego man was silent throughout this request although he did appear to be enthusiastic. We arrived at the bus stop without further mishap. OJ told us about his jungle berry pie creation. The bus named every street we passed with undying accuracy despite the varied speeds. I decided there must be sensors and such throughout the city.

We then boarded the T amidst a crowd unlike any other. Most of the people in the station were on their way to a Red Sox game, stacking themselves into the cars of the T like bread into a bag. We made it nonetheless. The line was cut off early; they took upon themselves the authority to kick us off the T a few stops early and let us take some other form of transportation the rest of the way. We decided to walk.

Upon our arrival at the Pru, I noticed a large collection of shiny yellow buckets with bright blue shovels attached to the handles, all sitting in a large planter beneath a set of stairs and under the watchful eyes of a large bronze man in statue form who was trying to soar into the sky. I could only imagine it was the work of cahla and miller. My suspicions were confirmed a few minutes later. However, in the meantime I witnessed Void_Ptr being rocketed across my vision by means of a shopping cart, and I saw someone had collected a cloud covered lampshade to tote about for the day. It was quite a find.

The scavenger hunt rules were explained, and I was excited. My team was the last to be named, and we were labeled The BLACK Team under the rule of ccunning. Our team consisted of the following noders:

After all was settled, we decided our first stop was Walgreens, where we planned to procure drinkables and warm clothing. This stop took about twenty minutes due to mass confusion and a lack of single packets of tissues, but we were soon on our way. Mission one: visit Jaubertmoniker for 10,000 bonus points.

The voyage there was trying. It was difficult. It was a blast. We harassed half a dozen street vendors for the devil horn shots, we stopped at every bar between the Pru and the Star Market for matchbooks, and we painted ourselves with watercolors from ideath’s never ending supply of goodies found in her Boy Scout backpack. We saw some sort of dog/monkey hybrid made of cloth and wire, twice the height of a man, sitting on the back of a bicycle with a microphone in one hand, singing old rock tunes and mocking computer generated voices. It begged ideath to sing a song, but she politely refused as we were on a desperate mission.

Once we reached the Star Market, we found Andy and harassed him to no end. He finally came from behind the counter and allowed us to pick him up and hold him in odd positions for the sake of the camera, in front of his managers and all the customers, causing great fright to all. After we had satisfied the proof requirements, ccunning was kind enough to steal several labels from bottles of Miller beer to add to our yellow bucket, and we found a box of dog treats with the cutest picture of a puppy on it, which we all readily fondled for the camera. After we were assured that every security guard in the store was focused on us, we left, sure in the fact that we had just secured our victory, as we had been the first to reach the store and the first to get the 10,000 points. We smugly awaited the next bus back to downtown. Ideath painted burnboy’s chest with a large M while we stood outside next to a shopping cart, blocking the sidewalk.

Misson 2: Boston Common. We found several copies of porn magazines, including but not limited to Big Black Booty (which was appropriate to our team’s name and mission). We beat burnboy with these reading materials, thereby signifying the “Crushing of Enemies” dictated by the directions, even though he was obviously an ally. Next, we bought some fried dough. Cheer logos were found, gravestone rubbings were made, and we attempted to climb onto the lap of the herbed lady, but two park security officers were alert and watching, no doubt due to some other (and clumsier) team’s attempt at the same goal. We managed to get close enough to touch the lady’s knee, but there would be no further climbing without angering the large men wearing the shiny black boots. But we were allowed to climb all over a mine, which made an interesting picture as well. And our interpretation of a waterfall allowed for the interruption of children’s playtime, which we were reluctant to do but forced ourselves to for the good of the hunt. Extra points? I think so!

Mission 3: Newberry Street. We accidentally accomplished one goal without even thinking – I’ll give you one guess as to which one. Okay, it’s too obvious. We went into Condom World and took a picture of the boys perusing the dildo section with pensive expressions without even looking at the objectives. Upon following later directions and walking the plank, we saw in the distance the purple sign and the downward arrow, pointing to the already-visited store. More bonus points! However, when we attempted to find our locker, it was barred with a lock for which we possessed no key, as the store was long closed when we arrived. But we did try. Then we ate ice cream at JP Licks while watching a bright yellow Kawasaki get ticketed.

In a last desperate attempt, we finished a few more goals in a frenzied rush, and then ran back to Walgreens to turn in our film at six o’clock sharp. Then it was time for a Starbucks mocha coconut frappachino and the waiting game. Aresds produced a trio of brightly colored plastic monkeys for our entertainment. Then I waited to have our priceless bucket assessed only to have the sun set, leaving us in total darkness except for the end of cahla’s bobbing cigarette as she totaled up the points of team yellow. Then it was on to dinner, unfinished buckets and all. Thankfully dann was there to comfort me in my disappointment and express his sympathy for my frozen self.

Dinner was lovely. I sat next to N-Wing, an exhausted burnboy, Cow of Doom and his girlfriend Amanda, dann and ideath. And yes, how the notes did fly. And I contributed my share. Most were directed at JayBonci a few tables over, although some were to no one in particular. I received half a dozen, but they were somehow lost amidst the sea of folded paper that was beginning to take over our little end of the table. I ate a lot. thefez sat with me for a bit, Chihuahua Grub stopped by, clampe made fun of me for not liking condiments (namely garlic, which alienated me from the Hollander crowd). I wrote dann’s name in Japanese for him. I’m not sure how accurate it was, but it did look cool. And that was that.

After finishing dinner and throwing down a quarter of a hundred for my tab, I watched a train of noders carry endless stacks of tinfoil covered dishes out the door to cahlas car. Leftovers for another day, I assumed.

ideath and zot-fot-pig’s wedding was lovely. The veil that she had used earlier to represent a sort of rabbit animal while at Starbucks was now used for its original purpose, concealing her beaming smile and radiant features during the ceremony. clampe did a wonderful job leading the whole deal, improvising a lovely sermon on the spot.

Then it was supposed to be back to cahla’s house after a brief stop at OJ’s. So we walked a little, rode the T a little, rode a bus a little and talked a lot. SophiesCat told us about the obnoxious rules imposed at Smith, as well as the house’s self-governing tactics that included such amendments as “No showering with a guest during prime showering times,” which I thought was the best from the list. OJ told us some amazing stories of promiscuity performed by his college roommate, all told secondhand and therefore taking on legend-like qualities. The nicknames of the “girlfriends” ranged from Jay, Do You Want This? and Mannequin and Wagon Wheel. I can’t remember some of the more involved aliases, although there were definitely more interesting. FatAlbertTheta and OJ talked about their Japanese roommate and his habit of speaking his native tongue while sleeping, and his unsurprising love of karaoke. We then consequently sat next to a large group of Chinese passengers on the T who were all deeply engrossed in reading Chinese newspapers, which contain characters that look the same as many Japanese characters with different meanings and pronunciations and stroke orders. I tried my hardest to get the gist of some of the articles, but I failed miserably.

Once we arrived back home, everyone realized the extent of their fatigue. It was by unanimous consent that we remained at OJ’s for a night of quiet drinking and movies. After some debate, and many refusals to comply with my decisions (including Legally Blonde, Trainspotting, and several others I can’t remember), we finally decided on Pleasantville, which most of us had never seen. It was cheesy in its symbolism but good nonetheless. OJ brought out a bottle of Courvoisier and passed it around. Thankfully P Diddy didn’t show up. After tasting it, we decided Busta and his crew were right; it’s better to pass the courvoisier as opposed to drinking it. SophiesCat was the only one who could drink it without wincing, spluttering, crying or dying. The movie ended and it was bed time, although JayBonci and I stayed awake talking for a while. Before I knew it, the clock read 4:30 and my eyes were refusing to cooperate with my nerves, closing without warning. I remember mumbling incoherently into my pillow for a while, and then I was unconscious.

Sunday
One o’clock in the afternoon, the last to wake up as usual. I scrounged around for some shampoo and conditioner, and finally found some already awaiting me in the shower. Had a bagel for breakfast and some tootsie rolls. Then we drove over to cahla’s house for the Iron Chef cook off. I got involved in a friendly game of Monopoly with burnboy, ccunning, dann, WonkoTheSane, Dis and Orange Julius. After a few hours there were only four of us left; burnboy, OJ, dann and me. Dann and I were pretty much tied after the former players left us the majority of their goods, neglecting poor OJ, as he had been the winner for a good portion of the match. Burnboy was barely a part of the game, as he was even more distracted than the rest of us by Disgruntled Wren looking at porn for four hours on the couch next to the coffee table where our game was held. I can only imagine what poor Cow of Doom’s computer’s hard drive looked like after the couch porn crew filled it up. Although I tried my best to avoid seeing much, a few pictures were brought to my attention, including one that induced the famous comment of the day:

”They must have a welder on staff!”
I would rather forget the things I saw. Wren had all sorts of interesting quirks, including the constant exposition of her switchblade, which injured two people in my presence, dripping blood and all. Despite the several requests I made for her to put the knife away, she never even looked in my direction. There are definitely better ways to get attention, such as talking to people instead of brandishing a weapon.

The game of Monopoly came to a halt as hunger overtook us. However, most of the gourmet food was long gone, so I settled for the leftovers from Vinny Testa’s. Miller gave me a carrot, for which I was thankful. I added it to my salad minus dressing.

A few hours later, after we uncovered OJ’s bottle of Kalua, White Russians and Mind Erasers were made for all. After I had finished my second, Rosie found me and said it was time to go. The alcohol was not affecting me in the least, so I said my goodbyes and left rather abruptly. I apologize to those I did not say farewell to, you were still in my thoughts! We watched most of Executive Decision back at the hotel, and then I went to bed.

The Drive Home
I woke up around 7:30 and got dressed, clean and fed. The hotel had a nice selection of carbohydrates from which I chose several, and then it was time to pack up the car and be on our way. We were right in the middle of rush hour in Boston, but thanks to a strategically placed carpool lane, we were racing past the backups for a good portion of 93. The drive was uneventful until we arrived in New York, 260 miles from Buffalo, when Kendall pointed out a cop car on the side of the road a few hundred feet ahead. I immediately hit the brake and slowed to a measly 65mph, which felt like a slow crawl after our steady cruise at 95. We passed him and I slowly sped back up to about 85, until Kendall announced it was time for a bathroom break. I slowed down to 70 and changed to the right lane, falling in behind a purple car with thirteen antennas. Within a few minutes, the same cop car pulled in behind me, which I thought was odd, as he had been going much faster a moment before. I was smug in the knowledge that I had been going 70mph for a good five minutes, which was only five miles per hour over the speed limit. But despite my angelic behavior, the lights began to flash, and I pulled off the highway. The policeman took his time getting out of his car and making the walk to my window. I handed him my license and registration after only a few minutes of searching through old proofs of insurance. He said they had clocked me at 80mph a few miles back, and had been following me for a while. This made me happy, as they must not have seen me going any faster. Or he was being kind, which I doubt. So I got my first speeding ticket. I called my parents to give them the news, they informed me that it will most likely not apply to my insurance rates or put points on my license, as NY and MI don’t share records. My mom congratulated me on getting caught. No one was angry, which was a relief.

I didn’t much feel like driving after that, so Kendall took over. I read for a while, and then it was Rosie’s turn to drive. I zonked out in the backseat until we got lost in Canada. We took 407 from the QEW instead of 403, which took us much farther north than necessary. But we somehow got back on track without meaning to, and then stopped at a gas station to double check our position on an official Ontario map. We were on course, but about an hour behind. All was well.

We got home safe and sound, I finished up the drive once we got past Detroit. I couldn’t have asked for two better car mates, who kept me entertained and took the wheel when my fractured tailbone demanded a rest and pumped the gas while I was sleeping and changed the cds with remarkable efficiency.

The entire trip was incredible, amazing, and I am so happy I decided to make the long journey for the sake of meeting some of the most interesting people I’ve ever come across in my limited number of years. Everything attracts the kinds of people that would otherwise remain fragmented and separate from each other, lost amidst a world of ignorance with no place to announce opinions or share experiences and knowledge. I’ve never had so much fun with people I’d never met before, people I felt I knew before shaking their hands and hearing their names. The drive and the ticket were well worth the experience I had in a far-off city made beautiful by beautiful people. I love you all.



Pictures
czeano : http://65.187.124.169/~czeano/boston/
QXZ : http://photos.yahoo.com/e2qxz
ccunning : http://www.gnarfle.com/gallery/Boson/
Cow of Doom : http://cowofdoom.ath.cx:8080/photos/?g=6 3
burnboy : http://icdweb.cc.purdue.edu/~rgoeken/boston.html
cahla and the Scavenger Hunt : http://www.thebap.net/WICKED_RETAHDED
clampe : http://www-personal.umich.edu/~cacl/clampe/

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