The frabjous funky frozen Twin Cities E2 whirling festival of doom had been marked on my calendar since it had been announced, which is rare, as the only other thing that is ever on my calendar is Siggraph, every August.

I was really looking forward to gathering with other users of E2, as I thought it would be a lot like the good old days. I was excited enough to go to bed before midnight, which is where everything (not E2) started to go awry.

In my childish excitement, I had set my alarm clock's alarm, but had failed to 'arm' it. When 7:30am CST rolled around, nothing happened with my clock, nothing at all. Around 12:30pm CST, I awoke, shouted an expletive, and realized that I could still make the 5:00pm reservation at Buca, if only a little late.

At ~12:34pm, I looked at E2 and found that the reservation was for 4:00, but decided to try and catch the crew before they were done with dinner.

I drove fast, very fast. The drive from Madison, WI to Minneapolis, MN takes 4.5 hours, so I had no time to spare. Around 3:00pm, everything (again, not E2) came to a grinding halt. There is a law in Wisconsin that the State Highway Patrol may have no more than 400 officers. They do a remarkable job with so few personnel. I was informed that I hadn't been "gunned", but had been going a bit too fast for the conditions. Without bothering to take my license, he had just given me a cursory warning. I would assume, with winds in excess of 50mph yesterday (April, 07 2001), officers in the Midwest were probably fairly busy.

Having learned my lesson, I decided to slow down a bit, which was fairly easy. "Road work next 10 miles... Be prepared to stop." I could feel my chances of making the festival slipping away.

Exiting at 233a (11th st), and a left on Harmon put me at Buca. I parked, ran in, and asked the man at the front desk/podium/soap-box if he could see if a party was still in. He asked if I knew the name of the reservation, and I did (Chris Cotrell).

When you do something pathetic, like wetting yourself, in middle-school, most people will laugh. In fact, everyone will laugh except for two people: Your teacher, and a true best friend. If your best friend laughs, trust me, they're just a proxy for the friend that you'll still talk to after college. Instead of laughing, your best friend will give you the "I'm really sorry that such a terrible thing has happened to you, but I'm glad it's not me."

The host at Buca's gave me that very same look as he said, "They left about 10 minutes ago."

I thanked him and left Buca's, not knowing where litmus' band would be playing (Hamline). If only I could have found an Internet Cafe. Both of the people that I know in Minneapolis were out of town, so I just drove around the one-way-for-a-block streets and circled Loring park a couple of times. I looked for a group of geeks, sure to stand out in a metropolitan population in excess of 2.5 million. I thought that they might have spent a spare hour or so playing on playground equipment, so I circled Loring park again (for a grand total of three times), but only Mac users would have had the dedication to puerile warm fuzziness necessary to brave the chilling rain and tree-toppling wind that laid waste to the Twin Cities all day. If anyone saw a bright Yellow Integra Type-R, complete with a moron inside, hot-lapping Loring park, that was me.

I had been driving around Minneapolis for an hour when I put my tail squarely between my legs and decided to drive home. The drive home proved to be relatively uneventful, until a thumb-sized screw assaulted one of my sparkly new tires (less than 1000 miles), turning a good portion of it into hamburger. I was over a hundred miles from home, and suddenly limited to 50mph by the bicycle-worthy spare. One helpful driver, seeing my tardigrade cart, efforted to speed me up (white testing our current view of physics) with the momentum of photons. To that end, he drove behind me with his hi-beams on, no more than a car length back, for nearly an hour.

It took just over eight hours to make the 4.5 hour journey back from Minneapolis. What I had thought would be a frabjous day, ended up being wholly dissapointing. I'll make the next one though.
The stars might have been aligned in horrible ways yesterday, as my day was similar.

It started out fine (half an hour late, but fine). A full tank of gas, the open road, enough '80's music to make just about anyone happy. And then I got to the two lane part of my journey. Now, there are a number of ways to get to Minneapolis from Iowa, and it just so happens that the fastest way between Iowa City and Minneapolis is 63 to Rochester and then 52 the rest of the way up. 63 is two lanes, surrounded by nothing but open fields (or lakes, as the case was yesterday.) Being surrounded by open fields on a day that had wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour is bad. I was pretty close (65-70?) to the posted 55 the whole way to Rochester.

So, I got to Minneapolis at about one, and proceeded to go the museum. I drove past the museum, oh look, there it is on the left. It took me about half an hour to get back to the museum, this somehow involved 494 and 35. whatever, it worked. 1:30ish, I bounded into the museum in search of geeks. No geeks, anywhere. I looked. But, I got to see the yes ladder thing by Yoko Ono and a GIGANTIC spoon, and really what more could you ask for?

Now, I had planned on finding people at the museum, so stupidly had not brought along oh, say even the name of the resturant. No problem, there are phone books. And people who know the city. But no, fate did not have dining with other people in store for me. For some reason, the directions I was given involved going the wrong way down a one way. All I really remember after that is that when I saw the sign that said, "To 35W," I followed it and never looked back. At some point I called my roommate, who coaxed me home with the promise that, if I make it there before 10, I'd still be able to make it to the bars. Magic.

Allegedly, I'll be in Chicago at the end of this month, and I'll gladly meet anyone there, its ten times less confusing for me.
"An E2 gathering in Minneapolis? Sure, I'm there!"

If only things were so easy. This was something I wanted to go to. A meeting of intelligent people who wrote well in a city fairly close by. One could not ask for more. Of course, there were a few problems:

  • I'm young, and need my parents to drive me to the cities, which is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours away from Mankato. My parents would need a reason to go up to the cities.
  • I needed to convince my parents that E2 noders aren't the type of people would would stab me, drag me into an alley, and rape my dead body. Knowing my parents, this would not be an easy thing.

    By some stroke of luck, my parents had several reasons to go up to the cities in the timeframe I was provided. That was one problem solved. I was also able to convince my parents that these were nice, clean people who didn't take kindly to the idea of kidnapping young children.

    All looked well, until I learned of the date. April 7th

    This would not work out. Passover took place on the 7th, and although I'd be in the cities on that date, It'd be to have Seder with my grandfather, not to meet noders.

    Things again looked bad. However, another wave of good luck hit: my parents assured me that I could at least make the early afternoon ceremonies. They wouldn't mind driving up early; they could go to a film, or something to that effect.

    So, I was hyped. At least I could meet at the sculpture garden and walk around the Walker for a while.

    Or so I thought. It turned out that that ever fickle fate was against me, yet again. My mother sprained her ankle, badly. She wouldn't be able to go drive up any earlier than necessary to the cities.

    I'd like to say that with any luck, I'll be able to attend the next gathering, but there's a conspiracy to get my hopes up, I know it...

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