a.k.a.
We got ourselves a couple-two-tree noders, but no fronchroom.

 

I know what you're thinking: "OMGWTF! A Chicago Nodermeet?!?"

Yes, kids. Time to retire to the fallout shelter, for the end certainly is near. For the first time in the (readily available) history of everything2, there will be a nodermeet in Chicago! Come on up to Old Irving on August 10th through the 12th for a weekend of drunken debauchery, porch-sitting, and neighbor-angering!

The Master Plan (at it currently stands)

WHEN: Friday, August 10 and Sunday, August 12, 2007. If you want to come up on Friday night, that's cool. Just know that I might be working from home, and may even need to run into the office for an hour if things really go to shit. I have fenangled Friday afternoon off. Come over after 2pm, and I'll be around. Don't tell the boss. :)

WHERE: Super-Secret! My wife and I don't like posting our address on the internet. What I will say is that we're in the Old Irving neighborhood of Chicago. Say you'll come, and I'll tell you specifically.

Our reasonably-sized apartment has a couch and a futon available, as well as plenty of floor space for those needing additional accommodations (bring a sleeping bag or what have you). We've got a huge deck, which I assume will be our major hang-out, weather permitting. A word of warning: there's only one bathroom in my apartment, which will make shower coordination a bit interesting.

There are easy connections via the CTA Blue Line (Irving Park), and the Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line (again, Irving Park Station). It's a short walk from either of these stations to my house, so if you can get to a train, or get to O'Hare, you have no excuse not to get here. There's also the 80 and X80 Irving Park Road buses, which run regularly.

My house is also conveniently located near the Kennedy, so driving here will be easy. A little note for those coming from the south: You're going to want to dodge the construction on the Dan Ryan (This is I-94 westbound after the I-57 junction). I suggest getting on I-294, and coming around through the suburbs, and taking I-90 East into the city. It may or may not be faster, but 294 is going to be the happier of the choices by far.

WHY: Well, um, my wife will be in New York for the ASA conference that weekend. Yes, yes, I know what some of you are saying: "What, that fictional wife you keep talking about?" Yes, that wife. This time you will be able to see all her books, clothes, and other personal effects. And then, of course, wave them all off as an elaborate attempt to fool all of you into thinking I'm married. Yes, you have it all figured out. (Editor's note: izubachi has now met my wife, and confirmed her existence. Take that, smartass noders!)

Anyway, since she will be gone, I was planning to sit here and drink by myself. Might as well get the noders together and trash the place, so she can be really mad when she gets home.

WHAT TO DO:
* Drink on the porch! You do like drinking, don't you?
* Take a look at the gigantic ugly homes they have built on either side of my building.
* We can swing around the corner to the 'Nug for some decent diner food. I'm also thinking we may need to make a trip to Hot Doug's on Saturday.
* Carcassonne, Apples to Apples, and Puerto Rico on premises! Perhaps I'll have figured out how to play Puerto Rico by then. Um, not so much.
* We're in the city! There's bound to be something to do here, right? We can organize expeditions to one of the excellent museums if folks would like.
* This weekend is smack in the middle of a White Sox home stand versus the Mariners, if you like that kind of thing.
* chaotic_poet suggests a trip to the Green Mill might be an good option. "The jazz bands they have there are usually two shades of awesome." Karrin Allyson is playing there Saturday night.
* chaotic_poet also reminds me that it is Market Days that weekend. I knew I was forgetting about an important event.

FOOD: I'll have some stuff here ready to go as far as snacks go, but we run a pretty healthy/anti-snacky house, so anything you guys bring will only make things better in the long run. As for booze, we've got quite a bit here, but there isn't any beer here, so you'll have to bring your own. Maybe some of us will make a run over to Miska's for some good stuff when everyone gets here.

As for meals, I don't have any cooking ability at all. It's best if I don't even try to make you anything. If someone would like to make something, the full kitchen facilities are available to you. Other than that, we can all get organized and go somewhere, or I've got a delivery menu or two around here somewhere.

THINGS TO KNOW:
* We've got two cats. If you've got allergies, you might want to take this into account. We'll also need to make sure they don't get out of the apartment, because they wouldn't last five minutes outside.
* This porch out back is shared with the other units in the building (five, including ours). Everyone else in the building is cool, but so you know, it may be more than just us out there.
* We've got some hotels here in the city, but nothing really around the house. If you want to stay somewhere and need help figuring out what's best, let me know and I'll help you out.
* If you get lost anywhere on the way here, just give me a call. I should be able to talk you down.
* No markers allowed. I'll be checking bags when you come in, so don't get any smart ideas. I'm looking at you, GCP noders.

CONTACT INFORMATION: Cell Number is probably best - (312) 391-5577

The Cool Kids:
vandewal (naturally)
BrooksMarlin
LaggedyAnne and Sessor
Wiccanpiper and BriarCub - who have dibs on the futon in the sunroom
chaotic_poet
RoguePoet
opteek
sauth
mordel
karma debt
izubachi!?! - will be here Friday night. Show up early kids!
Ysardo - Last minute addition

Maybe they're cool enough:
jrn
hunt05
Billy
Two Sheds

You suck, but we'll see you on Labor Day:
artman2003
Apatrix

The Green Mill,,,

stolen glances,

borrowed time,,

stolen kisses,,,,

who knew that a quick visit to the city would remind us all how to be such master thieves.


It was here that I was reminded that the only way to repay a kindness undeserved, is to begin, or perhaps remember, friendships that are unbridled, unashamed, and unforgettable,,,


The music glides through the air and makes it's short distance over to our table, "Capone's booth" as it is known. Slow as the music before us the sun is setting and the bar is darkening. The band is working hard to keep up with their overly talented singer. Set one glides by far to fast, as well as the first few rounds.

The music runs us through unbelievable highs and low, and the place feels like it's really waking up as the second set starts. More crowded, more life, more energy, and more enjoyment in this little (non-smoking) club that refuses to feel like anything but a smoky little room where secrets are being told. The music is moving us all in the direction that we came here to go. People become somehow more than the sum of their parts in this fragrant atmosphere that's every bit as tangible as the table that's holding my Gin and Tonic.

We sit, soaking up to power and joy of it all as we scribble down our would-be whispered confessions, apologies, and admirations.


The street,,,

Fresh out of the car the humidity and the smells begin to sink in. Beautiful church on the right, sculptures of broken swords and beautiful angels waiting me to find them. I'm looking forward though, not up, and then comes what I had so much earlier, and also later, come to love the smell of.

Greeting,,,

Genesis,,,

Renewal,,,


On my short walk, I had time to collect myself, prepare to be working with 'proper villains' again, but instead of thinking about what I'm going to say or do with the noders I'm walking to meet, I fall into the ebb and flow of the city. Hoping against the odds to catch it's very pulse against my fingertip


I didn't, not really at this point. I was too distracted by the beautiful afternoon. The smells of the garden mulch and the beautiful people, mostly just the beautiful people.

The city of Chicago does have a certain rhythm, especially in the summer. We hadn't seen our Jazz show yet, we were just remembering hello. And I didn't feel the pulse of the whole city against my fingers until it was almost time for goodbye.

Time for goodbye,,,

Maybe hello was better suited the moment I was living, walking towards the weekend in the company of friends old and new, but I couldn't help but wonder what lie waiting for me at home...


The Deck,,,

Decidedly in the swing of things by now. It's now that I learned all about how "Apples to Apples" is played. The games is going very well, we all have full stomachs and fuller hearts. Some play, some talk, some smoke, some investigate the mysteries of the newly invented measurement system, all present love, mostly each other.

Rising,,,

Cresting,,,

Falling Away,,,


The lightning comes to play, the clouds roll in being completely irreverent to our observances. Things are protected as droplets begin to fall, and some begin to fall away. The droplets increase and more return to comfort of a drier existence, I remain. I remember that the drive to refuse the inconvenience of your environment is the ultimate expression of humanity. I spend a moment or two with the storm, but sure enough I begin to miss you all.


Pushing hands to applause, pushing ourselves to be our very best selves, simply by being our best selves. No such thing as a lonely table in our midst, no such thing as a gift given here without thanks, and no such thing as an ordinary moment.

Hell has left us some cherries on the table and I am left to admit, I can't ever recall a time before when punching myself has ever been quite so enjoyable. New memories take root, while old ones shove aside and make way for them. Someone steals my spirit just long enough to make sure I get back so that I can lock it in a jar and save it for later. I look around the faces of my people, then the face of the clock and know that we've long since been done tearing the day to shreds.

Finally it becomes time to rest. Some go, and some stay. I melt, or perhaps unfurl on the floor, embracing the quiet. I lie for a few moments just processing the joy of what a day with good friends, good music, good humor, and a particularly good reason to be happy is like.


The End,,,

Waken to the morning feeling better than I have a right to. Spend a few moments learning how God is dead from a lovely book in the corner. Someone stirs to my left and wakes and again it begins. The two of us, alone in the room find Serenity for a couple of hours and then the rest of the house seems to stir almost at once.

We wake and hunger...

A new place, someplace I have never seen and don't seem to quite remember as well as I could. It must be time for us to be coming to close; I always seem to manage to let the memory of the endings slide away.

Time to look you in the eye

Time to give you all the time you need

Time to let you hold me, turn my cheek and accept your kiss.


All that was begged, borrowed or stolen must be returned. This is the moment when I am reminded with the most power why I come out to see such amazing and beautiful strangers. Thank you Noders, for being the most naturally generous, amazing, attractive and wonderful people I have the good fortune and privilege of knowing. You, the people I love, are what make me keep fighting.


We all hug, shake hands, accept our kisses on the cheek from our new mama. You see the happiness at being together, the awkwardness of leaving one another behind, and at least if you were to look in my eyes, you might see the wish for more time peeking out to greet all of you.

Hop a bus and bend Vanderwalls ear one last time. I talk of the family I am going back to. It would only seem silly to talk of the family I just left behind because, alas, it's time to fade back into the nodegel and of course to remember, I was already home.

Time to say goodbye,,,

Time to say goodbye,,,

NEVER SAY GOODBYE!


"Knight's an energetic cocksucker and Armstrong's clearly defined balls cling close to his body in their tight sack during the lick."

It's a little surreal. It's Saturday, we are all sunbaked and shell shocked from the street fair, and we've stopped off at my apartment just to gather back together and regroup for whatever night brings. karma debt giggling voice rings out over my living room, having grabbed the local free gay entertainment guide's porn review article and reading it now outloud. "Wow. Straight porn reviews aren't anywhere near this graphic," someone chimes in from the couch. I can't remember who. I just giggle and smile. These are the little tiny moments -- these five minute asides, sometimes sweet, sometimes absurd -- that sparkle in the afterglow.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...


It was Friday around 5 pm. I was lost. Go me? Hometown advantage and all, yet when the time comes, I've managed to get completely mixed up. Chicago's perfect grid usually doesn't betray me like this, but we're here at the corner of 4000 and 4000 -- all the addresses are the same and I don't know the Northwest side of Chicago. I'm running late and it's already been a long frustrating week full of overtime and fevers. Even today, I ended up leaving work at 4 when I had asked for a 1/2 day. I needed very badly to have a good weekend.

Finally, after walking about 5 blocks more than I needed, I stumble up to vanderwal's C!'d apartment, climb up, and sink into a seat. It's a nice place -- warm and full of character with two cats of opposite demeanors. The brown one walked up and demanded to be pet, but only in the way that it wanted (cheek to back to tail, incidentally). The other, a fuzzy orange blob, just napped lazily in the filtered sun coming in through the window.

I was first to arrive, but it wasn't too long before a few others started arriving. Few by few we settled onto the deck in the back -- the place that would become the centerpiece of the weekend -- and sipped the moon out of it's daytime hiding place. As day left and night went on, we teased, we joked, we talked seriously (but mostly not)... It was comfortable basking in the glow of new friends that have felt like they've been there forever (and those that really are starting to actually be that).


What occurred on Saturday was possible the gayest thing ever to happen at a Nodermeet. It should therefore not be a surprising thing that we were swallowing sausages for brunch. 2 o'clock had found us at Hot Doug's, a self-preported "encased meat emporium." The line was out the door around the corner when we arrived, Saturday apparently being a big day for hot dogs in Chicago. It was no surprise why there was a crowd with such delicacies as fries made with rendered duck fat and hot dogs made with pheasant lined up against old favorites like traditional brats and red hots. Most of the people new to town had a taste of the traditional Chicago dog, the miniature salad on top balancing precariously, while others tried some of the more esoteric or fancier things. It was an enjoyable divey place -- small but worth it.

I had mentioned to vanderwal that the weekend also happened to hold Chicago's largest street fair: Market Days. Taking place on N Halstead, between Belmont and Addison, Market Days is one of the big events of the end of summer in Chicago. It also happens to be one of the Gayest events in the city outside of the Pride Parade. Not that it would usually be a bad thing, save the fact that the oncoming hordes of scantily clad gay men left little room for anything else.

I'd only been to the fair before in off hours, but as soon as we stepped through the gates, it occurred to me that perhaps I'd made a bad suggestion. People were packed back to back in varying states of undress, the uniform du jour seemed to be a pair of speedo briefs and tennis shoes. Squeezing our way through leather daddies and drunken twinks, we ended up rushing through the fair as if it was some sort of rainbow gauntlet of doom. Someone cried shortly after leaving, "I had no where to look. There was just man-flesh everywhere..." The shock would have been equal had we just pressed ourselves through any other mostly naked crowd of people. Still, it was fun to point out that this was really really gay.



[insert porn review escapdes here. add splitting of groups -- one back to vanderwal's and one to the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge]




"All I really want and
is to bring out the best and worst of you"

-Karrin Allyson


I ended up ripping out the last few blank pages out of my mini-notebook. The rule for the evening was no talking while the pretty lady sang. If we were to have words, they'd be with Big Al, the large guy at the door with the mustache. I'd seen Big Al a million times - I come to the Mill all the time and walk past it even more since it's less than a block from my place. Tonight was the first night I knew him as "Big Al," but his loss of nameless bouncer status had more to do with BrooksMarlin then it did with this announcement.

"Paulie," BrooksMarlin's cousin (incidentally, the owner of the club) said, the thick tones of a heavy Chicago accent dripping from his words, "this is Big Al. Big Al, this is Paulie." We were sitting in the Capone booth -- in this case a literal label rather than a cutsey name, the Green Mill being one of the oldest continuely running jazz clubs in the US -- and with it's prohibition, speakeasy feel, this scene was, as Ysardo said, "straight out of a movie."

This was that sort of night.

None of us knew who Karrin Allyson, but by the end of then night, none of us would ever forget her. Even without the threat of Big Al, I don't think any of us would have broke the hush her voice placed on the crowd. It was a sort of velvet smooth that rocked us into this awed silence. Smiles crept across our faces as we passed notes, back and forth... I don't remember all that was said, I just know that they ranged from the silly, to the sweet, to the things that made me feel something strong...

I've lost those few hours now in a haze -- libations at my lips, music in my soul. We settled into the smoky room, and we sipped and took in all of it, or at least tried to. I think, though, that I'd rather not have them back. I'm happy with the a murky memory of such a demurely wonderful time.



We slammed ourselves into the booth a little later, the group reforming at the Golden Apple, just one of those late night diners that you end up at on late nights after many drinks with many friends. We feasted on that wonderful mix of coffee that only a diner can make and breakfast food flipped onto the darkside of the morning hours. We were all smiles, all around, and there was a peace in the chaos of conversation and passing food. Potato pancakes can leave a memory if you let them.

From there, we melted again into a night on the porch, cards flying as fast as the conversation. I ended up crashing on the couch, the long bus ride home too much for me that night....




Things lingered on Sunday... people peeled away one by one, each with goodbyes. We end with one last introduction on the border of Uptown and Lakeview - a Mexican brunch. One last coming together before the winds blew us apart again.

Messages passed across and around the table at the Green Mill:

Everyone is swapping sekrits

Noders always msg, don't they?

Sometimes the /msg is where the real action is…

Indeed. Msgs are good

To love and be loved in return...

These songs make me want to fall in love.

These songs could get someone to fall in love.

I'm in love with the sounds and happiness.

These songs take me to falling in love.

This is much more good than as market days was bad.

I'm in love with all of this. I'm in love with BIG AL.

Have to admit they are catching up with me.

They ARE much faster than you are. The music helps. And how. No food, no rest helps too.

Just love and be loved in return (food is our next stop)

THANK YOU so very much

Thank you for bringing me back to myself. Spent a lot of years singing. Thanks again.

A good night surrounded by smiling faces.

Good sounds, pleasing drinks, family around us--not just a "Tuesday at Noon" but real life happening in front of us.

Love of people+ Love of jazz+Love of communication=wonderful, enjoyable, ecstatic peace.

*Last Blank Piece*

Spent 9 months trying to answer this question.

Its sad, so sad.

Live in the moment, enjoy the now, life is unpredictable. Tomorrow…

Aye

Brightness always conquers dark, the sun follow the night. When we do the things we ought to do, when we ought to do them, there comes a day when we get to do the things we want to when we want to do them.

This place, these people, this music. We see everyday the harder parts of life… then we come together, do extraordinary things, feel extraordinary feelings and we remember life is more than meaningful it is poignant.

Got a headful of friends and music. No room for yesterdays. Who needs tomorrows when you've got jazz? Sitting in the Mill with a glass of liquid bread and I am thankful, oh gods and ladies, yes.

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