Wow, what a week!!!!

As some of you will know, I have been involved in martial arts for a long time, however the last week has definitely been a very new experience for me.

A few months ago I discovered that one of my styles of Ju-Jitsu is affiliated with a style which competes on an international basis. So I looked in to it and found out that they were running trials, it was completwely different to anything I had done before but I figured what’s the worst that could happen? I went to the two final training and selection sessions.

Much to my amazement I made the team, which gave me the opportunity to represent my Nation on a world scale. Naturally I was very happy and honored, but didn’t really feel as though I was ready for it with such short notice. However there was no way I could refuse such an offer.

My next problem was funding, at the moment there is not much money in martial arts in Britain. My target was £800, how was I supposed to raise that? Yet again the odds seemed stacked against me and I started ringing round. I have been refused by local companies, national and international companies, magazines, shops, national lottery, sporting councils, governing bodies etc……..

My first glimmer of light came from the wonderful people at Huddersfield University, they agreed to fund half of the cost in return for a picture in the University paper-a more than generous offer. I then turned to individual sponsorship, getting my money pound by pound but I was still short. Time was ticking and by shear luck in the last week I was offered enough from the Students Union combined with the North East region Jitsu Foundation to meet my target.

I had made my financial target and all that was left to do was get on the plane to Uruguay in South America for the World Ju-Jitsu Championships!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, we flew out last Thursday, arrived on Friday for the competition on Saturday. And I had a serious shock before the flight, according to a friends set of digital scales, I was overweight by about 1 ½ kilos. I started eating a lot of pineapple (diuretic) to try and loose weight and stopped eating for the next day. I weighed myself before the official weigh in and was plenty under the weight I needed, panic over. I waited till I weighed in and then ate like there was no tomorrow, earlier on a few of us had gone to the local supermarket for that nights feast. As some of you will probably know buying food when hungry is a bad idea and the four of us were ravenous – I have no idea how we carried it back to the hotel.

Well, all the build up ended on Saturday morning and it was time for the fighting to commence, I didn't know what to expect. My first fight turned out to be Poland’s answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger – I was not convinced he should be in my weight category but what can you do?

I might have done OK if I could have kept him at striking range but alas he grabbed me, I grabbed him and tried to move him. Have you ever seen comedy sketches when someone hits some guy square in the face and he doesn’t move - you know exactly what comes next; that’s what I felt like at that point! He picked me up and dumped me with a belly to belly supplex, not really a Ju-Jitsu technique but it certainly worked. Latter I found out that you could be 3-4 kilos over the weight; they called it travel weight – why did nobody tell me this? My next fight was against a Belgian, he was a good fighter but I think I could have beaten him only a judges decision went badly and I got disqualified-before you ask no there were no injuries. So that as they say was that.

I decided to sit back and enjoy the rest of the competition, one thing I feel has to be said the Pole (named Marek Krajewski) was cheated out of his position in the finals by what was in my opinion (and everyone else’s I could see) over acting by feigning injury and literally running away from the Pole by Gregory Vallarino, the eventual winner (from Uruguay) of the weight category he should have been penalized as others were which would have led to a disqualification. I found this both distasteful and underhanded and not becoming of a martial artist at all.

That aside there was some really good fights and there were some very, very skilled fighters which at times was a pleasure to watch. There wasn’t as much groundwork as I would have liked but I still really enjoyed the whole experience.

To top it all of, our internal flight to Brazil was delayed which meant we missed our flight back to London. So the airline (Varig) rescheduled our flight for the next day and put us up in a 5 star hotel in Brazil- what more could you ask for, so I got a day to look around Sao Paulo, fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!

I got home on Wednesday night and slept.

Went to Best Buy and picked up White Night Concerto and Kissing Jessica Stein. As I'd both expected and hoped, the KJS DVD has deleted scenes (10 of them) including the original ending (the one tacked on for theaters, according to Jake, SUCKS) complete with audio commentary (commentary from the director (boring) and the writers and stars (awesome!), for the whole movie (good) and the deleted scenes (great)).

Best Buy didn't have the Mega Man X The Series artbox, though they did have volume 1 in a leatherette slipcover.. I'll buy the artbox online. They also didn't have Yoshi's Island, which released yesterday, even though they had a display GBA running it.

Best Buy Stock Boy: Would you ever consider supporting the GameCube-GBA connectivity feature or the e-Reader in future Castlevania games?

Me: The connectivity feature is a good way to enhance the Castlevania world, but I'm actually more interested in doing an online Castlevania game.

Best Buy Stock Boy: What's your favorite game in the Castlevania series?

Me: I like Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse the best.

Best Buy Stock Boy: Speaking of some of older Castlevania games, on the Castlevania Chronicles disc, you mentioned that you would like to rerelease Dracula X: The Rondo of Blood. Is that still happening?

Me: I want to put that game into a second Chronicles game, but there are a lot of technical things on the company side preventing that from happening. I want Castlevania fans to send us e-mails saying that they want this, so we can move on to the next step.

The e-mail addies are kcet-info@kcet.konami.com (Japanese) and support@konami.com (US).

I just bought YuGiOh! Duel Monsters 1-62 and Angelic Layer 1-26 (complete), as well as Dragon Warrior 3 GBC and Wheel of Time PC. And soon I'm going to buy Castlevania: Concerto of the Midnight Sun, Yoshi's Island GBA, and Kissing Jessica Stein DVD.

Thanksgiving 11/28/02

I am looking for things to be grateful for. It is so easy to fall into “Woe is me” and “Life is so unfair”. Waking up for me this morning was difficult, knowing that in my place, in my family, another woman barely known to my children is preparing their Thanksgiving dinner. This is a holiday about togetherness and family and here I am, hundreds of miles away, thinking about HER bustling about the kitchen of a man she barely knows, my husband still, a man she chose to live with after a bare few months. Perhaps she is wondering if she is only that, a replacement. I try to put myself into her place but at the moment it is still too hard. I am aware at the periphery that in all likelihood it is as hard for her as it is for me.

From where I sit, this is proof that my husband was only in love with the idea he held of who I should be, how a wife should be, and not me the woman. He said, “I can replace you” and did so swiftly. So which of us is in the harder place I wonder? Me, ousted from my family for not conforming to his ideal “wife” image, or is it her, having to the fill the shoes he made available? She is expected to conform as I could not, and yet, she also has to live with the ghost of my presence lingering still in my things that he now shares with her. And, I linger in my children who will always be comparing her to me and find her sorely lacking. We are both in a tough place I suspect. I keep my distance from her for now knowing that the bitterness I feel towards my husband still colors everything.

Today I let these thoughts flutter briefly as I lie in bed examining a ceiling of a home not my own in minute detail. And then I decide enough. We make our own moods. We can change them. I consciously choose to push them aside for the rest of the day and to focus on the positive. This is Thanksgiving. I should be thinking about the things that I am grateful for, to dwell not on what I no longer have, but to cherish that which I do have.

  • I am grateful that I am healthy and that my children are as well
  • I am thankful that I have been able to find health insurance for my daughter and that my exhusbandtobe has managed to find some for the boys.
  • I am not on welfare
  • I have a roof over my head
  • I am not hungry
  • I have a family willing to help me despite my pride until I am able to support myself and my daughter on my own
  • I have my sanity intact
  • I have my integrity
  • My children love me no matter who they live with or how many states away they are
  • I am not broken
  • I get the joy of rediscovering New England through all her changing seasons
  • I have friends strewn about the country like confetti who remind me often of things I have forgotten
  • My boys are doing well in school, appear to be adjusting to new lifestyle, and are content in their choices to live with their father.
  • My daughter equally content with her school and her choice to remain with me
  • The children show no signs of a weakening bond with each other, they phone regularly to talk about everything and nothing
  • I have my photos and I have my words. Both spilling from the basket to overflowing
  • I have the capacity for love still-despite the trampling. I know it is still there underneath it all because I see glimpses of it every time I see my daughter’s sleeping face, I feel it with every fleeting tight squeeze from my sons, and I hear it in my own laughter over new fallen snow.

This Thanksgiving is not the same as last where we sat around a picnic table outside of our trailer just the five of us with a box of Marie Callender’s feast to go. But this Thanksgiving I don’t feel the vague building sense of something gone wrong that clouded that dinner. I can breathe because I am no longer trying to fit into someone else’s idea of who or what I should be. I am simply me as I should have been all along. I may not be with my children on this day physically, but I am with them in spirit. I get up to go jogging on my Uncle’s treadmill to the morning news and then to help prepare dinner for the crew that is still my family if not my immediate one. I am indeed lucky. My mood infinitely better.

The day after Thanksgiving, and my mother doesn't want to shop. Wow, am I relieved! We're actually taking part in national Buy Nothing Day, which is quite a step for a family that bonds through consumption. I'm so proud of us. Instead of fighting the crowds and giving myself a colossal headache, I spent all day in my pajamas, putting up our Christmas tree.

In another large step toward her anti-yuppification, I managed to convince my mom that we did not live in a department store, thus there was no need for our tree to be tasteful and coordinated. For the past few years, she's been putting up this tree with very tasteful tiny green lights, burgandy bows with gold trim and gold ornaments. How very boring, eh?

I do not want tasteful, I do not want a department store Christmas tree! I want the kind of tree that Martha Stewart would cringe at. I want the handmade ornaments that were gifts from my mom's former students, I want the Baby's First Christmas ornaments. And I got it too, I started off by topping the tree with the star that we used when I was a kid, this creation made of tinsel and ten different colored flashing lights. I strung five strands of blue, green and white lights around the tree so it's lit up like a runway, and covered the thing in every diverse ornament I could find. And what do you know, my mom's very tasteful elegant burgandy bows look great on it too.

The bad spot for the day came when I tried to get a hold of my friend from high school, Lisa. I left a message on the machine and her mother called me, and told me that one of her close friends had passed away, a man that is the father of one of our mutual friends. He'd suffered from a stroke a week and a half ago, and I was under the impression that his condition had stabilized, but I was wrong. I called her over at the man's house, where she was with his son...and I just didn't know what to say. Being on the recieving end of such things when my own father passed away, I know how it feels...and how there's nothing that anyone can say to make it better but you're just glad to know that they're there. You'd think, having been there myself, I could think of something poignant to say...but no. I don't think this ever gets any easier.

Far too sympathetic
And maintaining innocence

An image of who she wants me to be
So close to the reality of my own needs.
My lying, cheating, stealing personally
From and for myself to be
All she ever wanted me to believe,
And everything I continuously see
And wish were really me.
Antarctic Diary: November 30, 2002

In the giant's house

And then there are the big rocks.

We climb up the hills beside the camp to where the glacier meets the roof of the world. Up to where the ice spills from over the polar plateau like foam from a beer stein. Here the winds blow unimpeded. The katabatics pressurize and get warm--from -50F to 0F as they fall and compress.

The mountain side is a conglomeration of stones, rocks, and pebbles. Between them is a fine grit, mostly coarser than beach sand, and in places, glacier flour, yellow green like some form of moss--it's a compote of rocks ground as fine as talcum powder. Trudging on it is like walking up a huge sand dune.

The rocks here are mostly hand-sized. Red. Black. White. No jagged edges. But unlike stones worn to smooth ovoids by a fast-flowing river or the ocean, these are blown smooth by the wind. They're angular with no sharp edges. Shiny.

This is God's rock tumbler.

And then we come upon a stand of the huge wind-carved stone.

I'm fairly chilly in this warm zero-degree wind. Climbing warms me up.

We're searching for a spot for the webcam. Somewhere amidst the giant ventifacts, lumps of granite the size of ranch houses, riddled with holes, serpantine curvies, surfaces brittle.

The rocks look like fired clay moulded by an incomprehensible intelligence. A natural Stonehenge evoking supplication to a long-forgotten god.

Stand on some of these giants and hear a hollow sound like a wooden tiki drum. Tap it, it resonates. Hit it hard enough, granite will break under the force of your fist--and then realize the entire thing has been hollowed out by tens of thousands of years of sandblasting.

We climb 1000ft. Run out a couple of miles.

You wouldn't want to be here in winter. Anything that carves chevy-sized holes in solid rock would be less kind to flesh and blood.

What a monster the weather must be when it's dark.

***

When I woke up this morning my water bottle was slush. I'd made Raro--a powder like tang that turns water into fruit-like juice. I had no idea it would get cold enough inside my tent to freeze Raro.

My sleeping bag was toasty. I was actually warm. Slept in two layers of capilene, my fleece vest, long underwear, woolen socks, and a fleece hat. I have a fleece sleeping bag liner and the bag itself is from REI. It's supposed to be good for temps down to -30F. It says so right on it.

It's big and fluffy and bigger than me.

The sleeping bag is on an inch of foam rubber padding and a thermarest inflatable mattress.

This is why I was warm and my tent was so cold. None of my body heat escaped that assemblage of outdoor sleeping gear.

Something I don't like to think about is that I'm trapped here. The helos don't fly again till day after tomorrow. I can only get out by walking, or by emergency medavac.

It gets a little freaky, being this cold, this far away. And then I look over to the corner of our main tent and I see my laptop humming. It's running on solar power. I'm playing iTunes, Bruce Hornsby. There's a network connection through the radio I set up. And suddenly--the whole world is right here.

In one way, it trivializes the whole thing. I can imagine reading this journal months from now and I'll turn off the machine and go to bed. An actual bed, next to my actual wife, in the same house as my actual kids. And it will all seem like a dream.

But now--right now when I walk away from this computer I'm in a tiny island of heat in a continent that's much colder this year than last year. Global warming be damned, it's 30 degrees colder than it was this time last year. There's no liquid water on the ground.

When I walk away from this computer I will have to trudge outside for 1/4 a mile to get to my tent. Inside my sleeping bag will be cold, and it will take a couple of shivery minutes to warm it up.

I'll be thinking of my home when I go there. I'll be thinking of my family. I'll be thinking of a life I had a few weeks ago that seems it was lived by a character in a TV show I just shut off.

Maybe I'm Jack, roaming in the giant's home while he's away at work.

None of us want to be here when it gets dark in the long Antarctic night, and he comes home to carve the earth in his image.

Here's one strange side effect of studying English Literature: I start to see how I might find a way to believe in God.

Funny, given studying at university is meant to make you see the independence of the human spirit/mind, and given that so much literature is such an extraordinary affirmation of humans' individual capacities. But I think I can explain.

Thing about Paradise Lost is, it shouldn't be possible. For a devout christian like Milton, the literary representation of God is practically blasphemous. But he manages it, as well as representing a pre-lapsarian (that is, before Adam and Eve munched the fruit) world in human terms. How? He compromises. And that's made me see that there's a way of believing in God which allows for not knowing, which says that if you can't say why thing are the way they are, that's OK: God is by definition so huge and so far beyond our understanding that trying to figure out the details is almost pointless. It's also helped me see God in a less personified way - almost paradoxically, the fact that God is given a character in Milton's work brings into relief how silly it is to try and understand 'Him' in human terms. Hell, we even impose gender on whatever It is. I rather like the idea of God, instead,as a kind of unconscious force, not a big dude with a beard who throws thunderbolts around when he's pissed.

Throughout my course, which has so far touched on God a lot, being as how we've been doing the renaissance an'all, my supervisor has helped me see that really there aren't any hard and fast answers, to anything. Most of the best literature is that which is extraordinarily ambiguous, which allows all kinds of interpretations and readings. Often it's true that the authors themselves don't know exactly what they're saying. (Have a look at Thomas More's Utopia, for instance. To speak of authorial intention in such a context is absurd. But I digress.) Anyway, the point is that I realise now that it's OK not to have the answers, that one needn't attempt to know everything; it's enough to know that you'll never know.

I've bounced between atheism and agnosticism sinc the age of about 12, when I took not believing up like a sort of hobby since it seemed much hipper than boring old God. Now I'm too ingrained in this way of thinking to simply turn belief on like a light bulb. But I can sort of see a way back to God, and even if I never believe in a specifically Christian trinity, even if I never do get any kind of faith back myself, I can understand belief on an intellectual level. What a relief; this uncertainty is infinitely preferable to being sure you have all the answers, but knowing that they aren't the ones you'd choose.

Oh! This is a daylog. OK then. Had sausages for lunch. Listening to Chet Baker. Still hopelessly in love with hopelessly inaccessible girl. Going to A Winter's Tale tonight and then to a themed 'bar extension' in my college - Christmas! Yay! Narrowed fancy dress down to elf, fairy, shepherd or wise man. Anyone know where you can get decent myrrh these days?

Some recent ups and downs of noding:

Noding the homework?

Been a few days off E2 to work on some course work. I wrote (well, summarized and combined at this phase) a text about Aldus Manutius and made a layout for it, with images and stuff. I hope I'll expand that a bit soon; it might be pretty good node material.

(Should node about Scribus too...)

E2 not being respected

Some months ago or so I referred to my writeup at Buache Map in Slashdot... and the readers completely ignored it. Do we have a credibility problem? Or does this old writeup just plain suck? =)

I loved the reply I got, I believe this could be called "The Library of Alexandria Argument": "The Library of Alexandria probably had some earlier works that the mapmakers used as a reference, and since the library is gone you cannot check this assertion either?" (Very good argument. I just suspect the ancient library didn't have documents that dated back millions of years...)

The mythical "importance" of people

A cowardly anonymous E2 editor, whom I dearly respect in this decision (while I disagree with the reasoning), nuked my short and relatively contentless writeup about Sami Sihvonen, with a note "please don't node unimportant people like this". (Apparently this didn't get past the gods without some frowns. There is some justice in the world.)

I'm sure mr. Sihvonen would be extremely thrilled to know that in the big world he's considered "unimportant". =)

Yeah, the node was from E1, it was short, and completely failed to tell exactly how important person Sihvonen is/was. The funny thing is, I thought of making a new writeup about him, a loooong story on how mr. Sihvonen has annoyed and cheered up Usenet (You know, good trolls are very hard to find these days, especially ones that dare to go on about it under their real names =) - but when I tried to write stuff up, I couldn't come up with anything good. And I was the one that collected tons of information of him in one file a few years ago! Crazy, huh? Maybe mr. Sihvonen really is unimportant =)

I think he's nodeworthy, though. More so than some obscure Americans. =) Maybe I'll make a better writeup, even if he's threatening to put a lawyer to my letter box... or not. Remains seen, and I think I'll finish that writeup about Aldus Manutius first. As sure as hell I use more of good ol' Aldus' ideas and things than I explore the philosophy put forth by mr. Sihvonen =)

Today

The Thanksgiving that just happened was not what I envisioned. I will spare the gory details and just say that I am thankful for the two bottles of wine (Chardonnay for the morning, Merlot at night) and the long stretch of quiet I had with RunningHammer before the eight uninvited guests (which eventually turned in to 10) arrived too early.

*****

Thanksgiving Day

Due to tiredness and chaos, Supervixen and I did not do any prep work the night before so I was up at 6 a.m. to toast six loaves of bread for stuffing. She came in to the bright kitchen a little squinty-eyed, thick multi-colored hair bed-rumpled, oversized sweatshirt and flannel jammie pants hanging just so off her unique and generous curves. She has no idea how beautiful she is.

"Why didn't you wake me?"

"You've got to work today. You need the sleep."

I slipped my arm around her narrow waist, pulled her to me a little tighter than I would normally on a chilly and dark November morning and gave her a firm wake-up kiss.

"Heavens," she said. "Your breath is horrible."

So I kissed her again.

She cracked open a Diet Coke and I began a pot of coffee. We got out the chef's knives and began. Four different types of peppers. Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms (but, alas, no 'shrooms). The toast in to cubes. A few cups of onions. Hushed talk over the saute pan, the necessary closeness of comfy covered bodies providing a welcome inner warmth in our unheated home. RunningHammer called for us from his crib, and we dropped everything to get him.

*****

Yesterday

I worked a half day, 7 to 1. TinyG watched SweetfaceBoy and RunningHammer. Vonda MaShone was off with TheDonor, his father, to spend the holiday weekend with white trash drunks. His clothes will need to be boiled when he returns.

RunningHammer dove for his crib at naptime. TG and SB went off to run errands and drive around in their secret grandmother-grandson universe. I read a page and a half of The Fellowship of the Ring before falling asleep.

RH called for me from his crib about an hour later. We put on shoes and went out front to kick the soccer ball and act goofy. Barren trees and dark rooftops hid the western sun, and I could smell the impending cold night. Some of my orchids, the flowering and budding ones, would have to come in. Except for his laughter, joyful shrieks and a howl when he took a spill, the neighborhood pulled the heavy blankets closer and remained still.

Perhaps it was the nap or recent Buddhist ruminations, but while trotting beside RH on the darkening sidewalk I understood that even if nothing works right, it still works. That's the way it is with families. I had never cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner by myself (except for Supervixen's stuffing) let alone had every dish finished at the exact same time. So even if it was for boors I despise, that's something. Everyone loved it. Supervixen came home early and calmly ran interference.

So the dinner I really wanted happened a day later. It evolved in its own time with its own gentle intention: each of us travelling in our particular orbits, enjoying warmed-up leftovers at erratic intervals, content as the fire burned low, bundled under comforters, flowers and buds safe.

The plan was to go to a park for hiking today. As happens when a little too much family has been together a little too long, we took a long time getting out, and tempers were getting strained by the end of it.

I had been put in charge of finding something nearby that had everything we needed. I found the ideal choice, a place called Tree Hill, except that when we got there it was closed. Jack knew of another place called Hanna Park, which is correctly called Kathryn Abby Hanna Park. We picnicked, and let the kids play on the playground toys for a while, and then started hiking down some path without really knowing where it was going. For a while I had Amelia in the backpack, but after a while she got fixated on playing "pull daddy's hair" so we let her walk for a bit. We eventually came out on a road near the beach, so while most of us played on the beach, Jack and Bob (Ruth Anne's Dad) went and got the cars and came and got us. It was windy when we got to the beach, and by the time we left it was REALLY REALLY windy. It seemed like some momentous weather was going to ensue, but nothing interesting actually happened.

Bob's plane left this evening, and the rest of us leave tomorrow (at 6 AM and noon).

For dinner there's a big ol' hunk o' lamb, and some fancy salad involving Swiss Chard, for which I chopped onions and olives and garlic, and for which my fingers are going to smell like garlic for many days. Afterward, since the kids have watched Ice Age three nights running, I think we're going to watch my new copy of Monsters Inc..

Well, it's two days later, and nobody better qualified has posted a post-mortem yet, so:

Squished tubers and dead bird 2002 took place at WonkoDSane's parents' beautiful house - a brave move on their part, we all agreed. There were three big turkeys, two or three different kinds of stuffing, plenty of salads and casseroles, cornbread, and thirty (yes, THIRTY) pounds of mashed potatoes (not including mashed sweet potatoes, IIRC). In addition, there was enough chocolate cheesecake to feed an army, a pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pie with chocolate chips, Strong_Bow79's banana birthday cake, vast quantities of Russian Cream, Bitca's chocolate mousse which was promptly declared "Sex in a cup", and chocolate-covered nuts as well as two trays of cream-filled eclairs.

If this hasn't given you an idea of how much food there was, let's just say that there were over 25 people present, and one of the turkeys was still intact by the end of the evening.

Since this happened at Scott's parents' house, the predominant beverages for the evening were soft drinks. There was beer in moderation, and a bottle of Scotch made an appearance towards the end of the evening, being mixed with coffee. Scott's father is a not-so-closet pyromaniac, so he started a fire on the back porch, where the smokers congregated most of the evening. His parents, btw, are both AWESOME, with a really cool attitude and sense of humor.

The after-dinner entertainment consisted of the family dog, Trooper, a black lab, who is very sweet and affectionate, has the tail of doom, and is capable of vacuuming up a plate of summer sausage in approximately 5 seconds flat (we all kind of stayed away from the sausage after that...). Trooper's great love is his aptly named "Jolly Ball", a soccer-ball sized red plastic thing with several large holes in it. He carried it around proudly, then proceeded to demonstrate vigorously why Scott's mom calls it his 'date'... Additional entertainment was provided by my spawn, Rowan and Ian, who fairly rapidly warmed up to the crowd, then proceeded to hold court in the living room, knowledgeably discussing Cartoon Network cartoons with WonkoDSane, Spackle, avalyn, Iconoplast and Walter, if memory serves. They had gifted Strong_Bow79 with original stories for his birthday, which were read to much critical acclaim, especially The Power Rangers who killed the gooey bad man by Ian, age 4 1/2. My son outdid himself, telling metacognizant she looks like a turkey because she has a red mohawk, and calling karmaflux a girl. The kids had an awesome time playing with metacognizant and Spackle, who conceded defeat graciously after being bested by Ian in a game of 'Criss, cross, ____ sauce' (which I believe was invented on the spot) - the winning declamation being "Criss, cross, YOU sauce" (directed towards Spackle by Ian).

Witchiepoo is a sweet, beautiful person; radlab0 gives the BEST scritchies, bar none; thefez THESE WORDS DELETED TO PROTECT HIS IMAGE; karmaflux is a jerk, but has such a cute little-boy look that it's really hard to be mad at him, and a very sweet smile; jessicapierce is an awesome, beautiful person who won my kids' hearts instantly; enth is a sweetheart with the most GORGEOUS shade of blue hair I have EVER seen; metacognizant was really sweet with the kids, very funny, and I would never have guessed her for as young as she is; cowofdoom is SOO cute :-) I bet he gets carded all the time, and is amazingly witty; Bitca is way cool, and has a really wonderful laugh; Chris-O and Ladysun are great people and liked the stuff I brought them from my school; WonkoDSane is a really great guy, but was kind of on edge for much of the evening for a reason I will let him explain himself; ummm, who am I leaving out? I'm sure it'll come back to me - this being my first noder gathering, I was kind of overwhelmed trying to keep faces and names straight.. I apologize to the people I've left out - I'll add you as it comes back to me!

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, and my only regret is that my daughter broke out in chickenpox the next morning (hope everyone there has had them...), so we couldn't go back down the next day to spend more time with these awesome people.


Photos of STaDB 2002 are available for viewing at http://www.wertperch.co.uk/gallery/, with more to come soon. They are also posted at http://community.webshots.com/user/e2gwenllian.

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