Well, my original plan was to get to the hotel nice and early after driving from Chicago, and relax a bit, before getting over to NatchLucid's place. So much for that, as I had to get a lot of work done before I could leave (all sorts of testing scripts to get running), so we (me and my other half, Aglana), were behind as we headed west from Chicago into the wasteland that is Illinois and Iowa along I-80. We DID get to see "Iowa 80", which is apparently "the world's largest truck stop" - I think I was supposed to find that exciting or something. :)

Anyways, thanks to mine and my other-half's mad skillz with driving, we still managed, after leaving about an hour after we planned, to get to the hotel about 7 pm. Of course, at that point, we realized that we weren't sure how to get the right room - I knew only Natch's first name, and forgot to ask about a reservation number or anything. I tried calling, but nobody answered, so we went in and started talking to the girl at the desk. Somehow we managed to figure out which room it was, and ended up being very lucky - as they cancelled reservations that weren't held by credit card at 6pm, but the room was still open.

Anyways, a quick change, a few minutes to relax, and off through a strange town to find an apartment that we have no idea what it looks like, and had trouble seeing addresses in the dark. But the place was found, and another oversight came to awareness - I had most of her address on the mapquest map, but forgot to write down the APARTMENT NUMBER!! So we call again, and within a minute Natch, wuukiee, and mcc are running out of the building to greet us!

We go in, plop down on the couch, haul out the fresh homemade salsa (note, the recipe for this salsa is in my salsa writeup, under "salsa mexicana"), and start chatting away, as the room seems to be divided into two groups - I and my other half and wuukiee and mcc on the floor around the snacks, the others who were there over at the kitchen table, Natch running back and forth between the groups. Oh, and no introductions. :) That was taken care of soon enough, and everyone started talking finally. We then discovered three mascots had been brought - wuukiee brought her dragon, natch had an 800-lb kitten, and I had Goochie the jellyfish.

Anyways, eventually the group left for No Shame - at least that's what I thought - and we watched an episode of The Maxx, prompted by Natch's earlier having recited a conversation from the show that she had happened to write on the jeans she was wearing at the time, recited after I was trying to read it. (She turned bright red and hid her face after finishing and realizing everyone was watching :) What an interesting show - I would actually like to watch more in the future.

Some people then proceeded to change for the trip to the Alley Cat - Natch had this awesome little black pleather/vinyl/something or other shiny dress, OcelotBob was in genderfuck-style drag, and the rest of us were just in comfy clothes, and we drove into the city, and started walking around. Past the various drunk college kids, eventually down an alley which lead, amazingly, to the Alley Cat :)

The drag show was really pretty cool, I had never seen one before, and enjoyed it. There was a little issue with the loudness and the sardine-like crowd - ESPECIALLY after they rushed the little dance floor after the show - but we kinda got away from there and started having fun. Some might suggest that we did bad things by buying underage wuukiee an amaretto sour, but nobody can prove it :)

Saturday morning required a phone call to natch to confirm what ingredients I needed to pick up for my breakfast item, and stopped at a grocery store called HyVee or something, which was actually pretty cool and clean for a small grocery store. BTW, blueberries out of season are a bit FUCKING EXPENSIVE ($4.49 for a 6 oz package). We got to her place, and erikbjo had arrived and was working on his crepes. I started on my breakfast, Blueberry Corn Cakes with Creamy Blueberry Syrup, along the way realizing that almost half the ingredients I had bought were already present in the apartment, and natch kept apologizing for it over and over and over :) I have decided to make that recipe again, it was a yummy breakfast, and I'll eventually even node the thing!

All during the time making breakfast, I was cracking up laughing as I heard LitBolt who had turn the 800-lb kitten into the evil 800-lb kitten intent on ruling the world with his spatula, and using his special move, "down foward B", on natch's friend Mandy, and I'm sad I missed the chaos caused by the kitten - of course, it was to get it's rewards later on...

After breakfast, natch had to have some whipped cream (Redi-Whip brand), and as she was eating it from a spoon, someone said something about whipped cream on her nose. She put a dot of it on there, and true to my playful nature, I asked to see the spoon. Now, to make it clear, I would have said the same thing to my friends around here, like instinct, and none of them would have let me have it. Natch was much more trusting, and I was in shock for a moment as she handed me A SPOON FULL OF WHIPPED CREAM! Well, there was only one thing to do with that, and about 5 seconds later, Natch was speechless and stunned, with whipped cream all over her face. Lesson learned :)

During the conversation while the non-cooking folks cleaned, the 800-lb kitten got its reward for being evil - an Aquafina bottle inserted into it, a horrible, horrible method of being violated, even for stuffed animals I guess. It wasn't long afterwards that the kitten committed suicide, spotted hanging from natch's doorway with a suicide note.

At some point around here, Enth arrived, and we introduced ourselves. Litbolt first introduced himself as nate, but explained the truth soon after. I get the impression he likes playing with people like that, after all, erikbjo's writeup below states he introduced himself to erik as NatchLucid at first also. :)

We then finally started with Eat Poop You Cat, and as amusing and funny as this game sounded when reading the node, it was about 10 times as hilarious when actually played in the group. I mean, how do you keep from laughing until you hurt when you're passed a drawing of an elephant mounting a pig?? Or you see a detailed drawing of a huge smoking penis?

After the game, and a lot of hard laughing, we ended up back in the city. Natch took us to Ruby's Pearl, the shop with the feminist lesbian porn, as promised, and some of us started looking around, as the guys looked like they were really wanting to get the hell out of there as soon as they could :) Natch picked up the tape, and Aglaia made a nice purchase of Chocolate Body Frosting (actually, two jars, one for a a pair of friends, and one for, well, our own enjoyment). Then it was a stop past Vortex, a store full of random items. That was really cool also, wuukiee bought this cool stone goblet with a shell on the front, and to my amazement, nobody bought either the Sigmund Freud action figure or the Buddha that squeaked when you squeezed it. While waiting for wuukiee (the cashier had to run all over to find a box for the goblet]), the group degenerated first into everyone randomly pointing at each other, to that human knot game, where people join hands then try to untangle.

We finally headed to the mall for some ice skating. (I seriously don't get the ice rink in the mall thing, but I guess it's just an Iowa thing) Of course, Natch told us the wrong way at first, made even funnier by the fact she wasn't driving, and someone else was following us. As all of us in the car pointed blatantly at natch to make it clear she did it (it is ok though natch, we still love you!!), we turned around, and made it back to the mall.

A quick bite to eat, and we got onto the ice. I was very hesitant at first, though after a while my rollerblading balance and skills came back, and translated nicely to ice skating. I don't think I could match erikbjo's skill though, and CzarKhan had hidden the fact that he used to play hockey, so there were quite a few of us skating well. At one point I think we had like 6 of us holding hands in a line, managing about one lap of the rink before breaking apart. Natch got a lot of assistance from atril while out on the rink, eventually he grabbed me toward the end and made me skate with him too, while we talked a bit. I never even fell the entire time, though I came awfully close. Natch has already been told she can not hold another gathering without ice skating now, noders on skates is very, very important!!

Then it was time for the soy!! Aoeshe was next on the itinerary, and I think our waitress was in fear from the party of twelve, especially after we asked for seperate checks for various groups. (Beware the customers of doom as we create a waitress' nightmare!!) I think it took us about an hour to order finally, as chaos reigned, and other customers fled the area from the teeming mass of noders. We did make sure to start off with a couple bowls of edamame, insisting that everyone have some of this soy in such a basic form. After all, what would a noder gathering be without soy?? A number of noders also were introduced during the meal to miso shiru, which I think was an all around hit, and sushi - atril seemed to really like it, and other noders who had never had it were encouraged to sample it, such as erikbjo and enth. I think that was also a huge hit.

We split up a little bit at that point, my other half and I had to hit the hotel briefly, and we still got back as the others did, having stopped off at the liquor store - though I have no clue why enth, atril, litbolt, and czarkhan wanted the fo'ties - one would think that 40 oz of malt liquor for $1.69 would be a WARNING SIGN to stay away!! LitBolt was the smart one though, as he knew better than to actually DRINK the stuff. :)

We took a trip down to the cemetary to see the black angel statue, and for a skeptic, I must admit that I did find myself rather creeped out, clinging to my other half, and also wuukiee and mcc, as we walked through the grass over tombstones and the like. Fortunately, we didn't stay long.

After returning, the party degenerated into fun drunken chaos! Sadly, natch had missed the Friday delivery from UPS of the Atari 2600 paddles sent by zot-fot-piq, so Warlords was out. RoboRally was present, but it never got touched as the jell-o shots and the shots of Bailey's started going - I think I had a half cup of the jello, and at least three shots of Bailey's - and that stuff is fricking good as hell! Various chaos included atril managing to get a kiss from all the female noders at the gathering, my other half giving a demonstration to all of the power of a well-performed bite on the base of the neck (and wuukiee and mcc insisted on being trained in such), dancing, more whipped cream (NatchLucid made sure to get me back for my earlier actions) - and Natch, after promising to stay sober, well, showed that she didn't really mean it :) I think the promise lasted for maybe 15 minutes, and she does get affected really quickly!

I did end up leaving before the dirty jenga so I didn't get to see what happened there (probably all for the better :), but that was still at almost 4 am. We so crashed in the hotel room, and ignored the alarm in the morning for about 20 minutes.

Sunday morning was more goodbyes than anything else, though we did watch an episode of Red Dwarf, and I must admit, I found it rather stupid and just somewhat amusing, though I know that's going to get me in megatrouble.

Anways, I'd just like to say that wuukiee and mcc were even more awesome to be around this time than when they had visited us in Chicago before. NatchLucid is very energetic, and much more of a pixie than I expected, and cool as hell, and I think she's learning what a smart-ass and mischevious person I am (beware of whipped cream next time we're together, Natch!!). CzarKhan scared me a little at first, with the industrial look and spiked wristbands and a collar and stuff, but is actually really cool and nice and probably a big teddy bear. LitBolt is hilarious, and spontaneous and creative in amazing ways. atril was nice and fun to talk to and skate with. erikbjo was also cool as hell to be around, fun to talk to, and reserved but not in the antisocial way but in the not-wild way. enth was tres fun to chat with, and I didn't get to talk to him as much as I would have liked. And OcelotBob was cool, though I must admit it scares me that anyone would have a goatse.cx shirt!!

Overall, THE NODER MEET WAS FUCKING AWESOMENESS, I can't wait to do it again!! If you weren't there, you missed a great weekend, and TOO BAD!! NEENER-NEENER!! Sadly, while we had our soy, and our lesbians, there were no monkeys present...

And - and update on the covert mission to convert my love to E2 - she's now an E2'er, Aglaia!!

Minnesnota Shmota!

Here is grand story of a bitchen adventure pip pip. Luckily long time friend of mine, LitBolt was able to travel with me. We start off our long 8 and a 1/2 to 10 hour drive from Central West Minnesota to Iowa City by eating fantastic scrambled eggs, toast, and drinking some of the blackest coffee at LitBolt's home at 6:45 a.m. After a game of trying to guess LitBolt's new birthday present with his parents we are on our way to Fargo, ND.

LitBolt has a test at 9:00 a.m. at which time I go and gather much needed groceries for the trip and the party. We then gather our directions from our good friends at both Mapquest, and Mapblast. As we exit on I-94 W. we realize we have plentiful maps to help us travel into unknown territory. Unfortunately for us we have 3 North Dakota maps, and 1 South Dakota maps, two states in which we were not going to travel through. So we attempted to travel through Minnesota which we do just fine. Once we enter into Iowa we stop at the travel center and pick up a map and an extremely useless travel guide (great souvenir however). Also upon entering Iowa we attempted to play a small game I entitled “lets see how friendly Iowa is”. Unlike Minnesota, where we are from and everybody knows your name, Iowa as we determined with our game, is not very friendly. The game goes like this, wave at cars and see how many wave back. Each person that waves in the car is a point. So if you get the driver and the passenger 2 points. With the exception of people driving for business (UPS, ect.) you get 2 points for them. We played this with approximately 150 cars, trucks and what not. We were able to rack up a small 25 points. Final note Iowan’s are asses (sorry to all Iowan’s). We would easily make 150 points in our hometown/area. We also spend most our entirely to long of a drive in deep conversation about things that really don't matter.

Luckily for us the drive took less time then expected even though we screwed up our drive twice. So we enter into the grand area of Iowa City. Easy enough to navigate we get to NatchLucid's apartment. After awkward introductions to the few people that were already there it began to be fun and enjoyable. I greatly enjoyed everybody's company. The whole group ended up being extremely outgoing and fun to be around. The night continued until it was time for the groups to split-up. I along with 4 other people were going to attend No-Shame theatre. The others attened a nightclub called the Alley Cat. We managed to make it as far as the building after a rather scary, cramped ride in a two door Honda Civic. Once we got the building we started talking about No-Shame and how depressing it might get for us to go and watch some people talk about their problems. As if we don't have our own. Of course we were feeding this suspicion off of rumors. We all crammed back into the car and went to NatchLucid's friend's house. Once there we instantly sat down and began playing fighting games on the X-Box. I along with a few others in the group sat down with a beer and enjoyed the company. As the night progressed I began to enjoy the female company a little more. But whatever. I managed to get a little off the deep end after mixing the Vodka with The Cran-Juice. But luckily I wasn't the only one. The day end with some sort of messed up blur as I wake up in the morning. I take my shower to get the drunken stench off me and walk over to NatchLucid's for an outstanding brunch.

Now I have to talk about the brunch. The brunch consisted of not one type of pancakes but 3. The pancakes were outstanding! The best cooks in the house had a contest adding to the determination to make them good. Although I would have to say I enjoyed the blue berry pancakes the best because they had this marvelous topping that went with them. I have to give credit where credit is do, and Saige created the wonderful blue berry pancakes. To back up the pancakes there was a batch of fruit, and soy sausage. MMMM!!

So then after brunch we played a great game called eat poop you cat. I have never played this game but would have to say that I really enjoyed it. The way things got so twisted around made everything just to say it bluntly damn funny. I got passed a sentance telling me to draw George Washington being fond of shirts with cherries on them. I mean come on. So what do I do I screw it up and just put a satan fish eating a jesus fish. They say you loose 40 calories for laughing, well I would have to say we all lost about 500 calories in game. We did manage to get ourselves ready to go shopping, skating, and out to eat before our drunken frenzy at the end of the night. Now I am not much of a shopper but I would have to say visiting a porn store, another store built into a closet (very cramped), a place smelling very good called The Vortex, and going to a very large mall was rather fun. Although, stupid me, I did not bring a lot of cash and guess what most places ONLY TAKE!! We then ended up going to a skating rink which I greatly enjoyed. Mainly because I was one of the select few who knew how to skate. I was able to use my bad charm and skating experience to help out NatchLucid. I also got to spend some time skating and talking with Saige which was most enjoyable I must admit. It made me feel good. As the skating started to dwindle I, LitBolt and erikbjo took part in a sliding competition, which erikbjo won.

Now it was time to leave and take part in the Sushi. Now this is the first time I have ever tried Sushi but the group was very nice and helped me in my ordering experience which was more hell then it should have been. The waitress had a very hard time dealing with 12 customers all at the same time. But we managed and I got my Sushi. I of course went the easy way out by ordering California Rolls, but I also went daring and ordered some Red Snapper, and Fresh Water Eel. I would have to say that I enjoyed the California Rolls the most, but the Fresh Water Eel was also good. It had a bad texture but great taste, it was smoked or something. We also decided to play a quick game of eat poop you cat while waiting for our food. For some reason pac-man ended up puking a power pellet into a toilet. Whatever!

Then we get ourselves ready to go and drink back at the apartment. But of course we had to make a stop at the liquor store and pick up some booze. 3 others and I got some fo'ties and put them in paper bags. For LitBolt and I the fo'ties sucked. They were hard to hold on to with the bag and tasted like shit. So I stuck to mixed drinks. Mostly screwdrivers and jell-o shots. I take credit for the idea. But I do not take credit for the creation. I also screwed them up by putting 4 cups of vodka and no water. Thank you E2 for setting us straight. So as the night progressed I dirty danced, flirted and had what I like to call a fucking great ass time!! I did get to visit the gay side of myself and I would have to say girls fucking rule, and I am sorry all of you out there who are gay, I am unavailable. I did rather enjoy strip jenga, I would have to say Natch is right is saying Wuuk's picture doesn't do her justice.

I managed to get a sleeping partner which probably helped me sleep even more then the booze. When I woke up the morning I find that I am the last, and still extremely tired. So what to do in this situation, sleep some more on the floor in the living room. When I finally awaken we take care of fairwells and hit the road for another extremely long drive. The drive home actually took longer, but I think it is because of all the piss breaks. I would say we had to take one every hour because of our previous stop. I stop at a gas station to fill with gas and grab munchies. This place was great, 3 hotdogs and 2 64 oz. slushies for less then $3.50. But a great cause of bladder swelling. After about 7 hours I let LitBolt sleep and tried to keep myself awake. We managed to make it home alive at 11:30ish. We now try to live our lives as full as the weekend....

It all began at 6 AM on Saturday morning. I woke up, and got ready to meet noders for the first time in my life. I was a little nervous, but I figured that if it did go badly, it was only a day or so that I'd be there.

I rolled out the door at about 7, and a couple hours later arrived in Iowa City. Natch's directions got me right to the place, and I pulled into the parking lot. After a honk of the horn or two, LitBolt came out, and I'd met my first noder. I have to take a second to apologize to LitBolt. I was a bit blitzed from the combination of lack of sleep, being up at 6 AM, and driving two hours, and didn't really process when he told me he was NatchLucid to see what my reaction was. I remember a dim, murky thought that I'd thought NatchLucid was female, but before I could express my bewilderment he told me that he was really just joking.

We walked into the apartment, and along with my box of crepe cooking supplies, I made my way to the kitchen. Noders were strewn on the floor and couch, and Natch was in the kitchen making Welsh pancakes. After she finished, I mixed up my crepes, and cooked them up. (Thanks to katycat for her node with the crepe recipe!) Saige and her other-half got there during my crepe cooking, and we had some interesting synchronized cooking feats in NatchLucid's kitchen. I think Wuukiee cooked some sausage as well. More people had started waking up during this time, and we had some nice conversation (along with the inevitable "Insert awkward silence here"). Brunch was great, and I must say I really liked the taste of NatchLucid's Welsh pancakes.

Enough about food! We were all entertained by LitBolt's work with the Evil 800 pound kitten, although I was sad to see its demise later in the day. Eat Poop You Cat was very fun in my opinion, although my lack of artistic ability was frustrating at times. There were some interesting sentences that came out of it though. I was sitting next to Atril during the game, and I think on every round our opening sentences were similar. That was kind of surprising I'll admit.

After Eat Poop You Cat, I had another first. Yes, I'll fess up, the visit to Ruby's Pearl (the feminist porn shop), was the first time I'd ever been in a porn shop. I actually found it much more tasteful than I'd expected, although I (along with the other guys I think) did feel a bit out of place. We wandered downtown Iowa City for a bit, and it's definitely a more vibrant "campus town" than Ames has. Oh, this meet was also my first time that I'd really been in Iowa City too. Four years of college at Iowa State, and I'd never even visited Iowa City to go drinking.

After downtown it was out to Coral Ridge Mall, the largest mall in Iowa. I rode over there with OcelotBob and Natch's friend Mandi. She's a math major, and we told a few bad math jokes and discussed our respective majors' lack of social skills. I don't know that she's really the E2 type, but I did find her to be pretty cool. I've been proven wrong. She IS a noder now! Woohoo! When everyone else got there, she, CzarKhan, and I hit Panera Bread for some grub, since we were pretty hungry. That place has such great food! And then began the ice skating. I'd skated before, but I'm not so great. Thankfully, my foolish courage let me win the sliding contest, to the remark of "OK boys, put the rulers away". I must admit that I think I went past the starting line on my slide, so maybe I should have been disqualified.

Sushi at Aoshe was great, and fairly new to me. I may have had sushi before, but I don't remember it being that good! I decided to play it safe and order a fried beef dish called Gan Pong Beef. That was really good, and other people were kind enough to let me try some of their sushi. I'm definitely on the lookout for good places to get sushi now, and I think I've found one in Des Moines. The Miso was very good as well. I'd seen it before, but wasn't very interested. Boy was I wrong! I did feel sorry for the waitress, but I think the tip we left was pretty darn good.

After dinner we headed over to Hy-Vee, where many of the out-of-staters were amazed that alcohol could be procured until 2 AM from a grocery store in Iowa. I passed on the fo'ties, and decided that I didn't want to take the chance of driving back home with an open bottle of liquor the next day. Instead, I bought some Whitey's ice cream. Whitey's is a local Quad Cities/Iowa City ice cream that's just absolutely awesome. Mine was Moose Tracks, which has peanut butter cups and chocolate swirls in it. We then retired to the apartment for an evening of festivities. Things started with Sugar High Glitter City, and some jello shots/cups. The movie was definitely interesting, and I had a few drinks during that time. We got tired of the movie somewhere along the way, and just sat around talking for a while. I ended up bringing my guitar in from the car, and dazzled some people with my abilities (more or less ;-) ). Natch pulled out music to Wish you were here by Pink Floyd, which I thankfully know pretty well.

I think the next thing after that was Sacrilege, led by LitBolt. Basically it's a role playing game where you have to choose a country to play and plot to take over the world. I thought my plot of being Andorra and sending hypnotic clocks to all the world leaders was pretty inventive. They couldn't resist my powers as they built my Andorran people spaceships and sent us off to Alpha Centauri, where we sat on the beach and learned from aliens. MCC did catch on to my plan, so Mexico ended up being the only country with any money left. During the game, Wuukiee and I chatted for a bit about faith and beliefs. I'll join everybody else in saying that Wuukiee is extremely cool, and her homenode picture does not do her justice.

Sacrilege was followed by Dirty Jenga!. I won't go into detail, but I did lose the first round, and you can read NatchLucid's writeup to find out what happened then. I watched another game, and then was a party pooper by heading to bed "early" (about 5 am).

Morning came way too soon. I got up at about 9, showered, and cooked up a batch of crepes, which were left in the oven for the other noders once they woke up. Around noon, I said goodbye, and headed on home.


All that being said, I just want to say that overall these noders impressed me. I didn't realize they'd be so cool. NatchLucid was an absolutely awesome hostess, and we share a love of Stuart Davis's music. And I was a recipient of a kiss or two from her ;-). LitBolt will forever remain the first noder I've ever met, and I really thought sacrilege was fun. CzarKhan was intimidating for me at first too, but after getting to know him, he's definitely a thoughtful and interesting person. Atril and I shared some kind of mental connection on Eat Poop You Cat, and he was a fun one to hang out with. As I've mentioned before, Wuukiee was absolutely great, and I look forward to reading her nodes and keeping in touch. I didn't get to talk with mcc much at all, but he impressed me as a very articulate and intelligent person, especially by his game of Sacrilege. Saige was quite a warm person once I got to know her a bit, and her partner didn't seem to be too frightened by us noders. OcelotBob scared me a little too with the goatse.cx shirt, but thankfully that was just on the last day. I must admit that I'm in awe of some of his meta puns. Finally, I found Enth to be very cool, in a multifaceted way. Gotta love the blue hair too!

While I was going to the meet, I reassured myself by saying that at worst, the meet was only about a day long. Now that it's over, I know that that was the worst part. I hope I keep in touch with these people, and I want to make time in my life to node more often. A big thanks to all involved for helping make the weekend great for me.
These crazy noder people wore me out!

I've had the rather unique introduction to E2 in that I've met noders before nodes. Some hella sweet people, and very good company.

Here I am, watching my FireBomb stud play Magic at Iguana's Friday afternoon, and NatchLucid NEEDS a ride to the airport. I sweetly offered FireBomb's assistance, and he took her to find OcelotBob. I finally got to meeting everyone around 7 that evening, and after a couple hours arguing logistics, narrowly escaped No Shame (sorry Natch <3) and endured loud whiny complaints about the size of my Honda from the boys in the back.

I did accompany everyone on their Saturday field trip, first visiting the feminist porn store. What a bizarre place. I am quite accustomed to the normal porn stores, which smell like old cigarettes and have biker dudes strewn about the place, parked near the magazine and video racks and occupying most of the space in the arcades. This was a world apart. I had known that men tend to be visual creatures while women remain focused on tactile experience, but I was not prepared for the serious dearth of hard-core videos and magazines in the place. No, aside from the fuzzy furniture, it was mostly toys and instructional manuals and books. Amazing. I was about as uncomfortable as the boys, however, especially after reading the signs on the wall near the door.

"...I don't know why women are ashamed of their bodily functions. I love menstruating. I love the feel of the blood flowing from my uterus. I love the smell. I try to get some on my hands every month...."

"...Did she say 'no?' Was she asleep? Was she drugged? THEN IT WAS RAPE!..."

"...Endorphinden Tattoo, featuring the work of Miss Kris Evans..."

Etc.

The menstruation thingy bothered me, since during my lifetime, if I could count a singular thing about my body that bothers me, it would be that. But more power to her, I spose.

Vortex has always rocked my world, I could stay in there for hours playing with the various tchotchkes. Ice skating hurts, sushi rules, and fo'ties suck. I didn't even make it through the party Sat. night, because everybody had worn me out. I damn near fell asleep watching Sugar High Glitter City.

I had always held this belief that one should never offer to meet a person one meets on the Internet. Paranoia? Perhaps, but it always ran with my other indoctrinations of 'never take candy from strangers,' 'look both ways before you cross the street,' and 'be on the lookout for date rape drugs.' Thanks to these 11 people for dispelling that for me. Turns out I am the E2 type, and you have all corrupted me! Now all that's left for me is to attach screen names to the real names I labored to learn over the weekend.
There's Something On My Nose: Friday
At roughly 10:40 or so, one atril and I depart Fargo, ND following a somewhat unpleasant chemistry test (I got an 85). The trip was excellent, but an attempt at description would be more or less pointless; You'd have to have been there. Of particular note however, was our brief-lived experiment with seeing how friendly Iowans are. While taking a brief detour down a highway, we attempted waving at random drivers to try and get reactions. Although in or around Fargo one might get as many as 9 out of 10 responses, the Iowa City region scored a pathetic 1 in 7 return waves.

Arrival at NatchLucid's apartment came at around 6:45, where we found Natch and ocelotbob engaged in the viewing of some horrible werewolf movie. Introductions were made and we settled down to await the arrival of the other noders while Natch caused me to swear off of sodas containing gum arabic forever (Apparently the stuff is harvested via slave labor in Sudan). Apart from the revalation that the Mountain Dew we had purchased was for naught, hanging out and getting to know the people behind the nodes was an excellent time.

At 9:30, FireBomb and Mandi left to take CzarKhan, atril and myself to No Shame Theater. Let the following hereafter serve as a warning to all those considering travel with those two. Above the passenger doors to their car should be inscribed Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here. Seriously. Corners serve only to build up enough centrifugal force to smash the backseat occupants into an indefinable mass, and the sole purpose of straightaways is to build up speed for said corners. However, one particular incident will forever remain seared into my mind as perhaps the most frightening thing I have ever experienced in a motor vehicle. I present to you...

The Jump: A Comedy in One Act

SCENE: The interior of a car, travelling at wholly unlawful speeds through the residential section of Iowa City. LitBolt, atril and CzarKhan are squished together in the backseat. Driving is FireBomb, and Mandi is in the shotgun seat.

Mandi: Floor it, you fucking pussy!

FireBomb: Alright! Punches the gas.

LitBolt: Looks over the driver's seat to witness the sudden impending drop in the road. What the-

The road takes a sudden downward direction, yet the car continues on a horizontal course and loses touch with the ground. LitBolt's head slams into the celing.

LitBolt, CzarKhan and Atril together: AAAAAAAAAAH!

The car jolts back onto the ground, and careens down the hill for a short distance before FireBomb hits the brakes, and the car slams to a halt just before a stop sign. After a brief respite, FireBomb swings around the corner with enough force to impact LitBolt's head into the rear side window. Curtain.

What truly made this amusing was the fact that after the harrowing arrival, we decided after some prompting from FireBomb and Mandi to just head back to their place and hang out instead of seeing No Shame Theater after all. Thankfully, the ride back wasn't nearly as hazardous, since it was all uphill. We spent the night playing games and getting a bit of a head start on the drinking (though I only had a small bit of alcohol) until the other noders came back from the Alley Cat, and I managed to convince FireBomb of E2's awesomeness sometime during a discussion on the origns of my handle (which ended up being the same place his now comes from). Abandoning the rather smashed atril at the neighbor's, we headed back to NatchLucid's place for some conversation before sleep commenced.

Damn These Metal Pyramids: Saturday
Sometime around 8-9 I rolled out of the rather comfortable chair I had been sleeping in and assisted the already-awake NatchLucid in making breakfast. My responsiblity: Toast. Fortunately for the sanity of all involved, I only subjected the awakening noders to a couple instances of "It's no idle boast that I host the most toast." erikjbo arrived somewhere at this point, and since Natch was busy with pancakes and such I was delegated to head out and greet him (in my bare feet, no less!). Erik was cool, though telling him I was Natch didn't turn out to be as funny as I had hoped.

Brunch was a good time. Saige's pancakes won the competition due to the fact that they came with excellent blueberry topping (I thought it was leftover batter at first), though erikjbo's crepes were a great change of pace from normal pancakeness, and NatchLucid's Mutant Pancakes of Doom intimidated me into enjoying them. It was around this time that the "800" lb kitten revealed it's true nature as an evil overlord bent on world dominion (much like any other cat). We mocked it's initial demands for nuclear missiles, but were soon speechless as it made a brief foray to the kitchen and returned with... a spatula! The kitten had mastered the deadly art of Wae Spat, and began attacking various persons with it's special move, "Down-Forward-B". Fortunately for us, the kitten did have problems pulling off the move... that is, until Mandi angered it enough to cause it to use it's limit break. One critical hit (for "9999 damage", no less) later, the assembled noders knew not to incur the wrath of said kitten.

More inanity ensued as the non-cooking heathens were forced to do the dishes (I escaped by virtue of my toast). The kitten was brutally molested by a large Aquafina bottle stuck where the sun definitely does not shine. Ouchie. The kitten, scarred for life, hung itself in the hallway, leaving a suicide note bequeathing it's spatula to me and the bottle to NatchLucid. I never did get that spatula, however...

After cleanup had finished, we played a hillarious game of eat poop you cat, in which most of my drawings were populated by stick figures. Sometime during this, enth arrived, and though I thought telling him I was nate would be worth a laugh, it seems that impersonating noders just isn't the comedy it used to be anymore. Pity.

Hanging out downtown was a blast, though I did feel a bit uncomfortable in Ruby's Pearl. Make no mistake, it wasn't the porn aspect at all, it was simply that I felt like a big tourist wandering around gawking at things, with no real intent to make any purchases. The storekeeper lady was very nice however, and invited us to some sort of art exhibit (we didn't go). Fortunately, I managed not to knock over anything, unlike a certain someone.

After a bit more wandering (and a failed attempt at fooling people in the mall), we hit the ice skating rink. It was fun, but I did manage to set the record for most falls taken that day. This was probably due to the fact that the ice wasn't very smooth, and I kept feeling the need to see how fast I could go on the ice (to much amusement).

Later, we descended upon Aoeshe, a most excellent place to grab some sushi. There was a bit of hassle with the waitress and the checks, but we did get free miso soup out of the bargain (a most excellent dish). While we were still waiting for our food to arrive, Natch and the waitron were having a bit of an argument over some unidientified bowl that the waitron thought we had ordered. Seeing that further ugliness was about to descend upon the table, I leaned across and declared that I would eat it (whatever it was). After a suprised (and relieved) Natch passed me the bowl, I found out I was consuming some sort of octopus salad. Quite good, though I hadn't had it before.

When the food finally did arrive, I got some funny looks for my choice, a twenty-dollar plate called the Chef's something-or-other. Six california rolls, three assorted other rolls, and ten(!) pieces of sashimi. Though others were in doubt that I could contain all of it, I did so quite handily, and was also the recipient of much other food others had chosen not to eat. The sushi was excellent enough that I entered a transcendental state of bliss, although wuuikee seemed the only other noder there who understood food nirvana (the others brought me down with a discussion on pubic hair. Ugh).

That night (after a stop at HyVee to pick up some alcohol), we took a stroll in a local cemetary to visit an enjoyably ominous statue of a dark seraphim. Although some others were a bit spooked by the surroundings, I particularly enjoyed the dark solemnity of the place (though I must admit, my like of cemetaries in general makes me biased). Anyways, after we got back to NatchLucid's apartment, it was on with the drinking!

A word to the wise: fo'ties are nothing more than large bottles of diluted beer. Despite the ghetto mystique, they taste like crap and I was only able to finish mine down to the bottom of it's cone. While I nursed my horrible choice in drink, we watched part of Sugar High Glitter City, a thoroughly odd film that was more or less lesbian porn minus the cliches. After we got bored with the movie, I suggested (possibly unwisely) that we play a game of Sacrelige 4: Global Sacrelige. Although tame compared to it's predeccesors, Sac4 was quite amusing as I watched the initially tame and nervous players evolve into strategies involving tentacle demons addicted to Afghanistan heroin, and Andoran hypnotic clocks funding travel to Alpha Centauri. Finland managed to win (after being blasted out of existence and then ressurected) by convincing two other countries to kiss (Mexico and India, as I recall). All in all, an amusing game.

Over the rest of the night, there was much more dancing and drinking. I probably had more to drink than any one other noder present, though I also managed to stay incredibly sober (partially due to an insane alcohol tolerance, partially due to me being really frickin' big). Later in the night, after everyone was a bit more tipsy, there an odd game of dirty jenga, a game which I thought I'd regret afterwards, but I actually managed to escape relatively unembarrassed. The party ran until about 5:00 or so (and I must say it's truly an odd experience to sober up while still drinking), until a number of us noticed the greyish light leaking through the windows and we all decided that getting some sleep would be a good thing.

One-Armed Hug: Sunday
Sometime around 10:00 I rolled out of my comfortable chair with only a slight headache to reprimand me for my drinking. Other noders awoke in various mild states of hangovers, and the assembled group participated in watching some Invader Zim and Red Dwarf while some of the excellent people I had met over the weekend slowly filed out. Atril and I finally left at about 2:00 and took ocelotbob to the airport before travelling back to Fargo.

Overall, I had a great time, and am vastly looking forwards to the next meet planned in May. NatchLucid was an excellent hostess and really knew how to show us miscreants a good time. Ocelotbob had a great sense of humor (although at times a bit too punny for my taste). Saige and Aglaia were lots of fun to hang out with, and they seemed to find my jokes amusing, so that's a plus. CzarKhan was highly intelligent, and great at the conversation-core. FireBomb was definitely very cool, and Mandi was both highly outspoken and prone to violence (both bonuses in my book). I didn't talk with mcc a lot, but he seemed to be quite the cool frood. Wuukiee was the only noder there who connected with me on the idea of food nirvana, and was all-around a very neat person. Erikbjo was also awesome, and I was very much impressed with his skating ability. Finally, I would definitely have to agree with erikbjo that enth was "very cool, in a multifaceted way". Everyone was cool to hang out with, and those of you who couldn't make it missed out on a great time!

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