Mackin' it in the Midwest
Okay, so while I love the University of Chicago and there's a lot of good things about Hyde Park (utopian-caliber diversity being a major one), it can be a bummer living on the South Side of Chicago. Especially when you're trying to get anywhere else than Hyde Park. I was taking a bus to Union Station to catch the train to Normal so I could bum a ride from Joe and I'd left relatively early to head off any delay-related disasters.
Didn't matter. The bus I was taking, packed to the brim with people, was apparently too volatile an environment for some, because two folks started a ruckus in the back. I didn't understand what was going on, but the driver stopped the bus, called the cops, and told us we all had to get off to wait for the next one. Which, of course, was also packed with people. End result, I missed my train, had to wait two hours for another, and delayed the Wiccanpiper carpool coterie's departure considerably.
Everything turned out fine though, as Wiccanpiper, his husband Briarcub, and nodermeet-newbie chaoticpoet didn't flay me or anything. We arrived in St. Louis around 11pm, when almost everyone had settled in at passport's place. There was LaggedyAnne, eien_meru, LiquidRubber, SciPhi, Apatrix and hunt05 already in attendance, which made for a nice, intimate party. Much more than that and I think the apartment would've cramped.
Passport's apartment, by the way, is decked out with video game machines. There was a cocktail mode sit-down module of some game I don't know, a Gamecube for his flatscreen TV, and a big cabinet with an emulator installed to play pretty much every classic arcade game in the US and Japan you could care to ring up. This provided considerable entertainment throughout the weekend of boozing and bantering as SciPhi and I developed a rivalry over video game prowess. It's been established that I kick his ass at fighting games, but he can definitely do me one over on anything tetris based. Also, bouncy 2D cartoon boobies are endlessly amusing after crossing certain levels of insobriety.
Gaming pretty much defined the weekend in one way or another. Briarcub ran a D&D campaign for which I did very little, but got to enjoy SciPhi's barbarian-lecher antics with the single female member of our party (played by passport) and LiquidRubber's admirable devotion to playing strongheaded and mildly suicidal characters ("Crawl into a hole in a cliff supposedly populated by dragons and enemy forces without any armor while my companions gamble for the right to gank my stuff after my inevitable dismemberment? Why don't mind if I do!").
I taught the group the one phrase in American Sign Language
I learned from a good friend, namely "You make baby Jesus cry
," which got incorporated into an epic ballad
for the guitar composed by hunt05, a ballad whose other soul-stirring lyrics were "meh meh meh meh meh." Artman2003
, accompanied by his adorable baby and wife, continued a precedent of paying me really extravagant compliments about my intelligence that I have no idea how to respond to except with gratitude. LaggedyAnne cooked us all some utteral scrumptious roasted chicken-fetus breakfast
made to order and introduced me to a weird Haitian citrus fruit with an enormous rind and a taste like sweetened grapefruit whose name I don't remember because I killed a lot of brain cells this weekend.
Speaking of killing brain cells, I was feeling at my absolute degenerate prime by the end of Sunday evening when we started playing the punkrock awesome card game Pimp: The Backhanding. Not only did I get to mack colorfully drawn hoes, bitchslap rivals, and launder money, but there was so much smoke in the gaming room I decided I wanted in on this whole 'smokey treat' business and bummed a pair of coffin nails from SciPhi. So now I know why people are addicted to these things. That's quite a nice buzz.
The night ended with some really awful B-movie called The Brain that Wouldn't Die whose plot I couldn't understand due to plasteredness and a few sketchy memories of clips from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and saying goodbye to some noders before passing out entirely. Despite consuming probably the most alcohol I've ever ingested without vomiting, the hypothesis that izu doesn't get hangovers continues to hold. Yay.
The trip back involved Wiccanpiper geeking out about highway systems and his disturbingly extensive memory for where all of them go, some more conversation with chaoticpoet and Briarcub, and me finally getting my pillow and blanket that I've been going without since Children of the Corny in October because I forgot it. Mmm... actually blanket to sleep under. It's cuddlitastic!
Oh, and according to precedent, I left something behind in Wiccanpiper's car. Specifically, my jacket with my iPod and keys. But not my cellphone, thank goodness, so this time there were no consequences to my perpetual forgetfulness.
All in all, a wholy successful weekend. The rundown of the folks I remember, with first names. I'm guarenteed to have misremembered at least one person's:
- Wiccanpiper/Joe: Fabulous as usual. Shared various Gay Fatherly Wisdom with chaoticpoet and me, being much younger outies than his married, old-fogey self. Took full advantage of Fatherly Wisdom to tease me relentlessly. That's okay though. I got to make fun of him trying to learn the controls for Mario Kart.
- Briarcub/Tom: His cheery, geeky self. We've established that Tom is the chipper antidote to my emo, making for highly balanced road trips. Extremely helpful in coaching D&D newbies along in the campaign he hosted. Ninja-like skills at Q-bert and some weird game involving marbles.
- Chaoticpoet/Robbie: Never met him before, apparently I was his introduction to E2 through my dramatastic LJ. Nice guy, very shy and a little tacitern at first, but he warmed to the company and fit in admirably with the noder crowd. It's interesting to see the reactions of someone new to nodermeets, as at this point I've gone to enough of them with the same folks that I've grown far more comfortable than I was back during my first one, in Stockholm, nearly two years ago.
- hunt05/Em: Sharing the dark secrets of McDonalds managing and composing pop hits about Hellen Keller? Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Also, the only person besides passport who could beat me at Mario Kart. Though I still had the winning record. Ha.
- LaggedyAnne/Tiffany: "Mom." Made me breakfast. Bubbly and bouncy. Pretty in pink. Peels her mysterious citrus fruit like an old Haitian woman.
- LiquidRubber: Admirable devotion to keeping to character. Even Darwin-award deserving characters. Also quite fond of his pipe, which I have to admit was kind of funny seeing him smoke, as I totally associate pipes with my grandmother's very old geezer live-in boyfriend and he was very not old geezer.
- SciPhi/Matt: Pugnacious, sweater-clad, philosophical, and drunk. All as I hoped he'd be. Was not at all in the slightest gloating like a madman when he kicked my ass at weird Japanese tetris with girls in sailor uniforms and wolves. The absolute model of an honorable winner. And, despite both getting trashed, we managed not to get half-naked and make out this time around. Hurray for denying you pervs a new set of embarrassing internet photos to snicker at.
- SciPhi's friend whose name I forget: Introduced us to Pimp: The Backhanding. All hail.
- eien_meru/Andy: Definitely did not get teased as much as I did this time around! No fair. Generally hobbit-like and mathematical, especially because he wore a cool hooded-cloak/blanket half the time.
- Apatrix/Alex: Snark snark snark. Remembered for the awesome comment, "Yeah, the name of that wine translates into 'Miller Lite' in French." Drink the third river! It's not nearly so bad as pissing on the third rail!
- artman2003/Jeremy + wife + kid: Stopped by only briefly, but had a nice conversation with me about geopolitics and the coming nuclear apocalypse or whatnot over buffet pizza. His wife asked me about my university and my major. His kid mouthed things and looked cutely perplexed.
- passport/Paige: Our indubitable host, supplied us with booze, video games, and an entirely welcome environment. We totally trashed his place too, but he seemed to enjoy the whole time. I'm quite appreciative he hazarded the risk of inviting noders into one's abode to host the meet. Cheers!