My journal entry, early Thursday morning...

I think by today, I can officially say it's over. I have no clue how to even begin to explain how much I have on my mind. Actually no, scratch that, it is far from over. But I'm too busy thinking of getting the pictures up, messaging people back, getting a lost and found list up… and I'm not enjoying what just happened. I haven't given myself time to reflect or remember the past few days. So it's break time. Things are being put on hold for a minute…

The planning I have talked about before: The trip to Kappy's with the BAP... "Do you think we could downgrade this vodka?" Downgrade?!? The BJs trip... "Dude, noders are messy, get the big fuckin paper towels." Calling Vinny Testa's and hearing the woman say, "Seventy?!?" with a lot of dread in her voice. Anthony at Mail Boxes Etc asking why I needed 10 copies of a key…

Realizing Wednesday had arrived it was first priority to pick Mitzi up at the airport. Fucking Logan security guards giving me all kinds of shit. But it was worth it later when I heard my voicemail from her phone and I could hear my voice yelling, "Ashley I'm over here!" Even though the traffic through the tunnel was bumper to bumper, we had a lovely long ride to lunch, catching up, laughing our asses off, and then doing the same thing while our poor waitress at Trident had to deal with us.

I think we did something that night like visit Kara but the details are hazy. Oh right! We trekked to downtown Medford Square at too late an hour for food. We ended up ordering delivery from a Chinese place while on the sidewalk, smoking cigarettes like a bunch of high-schoolers.

The next big thing was really briiiiian. His plane arrived at 10:30AM. Hearing that news was kinda like hearing I had to wake up at 3:00AM with my screwy sleeping schedule. And of course, alarm clock not going off, I tried explaining to briiiiian I would be at Logan shortly when he called, my damn cell phone cut out in my room AGAIN. I think Thursday was the night was Punjabi Dhaba for Indian food. Yeah, it was, because that night, it fucking SNOWED. I remember a small panic attack thinking of the possibility of the scavenger hunt being snowed out. Common sense came shortly after: bah this is New England, snow one day, 90 degrees the next. But fifteen or so noders crammed into a dive fast food Indian joint was priceless. We were supposed to go dancing that night, but only Miller and drunkenmonkey were able to suck up the snow and go. The rest of us did the noder hanging out thing on the Destructopad porch. Ideath, Infinite Burn, Sondheim, tandex, briiiiian, mitzi, donfreenut, Chihuahua Grub, jaubertmoniker, dann, indra363... it really sucks that the details of that night are lost to me now. But I do remember the first party foul happened earlier that day, because when Eric snarfed the bong, that was number two, I can remember that, even if it was one of the very few I actually wrote down in my notebook. Looking at it now, number three was when I burned briiiiian. Damn I wish I had a personal secretary to document my life for me so I could remember details. Cause this is the shit that counts.

It really started hitting me on Thursday with the 'super secret mission' to stencil a skull and crossbones on the bridge...

Miller and I were both doing completely different things, and at that point mitzi and briiiiian were already here, so I had to pawn them of on the Destructopad while we ran our secret mission. I ran and picked him up and on the ride over to Kenmore. Showed him the stencil, gave him a sample of the spray paint, handed him the packing tape, and parked my truck all ninja like. He ran out, made the mark, gave me a quick wave. I put my lights back on, engine still running, drove over to him walking to the other side of the bridge, he hopped back in, mission accomplished. He went back to school, I went back to Destructopad. It was like we were fucking professionals! "So, see ya tomorrow?"

So many silly little details. Out at the common at night, saying "Hahahaha! Little kids will be all over this playground on Saturday! Parents will freak out at the noders trying to kick kids off the slide!!!" Finding the skull and crossbones flag on Newbury made us giddy. Over in Faneuil Hall, freezing our asses off, doing the pee-pee dance, "Carla! It's a fucking compass!" Ahhh craziness is wonderful. But the planning was, believe it or not, the boring part...

Friday, WonkoDSane being the supposed first to arrive, was briefly overshadowed by dmd and WonkoTHEsane saying hi around 3:00PM. But that was ideal, because I completely put them to work for me. I had the two of them steal milk crates for me for the den I was planning for the basement. Then I gave then directions to pick up Herbman from work! They totally were awesome about it, too! That afternoon was when I lost my keys, too. What horrible timing that was. For some reason, someone was smiling over my shoulder that day, because I didn't lose the precious alarm fob I only have one of, just the ignition and door key, which I was completely able to get through... *snicker* I picked up ice, cash and a menu from Dino's. Then I took briiiiian on a secret mission to place the order for 15 pizzas. I knew he was the man to trust with this operation. He was just as giddy as I was and knew that in a few hours those pizzas would be heaven. We talked about it a lot more that afternoon, getting more and more excited. Him telling me, "Two hours for those pizzas dude!" I told him to come back and find me at 7:00PM and we would go pick em up. He disappeared after that. Chihuahua Grub told me earlier today that him and briiiiian were sitting on my couch and he remarked he was hungry. Briiiiian piped up with "Thirty minutes, dude". At 6:50PM he tapped me lightly on the shoulder, and almost hanging his head like he was bothering me or something, he whispered, "It's time." I initially had no idea what he was talking about, which made him look even more like a lost puppy, but when clarity came to me and I started grinning at him, we stared hollering and I hopped in my truck with my penguin slippers on. Someone in the house at the time said, "Those are so shoes." Ashley piped up with "Carla, your keys are right where you told me you were putting them!" Score! Yay for other people being organized for you!

Friday afternoon we broke out the den, christmas lights, milk crates and all. Next thing I remember is Miller showing up around 11:00PM and us being complete assholes, kicking Kenny and everyone else out of my room because we had to finish up the scavenger hunt. Yay for Miller, immediately we broke out a list of exactly everything we had to do. He made a to-do list for Saturday as did I. We went over photocopies, buckets, keys and envelopes, sharpied arrows on chess boards. And screaming we were done, we ran to the kitchen for tequila shots. A few later Miller remarked "Carla, this is the most fucked up I've ever been!" Wooha! The rest of Friday... yep, complete blur. Oh shit, I do remember losing my camera and having a complete fit. Dann, my savior, drove me to the Destructopad to check there, except I'm such an ass the camera was piled under all the scavenger hunt stuff. I found it Saturday morning. But I was so hurting for my camera! My damn gathering and no pictures! It was like someone was out to get me then. Fortunately this time around I took it chill on the pictures, my clipboard was my trusty sidekick this gathering (Miller of course being my other half), sorry camera. It ended up being ok with all the disposable cameras, so there is lots of documentation thanks to noders and one hour developing at Walgreen's.

Mikey calling, saying Bart and Sean were supposed to pick up some Yuengling from his house. A few hours later him telling me he wasn't coming, me hollering to have Bart and Sean kidnap him, talking to him again later and hearing him say, "Don't tell anyone, but I'm actually in the car". I tried to make sure I spoke as if he was still in Pennsylvania, and of course found out later, when I passed the phone around the room, he said the same thing to everyone else he talked to! Next thing was the snoring. Thankfully Jethro completely slept through me stepping all over him trying to get backpacks out of my closet. Not wise to sleep in a high traffic area! But then Mitzi and I crawled in bed and I remember saying to her, "Yeah you can sleep here but my comforter is all mine!" Somewhere in then I passed out T-Passes. A bunch of people arrived while I was either working in my room, or just off being a goof somewhere. Even more left and all found their way back to their houses without my knowledge. Then I passed out.

Saturday morning. I was almost the first up. Fez was the first face I saw peeking at me from the porch. Then I did a walk through and saw three people on the fold out couch, a few people on the floor around it, four people in the front room... there were sleeping noders covering my house! It was wonderful. I think this was around 8:00-8:30AM, which was too early to start calling BAP people to wake up their houses and get their asses to the Pru. Fez was the shit and picked up donuts for my house. People showered, we chilled out, got all ready to go, I loaded up the truck with the buckets. Then we ran downstairs as I proclaimed to the house, "I'm packing a bowl before we leave!" I showed my noders to their bus stop, and then I left them! Ran to the Amerisuites and jammed 6 other people into my truck. That was interesting. Got to say hi to czeano and cerulean who supposedly stopped by on Friday, through I didn't see them. Kendall in the front seat, Rosie jammed in the way back, czeano, cerulean, radlab0 and WonokDSane in the back seat. We hit the highway, and of course, bango, an accident right at my exit. But the traffic was clear ahead so we sucked it up for 15 minutes, and then after that were downtown in five more. I let everyone out, had the buckets carried over, and then proceeded to completely steal a parking spot from some dude. I was disgustingly arrogant about it too. Just threw my car in his way of backing in, then jacked it around so I could pull in first. By the time I was throwing the quarters in the meter I stole from Rosie, he had taken off. Now that was being a Boston driver!

Eventually everyone made it to the Pru. As the number of noders grew larger, so did the security people circling us. Climbing up the steps and looking down at all the noders was insane. I remember hollering to everyone to look at all people around them, all noders. Never had I seen so many in one place. It was a crazy sight. With Miller again at my side, we started explaining the scavenger hunt. Going over teams, introducing the BAP, auctioning them off. Showing them Vinny's across the street and then essentially sending them on their way, saying see ya in a few hours! It was heartbreaking to see them all go, just Miller and I left standing there. All the planning was gone in a brief second. And we were back to essentially square one again. And damn did it suck not to be able to go with them. I mean, we knew the whole time while we were planning the hunt that we wanted so badly to participate, but it was impossible. And hearing the stories afterward. I wanted to be there when you stole the book! I wanted to be taking shots at Bukowski's, I wanted to see someone climb the statue! But thankfully I was granted my wish by stories upon stores from people with insane grins on their faces. It was totally worth it.

That afternoon was another complete blur. I know Mikey, Bart and Sean showed up to my locked house, my roommate let them in, and then I dropping them at the T station with T-passes and told them to be at Hynes at 7:00PM. I know I had to find ModernAngel's plane ticket, pick up yossarian, pick up jaubertmoniker at work (I had only told him to remind me a thousand times over the course of the week before, which was essentially reminding myself). I asked yossarian get on the T to Malden and he was a total sweetheart about it. I was late picking up Andy of course, too. Miller and I also had an awesome lunch at Uno's in Porter Square. As I yelled out my order to him while I ran to the bathroom, the waiter completely overheard me and started writing it down. I walked over to him and said, "Listen, we have like 30 minutes to eat, so if you can make this snappy you would be our hero." How many times I thanked that waiter was overshadowed only by his 40% tip or something crazy like that. My nap that afternoon was completely cancelled. Yossarian helped clean my house. Again a total sweetheart, cleaning the party he didn't even participate in. And giving me the Shitbegone. And poor ModernAngel, who I shuffled all over the bus system to get him back to Medford, only to pick him up and then drive right back to Andy's store where he was initially. Well, I can't do everything right.

Back at the Pru, 7:00PM, we get the buckets back. Noders were tired and freezing. In the hour I expected to count nine buckets I counted two. "One Thousand points for whoever has a cigarette for me! Another thousand for a light!" Fortunately the weary noders looked hopeful when I reminded them all we had a huge dinner on the way just across the street. That was one thing I definitely did right. When dinner time came around, I was called in by the manager, and of course now I forget his name. But damn he was awesome. Introduced himself like he was my personal servant for the next few hours. Introduced me to the wait staff, they ruled. I have to remind myself to send them some kind of thank you. They totally took care of us. The food was awesome. The passing of notes was hilarious. And the bill. I think it was $2241.16. I remember my horror when at first count we had only $1600. Thank god for hemos. I was kicked out of the restaurant while a handful of noders counted money. Jeff handled the rest. Jethro did a kick ass job of fleecing noders for more money. Panamaus gave me the best hug ever that evening. Even though there were probably hundreds of them over the few days, that's the one I remember the most, because damn did he sympathize with me. And most importantly he made me laugh and stop stressing about it. Yay maus. After dinner people were exhausted, which sucked a little, I was really anxious to go out drinking with everyone, hear about the scavenger hunt, get a little loaded myself. But it was agreed it was time to go back to my house. We had the wedding. Most of which I missed, which I regret. But I do remember people coming over and asking us questions for a 'documentary', and me being a total goober and hollering into the mike, "It's internet people getting married!!!"

People took cabs, the T, back... others found their way back to their respective noder hosts. In my car, I took back a shitload of booze people snuck off and bought. Briiiiian, czeano, cowofdoom and snowbelle in my truck with nine yellow buckets, a shitload of food leftover and beers. We drove carefully. The people who cabbed it back beat me home. Mikey and Jeff and Richard ran a successful ice run after I sucked and forgot to even mention Store24 as one of the possible places to get ice (of course it was Mikey telling me over the phone, "Carla, these kinds of places don't have ice."). I do remember asking the people with me down in the basement to be quiet for a second because I heard the noise of it being dumped into the buckets upstairs. The rest of Saturday night, again a blur. Jethro and Kurt with and the wild turkey, which resulted in my lawn being marked. I body checked Christa for the bathroom that evening I think. I completely beaned snoring Jethro with pillows and he never woke up. After that Ashley and I just turned the lights on figuring he would sleep through anything, and became loud and obnoxious all over again before we finally crashed.

Sunday morning. Bagel run. Milk, Gatorade, smokes, the paper, and cream cheese at DB Mart. Two dozen bagels and two boxes of joe from DoDos. Then the attempted cook-off.Chad backed out! Initially I was horrified but tandex totally saved the day. I had a voicemail message from Scott and Josh that they were down in the garment district buying outfits, so it had to happen. My plan of mushrooms as the secret ingredient was kinda cancelled since Chad was allergic. But onions were the trusty backup. Herbman made the brownies. Herbman is a god. Those brownies had me in another world! We collected money, again yay for Jethro for busting heads and coming up with mad cash. Miller, tandez, radlab0 and moxie were the chefs, and I saw so many other people in the kitchen helping out, chad being one of them. Dmd videotaping it all was the shit. They all totally shopped together and even brought me back huge amounts of change. Sometime that afternoon karma debt was flying out, her flight was cancelled. Illumina was dropping off radlab0 for her flight and he grabbed Jenn at the airport. Then an hour or so later, Julia's flight was cancelled, too! Illumina like a fucking trooper back at the airport to pick her up. I peeked in my room to find Scott passed out, and I mentioned Julia was coming back, did he want to go with John to pick her up. He gave a sleepy no and I noticed Kes for the first time enjoying herself, completely curled up on Scott's chest. That was rad. She made three friends this weekend... him, Jethro and The Custodian. For a bitchy she's got good taste in guys! Oh shit, and yes at some point I remember seeing my front door wide open and Jax halfway down the block. I fucking panicked. After darting under a few cars and me trying not to scare the shit out of him, he came to his senses and ran back inside. I think I totally went off to everyone in the front room about keeping the doors open, regardless of the signs Jenn made for me. Moment of weakness and stress, poor Jax, poor noders I yelled at, but he got back ok so all was well and I don't think too many people hated me for being a meanie.

Herb coming downstairs to the basement to look for a status report on the brownies was a hoot. He ran back upstairs for the wonderful jam session in the living room with QXZ, Andy and Dann. And then the food. The food was awesome. It wasn't even a cook-off. It was just insane cooking in the kitchen, they all completely worked together and made so much food! Miller pointed out the line that had backed up in the two front rooms like it was a trendy club with a waiting line outside the door! Fortunately no one stampeded, and even more fortunate were the Vinny's leftovers, since we wee kinda short on food. When the food was gone, it was drinky time. I proceeded to promise everyone mind erasers and B-52 shots and a crew ran out to get ice and soda. I think that's how the shopping cart ended up outside my house. Dunno who was responsible for that, but I do know I'm going to feel like a complete ass wheeling it back to the Foodmaster!! There was the kfx handshake, farting on the porch, and then me deciding it was time for a nap. My bed was shortly thereafter joined by Scott and Julia, which was a blast. Julia is the shit to snuggle with. And Scott is a riot. Too many laughs over who's boobs were who's. I think that was the closest we got to an orgy that weekend! Some sleep was had in there. I don't know when I woke up, I do remember asking Scott to have Miller wake me up cause he would be reliable. In my haze of sleep I heard the best whining about how I bailed on making everyone drinks! And at some point in there my kitchen was cleaned, and drunkenmonkey saved my ass. More on that soon.

Sunday night, I remember a bunch of people leaving, saying goodbye to a bunch of people I never even said hello too, but so exhausted I was barely coherent. I know the BAP tried to plan a humiliating dump truck hazing ritual for Scott, which included tying him up, blindfolding him, driving him to the Public Works Yard, dumptrucks, tequila, and then Revere Beach. We were pooped, it never happened. What a shame. Around midnight whoever was left had crashed. Jethro and Mitzi were passed out in my room, and as I started to escape there myself, it was briiiiian who was asking to sleep on my floor, "Crazy stuff will be happening in there tonight, I can feel it" or something along those lines. And right he was. After an hour of giggling at EVERYTHING, Mitzi, Jethro and briiiiian and I escaped for a cigarette. We ended up waking up Scott and Julia on the couch, back trying to sleep, more laughing, Scott and Julia mooned us. More giggling. I decided it was time for shots. Five shots of Jagermeister were poured and we tossed them while all piled on the foldout. One more cigarette, brushed our teeth which was heaven, and off to sleep. Kinda. Pyro wandering my kitchen at the wee hours. Someone banging on the pipes downstairs also at an obnoxious hour. Jethro, karmaflux, disgruntledwren and Aresds leaving at 3:00 in the morning, Julia and Scott cabbing it around 4:30AM. Dann showing up around 8:00am to take briiiiian and Ashley to the airport. Pyro was the last to leave around noon, I was still half asleep and gave him a hug just barely rising out of bed.

Around 3 or 4 Monday afternoon I was awake. I knew tandex was still here, and I was tired and hungry. So I called an emergency session of the BAP. A wrap up dinner compliments of the money left over from the cook off. JayBonci also had an interview in town that afternoon, so he gave me a call and I invited him out to dinner, but more importantly to help me start cleaning. He rules. He totally picked up caffeine and trash bags at the store and then donned one of my monster tee shirts and did the dishes. Yay Jay. Around 7:00PM we headed out to Uno's. JayBonci, Orange Julius, Herbman, hamster bong, uncleozzy, cowofdoom, snowbelle, Illumina, Miller, drunkenmonkey, Indra363, jaubertmoniker, Chihuahua Grub, dann and tandex, and me... I may be forgetting someone here... We had the whole bottom floor to ourselves. We had a great dinner, talked about a bunch of shit that happened, laughed our asses off. I came SOOOOO close to snarfing my beer at one point I laughed so hard. The relentless few partiers left went to Big City to play some pool. We got the reserved pool room cause we deserved a treat. Plush comfy couches and our own bathroom, no other people in the way. It was good. Said goodbye to tandex which made me pretty sad because he was the very last to go. And off I went home to crash yet again.

Since then I've been cleaning the house, doing laundry, going over pictures. Miller and Narbey were over last night to help me count buckets over Chinese food. I nodded the scavenger hunt. All the prizes I'm going to have to mail along with the lost and found. Miller remarked to me at one point he was done with school. It was as if I had completely forgot about that even though we toasted him at one point over the weekend. Maybe we'll actually do Indian buffet this week. Yeah right, it's one of those thing you talk about that never gets done.

On Monday Lisa stopped by, knocking rather ominously at the door. She asked how the weekend went, and even though I told them ahead of time about what was happening this weekend, I obviously played down the number of people going to be here. I told her it was a lot of people, she told me how she had to come downstairs on Sunday night because the front door slamming. And I started panicking about the lecture I was about to be given, or the eviction notice she was going to hand me. Fortunately thanks to Narbey, everything worked out ok. On Sunday night I mentioned to him how Frank every Monday morning drags the trash from the garage to the curb for pickup, and how making Frank drag all the extra trash for the party would be so inconsiderate. Narbey remembered, all the trash was out on the curb. Lisa told me how on Monday morning Frank saw his work done for him and was ecstatic. Then she said how no other previous tenant had ever done that for them, and the yard never looked better after a party. Woohoo! Not evicted! Charles come home today too and the first thing he asked was if anyone slept in his bed and if he needed to change the sheets. Being a complete jerk I told him people only napped on it, but I covered it with a sleeping bag, so no he didn't have to change the sheets. Neither of those things were true.

And now, not much is left. There are the messages, the aftermath nodes which I absolutely adore, the presents of cash and goodies I'm finding all over the house. And I'm speechless. Never, ever had I imagined that when I decided it was time for another BAP throw down that it would ever get to this magnitude. I'm still amazed how well everything went, even if perdedor was miserable on the scavenger hunt. I'm still amazed by how awesome everyone was with helping and being just so fucking cool. I'm amazed by the hugs I got. Not exaggerating one bit, it was the best weekend of my life. Boston, NewYork, New York, New Orleans, Florida, New York, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey and now this. With that accumulation of so much fun, I'll never be able to top this.

What I regret are the people I never talked to, the people I barely said hi to, the ten or so people I was meeting for the first time. I will have to meet them again for the first time. Burnboy, Czarkahn, N-Wing, karma debt, girlface, cerulean, kaytay, clampe and The Gilded Frame... Jarsyl, and Novalis when they stopped by. Witchiepoo who called but I never talked to. I missed Chirs-O and Lady Sun dearly. CentriX, Jocasta and Juliet were no shows. Jan who's here for only a bit, and who I spent hardly any time with.

And then there's everything else that keeps popping in my head. Tedd bartending. Calling Fives. Passing notes at dinner. Ashley saving me a brownie. Seeing Pater cave and smoke a cigarette, but I think it was ok since he seemed to enjoy it! Tandex talking to me for easily an hour about how much fun his team had on the scavenger hunt. That was priceless. Uncleozzy, the underdog BAPer who I heard nothing but good things about. Jeff and Will knowing each other from high school, Dis Giving up on a monopoly game! The best secret guest ever, having a moment in the basement with YRU over Aerosmith. Getting all high school with donfreenut asking for Appetite. I think that was him, I hope that was him. Growing up in the town next to mine I'd hope we'd share that hankering for a little Guns 'n Roses once in a while. Marc breaking out playing Nirvana right on clue. The hour and a half it took me to get my laptop and speakers down to the basement. Kat and Kara in the corner laughing at everything I was laughing at. Wren wielding Jethro's knife like a fucking ninja. The tee-shirt, the notebook, the sketchbook, my bong NOT breaking. The candles leaking into the washing machine. And when I was a complete bitch to Bart I drove him out of the basement! Getting a startup offer for The ass grabs, the kisses... finding cameras, hats, shoes, porn, all kinds of random stuff all over the place. Eraser who called me like three times, each time I said, call back later when there are more people here to talk to! There was the neverending arm wrestling competetion between Tedd and briiiiian, they were prefectly matched and it went on for an eternity. I won 5 bucks from cowofdoom!

I know I'm probably forgetting everything, but it was amazing.

The very few quotes I have:

"Kitty, Kitty, Kitty..."briiiiian chasing Jax all over the house

"Dude, FIFTEEN PIZZAS!" -- briiiiian

*cough* *cough* *cough* "Worth it!" *cough* *cough* *cough* -- CowboyNeal after an insane bong hit

"A lot of people said you were cute!" -- Void_Ptr to QXZ (damn right!)

"Karmaflux is a dick"Jethro

"No, I suck cock"Miller

"Aww dude, I hear that, sentences are AWESOME!"chiisuta

"It's toally dick"me totally have no clue when or why I said this

"That's because, I'm a princess"Indra363

"If you wanna get back to your seat, you're gunna gave to suck my dick on the way by..."czeano

"I hope no one pukes this dinner up later"me again

"It's the happy goth!"mitzi

"Best. Nodermeet. Ever" -- czeano

/me packs a bowl ++

The last year has been very difficult for me. First, the slow decay of my marriage to Adam. Then, after discussions of resolution between us, his death. Shortly after, I got into a relationship that I should not have entered. All of these things culminated in me leaving the Washington, D.C. area and basically running away to Florida. I have endured a lot of sadness, loss and feelings of failure.

I wanted to attend because of a personal need for closure. I needed to talk face-to-face and hug those people that have helped me through the last few months, like no one else could have. I had spent the last several months depending on you all when I had no one else to depend on to listen to my grief.

I met some really incredible people. There were a several of you that I barely met and I hope that there will be future opportunities to get to know you. I have some rather vivid memories of the weekend. They include smiles, hugs, tears, snuggling, reassurance, searching and freedom.

I'm grateful that out of something so horrible something so wonderful has happened. I left Boston realizing that I could feel again, I was no longer numb from the inside out. It is like something broke inside me when I arrived there, and that the band that was holding me tightly in its grasp has loosened.

All I can say is thank you.

Basking in the noder glory. That was all I could say about Wicked Retahded for the longest time. Then, for some reason while driving home I thought of the Iron Chef cook-off, and my wonderful fellow-sous-chefs Miller, Julia, and Jared. Then I thought of how wonderful Jared's hugs were, and Julia's, and how downright sad it was that I probably wouldn't get another from either of them for a very long time, if ever.

That is exactly the reason why this noder gathering was the best in the world. It gave so many noders the best chance to meet so many other noders, and get at least one hug from them, so when they get a virtual hug in catbox or msg or #e, they have some idea of what that hug would really be like. Sure I'll be sad if I never hug these people again, but I feel so lucky for hugging them once.

Warning: Long node ahead. This account is both detailed and rambling; read at your own boredom.

Four months after the fact...

The Boston E2 noder meet, from the perspective of youth, follows:

April 26th

Groggy. Bed...warm. Mother...shaking. Oh! Today's Boston! I clambered out of bed and busied myself with preparing for the journey up. I glanced at the clock by my bed - 6:30. Two hours till I catch the Amtrak up to Metropark, NJ. Shit! I can't find my glasses! I proceeded to spend the next half an hour looking for them, but to no avail. I realized that it is time to go, and managed to grab a bagel on the way out the door. The Amtrak was a 25 minute drive away; I had a few minutes to spend apprehensively pondering exactly what going to Boston with 70 bohemian, young-twentysomethings, likely to be drunk, would entail. Then train 172 was called, and I grabbed by bag and jogged up the stairs.

I had never been on an Amtrak train before. It struck me just how much this thing resembled an airplane, a decision I could not help but think, with a slight garnish of irony, was entirely intentional. The predecessor of the airplane now attempts to emulate it; not a good omen for the train industry in general, I thought to myself. Still, the train ride was remarkably smooth, except for the changing air pressure and noise which resulted when the hatch between the cabs was opened by determined-looking stewards.

In any case, I lowered the food tray and used that to support my book. I managed to get a little bit of reading done on the hour-long trip up (Terry Pratchett's book The Fifth Elephant. Surprisingly little pachydermic activity for the title.)

The ride went quickly, with the aid of Pratchett's sense of humor. The train stopped in Philidelphia and someplace else before arriving in Metropark. The surroundings left me befuddled for a few minutes after exiting the train; dmd had told me he would be waiting "down a flight of stairs in a Dunkin' Donuts." Well, there were stairs all right, but they were outdoors, and they were marked "Parking," not "To Daniel Drucker." I checked the sign - yes, this was Metropark... For some reason, I had expected the stairs to lead to an indoors shop of percolation and stomach-turning amounts of concentrated sugar. Once I saw I had no other real options, I trundled down the stairs, where, to my considerable relief, I saw dmd idly watching the tracks, probably wondering why I hadn't come down yet, seeing as how the train had left a number of minutes ago. I greeted him with the Traveller's Bogged Down Greeting(TM), a semi-shrug, demi-throwing-out-of-arms, along with the ever-applicable slightly tilted-back head, complete with shining eyes and grin.

We trundled over to his car - a well-worn maroon '89 Camry. It was acceptably roomy inside, although dmd bitterly complained about not having enough room to stretch out. Sucks being tall. We quickly went through the cities and through the woods, to Cahla's house we go... dmd put on an MP3 CD of "good driving music" he had burned earlier. I asked him what good driving music entailed; he replied that the beat should synchronize with the flashing of the paint in the middle of the road. I listened to the music currently swelling from the stereo and watched the lines









The beat was, in fact, off by an infitesmal amount, enough to cycle around every 10 miles or so. I would later realize that, ideally, the music must be the driver's own, so that the maximum amount of brainpower is reserved for driving, as opposed to listening to unfamiliar music.

We drove for perhaps a hour, an hour and a half. The forestry we passed, the organic tunnels we drove under, took my breath away. They were a reminder to me of what nature, not true nature, but nature nonetheless, looked like. Beauty. I continued to entertain myself with Terry Pratchett, but only after entertaining dmd with a display of my ultra-uber-superuseless-ninja-talent of being able to solve a Rubik's Cube in under two minutes (Provided that the cube does not fall apart)

The sudden feeling of a distinct absense of motion roused me from my reverie. I looked up, to discover that we were parked in a side-of-the-road parking lot, with nothing present except a few trees, a few picnic tables, and a small field stretching next to the road. dmd got out and began running, weaving through the trees, over and around the picnic tables. I paused a few seconds, then followed him. He really is smart as fuck, but sometimes, the child inside him shows, I think to myself. Presently, I was focused on running, weaving through the trees and catching up to him.

By the time I caught up to him, we were standing in the field. "Race?" he said? I looked at him and grinned, and we both sprinted away from the car. It felt good, but suddenly, I realized I was alone; I looked back and saw dmd rolling in the grass. We both broke out laughing: he had tripped. We gasped our way back to the car, out of breath from running and laughter. We were then off again, after waiting a minute for his GPS unit to get a lock on four satellites. I absorbed myself in my book again, and as it is so often wont to do, time flew.

When I next looked up, dmd was waving a printout of the node with the instructions, guestlist, etc on it, urgently saying that he needed me to read the directions, now that we were within a few miles of the GPS coords that corresponded to cahla's house. I complied, and within a few minutes the GPS box read 2 miles...1.9 point..............................five! And then, It Came From The Swamp...The BIG DIG! For ten minutes, we managed to move all of ten feet. One of us joked that "yeah, calah's house is only a few miles away...should be what, six hours before we get there?" I suspect it was me who said that. I was proved wrong, however, and at 3:40-ish we parked in front of calah's house. We got out and stretched; we had been in the car for five hours. Making sure that we did, in fact, ring #17 (WonkoDSane had not yet put up his sign) the door was promptly answered by briiiian.

We introduced ourselves and made small talk for a few minutes. dmd tried to be friendly to the kitties; a mistake, considering he is allergic to cats. After a few minutes, we were drafted by calah to save our country the party-to-be-in-the-basement, by way of petty theft. Our mission:

Steal milk crates. We were given directions to the nearest supermarketmall, the specifics of which we both promptly forgot. We still managed to spot a likely looking place, and we drove around back. After passing a few trash piles, dmd suddenly slammed on the brakes, got out, and came back in with an old child's car chair. It was proclaimed to be "the throne." No milk crates were hiding behind that particular parking lot, but after going to the loading bays of a supermart, the Grails were found: dozens upon dozens of milk crates. We parked in a location that was not easily seen by the common passerby, hopped out, and scurried around for a few minutes, eventually procuring a total of nine crates. Success

We headed back to Cahla's house, only to be recruited yet again. This time, the request was to pick up herbman from work. We drove over, only getting lost once. Unremarkable drives. Herbman struck me a very nice guy, easy to get along with.

We drove back to calahs and introduced ourselves to the noders who had arrived while we were gone.

I had a "special brownie" - roughly nine cubic centimeters. I felt nothing.

As the night wore on, I met many new people, most of whom I cannot remember the names of. I am sorry, but names, even pseudonyms, have always eluded me. Friday night...I remembered WonkoDSane as a big guy, friendly, but I suspect he's attended The School of Hard Knocks. Cahla was matriarch of all, weaving the threads of destiny into a highly enjoyable experience for us all. N-Wing was quiet. He was also a few years younger than I expected, but since I was the youngest one at the party, I did not think much of it, except that he's obviously very talented. A man to watch. briiiian was a very laid-back guy. I didn't see him much after Friday afternoon. Meeting both cowofdoom and foxtrotjuliet was eerie; they both physically resemble people I've met before. moxie's name is stuck in my head from her mnemonic action of taping a Moxie-brand soda bottle label to herself. DisgruntledWren played with her switchblade for the duration of the parties on Friday and Sunday; I did my best to maintain a minimum of fifteen feet from the blade. dmd's flirty tweaking of a drunken kaytay's nose was not met with very much returned enthusiasm. dmd's nuclear hands were of intrest to all; the glowing bathroom was of even more intrest to cahla. After regaining control of my brain after seeing kaytay for the first time, I paused to consider that she has the fine bone structure that made me think that she would not have looked inappropriate sitting in a medieval throne.

I remember getting bored and fetching the Rubik's cube; it proved to be a mildly entertaining party trick. Difficult to teach at all; impossible to teach in less than an hour. dmd filmed me trying to complete it, but a sudden and unwanted disbanding of the cubes put a stop to that.

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