I don't imagine Hell would be anywhere near as fun as this weekend was, so I can't agree that this gathering had the aforementioned firey place as its destination. Much fun was had.
If I didn't get to say goodbye to you when I left, I am sorry. I tried my best to make my rounds to say farewell to as many people as possible, while still attempting to maintain my schedule. My departure time was 00:00 on Sunday Morning. If you saw me any time after that, you were hallucinating !!!
Well, that was my scheduled departure time. Reality had other plans, however, as car issues dictated otherwise. Read the timeline for details. No, you were not hallucinating. Stop freaking out.
The following is a timeline detailing my adventure from Smyrna, GA. to Sparta, NC. to Smyrna, GA. over the course of four days. Times are estimated. Information will be added as I remember it. Ooga Chaka Ooga Ooga, and all that jazz.
Pictures are online here: http://www.accipiter.org/gallery/browser/index.pl?album=sparta
Thursday, 01-AUG-02 (17:00)
Even though the gathering began on Friday, my story starts on Thursday. I woke up at around 17:00, and got online as I usually do. Went out, got dinner, blah blah blah.
Thursday, 01-AUG-02 (23:50)
I leave for work. My shift is midnight to 08:00, and this is the day I leave for Sparta, NC. Mapquest estimates my drive from Atlanta to be somewhere around 6 hours. I plan on leaving at around 10:00.
Friday, 02-AUG-02 (08:00)
Leave to go home. Yay. No more work for the duration of the weekend. Hot diggity.
Friday, 02-AUG-02 (10:30)
I begin my trek North-East toward Sparta, NC. My route takes me up Interstate 85 to Interstate 77, over to US 21, down Blue Ridge Parkway to Air Bellows Road, to Ground Zero.
During my drive, I start working out how, exactly, I'm going to schedule my sleep patterns. Since I have to go to work Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight, I'll want to be awake for my shift. This means I will have to sleep during the day on Sunday. I figure out that the best way to do this will be to sleep midnight Saturday, wake up at around 8 or 9 AM, leave the following midnight to arrive home at around 06:30 on Sunday morning, and sleep until the afternoon. Perfect.
The trip takes almost exactly 6 hours. The only mishap I had was a minor navigational issue. Directions say to turn on "Air Bellows Gap Rd." after the mile 237 marker. I saw "Air Bellows Rd.", so I went to mile 238 to make sure I wasn't missing anything. No big deal.
Friday, 02-AUG-02 (16:30)
Holy shit, I'm still awake. I arrive at the cabin to find czeano, and a small contingent of people who had arrived prior to myself. Apparently, my timing was excellent because I arrived shortly after czeano himself. I begin debating whether I want to set up my tent or sleep inside.
Friday, 02-AUG-02 (17:30)
I see others setting up their tents, so I say "screw it", and pull mine out. I find a suitable location that turns out to be less than ideal (more on that later), and begin setting it up. Suzanne is kind enough to assist in the processs. My body surpasses its previous uptime record of 23 hours.
More noders arrive throughout the evening, and czeano unveils the shirts for the gathering. I am floored, as I see the logo I designed adorn the front of the shirt. I've never had artwork of my design on any clothing, so this marks a happy day in my life. Yay! (Thanks, czeano!)
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (00:30)
With a new uptime record (31 Hours), I decide I want to sleep. Unfortunately, Suzanne and I find that my scouted tent location pretty much sucks, as the floor of the tent slopes at about a 25 degree angle. Thus, the evil force of gravity causes us to slide down to the rear of the tent. Compounded with the voices of jubilant noders outside the tent, this makes it incredibly difficult to sleep. I get maybe three hours total, broken up across the night.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (08:30)
I wake up from the last portion of my so-called "sleep". Suzanne is already awake, as are many of the noders in the cabin. I open the tent and walk outside, and OW DAMMIT, the driveway HURTS when you're barefoot!
I migrate to the back porch where I find noders already enjoying several cans of PBR. I decide Ginger Soda is a safer bet, so I stick with that.
Ted may have slept through an earthquake, but put a cork from a bottle of Wild Turkey under his nose, and he'll be standing up in about 20 seconds. Kurt took advantage of this fact, and brought Ted into the world of the awake.
Soon afterward, Kurt wanted his cigarettes from Ted. Ted said no. Kurt said "Give me my cigarettes, or I'll rub my ass on your face." Ted said no. Kurt rubs his ass on Ted's face. Ted appears to enjoy it. Kurt says "Give me my cigarettes, or I'll never do that again." Ted promptly hands over Kurt's cigarettes.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (10:00)
Suzanne and I disassemble my tent. While I'm trying to figure out how to fold the tent to get it back into the bag from which it came, Chris gives suggestions from his comfortable place on the porch. When asked to actually come over an assist, he promptly shuts the hell up. Briefly, anyway, before making more suggestions. ;)
I end up just cramming the tent into the bag until it fits.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (12:40)
The Swap-a-Talent thing tries to start. It is sort of successful, however I didn't get to teach because nobody was interested in Digital Photo Manipulation at the time. I briefly watched Vince teach Will how to juggle, and even more briefly playing with some of Jeff's lego before catching up on a bit of sleep.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (17:00)
Cardboard, mylar, utility knives and duct tape are strewn about the driveway. Rumors suggest a robot battle royale to take place later in the evening.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (19:00)
Jurph begins preparations for setting things aflame, both against, and in agreement with everyone's better judgement. Before the first flame is lit, I ask Jurph when he's going to begin, and I tell him that I want to be able to see the fire.
Jurph responds with, "I'm sure you will." This excites me and worries me at the same time. Chris says "THE FIRE WILL SEE YOU!", which only adds to the suspense.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (19:20)
Scott climbs a nearby utility pole, and leaves a message.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (19:40)
Fires begin. A strobe is set aflame in the street, as are several different kinds of sparklers. Rockets fire into the air, with pops and whistles. Thankfully, there was no damage to any property or persons.
We're also probably lucky that there was no brake fluid available to Jurph.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (22:00)
A scene appears, and instantly reminds me of One Must Fall: 2097. Two robots, one Silver Robot and one Red Robot prepare to duel. The arena moves to the back yard, which just happens to be a pretty damn steep hill. This makes for an interesting fight.
Both contenders wage a furious war. Eventually, the battle graduates from hand-to-hand combat to rocket-propelled weaponry. I seem to recall one robot sustaining a single rocket impact, while most ended up outside the arena. Violence spills over into the robot spot teams, causing spotters Tedd and Emily and Carla and Noah to start beating the crap out of one another.
Both robots eventually ran out of ammunition, and returned to hand-to-hand combat. Several times, both robots rolled to the base of the combat area in a tackle, and in the end, Red Robot was victorious. While Red Robot won the battle, both Cow of Doom and briiiiian fought admirably and were excellent sports.
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (23:00)
Jason premieres "Jurph should not be allowed to play with fireworks: THE MOVIE", (his directorial debut) which records Jurph's repeated exploits with fire and flammable materials. Along with commentary and reenactments, this provided for Must See TV. (My favorite part was the slow-motion replay of the stuffed cat's shocked realization of the explosion, and subsequent hasty departure.)
Saturday, 03-AUG-02 (23:50)
I begin making my way around the gathering saying goodbye to everyone. The worst part of every gathering is leaving, but it must be done. I'm not looking forward to a drive through the mountains this late at night, but I don't have much choice. I want to thank czeano in person, but am disappointed to find he had already went to sleep. I give my farewells as I shake hands and hug noders, and finally head out to my car.
Sunday, 04-AUG-02 (00:10)
I start the car and note I'm lower on gas than I had originally estimated, so that needs to be my first stop. I drive forward and circle the front of the yard until I stop.
The combination of the car, the slope of the hill, and the wet grass has dictated that I'm not going anywhere just yet. The logistics of this situation are pondered by several noders:
- The car is sitting on a steep slope of the yard, ~40 degrees or so.
- The hill is covered with wet grass.
- Below the car lie several tents. Some occupied.
- Up the hill in front of the car is Chris's minivan which needs to be moved.
- In front of Chris's minivan is another tent.
- The car is low on fuel.
We all determine this could be very bad in a variety of ways, so Mike moves Chris's minivan, then rounds up a bunch of people to assist my car up the hill. I affectionately refer to this group as Team Nissan. I then try to start the car.
The car does not start. The angle seems to be preventing the gas from getting where it needs to go. Mike goes to the shed and retrieves a gas can, which contains approximately one gallon of gas. The fuel is deposited into the tank, and the car manages to start.
On the count of three, I ease the gas down, and everyone pushes the car. As the car makes its way up the hill, someone yells something to the effect of "GO NISSAN!", and the car makes it to pavement. We yell happily, and I get out of the car to give Team Nissan a group hug. You all ROCK.
Sunday, 04-AUG-02 (00:20)
I think back to directions given to me on how to get to Sparta (as I need to get to a gas station), and I recall someone saying "When you get to the parkway, turn left." I drive out to the parkway and turn left, and I drive. I drive some more, and I pass a single lone gas station with ancient pumps, that just happens to be closed. I drive some more and see absolutely nothing. No signs, no streetlamps... Nothing. As I continue to drive, I decide this is a really bad idea, because the fuel lamp in my car starts glowing. I have just enough fuel to get back to the cabin.
Sunday, 04-AUG-02 (00:45)
I arrive back at the cabin, and inform several people of my predicament. Scott and Julia are awesome, and take me to Sparta (the RIGHT way) to get some gas with the aid of the previously used gas can. We return to the cabin and slowly pour the fuel into my tank. The gauge happily bobs up to half a tank. This is a good thing.
I decide, however, that after the problems I had with the car this evening, that I'm going to give up the attempt at a nighttime drive home. I reenter the cabin and attempt to find a location to crash. I end up sleeping in the back seat of my car.
Sunday, 04-AUG-02 (09:20)
I discover that, contrary to my prior belief, it actually is difficult to sleep in my car. No matter, I survived the night and begin preparations to drive home. For real this time.
I go back into the cabin and say goodbye to what noders I can find. Again. I get to see czeano and thank him in person, so I was happy about that.
Sunday, 04-AUG-02 (09:30)
I depart Sparta, NC., bound for Smyrna, GA. Happy memories fill my head and my camera, and I think about all the goodness from the weekend as I listen to Suzanne's cool Mix CD on my way home.
- czeano: For hosting this badass shindig, and providing us with a good time, good food, good company, and good memories. I wish I could have stayed longer and helped in clean-up, but I literally went home, slept, and went right to work. I'm writing this from my desk.
- ccunning and karma debt: For cooking up some really tasty food, thereby providing attendees with sustenance. Also for being good company, and making me try that burning chocolate alcohol slop that made me cough.
- Team Nissan: You people got my car up that hill. It was too dark to see all of you, but you have my undying gratitude. The group hug was not enough. You all rock.
- WonkoDSane and radlab0: For driving me to the nearest Sparta gas station to get me gas for my car.
- Segnbora-t: For helping me assemble and disassemble my tent, and providing me with a great Mix CD.
- Every Single Last One of You, for being there and being my best friends in the whole wide world.