*Node title courtesy of factgirl. I am too uncreative to think of something so clever.

Who is going?

People invited so far:
Those listed on the everything people registry: united states: california, bay area noders gathering, bay/oakland noders gathering, and #everything that seemed local or semi-local (within an hours drive or so).

People interested in going are:

http://sekzmalady.tripod.com/e2/nocal/ -- It is like m_turner's aftermath w/u except done visually and less detailed textually.

And yes... it is supposed to have cherries on it. I had the cherries in the icebox, but I forgot to mention it. Then again, the cream cheese is supposed to be beaten. Remember, people, beat the cream cheese before adding other ingredients! You don't have to have lumpy cheesecake.

 2001.08.27 at 03:55 RabidMonkey says My deepest apologies for not being there tonight - I was kept late at work, and by the time I showed up, there was nobody there :(

p.s. I'm really an 81 year old man who likes little boys. Be careful or I'll whack ya good with my walking cane.

And so I drove down El Camino Real - the street where everything changes. The directions are fair enough, a bit past San Antonio (road, not the city).. and I think its on the east side. So, I drove past it once. The street that I was expecting to see as the 'You've gone too far you dummy' I missed too - but thats because I was looking at it on the right hand side, rather than the left (for some odd reason, the streets like to change names as they pass over El Camino Real). Eventually I do a U-turn (its legal in Cali) and go back down to San Antonio and try again. This time I see the entrance to a place called "Bowl" as I go past it... can't make the right entrance, can I be naughty and go in the exit? Nope - a car trying to come out and a bike going past. Oh well. Around the block, and another pass - and I'm there.

Its always awkward being the first one to an E2 gathering, looking around for a bunch of people who are looking around for each other. I go up to the desk "I'm here for E2.." elicits the response "Huh?", so I try "The group I'm with... we don't know each other" is a bit better - "Ahh, you're with the Henderson's group". Now its my turn to 'uh'... "Uh, maybe... Is it at 4pm?" and he says "Yep, thats the only one we have reserved for. Kate called and said she'd be running late." Ahh! I do recall that Kate == factgirl and so I wait a bit. Other people eventually show up. First its rischi, and then bindlenix, ouroboros, khymchanur, lostandfound, and then others (I forget the order). All the while, we're getting asked by the guys working there "Do you want to start now?" Nope, we're still waiting for someone. Eventually factgirl shows up (and I was mighty disappointed (initially) as to her attire - she was wearing blue jeans! The only true reason to go has gone!). It should be noted that no rabidmonkey showed up, and its bell-wearing state is unknown.).

Just as we start bowling the alley undergoes a magical transformation from your normal every day boring bowling alley (sorry about the pun) to a disco type place. Smoke machine and disco balls start going. And then they play some odd music - like they had a big cd changer with country, disco, and classic rock in it. It should be noted, that this made it extraordinarily difficult to get a picture in (I hope they turn out). They had black lights too...

Girls, women, and guys who wear women's clothing... if you wear a thin shirt, and a white bra on underneath it, it will fluoresce under a black light. People will be able to see your bra (front and back) as it glows with a subtle purple that isn't that subtle anymore. Not that I look at these things... nope, I'm far above that. No-sir-re. Fortunately, Kate was amused by this and we tried to get a picture or two of it. Again, I hope the pictures turn out.

There were several people showing up about halfway through the second set of frames.

And there was a trophy! Full of Mentos, lesbians, monkeys... and Soy Man!. lost and found is now the proud owner of such a towering testament to his bowling prowess. He claims he hasn't bowled in 10 years.

After two sets frames we had the great food debate. Where do you go eat? Alas, the bowling alley's snack place was very sub-par, to the point of being almost non-existant.

After taking a general pondering of the immediate vicinity, we headed to University Ave for a place the misuba (the proud wearer of size 15 bowling shones) recommends - a classic American diner (he claimed it was law that you had to go to a greasy spoon after bowling). Once we get to University Ave in Palo Alto it turns out to be the end of a art festival - it was blocked off from the start. Fortunately we had agreed to meet at the closest reasonable point where El Camino intersects University Ave. 3 blocks later, I lead a small convoy (we got split up) to the only parking I know where it is in Palo Alto (if it was full, I would have been done for, for I know not any other parking) and we set out on foot to meet up with the rest. Unfortunately, we lost steev (who drove a city car share VW bug - neato!)

After gathering again, we go to the diner. It was packed. And thus we start our wandering (it reminded me slightly of San Diego and the quest for beer and karaoke... but this time, we were hungry too... and there was no softball team). Upon spotting Gordon Biersch (Gordon Biersch Palo Alto), we are able to get a table for 11 or so and sit down. Misuba, Ouroborous and I play a quick game of Icehouse, hoping to invoke the waitress rules. No such luck, and the second game never started because of the appetizers arriving.

Food was eaten, conversations were had.

Yes, that sounds a bit oversimplified, but I am at a loss to recall all of the various discussions that we had...

Eventually, we got done with dinner, came fairly close to paying the bill on the first pass (it was a big bill).

Upon wondering if we're too stuffed for desert or not, akasha informs us all that she has cheesecake (yes, go read her recipe) in her car. (upon glancing at her homenode, it frightens me to note she lists "known to cause diarrhea" amongst her specialties). And thus, we enjoy the flavor of cheesecake mixed with exhaust fumes (it was an underground parking lot). Hey! I just noticed... there are cherries listed in that recipe! But none on the cake!

And so, we drive off in different directions, and I head back to work to write this... And now off to bed.

bindlenix and I were late starting out from Oakland, something to do with principles of thermodynamics and cooking lunch. We picked up khym chanur in the rolling hills of Albany, and set out for the South Bay on the 580. The San Mateo Bridge was fairly clear and for a moment, if I looked off into the Bay, it might have felt as if I were sailing. Enough with the traffic report already.

The bowling alley was not much to look at from the outside. A Thai restaurant occupies the street side of the building. The parking lot was empty on this Sunday afternoon. bindlenix, khym chanur and I go inside, to find a fairly drab bowling alley, with a scant few videogame consoles, a closed snack bar, a wet bar that opens in an hour, but promises a $2 scotch and soda, and, oh, hello, NODERS! m_turner and rischi, in the flesh. Still, I had misgivings about factgirl’s “crack team of spies” who were to “see which bowling alley meets our elite noder standards”. And she wasn’t yet here. steev, Lost and Found, misuba, cipher, and conform soon arrived. I have read the tales of violence from previous noder meets, and it was beginning to look like this was an elaborate ruse to get several Bay Area noders in one place – and remove them! I investigated the exits to the building, scanning for ninjas, or I don’t know what. It seems that factgirl was fashionably late. She arrived, with the E2 West Coast Bowling Trophy in tow, and took charge. We got our shoes, we got our balls, we got lane assignments according to skilz. And then, to my surprise, the lights dimmed, colored lights began to rotate and flash, the bowling balls glowed under black light, and the hiss of a fog machine cut through the strange mix of piped music.

After two frames, and Akasha showing up, we stood outside the bowling alley and tried to make plans regarding food. It took much discussion, getting noders to agree on anything is like herding cats. Anyway, we pile into cars and head for downtown Palo Alto, where there is a street fair that obstinately gets in the way. Thirteen is an unlucky number, and with the street fair in the way, it was inevitable that one noder would go missing. Eventually we get a table at a chain brewpub, where misuba, m_turner, and I (anti-socially) play a quick game of Icehouse. From thence to akasha’s car for cheesecake (served from the trunk) and photos.

Noder trivia:

The E2 West Coast Bowling Trophy
The E2 West Coast Bowling Trophy is currently in the possession of Lost and Found, who rightfully won it at the The NoCal Super Layoff Unemployment Collecting BBQ Moonlit Bowling Noder Meet on Sunday August 26, 2001. At the awards ceremony, he bashfully claimed not to have bowled for ten years. Investigation into the effects of proscribed substances on his bowling score is pending. Until such information can be obtained to discredit his victory, he should be forced to defend the title from all challengers!

The trophy itself is decorated with statuettes of lesbians, monkeys, and soy-man, and stands approximately 30 inches high. It was crafted from cardboard, gift wrap, aluminum foil, toilet paper tubes and action figures by factgirl. It would look very elegant on your mantlepiece.

American Beauty was playing on CineMax and although I've seen it a dozen times or so already, I still find it difficult to get up when I'm watching it; and so I'm constantly looking at the time also - 3:10 - well - there's still time...

Jane: I'm serious, though. How could he not be
damaging me? I need a father who's a role
model, not some horny geek-boy who's gonna
spray his shorts whenever I bring a girlfriend
home from school....

3:20 ... need to locate the place too ... hmmm .. okay - 10 more minutes.

Lester:(V.O.) Remember those posters that said,
"Today is the first day of the rest of your life"?
Well, that's true of every day except one.
(a beat)
The day you die.

3:35 ... I better start; it better be worth it.

Now El Camino has some strange attributes as m_turner pointed in his w/u; for once, almost all major streets change their names when they intersect it; so you need to read both ways when you are approaching an intersection; then it divides into El Camino Way and El Camino Real at a point and you find yourselves wondering if you actually want to go to the 'Way' or 'Real'. And the numbering - you'd see 800 El Camino on your right and 2900 on your left, and you could be following increasing addresses when all of a sudden it starts decreasing. Its funny - except when you've just interrupted your watching of American Beauty (right before the Angela and Lester scene) and are locating the bowling alley in Palo Alto no less1.

And the external appearance of the Bowling Alley was no consolation either. One of those places that make you lock your car twice and check that the windows are closed airtight and to the top; make you check your wallet sleeping deep in the front pocket; and you remind yourselves to kiss the ground if you make it back alive.

Not many cars were parked outside and when I walked in; not many people were waiting for other people; I approached the desk wondering what to ask? "Hi - I'm here for Everything2 noders meeting"?? Ummm, no - "Hi! I'm a noder. Someone waiting for me?"? Sheesh - that's pure silly. "Hi ! I'm here for the NoCal Super Layoff Unemployment Collecting BBQ Moonlit Bowling Noder Meet" - Yeah - he he - that should do the trick.

Still I found myself uttering - "Hi ! Ummm; I'm supposed to meet a group here; ummm for Everything; well - is there a group here for meeting at 4:00, umm, well, with the name factgirl.. he he ... you have no idea what I'm talking about do you?"; The attendant being the extra nice person he was saved his laughter and told me that there's another person waiting before me and facty would be late. 'Oh okay so its happening', I think to myself - alright. I look at the person who has arrived before me and its m_turner with his hat and Crypto T-shirt. I approach and introduce myself; and lo and behold - the gathering has started !! Well 2 out of 15 ain't that bad to start with really.

We were soon joined by R-O-Boroussss, bind-ull-neeks and khynmachoor - ah well the noder names; Note to self - carry some unused floppy disk stickers next time. We need name tags.

Trivia: Ouroboros was by far the only one in proper attire - the everything2 T-shirt.

And then there was steev and facty, and lostandfound and misuba and cipher and conform and then there was bowling. I wish I sucked a little more at it and could atleast get the E2 West Coast Bowling Trophy (the one that Khym got - the lowest score one). I was almost there. Damn !!

Trivia: khym chanur was pretty amused and interested in T-shirt statements. He discussed analyzed and emperically concluded the statements m_turner's and steeve's t-shirts were making.

Akaska didn't turn up till late; but did afterall turn up; with the ever welcome Digital Camera in hands; a Cheesecake in her car's trunk; a cool black shade with a little glittering heart on its left glass, and the Europeans!! I'm not sure but I think Khym discussed their T-shirts at length with them to keep them amused :)

After an hour++ (the attendants were very nice that way, they didn't gripe or charge for the extra time ... but wait - maybe it was because they could see facty's bra all this time :) of bowling; misuba laid his foot down and said its like a law or something to eat all American food after bowling so the Thai place next door was way out of question. And when misuba puts his foot down, one better not refuse, for the fear that the next time, misuba's foot will land on one's own.

Sadly, in our effort to disperse and recollect at University avenue and El Camino Real as pedestrains, (which, BTW, is another curiously funny configuration of roads) we lost steev.

Our original intended destination was clogged with people; so lostandfound found us another one; with the waitress at reception strikingly similar in looks and skin shade to Salma Hayek (well - maybe its just me - but she was HOT!!).

(r) 2001.08.27 Ouroboros says the hostess was definately hot! and her short leather skirt should have been illegal

Soon after we settled down, m_turner, misuba and ouroboros started playing this game with pyramidal hollow plastic thingies. I've never felt as stupid before in my life as while watching these guys play. No, not even when I was caught counting the number of bones in my body to answer a biology question in school. It was like that 3 dimentional chess from star trek or something.

And there were intellectually stimulating discussions all around the table; from layoff stories to Cool rules; to American Indian ownership laws to enhancing E2 for mobile device support to 'can an object be called a work of art, if it can also be used to clean kitchen floor' (okay - nah - I made the last one up, but you get the idea alright). If there was any non-noder sitting with us at this time, (s)he would either run straight after the meeting to his/her computer and spend rest of the night at E2; or (s)he would run with hands on ear screaming at top of his/her voice right now)

The day ended with Akasha forcing her Cheesecake down everone's throat along with the gas fumes. ("Mmmmm, Cheesecake and the gas fumes, Mmmm", Akasha remarked at one point. I suspect it was all preplanned). Also, lostandfound had found everyone a bunch of dying flying baloons and Everyone had fun kicking that thing around. "This is more fun than kicking a can", Ouroboros remarked at a point; everyone agreed.

Trivia Observation: lostandfound is good at finding things.

I walk back towards my car with misuba, cipher and conform. We shake hands and go our ways; it's been a nice evening and it was every penny worth missing American Beauty; (specially when you own it on DVD anyways.)

LESTER (V.O.) (amused)

You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure.
But don't worry...


LESTER (V.O.) (cont'd)

You will someday.


1> You see; since the time I moved to Bay Area and was first introduced to East Palo Alto (a coworker told me it was the murder capital of USA not long time back) I have this unfounded but deep seated fear for anything called Palo Alto; why we have this extra powerful lab server everyone logs on to do the daily builds called PaloAlto - me - I don't even ping it.

I am Soy Man.

I am a blue robot with a Mighty Soy Hammer and no eyelids so I can not blink. I do not miss one quitillionth of a second of noder activity.

On the night of 27 August, 2001 at the location :
Palo Alto Bowl
4329 El Camino Real, Palo Alto 94306
I witnessed The NoCal Super Layoff Unemployment Collecting BBQ Moonlit Bowling Noder Meet

Noder Roll Call download commencing in 3...2...1...
akasha - late but had cheesecake
bindlenix - mermaid with haunting eyes
cipher - an enigma
conform - not conforming at all
emphyrio - Europa sends her best to visit
factgirl - shall not have the last laugh
khymchanur - ate a book - no wait, there is a book inside him
lostandfound - resonating a vibe but ringing true
misuba - you know what they say....
m_turner - the anti Christopher Plumber
Ouroboros - bowled like he was falling out of a tree
rischi - wanted to take me apart to see how I worked
steev - wouldn't set me up on a date with his car
and wiggy the un-noder (here to be forthwith named as wiggy the new noder)
Chuck and Bob were at the front desk. Chuck had a tattoo that made khymchanur laugh. Chuck was going to charge the Noders extra for mocking him. Factgirl leaned over the desk and Chuck took a peek. Chuck charged the noders the regular price.

bindlenix, rischi, steev and khymchanur were in lane 25
cipher, conform, lostandfound, and misuba were in lane 24
m_turner, Ouroboros, and factgirl were in lane 23
the others arrived too late to bowl but still wore the shoes.

The lighting became dark and I had to use my laser beam vision to see. I could see everyone's underwear. The men were mostly wearing standard issue whities except for the two in boxer shorts and the one wearing no underwear at all. The women's underwear image was stored in my 3D image gallery for later use, except factgirl who's bra nearly melted my head casing by reflecting my laser vision. I vowed revenge.

The noders were generally substandard bowlers. Some of their mistakes were very frustrating for a robot to watch. I wanted to pound them upside the heads with my Mighty Soy Hammer and tell them "It is simple geometry and algorhythmical mathematics!", but I held my peace.

The loud music shook my bolts to the threads. My Mighty Soy Hammer wanted to awaken with joy one moment and swing with ferocious punishing violence the next at the eclectic mix of songs.

Music Playlist download commencing in 3...2...1...
Alan Jackson - Chattahoochee
Sir Mix A Lot - Baby Got Back
Deee Lite - Groove is in the Heart
Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water
Harry Chapin - Cat's in the Cradle
Brooks and Dunn - Rock My World (Little Country Girl)
Alan Jackson - Livin' on Love
Poison - Talk Dirty to Me
Cheep Trick - I Can't Take It (live)
Night Ranger - Sister Christian
Whitesnake - Here I Go Again
Poison - Once Bitten Twice Shy
Kool and the Gang - Sound Your Funky Horn
Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music
I am sorry to report that Kajagoogoo - Too Shy was not played.

I used nanotechnology teenybots up misuba's nose to gain control of his mind. I made him roll his ball at the same time as factgirl and she fell right on her ass. Everyone laughed and vengeance was mine for robot deflecting bra.

Though I was hoping to go home with one of the noder women to mate and create a race of noderbots, I was well gratified that lostandfound won me with his superior bowling talent. I believe he bowled over 100 points in that second frame. I challenge you puny Seattle and Atlanta and Boston and new york noders to match that! HAHAHA Don't even try!

This is where my report must end. Like Steev, I did not make it to the noder dining table. I am still in lostandfound's dark car trunk. Please come get me out. Air...diminishing...can't...breathe....oh wait I am a robot and need no air HAHAHA.

but I am
Before I begin, I feel obligated to reassure everyone that I'm not still wandering the stripmalls of Palo Alto or other (all-too) similar Silicon Valley localities. I was not abducted by the bowling alley fog monsters. I made it home to San Francisco alive.

Now, to my story, from the beginning. I was born... wait, not the very beginning. umm. Ok. Yes. 3:30 pm. Having picked up my City Car Share car earlier in the afternoon to do some other errands (like hauling some potting soil and compost for the garden), my transport was ready. After printing out the requisite Mapblast map I headed south on the 101. It was the first time I'd been down the pennisula in several months, at least on the bay side. I noticed there aren't quite so many internet company billboards, and the ones that are left seem sort of... desperate, somehow.

Anyway, 37 miles and I was ready to exit onto San Antonio. Went the wrong way. turned around, headed into a soulless commercial area. Turn onto Camino Real. Combination Bowling Alley Thai Restaurant. Okay. Inside, several confused people standing around. This must be the noders!! When they saw my Perl t-shirt they knew I was one of them, and I was certain once I saw Ouroboros' Everything t-shirt. Right on!

I won't repeat the chronology already covered above, but will mention some impressions:

  1. that bowling alley was really freaky. I kept trying to figure out what the deal was. Were we really still in California? Had we slipped through a dimensional portal to Nebraska, or Mars? Or perhaps this was some strange post-ironic, Palo Alto contrived way to "do" a bowling alley? Like maybe the guys at the counter were just doing this as some sort of performance art piece? Maybe the tattoos were fake, and the dude carrying around the tiny little boombox held up to his ear was really listening to instructions from his MFA thesis advisor? ("Allright, Bill, now remember, this is all simulacra, but it's hyperreal! And tommorrow in seminar I want a full report on the semiotics of black light!") I mean, really, disco lights, fog machines, AND White Snake?
  2. One highlight was explaining to emphyrio and wiggy, our Dutch visitors, that this was strange even for America. I learned from Emphyrio that the Dutch play the same actual game when they bowl, but without the disco lights and fog. I assured him this was not the norm. Really! I swear! Hopefully they will be in town long enough to try another alley. I suggest Presidio Bowl in the city, guys. It's totally normal and dignified. Army officers used to bowl there, it had to be.
  3. I must correct Soy Man - above he has the lane/personnel listing bacwards, I believe. I'm fairly certain that Bindlenix, Kyhmchanir, Rischi, and I were in lane 23. I remember seeing the ghost of William S. Burroughs hovering above the pins, out there in the fog...
  4. I had a great time, even though I missed the second half. (see below) So after the bowling, there was much discussion over where to go for dinner. The Thai place around the corner? No, the more local people had a better idea. So everyone piled into their cars. I must have listened to the directions wrong because I was soon lost. I remembered "corner of University and Camino Real", but it took some looking on a map before i realized my mistake. Then I realized another mistake - the time was almost 7:30 and I had only reserved my car share car till 8:00! uh oh. Even if I found my way to the restaurant, I would be late getting the car back, and be charged some late fees, and I'd be possibly screwing over whoever had reserved the car next . Damn. I should have reserved more time. I felt like Cinderella and her coach/pumpkin dilemma. Anyway, I reluctantly decided to get on the highway and head home. I feel touched and guilty that a posse of noders actually went back to look for me! Thanx all! You're the best!

    Let's do it again soon! In the City! Golden Gate Park, maybe.

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