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!