A Super-Seekrit Rochester Gathering of the MI Noder Cabal
to discuss our impending invasion of Galloway, Ohio
(in conspiritorial whispers, natch)

Memorial Day
May 30, 2005
Rochester, Michigan

Anyway: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

:: gather ::

Meet at 6:30pm, inside the Starbucks in Downtown Rochester at the corner of Main Street and Walton. (439 S Main St, Rochester, MI 48307).

Drink overpriced coffee with snappy, faux-italian names.

Reveal our secret identities. Endure awkward GTKY phase. Learn to put faces with names, and names with usernames. Argue about who gets to be Mr. Black. You know, the usual.

:: later ::

Walk next door to Brooklyn Pizza and split a deep-dish.

Plan our invasion. Hash out when we should leave, when we'll head home, who's staying where, and which lovers we should notify if you don't make it back alive. And figure out whether we want to drive down as two groups or one big group or what.

Possibly make a run or two out to the parking lot to compare vehicles. Rocket launchers and armor plating a plus, though not required.

:: after ::

I'm still open to suggestions.

Agent 005 suggests: "There's the Star Rochester nearby that, and the Hamlin Pub - I hear the Hamlin pub is a nice place to get Guiness draught." (For out-of-towners, The Star is a multiplex cinema; a fairly nice one at that. Though of course that also means that tickets are $8.50. Not sure if they'll be open late on a holiday. The pub probably will be.)

Mordel, Agent of Divcom is our man on the inside. He adds: "Actually, the Star is $6.50 for 'students', and they don't particularly care if you are or not :) It's almost always empty, don't know how they stay open..." At first we feared that they might have reduced hours on Memorial Day. I called up The Star today to confirm or deny. Nope, they will be open all day Monday, w/ their usual hours and showtimes. Listings are here: http://tinyurl.com/bbh2f

If nothing else, we could always walk down to the Bubble Bliss Cafe and chill out. Maybe play a game or two of Chrononauts or Settlers. Or euchre, even. (There are four of us, and we're Michiganders. It's pretty much inevitable.)

I should warn you, the cafe has a menu that pegs pretty high on the Odd-O-Meter, since it consists entirely of deep-fried asian snack foods and "bubble tea", a Taiwanese beverage so bizarre that you will think you're on another planet. ("Taro and melon-ball smoothie with gelatinous gobs of black tapioca? Coming right up!") But they've also got the comfiest chairs in town, they'll be open 'til midnight, and from what I've seen the proprietor won't hassle you even if you're not brave enough to order anything.

:: Who was there ::

swish girl
and me

:: Who else tagged along ::

my best friend emily
emily's roommate, stephanie
swish girl's non-noder friend charity

:: Agents assigned to missions elsewhere ::

I'm sorry, citizen, that's classified.

... this node will self-destruct in 7 days.

In the words of Strong Bad: It's Over!

In my opinion, the whole shebang came together quite swimmingly. I'll be posting reactions to the bloody affair just as soon as they coalesce into actual coherent thoughts in my brain...

:: muddled recollections ::

Days later... Okay, nuff stallin'. As machfive would say: "If I knew what I was going to say I would have said it." (Did you know that machfive is a font of pithy, Yogi-istic wisdom? I sure didn't until I did.)

This was my first field encounter with other noders. Later, Emily asked me "Were you surprised?", and I answered her honestly: "Nope, no way." I had a great time and wasn't surprised at all. mach is mach. swish is swish. mordel is mordel. I know these people. If anything, I discovered that talking with noders is a lot like noding (only without the lag).

Or, actually, it's more like time dilation, like compressing a month's worth of noding into one afternoon. It's an effect not entirely unlike getting your head bashed in with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. I woke up the next morning and distinctly recall saying to myself "You mean, people usually drink at these things, too?" I felt like I had a crashing hangover and I hadn't been drinking anything stiffer than Lipton. I wish I could describe it better than that, but my brain's still reeling even now.

:: confused debriefing of a broken vet ::

So what actually went down? I hate to disappoint yah. To the outside observer, it was a lot like the most bog-standard Midwestern summertime school-night you could imagine. Seriously. We might as well have been stars in a Jordache Jeans commercial. We sipped Starbucks coffee, followed by DQ Blizzards, followed by late-nite decaf and euchre at the Ram's Horn diner. We cracked wise, we made plans, we stuck wisely to only first-date material to pave the way for deeper conversations later (first-date topics among noders being DivX movies, superheroes, wardriving, mixed drinks and nodegel nostalgia.)

mordel was the first to arrive; not surprisingly, since he lives two blocks from the rendezvous. I was there with my best friend Emily and her roommate Stephanie, whom I introduced as my beautiful yet deadly bodyguard-assassins. I was joking, but in Steph's case "deadly" was maybe too close to the truth. She hadn't had a cigarette in 48 hours. She'd been feeling nauseous all day and had a look about her like she was about to go aggro on the first person to flash a pack of Camels. Emma left the party early to take her home, and caught up with us later. Meanwhile, machfive arrived, and then swish girl, in her kick-ass van, with her friend Charity in tow. I'd brought along a Rubik's Cube so that folks could spot me, but this apparently was not as noticeable as I had hoped. Perhaps next time I'll bring along a big giant bushel of soybeans instead...

:: A couple other things that I learned, or, rather, suspicions I had that were quickly confirmed ::

#1: Noders could meet anywhere to do anything and still have a good time. They're mad to talk, mad to live, mad to be saved, desirous of everything. I'm convinced that if only we lived closer together, it'd be like Seinfeld only sweeter. We'd be having mapcap adventures all the time.

#2, a corollary: Noders are really awesome people. For instance, when the conversation happened to roll around to the topic of Jehovah's Witnesses, I decided to take a chance and let on that Emily and I are both, in fact, ex-Witnesses ourselves. JWs are just about the world's most hated pacificists; on all previous occassions, mentioning this good-sized chunk of my painful past has been met with stunned silence, a conversation-halting bombshell. Among noders, it was accepted with an interested "no shit?" and a shrug. I thought it was too late to tell my secrets now. I was wrong. To people who grew up among a more liberal background that may not seem like a big deal, but to me that's pretty goddamn marvelous.

:: intercepted transmissions from the MI cabal ::
(of course, these are all in super-seekrit code. otherwise, they'd be hilarious.)

"I guarantee it'll be the most interesting thing you've ever put in your mouth."

"It got pretty wild, yeah. I mean, did you hear about the klap?--" (sound of mordel choosing the worst possible moment to pause and clear his throat) "--ahem, the Klaproth? The drink. I mean, someone made this awful drink and named it the Klaproth... What's so funny?"

"It's the taste you can feel!"

"What do you suppose is the ASL for 'missing spleen'? How about 'severed jugular'?"

"Sometimes I get the phantom vibrate, too..."

"C'mon people, this isn't Rocket Surgery."