Well, my original plan was to get to the hotel nice and early after driving from Chicago, and relax a bit, before getting over to NatchLucid's place. So much for that, as I had to get a lot of work done before I could leave (all sorts of testing scripts to get running), so we (me and my other half, Aglana), were behind as we headed west from Chicago into the wasteland that is Illinois and Iowa along I-80. We DID get to see "Iowa 80", which is apparently "the world's largest truck stop" - I think I was supposed to find that exciting or something. :)

Anyways, thanks to mine and my other-half's mad skillz with driving, we still managed, after leaving about an hour after we planned, to get to the hotel about 7 pm. Of course, at that point, we realized that we weren't sure how to get the right room - I knew only Natch's first name, and forgot to ask about a reservation number or anything. I tried calling, but nobody answered, so we went in and started talking to the girl at the desk. Somehow we managed to figure out which room it was, and ended up being very lucky - as they cancelled reservations that weren't held by credit card at 6pm, but the room was still open.

Anyways, a quick change, a few minutes to relax, and off through a strange town to find an apartment that we have no idea what it looks like, and had trouble seeing addresses in the dark. But the place was found, and another oversight came to awareness - I had most of her address on the mapquest map, but forgot to write down the APARTMENT NUMBER!! So we call again, and within a minute Natch, wuukiee, and mcc are running out of the building to greet us!

We go in, plop down on the couch, haul out the fresh homemade salsa (note, the recipe for this salsa is in my salsa writeup, under "salsa mexicana"), and start chatting away, as the room seems to be divided into two groups - I and my other half and wuukiee and mcc on the floor around the snacks, the others who were there over at the kitchen table, Natch running back and forth between the groups. Oh, and no introductions. :) That was taken care of soon enough, and everyone started talking finally. We then discovered three mascots had been brought - wuukiee brought her dragon, natch had an 800-lb kitten, and I had Goochie the jellyfish.

Anyways, eventually the group left for No Shame - at least that's what I thought - and we watched an episode of The Maxx, prompted by Natch's earlier having recited a conversation from the show that she had happened to write on the jeans she was wearing at the time, recited after I was trying to read it. (She turned bright red and hid her face after finishing and realizing everyone was watching :) What an interesting show - I would actually like to watch more in the future.

Some people then proceeded to change for the trip to the Alley Cat - Natch had this awesome little black pleather/vinyl/something or other shiny dress, OcelotBob was in genderfuck-style drag, and the rest of us were just in comfy clothes, and we drove into the city, and started walking around. Past the various drunk college kids, eventually down an alley which lead, amazingly, to the Alley Cat :)

The drag show was really pretty cool, I had never seen one before, and enjoyed it. There was a little issue with the loudness and the sardine-like crowd - ESPECIALLY after they rushed the little dance floor after the show - but we kinda got away from there and started having fun. Some might suggest that we did bad things by buying underage wuukiee an amaretto sour, but nobody can prove it :)

Saturday morning required a phone call to natch to confirm what ingredients I needed to pick up for my breakfast item, and stopped at a grocery store called HyVee or something, which was actually pretty cool and clean for a small grocery store. BTW, blueberries out of season are a bit FUCKING EXPENSIVE ($4.49 for a 6 oz package). We got to her place, and erikbjo had arrived and was working on his crepes. I started on my breakfast, Blueberry Corn Cakes with Creamy Blueberry Syrup, along the way realizing that almost half the ingredients I had bought were already present in the apartment, and natch kept apologizing for it over and over and over :) I have decided to make that recipe again, it was a yummy breakfast, and I'll eventually even node the thing!

All during the time making breakfast, I was cracking up laughing as I heard LitBolt who had turn the 800-lb kitten into the evil 800-lb kitten intent on ruling the world with his spatula, and using his special move, "down foward B", on natch's friend Mandy, and I'm sad I missed the chaos caused by the kitten - of course, it was to get it's rewards later on...

After breakfast, natch had to have some whipped cream (Redi-Whip brand), and as she was eating it from a spoon, someone said something about whipped cream on her nose. She put a dot of it on there, and true to my playful nature, I asked to see the spoon. Now, to make it clear, I would have said the same thing to my friends around here, like instinct, and none of them would have let me have it. Natch was much more trusting, and I was in shock for a moment as she handed me A SPOON FULL OF WHIPPED CREAM! Well, there was only one thing to do with that, and about 5 seconds later, Natch was speechless and stunned, with whipped cream all over her face. Lesson learned :)

During the conversation while the non-cooking folks cleaned, the 800-lb kitten got its reward for being evil - an Aquafina bottle inserted into it, a horrible, horrible method of being violated, even for stuffed animals I guess. It wasn't long afterwards that the kitten committed suicide, spotted hanging from natch's doorway with a suicide note.

At some point around here, Enth arrived, and we introduced ourselves. Litbolt first introduced himself as nate, but explained the truth soon after. I get the impression he likes playing with people like that, after all, erikbjo's writeup below states he introduced himself to erik as NatchLucid at first also. :)

We then finally started with Eat Poop You Cat, and as amusing and funny as this game sounded when reading the node, it was about 10 times as hilarious when actually played in the group. I mean, how do you keep from laughing until you hurt when you're passed a drawing of an elephant mounting a pig?? Or you see a detailed drawing of a huge smoking penis?

After the game, and a lot of hard laughing, we ended up back in the city. Natch took us to Ruby's Pearl, the shop with the feminist lesbian porn, as promised, and some of us started looking around, as the guys looked like they were really wanting to get the hell out of there as soon as they could :) Natch picked up the tape, and Aglaia made a nice purchase of Chocolate Body Frosting (actually, two jars, one for a a pair of friends, and one for, well, our own enjoyment). Then it was a stop past Vortex, a store full of random items. That was really cool also, wuukiee bought this cool stone goblet with a shell on the front, and to my amazement, nobody bought either the Sigmund Freud action figure or the Buddha that squeaked when you squeezed it. While waiting for wuukiee (the cashier had to run all over to find a box for the goblet]), the group degenerated first into everyone randomly pointing at each other, to that human knot game, where people join hands then try to untangle.

We finally headed to the mall for some ice skating. (I seriously don't get the ice rink in the mall thing, but I guess it's just an Iowa thing) Of course, Natch told us the wrong way at first, made even funnier by the fact she wasn't driving, and someone else was following us. As all of us in the car pointed blatantly at natch to make it clear she did it (it is ok though natch, we still love you!!), we turned around, and made it back to the mall.

A quick bite to eat, and we got onto the ice. I was very hesitant at first, though after a while my rollerblading balance and skills came back, and translated nicely to ice skating. I don't think I could match erikbjo's skill though, and CzarKhan had hidden the fact that he used to play hockey, so there were quite a few of us skating well. At one point I think we had like 6 of us holding hands in a line, managing about one lap of the rink before breaking apart. Natch got a lot of assistance from atril while out on the rink, eventually he grabbed me toward the end and made me skate with him too, while we talked a bit. I never even fell the entire time, though I came awfully close. Natch has already been told she can not hold another gathering without ice skating now, noders on skates is very, very important!!

Then it was time for the soy!! Aoeshe was next on the itinerary, and I think our waitress was in fear from the party of twelve, especially after we asked for seperate checks for various groups. (Beware the customers of doom as we create a waitress' nightmare!!) I think it took us about an hour to order finally, as chaos reigned, and other customers fled the area from the teeming mass of noders. We did make sure to start off with a couple bowls of edamame, insisting that everyone have some of this soy in such a basic form. After all, what would a noder gathering be without soy?? A number of noders also were introduced during the meal to miso shiru, which I think was an all around hit, and sushi - atril seemed to really like it, and other noders who had never had it were encouraged to sample it, such as erikbjo and enth. I think that was also a huge hit.

We split up a little bit at that point, my other half and I had to hit the hotel briefly, and we still got back as the others did, having stopped off at the liquor store - though I have no clue why enth, atril, litbolt, and czarkhan wanted the fo'ties - one would think that 40 oz of malt liquor for $1.69 would be a WARNING SIGN to stay away!! LitBolt was the smart one though, as he knew better than to actually DRINK the stuff. :)

We took a trip down to the cemetary to see the black angel statue, and for a skeptic, I must admit that I did find myself rather creeped out, clinging to my other half, and also wuukiee and mcc, as we walked through the grass over tombstones and the like. Fortunately, we didn't stay long.

After returning, the party degenerated into fun drunken chaos! Sadly, natch had missed the Friday delivery from UPS of the Atari 2600 paddles sent by zot-fot-piq, so Warlords was out. RoboRally was present, but it never got touched as the jell-o shots and the shots of Bailey's started going - I think I had a half cup of the jello, and at least three shots of Bailey's - and that stuff is fricking good as hell! Various chaos included atril managing to get a kiss from all the female noders at the gathering, my other half giving a demonstration to all of the power of a well-performed bite on the base of the neck (and wuukiee and mcc insisted on being trained in such), dancing, more whipped cream (NatchLucid made sure to get me back for my earlier actions) - and Natch, after promising to stay sober, well, showed that she didn't really mean it :) I think the promise lasted for maybe 15 minutes, and she does get affected really quickly!

I did end up leaving before the dirty jenga so I didn't get to see what happened there (probably all for the better :), but that was still at almost 4 am. We so crashed in the hotel room, and ignored the alarm in the morning for about 20 minutes.

Sunday morning was more goodbyes than anything else, though we did watch an episode of Red Dwarf, and I must admit, I found it rather stupid and just somewhat amusing, though I know that's going to get me in megatrouble.

Anways, I'd just like to say that wuukiee and mcc were even more awesome to be around this time than when they had visited us in Chicago before. NatchLucid is very energetic, and much more of a pixie than I expected, and cool as hell, and I think she's learning what a smart-ass and mischevious person I am (beware of whipped cream next time we're together, Natch!!). CzarKhan scared me a little at first, with the industrial look and spiked wristbands and a collar and stuff, but is actually really cool and nice and probably a big teddy bear. LitBolt is hilarious, and spontaneous and creative in amazing ways. atril was nice and fun to talk to and skate with. erikbjo was also cool as hell to be around, fun to talk to, and reserved but not in the antisocial way but in the not-wild way. enth was tres fun to chat with, and I didn't get to talk to him as much as I would have liked. And OcelotBob was cool, though I must admit it scares me that anyone would have a goatse.cx shirt!!

Overall, THE NODER MEET WAS FUCKING AWESOMENESS, I can't wait to do it again!! If you weren't there, you missed a great weekend, and TOO BAD!! NEENER-NEENER!! Sadly, while we had our soy, and our lesbians, there were no monkeys present...

And - and update on the covert mission to convert my love to E2 - she's now an E2'er, Aglaia!!