Good lord. Ok, the aftermath node:

So jmc and I left scenic Ann Arbor at four on Friday, armed with tent and sleeping bags and mix cds and falafel and hummus sandwiches, and a paper grocery bag full of liquor, jam, and bears. We had previously both been at work all day. Yay work! But it called for fortification. There is certainly more falafel in my car now than there had been previously, let us just say.

There was then lots of driving. I-94 is a really ugly highway. All the trees are yellow and sick-looking. But we had to take it all the way through Gary, Indiana, home of similar ugliness, and into Illinois, where we turned out to have successfully avoided the worst of the Chicago traffic and proceeded to get on 80. I was blinded by the sunset, but otherwise it was a good drive. Illinois is all flat and farm-oriented, and the occasional trees were all just coming out to full flower. It was getting dark as we crossed the Mississippi. We listened to lots of Modest Mouse, being on the great plains and all. It was interesting; I hadn't ever driven farther west than Chicago without a large group of people of some type, and John had never been to Iowa before. It was nice to be going west in such a manner. I liked it.

We did realize partway through the drive that we had forgotten to take time zones into account, and that we would therefore be early, and people might not even be at the apartment. So we stopped for dinner at a little town which turned out to be the birthplace of Former President Ronald Reagan, and ate at a Wendy's on the Hiftoric Ronald Reagan Trail. Good god, what is wrong with these people?? Anyway, FOOD. I did not so much eat my sandwich as ruminate at it for a while, but that was ok. And so we got into town exactly at the specified time, which was 11:30.

We then met: Natch, in a lovely vinyl dress, LitBolt, BrooksMarlin, enth, who I recognized by the blue hair, Sir.Cracked, and sublies. erikbjo had apparently made an appearance earlier, then vanished. So.

I proceeded to forget everyone's names instantaneously, but that was also ok; there was so much forgetting of names over the weekend, whether said forgetting happened by virtue of alcohol or not. As it happened, there was no alcohol Friday night, so. There was, however, lots of eat poop you cat. I can't remember any specific sentences just now, but I am sure Natch will put them up. Anyway we all warmed up and were acquainted, and it was good. Everyone was extremely friendly and charming; I was all charmed.

Then we decided to take a trip to the graveyard up the street. It was fresh and nice out, and my feet got very wet very quickly. We cut through the graves in the close to pitch black, and I had one hell of a time not tripping over anything, especially going down the hill. In fact I did trip, but sustained no injury, so. We were looking at the statue of the black angel that we had come to see, when the streetlight above my head started to flicker and turned suddenly on, like a bug zapper, except with more spotlight qualities. Simultaneously, there were a number of bat-oriented noises from a little way away. I jumped a foot in the air and was like ok those are bats those are bats yet I am done with the graveyard. So I flipped out a little bit, and we went ahead back to the apartment. Everyone was extremely nice about it, which was good, because I felt stupid.

Bed ensued. Sir.Cracked left to go home, being local, then came back to retrieve his camera and inform us that he had caught some of his friends outside. Apparently they had followed us to the graveyard and tried to scare us, which worked well enough. So everyone was at least a little pissed about that; a later game of eat poop you cat revolved entirely around "Mike's stupid friends tried to scare us", for instance. But it was all good. I was actually a little relieved, since I could then legitimately be annoyed instead of creeped out.

In the morning I woke up with a huge sinus headache, and proceeded to be not all that much fun while everyone played heritage Atari games and breakfasted upon two different kinds of Cheetos. Had it until I had the presence of mind to have both some ibuprofen (didn't work) and a can of Dr. Pepper. Then it went away rather quickly. The moral of the story is: drink your caffeine.

I also got to take the first of many jaunts to the grocery store up the street. Iowa City is actually quite nice. Little houses and lots of plants in the front yards.

Eventually we all were organized, and left in caravan for Lake MacBride. Iowa continued to be very nice indeed. I like all the gently rolling business that the land does there, and the tufty scrub everywhere, not to mention actually green hills and fields. There was a hill of goldenrod at one point. We sang a lot of Elvis Costello in the car. It was gorgeous out and we got to the campground, where we met Martian_Bob, his girlfriend Molly, and FireBomb, without incident.

Then, however, there was incident. General dissatisfaction with the campsites caused us to turn back. We were just going to barbecue in the backyard of the apartments, but decided instead to run around trying to find some other place that people liked better. This worked about as well as you would think, and we ended up back at the apartments anyway, where we (being slightly collectively annoyed at this point) immediately broke out the grill and alcohol. A shot of Jack Daniels out of the bottle will cure all your ills! Anyway, the combination of beer and meat (or, you know, beer and Boca burgers and Hot Damn 100 and veggie kabobs and Absolut Citron) fixed things in short order. Everyone was in a good mood.

By this point the focus was largely on relaxing and socializing in a semi- to entirely drunken manner. That was fine by me. I was dubbed "hot" by several people. Ok then, that's a fine thing to be. I approve. Apparently several people approve. All right then!

Most people were instantaneously drunk. LitBolt, as mentioned, did not get drunk no matter how much he drank. This makes me wonder whether LitBolt + booze actually = disaster, as had been previously posited; he seems to me to be a fine upstanding young citizen. Natch spent a lot of time changing clothes, as predicted, and was extremely happy to see the bag of ice that jmc and I got (along with a basket of Sweet Williams, yay plants!) on another trip up to the store. jmc himself got immediately drunk enough to give his full lecture on Foucault ("...and Jeremiah Bentham, who--" "Jeremy Bentham!" ... ... ... "...and when Jeremiah Bentham proposed his--" "JEREMY BENTHAM!"), and someone commented "hey, the professor's drunk!" I made a bunch of Indian street corn, and talked to Martian_Bob about grad school. And I got to go into Sir.Cracked's car to get a cd. That was the smallest car in the world. He appears to be one of those people who look tall enough but drive like short people. And Girlface, the last of our great and valiant number, showed up and started to catch up on the drinking.

We all gradually moved back into the apartment. After this things got a little hazy, although I was actually maintaining a good degree of drunk in a sensible and steady manner. At some point I went to the store again, this time with LitBolt and sublies; we busted out all our quarters for a toy vending machine which advertised pooping animals. Clearly, we got no pooping animals out of the deal, just several temporary tattoos and non-Nickelodeon non-name brand Gak. But that was ok. Someone gave me a tattoo of Spongebob Squarepants and his starfish friend of whose name I am unaware. There was much music and loud conversation and enth's Citron/cranberry/lime punch, which turned out to be an outstanding beverage. I gave out mix cds; there are more available, if anyone wants one.

Somewhere around this time jmc went over the edge to "too drunk". We went back and forth and back and forth to sleep in the car/not sleep in the car/sleep in the hallway, while everyone else was having the battle of the mascots. He eventually passed out, and stayed in the same exact position for a good hour or two. I stayed up, such that the hallway was navigable for a while, and drank and talked and danced. Danced! Me, dancing! This has not happened at a legitimate social function in over two years. Y'all who witnessed such an event should feel special.

I seem to have gone downhill after that, and went to bed in the hall with jmc. So we effectively blocked the entire hallway, and got stepped on a lot. That was only to be expected, considering. We had a bunch of hazy sleep during the dirty Jenga, and that was fine as well. Eventually things wound down,and we moved out to the living room to sleep in a heap with everybody else. It was getting light out.

In the morning there was not all that much going on. John and I had to leave, so as to beat the time change, return the tent to Lansing, and get back to Ann Arbor with reasonable time to recover (i.e. sleep) before work in the morning. So we fuzzily collected ourselves and made our goodbyes at 12:30. I didn't get to make ratatouille as planned, and although I wrote down the recipe for Natch, I think it was kind of difficult to interpret. I shall have to fix this in the near future as well.

The drive back was uneventful, although jmc slept for a good half of it, which in turn made it difficult for me to stay awake. But I did and it was all good. In Lansing, ca. 8 pm, we dropped off the tent, talked to his parents, dragged ourselves away from the Last Episode Ever of the X-files, and ate burritos and peanut stirfry at Travelers Club. Then I let jmc drive the rest of the way home, and we sang The Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees EPs with what was left of our alcohol-depleted voices. It was good. And so we got home around 11, cleaned bathrooms in a responsible we'll-be-fined-if-we-don't-do-our-chores sort of way, took showers, and collapsed into bed.

This morning I found a dixie cup shotglass in my coat pocket. AT WORK.

In conclusion. Noders are good. Alcohol is good. Sleep is good. MUCH GOODNESS ENSUED. (Look at all the value judgement!) It was a good weekend, although exhausting, and we shall come back and bother people at our discretion. Yay!

The end.