So the night before was exhausting, mindwrenching and disappointing, so it's no real surprise I didn't wake up until 2:30 or so. I remember setting my alarm clock to noon, but examining it now reveals my ability to rise, turn off the alarm and fall back asleep without ever gaining full consciousness. Or maybe my dormmates came in through the unlocked door and turned it off for me, although they were awfully kind not to bash my head in once they had entered the pit of doom and despair I laughingly call my room.

My alarm clock is the most obnoxious one ever.

I feel extremely sorry for the surrounding inhabitants. It's not just loud, but screeching and piercing. Still, somehow I ended up being late for the Everything Portland Tea. The short morning rituals observed, a quick run down to Steele and 39th, a wait for the bus, a short ride and a jaunt down Belmont delivered me at the Tao of Tea, merely an hour late. I walked in, confident despite my lack of personal knowledge of any noder involved bar my fellow student Brain. I was greeted not with a hearty cheer or mug of ale, but desolation and devastation. Not really, but the mental effect of surveying the assorted hipsters and blackclad pierced staff in the place of the hearty comradery of fellow noders was much the same. So I suppose I looked fairly clueless, something I excel at, and an employee came over to ask my major malfunction.

"I'm looking for someone I was meeting, but they don't seem to be here." I muttered.

That wrinkled pink-gray product of one million years of evolution, nestled between his shoulders, allowed the helpful if slightly permanently sneering young man to explain the best course of action was to go outside and to the right. While it felt like I was getting kicked out of a tea house, after a false start I arrived at the real source of the action. A group of warmly inviting, jovial, healthy young adults, chatting and drinking tea with great gusto. I sat down and was treated to a barrage of real names. Now note, I had never before met people in real life that I had previously known online, so I was ignorant of the protocol and had been expecting E2 names, handles, aliases or whatever term best fits in the physical world. Not that figuring out the identity of our little group was that hard. Brain I knew, moJoe was positively incandescent in his loud humor (guess which noder got the dirty looks from the staff behind his back?), LordOmar's good cheer tickled my neurons into remembrance through homepage picture, ideath was unfortunate enough to be close enough for me to ask her there, flamingweasel revealed his identity through an anecdote about Everclear and burning flesh, icicle came as we were leaving with a good initial impression of a scared rabbit, Dialogue and I chatted about his return to Everything on the way to food, and patientfox revealed himself while munching on pizza and stealing tables from hipsters. Apparently and disappointingly, I missed pukesick - on the other hand, have any of you ever seen both of us in the same place at the same time? I thought so. And so I note each and every one of you.

So to jump back in time, we were sitting around, many of us drinking tea, being loud, obnoxious and fun. Walking down to food, moJoe and LordOmar took up the scout position while Brain entertained us with his brightly colored jester cap as ideath juggled and patientfox dissed corporate rock sellouts. As mentioned, yes, we did talk shit about almost every E2 celebrity, except for nate. He doesn't do enough for us to bitch about. Other fun highlights were a surfeit of getting to know you, various people's views of drunken noding, one noder's search for drugs, themes and the desperate need for customization, a brainstorm on the proper title for our post-meeting node, discussion of the December North-west E2 meeting, solemn pontifications on True Noding, and much more. Two frosh from Reed showed up, one of whom I spent a night with once and this and that, so I was surprised to see her there, and perhaps a little uncomfortable, but they didn't stay long. After munching, we were gently ushered out by the staff and stood around, looking hungry and menancing. Someone suggested starting an E2 gang, I suggested celebratory tattoos for all, and we went out to buy switchblades for robbing the assorted hippies, junkies and yuppies of Hawthorn. Actually, a majority of people left for moJoe's workplace to node and Brain, LordOmar and I went away, although I'll admit to a stop at Powells for school books first. What can I say, I'm not much of a storyteller. I enjoyed it.

So when shal we all meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?