It all began at 6 AM on Saturday morning. I woke up, and got ready to meet noders for the first time in my life. I was a little nervous, but I figured that if it did go badly, it was only a day or so that I'd be there.

I rolled out the door at about 7, and a couple hours later arrived in Iowa City. Natch's directions got me right to the place, and I pulled into the parking lot. After a honk of the horn or two, LitBolt came out, and I'd met my first noder. I have to take a second to apologize to LitBolt. I was a bit blitzed from the combination of lack of sleep, being up at 6 AM, and driving two hours, and didn't really process when he told me he was NatchLucid to see what my reaction was. I remember a dim, murky thought that I'd thought NatchLucid was female, but before I could express my bewilderment he told me that he was really just joking.

We walked into the apartment, and along with my box of crepe cooking supplies, I made my way to the kitchen. Noders were strewn on the floor and couch, and Natch was in the kitchen making Welsh pancakes. After she finished, I mixed up my crepes, and cooked them up. (Thanks to katycat for her node with the crepe recipe!) Saige and her other-half got there during my crepe cooking, and we had some interesting synchronized cooking feats in NatchLucid's kitchen. I think Wuukiee cooked some sausage as well. More people had started waking up during this time, and we had some nice conversation (along with the inevitable "Insert awkward silence here"). Brunch was great, and I must say I really liked the taste of NatchLucid's Welsh pancakes.

Enough about food! We were all entertained by LitBolt's work with the Evil 800 pound kitten, although I was sad to see its demise later in the day. Eat Poop You Cat was very fun in my opinion, although my lack of artistic ability was frustrating at times. There were some interesting sentences that came out of it though. I was sitting next to Atril during the game, and I think on every round our opening sentences were similar. That was kind of surprising I'll admit.

After Eat Poop You Cat, I had another first. Yes, I'll fess up, the visit to Ruby's Pearl (the feminist porn shop), was the first time I'd ever been in a porn shop. I actually found it much more tasteful than I'd expected, although I (along with the other guys I think) did feel a bit out of place. We wandered downtown Iowa City for a bit, and it's definitely a more vibrant "campus town" than Ames has. Oh, this meet was also my first time that I'd really been in Iowa City too. Four years of college at Iowa State, and I'd never even visited Iowa City to go drinking.

After downtown it was out to Coral Ridge Mall, the largest mall in Iowa. I rode over there with OcelotBob and Natch's friend Mandi. She's a math major, and we told a few bad math jokes and discussed our respective majors' lack of social skills. I don't know that she's really the E2 type, but I did find her to be pretty cool. I've been proven wrong. She IS a noder now! Woohoo! When everyone else got there, she, CzarKhan, and I hit Panera Bread for some grub, since we were pretty hungry. That place has such great food! And then began the ice skating. I'd skated before, but I'm not so great. Thankfully, my foolish courage let me win the sliding contest, to the remark of "OK boys, put the rulers away". I must admit that I think I went past the starting line on my slide, so maybe I should have been disqualified.

Sushi at Aoshe was great, and fairly new to me. I may have had sushi before, but I don't remember it being that good! I decided to play it safe and order a fried beef dish called Gan Pong Beef. That was really good, and other people were kind enough to let me try some of their sushi. I'm definitely on the lookout for good places to get sushi now, and I think I've found one in Des Moines. The Miso was very good as well. I'd seen it before, but wasn't very interested. Boy was I wrong! I did feel sorry for the waitress, but I think the tip we left was pretty darn good.

After dinner we headed over to Hy-Vee, where many of the out-of-staters were amazed that alcohol could be procured until 2 AM from a grocery store in Iowa. I passed on the fo'ties, and decided that I didn't want to take the chance of driving back home with an open bottle of liquor the next day. Instead, I bought some Whitey's ice cream. Whitey's is a local Quad Cities/Iowa City ice cream that's just absolutely awesome. Mine was Moose Tracks, which has peanut butter cups and chocolate swirls in it. We then retired to the apartment for an evening of festivities. Things started with Sugar High Glitter City, and some jello shots/cups. The movie was definitely interesting, and I had a few drinks during that time. We got tired of the movie somewhere along the way, and just sat around talking for a while. I ended up bringing my guitar in from the car, and dazzled some people with my abilities (more or less ;-) ). Natch pulled out music to Wish you were here by Pink Floyd, which I thankfully know pretty well.

I think the next thing after that was Sacrilege, led by LitBolt. Basically it's a role playing game where you have to choose a country to play and plot to take over the world. I thought my plot of being Andorra and sending hypnotic clocks to all the world leaders was pretty inventive. They couldn't resist my powers as they built my Andorran people spaceships and sent us off to Alpha Centauri, where we sat on the beach and learned from aliens. MCC did catch on to my plan, so Mexico ended up being the only country with any money left. During the game, Wuukiee and I chatted for a bit about faith and beliefs. I'll join everybody else in saying that Wuukiee is extremely cool, and her homenode picture does not do her justice.

Sacrilege was followed by Dirty Jenga!. I won't go into detail, but I did lose the first round, and you can read NatchLucid's writeup to find out what happened then. I watched another game, and then was a party pooper by heading to bed "early" (about 5 am).

Morning came way too soon. I got up at about 9, showered, and cooked up a batch of crepes, which were left in the oven for the other noders once they woke up. Around noon, I said goodbye, and headed on home.

All that being said, I just want to say that overall these noders impressed me. I didn't realize they'd be so cool. NatchLucid was an absolutely awesome hostess, and we share a love of Stuart Davis's music. And I was a recipient of a kiss or two from her ;-). LitBolt will forever remain the first noder I've ever met, and I really thought sacrilege was fun. CzarKhan was intimidating for me at first too, but after getting to know him, he's definitely a thoughtful and interesting person. Atril and I shared some kind of mental connection on Eat Poop You Cat, and he was a fun one to hang out with. As I've mentioned before, Wuukiee was absolutely great, and I look forward to reading her nodes and keeping in touch. I didn't get to talk with mcc much at all, but he impressed me as a very articulate and intelligent person, especially by his game of Sacrilege. Saige was quite a warm person once I got to know her a bit, and her partner didn't seem to be too frightened by us noders. OcelotBob scared me a little too with the shirt, but thankfully that was just on the last day. I must admit that I'm in awe of some of his meta puns. Finally, I found Enth to be very cool, in a multifaceted way. Gotta love the blue hair too!

While I was going to the meet, I reassured myself by saying that at worst, the meet was only about a day long. Now that it's over, I know that that was the worst part. I hope I keep in touch with these people, and I want to make time in my life to node more often. A big thanks to all involved for helping make the weekend great for me.