Herein lie my recounts of a weekend well spent, beginning with the drive, ending with the drive. But those are not the most important things; this write up is an attempt to capture the unbelievable good time I had in Boston, despite minor drawbacks (and one major one, which was consequently overlookable when compared to the positive overload of the three days spent in the company of cool people). This noder gathering, despite that dorky title, was the highlight of a dismal semester spent studying and pining for those party days which I had thought were long gone, lost somewhere between high school and college, never to be recaptured with the same enthusiasm or enjoyment. Thanks to cahla and the BAP, I rediscovered what it’s like to hang out without a care in the world, for a couple days at least.

The Drive to Ann Arbor and Thursday Night
Since the drive was going to be so long anyway, and because there were three of us still in Holland despite years upon years of boredom and we were meeting the rest of our former Holland crew in Ann Arbor, Void_Ptr, her husband (Kendall), and myself made the decision to leave Thursday night and sleep in A2 for a few hours before taking off for Boston proper. The fact that several of my best friends, including MiZuNkY (my pseudo-husband of three years), were graduating in a few days, and because I needed to bestow them with gifts, also played into the leaving early equation. So I drove over to Rosie and Kendall’s house around 6pm, and after packing up the trunk of my microscopic Saturn, we were on our way.

We made it as far as Grand Rapids before stopping for dinner at the Cracker Barrel, where we all partook in the heavenly concoction that this particular establishment was well known to excel in creating :pancakes. They were fantastic. The three of us talked about computer games throughout the meal, and Kendall did his Tom Green impression of “Daddy, would you like some sausage?” This led me to conclude that he bore an uncanny resemblance to this comedian, an impression that still stands after several more days of contemplation.

Later on the drive we came across a purple pickup truck that was the exact hue of Rosie’s stunningly purple nails, a color I am known to be especially fond of. Even my car bears a hint of purple, disguised behind the moniker of blackberry to persuade customers it is not too offensive. I thought it was charming, as my current vehicle is the second car I’ve owned to be of this color.

We arrived in Ann Arbor around 9:15, and had made arrangements shortly before to meet the rest of our crew at the Fleetwood, a diner-style trailer restaurant where the schizophrenic and/or DID bums hang out on a regular basis. And the cooks there make incredible hippy hash, a dish that is locally famous for its deliciousness. It consists of hash brows, at least an entire stick of butter, broccoli, peppers, onions, and feta cheese. Hard on the stomach but well worth the pain, as I always say. Because we were slightly ahead of schedule, we stopped by Aaron’s apartment and picked him up before making our way to the restaurant. After finding parking, we met clampe, the gilded frame and Cowboy Neal at an outside table. After observing the disgusting coffee they were nursing, and because it was decidedly chilly, we took off for warmer places. After several failures, we ended up at Amer’s, one of my favorite places to eat.

Rosie had a Greek salad of daunting proportions, and Aaron grabbed some sort of leaky beef sandwich that caused the white bread to develop brown splotches until one not well informed would have thought it to be some sort of swirled rye bread. But he attested to its tastiness, and then polished off Rosie’s salad minus the brown olives. Kurt was there, and Scott’s girlfriend, Karen, was also present, the only non-Hollander, non-noder at the table. She appeared to be remarkably comfortable despite her glaring differences. And she was a wonderful woman. Those two took off slightly before the rest of us. The conversation was scintillating, the people were even better.

Kendall, Rosie, Aaron and I piled back into my car around 11 to get a short night’s rest before rising in the morning for the Big Drive. Only when we arrived at our sleeping place, we found it to be loudly occupied by Aaron’s roommate’s girlfriend, and one of my favorite friends, Stef. She is a native Boston dweller, and had a lot to say about our forthcoming trip. The colorful yet slightly begrimed bowl on the coffee table sitting next to the baggie full of plant matter didn’t seem to phase anyone except me, but I moved it out of sight nonetheless.

I gave Aaron his graduation present from my mom and I, a Rio mp3 player with a128kb memory. I had heard they were the most popular brand out there, and therefore must be of good quality, hence the decision to give Aaron that particular one. I had been all for getting him a Samsung yepp to match mine, but the more I thought about it the less I liked that idea. Couples who match are suspicious folk. So no matter how much I love my little toy, I had to get Aaron a different one. I went to bed shortly thereafter, while Rosie and Kendall continued to watch tv.

The Drive to Boston
I woke up after a restless sleep to the alarm clock’s awful beeping at four o’clock. I stumbled out of bed, threw on the first thing I grabbed from my bag, and woke Rosie and Kendall up. We were slightly delayed due to an injured toe on Kendall’s foot, for which I was deeply sympathetic having had similar pains awhile ago after long years of foot abuse brought about by high heels and uncomfortable shoes. I’m sure Kendall’s difficulties arose by different means, but ended in the same inconvenience. However, we were out the door at quarter to five, and met the rest of our crew at the Fleetwood once again for a quick breakfast. Rosie and I had our own table, from which we had a spectacular view of a man wearing three inch long, blood red acrylic nails and pink lipstick. He was also wearing earmuffs.

And then it was on the road. We followed our leaders in their rented Buick Le Saber, nearly double the length of my car, and were soon driving east into the sunrise. Rosie took several pictures with her miniature Polaroid camera, with which she began a book to commemorate out journey.

A few hours later, we pulled behind a van with a license plate reading ZOY. Instantaneously we all thought of “Zoy! Zoy!” instead of “Soy! Soy!” and a picture was taken almost instinctively. There was not much else of note occurring throughout most of Canada. We stopped for gas maybe. Maybe not. Around ten o’clock though, we arrived in Niagra. It was a necessity that we stop by the falls, on the American side. It was beautiful! As we walked from our cars along the path provided, Scott and I wondered at the conspiracy behind the large metal railing between us and the fast flowing rapids. There was some sort of power source leading into them at regular intervals, with no real purpose immediately evident. It must have been some strange energy source, although we weren’t sure about how the details of its workings.

After following Scott for so long and becoming used to his tactics (which included cutting off a semi right before our exit, pretending to go straight and then cutting across two lanes with no blinker and taking the exit dangerously close to the sign) enough so that I could anticipate them, Cliff took the wheel. He has a sporadic lead foot from hell, racing ahead at speeds upwards of 120mph for a few hundred yards, then settling to a comfortable 95. I became used to this too, after a few hours, and all was well.

More driving. After my seventh hour behind the wheel and a rest stop at Sbarro’s where I spent half an hour gazing at a six foot tall picture of faded lasagna, I switched with someone and zonked out in the backseat for three hours. When we were in New York I awoke, just in time for some confusion as to which state we were actually in. This led to being lost. But it did not last long, as we soon re-found the Mass Pike and were on our way once again.

Back behind the wheel. We arrived at Hemos’s house in a posh area of West Newton, where I met his beautiful cat and even more beautiful daughter. He printed off further directions for us, gave us a place to rest our travel-weary selves for a few moments, and then it was back on the road to cahla’s.

We arrived on cahla’s tree lined street without too much confusion, finding parking a mere two blocks away, and then it was time to meet the noders…..

Friday Night
I was tired and quickly became drunk. Upon entering the house, I remember a dark inside, followed by a bright kitchen crowded with people. I kept thinking of the phrase someone had said the day before, that this gathering would be like a cocktail party where everyone had read your diary. I saw dmd first, with camcorder in hand and nametag in place, looking me up and down in a very forward manner. I shook hands with several people, the names of whom I cannot recall. Chihuahua Grub made me a drink of mystery ingredients, garnished with a pink umbrella and matching straw. I played several games of Cathedral, all of which I lost. Novalis and WonkoTheSane tried to help me out. A ferocious game of Scrabble ensued, which Novalis swept with a 100 point lead due to the word favours.

I gave cahla the obligatory shot glass, inscribed my name upon it with a Sharpie, and had a brief discussion with Mitzi about a very strange occurrence. It turns out she originally heard of me through and an interview I had done with one of their reporters for an article on pro-anorexia. Of course I am vehemently opposed to such a ludicrous concept, as the reporter discovered, and this was in favor of the slant of her article, and thus she quoted me a few times. I suppose she added a link to my website in the article, as Mitzi clicked on it and consequently found the link on my website to our beloved e2. I thought this was decidedly coincidental and it has remained in my mind all these days until now, as I am sharing the story with you all.

I met so many people on Friday night, but due to my brain-dead state and Tedd’s skill with alcohol (and someone else who made me a few white Russians), I can’t remember a whole lot. I was definitely retahded. I do recall a kind handshake from the wonderful panamaus, as I was standing in the doorway to the hall to the kitchen looking decidedly unsociable. I apologize for my blandness, as I was very happy to meet him.

I finally met JayBonci, a man who has been my personal hero several times. He has gone out of his way so often for me and my inane requests, endearing him in my heart forever. I talked with clampe for hours in front of the stove about our overachievements at West Ottawa High School (he, by the way, outdid me by a long shot – however impossible I thought that to be). The Custodian helped me find a glass of milk. Walter tried without success to convince me his real name was something else. I remember shaking many more hands and exclaiming over many other people, but the details elude me, and I am sorry.

Orange Julius rounded up the gang staying at his place, and we took off in the early hours of the morning. I remember getting into Whitey, Jay’s 1988 Oldsmobile, with no heat, and trying to find Novalis’s home which even he did not know how to get to. But somehow we managed to arrive safe and sound at OJ’s house, and soon after showers and changing, everyone was asleep.

JayBonci and I slept in until 10:30, just as I had planned. OJ provided us with a quick and varied breakfast catering to any taste before we left to make the long journey to the Pru.

It began with the walk past a house that looked a little shady, a little off, a little unfit for the neighborhood in which it was situated. After my instantaneous observations, OJ and FatAlbertTheta informed us that it was, indeed, a crack house. Or at least a house that was highly suspected to be involved in such things. A few minutes later its title was revised to a crack home, although I missed the details on this. The walk to the bus continued. We passed a Lego man and his blood brother who were bearing mints in block shaped boxes, begging us to visit their newly opened store. The Lego man was silent throughout this request although he did appear to be enthusiastic. We arrived at the bus stop without further mishap. OJ told us about his jungle berry pie creation. The bus named every street we passed with undying accuracy despite the varied speeds. I decided there must be sensors and such throughout the city.

We then boarded the T amidst a crowd unlike any other. Most of the people in the station were on their way to a Red Sox game, stacking themselves into the cars of the T like bread into a bag. We made it nonetheless. The line was cut off early; they took upon themselves the authority to kick us off the T a few stops early and let us take some other form of transportation the rest of the way. We decided to walk.

Upon our arrival at the Pru, I noticed a large collection of shiny yellow buckets with bright blue shovels attached to the handles, all sitting in a large planter beneath a set of stairs and under the watchful eyes of a large bronze man in statue form who was trying to soar into the sky. I could only imagine it was the work of cahla and miller. My suspicions were confirmed a few minutes later. However, in the meantime I witnessed Void_Ptr being rocketed across my vision by means of a shopping cart, and I saw someone had collected a cloud covered lampshade to tote about for the day. It was quite a find.

The scavenger hunt rules were explained, and I was excited. My team was the last to be named, and we were labeled The BLACK Team under the rule of ccunning. Our team consisted of the following noders:

After all was settled, we decided our first stop was Walgreens, where we planned to procure drinkables and warm clothing. This stop took about twenty minutes due to mass confusion and a lack of single packets of tissues, but we were soon on our way. Mission one: visit Jaubertmoniker for 10,000 bonus points.

The voyage there was trying. It was difficult. It was a blast. We harassed half a dozen street vendors for the devil horn shots, we stopped at every bar between the Pru and the Star Market for matchbooks, and we painted ourselves with watercolors from ideath’s never ending supply of goodies found in her Boy Scout backpack. We saw some sort of dog/monkey hybrid made of cloth and wire, twice the height of a man, sitting on the back of a bicycle with a microphone in one hand, singing old rock tunes and mocking computer generated voices. It begged ideath to sing a song, but she politely refused as we were on a desperate mission.

Once we reached the Star Market, we found Andy and harassed him to no end. He finally came from behind the counter and allowed us to pick him up and hold him in odd positions for the sake of the camera, in front of his managers and all the customers, causing great fright to all. After we had satisfied the proof requirements, ccunning was kind enough to steal several labels from bottles of Miller beer to add to our yellow bucket, and we found a box of dog treats with the cutest picture of a puppy on it, which we all readily fondled for the camera. After we were assured that every security guard in the store was focused on us, we left, sure in the fact that we had just secured our victory, as we had been the first to reach the store and the first to get the 10,000 points. We smugly awaited the next bus back to downtown. Ideath painted burnboy’s chest with a large M while we stood outside next to a shopping cart, blocking the sidewalk.

Misson 2: Boston Common. We found several copies of porn magazines, including but not limited to Big Black Booty (which was appropriate to our team’s name and mission). We beat burnboy with these reading materials, thereby signifying the “Crushing of Enemies” dictated by the directions, even though he was obviously an ally. Next, we bought some fried dough. Cheer logos were found, gravestone rubbings were made, and we attempted to climb onto the lap of the herbed lady, but two park security officers were alert and watching, no doubt due to some other (and clumsier) team’s attempt at the same goal. We managed to get close enough to touch the lady’s knee, but there would be no further climbing without angering the large men wearing the shiny black boots. But we were allowed to climb all over a mine, which made an interesting picture as well. And our interpretation of a waterfall allowed for the interruption of children’s playtime, which we were reluctant to do but forced ourselves to for the good of the hunt. Extra points? I think so!

Mission 3: Newberry Street. We accidentally accomplished one goal without even thinking – I’ll give you one guess as to which one. Okay, it’s too obvious. We went into Condom World and took a picture of the boys perusing the dildo section with pensive expressions without even looking at the objectives. Upon following later directions and walking the plank, we saw in the distance the purple sign and the downward arrow, pointing to the already-visited store. More bonus points! However, when we attempted to find our locker, it was barred with a lock for which we possessed no key, as the store was long closed when we arrived. But we did try. Then we ate ice cream at JP Licks while watching a bright yellow Kawasaki get ticketed.

In a last desperate attempt, we finished a few more goals in a frenzied rush, and then ran back to Walgreens to turn in our film at six o’clock sharp. Then it was time for a Starbucks mocha coconut frappachino and the waiting game. Aresds produced a trio of brightly colored plastic monkeys for our entertainment. Then I waited to have our priceless bucket assessed only to have the sun set, leaving us in total darkness except for the end of cahla’s bobbing cigarette as she totaled up the points of team yellow. Then it was on to dinner, unfinished buckets and all. Thankfully dann was there to comfort me in my disappointment and express his sympathy for my frozen self.

Dinner was lovely. I sat next to N-Wing, an exhausted burnboy, Cow of Doom and his girlfriend Amanda, dann and ideath. And yes, how the notes did fly. And I contributed my share. Most were directed at JayBonci a few tables over, although some were to no one in particular. I received half a dozen, but they were somehow lost amidst the sea of folded paper that was beginning to take over our little end of the table. I ate a lot. thefez sat with me for a bit, Chihuahua Grub stopped by, clampe made fun of me for not liking condiments (namely garlic, which alienated me from the Hollander crowd). I wrote dann’s name in Japanese for him. I’m not sure how accurate it was, but it did look cool. And that was that.

After finishing dinner and throwing down a quarter of a hundred for my tab, I watched a train of noders carry endless stacks of tinfoil covered dishes out the door to cahlas car. Leftovers for another day, I assumed.

ideath and zot-fot-pig’s wedding was lovely. The veil that she had used earlier to represent a sort of rabbit animal while at Starbucks was now used for its original purpose, concealing her beaming smile and radiant features during the ceremony. clampe did a wonderful job leading the whole deal, improvising a lovely sermon on the spot.

Then it was supposed to be back to cahla’s house after a brief stop at OJ’s. So we walked a little, rode the T a little, rode a bus a little and talked a lot. SophiesCat told us about the obnoxious rules imposed at Smith, as well as the house’s self-governing tactics that included such amendments as “No showering with a guest during prime showering times,” which I thought was the best from the list. OJ told us some amazing stories of promiscuity performed by his college roommate, all told secondhand and therefore taking on legend-like qualities. The nicknames of the “girlfriends” ranged from Jay, Do You Want This? and Mannequin and Wagon Wheel. I can’t remember some of the more involved aliases, although there were definitely more interesting. FatAlbertTheta and OJ talked about their Japanese roommate and his habit of speaking his native tongue while sleeping, and his unsurprising love of karaoke. We then consequently sat next to a large group of Chinese passengers on the T who were all deeply engrossed in reading Chinese newspapers, which contain characters that look the same as many Japanese characters with different meanings and pronunciations and stroke orders. I tried my hardest to get the gist of some of the articles, but I failed miserably.

Once we arrived back home, everyone realized the extent of their fatigue. It was by unanimous consent that we remained at OJ’s for a night of quiet drinking and movies. After some debate, and many refusals to comply with my decisions (including Legally Blonde, Trainspotting, and several others I can’t remember), we finally decided on Pleasantville, which most of us had never seen. It was cheesy in its symbolism but good nonetheless. OJ brought out a bottle of Courvoisier and passed it around. Thankfully P Diddy didn’t show up. After tasting it, we decided Busta and his crew were right; it’s better to pass the courvoisier as opposed to drinking it. SophiesCat was the only one who could drink it without wincing, spluttering, crying or dying. The movie ended and it was bed time, although JayBonci and I stayed awake talking for a while. Before I knew it, the clock read 4:30 and my eyes were refusing to cooperate with my nerves, closing without warning. I remember mumbling incoherently into my pillow for a while, and then I was unconscious.

One o’clock in the afternoon, the last to wake up as usual. I scrounged around for some shampoo and conditioner, and finally found some already awaiting me in the shower. Had a bagel for breakfast and some tootsie rolls. Then we drove over to cahla’s house for the Iron Chef cook off. I got involved in a friendly game of Monopoly with burnboy, ccunning, dann, WonkoTheSane, Dis and Orange Julius. After a few hours there were only four of us left; burnboy, OJ, dann and me. Dann and I were pretty much tied after the former players left us the majority of their goods, neglecting poor OJ, as he had been the winner for a good portion of the match. Burnboy was barely a part of the game, as he was even more distracted than the rest of us by Disgruntled Wren looking at porn for four hours on the couch next to the coffee table where our game was held. I can only imagine what poor Cow of Doom’s computer’s hard drive looked like after the couch porn crew filled it up. Although I tried my best to avoid seeing much, a few pictures were brought to my attention, including one that induced the famous comment of the day:

”They must have a welder on staff!”
I would rather forget the things I saw. Wren had all sorts of interesting quirks, including the constant exposition of her switchblade, which injured two people in my presence, dripping blood and all. Despite the several requests I made for her to put the knife away, she never even looked in my direction. There are definitely better ways to get attention, such as talking to people instead of brandishing a weapon.

The game of Monopoly came to a halt as hunger overtook us. However, most of the gourmet food was long gone, so I settled for the leftovers from Vinny Testa’s. Miller gave me a carrot, for which I was thankful. I added it to my salad minus dressing.

A few hours later, after we uncovered OJ’s bottle of Kalua, White Russians and Mind Erasers were made for all. After I had finished my second, Rosie found me and said it was time to go. The alcohol was not affecting me in the least, so I said my goodbyes and left rather abruptly. I apologize to those I did not say farewell to, you were still in my thoughts! We watched most of Executive Decision back at the hotel, and then I went to bed.

The Drive Home
I woke up around 7:30 and got dressed, clean and fed. The hotel had a nice selection of carbohydrates from which I chose several, and then it was time to pack up the car and be on our way. We were right in the middle of rush hour in Boston, but thanks to a strategically placed carpool lane, we were racing past the backups for a good portion of 93. The drive was uneventful until we arrived in New York, 260 miles from Buffalo, when Kendall pointed out a cop car on the side of the road a few hundred feet ahead. I immediately hit the brake and slowed to a measly 65mph, which felt like a slow crawl after our steady cruise at 95. We passed him and I slowly sped back up to about 85, until Kendall announced it was time for a bathroom break. I slowed down to 70 and changed to the right lane, falling in behind a purple car with thirteen antennas. Within a few minutes, the same cop car pulled in behind me, which I thought was odd, as he had been going much faster a moment before. I was smug in the knowledge that I had been going 70mph for a good five minutes, which was only five miles per hour over the speed limit. But despite my angelic behavior, the lights began to flash, and I pulled off the highway. The policeman took his time getting out of his car and making the walk to my window. I handed him my license and registration after only a few minutes of searching through old proofs of insurance. He said they had clocked me at 80mph a few miles back, and had been following me for a while. This made me happy, as they must not have seen me going any faster. Or he was being kind, which I doubt. So I got my first speeding ticket. I called my parents to give them the news, they informed me that it will most likely not apply to my insurance rates or put points on my license, as NY and MI don’t share records. My mom congratulated me on getting caught. No one was angry, which was a relief.

I didn’t much feel like driving after that, so Kendall took over. I read for a while, and then it was Rosie’s turn to drive. I zonked out in the backseat until we got lost in Canada. We took 407 from the QEW instead of 403, which took us much farther north than necessary. But we somehow got back on track without meaning to, and then stopped at a gas station to double check our position on an official Ontario map. We were on course, but about an hour behind. All was well.

We got home safe and sound, I finished up the drive once we got past Detroit. I couldn’t have asked for two better car mates, who kept me entertained and took the wheel when my fractured tailbone demanded a rest and pumped the gas while I was sleeping and changed the cds with remarkable efficiency.

The entire trip was incredible, amazing, and I am so happy I decided to make the long journey for the sake of meeting some of the most interesting people I’ve ever come across in my limited number of years. Everything attracts the kinds of people that would otherwise remain fragmented and separate from each other, lost amidst a world of ignorance with no place to announce opinions or share experiences and knowledge. I’ve never had so much fun with people I’d never met before, people I felt I knew before shaking their hands and hearing their names. The drive and the ticket were well worth the experience I had in a far-off city made beautiful by beautiful people. I love you all.

czeano :
ccunning :
Cow of Doom : 3
burnboy :
cahla and the Scavenger Hunt :
clampe :