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Second nodermeet in Germany's most liberal city, hopefully this time not complicated by server outage.

The last time we attempted a nodermeet in Cologne, things got extremely complicated due to the big server outage of 2003 and the fact that the noders that confirmed their presence and had their tickets booked couldn't contact the rest of the meet's attendants and ended up alone in Cologne. This will not happen again, thanks to Livejournal, the invention of the cellular phone and email.

With Kohlcass living just 100km away from Cologne, me coming up (or is it down?) from New Zealand for three weeks to check out the northern hemisphere again, I thought the timing was right for another attempt at a nodermeet. Kohlcaesschen is apparently bringing Wntrmute with her, so it's going to be all jolly from the word 'go'.

As I have been living in this beautiful place (Cologne, that is) for 7 years, I get to choose the location, so I suggest the wonderful and utterly jolly Petersberger Hof, for years my second home and featuring a decent set of beers, above average pub food and an excellent beergarden.

What will we do?

For those who want to arrive earlier, I can play Fremdenfuehrer (tourguide) and show you some of the many highlights of this brillant city. Apart from that: eat, drink, be merry.

When will it happen?

Saturday, August 25, 2007, 16:00 MET

Where was that again?

Petersberger Hof, Petersberg Str.41, 50939 Cologne, Germany, http://petersbergerhof.de/

Who will be there?

Kohlcass, Wntrmute, Heisenberg, Sloebertje, Hazelnut, Kizor, Dimview, your name here,

How do I get there?

Köln Bonn Airport is currently hub of the low cost airlines TUIFLy and Germanwings, both offering regular services to London Stansted, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester and pretty much the rest of the European Union. Düsseldorf Airport is only 60 km away and has a 20 minutes connection via train to Cologne Hauptbahnhof.

Regular airlines include Continental Airlines with a daily Newark flight, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Easyjet, Iran Air (for our Teheran Noders), BMI and hundreds of others.

If you prefer Ryanair, Niederrhein Airport and Maastricht airport are ca 75 minutes away (bus and train connections excellent), and Frankfurt - Hahn Airport, Ryanair's Hub serving Scandinavia, Scotland, Italy, France and Spain, is only 90 minutes away via a regular buslink.

If you're in the Netherlands, Belgium, France or Germany, Cologne has excellent hourly InterCity Express connections to Bruxelles, Liege, Paris and Amsterdam.

When you arrive at Cologne's gorgeous Art Deco's main train station (that's Hauptbahnhof in German) you follow the icons towards the tram station that is under the Hauptbahnhof (follow th 'U' sign). Trams run at a mininum of every twenty minutes, so no worries about missing one. There you need to catch the Nr 18 tram to Klettenberg. After 12 minutes (remember, this is Germany: trams run on time) you have to get off at the stop 'Suelzburgstrasse'. Now enter the lovely treelined 'Siebengebirgsallee' and the first beergarden on the left is the Petersberger Hof. Look for a sunburned, bald man reading The Economist. Or, if you're not the first, try to find the only English speaking group.

I made a map that shows you specifically how to make the final 200 meters here: http://snarkenf.freeshell.org/pbh.jpg

Where will I sleep?

As my flat is currently unfortunately rented out, I will stay at the Intercontinental Cologne. Kohlcass is offering six spaces in Essen (although the Loveparade will apparently march under her window in the morning), which will involve an hour's travelling from the Petersberger Hof. In Cologne, there's myriads of cheap and cheerful pensions and of course more upmarket fare. If you have problems , just ask me.

Who has the audacity to not show up?

The Debutante, giving family as (an obvious illegitimate) reason
izubachi, who is allegedly in the Balkans (probably against his will)
Iwhosawtheface, even though there's women.
DonJaime: "Obviously illegitimate family reasons (my mother is visiting)".
Siobhan is playing Fremdenfuehrer in Switzerland
BlackPawn, as he seems to be sulking.
JellyfishGreen, for biological reasons

And it was fun: 5 hours of fun and noders. All in excellent form, everybody contributed to a great night:

  • Dimview stayed cool, observed and was motherly when necessary, but excelled in updating us on all things Sumo.
  • Kohlcass giggled and fell over laughing as soon she heard my voice. Repeatedly. It's a podcast thing, apparently.
  • Sloebertje documented the event thoroughly with the most amazing piece of camera hardware you could imagine but had time enough to advise me on my Dutch pronunciation.
  • Hazelnut roared and taught us the intricacies of French judicial texts.
  • Kizor entertained the crowd with his book of random wisdoms.
  • Wntrmute taught me the principles of n-dimensional space. And I think I got the first ten seconds.

Unfortunately I had to extract myself after 5 hours, but those 300 minutes were superb.

Thanks to all 6 present noders for the traveling and the hardship they endured to come to Cologne for the day!.

Pictures: http://web.mac.com/pilatdirk/iWeb/Site/Library.html

Drinking, podcasting, and making merry

I seem to be unable to write short aftermath nodes. Oh well. This does, as usual, contain long and squiggly sentences.

Flying to Düsseldorf

I was quite excited to see this city which, in all evidence provided me by the esteemable Heisenberg1, did not really exist at all. Oddly the airplane completely failed to disappear into nothingness when it approached the landing strip, but rather landed safely on the ground, and in doing so it badly shook my faith in said Heisenberg. Luckily I was to meet him soon so he could redeem himself.

Düsseldorf airport is a very friendly airport. I never had to show my passport to leave the secured area at all. Even in little trusting Denmark I have to do that when I come home from other EU countries. I later learned that was because of Schengen. Travelling does that to you: teaches you things. One might want to argue that I should really have known about Schengen, and how Denmark didn't want any part of it - and maybe that is true. On the other hand... Ah, never mind.

I was greeted at the airport by lovely kohlcass who had agreed to put me up for a few days in Essen. Likewise Wntrmute would be arriving Friday 24, so's we could travel to the nodermeet in Köln on the 25 together. Though we tried our very best any attempt to get Heisenberg to come to Düsseldorf for a sneak pre-meet beer was very much in vain2. The outcome of those efforts may well be daylogged at some point. This node is about the nodermeet proper.

Training to Köln

So, on August 25 the three of us went to Köln. We came in early and enjoyed a guided tour around the city with the good doctor as our Fremdenführer. He showed us the sights, set us down at a café and straight on the way to the Petersberger Hof, before running off to collect his girlfriend. Left to our own devices we ambled aimlessly along until we hit a tram stop that looked about right. Armed with a beer coaster with directions written on it we made our way to the pub on the outskirts of Köln, arriving at the same time as our host.

One by one the noders showed up. Kizor was the first to join us, looking every bit like a mathematician, and wearing a T-shirt that claimed that he was not as smart as he thought. He carried with him a notebook with predictions about the noders and the meet in a bulleted list. The two I remember were disproved fairly quickly since Heisenberg was not 7 feet tall, and Wntrmute does indeed have a corporeal form3.

The next one to arrive was sloebertje, and she caused me to suffer from acute and intense camera envy when she took out her very, very big and impressive camera. It would have dwarfed my camera, had I not forgotten to it bring with me to Köln.

We made with the chatting and getting to know each other, and just as we were despairing of seeing Hazelnut he showed up. Tall and very present with the most beautiful auburn hair. Kohlcass did not take her eyes off it the entire evening, and she can even be seen fondling it in some of the nodermeet pictures (links to pics at the bottom of the wu above).


We now moved from our nice but crowded outdoors table to an even nicer, slightly less crowded, indoors table. A round table, which made for an easier approach to the GTKY chatter and the planned podcast. Also, at this point Heisenberg's girlfriend joined us, bringing a fully charged recording device, saving Heisenberg from quite a lot of embarrassment and possibly drunken taunting.

So, we all had brought nodes with us to read for the podcast. Heisenberg readied the recording device and got as far as "Hello eveyone, this is Heisenberg..." before kohlcass toppled over from giggling. We have later learned that she did indeed bang her head on the table when she collapsed. This may account for some of the weird behaviour she... no, wait; that started much earlier.

Moving right along:

After Heisenberg - eventually - managed to get the introduction recorded (kohlcass spent some of the time under the table, I believe), we all introduced ourselves4. And then Hazelnut cleared his throat and began his reading. Ah, and what a reading it was. He did not stutter, he did not hesitate, and he did not laugh. The rest of us were doing less well. I think Kizor sprayed his beer onto Heisenberg's back at one time, but I might be mistaken. It was magnificent.

Sloebertje's reading was elegant and word perfect. A sweet little story, perfect in length, whereas the rest of us had brought nodes that were too long. I am fairly certain she also held the recording device perfectly, just the right distance from her mouth and everything. She also has a really cool job, I think, even if I seem to have forgotten the details since. The beer might be to blame.

Wntrmute, kohlcass, and I had brought one node, far, far too long. Heisenberg took one look at it:

"No, no. No way you are reading that!"

But, of course we did, since we were reading it together, AND we had Mr. Speed talker delivering most of the dialogue. I have no idea how he does it, but he does. Kohlcass also did a brilliant job, and I just had to remember to omit one letter, three or four times during the reading - a task I fortunately did not screw up.

After that it was Kizor's turn to introduce his awesome "Random wisdom from strangers". We had all been writing in the book earlier, and now we took turns reading out loud what we had written. The Random Wisdom notebook got baptised in orange juice a bit later on, but I hope it is okay.

1000 blank, white cards, and saying good bye

Heisenberg and his beautiful girlfriend had to run off around nine pm, but the rest of us had no intentions of calling it a night just yet. Kizor had brought along a stack of index cards, and set about to teach the rest of us to play "1000 Blank Cards". That was one of the most entertaining card games I have played in a very long time. In the beginning I understood nothing, except the concept of 'play one card, draw one card'. But as we began playing everything became very clear5, and I heartily recommend this game to y'all. It's a blast.

After the game, which I believe Hazelnut won due to Wntrmute playing a card that multiplied all our scores with -1, we gathered our belongings and settled the tab. Saying good bye and see you soon to some, and good bye hope to meet you again to others on the tram, before heading back to Essen. I'm not good with good byes, so I was glad I wasn't travelling home alone.

I met four great noders plus one very charming non-noder, and I hope I get to meet them again, some day. Thank you all for a fun evening.

  1. <Heisenberg> there is no Duesseldorf. Duesseldorf is the invention of the German right wing neocon media.
  2. <Heisenberg>
  • "What's with the poking of the shoulders?" (Wntrmute)
  • For the first time faithful podcast listeners will be able to hear my humble voice with no static noise, but I am wondering whether this is really an improvement.
  • <Kizor> Then wntrmute refused to use Ripping Corpse Attack on Dimview's Huggled by Giant Teddy Bears because I still had The Joint, which could be a game-breaker with all those Vampiric Lawnmowers around thanks to his own Photocopier.

  • I won't be going to a nodermeet in quite a while. Been reminiscing. 

    Now as many of you already know, despite my best efforts, I can't write fiction.
    I'm afraid you'll have to make do with the truth. It's rather morbid.

    A day in the life of Dimview (at least while staying at chez kohlcass)


    Sleep. Catbox. Shower. Catbox. Eat. Catbox. Get dragged outside by kohlcass who insists she should see the outdoors. Catbox. Watch sumo. Catbox. Sleep.

    NB: Actually Dimview was a lovely house guest: pretty low maintenance, tolerated the cats and managed to digest everything I fed her. She was, however, worryingly confined by an invsible force to my laptop. She said I was not authorative enough to drag her away in the catbox. I say I was short of a couple of rayguns.



    I will run for you


    Kohlcass: Weren't we supposed to catch a train at 19 40 (to meet Heisenberg)

    Dimview: Uh, yes... it's 19 32. (The station is 12 minutes away at a leisurely pace).


     (8 minutes later)

    *pant pant pant*

    Dimview: We made it!

    *pant pant pant*

    Kohlcass (spotting a WC): Ok I'm heading in there to wear my bra, now.



    On sam512 ( who was there in spirit)


    So which node'll you be reading at the meet tomorrow.

    A sam512 one.



    So which sam512 node will you be reading then?

    NB: I am still fan #1: I've played the podcasted version of the The First Ed Story enough to hear that Sam calls 'the black suits' 'white suits' about eight seconds later.

    On photographing Dimview

    “Ok, Dimmie”, says kohlcass, standing on a chair, “Props, more props. We’re going for a… FINE, I’M going for a soft portrait, bathed in white light. Try to ignore the computer for a minute, place the rose across your chest… yes, yes… ok now let Poison sit on your lap”.

    Dimview considers this for a second, ripping away some rose petals, then kicks Poison aside, feeds the rest of the rose to the feline and gets back to catboxing. At least we’re in character.



    We never did go to Düsseldorf

    Kohlcass is asked 'What's the best thing about Germany?'
    Kohlcass considers saying 'apple and onion flavoured leberwurst' for a second and then decides 'Düsseldorf.'
    Heisenberg chokes on his halb hünchen. This nearly kills him.




    'Hello, this is kohlcass. You must be Kizor?'


    'I didn't quite get that.'


    'Ok. You're writing it down... what do you mean you're surprised to see I'm not a cat-person?'

    NB: No. I am not a cat.



    Dimview and the catbox II


    'Well if my house were burning down, I'd probably write 'Oh look my house is burning down' in the catbox before actually doing something about it'



    On Catholics and others

    Kohlcass and Heisenberg walk into Cologne cathedral.
    A bolt of lightning hits Heisenberg, killing him instantly.

    NB: That was not a public orgasm.
    And yes, I get excited when I meet noders of a certain, shall we say, e2 calibre. So keep in mind I'm not exactly your go-to girl if you neeeded a, say, wertperch interview, or something. I rarely could get my jaw to hinge back properly for a good ten minutes after meeting IWhoSawTheFace, so, despite an early sneak preview, I lost some of my basic functionalities when Heisenberg introduced the podcast.



    Dimmie, Dimmie-view, where are you?

    Dimview, Kohlcass and Wntrmute wander about Zeche Zollverein.
    Kohlcass, Wntrmute and Dimview take photos of the Kokerei.
    Wntrmute, kohlcass and Dimview take photos of each other.
    Wntrmute, Dimview and kohlcass try to make it to Schacht III.
    Kohlcass, Wntrmute and Dimview take photos of each other.
    Wntrmute and kohlcass walk across a raised passageway.
    Dimview takes photos of kohlcass and Wntrmute.
    Wntrmute and kohlcass wonder where Dim's gone off too.


    Kohlcass panics about losing her first noder. Her brain explodes.
    Wntrmute wipes away the carnage.



    Triple Sec

    We return to kohlcass, Dimview and Wntrmute shortly after kohlcass had tried feeding the latter alcohol through his wrist veins.

    “Must… phone… Paraguay (one more time).”

    “Ok Wntrmute, this is what we’re going to do. You grab her by the torso… I’ll take her by the legs. We’re gonna drag her to bed, take away her phone, close the door and hope she stops singing.”

    Kohlcass makes a run for the laptop...

    (on msn) “OMGWTFBBQ!1!”
    (in the catbox) “OMGWTFBB… Aargh!”

    *door slammed shut*

    Kohlcass reemerges, met by two pairs of menacing eyes.

    “Ok, ok, I’m only going to pee...”





    "Goodbye, Wntrmute. This is very sad."

    "Er… you know we’re seeing each other in only three weeks, don’t you?"

    It was still a farewell... how is a farewell but see you in three weeks going to fly, then?

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