When: July 16, 2004
Where: Alexandria, Virginia
(be more specific)

Where: Evening Star Café, 2000 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
The Del Ray Dreamery (the ONLY Wisconsin-style custard joint east of the Mississippi!) for dessert;

Starting 6 p.m. EST until...........

grundoon, and her sekrit service agents
momomom WEASEL
IWhoSawTheFace and 3 NSA operatives pretending to be non-noder patrons WEASEL
Jurph and lovely fiancée Erica
JohnnyGoodyear and the whole rugger team WEASEL
Cindy/siobhan gets the award for travelling from the furthest away....

littlerubberfeet and a fleet of ninjas will be on the left coast....no excuse.
other E2Hons or friends of Hons, as you /msg me.

Disclaimer: This is an extremely monofaceted summing up. Whiskey+no sleep+more whiskey=memory malfunction. Sorry if I missed anything.

Also, at least from the entangled pile of kittens' perspective (see below), this is only the tip of the iceberg. More will be posted later, prolly in the daylogs. Will link accordingly when available.

- - -

Gather 'round children, and let me tell you a tale.

Ridiculously Short Notice

Indigoe, my faithful side/ass kicker and I were lounging around doing not much at all, as we do, when I get an IM from Siobhan, safely ensconced at destructopad with dem silly Bahston muthafuckahs (and the house plant). We had met up with her and Dann and all dem other nodahs when they had passed through New Yawk on the way North. They tried to get us to come to Boston, a thing we would have done without thinking twice were it not for responsibilities such as work and not having a car and things of that nature. Also, in not mentioning the total awesomeness of jm, I think I lost some brownie points. Let it be now stated for the record that Andy is so awesome it doesn't ever need to be mentioned. He also has a cavernous stomach.

mmm. Brownies.


After pondering the phallic nature of eggrolls and trying to decide if Killgore, the Official Destructopad Feline™, was overweight, it was flippantly mentioned that she and Dann were heading through New York again on the way to a Nodermeet in Virginia.

Nodermeets are not to be missed if at all possible, particularly if a ride is offered, the company is stellar and...well, if we've got nothing better to do. The fact that we were given 24 hours notice was merely a sidenote.

So I decided to call out of work (which I forgot to do, but I'm still employed), indigoe packed her bag and off we went to the glorious land of...well, of Hoboken. Excuse me, of...(dons train conductor's cap) HOE-BOKEN.

We met up, and off we went.

Drivin' Sideways

I've never driven 6 hours with an iBook and an iPod for tunes, a roommate for backing vocals, a six-foot, +5 Rod of Merging for those tricky passing maneuvers and a noder or three for comic relief. I have since decided that it's the only way to travel.

Siobhan took pictures of New Jersey's industrial wasteland and Delaware's...um...Delawareness, while Dann pulled off some amazing photographic circus acts like, say, driving over the Delaware Memorial bridge, steering with his knees and snapping photos with his camera extended out the window. I became enthralled with the back of Siobhan's head and was only occasionally offered an opinion by Indigoe's extended middle finger, accompanied by such witty reparte as:

Indigoe: Fuck you.
Me: Shut up.
Indigoe: Fuck you.
Me: Shut up.
Indigoe: Fuck off.
Me: Asshole.
Indigoe: Motherfucker.
Me: Buttmunch.
Indigoe: (long pause) ...We're awesome.

(awesome maybe, but we were also extremely tired and just a bit punchy.)

Upon arrival in the wiles of Virginia (where even the crickets sound laid back and mildly intoxicated) we found the assembled crew. They had thoughtfully started drinking without us to provide a beery welcome and also to pass the time, seeing as how we were, erm, about 2 hours late.

It was about then that Indigoe and I, regardless of the fact that we got dressed at the same time over eight hours ago and had spent the intervening time sitting about six inches away from each other in the car, realized we were wearing exactly the same thing right down to our key rings. We contemplated staying out on the street and pretending we didn't arrive together (or even, it has to be said, knew each other). That was about when Grundy showed up and made our plans to hide obsolete.

We caught up with the drinkin', or at least I did, with Jurph's help. He suggested we detonate an Irish car bomb to celebrate our arrival. Unfortunately, as we soon discovered, this particular bar didn't have Irish cream. Or Guinness. Or, oddly, shot glasses. So we poured Jameson's into Newcastle. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Food was had, shrines were made to the god of the Big Gulp and methods for circumventing orthodox Jewish laws were devised and discussed.

We disassembled, briefly, to get custard. Indigoe and I decided to stay behind and make friends with the whiskey bottle (ok, with that particular whiskey bottle) as well as with Unperson, hoping someone would bring us sweet stuff.

They did. Lots of it. And there was much sticky cone-licking. (Pervert).

Those people with, you know, day jobs, headed home after much fond farewelling, hugging and suchlike.

Grundy led me, indigoe, Dann and Siobhan back to her temporary digs after a brief unintentional tour of most of DC and the surrounding metropolitan area. Not wanting to end the party just yet, we cracked open a few beers and kicked it out on her porch, passing a guitar around like real southerners. We played German lieder, folk songs and your favorite mid-ninties alternative hits while straining to be heard over the cicadas and while simultaneously trying not to annoy the (possibly shotgun-wielding) neighbors.

The plan had always been to pass out like a pile of kittens...somewhere. So we (sans Grundy, who was blessed with a bed and all) did. On the porch, all snuggled up and warm.

The kittens awake in the cutest manner allowable under current Virginia law

Siobhan and I were rudely awakened at an unacceptably early hour by God's flashlight. We stumbled into the kitchen, blearily croaking for tea and...well, just tea, really, but the blueberry pancakes were a definite plus.

After we had all come to our senses, we were contemplating how, exactly, to show our displeasure to the FILTHY STINKING WEASELS who failed to show up (excuses notwithstanding), when IWhoSawTheFace walked through the door, head bowed in an appropriate display of humility, a look that lasted all of 30 seconds - I think he smelled the pancakes.

After adamantly arguing with Siobhan over the origins of the phrase "it's turtles all the way down," IWho put his money where his mouth was and bet her 5 big ones that it was Richard Feynman, not Stephen Hawking.

He lost, eventually, (she's a smart one) and to his credit, he paid up (In quarters). The photo evidence will be up...somewhere...shortly.

As much as we would have liked to stay all day just soaking up the stillness, I needed to be back in New York City in time for work (Didn't happen, but we tried. Not very hard, but we tried. I'm not complaining) so we hit the road.

With incredibly cheap cigarettes (by New York standards), visions of indigoe in viking garb chained to the roof in battle stance, charging with our mighty +5 Rod of Road Rage, the four of us shot down the hundreds of miles of highway to home... but this particular nodermeet did not end there.


What do you get when you mix one part grundoon, one part dann, eight parts assorted other noders including yours truly, alcohol, bad traffic and MAYHEM?

Obviously you get something you're sorry you missed, you poor sucker.

Oh, it started off uneventfully enough. After work last Friday I hopped on my usual Metro train. But instead of taking it to Union Station, I cleverly diverted to the Yellow Line at Gallery Place/Chinatown, and shortly found myself at the Braddock Road station (which was good because I'd looked all over Reagan National Airport with no luck).

After a moment to orient myself, I proceeded north on Mount Vernon past a schoolyard occupied by several young scamps. Some blocks later, I stood before the Evening Star Cafe and was confronted by a conundrum: now that I was there, grundoon was not answering her cell phone. My brilliant plan to avoid looking like a stalker thus foiled, I entered and struck up a conversation with the hostess, that went something like this:

Me: Hi, uh, I think my party's probably already here.
Her: Oh, what's their name?
Me: Uh... I'm not sure what name it's under.

At this point she displayed the wit to look at the reservation list and say "Are you with Chris?"
"It's listed under e-2."
"Oh! Yeah, that's me."

I was directed upstairs where I found a nearly empty lounge area... nearly empty, that is, except for the bartender and someone who could only be Chris/grundoon.

It still being a few minutes before the appointed hour, we weren't too concerned about the lack of other people. But worryingly, grundoon's phone had apparently decided it didn't like the cachet of the cell signal in Virginia, and was being a poopy-head about it. My elderly Nokia thus became the Official Emergency Backup Cell Phone of the E2Hons Nodermeet of Doom. A call to momomom resulted in a number and a message left for dann, who we knew (from her) was somewhere between Delaware and DC.

Eventually, shortly after 6:30 with no sign of actual other people yet, grundoon and I elected to adjourn downstairs and partake of the fare prepared by the establishment. We noticed four suspicious-looking men standing outside the front door. They appeared to be deep in some kind of debate. grundoon fortuitously recognized Jurph, and we acquired new revelers! Besides he who should not be allowed near anything explosive or even flammable, we acquired controlling interest in unperson, NotFabio and Gorgonzola.

At this point my second pint of beer (not to be confused with pint the noder, who is pronounced differently and of whom you shall hear more anon), consumed immediately prior to these goings-on, was beginning to kick in, so things may be recounted slightly out of order. We all took a table and orders were placed. grundoon having discovered that the cashless society ain't all it's cracked up to be, and that it's really hard to cash a check if your bank has no local branches, the other five of us kicked in to cover her tab. I had a salmon fillet that was slightly larger than a pocket calculator and set me back $17; other entrees were comparably sized and priced. At that rate I felt water would be a smart choice for the beverage portion of the meal.

Dinner conversation ranged widely, as noders are wont to do; at one point I was giving NotFabio, seated immediately to my right, a quick tutorial on SR-71 fuel and range considerations from my hazy recollections of an account by one who worked with them, while occasionally glancing nervously at the opposite end of the table where Jurph sat in the refulgent glow of his brand-new promotion to Captain in the Air Force, wary of any incoming shells of hard fact he might take occasion to lob into my rhetorical position. Somehow the discussion involved grundoon and napalm as well, a scary thought if there ever was one...

We relocated postprandially to the lounge upstairs, ordered a fresh round of drinks, and the conversation continued. After I returned to the table with my Scotch, others became interested in the history and practicalities of consumption of Scotches, whiskeys, whiskys, and related things. Sadly, the bar lacked Guinness, Bailey's, or small shotglasses, but that didn't stop two noders (I believe it was Jurph and NotFabio, but could be wrong) (edit: I was in fact half wrong: It was Jurph and pint. NotFabio knows better than to mess with unstable explosives like that.) from trying to improvise car bombs by pouring whiskey into a glass of stout. According to them, not only did this concoction taste nothing like a car bomb, it didn't taste all that good at all.

About 9:00, we were truly blessed by the arrival of dann, siobhan, indigoe, and pint (who is very emphatic about his name: he is not a pint, long I, of beer, he is a pint, short I, of noder). Shortly thereafter the outliers colonized the Del Ray Dreamery, some blocks up the street, acquiring tasty custard for certain of the new arrivals who were still eating. Sadly, NotFabio and I missed out on this goodness as we started off later and in the wrong direction. By the time we corrected course and reached our destination, it was 10:00, the Dreamery was closing and we were left custardless.

Migration back to the cafe resulted in an attempt to lounge outside and enjoy the balmy night breezes, which was put paid to by the manager who said he had an agreement with his neighbors not to have customers lounging about outside after 10:00 PM.

Our fellowship cast adrift, we began going our separate ways. The noble and selfless Gorgonzola provided me carriage to my doorstep, and along the way provided a primer-slash-capsule history of Baltimore city and Maryland state politics, with special references to leading lights Martin O'Malley, Kurt Schmoke, and Parris N. Glendening (don't forget his N. or you'll be sorry).

Truly an occasion that will never be forgotten, ranking with Bastille Day, the Fourth of July, and Talk Like a Pirate Day.

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