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So, the thing is, I don't really do aftermath writeups, or at least I haven't done them for the gatherings I've attended thus far. It's not that I disapprove of them or their place here, but just that I don't guess I have enough unique perspective to keep people interested -- my radical ideas about nodermeets have already occurred to others. Still, like Spackle noted above, there was so much content in this weekend as opposed to so many others that some of it just has to come out.

More than anything else in the past year or so this has made me feel like part of the community here, like I was still at home. Reading about the last Hot Damn was definitely a step toward feeling isolated on the site, and now another one has passed and I'm 100% better, thanks. With that out of the way, here goes.

Salient points, roughly chronological and with a lot missing:

Getting off the plane, I was fairly worried about whether or not anybody would be there, having realized in the middle of my delayed flight that I never gave a new flight number after the establishment cancelled my tickets. Fortunately, Chad and Jen had done some pretty major social engineering work on the airport and airline, and were there to pick me up right in the lobby. Heh, later in the meet people would come up and say, to effect, "Oh, you're enth, everybody was trying to figure out what your name was earlier." Patrick was there too, from an earlier flight, and almost immediately we all got to see him do the famous escalator trick -- pretty hardcore.

I owe Jeff a favor for thinking of the Node Slam. I owe Chiisuta for her words about love. I owe Jurph and Scott for making me laugh about hypergorics and cable repair. I owe Dan most of all for talking good on my family.

Friday night I think it was, there was this plan for those of us sleeping at Chad's to go back there in a caravan, which got commingled with a plan by some of the NY crew to go get munchies, all this around 4 am. As it turned out, Gamaliel and NinjaPenguin got in jp's car, believing it to be headed toward food. This was apparently figured out before arrival at Chad's, but since the car I was driving was the only one with instructions, they couldn't just turn around and go back. Instead, we drew up a plan in Chad's front yard: I was most awake, so I'd drive the couple back to Bart's, and thefez would come with to keep me from falling asleep on the way back. Jeff, Jess, and Sarah, meanwhile, would go inside and rapidly lose consciousness. So, um, this was cool until we made the dropoff at Bart's, at which point I put the car into reverse and, um, ran it right into NinjaPenguin. Oh yes I did. Neither Chris nor myself heard or felt anything, so we raced against sunrise and were in bed by 5:30. It wasn't until the next day that I found out I had clipped Kristina, and thankfully she wasn't even bruised. Whew. To my credit, I was emphatically not driving drunk, having stopped drinking well before midnight; rather, the accident was caused by, as Jurph would put it, yes, sheer stupidity.

WonkoDSane and radlab0 get their own paragraph because they are wicked cool in almost diametrically opposite ways, and the pair is more than a little bit amazing to see in action. Scott is quite simply a born storyteller (and shameless gossip (don't even try to deny it!)) with a heart of pure gold to counterbalance his imposing stature and wit. Julia is often quiet, except when she is saying exactly the right thing to exactly the right person at exactly the right time -- she generously shares hugs and other physical contact too, a quality lacking in much of society.

THE ZOO! This may have started out as somebody else's idea, but it was picked up zealously by Jaypea and likely only took place through her firm insistence. And thank goodness. Toward the beginning we got to visit the zoo's three manatees, which were something like Ford Escorts that swim, if Escorts had charming whiskery faces and ate lettuce. I'd never seen any up close before, but they are wonderful critters. Later, the group got separated quite a bit, so it was myself, Walter, Meta, Pyrogenic, QXZ, JP, and jarsyl that got to see the monkey habitats. These were nice looking too, with plenty of stuff to climb, swing on, and hide in for them. We also saw some impressively colored zebra-horse things (?) and a kangaroo encampment too. All-in-all a wholesome, fun, and friendly shared experience.

What else?

I love mixing drinks. Made gins and tonic for a whole pile of people, was able to hide the plastic-bottle-gin's true nature well enough that people reported back the drinks being "good." Also mixed Absinthe cocktails for quite a few folks, including a meet host, who actually thanked me for doing him a favor -- this while simply absorbing his time and money, mind you :-)

Glad Laurel taught Jess the rack thing. Beautiful underwater noises can be yours too for a low low price...

For all of Chad and Jen's cooking in my presence, I got to eat exactly two bites of the (admittedly luscious) shredded pork, and that's it. Timing difficulties can't much be helped, but having to smell all that wonderful fresh garlic and then not eat any of it was not even barely fair.

The Starliner Diner, with roughly thirty-five people sitting in at a long table and eating amerimexicuban brunch. Jared gave me a personal tour of the other room, I suppose in repayment for not helping his wife remove her wrist cast with a non-medical power tool.

My brief goodbye in the parking lot didn't really start to hurt until the next day ... I woke up too emotionally spent to talk intelligibly with close friends, go to class, go to work, etc etc.

Ack, this is far too sappy already; maybe interjecting the word fuck in bold right here will even things out a bit.

Various crews; probably best to just do a text search for your name below:

The porch crew. Chillin at the epicenter. Bart's front porch and yard actually, short term entropic focus for chairs, bottles, a found couch, a huge tree stump, and between four and forty brilliant humans. I met Void_Ptr here, we spoke of hair dye and bleach and such, and computer science and life decisions and eventually turning thirty and more. I got to talk to to Qeyser too, but only for about five minutes, which is too bad because he's interested in brain stuff too and I respect his work here. Saw Anark again, more excited than before about upcoming graduate school goodness. BAR was out here a lot too, full of experience tending bar and partying, and electronic music too. Last but not not not least I talked to Metacognizant the first of many times out here, she's a fucking genius and now a friend; it's a shame that I messed up her name so badly at first. Of course, everybody else was out here too on and off, talking, touching, drinking, living, becoming closer and closer....

Word out and props up to my Chad's house homies: Kitchen master and ultimate nice guy ccunning, without whom there would be no crew at all, costarring with karma_debt, who kept some semblance of sanity in the house and talked some very impressive parenting. The inimitable storyteller and sharer of good cheer Spackle, who also demonstrated some mad crazy wheelchair-fu. What hasn't already been said about thefez? The good parts of it are all true... Impressed with witchiepoo's calm demeanor and soft words, she wasn't like I expected at all. Oh oh oh I got to meet jessicapierce and share smiles and stories with her; there is NO WAY I'm letting this be the last time we hang out. Lessee, chancel and jmc have huge brains, fast metabolisms, and enjoy bourbon (and chancel's into library science!) -- what's not to love? Wheloc was quiet, but one could see the gears moving fast behind his eyes. Ask disgruntledwren about barbies. Ask brainwave about shaved heads and import restrictions. Ask CzarKhan about spikes and collars as dress accessories, and about his morning-hair-fu. Finally, everywhere-at-once-man Walter is an honorary member here, only staying one night. Have I forgotten anybody? Tell me.

Oh, and can't forget my quiet and unobtrusive (just as it should be) illicit substances crew. I'm not naming names, but thanks, it was a lot of fun and in one particular case a completely new experience -- valuable stuff yo.

I'll see all of you folks again, don't you doubt it for a second.