From: email@example.com (JKF)
Subject: Xibo's Vacation (LONG) [Repost]
Keywords: mud angst xibo tank girl
Organization: Nyx, Public Access Unix @ U. of Denver Math/CS dept.
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 92 03:27:21 GMT
Yes, Xibo knows I'm posting this. Send comments about the writing to Xibo
By: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mr. Coates)
Date: 9 Apr 92 18:41:49 GMT
Organization: Xibological Perimeter
Several months ago, a few angst-list members were mulling over the idea of
AngstCon III, where to have it, and when. It became quickly apparent that if
we held it in Minneapolis, then the turnout would be pretty good, since five
of the members live in that area. So a few arrangements were made, the date
debated wildly, and eventually the weekend of March 27th was decided upon.
I decided that since I was going to fly all the way out to Minneapolis from my
humble abode in Tucson, I might as well see other parts of the midwest as
well. Utilizing my knowledge that round-trip tickets don't have to be with
the same city, I chose to visit Chicago, because it's a big famous city that
I've never been to before. All I had to do was arrange to get from Chicago
to Minneapolis on my own, via bus or with a friend.
As it happened, I was able to convince Pope_751 to drive down from Milwau-
kee, pick me up in Chicago, take me to Purdue for a couple days, and then
drive me to Milwaukee, where I would meet up with another friend, Markian
Gooley, who would then take me to Minneapolis, where I would do the
AngstCon thing and then fly back home.
The overall adventure took nine days, from Friday, March 20th to Sunday,
March 29th. I planned to take a week off from work, but made no official
arrangements with the department secretary, as I was rather displeased with
having to work panic-level hours for a couple weeks, getting the RS/6000s
back on their feet after they had been decimated by IBM's kludge-filled AIX
3.2 upgrade. If you are considering doing this upgrade on your RS/6000,
DON'T. If you are looking to hire someone who has experience managing
RS/6000s, please hire me, I'm very underpaid currently.
So, armed with airplane tickets, ride plans, and contingency plans, I ventured
forth on my adventure into the great midwest. What follows is a short
summary of my travels, along with some of the observations I made at the
Friday, March 20th
After two weeks of pure hell, the RS/6000s were rescued, and the laboratory
had almost returned to business as usual. It was amazing that I was able to
clear things up in that time, and leave for vacation with a clear conscience.
Casually I packed my luggage, one really big suitcase with a week's worth of
clothes and my camera, and my briefcase for carry-on entertainment, and
"maps". These maps, for the most part, consisted of text descriptions of how
to get here and there, which I had received via email. For entertainment I
put the day's Wall Street Journal, my Game Boy (with Final Fantasy Legend II
cartridge), and a paperback novel, "The Difference Engine" by Gibson and
It was a calm, sunny day, near 70, as I drove to the airport. I managed to get
my car parked at the $2/day long-term parking area, check into the airport,
and find my gate, all with no difficulty. I was really early so I treated
myself to an expensive breakfast at the main restaurant in the airport.
The flight to Chicago was non-stop, and only about three hours, which I
thought was really short. It was a fairly modern plane, with phones in the
back of the seats. For $2.00 per minute, you could make a phone call from
30,000 feet. I was tempted to call my brother and tell him I was talking to
him from a few miles in the air, but I decided against it.
By some really strange act of fate, we flew over the Very Large Array. The
pilot was pointing it out so that the people on the other side of the plane
could see it. A few minutes after passing that, I looked down on the ground
on my side of the plane, and saw a most amazing sight: Socorro, New Mexico,
home of New Mexico Tech, where I went to college and suffered much angst
and mental anguish. The college, which only has 1300 students, looked really
small. I could see "M" mountain, the whole city, the Rio Grande, the explosive
test sites... all at once, and it was quite miniature. It was comforting to know
that I had risen so far above all that.
It didn't take long to reach Chicago, touching down at O'Hare airport. I'd
never been there before, but I knew it was supposed to be pretty big. At
the gate, I looked around, but could see no sign of Wanderer. Damn, I
thought, I sure hope he isn't late. He's the only person I knew in Chicago.
So I stood around for a couple minutes, making sure he wasn't there, and
then I proceeded to the baggage claim area, making sure he wasn't at the
security checkpoint site, which was pretty big and partitioned off and
confusing. He wasn't at the baggage claim area either, and my suitcase
quickly arrived. So I looked around, confused, trying to figure out what to
do. I called his house and left a message on his answering machine, but that
didn't really cheer me up much. Finally, I decided that there was little I
could really do, and I sat down and read some for a while. A few minutes
later Wanderer runs in, explaining he's been waiting right outside, in a line of
40 cars, and he was expecting me to walk out of the area and see him
instantly. Yeah, right, I thought. All this just so we wouldn't have to walk
to a parking area. *sigh*
So I resolved to write up an airport protocol, in the hopes that in the future,
people everywhere would use the protocol, and no more confusion would have
to be suffered. [See Appendix B]
We drove off, doing smalltalk about the weather, and freeways, and before we
knew it we drove under a plane. It was the first time for both of us. How it
happens is that O'Hare, like DFW, is so big that the freeway separates some of
the landing strips from the gates, so there is a heavy-duty bridge the
airplanes taxi over, to cross the freeway. Thus, with some lucky timing, you
can drive underneath an airplane.
Traffic was a bit congested, as it was rush hour by this time, so when the
Burger King on top of the Freeway came into view, which I thought was a
crazy place to put a Burger King, we exited and hid there for a while. There
were arcade games, including my favorite, Smash TV. So we pumped a few
quarters into the machine and won big money, big prizes (I even won a toast-
er!). Then we killed more time by actually ordering some food.
Wanderer's place was actually in a distant suburb, and the streets began to
have familiar names. I was told that this was normal, as the suburbs of Los
Angeles, Chicago, and New York City all connect, and we were currently
somewhere in Utah. I nodded, wishing I had known this before, as I would
have just driven instead of flying.
I got to meet the cats, Boris and Rigel, both of which were very playful
critters. Wanderer showed me his lovely abode, a nine foot square cardboard
box that leaned against a supermarket. (It did have net-access, though.)
After settling in, meeting one of his roommates and cute asian friend, we
headed back out into the cold night of Chicago. The skyline was simply
awe-inspiring, but unlike New York City, you could actually drive around
without delays. We stopped to get some power steering fluid for the car,
which was screeching a lot. My friend hadn't thought to do this before, as
car maintenance isn't one of his strong points.
The view of the Sears Tower at night was really impressive. Strangely, it
didn't look as mind-boggingly tall as I had hoped; this may have been due to
several nearby buildings being almost as tall. Still, with the night lights, it all
looked very modern.
We drove past downtown and on towards another person's apartment, where
picked up someone else, and then we headed back downtown to go play Battle-
Tech. This was a stripped-down version of Mech Warrior that had been
reprogrammed to allow several players at once, using a network using
LANtastic and run on 286es. We made several sniggering comments on how
primitive the hardware was, and then played a couple games. The games were
very expensive ($8) and only lasted a few minutes. The selling point was
virtual reality, which is to say that they sit you in a box that blocks out
external light, so all you see is several buttons and switches that do things
only advanced players can guess at, a couple hand and foot controls, and the
viewscreen. I guess if one wasn't aware of all the simple software tricks
involved, it might have looked impressive. But personally I thought it was
After that we cruised through downtown streets that were made by famous by
the movie, "The Blues Brothers". That was entertaining, and then we stopped
by the Sears Tower so I could take some pictures of it from up close. We
couldn't get in, for it was closed by that time. A persuasive black man tried
very hard to sell us some gold chains; he was rather insistent, but I just
blew him off entirely. The others actually tried to talk him away.
After dropping off Wanderer's friend, we drove back, discussing along the
way several ideas on how to improve on the BattleTech idea, how to rip it off
entirely, and how to make a much better product. Sometimes, even now, I
think about getting a few people together, and building a simulation involving
space dogfights, but it would require about $50,000 investment to start.
So I just laid down on the couch and let cats walk over me all night long.
Saturday, March 21st
When I woke up, there was snow on the ground. And it was falling lightly.
Wanderer was still quite asleep, but I didn't feel at all tired anymore, so I
played with the cats for a while. They were really cute, fun things. I'd
never get one, though; you have to feed them regularly and clean their litter
boxes and that's just too much of a hassle for me.
I just laid there for a long time, and pretended to be asleep, and watched one
of the roommate's girls leave, and then come back an hour later or so, as if to
pretend she hadn't spent the night there. "That's odd..." I thought, and
So I pulled out my Game Boy and vegetated to that for a couple hours. It's
not an exciting game, it's not even a good game. But it was better than
watching the snow fall down. The icicles on the pine trees were really
Eventually though, we did get back in gear, and walked out to the car, which
was covered in snow. Actually all the cars were covered in snow, and if you
didn't remember where you parked you car, you had to wipe snow off cars
until you found yours, as they all looked alike, all the same size, all
The drive back to town was a bit of a challenge; there was ice on the roads,
which didn't please me at all. But for the most part the car stayed under
control. We found Wax Trax, a famous alternative record outlet, without much
difficulty. Parking was another matter, though; and when we travelled on a
side street, which had not been salted, the car decided not to stop at the
stop sign, and we slid into traffic. Whee. Amazingly, there was no collision.
I really do not understand how people can live in a climate like that, where
losing control of the car and endangering yourself to collisions every day is
just a normal part of life. It's absurd!
But we did make it Wax Trax, and they had a very impressive selection of
CDs, but not as good as the Wax Trax in Denver. Actually, I thought the
place was rather small, but I did find 9 CDs worth buying there. [See
So, one of my big goals of the trip over with, I sat back in the car and
relaxed, as the snowstorm got to be rather severe. We had planned to visit
the Sears Tower, but after a few minutes of driving, it became obvious that
the best thing to do would be to manage to make it back to secure shelter.
Traffic was not pleasant, and road conditions were an unhappiness. I even
got Wanderer to admit that he didn't like to drive when the weather was like
We stopped at a grocery store and picked up a case of RC cola so we'd have
stuff to drink. The roommates were watching "Robin Hood" with their girl-
friends when we got back to the apartment. I ordered some pizza from Pizza
Hut, and got chewed out by the roommates for not getting real Chicago-style
pizza. Fuck 'em, I thought. I wanted pizza, and I didn't want to risk having
it be weird. Pizza Hut is the same no matter what part of the country you're
After the movie they put in "City Slickers". This was a very good movie; I
didn't get a chance to see it when it was showing in the theaters. When it
was over, I thought about it, and decided that my trip to the midwest was
kind of like a reverse of the movie's concept. I'm from the desert southwest,
and I'm spending my vacation visiting highly urban cities. So if there's a
term for the reverse of a city slicker, then that would describe me on this
Sunday, March 22nd
So after another morning of being walked up on by cats, vegging out to Game
Boy, and contemplating the weather, things picked up again. We did the food
thing, eating out at Arby's. Wanderer drove in circles in the parking lot five
or six times, because he was bored.
I was finally able to contact Pope_751, and convinced him to drive to Chicago
and pick me up. Then it simply became a matter of killing the day off,
because he needed to sleep first.
So, what better way to kill time than to preview OS/2 2.0? A copy of one of
the latest beta releases was on hand, so I got to play with it for a couple
hours. Overall, it was much better in appearance than Windows 3.0, which
impressed me, as IBM has a habit of making a lot of hype about things that
are actually just so-so. But this is actually a better product than Windows,
so I think IBM might actually have something here. Problem is, you need a
386 and about six megs of RAM to run it effectively. Most people have a 386
by now though, and it shouldn't be long before people clue in to the concept
of buying more RAM.
Still, I'd rather run UNIX. Even AIX, which is evil and buggy and had a
disastrous upgrade recently that caused me a lot of grief. I just don't think
having a cute graphical interface hiding command line prompts is enough
reason to justify suffering all that overhead in making a multi-tasking
DOS-compatible system. But, oh well.
Wanderer had to take off to do some urgent work, so I was left to play with
the computer and get in some net time, catching up with email and doing a
little mudding. While I was mudding, I heard some sounds behind me, and I
turned around to see a large iguana climbing the closet door.
I stared at the iguana. It stared back at me. I nodded at it and went on
typing away at the computer. It went on climbing the closet door. There was
balance in the universe.
So, the computer thing got old after a while. It got dark. I read some out of
the novel I brought along, then vegged out some more to Game Boy. It wasn't
the most exciting time, but it wasn't particularly stressful either, and pretty
relaxing compared to my normal life.
But alas, it had to happen, Pope_751 finally did arrive, driving a (Surprise!)
late-seventies boat. We loaded the car and took off. His car a had a totally
awesome sound system, it was capable picking up frequencies from 530 Khz to
So I became mesmerized by the sounds of talk radio and we drove in circles
in the suburbs of Chicago, looking for a freeway. On the second time around
we found one, and half an hour later, past a few toll booths, we were on our
way to Indiana.
We got gas near Gary, Indiana, and coke, too. As an added bonus, the car
picked up a nail, and a while later we discovered that the tire had gone flat.
This was a bummer, because it was cold outside, but we were near a rest
area, so we parked there and checked it out. Simple flat, and there just
happened to be a jack and a spare tire in the trunk. What luck!
Only thing was, the jack was a seventies-style thing, that had to be assem-
bled. But with a little effort we got the two-ton car jacked up and the tire
swapped out. Yay. But that was all too easy, so the jack decided that it
liked going up, but not down. We could not convince that jack to come down.
It was so old and probably hadn't been used since the seventies, so some-
thing stuck inside, and it wouldn't go down, no matter how we banged it,
shifted the levers, or anything.
I was not impressed. "Jack," I said menacingly, "you are not going to
prevent me from getting to Purdue." And so I told Pope_751 to put the car
in neutral. My, the jack didn't like that. The car rolled right off the thing,
taking a piece of bumper off with it. We nodded and headed back on our
Monday, March 23rd
And so about an hour later we found our way through the dead trees and
ancient houses to the thriving metropolis of West Lafayette, Indiana. We
followed the fun directions that took us through a shopping center, to the
secret hideout of Finrod & Tourmaline's apartment.
A lightly bearded man with really long hair answered the door and welcomed
us in; it was Bishop_III. On the couch was Tank Girl, his girlfriend, who was
mudding away on a laptop that had been set on a chair. It was a friendly
welcome, and we all gathered around Tank Girl to see what was happening on
the mud. She announced to all our friends in our favorite corner of
cyberspace that we had arrived. Riana, another mudder from Purdue, heard
this and said she'd be right over to meet us. We all joked back and forth
how Blackbird would kill her if she set foot in the apartment, as her reputa-
tion was not the most favorable one. But Blackbird was elsewhere at this
time, so nothing prevented her from coming on over.
So half an hour later Riana arrived, although she was only a fifteen minute
walk away. With her was Nilrem, her current boyfriend, and some other guy,
whose name eludes me, thankfully, as he gave the appearance of a totally
clueless loud-mouth, which, in fact, he turned out to be. I noticed Nilrem had
a Battletech patch on his jacket, which I thought was cute. The three of
them looked like they were from a local high school but I was told that they
were indeed college students.
Pope_751 and I were rather hungry at this point, and decided to get food,
although it was late and the best place anyone could think of to eat was
Denny's, which was fine with me. We took the three young'uns with us. On
the way there it was explained to me that the people who work at Denny's
don't appreciate students. Well fuck them! We were paying customers, and
neither Pope_751 nor I were students.
So I ordered eggs, because I love to eat eggs at Denny's. Everyone quickly
ordered their stuff, except for the loudmouth, he bungled his order, talking
confusedly with the waitress for five or ten minutes. I wanted to reach over
and kill him, stab my fork in his eyeball repeatedly. Bastard. Hasn't he ever
been to a Denny's before? Didn't he know how to order food? Christ!
During the course of our meal, Riana explained to us how she found Nilrem at
GenCon, like a lost puppy, and took him home with her. I didn't believe the
story, but she stood by it, and everyone else seems to believe it's true.
Nilrem talked at length about how he was kicked out of here and there and
hitchhiked from place to place looking for a new home every few months. I
just stared at him. Pope_751 bought a copy of USA Today and spent most of
the time reading the articles.
After a while, I began to realize that things were too absurd to obey the laws
of any normal reality, and I decided to have fun with this. Riana was kind of
cute, and playful, so I asked her if she'd like to have sex, in a low voice,
while Nilrem was talking about something else. I don't think anyone else
heard, except maybe Pope_751. She resisted this offer, making some excuse
about Nilrem, so I offered to give him $20 to go entertain himself while we had
fun together. I thought it was a reasonable offer, I mean hell, he could go to
a movie and get popcorn and a drink and still have cash left over to play
arcade games. Riana, however, turned this down.
Maybe I should have been more generous.
The sun came up and the kids began to whine about how tired they were, and
Pope_751 decided to play the cruel part, and forced everyone to stay at
Denny's an extra hour. But eventually even he got bored, so we drove back
to the Purdue area, and dropped the kids off. And we didn't see any of them
ever again. Yay.
Pope_751 and I cruised around campus and to the brighter parts of West
Lafayette, until we found ourselves overlooking the splendid view of several
hill-sized heaps of rock that a local mill had deposited. We sat in admiration
of this for a long time, it must have at least forty seconds, and then decided
that this town really wasn't that interesting after all, and seeked entertain-
ment elsewhere. This led us back to the apartment.
Blackbird was there, doing something vaguely breakfast-like. No introductions
were necessary, we all knew each so well from our respective reputations that
there was simply no reason for confusion. We made several crude jokes and
had a jolly good time together, a true male-bonding experience, all very macho
and rude. After a while though, Blackbird had to go to some other engage-
ment, probably a class.
This left us two dangerous characters alone and bored, with nothing to do. I
looked at Pope_751, he looked at me. We looked at the newspaper.
"Scissors," I stated.
He nodded vigorously and thus began the search for scissors. We didn't want
to be too obnoxious turning the apartment upside down looking for scissors,
being guests and all that. But we really did want some scissors. Eventually
I ventured upon a pair in Finrod's room, and we were in business.
We sorted through the advertisements and cut out several pictures of young
women and girls, especially the ones wearing only underwear. I was told to
search for an ad for a douche, while Pope_751 cut up the figures into phallic
shapes. By the time I found one, he had made many cute figures, mixed and
matched. If we had glue we would have made quite a collage.
But we didn't have any glue. And it was getting boring. So we tried to get
access, instead. We fiddled with the computer, and managed to get it to call
the university, but weren't able to get either an external line or access to an
account. It was a bummer.
Fortunately around this time, Tank Girl had waken up and stumbled her way
out of Bishop_III's bedroom. She was able to supply a few more clues about
hacking into the system with Tourmaline's account, but we still weren't able to
get through. So then she did the logical thing, she logged into her own
account. Finally, access!
While she was occupied with checking her email and seeing who was on
DreamScape, I decided to occupy myself with fulfilling some promises and
threats I had made previously, via mud, a week before. This involved fondling
Tank Girl, groping her, and massaging her breasts. She didn't object, which
set off an ancient, dusty voice in the back of my head.
"Pursue your ambitions," the voice said.
I needed no further encouragement; I went for it. She was wearing a
button-down dress, so I started by undoing a couple buttons, so I could get
some fingers through, and did some exploring. She fidgeted a little, but I
kept at it anyway. She was mudding on DreamScape by this time, telling the
gang how she was being molested by Xibo, and then the term "xibolestation"
I discovered she wasn't wearing anything underneath, as my rubbing fingers
discovered pubic hair, and ventured further. Things progressed quite freely,
and I found myself finger-fucking her. I think this finally got her attention,
as she gave Pope_751 the controls and let him take over the computer.
The glasses came off, and the kissing started. We made out on the couch,
giving it reason to exist. Pope_751 was doing the play by play, exaggerating
the details a little. I figured since everyone had heard I was molesting her, I
might as well do it completely. I sucked on her neck, we sucked face, we
squirmed and thrusted. It was a blast.
Eventually we cooled off and went back to mudding, to see just what Pope_751
had told everyone. Unfortunately no one had logged it, which was a pisser.
I was feeling most amused at this time, and was well beyond caring what
Bishop_III might have done, had he woken up and walked in on us, which was
pretty abnormal for me. But I didn't give a shit; I was on vacation, having a
good time. They were supposed to have an open relationship anyway, so I
chose not to worry about it. I did wonder, though, whether the people on the
mud believed what Pope_751 had told them. It was all true, but rather
Tourmaline and Finrod arrived at one o'clock for lunch, and I finally got to
meet these cool people. Tourmaline wasn't near as fat as I thought she was,
and Finrod wasn't as pale as I was expecting, either. We sat around chatting
for a while, and Tourmaline wasn't at all surprised to see Tank Girl and I
being all cuddly on the couch; my assumption at the time was that she was
used to strange events occurring when mudders come to visit, but on retro-
spect I suspect that perhaps she felt such behavior was normal for Tank Girl.
Finrod bypassed conversation in favor of lunch. Tourmaline showed Pope_751
how to use the computer to get access, and then grabbed some quick chow for
herself. I blinked my eyes and they were back out the door, promising to be
back later, in time for quarter night at McDonald's.
That left our afternoon with time to kill. Pope_751 passed out at this point,
but I was still good for several hours, as staying up for thirty hours at a
time was something I picked up in grad school. So this of course led to more
playful xibolestation, and I grew to really admire Tank Girl's curvy features.
I should have fun like that more often. (At least more often than every three
years, but I'll not get into that here.)
Bishop_III woke up to find her bare legs in my lap, but he didn't even blink,
he just sat down on the couch next to us and looked over to see what was
going on the computer, with the mud. Did he mind that Tank Girl and I were
so cozy? I don't think so; at least, he gave no external sign. Lucky me.
Around sunset I was running out of motivation to stay awake, and had been
up a while, so decided to take a nap until dinner time. It felt like I was lying
there for only a couple minutes, but was told that I had been there an hour
when the dinner call came.
Tank Girl and I walked to McDonald's, where we all bought many fine ham-
burgers at twenty-five cents each. I could only eat four, though. Bishop_III
joined us there, and we also met up with Tourmaline and Finrod there, who
gave us a ride back, in Tourmaline's poor car, which had been dented pretty
severely by an asshole a while back.
The gang spent the evening chatting and ignoring the TV. We saw Pickles on
the mud and invited her over, and about half an hour later, Snag and Pickles
had arrived. Snag didn't stay very long, but Pickles sure did. She was a
very cuddly, and yet at the same time somewhat reserved, person. Pope_751
latched on to her in full-force scam mode.
He was doing the nice guy routine though, so I didn't think he'd make it. I
thought he should have talked less and felt more. I didn't think to tell him
this, though, as he was obviously enjoying himself, and my hands were
finding Tank Girl again.
Things began to melt and twist, like they usually do when I achieve the
sleep-deprived state. At one point Finrod had Tourmaline and Pickles on his
bed, in no particular order. Shortly after that I found Pope_751 had managed
to find his way in there, too. Bishop_III and Tank Girl went to bed, so I laid
back on the couch and thought about things, letting my brain vegetate to
images on the TV screen.
I became half-conscious for a while. I remember Finrod and Tourmaline going
to bed, Pope_751 and Pickles returning to the living room. We discussed how
firm her right nipple was, but her left one wasn't, and as they were cuddled
at the side of the couch, I was able to reach over and confirm, yes, her right
nipple was quite firm. So I told him that he just need to rub her left nipple
like so, and I demonstrated, and she didn't move to knock my hand way,
which I thought was neat. But any thoughts of a menage-a-trois faded as I
drifted thru valleys of dreams and fantasies.
Tuesday, March 24th
So, he continued to sweet-talk her, trying to figure out why she didn't want
to go all the way. For a while he played with her using his stuffed rabbit
(he always takes it on trips), shoving it in her crotch, saying "FUCK DA
BUNNY", which I thought was amusing. As the days went by later, though,
"FUCK DA BUNNY" grew to be a hilarious inside joke.
They did get to making out, so I guess all of the nice guy routine talk
worked for him after all. This impressed me a lot. It was also entertaining
because they thought I was asleep there on the couch, when I wasn't,
Although I did fall asleep for a while, with a few random dream segments. I
was wandering through a mall, lost. Then I escaped the mall, and shot my
gun at people who were chasing me, but the gun wouldn't work right. Finally
I got away from them, and found myself at some well-trimmed lawn, with
water-sprinklers running, ka-chick, ka-chick, ka-chik. I realized I was in a
dream at that point, and used my dream power to fly. So I was floating
above the lawn, watching the water sprinklers, listening to them, ka-chik,
ka-chik, ka-chick, when I thought that they didn't sound quite right. This
bit of suspicion took me out of the dream state, but the sound continued.
I continued breathing slowly so as not to alert the two on the floor that I had
awoken. They didn't notice. Pickles was mostly undressed, and Pope_751 had
his finger going in and out of her in the most sexual manner, rhythmatically,
making the noise I had heard. Pickles just laid there, quietly. After a few
minutes, he moved to her breasts, and fondled those for a while. All I could
think of at the time was, gee, there's a cute naked girl on the floor.
Discussing this later with him, he told me that he had suspected that I was
awake, but wasn't sure, and if I had made goofy faces at him, he would have
cracked up laughing. Apparently the experience was kind of wacky for him,
as she wasn't really into it.
Anyway, they cooled off and redressed, and I slipped way under this time, not
awakening until way past dawn. Blackbird was there doing breakfast things,
Pope_751 and Pickles were snuggled up cutely on the floor. When they awoke,
Pickles left rather abruptly, and we didn't see her again.
The morning went by listlessly; I wanted to play with Tank Girl some more,
but she was in Bishop_III's room sleeping next to him, and I couldn't think of
a way to get her out of there without waking him up. Thus I concentrated
instead on convincing Pope_751 that we really shouldn't drive to Milwaukee
without getting the tire fixed, so he went out to fix it. I watched Finrod and
Tourmaline come in and leave, played some more Game Boy, and basically
vegged, thinking about Bishop_III, in utter confusion. When Pope_751 re-
turned, after doing a couple errands, we discussed the possibility of hitting a
Milwaukee nightclub that night, and possibly making a side-trip to
Urbana-Champaign to visit cthonics, another mudder-type person. We contact-
ed him on DreamScape and got directions, and which included a 7-11 where
one can get "many fine slurpees".
Pickles made a brief appearance on the mud, and she said was dead now, her
parents had found out that she was gone out all night. I couldn't understand
the problem, she is twenty years old, but apparently still firmly in the grip of
her parents. I hate parents like that, and I think people over eighteen
should move out and develop their own life. Apparently she really was in
trouble, though, as there hasn't been any sign of her since then.
Pope_751 and I then went cruising around town again, and stopped by a
Von's, where I bought postcards and CDs [see Appendix A], wondering why
even a little town like that had a good selection. With great effort I convinced
Pope_751 to stop at a pizza joint, and my stomach stopped growling as I
chomped away. My cohort didn't eat much, and spent the time writing a letter
to one of his girlfriends.
When we arrived back at the apartment, Tank Girl was awake and Bishop_III
wasn't, which was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up. Quickly I hopped
onto the couch and commenced cuddling her all over again, breaking her
attention away from the computer. Pope_751 did his part by convincing her
to let him take over at the keyboard. This allowed her get more intimate with
me, and so we did. Things were going along merrily when Pope_751 tells us
that the people on the mud wanted to get the show on the road, as we
discovered he was doing a play-by-play, and logging it this time.
"Okay," I said, "I guess I'd better get the condoms out, then."
"I guess so," replied Tank Girl.
Right. Wow. Meanwhile, Tourmaline was in the room too, fretting over
whether to do Logic or Differential Equations homework, and I had the
opportunity to have sex, even though it meant there would be two people
It was a simple decision, I didn't even hesitate.
It went like yesterday, but more intense; she responded well to my bites on
the neck, and quickly my pants were open, her dress was skirted up, and we
were in business. It was fast, yes, and I would have preferred a slow night
of nude snuggling in a warm bed, but such luxuries weren't available at the
time. It was really intense, though, and we enjoyed ourselves. And I even
remembered to use the condom!
So, we recovered after that, and I looked over the log, trying to figure out
whether the people on the mud believed what was happening, and basically
felt pretty happy overall. Pope_751 figured out the way to get out of town
and we prepared to depart. Bishop_III came around, and I got to sit there
cuddling Tank Girl, wondering if he knew what just went down, and what
would happen when he found out, and so on.
But enough of that. It was great, but Pope_751 was driving, and he said it
was time to leave, so we blew, and kicked on down the road towards Urbana-
-Champaign. While Pope_751 grumbled about the slow truck in front of him, I
got a chance to lie back and ponder what just happened. It's not every year
I get this lucky, or whatever, so it was worth some thought. It really had me
After a few interesting grain silos and miles of tedium, we were back on the
Interstate, and Pope_751 began to mellow out, listening to Rush Limbaugh on
his low-tech radio. A strange structure came into view, and I asked him what
"Oh, that? That's a farm."
It was a peaceful, quiet moment, perfect for reflection and consideration of the
puzzle I had before me. My problem was that I suddenly felt that it had all
happened to easily. I began to wonder if there was a secret explanation
behind it all, some ulterior motives that I hadn't noticed. Why had I succeed-
ed here, when I had failed so many times before, elsewhere? The scary
thought occurred to me that perhaps it was just a pity fuck, that she had
heard about all my angst-related problems, and wanted to give me a pleasur-
able experience, out of pity for me. But the more I thought about this, the
more it just didn't seem right; I felt she was not acting out of pity, out of
curiosity maybe, but not pity. So I marked that idea off, there had to be
some other reason.
"And that? Is that a farm?"
"Imagine that, two farms in a row."
So my mind wandered over to stranger ideas. Maybe someone else at Purdue
felt sorry for me, and chose to make a present of Tank Girl to me, paying her
a small fee. I wondered who I knew there that would do something like that
for me, and while I entertained a few ideas, I had to reject this train of
thought, as she really didn't seem to be the type who would act as a
hired-out prostitute-type person. My mind was jumping among random guess-
Perhaps, then, she didn't do it for pay, but as a favor. Just to make my life
a little bit brighter and more hopeful. People have done me favors before,
although nothing like this. Still, this didn't seem right either, as I could
swear that she wouldn't have done it with Bishop_III right in the next room
unless she had her own personal reasons, a more self-satisfying motive. So
another idea fizzled out because it just didn't make any sense.
"Hey, is that another farm ahead?"
"Why, yes... I think so."
I twisted Pope_751's bunny's ears and thought some more. Could it have been
a challenge? A dare, perhaps? Maybe someone told her she wouldn't dare do
it, and the challenge was set, and she felt obligated to follow through with it.
But who would make such a dare? Well, truly, there a lot of obnoxious people
who do that, just to see what kind of reaction could be evoked. This didn't
explain the hints of action I was seeing on the mud during the weeks previ-
ous to the trip, though; we had been joking about it for quite a while before
I had arrived. In the end, I chose to shoot down this idea also.
"So, what's that building, then?"
"I don't know, let's see what it looks like when we get closer."
"Hmm. It looks vaguely familiar."
"Ah, yes. It's a farm."
So maybe it was my charming good looks, my winning personality, my out-
standing charisma... hell, maybe it was the beard. Only in the past couple
months have I had a beard, which would explain why no one had noticed me
before, as I've been working nights for the past few months, not seeing
anyone in my daily life. But the illusions of vanity only lasted for a few
minutes. Sure, I was no longer the dweeby kid I used to be many years ago,
but I'm no dashing heartthrob either. It was fun to contemplate, though.
"And that thing over there? Is that a farm?"
"Yes, I believe it is."
"What a coincidence, we just passed one a few minutes ago."
He nodded in agreement.
Finally, it occurred to me that maybe she was simply a very horny individual,
and could not resist sex whenever it was offered. I just happened to be in
the right place at the right time. Whee, I should be so lucky more often.
But then I remember how she actually lived in a dorm, and chose to stay at
the apartment the whole time I was there. Suddenly I realized it was no
coincidence, it wasn't just luck, that there was something beyond all that.
Another goddamn farm came into view.
"Isn't that a--"
"YES! IT'S ANOTHER FUCKING FARM!"
But we ran out of farms, and I ran out of time to ponder the reasons and
motivations. It wasn't until about a week later that I had figured it all out;
the results are left as an exercise for the reader.
Urbana-Champaign was everything I dreamed it to be, and less. Our directions
to cthonics's place were rather vague, as he had no car, and thus didn't quite
understand what the freeways were, much less how to get to his apartment
from them. But we prevailed anyhow.
Actually, Pope_751's car needed gas and the 7-11 we stopped at happened to
be the same 7-11 that was referenced in the directions. So I bought slurpees,
and we made our way up to the third floor of some ancient slum. This
strange Kibo-like person answered our rapping at his door and it could only
be cthonics, so I thrust the cherry slurpee upon him, forcing him to accept it.
Pope_751 collapsed on the couch, all those farms had really stressed him out.
So we participated in casual conversation, and cthonics showed me a picture
of Claire's breast, so I borrowed one of his pink crayons and drew a picture
of Claire's left nipple and showed it around. Claire sure is a cutie, as I got to
see a picture of her face, too. Hunger drove us into action and we decided to
walk to the strip of restaurants in this thriving urban area, but it was very
difficult deciding just where to eat. We just wanted to walk up and down the
sidewalks all night long, but something broke our stride eventually, and we
ate sandwiches at a pub-type of place.
After that, I felt much better, but Pope_751 felt pretty dead. We walked back
to cthonics's pad, there being nothing else to do in Urbana-Champaign. He
even made some references to Lemmings, though I didn't get to see the actual
game. I convinced Pope_751 to hit the road, so we could make it to the
nightclub in Milwaukee he had mentioned earlier. This got us back on the
We managed to get forty miles north of there when we stopped to pick up a
map. I knew if we kept heading north we'd have to run into a freeway
sooner or later, but Pope_751 was feeling a bit lost. Once we had the map I
realized we had been parallelling the freeway by five miles this whole time.
Oops. I took over the driving, and Pope_751 whipped out a pillow and
promptly passed out asleep. So I took the boat out of dock and headed it
back on course.
It was after sunset, and the farms and faded away into the darkness, when I
heard on the radio that Jerry Brown had won Connecticut. This shocked me,
and pleased me, as I really don't want to see Clinton in office, I don't even
want him as the democratic candidate. He just reminds me of the guy who
won all the popularity contests in high school, Class President, Captain of the
Football Team, and so on. At least Brown has interesting, if wacky, ideas.
Our government does need major changes, though.
I drove through Chicago, getting another beautiful taste of that skyline, all lit
up at night. By the time we arrived in Milwaukee, Pope_751 had woken up
after a restful four-hour nap. I didn't have any puzzling thoughts on that
leg of the trip, because I was vegging to talk/news radio the whole time.
This mind candy was pretty restful for me, and I was ready and willing to
party. I didn't even mind that the weather was below freezing, threatening to
We dropped our luggage off at his house, in the basement where the comput-
er, stereo, and keyboards were. It was quite an artistic little cave, with Sid
Vicious posters and other cut-outs. Even a few penguins were present. But
we didn't stay long, and Pope_751 snatched his parents' car and we cruised
into the Downtown area.
Pope_751 led me to Esoteria, the closest thing one could find to a
teenydoomerland on a Tuesday night. It was a small place, with minimal
lighting effects, but at least they did play Skinny Puppy twice. I drank a
couple long island iced teas there, which were mixed a lot stronger than I was
used to, though I didn't notice until later. Maybe I should avoid drinking
when I'm travelling.
There were a few babes there, but for the most part they were in couples,
which led us to watch and chat, and not really do anything else. It was a
great way to unwind after being in a car for four hours, though. I let the
alcohol kick in, so the visions would swim.
Afterwards we drove back to the house, which wasn't a short drive, and
Pope_751 alternated tapes of his punk band's music and his wacky remixes of
popular industrial bands. It was quite a trip, especially with all the
streetlights and funky Milwaukee landmarks zooming by. The city even had a
little skyline of its own, in miniature.
At the house we watched TV for a while, and I must have really been trip-
ping, because I remember watching Perry Mason in the living room, and then
appearing downstairs in the cave, watching Pope_751 hit the local BBS/chat-
lines or maybe it was the muds. Probably both. After that blackout I chose
to do the sleep thing, and slipped into unconsciousness with a small, but firm,
Many, many hours later, I woke up and showered, any effect of a hangover
long gone. There was a light snow on the ground, and it made me kind of
paranoid, so I played with the Game Boy for a while. Then after Pope_751
woke up, I got online and my boss caught me, so I chatted with him for a
while. After reassuring him that the systems are doing fine and that I'd been
checking them periodically, he let me go and I skimmed over email things.
Then Pope_751 logged into his chatline where he spat and cursed and said
generally hateful things, as per his character.
Once that was over with, we headed back out and went shopping for CDs near
the downtown or university area. I was impressed with the selection they had
there, and bought even more CDs [see Appendix A] to add to my collection. I
never have the opportunity to buy these things at home, because the selection
in Tucson is limited.
That managed to kill a couple hours, and we drove back to the house,
listening to more of Pope_751's crazy custom remixes. He played for me a
song he was working on, "Senator Jack Kennedy", which existed as a program
in his PC. His collection of keyboards and other music machines was all
linked up MIDI-style with his computer, which gave him the power to create
interesting things, even though his recording equipment was rather limited.
He got back on the chats and got in touch with one of the local girls, Penny,
and arranged for us to take her to go see the move movie "Basic Instinct".
It was a bit of a rush, picking her up and getting to the theater on time, but
we managed it. Neither of us hit on her, too, which was amazing, considering
how things on this trip had gone. The movie was entertaining, though the
style reminded me of "Cape Fear", which is to say that I thought it was over-
-acted and the camera footage over-dramatic, considering that the sex scenes
weren't all that sexy, the violent scenes weren't that impressive, and the
lesbian scenes were mere hints of what they could have been. I felt like I
was watching an edited-for-television version of a movie I hadn't seen.
Afterwards we plundered through the snow and ice to hang out with some of
their friends at this fundie's house (excuse me, Protestant). I was interrogated
about my political and religious beliefs, which left the religious wacko rather
confused, since she respected how I supported Bush and the republican party,
but frowned strongly on my devout atheism. I was informed that she'd pray
for my soul. Aw, gee. Meanwhile the real action was with Penny and one of
the other guys there, as they were for the most part pretending the other
wasn't there, while at the same time striving to look natural and relaxed. I
found this amusing.
Thursday, March 26th
Around 1:30am we were told it was getting late and it was time to leave, which
was fine with me, as I was bored with the whole affair by then. We got back
in the car and drove away, and the conversation of course instantly picked
up with Penny talking about her boy problems. Well, she's still pretty young,
I thought, excusable for being slightly immature. Though it really nagged me
that her problem was the most classic one that angst-ridden people have to
deal with: she didn't want to be romantic with this guy, but she didn't want
to hurt his feelings, so she wanted get the point across to him of "Let's Just
Well, I nearly puked right there, and within minutes I was telling her exactly
what I thought about that line of reasoning, where it will go, and how much
pain she'll cause by pursuing this course of action. I rather doubt, though,
that my opinions sunk into her shallow mind. Sigh. I guess she would learn
the hard way, eventually. Pope_751 seemed to think she was a very smart
person, so maybe there's hope. I remain doubtful.
After we dropped her off, it was back to the basic male-bonding experience:
playing with music, reviewing CDs, and chatting with people via cyberspace,
be it the local chatline or a mud like DreamScape. My own mud was having
problems, as usual. Every time I leave town, the thing crashes. When we
bored of all this, we went back to sleep for a while.
When I woke up, there was a lot of snow on the ground, and it looked very
intimidating. We got a very slow start to the day, and didn't do very much.
Eventually, in the evening, we drove out to the university, using the old boat,
since a bigger car seems to be safer on ice.
We parked somewhere next to the campus, but it had been a while since
Pope_751 had been there, as he was totally lost and refused to admit it. We
walked through several buildings, looking for richter's office, who we were to
meet for dinner. Eventually, after a long walk through blowing wind and
heavy snow, we found ourselves at the student union, and became unlost.
After that it only took a few minutes to find the lab that richter was watching
over. She still had an hour to go, so after doing the introduction thing with
Markian Gooley and Mark Lippert, a couple of people from talk.bizarre, I
emptied my mind by reading news, as the keyboards were too messed up to do
the typing required for mudding. Mark Lippert, for those who are keeping
score at home, was the total opposite of Roger David Carasso. Totally differ-
ent personalities there; I kept thinking of him as the "anti-carasso".
After the hour was over, richter kicked people out of the lab, and we ran
(again through snow and ice, it was just getting colder) back to the car and
drove over to her place, parking at Walgreen's, because there was no parking
at her apartment building. Fortunately it wasn't a long walk. The apartment,
however, was pretty small, and crowded, for she had acquired all of her
grandmother's antiques. There wasn't any room to walk around, you just had
to stand in the same spot the whole time.
After several minutes of whining about her broken refrigerator, richter made
us dinner, which was chinese food, dumplings and rice and stuff like that. It
was enjoyable, but I'm not a big fan of chinese food, so wasn't overly im-
pressed. I would have just gone out to eat, though I guess that's an
expensive luxury to some.
After dinner Pope_751 and Mark Lippert took off; Markian and I spent the
night there, unfolding the couch, rearranging the furniture, checking the
weather channel, and basically being boring.
Friday, March 27th
In the morning richter had to go to work for a few hours, which left Markian
and I with some hours to kill. We walked around, confused, in the morning
sun, trying to find a diner to have breakfast at. Most of the snow was
quickly melting away, which was quite a welcome relief. I was fairly paranoid
about snow and ice, because two years previous to this trip, I'd had an auto
wreck on black ice in Wisconsin.
Eventually we did find a place, and I got to experience what corned beef hash
is. It's pretty rare out west, and was a new experience for me. But a good
breakfast makes for a good day, so I merrily chomped away. I think I ate
breakfast more than other meal while on this vacation, with lots of eggs. I
After that we wandered back to the car and decided to kill some time down-
town. Markian's driving was about as bad as a beginning Student Driver, and
it was miraculous that we didn't have a wreck. He ran through red lights,
did left turns from the wrong lane, and generally made other people have to
swerve and slam brakes. I made sure my seat belt was securely fastened and
took comfort in the fact that he was driving a large american boat, and thus
we would probably be safe in the event of a collision.
Finally, after cutting off a city bus, we found a parking space, and it only
took fifteen minutes to finish parallel parking. We spent a couple hours
walking around the downtown area, taking in the architecture and other
scenery. There wasn't much of a street society, though, and things were
actually rather quiet. We killed time in a bookstore, visited Usinger's so
Markian could pick up some sausage, and watched a car squeal its alarm
endlessly. There were several smokestacks, a structure I don't see very
often. I thought they had all been knocked down back in the seventies.
Actually, parts of downtown Milwaukee were basically stuck in that decade,
with very few signs of modern cars or technologies present. Even the grade
school looked ancient, several stories high with horizontally hinged windows.
We also visited a museum, which had many items of historical interest,
including pictures and models describing Milwaukee as it had appeared in the
Eventually we had killed our time, and hit the road again. Luckily we were
near the freeway, where Markian was a little better at driving. We drove off,
in search of richter's workplace. It was easy to find, mostly because Markian
had a city map, and I was able to translate richter's hastily scribbled direc-
tions into something coherent. We arrived a bit early, though, so stopped at
Denny's and Markian had lunch. I just ate some cole slaw. The menu at
Denny's had special Lent selections, for the religious type of people to choose
from. I didn't think anyone paid mind to such silliness anymore, but Markian
and richter both did, I believe.
I don't get it. Christ is *not* coming back, he's very dead. There is no god,
it's just a story that the ancient governments invented to give the commonfolk
hope. Oh well. Luckily, usually it's mostly harmless.
We entered richter's workplace, and had the lady at the main desk give her a
call to let us know we had arrived. But even then we were told to wait. I
shrugged, having had to wait all day, for this and that, and sat down on a
convenient couch, and paged through a magazine. A while later richter
arrived and we got back on the road, after a moderate delay at the conve-
The drive to Minneapolis wasn't very eventful, either. Our cruising speed was
67 mph, and I played a variety of CDs on richter's jambox. No one complained
about the music, although the Current 93 CD was a bit tedious. The Enya and
Skinny Puppy CDs were very nice, though. We passed through a part of the
state where they were smashing up the Interstate with machines built for the
sole purpose of hitting the road like a hammer, shattering it. Then other
crane and scoop-like vehicles tore up the road, which revealed that it had
steel cables running through it.
I didn't know that the Interstates had steel running through them. And it was
surprising to learn that they were completely removing and replacing the
road, regularly. Every year they tear up stretches of road and replace them.
Winter really kills those roads. Back in the desert southwest, we have the
same roads they put down forty years ago. Every five to ten years we add a
layer of blacktop to it, and that's about it. It just made me wonder even
more why so many people choose to live so far north.
After about four or five hours, we came to the New Richmond and River Falls
exits, and I came to the surprising realization that things were actually
beginning to look familiar, from my visit to Wisconsin two years ago. This
comforted me greatly. It didn't last, though, as we were soon in Minneapolis,
which meant city driving, and things got scary again. We weaved our way to
Brian's apartment, as per the instructions I had been given, and it was quite
a relief to get out of the car. Finally, I could rest and be with old friends
and begin AngstCon III.
But it was not meant to be. On Brian's door was a map to Frang's house,
informing us to go there instead. I sighed very deeply and cursed, but we
got back in the car. The instructions made sense for about the first half, but
after that, they were vague and confused. We got sidetracked and found
ourselves several miles off course, so we backtracked and tried a second
attempt. I decided to skip over the confusing part of the directions and tried
to match the later part of the directions to the city map. We found one road
we were supposed to be on, but we couldn't find Elm street. Then there were
these detour signs and road construction and we found ourselves in a dark
and twisted place. Markian was rather confused, and richter and I were a bit
edgy from his driving, but I forced myself to concentrate, and logically figure
things out. I decided that as long as we headed in a certain general direc-
tion, we had to hit streets that made sense. And so, after a few minutes
parked in a dark, desolate, and broken road, staring at a map, we ventured
forth and discovered a road that matched the city map. We followed this until
we hit a road near the end of Brian's directions, basically counting numbered
streets, and finally found Frang's house. To this day, I have no idea where
Elm street is supposed to be.
Fortunately when we arrived, there were people present, familiar faces and
new faces. I hadn't met Brian and Frang before, but it was quite obvious to
me who was who. Harlan was there too, as was Anton, and the legendary
Krill-Man (TM). I took an offered beer and drank heavily, trying to calm
down and relax.
I didn't kill Brian. I was informed, however, had we arrived earlier, that not
only would we have found a map to Frang's on Brian's door, but there was
also a map to Brian's on Frang's door. I think, had I found this, someone
surely would have had to die.
So I interrogated Frang until he surrendered the instructions to the nearest
convenience store, and then grabbed Anton and pulled him out of there.
Markian followed us. I got to see Anton's new car, a Geo, which surprisingly
had legroom. I had heard good and bad things about the Geo line, but had
never been in one before. Overall, it's a good little car, better than I had
We drove to the store, looking for the large neon MILK sign, which we found
easily. Finding a parking spot was a little more challenging. I didn't care; it
was good to be with Anton again. I walked the aisles of the convenience
store, looking post-it notes, or several small objects. What I found was a bag
of fifty old-style (no spring, just one piece of wood) clothespins. So I got
those, and a heavy marker to write notes on the wood. I was pleased. I was
ready to return to the house.
Anton and ricther fell in love with a large bubble-maker, while we all chatted
and smiled and generally behaved jovially social. Frang's housemate made an
appearance, and boy was she a hot babe. I think having someone like that as
a housemate would be quite a distraction, but I could sense that Frang was
entirely comfortable with it. Hi Ho Silver's flight was cancelled thanks to a
stupid fuck-up with United Airlines, and wouldn't be in until the next
There were two cats in the house, which richter promptly scared off, yelling
and running at them. Then she whined because they were afraid of her. I
just shook my head. When she wasn't watching, the rest of us managed to
make peace with the cats. As the night went on, Anton blew hundreds of
large bubbles, getting soap all over the floor. We talked at some length about
bubbles, particularly their interesting psychedelic patterns of color.
For a little while I got Frang alone upstairs, and grabbed some access. Then
he checked the status of a large model he was running an FFT on. I felt in-
stantly envious of his job, because he got to use some mathematical code.
Though, as he pointed out, the difference between us was that I actually
understood the mathematics behind the operation. This made me feel a little
better, and so I played with some of Frang's puzzles, of which he had many.
It got late, and Harlan, Anton, Brian and the many thousands of krill took off,
while the rest of us found sleeping arrangements in the house. Frang carted
up furniture to the spare bedroom on the second floor, and we turned into it
a sea of sleeping bags. We didn't stay up all night talking, though; just shut
the light and went to sleep.
Saturday, March 28th
Markian woke up very early, but I could tell nothing was happening, so I
chose to sleep the morning away. When I finally came around, the house was
all quiet, which gave me the opportunity to draw faces on the clothespins and
hide a few. Most of the people were gone, to pick up Hi Ho Silver at the
I had only hidden a couple clothespins when they arrived, and it was really
great to see Silver again. And then a short while later, Anton arrived with
Ariel, and we all greeted her with a very warm reception. We then all drove
over to Brian's apartment, and he was actually there this time.
Finally, everyone was present at AngstCon III! Our first scheduled event was
at a pizza place that was supposed to have spectacular pizza, but there was a
catch: Brian had chosen it. The only good thing I can say about it is that
the drive to the place took us down a road that had some very interesting
large houses. It was like a mile-long row of small mansions. Out west all the
really nice houses are hidden in the foothills and surrounded by acres of
land. But here, we had some really nice houses, arranged as if it were just
another part of suburbia, which I found very amusing.
The pizza place, however, was ridiculously crowded. We could have guessed
at this by the fact that all the parking in the area was taken up. I thought
we would have been better off going, well, almost anywhere that wasn't
crowded. Pizza is pizza, but being able to talk with your friends in a
comfortable setting is very important, especially when you only see them only
once every year or two. But we ate, two slices each, oh boy.
Then we drove to the zoo. I couldn't figure out what the appeal of a zoo was
supposed to be, but most of the other members were keen on the idea. I
thought it was dumb, but then, I didn't even enjoy zoos back when I was a
small child. What can I say? They're boring. Well as it turned out, this zoo
was just about ready to close when we arrived, and the weather was all very
gray and cold, beginning to snow. It occurred to me that this AngstCon was
not very well planned, and that Brian was actually a bozo, who, though he
meant well, was making a mess of things.
So, I regained some control, convinced him that we should go to the CD store
next, and got the instructions from him. Then I got in Anton's car with
richter, Silver, and Ariel in the back seat. Silver really enjoyed that! Anton
even became jealous of the whole situation after a while. But it was great,
having the five of us in the car together, and the rest of the universe could
go to hell. There was nothing like having old friends you haven't seen in a
year or two, comfortably close together, cruising down the road.
We made it back downtown again, and spent a while in the CD store there.
One of the girls on the staff was a teenydoomer type, which everyone noticed
and thought I should hit on her. I didn't think she was that special, though.
Ariel asked me for a suggestion on which CD she should buy, so I told her to
get one by Dead Can Dance. Silver was finding many amusing album covers,
and I managed to find even more CDs to buy. [See Appendix A]
Since we were downtown, I figured I might as well find out what the Glam
Slam was like, since my brother is a major Prince fanatic. It was a few
blocks away, in cold snowy air, and the place was closed. But I took pictures
of the outside of it anyhow, to send to my brother, so he could be insanely
After that, we ventured onto Minneapolis's Skyway, a most interesting and
modern idea. The skyscrapers all had shops in their first two floors, and one
year, long ago, someone connected two of them with an insulated walkway.
This idea caught on rapidly, and now all of the skyscrapers in Minneapolis are
connected with these insulated walkways. So it makes a sort of an expanded
mall, although, as we discovered, some of the walkways have limited access.
One area was even closed off because they were filming a movie there.
Some of us were getting thirsty, and others wanted to find a restroom, so we
asked Frang to lead us to one of these. He nodded and led us on, through a
skyway and into an upscale retail store called "Dayton's". In here he led us
around clothes and hats and down an escalator, and then finally we arrived at
a fresh produce center. I found myself staring at pineapples, wondering
where the restroom was, where the drinks were, and just why the hell we had
been led to pineapples.
It was time to exert some control again. I asked Anton if he knew anywhere
in this convoluted setup that might have drinks and restrooms, and was
finally able to get him to admit that there was indeed a Burger King. (There
were a few other suggestions from other people, but I had noticed that many
stores were closing up, and I knew Burger King would remain open for a
while, so I basically ignored everyone else.) I commanded him to lead on, and
in a few minutes, we were at Burger King. Many of us let out a large sigh of
After that we decided to head back to the cars, and Brian was leading again.
This put us staring at dead end sections of skyway, closed off hallways, and
security guards who weren't sure of what advice to give. Anton and I'd had
enough, and took off running down a darkened hallway. Everyone else chose
to stay with the group. We ducked into an alcove where there were elevators,
and jumped in one. Anton quickly pressed the Close Door button, saying,
"We've got to get away from those people." I just nodded in agreement, with
an insane smile. We ran outdoors and across the street, into a more open
section of the skyway, and while Anton perused a map, I took a gander at an
awesome babe in leather. It Anton a while to figure out what I was panting
at, but when he did, he asked me if I was going to invite her to dinner.
I just smiled at him, and thought of the group we were with, and told him no.
Not the right time, not the right environment. It was tempting, though,
because she did look hot.
Then we were walking through skyways and we got sidetracked a couple
times, being just a little bit lost, but having lots of fun. Eventually, we made
it to the car, and relaxed. It took the others about half an hour to catch up
with us, for they had taken an even more circuitous route than we had. I
couldn't believe Brian had actually lived in this area for any period of time,
but he supposedly had.
So, thinking of the pineapples, we decided we wouldn't follow Brian to the
restaurant we were to go for dinner, and Anton got Brian to tell him and
scribble out a crude map of where it was. We recaptured Ariel, Silver, and
richter, put them in the back seat, and took off into the snow. We became
immediately lost. I couldn't even tell which direction we were going.
The best part about this was that we didn't even care. It was just too great
to be together in the car again, and we all had a merry time, talking away,
while Silver did the cuddly-tickly thing with the two girls in the back seat,
making Anton envious all over again. Eventually we found a major highway
and were able to manage to find our way to the restaurant, about an hour
The restaurant was a manchurian chinese place, with a buffet, so you had to
walk downstairs to get your food, and carry it back up. I thought this was
pretty inconvenient, especially considering that I knew the price would be
rather high. As the two groups of five took turns going downstairs for food,
the others rearranged the seating arrangements. We did it first, so the five
of us could sit together, and then they did it second, to switch ends of the
table with us. The food wasn't bad, I rather enjoyed it, though some people
didn't, particularly richter, who spent most of the dinner downstairs on the
phone, making alternative travel arrangements back to Milwaukee, so she
wouldn't have to drive back with Markian.
After dinner we recollected back at Brian's place, and I hid several clothes-
pins in his apartment. We spent an hour there watching richter and Brian
put his stereo system together, which wasn't overly interesting. I made
myself useful by inspecting a line noise problem on his phone line, and de-
clared it to be the fault of a bad wire, after some testing. I managed to find
enough wire to hook up his modem and phone, though, so he was able to use
those, but not until later that night.
Eventually Ariel was about to panic with boredom, and we could hardly blame
her, and Anton ordered all of us out, to go find ice cream. Everyone stamped-
ed out of the place, but I managed to stop them on the porch and get a plan
set up. Of course, we didn't follow the plan, we ended up somewhere else
anyway, but it was an ice cream parlor.
We made our way to the back of the place, where we took over a room
reserved for children's parties. Again, the five of us at one table, and the
other five at another. Krill-Man, out of tradition, bought everyone ice cream,
and he asked me if he would always be the one that had to do it, and I
reassured him that I would take over the tradition once I made a higher
salary than him. This may be a while, because he currently makes more than
twice what I do.
The ice cream, of course, was delicious. I made everyone an official AngstCon
III clothespin, which people clipped onto lapels and such. Someone found
some crayons, and we all began scribbling on the placemats, making very
interesting pictures, ranging from Ariel's violent surrealism to Anton's
thought-provoking abstraction. I drew a severed hand.
Afterwards, we drove back to Brian's, but only richter and I entered the
apartment. I explained to Brian that we were going to take Jill home, and
that we would go directly to Frang's afterwards. Then richter explained to
Markian that she wouldn't be returning with him. I tried to keep it as quick
and to the point as possible; soon we were back on the road.
The drive to Jill's place was about thirty miles, so we all got to be happy and
chat all over again. It was sad to see her go. She had explained that she
was unable to join in Sunday's activities, so we hugged her goodbye and then
drove back to Frang's house, pleasantly and peacefully having a conversation
Sunday, March 29th
As we clambered up the stairs to the guest bedroom, we saw Frang's
housemate again, she had come out of her bedroom, drawn by the noise, I
guess. She was wearing nothing but a red robe, and I quickly took in her
sensual features, from her bare feet to her rounded calves to the inviting
cleavage and welcoming, sleepy smile. We talked for a while, I mean not just
me and her, but all of us, standing in the hallway. I rather wanted to follow
her into her bedroom and trip the light fantastic, but again, I was guest of
Frang's, and that might have been rather rude, so I skipped it.
Later, I was informed by Frang that she wanted to know if I was always that
shy. That rather shook me up. I now have to wonder if I have finally
managed to acquire some sex appeal, for it seems too incredible to be true.
Anyway, we all dived into the sea of sleeping bags once more and got some
rest. In the morning it took a while to cycle people through the shower, so
Silver and I chased richter around in our underwear, tickling her, and
generally being pests. Anton took advantage of this opportunity and clicked
off a shot with his camera, and I am sure richter wishes she could burn the
negatives. She yelled and cursed when the flash went off, it was most
Then we all packed in Markian's car to go to breakfast, but the first restau-
rant we went to wasn't serving breakfast that late, so we had dessert instead,
my treat. After that we drove to a different restaurant and waited for a half
hour or more for seating, but were finally rewarded with a breakfast menu in
the afternoon. I ordered eggs, of course.
Frang called up Brian's apartment to figure out what that group was planning,
and we were told to visit the spoon. Actually, this turned out to be an art
museum with rather large outdoor exhibits, one of which included a spoon
about forty feet long, with a cherry on it. There were several other sculp-
tures there, too, which kept us browsing through the area for over an hour.
We didn't see Brian's group there, though.
When we drove back to Frang's house, and got out of the car, Brian's car
drove up. Krill-Man (TM) jumped out, yelled, "Bye! Bye! Bye!" and he
hopped around and hugged everyone, and then jumped back in the car, which
then zoomed off to the airport. I believe he was cutting it rather close.
Silver's flight and mine were ten minutes apart, and we had plenty of time to
get to the airport. We hung out at the house for a while, and I hid a few
more clothespins. It got dull, so we moseyed on down the road to airport,
and I got a ride in Frang's CRX finally. In the car he had some pictures of
my hero, Vice President Dan Quayle, from the time that he visited Cray, where
Silver and I checked our baggage and then we explored the bookstore and
gift shop in the middle of the airport. I picked up some reading material,
including a Waldo spoof called "Find Dan Quayle". I had to grab it and run
away to keep the others from pointing out where he was on every page, for
they had seen it before. After that we had lunch at Pizza Hut Express, yay,
personal pan pizzas. A fitting last meal for the end of a fun vacation.
The trip back home was uneventful, with a ninety-minute layover at the DFW
airport. I spent most of the flight reading Business Week and the Wall Street
Journal, as I wasn't in the mood to concentrate on the whole Tank Girl thing,
which occupied my thoughts for a long period afterward. It was almost
midnight when I touched down in Tucson, and within an hour I was back in
the office, catching up on work.
It was a great trip, and surely the most eventful vacation I've ever had. The
expenses came in a little under budget, since I had set some money aside for
bus fares, had that been necessary. I met many people for the first time that
I've known for years via the computer nets, and got to see some people who I
hadn't seen since previous AngstCons. I got to experience what city life is
like in some major cities, giving me more to compare and contrast with Los
Angeles and New York City. I became closer to some people, and done things
that I have never done before. It was a very educational, growing experi-
ence, and well worth it.
Appendix A, list of cd's bought, deleted because I felt like it
Appendix B, Airport protocol:
Before you commence your trip, be sure that the person who is picking you
up at the airport knows the airline, flight number, and arrival time of your
flight. It may help to confirm the date and airport, especially if the city
you're going to has more than one popular airport.
Travelling is a hectic, sometimes scary experience, and can be very frustrat-
ing. Thus, there is nothing more encouraging than seeing a familiar face at
the gate when you disembark the plane. If at all possible, the person picking
you up should arrange to be at the gate.
Note that if you arrive and there is no one there, you are expect to proceed
to the baggage claim area. This will always take you through the security
checkpoint, although in some airports there are many of these to choose from.
Meeting a person at a security checkpoint might work if they can't get past it
(for whatever reason), but this method should not be depended upon unless
there is only one possible security checkpoint that you could come out of, like
in smaller airports.
At the baggage claim area you will wait and get your luggage. If your ride is
not here either, you must assume they are late; it may be wise to give a
phone call at this point, to see if your ride has left the house yet. A really
caring person will leave a message on the answering machine saying, "Don't
panic! I'm on my way to the airport! Wait by the baggage claim area!" This
is a good place to wait, as it is unique to your flight, and it is indoors, shel-
tered from rain, snow, heat, or whatever miserable weather there might be.
Plus, outside, you'll not know where to meet the person.
Arranging to meet elsewhere should be done with the utmost care. Parking
lots are bad, because they are so big. Restaurants can be misleading, because
most airports have more than one place that looks like you can get food there.
With some simple advance planning, with consideration and patience on both
sides, and contingency plans, you should never have to worry about being
stuck in an airport of some strange city, alone with no friends in sight.
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