Friday, August 06, 2010

NYC Meetup : Saturday Get Togther

Saturday was recovery day. I think I felt nausea for its entirety. The type that makes you think hard about how much you really need that meal, or any meal, for, say, the rest of your life. My body was having its revenge one me for drinking like a 300 lb. Scandinavian who had replaced his liver with an industrial composting plant.

We kinda dazed through the day. Speaking low, trying to remember why we wrote down "Rainbow Ten, Rainbow Ten, The Circus Spins" on both wrists and why the PS3 is crammed with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. OK, maybe not that bad. Just all-0ut toxic trauma to every internal organ who thought it its duty stand in the way of high grade whiskey.

Naturally, for the evening, we have drinking, Rock Band, whatever PC games on the two desktops/three laptops available, and some sort of board game. When I say board game, I mean it in the geek sense, not the normal sense. Normal sense of a board game is a game with, a, well, a board, for one thing. It also has fairly easy to understand rules and is some variant of the ten Parker Brothers games we all grew up on. Games rife with memories of sibling treachery and misunderstood-rules-on-purpose cutthroat maneuvers to the win.

When geeks speak of board games, we're talking about games with cards, maybe not with a board at all. A lot of quick, accurate arithmetic is expected. There is often a working economy of some sort, community and political/socio ramifications for actions taken. There aren't rules, there are rule-sets, or more likely, rule BOOKS. Games like Dominion, or Settles of Catan, or Carcasonne, or any number of obscure types of entertainment wildly popular with people who think logic puzzles aren't fun until a graph of has been constructed. Preferably with Lego™.

Before the gathering a few of us go out to get more booze. This is always a treat for me since the US puts prices on booze that you might find on second rate lemonade in Canada. A 1.14L bottle of fancy whiskey, enough to power a Toureg in a ramble around upstate New York, $50. This is the sort of mind-blowing revelations I remember from traveling. "You pay HOW much to get blitzed?!" It is, as it was when I was 22, a recurring concern of mine.

The night goes off well. There's all the various distractions, plus, at intervals, different groups up on the roof, where its actually cool. The roof is always be slanting, not always the same direction and not for any reason I could make out, but it would slant. This would cause quite a few beverages to spill right in the middle of some mellow, nerdy talk, everyone would jump or as best as they could manage given their inebriation and someone would comment on how sloped the roof was and how hard it was to keep a drink from spilling. Then everyone would take their seats on the ground and put their drinks down.

There are comfortable, relaxed silences, punctuated by some story or anecdote. The topics were wide and varied: pyramids schemes that chipped away at ones already paltry faith in mankind; what makes a thing 'tactical; The South; sunburn; obscure comic artists; digital photography; and I'm sure many, many more.

What was neat to watch was one particular fellow geek, let's call him, er, Asterix. He either took some sort of Toastmasters For Amusing Anecdotes or (as I suspect) paid an actor to take his place at the meetup. Animated is a poor adjective. But getting there. Jack-wired on sweet rock-fudge and Jolt-cola dreams and crashing through the sonic funboundary to arise an electrical mizzen of quizzical buzz-zap would be closer. Performing, in the best meaning of the world. There was shape to his stories,and perfect nuanced actions, presence, counter-point. To top it all his topics were wide and varied and looked like they might make the basis for a script coming out of the indie-film scene in Stuttgart. Informative and funny and slightly strange and quietly scandalous.

Downstairs, in Han's apartment, where all the games playing is going on, Rock Band is in full swing. Taters, who strikes me as the sort who might enjoy 3rd rate Karaoke (no dig on him, I do too), has his time at the mic usurped by his girlfriend who had just finished a marathon set of Pat Benatar. As the night wears, and as alcohol brings down that seemingly invincible wall called Self-Inhibition, the mic in Rock Band becomes a battleground for all the hams (again, I am one too). It's only for the hammiest. And for those who really like The Cult.

I try a few. They don't go off horribly. Not that anyone is listening, because Rock Band is only a performance for the people playing it. A sad, eternal fact. The liquor that I've consumed has taken down the last barrier, and I, filled with the hubris of some cock-sure self that is repeatedly beaten down by experience, select Roxanne, by the Police. This goes as well as you can imagine, if you are imagining a defeathered turkey in a knife fight with an adolescent duck while both are being forcibly stuffed into a Cuisinart. Luckily I find catastrophic failure exhilarating.

At the end of the night some of get the idea to make another trip to the Crocodile Lounge. Memory is poor or judgment is poorer or we just really felt like some pizza. We make it in time, but as we file past the bouncer, a mountain of a man, I can't help but notice he is giving exaggerated, Why Am I Put Upon So shrugs as he counts each one of us. He was the most depressed bouncer I had ever seen.

I felt bad, to put him through so much so I could get a pizza. The day long nausea had pretty much killed my appetite.

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