I'm on #rassm like usual. So is Matt. For those of you who don't know him, he's Mike's best friend. He likes to talk, so if you ever wanted to know embarrassing information about Mike Mierzwa... ;) Anyway, I have about a three hour drive ahead of me today, and I need to leave *early* in order to get to the Galleria by 10 a.m. Knowing this, Matt tells me to go to bed. Even offers to go to bed himself. Big deal, he *lives* in Houston. But I do leave #rassm at some point around midnight and try to go to bed.
August 8, 1998 2:00 a.m.
I'm lying in my bed thinking the moon makes everything in my room look blue. My brother comes home from wherever he goes at night. I'm thinking "go to bed; go to bed; go to bed..." I have to wake up in four hours.
August 8, 1998 3:00 a.m.
I'm thinking it kind of sucks that I spent three hours trying to go to sleep when I could have been on #rassm.
August 8, 1998 4:30 a.m.
Cherokee has this tendency to bark at this hour until someone takes him outside.
August 8, 1998 6:00 a.m.
My father, who has this annoying habit from his military days of waking up at dawn with no problem, "wakes" me up. I'm quite sure I did sleep from 4:30 to 6:00. Anyway, I get up, get ready, watch the news to see if Houston blew up over the night. I also get online to see if anyone has any last minute things to say about Houston and learn Jill Marie got bumped from two flights and can't make it. :(
August 8, 1998 6:45 a.m.
I grab a cup of sugar and drown it with coffee. With my trusty Jabba, I head off for Houston. I live on the northeast side of San Antonio, but I have to go southwest in order to get to I-10. That's a bit annoying, and it's about 7:15 before I actually get out of San Antonio.
August 8, 1998 Sometime between leaving San Antonio and hitting Houston traffic (not literally...)
For anyone who has to drive through Texas, let me just say it's boring. I have more fun driving through *Kansas* than I do Texas. Most of the drive is farmland. Luckily, it did rain the day before so it's not like it's all brown farmland. It even rains a little bit on the way to Houston. Oh yeah, and you don't drive in Texas rain, you hydroplane... at 80 miles an hour... always...
August 8, 1998 9:58 a.m.
Jen is kind enough to tell me that I need to park in Galleria 1. Of course, there's no sign that says "This is Galleria 1" so I park in Galleria 3. I have a notebook handy, so being the neurotic person I am, I write down every detail about where I parked my truck.
August 8, 1998 "So how long are we going to wait here?"
The Galleria is a mall and a nice one at that. It's not absolutely huge, so I don't have to run for ten minutes to get to the ice rink entrance over in Galleria 1. It's 10 a.m. so all the stores are just about to open, and there are people hanging around like the lost tourists they are. I ignore all the stores because, afterall, I don't want to be late now, do I? :P
The ice rink is on the first level, I'm on the second level, so I look down to see any crowd of people that might look geeky to the trained eye. I spotted Jen right away. >:) Nah, I recognized Jen and her mom from this well hidden video file of them standing in London somewhere on Inertia's webpage.
Jen is tall, and I'm not saying that just because I'm three feet.
Jen, her mom, and I wait at the entrance to the ice rink and look for the others. So we chatter about little things like how weird we're actually meeting all these people and... well, they were little things, how can you expect me to remember what they were about?
I'm not sure if it was Brian or Paula and Jeff who arrived next. Brian arrived with his mom and some other people. His mom stayed long enough for our guise into making her think we were harmless, normal people was able to take effect, and she left Brian alone with us. Mwuahahaha!
Paula and Jeff arrived and my first impression was "no, these people look way too passive and normal to be RASSMers." I was also trying to picture Paula at a Metallica concert, which she went to the week before, and that image just never happened.
So if there were three people I'd pick to be late, it would be Matt, Watson and Nolan. So we wait... and we wait... Jen and I decide to put her camera to good use, so we walked around the ice rink taking pictures of other people. And we wait... Finally, Matt arrives dressed in black. Of course, after you notice he's dressed in black, you notice his hair. Which could look normal... but it doesn't. :) Anyway, Matt overslept, a fact which irritates me to no end, especially since it began to sink in just how much I slept. (That's "very little" for those of you who skipped the beginning of the report.)
And we continue to wait... At some point I remember that I have Watson's cell phone number, so Jen and I decide it's time to make a call. Not that I really ever use pay phones that often, so for a few moments while Jen is looking over my shoulder, I'm staring at the phone pressing numbers randomly. Because of this, Watson owes me 35 cents. I do finally figure out how to get it to work, and I discover that Watson is stuck in traffic. That's Houston for ya'. So there's more waiting, Jen and I walk around the ice rink again. There's some little kid ice skating thing going on. When we get back to the group, we notice there's some new guy hanging around.
Watson looks fairly normal. Sort of disappointing for a person who really grew attached to the idea he should have been a short, furry Ewok.
Finally, there's Nolan. He's a nerfherder. And he never shows up. That's why he's a nerfherder. We wait even more until 11:30 comes around, and Jen's mom mentions maybe we should sit down and eat before the restaurants got crowded. Instead of standing around trying to figure out where to eat, we just go to Chili's which is in the Galleria.
August 8th, 1998 Lunch time
Eight people cannot sit in one booth. We established that. So there's a bit more waiting as they find a couple tables to put together.
There's a whole mystique about waiting for a table. You must stand around for however long it takes them to prepare a table, and then you get the full effect of finally being able to sit down to enjoy your meal. Jen failed at this. Don't feel too bad for her, she's only a Jedi-in-training.
Before someone starts telling you I'm some anorexic in denial, I do NOT eat around noon. I especially do not eat much when I travel and driving three hours to Houston qualifies as travel. Plus I was really set on eating that sandwich with a knife, but one RASSMer is a bit paranoid about sharp objects in my possession.
No really, that's why I didn't eat.
So there was more discussion around the table during lunch. It's time like these that make you realize why you love RASSM in the first place as you listen to the conversation, the laughter, the camaraderie...
ahem Okay, enough of that.
August 8th, 1998 "So... why are we going to Brookstone again?"
We're in a mall, so the logical thing to do is shop. Of course, it's about 1 p.m. now, and I'm about to collapse on the floor and sleep. Jen Noble, who probably slept eight hours, is bouncing across the floor. We headed for a Japanese Anime store. I believe Brian, Paula, Matt and Watson went inside the small store. Watson walked out with this ugly looking wind up thing that I only realized later was supposed to be Godzilla.
Onward to the toy store! I forget why Matt wanted to go to the toy store, but it's a toy store so it doesn't matter if we had a reason or not. Unfortunately, it was a rather lame toy store. I couldn't even find a water gun. And I'm still tired.
Jen Noble came ready with camera and a mission to use it at the Sharper Image. Turns out there's a stormtrooper there. So after Brian says the stormtrooper isn't there anymore, Jen takes off for the Sharper Image. I don't know, she's young and doesn't listen. (That's what Watson would have said, not me.)
The Galleria is Jen's mall. As a matter of fact, she wouldn't wear the massive Gonk sign I suggested because she was worried that she'd see someone she knows. She doesn't just meet a casual acquaintance, she meets the most popular girl at her school! Ooh! Aah! Bow down before the almighty... hmm... I don't remember her name, but Jen was real honored.
Upon reaching the Sharper Image, Jen remarks on how the stormtrooper appears to be missing. Anyway, not to let a trip to the Sharper Image go to waste, I decide sitting on every chair there is exactly what my tired self needs. And that's basically what the trip to Sharper Image was.
From the Sharper Image it was to Brookstone. Why? Because I know Brookstone has a hammock. But it's Brookstone where we talk about what to do next.
August 8, 1998 "So how long are we going to wait here?"
It truly says something about RASSMers when RASSM has only one Official Organizer and he has yet to actually organize something. (We still love ya', JamesG.) Let me tell you, the "we'll just meet somewhere and see what happens" method doesn't quite... work...
Because NASA is a tiring experience, Paula and Jeff suggest we go without them and they'll meet us later. That is totally out of the question to leave anyone behind. Instead we think about how it's nearing mid-afternoon and we have seven hours worth of movies to watch. So while sitting around Brookstone's hammock we decide to head over to Matt's parents' house and watch the movies. At first Matt tries to give us directions, but we decide that we might as well just follow him to the house. However, we're all parked in separate areas of the Galleria, so we have to meet somewhere with our cars before we can actually follow Matt.
I'm bad enough with directions to trust myself in finding the car meeting place, let alone Matt's parents' house, so I drag Jen along with me to my truck so she can be my guide. We have no problem finding my truck and the others waiting outside a department store.
And we wait... And we wait some more. Matt, Brian, and Jen's mom had actually been waiting for fifteen minutes before Watson, Jen and I got there. (Jen had to look at shoes; what can I say?) There's no Paula and Jeff. Are they lost? Was Paula so tired they decided to go back to the hotel? Did they forget we were meeting in front of a store and decided to use Matt's partial directions to his parents' house? After waiting 45 minutes, we decide to head toward the house and hope they had Watson's phone number or that they were staying at the hotel we thought they were staying at so we could call them.
I didn't really come close to killing Jen and myself three times, she just thinks I did.
August 8, 1998 ...sometime in the afternoon...
Matt's parents have this, like, nice house you're afraid to wear your shoes in or touch anything.
First thing was to call the hotel we thought Paula and Jeff would be in and then my own house in hopes they may have called there, but to no avail. We officially lost two members at RASSMCon. >:(
Now, we didn't have anything quite up to Jen's standards in terms of entertainment system, but for the rest of us it was fairly decent. We had to make do with this measly piece of antiquated film device called a VCR, but while it failed to be the awesome DVD, at least it was widescreen. So we sat back and watched the Holy Trilogy the way it was meant to be, sans itchy trigger finger Greedo.
Um... okay, so we *meant* to watch the Holy Trilogy. And to our credit, the movie was on the television. And we did watch from opening crawl to closing credits of ANH. We even put ESB in the VCR. And we learned interesting details about each other like Matt dislikes the new ROTJ end music while Watson and I like it, Matt believed stormtroopers were robots, and Mike Mierzwa has this firm belief that with the Force you can make people choke up eggs...
Well, they were interesting at the time.
To best describe how watching the trilogy really went, I believe Jen's mom put it best when she mentioned how she came back (she had left us alone with her then innocent little girl for a few hours at the house) to see us "chatting away" instead of watching the movie.
So as the movies weren't holding our attention, *something* had to be done.
August 8, 1998 Atlantic City, here we come!
Matt's actually a pilot. Quick trip to Ellington Field, we're going to Atlantic City!!!
A plane trip for RASSMCon is a must. I would advise against the drinking contest on route to your destination. Poor Jen fell off the plane. And I am quite sure that Brian must be embarrassed about the horse. Matt just sort of disappeared, and next thing we know, he's calling us from Cancun. Watson found this place in an alley with red neon lights flashing from the inside, and he left for a few hours. I found a jar of vaseline and a rubber glove and went to town.
August 8, 1998 No dogs in the microwave, please
Well, these plane trips do make one hungry, so pizza was a necessity. Three large pizza, one with a moderate layer of meat, one with pepperoni, another with black olives and onion. While Brian, Watson, Jen and myself recuperated at Matt's parents' house, he went to get the pizzas.
Did I mention Matt's parents have some nice things? Well, as we had to hitchhike back from Atlantic City with Matt in Mexico, we felt a few souvenirs were in order.
They have some nice kitchen knives. Jen found a new pair of shoes. Brian has a nice stereo speaker system now. Watson found an evening gown and a copy of My Fair Lady.
No one touched the computer.
You wouldn't want to touch the computer either if you saw it.
Finally, Matt returns with our pizzas. The All Meat pizza quickly disappears. Some people get curious and try the olive and onion pizza Matt was eating.
Yes, I actually ate something, dammit!
But now, our revels are at an end. Or at least, Jen and Brian's revels are. Her mom so subtly hints that they should go, and she needs to drop Brian off at his cousin's house. We say our farewells. And then Matt, Watson, and I decide we should go bug #rassm.
August 8, 1998 ......Doh!
So you think if we had waited just 15 minutes longer that Paula and Jeff would have shown up?
Paula's already on #rassm when we show up. Turns out she and Jeff couldn't remember where they parked at the Galleria. It took them an hour to find their car. We only waited 45 minutes. GNAR! >:(
At some point, Watson mentions how he's willing to make the drive to Houston again so we can actually go to NASA. Both Matt and I are receptive to this.
Matt's mom takes out the photo album and shows us a picture of Mierzwa. >:)
The dogs Smidgeon and Pigeon (Pippen, whatever) get into a brawl which we're quite certain was brought on by their jealousy over the love and affection they received earlier from Jen.
After a couple hours screwing with #rassmers' minds, Watson and I finally get up to leave. Lots of farewell hugs and crying. It was gut wrenching. I just have to weep right now thinking about it.
sniff, sob, sob
August 9, 1998 3:00 a.m. and everything after
Disregarding the part where I almost crashed trying to get back onto I-10 for San Antonio, the drive back was uneventful.
Who here has done one of those late night drives? You drive down the highway going the speed limit until you find a pack of cars willing to go as fast as you want to go, and you think because there's a pack of cars going that fast the police won't bother to pull anyone over for speeding. ....Well, I'm convinced it works...
Let's see.... Matt thought it was really weird how he could hear our voice when he read what we typed on #rassm. Jen thinks I tried to kill us. Watson thinks I'm dangerous with knives. Paula has a big sign ready for Watson with the words "Property of Paula" for when the claiming thread starts again. (Anyone know the date set for that? Anyone? Anyone? Be afraid... Be very afraid...) Brian doesn't talk, but that's a good thing since our lawyer says he should plead the fifth.
And, yes, we have pictures...
...of other people. Mwua!
So the question after everyone recovered was if the idea about NASA was just due to the sleep deprivation, drugs, and booze. As some of you already know, the true goal for Houston RASSMCon was to create an international incident with a couple guns and Mission Control. We had the blasters, but on the way to Mission Control we were totally awestruck by a laboratory so profound it'll take yet another RASSMCon report to describe it fully.
NBL tour guide mode on
We hope you enjoyed this presentation of the Houston RASSMCon. The bus will be leaving back for the Visitor Center in approximately 10 minutes. We ask that you please not keep that dejected look of agony on your face as you pass the other visitors waiting to read this fascinating report of the Houston RASSMCon. Thank you very much for reading this Houston RASSMCon report, and we hope you enjoy the rest of your stay here at RASSM.
NBL tour guide mode off
I dedicate this report to Jill Marie. Had she not ordered a 20 page report, I just might have skipped everything but the part about Atlantic City. I would also like to thank Chris Hawkins for the 5000 RASSM credit payment I received in writing this report. I plan on donating a good 1% of it to the Worldwide RASSMCon fund.
-- Kim Le