In Cinci

Scout events and meet-ups share a common thread in that getting everyone together and on the same page is half the fight and as of this morning all the appropriate charges had appeared on my American Express statement so I looked forward to watching the rest of the weekend reveal itself.

During preliminary planning, some people asked what our first activity was going to be, I said lunch at 11:00 am and some thought this to be a waste of a morning.  When it was 10:50 AM and the last person got out of bed and into a car to go to Hofbräuhaus I considered the schedule reasonable.  The restaurant either had a requirement that servers have a C cup or access to a stock of push-up bras that could give an ascetic stripper cleavage and the menu was 50% schnitzel and sausage by total count.  I got a cheese platter that consisted of 2 shot glasses worth of cheese but enough pretzel to construct a life raft and the pair to my left got “Arche Noah der Würste”, the Noah’s Ark of sausage containing two of each of the house specials.  They fought bravely but only finished 2/3rds of it.

Next was the aquarium where prior planning allowed us to skip the main line and the attendant’s disinterest in counting allowed us to slip a non-paying person in.  The first display was on some culturally important African fish which was surrounded by drunks drums which children were playing poorly.  After their parents failed to separate them from the noisemakers I blurt out “I’m from the Internet and you’re doing it wrong”.  That silenced them.  I moved slowly through the aquarium, taking about 2 hours to go from front to back where others completed it in about 40 minutes.  At one point, I saw out of the corner of my eye a light red horizontally striped shirt similar to one worn by a group member.  I turned to say “Hello” but on seeing the wearer was not her, I dropped my jaw and just said “HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” until my higher brain functions returned and I could fake being mildly retarded as any self-respecting person would do.   The frog display had a foot-activated Frogger game and I prize the 30 second video I have of Ken Bateman calmly triumphing in his suspenders and slacks after gaggles of sub-teenagers failed to cross to liberty.  The otters traced an adorable loop about their habitat with consistency that I think they were animatronic and many photons died allowing me to capture some 100 pictures of tropical birds.  My camera and self escaped their cloacal barrage and I chalk this up to having an L-series lens on my camera.

After the aquarium was my favorite part: Bullshitting outside the aquarium.  I feel like a properly arranged meet-up is just a collection of ways of getting people to stand around and talk and the contrast of Floridian Mitch complaining about the 53°F drizzly weather and Minnesotan Peter simply luxuriating in the cooling wind was worth the spot of rain.  I pit my Louie Armstrong impression against Chris Price’s Bill Cosby impression to a draw but was defeated by his Eddie Murphy/Donkey impression.

Dinner was at Pompilios where I got make promotion announcements and take my favorite picture of the trip:


The Gang of 27

Should no other picture survive or no other memory remain, seeing the above justified the time required to coordinate the trip.

Dinner was followed by tire inflation and moving 15 people to Gameworks, a Dave and Busters-like place owned by Sega.  I thought this would have been more enjoyable, but the combination of dated games and screens whose resolutions were barely a multiple of my phones reminded me why arcades have largely died.  I did get a chance to play some quality pinball and see my team set to work min-maxing the ticket games to find that a properly played game of Operation yielded healthy returns.


The evening capstone was a fourthmeal of pizza where Ben showed us a project from the weekend.


Five Intersecting Tetrahedra

I don’t want to say the day went to shit from there as it merely went from awesome to good.  Every group interaction has a honeymoon period where people are able to deliver the facade of their choice and that period ended around 7 PM today.  I don’t think I have a terribly large gap between my online and AFK personas as I think I maintain my candor, penchant for (failed) wordplay, and sly compassion across media but not all do.  Alcohol brought out true feelings and some people who’s social toolboxes weren’t well stocked reverted to form to which others viewed this as some sort of back slide.  You can only be someone else for so long, and there is a reason why very good actors are so well paid.

Some played cards, others cried, I just… talked.