TI: Philly Friday

Meet-ups, in retrospect, are the part of Team Interrobang I wanted from the beginning.  In a limited way, a video game with friends is a “meet-up” that just happens to be virtual and where the agenda is implied by the medium, e.g. playing the game.  Joining together in meatspace should be easier as we’re born with and then subsequently develop the total toolbox for engagement without intervening contrivances but when the locus of contact is that intervening contrivance such is not the case.  Meet-ups are combinations of excitement and boredom, subterfuge and conspicuousness, and sublime and the quotidian, and of course, sweets.  Philadelphia proved no exception.

While Suzie slept, I baked two berry cheesecakes, four dozen cookies, and 3 lbs of truffles and was happy with the results of each.  The enemy for my baked goods were the same as for myself, the heat, and even with the aid of insulated storage containers, I doubted the truffles would suffer the daytime high of near 100°F well.  But, chocolate re-freezes so I packed the raspberry choco-spheres in parchment paper and they went into my car as everything I touched became coated in sweat.  Getting to Philadelphia was uneventful, parking even less so, and the actual check-in process, minus a hiccup was also dull.  A portent, I hoped.  Parties trickled in, and the evening started at around 8:00 PM with the command of “food”.  Dinner was about a block away and even this almost proved too much due to the heat.  Still, on route, I captured something ellusive: Ben Start enjoying himself.
The wait for a table for a table for 17 was about 20 minutes, well long enough to appreciate the blast of air conditioning and to be ok with the restaurant’s somewhat liberal definition of sufficient arm space.  The group was large enough that it broke into three subgroups of which the center had focused on facial hair, including both Ken’s beard:
and Ben’s beard:

I want to make a comment along the lines of “two beards, both alike in dignity” but such isn’t the case.  Ben’s beard is something I’ve simply always know him to have and the idea of seeing his chin seems less likely than me seeing him nude.  Ben’s beard and he have a symbiotic relationship, each supporting the other in defining the greater Overben.  Ken’s beard seems more something willed into existence.  One day, Ken wished for a beard and, after invoking some C++ commands, he recompiled his face and there was beard from non-beard.  I picture him fluffing it out slightly, looking in a mirror and saying “let’s see what this thing can do” keying off a montage of him going about town with people stopping to stare in awe and point while ZZ Top music played in the background.

Dinner wound down, and even a short visit to Rittenhouse Square had us all drenched in sweat, so we returned to the hotel where I forced people to try truffles.  The response to them was so orgiastic we were told by the hotel staff that we were too loud.  They offered us a room on their conference floor where we learned “room” was defined as the landing room for the bank of elevators.  Hazaa.  We sat, we drank, and the evening wound down.  Gha, it was hot.