Thursday, June 10, 2010

A conclave of Nerdom

Commercials, anti-aging products and fantasy camps all rely upon convincing the world that it was a much simpler and better time when we were children.

You could spend every night outside chasing fireflies with nary a care in the world, conveniently forgetting that there was a stack of homework half your height waiting for you back inside as well as a 9 hour bedtime and a parent who doesn't understand why in the world you'd possibly be needing that ticket to go see those robots that talk over movies live. Now eat your broccoli and shut up.

I'd much rather be an adult. Sure saddled with more responsibilities and the like, but now I can decide if I want to try something a little different for dinner, if I'll go ahead and join that Halloween prop making group and if I'll drive 6 hours to a show to celebrate nerdom known as #w00tstock.

The last one was in there because that's exactly what my husband and I did the past weekish. On Friday we put in the requisite extra 10 hours of work just to leave our house and go on vacation cleaning everything up, mowing the lawn, organizing it all, doing laundry so that once we come back we have to do it all again because apparently little mess making organisims move in to house sit.

We dropped Essie off at my parents so she could spend five days tormenting her brothers.
Apparently she missed us for about an hour and then there were brother ears to chew on.

We packed up and were off to the land of lakes, forests, uffda and lutefisk. We were heading to Minneapolis.

Okay so my husband and I had already been to the Twin Cities about two years prior for our honeymoon but this time was a bit different, for the Saturday-Monday we'd get to hang out with some friends that I'd only met on the scary internet.

I've been doing the web thing for quite a while now, since the wild west days of the late 90's when everyone had a website I made a friend that we would email back and forth (it sounds so quaint now like having a pen pal).

The early 00's brought my foray into a message board world where I once again connected and made new friends but still due to my location and the fact that I was a poor college student I knew I would never get to meet any of those electronic chums.

Then came the announcement of #w00tstock (got to include the hashtag because this is so twitter twined you'd think the little bird was sponsoring it) and a chance to not only see a gathering of nerds so epic outside a comicon the world may implode but also some of those good old twitter friends were gonna be there too.
I saw this sign on the trip and it seemed almost prophetic (well prophetic with a little help from a paint job).

Eight hours, a small stop over in Ames Iowa to kill some time as the puppy got us up at an ungodly hour to start out and we were there. The Twin Cities:
What was to follow was hours of jam packed fun followed by a quick nap at night only to have a continental breakfast catered by Jesse Venture and emceed by Garrison Keillor lead into more jam packed fun.

Saturday night was a comedy show to get us ready for the bigger things to come on Monday. There were 5 various bachelorette parties there. Watching the feathered boas, penis shaped necklaces and constant marriage ribbing made me very glad I was deemed far too old for one of those things of my own.

After some of the life lost while making the trip was gained back sleeping we were off again on Sunday, this time to The Mall. There need be no explanation in the Cities, everyone knows what The Mall means. But if you're say just tuning in The Mall would be the one of America, you know the one they crashed an amusement park into.

We showed up at about 10:30 where as we were heading to the doors I suddenly had an epiphany "Crap, it's Sunday so that can only mean one thing. Nothing will be open!"
And sure enough I was right. It was so dead certain corners had a zombie movie feel. I kept expecting a monster to stumble out of a Sears mumbling about brains.

So my husband and I circled the third floor once and before we knew it an hour was up and everything was opening (seriously, the mall is that big you can spend an hour just walking a floor and not going inside anything).

We met up with our fellow twitter nerdlings and made trips inside weird shops, scored some awesome ice cube trays and geeked out in a FYE where I realized that if you point a camera at someone you can get them to do just about anything:
I swear I will only use my powers for good-ish. I'll only level a couple villages, you won't even notice they're gone.

One of the twitter friends traveling with us, I'll call her Sunrise, kept wanting to visit the thing in the basement. That was about all we knew, there was a thing in the basement and we had to see it. Oh and it involved a guy in a blue shark suit following us around the entire day.
Down into the depths we traveled where we discovered to our horror the thing in the basement.

I should warn you now, if you have any small children in the room send them out now before you gaze upon the Thing in the basement of the Mall of America.
Because they might want one of their own.

Though it wasn't all adorable sea turtles, you can't tell me this Jellyfish exhibit isn't something out of any horror sci fi movie.

I took some video of our trip through the rather large basement aquarium that had probably the most sharks I've ever seen:

By the time we left the Mall it was 8 hours after we'd arrived and I'm pretty sure my legs were about to pick up a sign and go on strike.

So we headed back to our hotel for rest, recuperation and so I could share the picture with the rest of the internets.

Monday brought another awesome day making a trip to the Science Museum where my history nerdness went into hyper overload. We'd already planned to go to the Science museum way back in whenever this trip was planned.

When we got there we discovered the special exhibit wasn't some CSI experience or a traveling section of plasticized bodies. No, it was none other than sections of the Dead Sea Scrolls!

I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Go ahead and take your time, I know it's pretty damn monumental.

Okay so I'm probably the only one of the group that was freaking out. But I'm the kind of person that if I find any show about the scrolls or the gnostic bibles on the History channel I have to watch it. I knew so much about those things it's crazy.

We wound up spending 2 hours in the no pictures allowed scroll section viewing various pots the scrolls were found in, hearing theories from scholars about who wrote the scrolls and why they were placed in the caves and finally seeing pieces of them with our own two eyes.

It's one of those things that if you come in and just look at you wouldn't think much of. The pieces were no bigger than your hand, jagged and ripped. The writing was so small it gave your hand a cramp just thinking about it.

But then you stop and realize these are over 2,000 years old. They were written when Rome controlled the world, when Europe was just a vast bastion of "barbarians." And they've survived for that long. What do we have now recording our history would survived 2,000 years of sitting in a cave sealed away inside clay pots?

Sorry forgive the geeking out there, I'm so bad I actually got a replica pot to keep on my mantle. I think I'll make my own scroll to keep inside it.

There was lots to see at the science museum too, like a replica of the Mayan calendar that says we're all gonna die in 2012 (or not really, I bet they just ran out of stone and stopped carving):
And dinosaurs, lots and lots of fun dinosaurs!
And now we get to the real meat, the show, the entire reason we made that trek up north.


It's just indescribable, the meeting of nerds of all types come together to revel and laugh at our shared journey on this big blue ball.

I don't know if I could put it all to words watching the likes of Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, the MST3K guys - Bill, Kevin and Trace, as well as tons of other internet famous comedians share the stage for what in the end amounted to 5 straight hours of laughing so hard we couldn't talk the next day.

How about I just show you instead.

For any MSTies here's Trace Beaulieu performing his book of poems for belligerent children:

Here Bill Corbett & Kevin Murphy write and perform some silly songs for silly songing:

And now for you Mythbusters nuts here Adam Savage tells some great tales about Jamie and gives heartfelt geek memories as well as a kleenex douche and singing like gollum:

We didn't get to bed til 2 in the morning where we then got up at 9 the next day to travel 3 hours north to do really boring things I'm sure none of you need to know about.

It was awesome, fun, gut bustingly hilarious and wonderful to get to spend the time traveling around doing touristy things with fellow nerds. I hope I get the chance to meet other internet people I've met at least everyone I've made a soap or painting for that's gotten something a little extra for keeps.

So if we've ever interacted in anyway stay sharp, you never know when I could be lurking in the bushes waiting for the opportunity to attack!

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