Kevin — March 17, 2008, 10:20 pm

The Man From Snowy Rochester

Another weekend, another trip to Ikea. I take the free shuttlebus, lug home a shelf that I can fit in a taxi, and assemble away. Next weekend might just see the unpacking of the final box!

LAST weekend, though, that was different. No Ikea THAT weekend! I actually LEFT New York and headed NORTH, near the border of New York State and Canada, during one of the worst snowstorms of the season, to party with people I’ve never met. People who – get this – PAID for me to fly up to their party. How crazy is that? It’s beyond crazy. It’s coo-coo for coco-puffs crazy, that’s how crazy it is!

This mad plan was the brainchild of the lady seen wearing the leopard print fez:

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That’s “Lizzie Lizzie”, and she’s a lovely lass who found herself in a bit of a pickle. Lizzie and her friends had this party, see, and they had all this booze:

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And they had this lovely bar with this fantastic lime squeezer:

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Starting to make sense now? Lizzie and her friends have this big Tiki fiesta every year – a number of friends in Liz’s circle celebrate birthdays during March, so they get together, have a big party, play rockband, enjoy a few cocktails, and throw a hum-dinger of a party. They’re a super warm group of really smart, really creative and really fun people who, for whatever reason, figured their quota of nerds wearing cardboard hats was a little light, and they decided that they better fly one in just to be safe. So I got the call.

I called a couple of Tiki friends from just North of the border – “Canadian Avenger” from Toronto and “JJJENNNNN” from Essex (which apparently is near Windsor) who also wandered down (braving snow covered roads themselves) and picked me up in Buffalo. The three of us proceeded to a house full of people we had never met to have a party in the middle of a snowstorm! Aaah, internet; is there anything you CAN’T do? You really do make the oddest stuff happen.

So we arrived at the party and there was much jubilation and an abundance of camera flashes! Whooraaah! Which I still find very, very odd. Here I am meeting Lizzie!

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Aww, we’ve got matching fezzes! Well, these folks forked over good hard cash and flew my ass across the state, so I didn’t waste any time – I piled in behind the bar and started making cocktails!

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Now, I’ll be honest; I was a little dizzy from all the camera flashes, flushed with excitement (I mean, this doesn’t happen every day!) and my first cocktail ended up being a bit of a disaster. They had this home made blueberry infused vodka (which was delicious) which I promptly ruined with too much vanilla vodka (note: the Skyy stuff sucks! It’s waaay too vanilla-ee! Use the Stoli version!). I dished out as little of the vile blue toxin as I could, raced to the sink, and dumped it (I did force myself to drink a glass so as to punish myself and remind myself not to do that again). I re-tooled the recipe and and went on to the second round.

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Round two was much better! We carried on with a few more drinks and then, seeing as how it was a birthday party, we adjourned into the living room where the birthday boys and girls were set to receive some presents.

Oh, and I kid you not, there was a toast to god damned Gary Gygax. I just about started crying.

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You know what I love? I love that everyone in this room raised a glass for Gary. The guy who invented the board game you play with your MIND. Gary gave me, these guys, and a whole lot of other nerds a fantastic pastime that powered our imaginations, supercharged our creativity, and gave us some absolutely awesome adventures that we shared with great people, like this son of a gun here:

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I love how that in high school, the “cool kids” made fun of us nerds because we liked computers, we loved getting lost in our own imaginations, and we had velvet bags filled with little funny dice. We lived in computer labs, dug A/V equipment, and heaven forbid, dared to “think different”. Now guess what? We nerds run the god damned world. We make great money doing awesomely cool jobs while the so called “cool people” who made fun of us back in high school now get to call us during dinner time from fluorescent lit cubicles to ask us if we’re happy with our current long distance provider. HA HA HA! Suckers! Who’s laughing now? I am, that’s for damned sure!

Anyhow, that’s what I thought of when everyone raised their glass for a toast to Gary. It was totally awesome. Here’s a collection of guys & gals who, like me, love computers, fantasy, imagination, art, and (apparently) the internet (up to and including nerd-centric booze-fueled sketch comedy shows).

So then the giving of gifts began, and I sat back thinking I’d get to watch the birthday boys and girls receive some goodies.

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Well shiver me timbers, as if getting me on a plane to come to their party wasn’t enough, they absolutely spoiled me with incredibly creative and heart felt gifts! This absolutely blew my mind! Check this out!

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This is a pipecleaner based Johnny Johnny! Check this out! How totally awesome is this! And he’s not alone – Pipecleaner JJ rolls with this little crazy tiki spirit:

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Both JJ and the Tiki Sprit have cocktails, because drinking as a group is more fun. These guys live on a shelf in my office now, next to Han Solo, DrinkBot, and my signed Penny Arcade lithograph.

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And that’s not all! I also got this little fez-wearing monster from “Bags that Bite“, which, if you haven’t heard of it, are custom made purses, backpacks and bags that look like monsters! So awesome! You should order one TODAY!

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My little fez-monster lives on a different shelf between my framed Robots print, some Uglies, and Cam’s Millennium Falcon (oh, uh, by the way Cam, I have your Millennium Falcon. Surprise!).

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I also got an absolutely adorable penguin comic done by this lovely lady who has an absolutely adorable and very funny online comic that she does using photos of penguins called “Pencognito“. Her work is great (and, of course, absolutely adorable). I’ll have to post a scan of my penguin comic, which is getting framed right now. So awesome! Look at me, I’m absolutely tickled pink. ADORABLE PENGUINS IN FEZ HATS! IT DOES NOT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!

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I also got a crazy cool deck of pirate cards called “Pegleg Pete’s Deck of Royal Rogues“. Chris, the host of the party, makes these cards and they’re just great! No home poker game is complete without these cards!

After the amazing array of gifts were exchanged, we went back to the kitchen where Canadian Avenger and I created the drink of the night – a blended drink made from fresh watermelon, coconut rum, vodka and honey infused simple syrup. Dee-friggin-licious, if I do say so myself.

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We used this beverage to break into a hot and heavy round of Bunnies!

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We drank, partied, goofed off and played bunnies into the wee hours. Canadian Avenger once again braved the winter snow and our little Canadian contingent rolled out of there (after much hugging and long goodbyes) late in the wee hours and we drove back to a motor lodge.

It’s been a week, and I’m still floored by how nice these people were, how they let a bunch of strangers crash their party (and even PAID for one to come!) and were so kind, friendly, open and warm. Team Rochester ROCKS! Thanks for having me, guys!

I flew back the next day and it was an amazingly clear night. My camera is pretty dumpy, but here’s a shot out the window that wasn’t too blurry. Man, that’s a lot of lights. And this isn’t even Manhattan! I’m not entirely sure what this is. Brooklyn? I think it’s Brooklyn and Queens. Whatever, it’s pretty!

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So that was my big Rochester weekend. Yahoo!

8 Comments »

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  1. Comment by Cameron @ March 18, 2008, 10:28 am

    You know you’re in for an event when a map of Middle Earth is hanging on the wall.

  2. Comment by lizzielizzie @ March 18, 2008, 11:46 am

    I’m still psyched that you braved the weather and the fact that you wanted to party with a bunch of drunk people you didn’t know apart from a couple emails. You’re a brave man, and a helluva lot of fun to party with! I missed the watermelon beverage, but the Green Iguana you made afterwards rocked my socks clean off.

    And yeah, as Cameron said, we’re a bit high on the fantasy/sci-fi geek spectrum in this crew… Gary made life a lot happier for the lot of us, and brought many of us together in the first place. Power to the geeks!!! And, we can never have enough nerds, so if you want to brave the frozen north again, getcher butt on up here and we shall party even more. 🙂

  3. Comment by yorgle @ March 18, 2008, 12:09 pm

    Kevin, you’re more than welcome any time you’d like to come back up. Hopefully there will be less snow though.

  4. Comment by BagsThatBite @ March 18, 2008, 2:53 pm

    You are welcome back anytime. It was our pleasure to host you. You were delightful, polite, sweet and funny (and, when needed, tolerant)! We couldn’t have asked for nicer people to come join us on our Birthday Fondue Tiki Extravaganza!

  5. Comment by pengcognito @ March 18, 2008, 6:33 pm

    OK, just for you, and before it hits the website, here is your penguin:
    tikitiki

  6. Comment by corsiworld @ March 19, 2008, 7:45 am

    Buddy, that sounds like an awesome time! It would have been great to see a picture of you three braving the elements to get to the party. Good work JJ!

  7. Comment by bbanzai @ March 19, 2008, 8:17 am

    Great meeting JJ and company, cool folks all around.

    And also, thankyou wise master for teaching us the way of the bunny. It shall be my mission to spread the great wisdom you imparted far and wide. (or at least about 3 hours to the east)

  8. Comment by pengcognito @ March 4, 2016, 3:17 pm

    It’s 2016 and the big birthday bash is still happening. March 12th. Weather much better (thanks dead dinosaurs!)

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