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Bar Trek: The Wrath of Con

How can you encapsulate a weekend of perfect tiny moments in a handful of words? Or a thousand? Or a million? I doubt I’ll be able to do it justice. Actually, I know that I won’t.

So, the big Bad Bar Con weekend.

I’d been kind of weirded out by the concept of all of my ‘internet friends’ (as though they all consist of weather pixies, gigapets and emoticons) meeting my local friends and family. Because it was all so new to me, it didn’t really become real until I was on my way to the airport to pick up Mare and Susan when I got a call from Kari and Trance and Kelly, telling me that they had arrived. When I heard Trance’s unmistakable voice saying ‘Weet, you are just so fucking professional!’ it was real and happening and I almost burst into happy girly tears. In this artificial world of the internet, there are real friendships, joy and hilarity that must exist in a vacuum of sorts in a pretend world of bytes and bandwidth. And you can’t hug a webpage, you can’t share a wink over coffee, and you can’t barrel down the security gate and come crashing together like a Bugs Bunny cartoon (reference: Jess’ arrival. During the rest of your life you try not to think about how much you miss people and then you see them and strap yourself into the rollercoaster of binging on precious face time with them and also meeting new faces and learning new names, and it’s very a overwhelming thing. Especially when you really really hope that it’s going to go well and that you haven’t forgotten something.

The weird thing about this weekend is that I had no idea that it was going to be so big, that so many people were interested in taking planes, trains and automobiles from eleven states and also Canada, just to spend the weekend in a cute little Irish inn on the Fox River and get schnockered at a wickedly wonderful bar. I would have been deliriously happy if, say, six people showed up, and instead, there were 26 in our core group, with my friends spotting for local flare. That’s just’ wow. I mean, we started using the word ‘con’ in sort of a joking manner in the beginning and then it actually became one. That’s just, I don’t know, mind blowing. Or something.

On Friday, I made five trips to the airport and back downtown. It’s a good thing that security at our airport is so lax, as it would have seemed very suspicious, this Chrysler disappearing and reappearing at fairly regular intervals. Jason volunteered to help people get situated and my cell was ringing off the hook all day. By the time I grabbed the last crew from the airport (the intrepid Chauffi and Lisa-Marie whose original flight had been canceled, so both had experienced a sort of Delta travel hell in their efforts to get to GB), I did a mad dash back to my house and change into sleigh ride clothes. I had reserved a suite at the delightful St. Brendan’s, but then on Thursday, in the midst of my panicking, I decided that something had to go on my To Do list and the easiest thing to wipe was the need to pack a weekend bag and the accompanying worry that I have forgotten something and then the strangeness of sleeping in a different bed. Since I only live about ten minutes from downtown, this wasn’t too big of a deal.

However, at that moment, it would have been nice if I could have just parked the car and sashayed up to my room to pull on several layers of cotton and cashmere. We had several inches of white stuff throughout the day and it was as if we were in a snow globe that had recently been shaken, pretty white poofs floating down to the delight of the people from California, and the thermometer hovering at a very tolerable 30 degrees with no wind. Perfect canvas for a sleigh ride.

 

We hooked up my iPod to the sound system in the bus and listened to techno on the slow drive out to the sleigh ride place, as Paul our convivial driver, happily drove us past the ‘Nude Butt Nice’ sign, except that it’s lost a ‘T’ so now it’s just ‘Nude Bu t Nice’. I swear I didn’t steal a letter off the sign.

 

 

 

There, the sleigh ride folks asked us to wait on dinner and go on the sleigh first, so we did, allowing us to get very silly very quickly. The grog was considered the piece de resistance until it started to melt the green paint off the shot glass nametags (hi, if anyone starts feeling sick, please call your local poison control center, thanks!) and until I brought out the peppermint schnaaps. Apparently the rest of the world has never heard of Doctor McGuillicuddy’s, which seems like a sin. Jake declared that it tasted like liquefied candy canes. Then we were off to the woods which were highlighted in white relief. Jammed in on two planks of wood, passing community bottles with glow sticks in them, completely unconcerned with diarist cooties, sharing jackets and mittens and whatnot’ a very good beginning.

 

 

We were back in the cabin, eating booyah and bratwurst and bowing to my mother-in-rock, the High Priestess of Pineapple Fluff and trying to avoid getting our asses frozen to the outdoor toilets. Everyone was pretty integrated by the end of dinner and laughing together as though we’d all known each other for eons. And the best part was that it wasn’t just one big group of the same people who always do this stuff. There were people without diaries and people with diaries and people who didn’t know a single person, and people who knew several folks, and people who now will start reading diaries that they never used to read and at least one non-diarist who is now a diarist. And also, two people who weren’t engaged are now engaged. So there you go. But that’s their story to tell, not mine.

 

Then we were back into the bus, watching for a plastic cow with bulging udder veins, and on our way to karaoke. Where they told us that they weren’t having karaoke that night and we were out of luck.

Except that I’m lying! It rocked! We cleaned up the place. They had never seen anything like us! Then, because we were so good, it became a sort of sing off, with the locals sending out their best and brightest talents to show up our amazing karaoke prowess with the likes of Eminem and Evanescence (karaoke brought to you by the letter E). For the record, Trance does Jack White better than Jack White. Speaking of Jack, Luvabeans is a fucking rock star and does indeed know Jack. And in a preliminary warm up for the Bad Bar, Jess commanded that we Busted a Move and we dutifully obeyed. Also, I wrote some checks that my sister’s mouth couldn’t cash. Or something. Afterward, I shuttled folks back to the hotel and I gave Chauffi a 2 am drive-by tour of some of the houses I had lived in as a child. It was such a delightful evening that I actually worried that we had peaked on the first night and the following night could not possibly be as good as that.

I was totally wrong, by the way.

Saturday morning arrived very quickly and I chugged a bunch of caffeine, slathered on some moisturizer and went off to meet the kids for Day 2. After a delightful breakfast and some really tasty sausages, Betty Big Head, Chauffi and I went to Fleet Farm, which is called The Man’s Mall for some cheapass clothing and cow inoculants. Chauffi found an incredibly cool leather jacket and Betty scored a manly t-shirt souvenir. Then I washed my car, as the snow and road slush and all the airport trips had turned it into a big grey saltlick. Then back to the hotels, where we rounded up the campers and convoyed out to High Maintenance Hamburgers where we all overdosed on cholesterol in various forms. But oh so good.

 

 

 

 

 

We split up and went in various directs, with Chauffi, Science Girl, her husband and I going on a quest for football souvenirs, Febreeze, and also postcards, all of which were procured through some trial and error. Then I ran home (again) to change for dinner and the Bar. I wasn’t sure what I was going to wear, and had even ordered a black wrap dress from the designer of the Pucci-inspired shirt that was such a hit at JCon DC, but Esteban took one look at it, declared it way too low cut and also that it was ‘unfortunate’ around my uncomfortable parts. Way to play to my insecurities, babe. Therefore, I had a vague plan in mind, involving a striped shirt, camisole and jeans, but then decided against the striped shirt in question. I finally ended up with a red button down and a black camisole, jeans, and pointy pumps, but then wanted to bang my head on my closet door like Don Music because I had worn red the previous night and hated to be a one-trick pony. I’m a three-trick pony, at very least.

 

We caravanned out to the supperclub for an unimpressive meal that was definitely enhanced by the fun company. We had a rousing game of Marry, Fuck or Kill, watched the sun turn everything pink, and made the other diner’s uncomfortable. Of course, the other diners only had minutes and perhaps only seconds left to live, so it wasn’t so bad. Tripod sends his best from beyond the grave.

I had mentioned the wrap dress to Mare earlier in the week, so she was very confused at my ensemble (or rather, the fashion equivalent of bunting). I explained the predicament and the unfortunate thing and the question about Esteban’s motives’ altruistic concern or worrying about my bosoms falling out (a reasonable fear, so I would later learn). We ended up switching some rides around and I went back home with Chauffi and Mare in tow to put on the dress and leave Mare to make the executive decision. And Mare took one look and said ‘You are wearing that dress.’ And so it was. So goes my nation.

Not to mention, my breasts.

 

The dress was a very big hit. Even when I walked in, Hot Nancy took one look and said ‘Damn, Weet, you are looking hot tonight!’ High praise coming from Hot Nancy, who leaves little smoking footprints wherever she walks. I was very pleased to see our three favorite bartenders, the bald bartender Dave, Hot Nancy and her man Hot Jason, all waiting for our beck and call. And call we did. Immediately, they busted out six comp bottles of Boone’s Farm and just as quickly, we were chugging them like the well-bred debutantes we play on the internet. I think I even deep-throated mine. Classy. I ended up with strawberry fake wine in my sinuses. My grandmother would be very proud.

 

Our Bad Bar novices were partying like old timers in short order. But really, that’s just a testament to that bar. It makes you its slave. You can’t help but shake your ass and take pictures of your bare boobies, or lick the window and simulate oral sex on your dance partner. You can’t help yourself. It’s a bad bar. I’m not making that up. It’s a very bad bar. And so sinfully fun. And apparently, when I am drunk, I feel that a very sexy pose is to make a kissy face while closing one eye, like some kind of amorous tipsy pirate. Aye, matey. (Insert ‘treasure chest’ joke here.) Watch out Gwen Stefani!

I had ordered a ton of glow in the dark bracelets and when the other patrons saw us wearing them, they asked Hot Nancy for bracelets too. She asked me what she should do and in a rare fit of base capitalism, I told her that we’d sell them for a dollar a piece. A bargain, to be sure, but highway robbery considering that I think I paid about ten cents each. We put the money earned in a kitty to buy more Boone’s Farm, which, come to think of it, was probably not a good idea because it is very evil stuff, that Boone’s Farm. Worse than the Doctor. I think it’s just toxic waste mixed with Kool-Aid, quite honestly.

 


My bosoms were soon decorated with picture stickers of the bared breasts of the conventioneers. Speaking of that, there were also unexpected drive by boob flashings. I’m not one to name names, though, except to say Betty Big Head, how YOU doin’? I didn’t need to flash the sticker photo booth my national endowments for the arts, because my wrap dress was doing it for me. I think Minarae got a picture of our collective accoutrements, and I do have to say that they are rather impressive, even though I look ready to kick someone’s ass in the picture, like an anime action figure, only chunky and with a double chin. At least it wasn’t the kissy pirate girl face.

 


Penny, Carissa and I did our traditional Dancing Queen choreography and soon the badness was in full swing. Hot Nancy has made at least six girls question just how firmly they are planted in heterosexuality, and they weren’t the only ones experimenting, if that reenactment of the kama sutra in the window by two studs was any indicator. At one point, my ass was hanging out on Broadway but it was wearing Spanx, so I’m trying not to be too upset about it.

But yes, it’s a very bad bar. Now it can be shared with the world. Bad Bar!

Best thing overheard: surrounded by twenty plus online diarists, all screaming and laughing, Dave walks up to Hot Jason and say ‘Hey, did you know that Wendy has an online diary? And she writes about coming here?’ and Jason was like ‘Um, yeah.’ And then Dave yelling at me that I should have told him and they could have decorated or something. Ah Dave. I know that you love me anyway. Decorate with free booze, my good man, and all will be well. We finished out the evening with many many tipsy people and then a handful of us, including the illustrious Scotty Boom Boom and Eric, singing “Come Sail Away” and also Air Supply’s “All Out Of Love” to each other in a big pulsating group hug. Which is pretty much a metaphor for the Bad Bar Experience anyway, so it was a good cap for the evening.

 

 

 

I went home, got another four hours of sleep and forced myself to get up and be chipper and bright in the morning. It was a bit tougher the second day. A few of us met for breakfast in the pub and then did some quick errands and packing before meeting for a group lunch at yet another greasy burger joint. I guess I wanted to give our visitors something to take home with them. In their colons, apparently. Good luck with that! After lunch, Esteban and Scotty Boom Boom shuttled people back to the hotels and the airport, then the Bad Bar Con was officially over! Waaaa! So much sadness, but beautiful memories of fried cheese, delightful friends, ass shaking, boobies, and all the love. Not necessarily in that order. And here’s where the schmaltzy part goes, the part where I write something wistful about friendship or reiterate the moment when Minarae almost made me cry at dinner when she said “You took a website and turned it into a community” but I’m not going to do it, as apparently I schmaltz up the place with too much abandon. However, I can tell you this: some of my favorite people in the entire world visited me this weekend and for one moment, Green Bay was the center of the universe.

You guys are coming back next weekend, right?


For the full list of links to the entries of the rest of the group, because I know that I’m missing stuff, go to the bottom of this page.

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