The 2011 Meetup: From One Geek Of Many

The 2011 GWC meetup is coming to a close as I write this. This very minute the weary meetup goers are headed to find some stew at the last outpost of the weekends activities while others slowly gather themselves for the long voyage home. For the third year running I feel the need to express my admiration for the group that is my extended GWC family.

This year was almost split evenly between old friends and new but that neither slowed the pace or the enjoyment. If I had a greater gift with the written word I might be able to fashion an adequate mental image of how everyone blended so gracefully into the fray of our annual social event with a speed calculable only by extreme digital equipment.

Once again I watched words printed on a screen and notes on a whiteboard become organic living things: the podcast on Friday night where auto-correct helped coin the term “Sean’s Cream” and the after-parties and outings which pass from idea, to live event’s, to fond memory and the whiskey, oh the tasty whiskey.

One of the outings Saturday is possibly the finest example of what it is to be a GWCer. At way-too-damn-early O’clock Saturday morning the GWC tat’ crue assembled to go have ink done. During what turned out to be an entire day at the tattoo place I was schooled in what it is to be a GWCer.

Upon arrival, when a man covered in tattoos (one of which was an image of cockroaches copulating on his bicep) takes one look at us and says, “…you’re a strange lot of folks.” it’s not something to be taken lightly.

Default Prophet and I were the first to go under the needle. It hurt, however I tried not to be a big sissy about it. As Default sat for his ink he looked over to me with a grin and said, “Don’t sweat it man. It’s gonna be awesome.” Afterwards, he sat on a stool and offered up encouragement to others in "the chair". Wait, I thought, Default Prophet is offering up words of comfort? This is a strange day indeed!

However, that was not to be the last kindness of the day - just the first of many. In fact, for the next 7 hours I watched my friends rally around each other like veterans of a long forgotten war with each person bringing their strength to bear whenever needed.

I watched Geekychic’s constant smile and quick wit charm the worries out of those waiting their turn.

I watched as Xero, his minty-fresh tat still bleeding and weeping through his shirt, grasped Rachel’s hand (who was in the process of getting her tattoo in an extremely painful area on the top of her foot) with a steadfast calm and never leave her side.

Rachel herself was a ray of sunshine - as always. She kept the mood light and had something entertaining to say to anyone in her sightline.

NightWing who was teased a little about his French sounding accent by the tattooist kept a smile on everyone’s face with his overwhelming good nature. I truly believe it is almost impossible to be grumpy in his presence.

Beef, the tattoo patriarch of our group, spent the entire day taking care of the rest of us. He could be found getting food at lunch time, offering tattoo care advise, and helping me and Xero (who got some the largest tattoos of the day) remove our bandages and apply ointment to the stinging areas.

Chuck arrived a few hours in to take pictures and upon witnessing the staggering tide of fellowship and geek-pride decided on the spot to join us in receiving pigment. It was just that sort of day.

A small microcosm of a much larger whole that for me illustrated in high-clarity what it is to be a GWCer. It’s an unwavering friendship and fierce loyalty that is difficult to establish in the best of circumstances - much less in a group of varied individuals that in some cases don’t live in the same hemisphere as each other.

There were dozens of experiences just like mine that happened all over the meetup’s events this weekend. As I said earlier, I have not the gift to tell them all with the eloquence they deserve so I will simply say this…

To all of you, present or afar, old friend or new, you who make GWC what it is, I extend to you a sincere gratitude for your friendship and a most humble thank you for its constant support.

Your Homie,

~Sean

8 Responses to "The 2011 Meetup: From One Geek Of Many"
  1. DawnAZ says:

    Revenge is a dish best served cold! Boy did I have some good laughs listening and watching Sean Cream take flight. Now we’re both EZ- eh Sean?

    I have experienced the meetup from both sides (2 time attendee and at-homer for this one) and while I have to agree that being there is better, you guys sure made an amazing effort to make those of us at home feel like part of the fun. The only plus side of not going is that you don’t have the major post-meetup depression that lasts for about 2-3 weeks.

    The memories I have of meetups past, and even this one (tearing up at Beef’s “That’s our moon bitches!”), will last me a lifetime. GWC is the best place in the galaxy!

  2. bkitty says:

    Seaaaaaan, why you makin’ me misty, Seaaaan? LOL!1

    Absolutely the best time ever, smothered in Ossim Sauce (brought to you by the makers of Sean’s Cream)

    Check out the Flickr Pool, bitches!! lol!

    Seriously, the hardest part of all this fun is missing those who could not be here. You are in our hearts and thots. And at the bottoms of our collective glasses!

    Now, it’s time to make a frozen custard run at the Double Dip!

  3. Audra says:

    I always look forward to Sean’s after-meetup posts — You have a way of capturing the spirit of GWC, sir.

    I’m glad to hear more about the tattoo shop experience — and I’m proud to see all of you guys sporting your new ink and GWC pride. So say we all!

  4. Solai says:

    Homie,

    I agree with Audra that I look forward to your annual debrief. For a man who claims to be of few words the ones you put to paper are eloquent, thotful and make those sad souls who cannot join in person feel a small aspect of what the great whole must be like.

    Thanks man. We appreciate it.

  5. Rachel says:

    It was a great experience! I wear my new GWC ink with great pride, as it forever marks me as a member of this wonderful family. Thanks, Sean for sharing your memories with everyone.
    (BTW, I’ve just uploaded the few pics I took at the tattoo parlor to the Flickr pool)

  6. Starbuccaneer says:

    Seaaaaan,

    As a first-time meetupper, consider my mind officially blown. I might have started posting on the galacticawatercooler.com blog before the forum existed, but it took me until 2011 to take the plunge into the annual gathering. To answer a question posed in GWC #262: if I could go back in time, I would go back to 2009 and 2010 and get my ass to Plano, Texas!

    I met people for the first time IRL with whom I’ve been friends for years. I made new friends who I can tell will be dear to me for years to come. I did it all this weekend: I laughed, I cried, I ate, I drank, I heard Night_Wing’s voice and it made me think of sex.

    So what is left to say? I will be there next year. No power in the verse can stop me!

    Thanks, Sean, Audra and Chuck for hosting all of us in your hometown and your homes. Thanks, Juan for coordinating activities. Thanks, Raemani for coordinating hotel and ride accomodations. Thanks, again and to WavilyEmily for squeezing me into your room. Thanks, DefaultProphet for walking me back to that room when I was too drunk to find it. Thanks to all the GWCers, those who made it to this year’s meetup and those who didn’t, for being the friendliest people in sci-fi and for becoming part of my family.

  7. Reg says:

    Not only did I have a previously scheduled family trip during the meetup and could not attend, but I was OUT OF THE COUNTRY and unable to log into the live podcast. I am looking forward to listening to the recording of the live cast. Thanks, Sean for the great blog post. I am looking forward to catching up with everyone next year!

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