October 16, 2007

Helen 2007.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:27 pm

Yes, it’s true. I became one-year older today, and perhaps even a bit wiser largely as a result of having attended the non-stop partying symposia at this year’s drunken brawl that is the Jawja, Blown Eyed Blogmeet South Eastern Writers’ Conference. There is always much to learn at such a gathering of incurable blabbermouths who drink to gott-damned much highly talented and creative people.

Ken (my friend and bodyguard) and I touched on eight states to cover the 800+ miles between our home base in the Garden State and Helen, Georgia. We drove through some truly beautiful country, we spent an evening in downtown Gaffney, South Carolina (Home of the Giant Killer Peach that ate Cleveland), we saw lots of hoofed animals eating grass and even caught more than a couple whiffs of the natural product of the biologically processed grass. OOOOOOH-fah!

When we arrived in Helen, we learned that the only peeps who had gotten there before us were Zonker (with whom I share a boitday), Sam and Barbie, who had moseyed over to the Troll (that is the name of the place – no booshit) to wash down a few, apparently to tune up for the rest of the day.

Having sat in the car for umpteen hours, we decided to take a pass on the Troll. Instead we popped open the trunk of the Cadoo exposing the beer and chocolate vodka – filled cooler and decided to serve as the greeting party. Within an hour or so, reprobates began pouring in from all over the place resulting in a full-fledged parking lot party that would rival most of the pre-game tailgating craziness that one would find at Giants Stadium (which happens to be in New Jersey, not New York).

Such marked the beginning of the adventure, which, over the next two days, would move from the parking lot, to the river bank, to one of the hotel rooms, back to the river bank, then to one of the cabins. Industrial-sized batches of Chatham Artillery Punch (a seriously dangerous concoction) were made and were available at the ever-changing venues. Other spirits and beer (lots of beer) were available at all times as well. We made sure that we continued our mission of educating the world about the wonders of Three Olives Chocolate Vodka, one Southeastern Writer at a time.

An amazing cast of characters showed up.

Sam showed up with Barbie, and they had begun the party on Thursday night! Sam is like the Eveready Bunny at these things. He goes non-stop, which this year included an early Saturday morning drive with Zonker back to Atlanta to pick up a rather special surprise guest. I “swear by the Maker” I don’t know how they managed to make that trip on Saturday morning, because I know they were still up and washing them down until 3:30 the night before. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) Barbie took a gazillion pictures with a veddy, veddy fancy camera, so I would advise everyone to be veddy veddy nice to Barbie.

Zonker sported a set of horns on his head (no shit — check it out!) and kept the Chatham Artillery Punch Bowl filled. I met Zonker three years ago in Helen, and I’ve seen him at damned near every blogmeet I’ve attended. He gets just a bit wackier each time. I’m afraid that this is what happens when a Jersey Guy abandons the Garden State.

Elisson, the Belidded One, and SWMBO arrived after having picked up The Wiseass Jooette and Leslie at the Atlanta Airport. I believe they were the ones responsible for actually providing a genuine punch bowl for the punch, which heretofore was served from a five-gallon plastic pail (I booshit you not). Elisson SWMBO always brings class to these get-togethers, and I’m quite certain she has never worn a colander.

Elisson delivered Leslie of Omnibus Fame and The Wiseass Jooette to Helen, having picked them up at the dreaded Atlanta Airport. Unlike most of the Blown-Eyes, Leslie is more of a listener than a blabbermouth. But, be not fooled, because talking with Leslie makes one feel as comfortable as lounging in a warm bath. By contrast, the Wiseass Jooette never missed a single opportunity to toss some of her unique Brooklyn Bullshit my way. But, that’s a Yankee thing, so I’m used to it. (Please remind her that Jackie Robinson was OUT when he stole home on Yogi in the ’55 Series, long before her sorry, built-too-low-to-the-ground ass was born.)

Denny, the other half of the Elderly Brothers, as usual, came with a big smile and guitar in hand. He bills himself as “Grouchy,” but he really isn’t. He even managed to crack us up when the peeps helping him down a set of stairs almost managed to break yet another chunk of his back. “Now, I feel realllllll confident about having you guys get me down the stairs!” They just don’t get any better’n Denny.

Catfish was there with his new “doo.” Damn, I think the guy is trying to play me with the hair thing. I could listen to Catfish talk all damned day long. The voice, the cadence, the inflections … It’s all beautiful music – even when he’s talking about “big, ol’ titties.” We spent some quality time reminiscing about Rob Smith, his friend of many years. He also insisted that I visit his place to behold the white alligator living in his pond. I’ll be doing that real soon, NOT.

Eric and the lovely Mrs. SWG popped in on Saturday, but they lost no time catching up with the lunacy. Eric did one of his trademark Robert Service recitations, which captivated the audience (See? We are a literary bunch). After that he was soliciting peeps (mostly women) to read Robert Service aloud. I guess that works better than “What’s your sign?” or “What’s your major?”

V-Man was there with Key. He stopped the show on Friday when he donned the dirndl gifted to him by Zonker and then dropped trou! Sam and Key have the pictures. Memo to Key Monroe: There is still time! Call your shrink!

Dax breezed in complete with leather lid and a Mexican serape, probably scaring some random children along the way. He looked like a Mexican Viking. He also brought his axe and put it to good use on Friday and Saturday.

GuyK and Sweetthing dropped by for an all-too-short visit. They tried to make it back on Saturday, but the traffic getting into Helen turned them around. They also introduced us to Sweetthing’s bro – a real nice guy.

Recondo 32 and Georgia were also there. Old friends of Rob’s, it wouldn’t be a proper blogmeet without them. Recondo 32 is about as soft-spoken as Gary Cooper (but way more funny), while Georgia is a verbal hurricane. I sat next to Georgia for dinner at an outside place on Saturday night, and she damned near blew out my right ear. At one point, cows were being walked down the main street in Helen as part of the Oktoberfest theme, and without any warning, she screamed, “MOOOOOOOO!” (with a Southern drawl), which was probably heard in Pittsburgh. I damned near shit, as did the people at the next ten or twelve tables away. Georgia is one of a kind.

RSM, recently having completed basic training, made two brief appearances looking for all the world like a kickass drill sergeant. I wish he would have hung out for a while longer.

I also got to meet some new peeps.

Shadowscope, also bedecked with a leather lid, was there with Holder, who amidst all the craziness, demonstrated a Mr. Wizard Science Experiment using a volatile gas. PFOOOOOOOF! It was really cool. Special props to them for permitting the herd to lay waste to their cabin on Saturday night. Shadowscope looked like a hurtin’ cowboy on Sunday morning. Nice peeps. Oh, and lest I forget, their friend Michelle was a genuine pisser. Quiet as a church mouse until the ethanol kicked in, then she morphed into a genuine party animal. She was one of “those people” who were up until the wee hours of the morning on Friday. Reprobates!

Kelly and the Senior Chief came in sorta late-ish on Saturday night, and I have rarely seen two people laugh as often and as heartily as those two. Definitely hope to see them again.

Special props to the Joanster of Primordial Slack and Jolly Roger. Joan is a Renaissance Woman – a painter, a sculptor, a wonderful writer, a story-teller, a singer and a guitar picker. What’s not to like? She also was responsible for the screeching monkeys that flew through the air as well as other blogmeet gifties, including genuine, ersatz Spanish doubloons, one of which now sits proudly on my bookshelf. Roger discovered how cool blogmeets can be when he found himself all jolly in a crowded guitar-playing filled room in a bed surrounded by women and one inflatable barnyard animal. He now knows that you can’t make this shit up.

Finally, a most special surprise was a visit by John Cox, the serious artist and the Cox half of Cox and Forkum. John was picked up on Saturday morning by Sam and Zonker, and when he arrived he didn’t know a soul. In less than ten minutes he knew everyone, and he fit right in. He came armed with a sketch pad and even caught a few of us off guard. He is an exceedingly friendly guy who sports a goatee that looks not unlike the nether regions (i.e the “Landing Strip”) on some of the unclad women who appear in many of the e-mails we all seem to receive from Catfish. Damn, if I could draw, I’d get even. Kidding aside, go to John’s site and check out, not only his huge body of Cox and Forkum work and other cartoons, but his fine art as well. It was kinda like meeting a rock star.

I still am exhausted, but I would happily do it all again tomorrow.

26 Comments »

  1. It was, indeed, a kick-ass meet, and your recap did it about as much justice as could be done. Barnyard animals, indeed.

    So today’s yer boitday, hah? Just how pruned up are you, anyways, Jimbo? Many, many more, all in happiness and health.

    Comment by Elisson — October 16, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

  2. worry not and thanks, My happy birthday friend. We shall get to actually spend some time together at one of these shin-diggs. I can’t play an instrument and I don’t really have any good stories, but I figure that’s what you’re there for anyway.

    Comment by rsm — October 16, 2007 @ 10:50 pm

  3. Sounds like a grand time.

    Comment by Maeve — October 16, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

  4. Hairboy, Hairyboy, Hairboy…

    “Please remind her that Jackie Robinson was OUT when he stole home on Yogi in the ‘55 Series

    …the operative point of the phrase being, “when he stole home,” which he did. I have two words for you, my Old Jurassic Punk: 1. Ambliopia. 2. Astigmatism. My point? You didn’t see shit.

    Now about this blog meet. I hate to publicly confess to this, but for a Rotten Old Fart, you’re a shitload of fun to hang with.

    And The Body Guard…he’s the Freaking Man! Glad he kept your old Oirish ass in check, or else Body Guard or no Body Guard, I’d-a had to troe ya head foist into Da Hooch.

    Comment by Wiseass Jooette — October 16, 2007 @ 11:27 pm

  5. Happy Boitday you old fart. :-)

    Comment by Randy — October 17, 2007 @ 1:35 am

  6. Happy Birthday, Jim!

    Wish I could have been at the blog meet… just damn!

    Comment by Jean — October 17, 2007 @ 4:51 am

  7. Good Gott, but I’d forgotten about the cows! And to think we coulda been eating steaks at the cabin instead of bad pizza at the restaurant.

    Felicidades, ‘mano.

    Comment by Joan of Argghh! — October 17, 2007 @ 7:14 am

  8. Well, Happy Birthday, Jimbo! Didn’t realize yours was so close to mine (Friday). One of these years we should get together and explore the virtues of middle age and vodka.
    Have a good one.

    Comment by gregor — October 17, 2007 @ 7:31 am

  9. … it was wonderful seeing you again, Jimbo!… and Kenny too!… see you again real soon…

    Comment by Eric — October 17, 2007 @ 8:15 am

  10. .. and happy birthday!..

    Comment by Eric — October 17, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  11. Happy Birthday, Jim!

    Comment by Craig — October 17, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  12. I wish you the happiest of days

    Comment by hoosierboy — October 17, 2007 @ 8:52 am

  13. Happy birthday Jimbo, now suck on a tity.

    Comment by Catfish — October 17, 2007 @ 9:40 am

  14. Thanks, Jim! Those may be the nicest words ever written about me. It’s always a genuine honor and pleasure to spend a little time in your company!

    Comment by Omnibus Driver — October 17, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  15. Happy Birthday big guy. May your hair always be as farookin great as it is today.

    Comment by Libby — October 17, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  16. Happy Boitday, Jimbo!

    (da wiseassjooette didn’t send me) ;-)

    Comment by imp — October 17, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

  17. happy birthday, jimbo, I loved finally getting to meet you.

    Comment by holder — October 17, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  18. First – a belated Happy Birthday.

    Second – sounds like the blog meet was a blast. Are we shocked… oh hell no!

    Third – I get to meet the Wiseass Jooette in a week and a half – WooHoo!

    Comment by Teresa — October 17, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

  19. Happy Birthday! It was good to see you again.

    Comment by Barbie — October 17, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

  20. Happy Birthday! Wow, I had a blast! I am slow to start true, but would do it all again, once I rest up.
    Enjoy!

    Comment by Michelle — October 17, 2007 @ 10:08 pm

  21. Happy Birthday, Meister! Enjoyed reading your narration of the trip :)

    Comment by A-Heldin — October 18, 2007 @ 5:50 am

  22. WOW! Do they have birthdays in Joisey?

    You keep this up and you are gonna be as old as me!

    And about them overalls..yep..no belt nor suspenders needed. Lots of extra pockets..and I think they are the most comfortable wear made.

    ‘Biscits’ & gravy be my favorite meal and a side order of REAL grits and not them instant kind will make it a real meal.

    Oh, and the attitude? In the south as a rule if you don’t start no shit there won’t be none..we are kinda funny that way..and you being the fine upstanding gator hater you are I know what you ain’t never started nothin’..

    Comment by GUYK — October 18, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  23. I had a lot of fun at this year’s Oktoberfest but one of the best moments was listening to you play guitar outside the Mini Jooooette’s room on Friday nite. I’m really glad you and Ken made that long drive. Hope to see ya both again soon.

    Comment by zonker — October 19, 2007 @ 6:39 am

  24. You do not know how hard I am kicking myself in my “built-too-low-to-the-ground ass” for not being able to stay awake just a little while longer.

    Sigh.

    I demand an encore performance.

    Comment by Wiseass Jooette — October 19, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  25. It’s hard not to laugh with a bunch of good people such as yourself. It was so much fun!!!!

    Comment by Kelly — October 19, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  26. Thanks for the memo, hon. And trust me, if I could afford a shrink, I’d keep him busy. ;)

    Comment by Key — October 21, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

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