Saturday, September 3, 2011

August meetup summary

It was a beautiful day, with the sun shining and the birds singing from the top of the sky as varying bands of wannabe ponies migrated their way towards a shimmering mirage upon a glistening field of dihydrogen monoxide. The temperature was perfect, the air pure, the very fiber of reality itself vibrating with infinite potential. It was in this setting, a very odd setting indeed for a state known for its general depressing character and large quantities of rust, that the Cleveland meetup of the Ohio Bronies group took place.

Poor Starshine. It seems he exists in a different time plane from the rest of us, as he once again arrived way earlier than anypony else. So he chilled outside a smoothie shop in a flamboyant neighborhood feeling awkward for having ponies on his shirt. Yes, there is something wrong with this picture. No, you shouldn't think too hard about it.

Eventually some others, namely the Ponybus of Northern Dash, Trombe, Argembarger (yes, THE Argembarger), and PinFilly (yes, THE PinFilly) driven by PartyCrash showed up to give Starshine some company for he was most certainly lonely by this point. So we all walked into the smoothie shop for some smoothies... and, what? Really?! OATMEAL SMOOTHIES! One cannot easily fathom the craziness that ensued as we all drank breakfast. Suddenly we heard rumors over the internets (we're magic and have access to them at all times) that the meetup location was closed. How does one even close a park? So we had to investigate. As we left the smoothie shop, that song about having the magic in me was playing over the moosac network, and all thoughts were Trixie.

Trombe: Allow me to interject for a moment. You may be referring to the oatmeal smoothies, but you are forgetting the MANLY MEN'S SMOOTHIES. Now with 20% more manliness. With such manly ingredients. Like bee pollen. And now back to your regularly scheduled derp.

So we migrated to the part of Edgewater where the meeting had been planned to have been happening. And confirmed that, in fact, it was closed off. Apparently the pegasi had been naughty and blew over quite a few trees in the vicinity. I glanced at PinFilly, as she is just Derpy Hooves, and she shrugged like she was innocent. I didn't buy it for a second.

A short drive later found us at the lower end of the park (for those who don't know, it's quite long and thin, sprawling across the shore of Lake Erie for quite a few miles between roughly downtown Cleveland and the inner-ring suburb of Lakewood). We waited, and waited some more, and then decided that it would be a good idea to just have the meetup there, as that part wasn't cordoned off by ominous DANGER DO NOT CROSS tape of doom. We set up at a table, making more table space because Starshine had the foresight to also bring a table, and then there was also a third table that was basically the best table ever because it was full of holes. Making it holy. Or just derpy.

Various others showed up as time passed. It was almost certainly the presence of Pinkie Pie. Or at least her socks. Everypony was all like, "Bronies?" And we looked at Pinkie, then back at them, and they were like, "Bronies." And that's how Equestria was made.

Of course, it may have helped that there was a kite that was just Rainbow Dash, marking the spot with dazzling rainbow brilliance. In hindsight, we really should've given that particular kite flier a cookie. It was truly awesome. There was another kite that constantly almost crashed, then pulled up at the last second, then almost crashed again... I suppose we can simply say that kites are more amazing then most people give them credit for.

But then we were hungry.

Starshine: For whatever reason, PinFilly and myself were the ones sent out to buy all the food supplies. In retrospect this was a bad idea, as neither of us are exactly "normal" eaters, and we spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide reasonably simple things like "which sort of ketchup should we buy?" and "are 24 hamburgers enough?" and "does anyone drink Diet Coke?" (Answers at the end of this writeup.) We also spent a lot of time looking for a specific brand of iced tea, and failing to get ice for the cooler.

While Starshine and Derpy Hooves (PinFilly) flew north to bring back the summer birds, the rest of us babbled, babbled some more, joked, played, talked, sang, noodled around on guitars and ocarinas, discussed, solved every problem the universe has ever given human kind, subsequently forgot all the answers because Pinkie, stared at the lake, joked some more, then began to seriously wonder if Starshine and Derpy hadn't gone all the way back across the state to pick up the foods.

Eventually they returned, not actually having flown north and then south and then around the entire world in search of lost treasures of the ages and/or food. There were frozen meats, and PartyCrash was all "HAHA I'M USING THE GRILLINGS!" and Trombe was all "okay.jpg" and then delicious foods were had by all. Northern Dash was perfectly okay with frozen meat, but everypony else told him that death by food poisoning wasn't fun.

Paper plate fanfiction writing
Northern Dash had wanted one of the "events" to be a speedfic writing contest, because he was into those things. But there were no pens, there was no paper, there was only rocks. He looked around once or twice, saddened by the lack of proper supplies, materials, and planning. And then a glorious, brilliant idea hit him. A handful of paper plates and colored pencils later, a speedfic competition there was. Now all we needed was a theme. And Trombe was right there. "Where do fillies come from?" he asked bemusedly. Everypony's faces lit up, and the furious writing began.

Time wore on. Celestia was slowly bringing down the brilliant sun, and it was time to find a hotel. Because this party would last all night, and Celestia Radio's very own Prison was hosting a Marshmallow in our honor! So we packed up, zipped up the highway to an amazing hotel that Northern Dash has always had trouble convincing people is amazing as it actually is (convinced yet?), and settled in. The internets were fast, the streaming was good, the Prison was psychotic as always. But alas, as I am getting far ahead of myself. Before we all left Edgewater, we had a big group hug because some were parting their separate ways for the weekend. And somehow Pinkie got into the center of it all, and was practically molesting the bronies within. Some choice quotes:
  • "My nose is penetrating Pinkie!" - Sam
  • *muffled* "Pinkie, please get your ass out of my face." - Trombe
So anyway, back to Prison and the Marshmallow. We had to be there for it, because he had told us ahead of time that he'd be tossing a special mention out there to us since he couldn't make the meeting. We could never have understood the significance of his words. If Prison ever, ever tells you anything, listen well. He is far more of a genius than his antics would lead one to believe.

Gather around, everypony, it's Prison time.
The broadcast was entertaining to say the least, and increasingly so when Prison began to read Spiderses. This was particularly interesting as we had the story's author, Argembarger, in the room with us [Argembarger: no regrets] and because we were also in a Skype call with Prison, so our whole meetup was live on Celestia Radio. As it turns out, Spiderses is such an incredibly powerful story that the mere act of trying to read it aloud has the capability to bring down a streaming radio server [Almgalmbrrgrr: NO REGRETS] every time Prison started reading, the server would die; and when he stopped to try to fix the connection, it would come back. [Argylesweater: NO REGRETS.]

In addition to the eldritch abomination that is Spiderses, we somehow ended up being on the air as a group with Prison for far longer than we ever anticipated (which wasn't a hard feat to accomplish, as we hadn't anticipated being on the air at all). In the process, we ate marshmallows while listening to the Marshmallow, while being on the Marshmallow. Figure that one out.

Once we got settled in, we started trying to figure out where to point the projector for pony-viewing purposes – casually ignoring the somewhat large HDTV which was inconveniently bolted down to the furniture in what would have been the perfect spot in the middle of the room. [Hambargler: I still don't understand that. WHY DIDN'T WE TRY THE TV.] [Northern Dash: WHY WOULD YOU TRY A TV WHEN YOU HAVE PROJECTOR AND WALL?!]  After some experimenting, we finally settled on using a handful of pony pins to hold one of the bedsheets to the wall, which gave about a seven-foot-wide screen. Much better than that TV!

After the Marshmallow broadcast was over, we all gradually came to the realization that we had developed a taste for marshmallows... and fanfiction readings. Therefore, this promised to be an excellent time to read the speedfic contest entries. Out of the five paper plates, four were mostly legible, but the fifth submission by Present Perfect made up for this by being one of the most enigmatic and difficult-to-decipher pieces of fine literature since the Voynich Manuscript. Penned in a tight spiral of tiny text and consuming nearly the entirety of both sides of the plate, it bore a striking resemblance to Zecora's cutie mark. Naturally, we would be saving this one for last. A wise decision it was, for it was clearly the best.

Following are links to the transcriptions, with exception of the Zebra Manuscript for we are still researching the long-term existential effects of making it available to the internet at large. (Suffice it to say, qwimp.)
  1. dashattack (text / video)
  2. Starshine (text / video)
  3. cirruspony (text / video)
  4. Argembarger (text / video)
  5. Present Perfect (text / video - part 2 - part 3)
Reading these took the better part of an hour, most of which was spent deciphering the deeper meaning of Zecora's cutie mark and discussing the subtle nuances of Zeta and Slytherin. We needed a break from this remarkable mental burden, and since we had gone for over five hours without watching any pony-related videos, it was time to fire up the projector and watch some YouTube poop.

After a while, a few of us went down to the bar to hang out. As it turns out, there was a wedding party and they were fairly loud, which was good for us because it meant we were probably not going to get any complaints for being too noisy.

What? It's good!
At 2:30 or so, we walked to the Denny's next door to the hotel for noms. We discussed many important subjects, including the proper method of qwimping, which Final Fantasy game was the best, the merits and flaws of Past Sins, how to die correctly in Minecraft (and where to find Herobrine), and whether or not it is ethically acceptable to eat a sandwich called a "Filly." After returning to the hotel room, we ate hot sauce cupcakes. Consensus was mixed between "not entirely terrible" and "entirely terrible." Shortly thereafter, most of the room crashed, including Argembarger basking in the warm glow of his laptop. Around 5:00 in the morning, we finally ran out of pony videos on Cirrus' laptop, and couldn't brain enough to fathom the YouTubes any longer.

Fluttershy woke everypony up at 10:07 exactly, and we had delicious breakfast of cupcakes, marshmallows, and Mountain Dew. We spent about two hours cleaning up, clearing the room, and packing everything back into cars, then set out on a pony hunt. First stop was Toys'R'Us, where we bought every single Pinkie Pie plush, and also got a lot of odd looks and at least two "can we help you find anything" comments from the store employees for being a large group of adults hanging out in the pink aisle. They had a large display of Gyro Bowls near the front of the store, which was an obvious and necessary purchase. Then we went to Target and found Big Mac and Twilight Spiderses (evidently, yes they are making merchandise for fanfiction), and Filly Princesses from the magical land of the Filly Kingdom, which is a magical collective empire of varying kingdoms somewhere east of Equestria. Princess Crystal is currently discussing opening trade routes with Princess Celestia.

Once we had sufficiently ponied, we went to Rockne's for lunch, where they stab their hamburgers with knives. Somepony got a corned beef sandwich, which sparked a discussion about a sign peculiar to the Cleveland area. After eating, we gathered in the parking lot for a group photo.

So after Rockne's we decided to find a place to hang out and discuss future plans.  Rockefeller Park seemed like a good idea.  So we gave brief instructions on how to get there, and then went.  PartyCrash arrived first, and due to move-in weekend at Case Western Reserve University, the main road into the park was closed and blocked off.  So we frantically called the others to tell them a rough idea of a new location to meet, and said that we'd call them when we found a decent spot.  Trombe navigated us through back alleys and one-way streets in the worst neighborhoods of Cleveland to get to some park that he vaguely remembered, and somehow pulled it off.  As we were turning into the parking lot, we were like "WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE TURNING INTO HERE AT THE SAME TIME AS US?!"  And then we were floored, as it was the others.  Somehow, through some obscure magicks, we all ended up at the exact same place at the exact same time.  Herdmind?  This is beyond herdmind.  Some of us had no prior knowledge of the area whatsoever, and it was on the complete opposite side of the city from anyplace we had previously been that weekend.  Only plausible explanation?  Critical mass of Pinkie.

Eaglehooves left us once we were at the park, and the rest of us wandered around a bit and played with Pinkie Pie's RC car. Verdict: it has an impressively long range, but is challenging to drive since it only turns in one direction and doesn't go quite straight. Much amusement resulted. Since Present Perfect couldn't be around for the entire meetup, he missed out on the RC car fun, so he got one in the mail as a prize for winning the speedfic contest. He posted a video of it. (Maybe we should send one to Top Gear and see what they think.)

Several hours and a few mosquito bites later, we all went our separate ways nope! We're all still there.  ForEVER.

... Need more pony? Check out Present Perfect's writeup of the event.

(Answers to Starshine's questions: whatever, yes, and no.)


  1. I am the most un-photogenic person. D:


    It sounds like day 2 was even better than day 1! I'm sorry I couldn't be there (although I am old and would not have been able to stay awake that late).

    And thanks for posting all my stuff. XD I love you guys.

  2. I am so jelly.
    Why does my state hate to suck so much?

    I too bought every Pinkie Plush within 100 miles of my house: All 1 of them =/.

  3. @Kits
    If it's any consolation, the closest thing I have to the Canterlot display at Target is one store had two feet of space for ponies that happened to have a dress-up set and the Celestia/Luna pack. It wasn't until this meetup that I actually got to see it in person.

  4. I wish I could have went :< I'm only an hour away from cleveland but alas, I had no ride D: Sorry I missed the fun. I really hope I can make it to the next one. (Anything in Portage county would be GREAT ;P)

  5. @Willow
    Well, we asked if anypony needed a ride!

    I think an Akron meetup might be cool some time. Seems like there's a lot of people around there.

  6. Man, I wish I'd been there. Stupid not money. Maybe next time...