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It's Sunday evening, just past midnight. I'm back in Ann Arbor. The bags are (mostly) unpacked. The trash and recycling (it's Ann Arbor, where they have full-color glossy guides with photographs to tell you what goes into which bin) are out by the curb. There's a pile of tee-shirts from NN still waiting to be put where I can get at them. The cats are extracting their revenge for being left behind for the past couple of days.

And I doubt I'll ever be quite the same person I was before Wednesday. So even though I likely have absolutely nothing of substance to add to the many diaries already published about NN14, I invite you to join me below the Orange Cheese Curd to see what it was like for me to experience NN for the first time.

Oh, and this is for ericlewis0, who told me I need to start writing stuff here again.

Because one of my three part-time jobs requires me to spend the spring/summer semester teaching music theory, this will probably be the first and last time I attend an NN gathering. Fortunately, this one was only 45 miles from home, so I got to go.

And am I glad I did! In no particular order of importance, here are some reasons why:

Watching kos "rest his eyeballs" while viewing Joe Biden's speech on the TWiB! video monitor in the Exhibit Hall.

Meeting Charlie Pierce not once but twice.

Being a proud member of Team Moar Goatz at the Pub-Quiz-Not-Held-In-An-Actual-Pub and getting to shout "Bo Schembechler" way too many times.

Temporarily cohabiting the RenCen Marriott with the members of the North American Science Fiction Convention.

Wondering if they thought we were as whacked-out-looking as we thought they were.

Finally meeting Sara R, a gilas girl, tgypsy, Navajo, Meteor Blades, jotter, Msspentyouth, Smileycreek, Paradise50, belinda ridgewood, TrueBlueMajority, and a whole host of peregrine kate's friends.

Slowly realizing that they were becoming my friends too.

Sneaking out for periodic aromatherapy with ericlewis0 and cedwyn (the check is in the mail, really!)

Gradually making the transition from an easily-over-awed 60-year old star-struck fan boy to part of a community poised to just maybe turn into a movement, thanks to the searing examination of conscience administered by the Rev. William Barber.

Taking pride in the (mostly hidden) work of my fellow Motor City Kossacks, who gave new definition to the term "boots on the ground."

Riding the People Mover.

Eating my way across most of downtown Detroit.

Being rescued with an emergency Starbucks transfusion by poe and her sister on Saturday morning.

Me? I'm just with the band.

But that's fine with me. Wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Originally posted to ProvokingMeaning on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Motor City Kossacks.

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