HoHoCon '94 Review ***
Count Zero, *cDc*


Yep, grab hold of yer brainstem cuz here comes another mind-numbing, alcohol-soaked, synapse-shakin', reality-bending review of HOHOCON!!

HOHOCON 1994...The Insanity Continues

Direct from the keyboard of
Count "Funk-Master of L0\/3 and Mayhem" Zero *cDc*.

(what follows is my subjective, semi-truthful, self-centered, quasi-chronological tour of HoHo '94...if you're not mentioned in it, then you obviously didn't buy me a drink)

"It starts"..
12.29.94, Thursday
Logan Airport, Boston, Massachusetts
6:29 AM
Our flight leaves in one hour. Decided to pull an all-niter from the day before. Rather than beating my body out of REM sleep at this unholy hour, I opt for the familiar slow death of sleep deprivation. No matter. The tablets of ephedrine pulled me through, and now I sit in an airport restaurant smoking Camels and waiting for something to happen.

As usual, it does.

Deth Veggie, Iskra, and Basil arrive, ready for action...we board the plane and jump into the sky. "I like this airline...Delta....it's not just an airline, it's a Greek letter, a symbol of change..." I remark.

"Uh, yeah," comments Veggie. "I wonder if we'll finally discover the Meaning of Life at this con." He strains his massive legs against the seat in front of him, weak airline plastic buckling under the force.

"Fuck metaphysics..." I say, flipping through a wad of cash in my pocket. "I'll tell you, Veggie...the cDc T-shirts you made are fabulous. You will surely make heaps of $$$. *That's* the most important thing!"

Veggie grins widely. We give each other the sekrit cDc handshake and rub our silver cow-skull talismans.

Always temper metaphysics with materialism.

Arrival, Thursday afternoon
We belly-down in Austin, and grab a cab to the wonderful Ramada. Outside, there is a major highway under construction. Huge vehicles of construction and destruction mull over piles of dirt and concrete. Signs of human life are minimal.

"The Ramada at the End of the Universe...Drunkfux alway chooses such scenic locations" I note. "We can witness the creation of a mass transit system *and* celebrate our hacker brotherhood simultaneously." The entire landscape appears desolate and hostile to organic life. Nervously biting my lip, I immediately spot a Dunkin Donuts over the horizon..as does Basil. We both have keen survival instincts.

The nearby location of the 24-hr House of Caffeine and Baked Goods marked in our minds, we enter the hotel.

"The room is $70 a nite," the woman behind the front desk offers. "We're with the HoHoCon," says Veggie. "Don't we get special rates?" "Heh.. HoHoCon...yes, that means our rooms must cost twice as much," I joke. The woman behind the front desk looks blankly at me...unaware. "Like a deer in the headlights, " I tell Veggie as we collect our keys and walk to our room. "And soon, Bambi will be eating a chrome grille..."

A "Suite of the Elite" sign is hastily drawn up and hung outside our door. Veggie unpacks his 17-lb solid concrete Mr. T head and places it on a table. The concrete bust's rough base immediately gouges deep scratches in it with a low grating noise.... "The 'T' approves," says Veggie. I have no reason to doubt him, so I remain silent in awe.

We find that Joe630 and Novocain are also here early...they invite us into their room to read a large sample of 'alternative zines.' The eclectic magazines are fascinating, and I promptly spill a glass of water on their couch to show my appreciation. "Uh, just don't trash the place, " Novocain tells me. "Of course not," I reply. "I'm just in a high entropy state right now..." I immediately spill my ashtray to prove it. (It always helps to follow up thermodynamic theory with physical proof...I am a true Scientist.)

At some point, we flee after Joe630 demands "hugs" from us...something he continues throughout the conference. "Grrrrr...touch me not, boy...I will not submit to your fondling," I tell him behind clenched teeth as I back out of the room. "I'll only hug a man if he's buying me drinks or I'm trying to lift his wallet..."

Later that night, we hook up with Ixom and Nicodaemus...we invite them into our room for drinks and a philosophical discussion. Ixom's new beard, long and flowing red like the fire of a Duraflame log, mesmerizes me. I proceed to take notes on our conversation as Ixom and Nic begin to debate. Soon, I begin to suspect they have been drinking a bit beforehand.

"I like these lights when they're off."

"Are we in the Information Age?"
"Dude, shut up."

(Nic, to me) "Dude, I like your poetry, but just shut up."

"She was like 14, 15, you know, 11, 12..."

"He's always in the bathroom...y'know, he has diabetes...Rabies?.... you know."

"I don't need Valium, I'm down on life...." -Veggie

"Heady stuff," I think, jotting notes furiously. Nic begins a photo shoot of the Mr. T bust, and we are all fascinated at his skills in capturing the inaminate object's true nature. "His true calling is film," I think as Nic rolls painfully on the floor to capture Mr. T's pout from a novel angle. "I must see these prints.." Nic promises to give us copies, as soon as he figures out how to remove the exposed film from the camera. I suddenly feel the need to drink more.

We awake and plan to head into Austin. Basil finds an ad for a store in town called "The Corner Shoppe." "They will give us a free pair of sunglasses with this coupon!" she exclaims.

"They will give us sunglasses, and much much more..oh yes..." I think.

Rodney, our journalist companion from Canada, joins us in our trek to the city. 'The Corner Shoppe' turns out to be a small shack-like store...with a large tent structure in front. Animal skulls, exotic hides, trophy mounts, blankets, arrowheads, Indian mandellas, silver jewelry, rugs, pottery, and plaster sculptures abound... We wander over to the tent and begin to browse. "Look, they have plaster busts of Elvis and Beethoven on the same shelf," Basil remarks. "This is truly a Store of Symmetry," I reply, as I run my fingers over a large, bleached cow skull. The papery-smooth bone is cool and dry on my hands, and I wonder about the fate of the rest of the mighty beast. I imagine the live cow roaming fields, chewing cud, powerful flanks driving it up and down verdant hills of grass. A skull is more than an object, it is a link to the once-living creature... "To this favor, she must come" I mumble to myself, lost in introspection. "What?" asks Veggie? "Nothing," I reply, shaking the thoughts from my mind. "Let us go inside and secure the sunglasses." Never forget one's true purpose.

All the native creatures of Texas are inside the store...albeit, dead. Stuffed, dessicated, mounted...and all available for purchase. "Do you have a scorpion mounted in a bolo?" I ask the proprietor. "No, well, we did, but you know, Christmas...we were cleaned out," she sullenly replies. "No problem," I grin back at her. "I am disappointed, but not dejected. You have a fine establishment here." She smiles back and begins to show me an assortment of dessicated rattlesnakes. "Of all creatures, reptiles remain the most lifelike in death," I affirm. She smiles nervously and points me towards the stuffed frogs. "Silly woman, these are mere amphibians," I think to myself, but I follow her anyway.

Veggie offers the other employee a sacred cDc silver cow skull talisman as a gift. "Say, this is nice..never seen anything like it....I rope steer, and was going to put a silver cross on my baseball cap...but I think I'll put this on it instead," he says excitedly. "Zero, this *proves* that cDc is more popular than God!" Veggie whispers to me in private. "Undoubtably," I respond. We bask in the moment.

Iskra finds an elephant skull lurking on a cabinet. We are amazed at the cranial capacity. I purchase a fine cow skull (complete with hanging hook). After a few hours, Basil finally selects a pair of sunglasses (free) and we begin to walk aimlessly around the fringes of the city. Entering a Salvation Army store, Rodney begins to film us as we pick through the remnants of other people's lives... "Are you guys in a rock band?" another customer asks me. "Yes, I play Extended Keyboards," I answer back, my attention lost in a milk crate full of used '80s cassette tapes. Memories for sale...wholesale... We buy some plastic guns and leave.

Later, we stop for food at an Indian restaurant. "Inexpensive buffet... cool.." I think. However, the curry chicken is full of bones. "Grrr...I am not pleased...these bones anger me..." "But the vegetables are pretty good," comments Veggie. "I need meat...I need to tear and rend flesh, " I snap back, on the verge of making an ugly scene. Leaving the restaurant, we immediately purchase hard liquor for the trip back to the hotel. Basil buys some Goldschlager. Veggie, some Everclear and V8 juice.... Rodney and Iskra, a large assortment of beer. Still filled with anger, I buy a pint of Southern Comfort out of spite.

Friday night, many people arrive. "Rambone! Crimson Death! Holistic!" I exclaim as I see my old, dear friends. Rambone's hair is much longer, Holistic is noticibly more hirstute, and Crimson Death looks remarkably the same as last year. We begin to drink heartily, and I promptly pass out on the foot of my bed. "Damn, Zero is *out*," says Veggie. "Let us cover his body and fill his arms with silly items and film him," someone suggests. Drunkfux captures my body on display for the video archives. An hour later, I awake refreshed and only mildly humiliated. "I was merely recharging," I tell everyone. "The mark of a professional alcoholic is the ability to *pace* oneself." Noticing that I have finished the Southern Comfort, I decide to forage for more liquor. My hunt is successful to the point that I cannot remember the rest of the evening...

Saturday, the "official" conference

"Ugh," my brain tells me as I wake. "Stay out of this," I tell my malfunctioning organ. "We must attend the conference and discuss hacker things." Rolling down to the conference room, we find dozens of people waiting in line. Flashing our cow skull talismans, Veggie and I part the masses and proceed unhindered to the front row of the room. Iskra, Veggie, Basil and I seat ourselves directly behind a video projector. "Here, amuse yourselves," Drunkfux remarks and hands us a SuperNES... Several games of Mortal Kombat ][ later, I realize I have forgotten all the fatalities. "Damn, I need to rip out some spines," I think. We notice the long tables at the end of the room filled with people selling things. Fringeware has a large assortment of T-shirts, jewelry, and books...other people are selling DTMF decoders and cable-box hacks. "Merchandising...cDc needs more merchandising," I tell Veggie. He responds by pulling out a large box of cDc T-shirts and hawking them to the conference attendees. Naturally, they sell like cold bottles of Evian in the middle of the Sahara.

Feeling a need for nicotine, I head out to the lobby area for a quick smoke. "Rambone!" I exclaim as I spot him smoking in a corner. "How ya doin this morning?" "How do you think?" he replies from behind dark sunglasses. "Oh, yeah," I respond. We stand together in a post-alcoholic haze for a few minutes before saying anything. "Where's Crimson Death?" I ask. "Where do you think?" Rambone replies. "Oh, yeah," I answer numbly. Same as it ever was.

Crimson Death pokes his head into the lobby sometime later... "hey, hi"...then disappears back to his room for more sleep therapy. Erikb shows up and starts selling LoD shirts. "I'm staying outta there," he replies when I ask if he's going inside the main conference room. A Japanese man is fruitlessly trying to feed the Coke machine a dollar bill. The machine keeps spitting out his crumpled bill like a regurgitated leaf of soft lettuce. Feeling slightly ill, I re-enter the conference room.

First speaker...the main guy from Fringeware, Inc. He apologizes for rambling, then proceeds to ramble for an hour or so. I cannot focus on his talk, and try to count the ceiling tiles. Joe630 approaches us and says "you're in my seats..I reserved them!" "Hug me and you're a dead man, " I growl. He wanders off. Basil and I amuse ourselves by playing with the plugs in the back of the stacked VCRs and the video projector. Plug and play, all the way.

Next speaker...some guys from the Prometheus Project. They are damn intelligent and have a lot to say, all presented very professionally (a bit *too* professional for this crowd...they could have mixed in some cartoons or something with their textual overheads). Most of the conference attendees seem to have the attention spans of gnats, and many appear to nod off. Too bad...the future of digital cash, encryption, and Underground Networks over conventional TCP/IP...very rad stuff (http://www.io.com/user/mccoy/unternet for more info). I plan to investigate more ...definitely.

Another speaker...some guy talking about computer security...I don't catch his name, since I begin to have a slight nic fit and bolt for the lobby and my smokes. (Isn't this moment-by-moment review fascinating and oh-so-true to life?)

Damien Thorn comes up and talks about his current cellular articles and projects. He's apparently releasing a video on "cellular hacking" (Cellular Hacking: A Training Video for Technical Investigators)...shows a clip of it..damn hilarious. More like "MTV and Cops meets Cellular Hackers"...tech info mixed with funky music and hands-on demos/skits... I gotta have it (mail to Phoenix Rising Communications, 3422 W. Hammer Lane, Suite C-110, Stockton, CA, 95219 for info). Altho he says he is nervous about talking in front of everyone, he is very articulate... good show, man. He demos some DDI hardware for snarfing reverse-channel data...nothing really new, but nice to see. Veggie starts playing with his cow skull talisman on the overhead projector, while Basil begins to make twist-tie sculptures of cows and other animals. I attempt to make a twist-tie bird. "What is that, a dog?," she laughs.
"My art is wasted on you," I growl, teeth bared.

Veggie gets up and talks about Canadians blowing themselves up after reading an old file of his on how to make pipe bombs. After he sits down, I suggest he release a new file. "Veg, man, you can call it 'An Addendum on How to Make Gasoline Bombs'...tell everyone it is a supplemental file to something you released years ago...include in it the note 'I forgot this safety circuit in my FIRST release of 'How to Make Gasoline Bombs'...you MUST include this cruical safety on the bomb...or it just might go off prematurely in your LAP....like, on a bumpy subway in New York'...it'll be a riot, dontcha think?" Veggie just glares at me and cracks his knuckles. It sounds like a heavy dog padding on thin, brittle plastic. "I don't think so," he mutters. Oh well, it was just an idea. I ponder my own dark, sick sense of humor. Perhaps I need therapy.

Grayarea gets up and begins to read off a pre-prepared speech on her laptop. Her speech is too quick for my alcohol-byproduct-sodden synapses to register accurately. I keep staring at her dress...bright tie-dye...mesmerizing...it's actually quite cool. Suddenly, Loki gets up in the audience and the accusations fly back and forth between them. You kicked me off IRC. You called my office at work. You are doing this, you are doing that. Both are getting into this verbal slugfest in a major way. I feel the bad karma in the room hanging heavy like blue-green cigar smoke. "Can't we all just get along??" I yell, but noone seems to hear me. I don't know who is right or wrong (it's probably somewhere in between...the truth always gray, right?), so I don't hypothesize. All I do know is that I'd never want to piss off Grayarea...she's damn strong on her convictions and won't take shit from anyone. I think she'd look better up there wearing a big ol' leather jacket with studs...terminator style. "One tends to assume that people wearing tie-dye gear are quiet, meek, very soft spoken, non-confrontational types....it is a camoflage that suits her well," I think.

Finally, Steve Ryan gets up and speaks about some new computer crime laws passed in Texas. A lawyer working with the Austin EFF, he's always got something funny and informative to say. The new laws define "approaching" a restricted computer system as being illegal, as well as defining a "biochemical computational device" as a computer system. In other words, if someone comes up to you and talks to you, they have "approached" your personal "biochemical computational device" (read: brain), and are technically prosecutable for "hacking" under Texas law. Hoo yeah! Steve's whole speech is very cool, and I am only disappointed in the fact that he is the last person to speak....it's running very late and I have the attention span of a *hyperactive* gnat at this point.. But had it been anyone else up there, most of the conference attendees probably would have nodded off or wandered out the room.

After Steve, the conference fragments as people leave or buy last minute items from the "vendor tables." I buy a neat piece of jewelry...a little plastic doll arm tightly wrapped in twisted wire and metal. I pin it to the lapel of my jacket. "I'm ready to rock, let's party!" We leave in search of alcohol and assorted mind-enhancements.

In the hotel restaurant, we gather to plan our New Year's Eve excursion. All of our synapses are jammin' to various biochemical beats, and I order a chicken fried steak to fuel the fire in my skull. "Veggie, your pupils are the size of dinner plates," I tell him from behind a mouthful of steak and gravy. "Let me touch your jacket...is it blue or green?" he replies. "It is both...yet neither," I respond, pulling my arm out of his clutches. Later, we secure a ride with Ixom and Nicadaemos into Austin...destination: Sixth Street. "Say Nic, did you ever see that movie 'Heavy Metal'..y'know, when the aliens are trying to land their spacecraft in the huge space station?" I yell above the whine of the engine, digging my nails into the passenger seat. "Nope," he replies, and we suddenly veer across 4 lanes of traffic. "Perhaps it is better this way," I think. Life imitates art, then you die.

Holistic and I find Ohms. We queue up and wait to enter the house of techno-funk. "I know this place...I feel at peace," I tell a middle-age drunken woman in front of me. She stares back with glassy eyes and feebly blows on her party horn. "Yes, I know," I reply and look at my watch. 11:55PM. Five minutes later, I walk into Ohms. A flyer on the wall has a graphic depiction of a man screwing a woman with a CRT for her head, the title "Dance to the Sounds of Machines Fucking." Everyone begins to cheer and yell as I step through the inner doorway. "Either it is now 1995, or I appear to have fans," I think. Ya, right.

I order Holistic and I some screwdrivers. As the waitress is pouring the vodka, she suddenly look distracted and our glasses overflow with booze. Grinning at me meekly, she squirts just a dash of orange juice in each glass and hands them too me. "Sorry, they're a bit strong," she apologizes. "No burden," I reply warmly. "Wow, that was weird... but bonus for us!" Holistic says as he sips his drink with a wince. "No, that was a sign of the cow," I smirk, fingering my silver cow skull talisman on my neck. "You'll get used to it."

Ohms is filled with smoke, sweat, flashing lights, and the funkiest techno music I have ever heard. Wandering outside, I see someone has set up several computers with PPP links to the net...they are attempting to use CU-SeeMe videoconferencing software with other sites around the world. "Nice computer, are you responsible for this network?" I ask one of the operators as I open the machine's PPP config file and quickly peruse the dialup # and entire login script under the person's nose. "Oh, I don't know how they work..I'm just playing with this Fractal Painter thing," she replies. "Yes, I thought so...Holistic, next round on me..." I exclaim as we leave.

There are several robotic arms on the stage clutching strobe lights, occasionaly twisting around and pointing into the crowd. Holistic, Basil, Crimson Death, and I begin to dance with insane purpose. Four hours later, we are still dancing. Holistic eventually leaves for the hotel. The remaining three of us dance until we have no more body fluids to exude. "I love you guys," Crimson Death smiles as he grabs both me and Basil in a bearhug and kisses us on the forehead. "Yes, this is bliss," I reply. Suddenly we see Rambone at the bar...he is wide-eyed and sweating more than a human should be. "Well, perhaps bliss is relative," I think. Rambone leaves the club. Later, we find Bill and ride safely back to the hotel. It is 6:00AM.

We find Veggie and Iskra in our room. They have been staring at Veggie's "Hello Kitty" blinky lights and writing stories all night long. "Read this, it's good! Read it NOW!" Veggie exlaims. "If it is good now, it will still be good in the morning...I shall sleep now," I answer through a haze of exhaustion. Several minutes later, my remaining higher cortical functions shut down and I am enveloped in sleep.

Sunday, early afternoon

Crimson Death stops by our room to say goodbye. "Here is my new address and such..I've written it on this paper and folded it into an origami bird for you," he tells me. "Functional art...I dig it, man," I answer and shake his hand. The rest of the day passes lazily, until that evening when we pile into Drunkfux's van and head for Chuck-E-Cheeze for dinner. "God in Heaven, they serve BEER here!" I exclaim, quickly ordering a pint. Several slices of pizza and glasses of beer later, we are all playing skee ball, video games, and air hockey. Basil is deftly beating everyone at air hockey (including myself). "I'm into more intellectual games, " I grumble. "Say Swamp Ratte', let us play a stimulating game of 'Whack-a-Mole'." A real thinkin' man's game, by gum... He whips my ass. "Damn moles, " I grumble again.

Many "spring echo" plastic microphones are purchased...when yelled into, one's voice is given an echo audio-effect, and Drunkfux begins to announce the play-by-play of the air hockey games in his best Howard Cosell voice. I see Damien Thorn, Carol (the journalist), and a dozen other HoHo attendees cavorting around Chuck-E-Cheeze...yet the restaurant has technically closed 30 minutes ago. Noone is attempting to make us leave. "We dominate this establishment, but it can't last forever," I think. Deciding it's a good time to cash in my tickets won from skee ball, I walk over to the ticket cash-in counter. I notice the man behind the counter is counting them by weighing them on a scale. "Hrmmm...I wonder if I dipped them in beer...the increased weight would increase my.." but my thoughts are stopped short. Too late, the restaurant is surely closing now, and everyone is leaving. "Next time, muahahahaha." I plot and scheme. The giant plastic monkey (costing 500 tickets) will surely be mine...next time.

Back at the hotel, I glance at a local newspaper in the lobby. On the front page is a story of 2 people shot and killed in Planned Parenthood clinics in Brookline by some sick 'right-to-lifer'. "Goddamn, that's in my home city...Boston!", I think. Quickly reading the story, I feel sickened that someone could kill like that. I entertain a brief fantasy....me sitting in the clinic in the waiting room....me seeing the sicko pull a rifle out of a bag and pointing it at the defenseless receptionist....me swinging my pump-action Mossberg 500 12 guage shotgun out from under my long coat....and me walking six rifled deer slugs up the scumbag's spine. Doom on you, sucker. Violence is nasty, but it is a final resort sometimes. I think how I'd have no reservations defending another human life with deadly force. "An armed society is a polite society," I think, mentally quoting Robert Heinlein. If all those clinic workers could pack heat, people would think twice about trying to threaten them. People have the right to choose how they live their own fucking lives and control their own damn bodies...they shouldn't have to die for it. I read how the police are planning to increase "officer visibility" around the clinics. "Ya sure, us poor citizens are too meek to defend ourselves...let's let big bro' handle it..," I think. I file the entire incident in my mind under "yet another reason to watch your ass and carry a big stick."

I go back to the room and drown my reality-dosed anger by reading the ultra-violent comic book "Milk and Cheese" (most highly recommended..buy it...now!). I ponder one of Cheese's most memorable quotes: "I wish I had a baseball bat the size of Rhode Island, so I could beat the shit out of this stupid-ass planet." Sometimes, yes.

Later that night, Rika (the Japanese correspondent) gives us a private viewing of Torquie's video on hacking. We all agree it is very good...a great deal of coverage of the international scene...Germany...the Netherlands...even a clip of someone boxing in Malaysia. I fall asleep feeling content.

Monday arrives like a lamb...we wake late and hang around our room. Swamp Ratte' decides to take a shower. "I'm just trying this concept out... if I like it, I might do it again," he says. After the shower, he gives the concept a big "thumbs up" and tells us of his plans to incorporate it into his regular personal hygene routine. "This shower idea could be the Next Big Thing," he says ominously. "Change is good...and so is conditioner," I comment, combing the snarls out of my own hair. We call downstairs to check on the jacuzzi suite we had reserved for tonight. We are curtly informed that they are all booked. "What, you promised us," I gasp. "Damn you, then we shall check out of this pit....siyonara!" Two hours later, we receive notice that all HoHo attendees still in the hotel are being kicked out "due to the *tremendous damage* incurred on the hotel this past weekend." "What Tremendous Damage?? I'll show them tremendous damage!" Veggie vows, leaping for the door. The rest of us manage to convince Veggie that his plans to drive to the closest hardware store and buy a box of crowbars and sledgehammers is probably not the best thing to do. "Don't worry, Veg, " I say, comforting him. "We shall find another jacuzzi, no doubt."

We pile into Drunkfux's van and search for a new hotel in the center of the city. On the way, we swing back into The Corner Shoppe, where Rodney films some more of our antics amongst the dead critters. Rambone buys a long bullwhip (it's a hobby, he says), and Swamp Ratte' gives an impassioned speech for the camera on the joys of authoring. We finally drop off Rodney at the airport and bid him farewell on his voyage back to the Great White North.

The downtown Marriott ends up being our final destination. After visually checking out the jacuzzi and pool facilities (no jacuzzi in the room, sigh, but a very nice public one open until 11:00PM), Drunkfux, Basil, and I head out in search of swimwear. Veggie, Iskra, Swamp Ratte', and Rambone remain in the room...and eventually head for the bar. We return ready for aquatics. The three of us soak in the jacuzzi and swim in the pool, and finally we all retire to our hotel room. "Damn, everyone looks like beached squid...let's go out to Emo's tonight!" I exclaim, trying to win them over. Veggie, Iskra, Basil, and Rambone appear dead to the world. "Here, I have some ephedrine left over from the other night...it's over-the-counter...and will make your toes tap." Reluctantly, they agree to partake. A few minutes later, Rambone and Veggie are wrestling on the bed, and I am experimenting on Drunkfux with Rambone's bullwhip. "Gosh, I think these pills are stimulating," remarks Rambone. "Yes, and let us not waste it...to Emos!" I cry. We arrive at Emos and spend the evening playing pinball and listening to the jukebox.

Returning to the Marriott, we are all still wired. "Let us watch 'The Crow' on the tele," I suggest. "Mayhem and Love at it's best!" Most agree, and I sit riveted for the entire film. "I am morphine for a wooden leg," I quote mentally from the original graphic novel. That line never got into the movie, but I think it is one of O'Barr's best.

Not much happens...we wander the city...bid farewell to Rambone at the airport...check out the Fringeware store at 5015 1/2 Duval Street in Austin...and generally chill. Erikb shows up, and Drunkfux wires the hotel room for a video interview with him and the rest of us as we all lounge on the two twin beds. At one point, Drunkfux, Basil, and I are alone in the room when I call downstairs for room service (I sometimes have a need for funked-up potato skins, pronto). A knock at the door... Drunkfux answers it wearing nothing but a towel around his waist and a towel on his head (having just showered). Ushering in the room service guy, I tell him "just put the tray on the table, kind servant" I absentmindedly push aside Rambone's coiled bullwhip. Suddenly realizing the potential misinterpretation of my situation, I glance behind me to see the video camera on tripod pointed at the beds, video equipment, monitors, and Basil wearing her leather pants, curled up on one of the many tousled blankets, dead asleep. "Uh, huh....thanks...." I stammer as I slip the guy a fiver. I try to think of something funny to say like "oh, we're making a DOCUMENTARY," but the glazed look in his eyes tells me we are beyond the point of no return. "Well, these are the rumors that legends are made of," I think as I close the door behind him and wolf down my skins. They are teeming with toppings.

That evening, I take a late-nite swim by myself in the pool. The water is heated, and by swimming under a small ledge, one is able to actually swim to the outside section of the pool under the open sky. Steam rises in thick curls into the crisp night air, and as I float on my back I am able to see the stars. Never have I felt so relaxed. "Like an amoeba in the primordial soup, I live in the gutter yet strive for the stars," I paraphrase softly to myself. Only the stars hear me.

Wednesday (last day, YES, we EVENTUALLY go back home)

Waking at the ungodly hour of 5AM, we make our early flight back to Boston. Swamp Ratte' and I sit in the hotel lobby waiting for our shuttle to the airport.

"I'm going to write about this HoHoCon again...we can put it in cDc #300," I tell him.

"Cool," he replies. "What's it going to be like?"

"I dunno...the same as last time..maybe I'll mix in some weird dream sequences."

"How about the cDc members fighting the Power Rangers and whippin' their sorry asses?"

"Yeah, that sounds surreal enough!"

We make our goodbyes, and on the way to the airport the shuttle bus driver from the hotel asks us "so are you with the team?"

"Uh, what team?"

"You know...the Power Rangers team...the ones putting on the show...they are staying in our hotel. I thought you were with them. They're actors putting on a live Power Rangers show across the country."

"No, no, we're not with them. Please leave us alone."

My mind is pulled apart by this lattice of coincidence. I decide to leave the dream sequence out of my phile. This, Veggie, THIS...is a sign.

I don't talk to the others much during the flight home. Perhaps it is because I know the adventure is over and I am saddened slightly. Perhaps I am merely tired. Most probably, it is a combination of the two. I quickly depart from the airport and without goodbyes grab a cab for the L0pht. I spend that evening alone at the L0pht, surrounded by Machines of Loving Grace and the solitude of blinking electronic devices...
I am a bit happier.

Woop de doe, dat's the show.

Count Zero *cDc*

Completed 12:04AM 1/6/95 for cDc #300...


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