That one time? At nerd camp?

So that whole write-a-letter-a-day thing in February? Um. Yeah. I think I managed to eek out about a dozen letters, and that included the trio of postcards I mailed out from Aruba to family members. But I did get a good handful of letters from other people, and I used up some of the stationary that’s been lurking in my cupboards for mumble-mumble years, so even if I didn’t exactly hit the letter (ha!) of the challenge, at least I gave it a try. And it was kind of fun.

And now is the point when you say ‘wait, Aruba?’. Because one reason I had a hard time doing the whole letter-a-day thing is that Richard and I went on a cruise for a week during February. To the southern Caribbean. Just us and a giant boat and a whole pile of extremely elderly people, and oh yeah, a total of 541 nerds, with concerts and performances by the likes of John Hodgeman, Wil Wheaton, Jonathon Coulton, Marian Call, and so on and so forth. I know, I know, most of you likely have no idea who any of those people are but trust me when I say it was a level of nerdy, geeky awesome beyond compare.

The cruise itself was the random idea of Jonathon Coulton, the singer/songwriter responsible for the ending credit songs on both Portal games, such classics as ‘Re: Your Brain’s’ and ‘Code Monkey’, and a host of other songs about math and science and giant squids and monkeys and crazed news anchors, and all sorts of things that warm the cockles of a geeky nerd’s heart. The first JoCo Crazy Cruise was in 2011, and we did not go because we found out about it too late, and also, cruises are kind of expensive. Then they announced that they were going to do it again, and we sat down and pondered and pondered and looked at the finances and pondered some more and eventually figured out that we could make this work. And after we finished doing a little giddy dance of joy, we signed up and have spent the better part of the past nine months eagerly waiting to go.

Of course, the first thing everyone else wanted to know was where we were going, and no amount of ‘On a boat! With lots of nerds! Nerds on a boat! Squee!’ seemed to satisfy them, because apparently non-nerds do not comprehend that Nerds On A Boat with Bonus Extra Nerdery was enough of a reason to get on a cruise ship, and we really didn’t care one bit where the boat was actually headed. And then there was the added fun of trying to explain who all the special performers were going to be. Okay, see, there’s Jonathon Coulton. Yes, he’s the guy that wrote that song about the zombies. And..uh…Wil Wheaton. He was in that movie, Stand By Me. And…uh…John Hodgeman. Do you watch The Daily Show? He’s an occasional correspondent. No. Okay. Um…You know that commercial? I’m a Mac and I’m a PC? He was the PC. No? And then it would all break down and we were right back to our starting point of Nerds! People just like us! Nerds! On a boat! With singing. And also a boat!

But preparing for the cruise – even reading stories about the first cruise, and hanging out on the forums, watching the excitement grow as everyone else – all these strangers from the internet that would soon become 541 of our new friends – wasn’t enough to remotely prepare us for how amazing the trip was. There were fezzes. There were mustaches. There was gaming, and cookies, and singing waiters with Baked Alaska. There were a whole lot of extremely confused elderly people who couldn’t quite figure out who we all were and why we were on their boat with them. There were random zombies, and karaoke, and fancy pants, and an event sign that turned into the most awesome Word Jumble game ever. I am still working out how best to summarize all of it, and even though I didn’t take very many pictures, I still need to go through them and get them all edited and uploaded. So eventually I will tell you all the rest of it – the thing about the dolphins, and about how we met our very first Sea Monkey, and how we made Jonathon Coulton giggle, and on and on. But this is what you’re going to get for now. A placeholder. Nerds! On a boat! I am still not quite sure how else to explain.

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