The Keenspace Meetup in Washington D.C. July 2005

Phil Kahn’s narration of his experience at the Keenspace Meetup (shindig, gathering, what-have-you) in Washington D.C., starting at Union Station. The original proposal to meet came way back in September 2004. Our story begins on Saturday, July 9th, 2005, sometime in the morning…

The day started with me getting up out of bed much later than I wanted. After going to sleep much later than I wanted. I dashed out the door to get to the metro station, silently repeating curses under my breath.

No, sorry, that’s a lie.

I got dressed and waited for my mother to drive me to the metro station, first stopping at the local vintage store to pick up a way-too-late father’s day gift for my dad. It was an Antique Pink Floyd Tour Poster. Regardless, I got on the metro and sped along with the train to Union Station.

No, that was another lie.

I got on the metro and waited, frustrated, for the train to start moving. Called T Campbell up and asked him to tell everyone I was running late, only to learn that he was as well. The train sat, delayed for at least 10 minutes. Finally, arriving at Union Station, I began furiously searching for Gate A, so I could proceed to furiously search for the KeenSpacers. Arriving at Gate A, I saw… no one. Just people waiting around Gate A with bags in tow, obviously waiting for their train. I call T up again and tell him that I can’t find anyone. So he and I began searching at opposite ends, shouting “KEENSPACE!” at all who could hear. We finally bumped into each other at Gate G, and then decided to go back to Gate A.

I was beside myself with disappointment at both not being able to find the KeenSpacers and not getting to use Star Wars references to tell T when I discovered them (“Echo Base, this is Rogue 2. I’ve found them, repeat: I’ve found them”).

Finally, our dismay of finding no one led us to call out “KEENSPACE!” at Gate A. And sure enough they were there… the whole time. The very people I chalked off to being ordinary travelers. All 7 of them. Some coming in from the local area, some coming from afar. A stinging lesson in my own ignorance: once again it was proven to me that things are not always what they seem.

Soon after, Kelly “STrRedWolf” Price showed up, out of breath. Poor guy missed his earlier bus, and he was over an hour late. So we meeted, and greeted, and gabbed briefly on the subject of webcomics, printing webcomics, and other such webcomics gossip. The youngest of the group remained silent, for reasons I don’t know.

[From left to right: Milla, Erin, Tim, T, Meegan, Keir, Rachel, Kelly, and Isumiyoki
(Absent: Phil, because he took the picture)]

Then we decided to figure out what the hell we were going to do for the day. The original idea was to pile into the Union Station theater and watch Fantastic 4, but then someone suggested hitting the Mall and the Smithsonian instead. Maybe a better use of time, especially since some of us came all the way out from New York and Massachusetts. This floored me, on one count because they took a train all the way from their homes just to meet a few other webcomic folks and on another count because I felt like they were in for a hefty disappointment. There weren’t too many of us, but everyone seemed to be having fun anyway.

Milla had to bail to Silver Spring, so unfortunately she couldn’t follow us. We hit the Natural History Museum for a while and looked at Dinosaur Bones, with me making terrible jokes about “T Campbell versus T Rex, who’d win?” while Isukiyomi took her own pictures (and Rachel did her best to avoid all cameras… I suppose she’s a vampire). Just to note, Isukiyomi had come all the way from New York, just to be there.

[T wonders why some blurry dude is standing next to him.
Quote, “I don’t want any of that filter nonsense to get on

At some point we had misplaced our Keir and Meegan. Later, I learned that they had to duck out to pick up their son from the Zoo. Apparently the chap got to see the panda give birth. Which, while magical to us humans, must be quite embarrassing to the Panda shoving offspring out of her reproductive organs.

Eventually we sat down for a break in the geology room, and I noticed Tim and Erin from Massachusetts with a look of boredom. Being the type who wants to ensure that everyone has a good time, I asked them what was wrong, and they informed me that they’d already been here, earlier in the week. “Oh no!” I exclaimed, “You should’ve said something, we would’ve done something else!” They mentioned they hadn’t seen the Insect Zoo yet, so we made our way there with much haste and excitement. I think this was the point where T had to leave.

In the insect zoo, we had a wild time seeing all the bugs.

Okay, that was yet another lie.

Everyone else had a wild time seeing all the bugs. Bugs creep the ever-loving shit out of me. I’m very squeamish about them. I generally don’t trust anything that has an exoskeleton. The one exhibit of all in the insect zoo that astonishes me the greatest is the “Bugs in our homes” diorama. You know, the one that shows a bloody great cross-section of the average nuclear home, along with little lights and signs that proudly display what types of vermin are living under your floorboards, in your closet, behind the sink, and on your dog? How anyone can look at their house the same after that, I’ll never know. Erin proved herself the bravest of all humankind by actually holding a giant hissing cockroach in her hand. Her hand! I encouraged everyone to vacate the bug exhibit, post haste.

That led us through the Greenland Cultural exhibit, where we saw lots of photos and drawings of and by the Inuit people, indigenous to Greenland. After that was, I believe, when I had to duck out and head back to Silver Spring for dinner and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I bid everyone adieu, plugged my website, and made my way back home, as it were. A good time had by all, indeed.

Tim and Kelly, lounging on the Metro

Phil, hamming it up for the camera, while Kelly, Tim, and Erin are not amused by his antics
(as well they should not have been)

(Credits: Pictures not take by Phil were taken by Isumiyoki.)

Other recaps by STrRedWolf and in the Keenspace forums.

Phil Kahn, the renowned slacker, hypocrite and pseudo-cartoonist has an unfortunate bout of ambition that exceeds his own abilities. Evidence of which can be found on his oft-neglected webcomic, The Hoojie Crew, his pretentious criticism site, I’m Just Saying, and his eager young group of rag-tag freedom fighters and webcomic artists on Biscuit Press. If you ever meet him, whatever you do, don’t get him started on Webcomics. He won’t shut up. Ever.