Mittens 2007: Melting the Limit, by Erin Robinson

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Part One: A funny thing happened on the way from the forums

On the first day of Mittens, I was nervous. Friends had teased me about spending a week in the woods with internet strangers. My parents thought I was at a “game convention.” And perhaps most troubling, I was about to bring my boyfriend into my strange little world. Four days later, as I watched him stumble headfirst into a jacuzzi wearing a makeshift powdered wig, I knew my fears had been for nothing.

Quite simply, this was the most enjoyable vacation I’d ever had in my life. If Chris Jones were to say, “Next year we’ll be having Mittens: Antarctica,” I’d be like, “I’ll pack my snowshoes.”

Part Two: The Sunny Beaches of Canada

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I’ve lived in Canada for most of my life, but even I was surprised at how beautiful our location was. The cabin was spacious and full of delightful new-age kitsch (Snowflakes have emotions? Thanks, Dr. Emoto!). The nearby woods sheltered friendly animals and illegal fireworks alike. And, I was surprised to discover, we were a short drive away from a gorgeous sandy beach that harboured an honest-to-god shipwreck.

It was like what summer camp should have been: no supervision and freely flowing alcohol. Over the course of the week we did all sorts of things that made my inner child pee her pants: we made sandcastles, tin can phones, s’mores, forts, and bonfires. We played with bubble pipes, frisbees, horseshoes, swingsets, blocks (okay, pixels), and sparklers. Scummbuddy even organized an arts and crafts event where we turned road pylons into DOTT tentacles. I can’t say I wasn’t impressed.

After the sun went down, our primary activities were making fires, previewing adventure games, and testing the limits of the hot tub. According to cabin regulations, any more than six in the jacuzzi was too dangerous to attempt, a rule we respected for about two days. However, once one person had “melted the limit” it got easier for others to hop in. After that…well, there are pictures.

Part Three: On the Road with Tom Hanks

Anyone familiar with Canadian culture understands our loyalty to Tim Horton’s, the coffee and donut chain that spans the entire country. Maybe this is why it was especially amusing that our European guests were unable to grasp the name. Tom Thornton’s? Timmy Ho’s? Horny Tim’s? I’ll forever treasure the memory of CJ saying, “We’re going to Tom Hanks then, are we?”

Our primary means of transport was a 12-seater van, also known as the Mittenmobile, the AGS Bus, or Take Us to WalMart. BaRoN drove us everywhere without complaint, a considerable feat since we were like kids on a field trip (but with no hot chaperones). Besides the party bus, JetXL shared a rental car with a few others, and Grundislav drove the group that would soon be known as “Team Foxhump.” Without getting into the details, the name came from Kevfop’s discovery of a questionable image in a children’s colouring book. By the way, for the sake of the easily offended, do not ask what happened to a certain Bible Colouring Book we found at the cabin.

Although we spent most of our time at the cabin, we took a day trip to Niagra Falls and beautiful, shiny Toronto. Niagra Falls contains what could be the world’s only Frankenstein-themed Burger King, as well as various haunted houses, offensive t-shirt retailers, and a bit of a waterfall. Toronto time was spent at the Ontario Science Centre (or as I like to call it, “Interact with Object: The Museum”) and the CN tower. Our European friends took the $20 journey to the top of the tower, while us locals were content to watch Disco launder his shirt in a fountain.

Part Four: The Mittens are Off

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Not even a week after we said our goodbyes, it’s not enough to say that I miss everyone already. Without expecting anything but a shared love of adventure games, I was pleasantly surprised to meet a group of smart, creative and uncommonly witty people. Kevfop has proudly displayed his “Clumsy Fop” video on his Facebook page, and everywhere we go things remind us of Mittens. Now if only I could get him to stop wearing the wig…

‘Till next year,

~The Ivy~

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