Maybe a little too excited?
For the final app question Harry asked, "Seriously... What would you do in George Miller's WASTELAND and how cool would your car be?" This was my response.
For the bonus video we were instructed to watch PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE then sing a bit from the film, but include a lightsaber. Brian and I went in together.
My photo for the yearbook and ID badge, a la PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE.
Though this did involve a bit of trouble.
Harry tweeted out the evolution of the BNAT 17 poster by the actual Rob Liefeld.
The finished version was pretty damn cool.
When we were sending in our apps some BNATters ran into problems.
I mean, you hear of these things happening, you know, in some far off place in the world like the Middle East, South East Asia, a former Soviet Bloc country, or Compton.
But you never really think it will happen to you.
What would have happened if old Ben Kenobi had fucked with Luke the way Harry did with poor Brian? But it all worked out in the end.
When I picked up Brian at four in the morning he was clearly ready for an adventure.
Into the darkness we went.
The excitement was already building as we parked the car at LAX.
Merry Geek-Christmas Eve.
The airport food options were less than appetizing at 5 a.m.
Brian was quite proud of his LAX breakfast sandwich.
Not so much with my apple.
A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do
Our plane's pilot.
Our plane's wing... with something STILL OPEN?!?!
The Nightmare at 0 Thousand Feet!
Off we went.
A little tea for a relaxing flight.
My seatmate's dirty sneaker up on the wall for an annoying flight.
Suffice it to say, Brian enjoyed his window seat away from Dirty Sneaker Guy.
Evidently, sometime since last December, Austin-Bergstrom decided to move the car rental facilities out of the terminal, making our rental experience a bit less convenient.
Looks like Disney was building a model for a new Death Star.
By 11:15 we had picked up our $12 Priceline whip...
...then floored it into town.
Well, except for a little traffic. Jesus, I thought we left L.A. Don't these people know we have an urgent appointment at Franklin Barbecue?
Dshanya Reese had commandeered a front-row spot, but at the rate we were going she was going to be long gone.
This is madness. (photo credit: Guy Copelevel)
Madness? THIS. IS. FRANKLIN! (photo credit: Isaac Moreno)
We finally rolled to the puzzlement of many, the hugs of Andy Howell, and the beautiful faces of a bunch of BNATters.
I see Lisa Rucker, Sarabeth Segers, Jessica Griffis, Andy Howell, David Jaffe, Jeremy Stomberg, Omar Salinas, Jason Gorber, Chris and Natasha Moore, and Josh, Emily and Desmond Alder. And somehow Brian is standing in front of all of them in line.
I love this place.
Who knew Heaven had a menu?
When Emily greeted Jason Dubinsky, young Desmond took the opportunity to sample the local brand of breast milk.
Jamie Paisley, my man in Michigan!
Speaking of tasty meat...
Franklin brisket is sooo good.
That's enough food for...
Haha, just kidding. She's sharing with Sarabeth and Lisa.
It's GO TIME!
What a piece of work is the Tipsy Texan, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!
The beauty of the world, the paragon of barbecue....
And Imaa eat the fuck out this bitch!
The Tipsy Texas: Good enough to try to steal it from your friend during a photo op.
Unless you're Jason, then nobody is getting near it.
There were enough remnants from my Tipsy Texan to make another sandwich. I love my life!
Jessica offered up the 2/3 of her Tipsy Texan she couldn't finish. I love Mississippi girls!
BNATters bonding over lunch.
These are my people.
Then Lola and Bruce made an appearance.
Isn't he the cutest little tyke you've ever seen? Also, Bruce is growing into a handsome young man, too.
Jason found himself deep in a philosophical debate while waiting in line. I believe it was something surrounding the question that if the Judeo/Christian God is both omniscient and omnipotent, how can Man truly have Free Will considering the premise of predestination? Or maybe they were simply talking about the Flintstones.
We agreed to follow Jason home to drop of his car so he could continue the day with us. But if you look closely you will see that his windshield wipers are up. Why?
At a red light I hopped out and quickly lifted them up.
Jason was less than amused.
Like a boss, Jason.
He drove like that for several blocks before finally fixing them at another red light...
...with me honking my horn full blast behind him, of course.
Then we hauled ass to our next destination.
It is a period of civil war in Northern Austin.
Our sweet Nissan Juke.
Some BNATters decided to meet up here for the some science fun.
We heard there was a planetarium show so we were joined by Sarabeth, Jen Bryan, Lisa, Scott Pepper, Jessica, Heidi Zarse and Amy. Jeremy, Chris and Natasha missed the photo op because they were of playing with science stuff.
Jason knows a thing or two about pumping heat.
Pedaling like I was at the Tour de Austin.
Amy Stomberg hitched a ride on Jason's leg power.
But we were here for the Moon Dome. What is this awesome thing called the Moon Dome, you ask?
It's an awesome inflatable tent...
...filled with awesome folding chairs.
Awesome RECLINING folding chairs, that is.
Yep, the Moon Dome.
Getting comfy for the show.
A selfie of Jason's selfie. They should have called this the Inception Dome.
The show begins.
Part of this was essentially a long Google commercial.
But we did get a cool constellation show.
Even though Guy and David missed the show they took the place of Chris and Natasha for this awesome group photo.
The drive back to town was a smidge slower.
We finally checked into our hotel so Brian could snooze for a while.
Scott talked up the burgers at Hopdoddy so this is where we headed for dinner.
The joint was hopdodding.
We were joined by Jen Bryan, Dominic Dobrzensky, Desirae and Brandon Toohey and Rod Nunley.
I was so hungry I could have mass murdered those burgers.
Jason rolled in a bit late as usual.
We were also joined by Jen's friend.
My choice was the Goodnight/Good Cause: Angus Beef, Tillamook Cheddar, Hickory BBQ Sauce, Caramelized Onions, Sliced Jalapeno, Hickory BBQ, and Sassy Sauce.
It didn't survive long.
Scott's recommendation was perfect.
I'm just happy to be here. (photo credit: Dominic Dobrzensky)
Next door was this place.
It was like we were caught in a geek tractor beam.
The BNAT pre-party was at Pinballz again, and Romeo Azar and Angela Behm were the first people we saw.
I tried to get some candid shots.
Amy would have none of that bullshit.
Following the crowd...
...took me to the man of the weekend. Harry was busy holding court.
Meghan Murphy and Brian were catching up.
The Bowlesbys and Rod.
The Energizer Bunny was still going.
In Shakespeare's first draft this was Romeo's move on Juliet. Shakespeare later thought better of it and went with a sonnet. Our modern Romeo is more of an originalist.
We finally broke through the crowd to get a photo with Harry. He usually screws up our photo with some wise-ass move but this time it was just a nice smi-- wait a minute...
Samuel Griffin and Leigh Harris were here.
Samuel's Secret Santa was Jessica Cargill.
Meghan and Jamie personify the Buttnumbathon friendship.
Who is this masked luchador?
Holy Nacho Libre, it's Derek Stuntrocker Mahr!
Jeremy and BNAT newbie Doron Kipper.
The meet and greet continued.
It was great seeing people again.
For many it had been a full year.
I got to talk with Mark Roma. (photo credit: Candice Roma)
Chris and Natasha Moore, the Brangelina of BNAT.
Courtney Stollon, this dude I keep seeing every year but can't remember his name, and Rebecca Elliot.
Josh Emmanuel and Oya Bulak.
Brian, Leigh and Patricia Knowles.
Giovanni and Brian Behm.
The usual suspects.
Natasha, Griffin and I had a great conversation about being a teacher.
Harry, Steve Prokopy, Aaron Mutter and Ed Kelly conversed away from the madding crowd.
Just preaching the Gospel of Tipsy Texan.
Master Desmond got the Harry Knowles photo treatment. (photo credit: Emily Alder)
Bernie Johnson made like young Anikan.
Brian still talking to Meghan and Windy.
Doron was one of the few that actually played pinball.
Josh and Oya were two more.
Perrin and Jennifer Klumpp spent some time with Scott Wheeler.
On our way out of Pinballz we were nearly killed by a vampire hiding in the bushes that looked remarkably like Jerry Bjelojac.
The next morning, at our Super 8 breakfast we had good food (not really)...
...good decorations (I guess)...
...good company (absolutely).
Then we headed to BNAT 17. I think we had the wrong Alamo Drafthouse.
On our way through Downtown we made time for a Willie Nelson selfie.
We asked a passing stranger to help us out with a wider view.
The driveway to Geek Mecca.
The parking structure of Geek Mecca.
The BNAT check-in line.
ID badges firmly around our necks.
Sadly, Tim League would not be joining us this year because he was out making the world a better place for film lovers.
Joe Green and Kim Van Hyning.
Brian, Griffin, Tony Salvaggio and Dshanya chatted a bit.
Elijah Wood (and his swag) killed a few minutes with Harry.
Jen was quite excited about her light-up boots.
Brian found the Mississippi girls hanging outside.
Mark and Candice Roma volunteered to hand out swag.
I delivered Harry's birthday present, a custom-made quilt made by my saint-of-a-wife by request.
My wife did not, however, make Derek's shirt.
Lee Van Wallene wished Harry a happy BNAT.
Kristen Bell, the woman behind all the BNAT magic.
As the drizzle began people took refuge under the Highball awning.
Brian, Josh and I were ready.
As was Chris Calilung and his sweet Chewie onesie.
John Carpenter and Patricia were too sexy for the camera.
"Let's get this motherfuckin' show on the road before I fuck shit up," thought Guy. (I'm guessing.)
ATL in the house! I was supremely disappointed that I lost my front row privileges, missing out on sharing an armrest with Bob Jones, Bernie Johnson, Glenn Leavell, Jen Hoyt, Ed Kelly and Darrell Golliher for 24 hours.
Derek was ready to roll.
Harry the Carpathian?
Who loved this more than Meghan, Amy and Heidi?
David Jaffe, baby!
Smoldering, sexy sensory overload thanks to Chris, Chris Shatraw and Lee.
Brian was so excited and he just couldn't hide it.
BNATters were settling in.
John Osmon and Dshanya.
Steve and Simeon Peebler had their sweet corner back seats.
The center back row was composed of Dominic, Josh, Sarabeth, Jessica, and Lisa.
I finally caught up with Melissa Kaerchner for a selfie.
Theater 4, always with Holly.
The BNAT 17 theater marquee.
Harry offered his opening words to the 17th Buttnumbathon.
Brian, David and I took up the other back corner.
Then it was BNAT time!
After the first film, GUNGA DIN, it was fresh air time (or smoky air, if you so chose).
Windy's Bela Lugosi eyes were mesmerizing! (photo credit: Aaron Mutter)
Hanging in the lobby.
The Alamo's STAR WARS backdrop.
The sweet Vader tree and Wampa rug would soon make a backdrop to many a fun photo.
Friendful Windy. (photo credit: Windy Bowlesby)
Aaron and Giovanni.
A BNAT group.
Harry chatted with the front row before the next film.
Mark and Candice. (photo credit: Aaron Mutter)
By the time we came outside again it had rained a bit.
This did not, however, dampen our spirits.
The Hallway to Heaven.
The Alamo lobby during a break.
Night brought the beautiful neon.
Brought to you in amazing Panavision.
The Atlanta crew stretched their legs.
Steve and Jay enjoyed the break.
Melissa captured BNAT for posterity.
Taron Egerton was in the house to introduce EDDIE THE EAGLE.
David had a question but they couldn't see us in the nosebleed section.
After a Q&A Taron hung out for a while, chatting and taking photos with fans.
Taron never knew what hit him.
The rare Romacorn was sighted.
Windy, Andy and Jason.
Brian made like E.T. and called home.
My favorite neon sign in the world.
Between the reactions of Josh and Windy it appears BNAT 17 was coming along just fine.
Break time is chat time.
While I got the shot from this direction...
...Jamie Paisley got it from the other.
Just chilling with Brian, Jamie and Josh.
Melissa handed out chameleons/geckos/lizards that she had received with Pinballz tickets the night before.
Then came a special event.
What's this? A BNAT wedding you say?
With Harry Knowles officiating and Elijah Wood as the ring-bearer? Holy geek storm! Congrats Lola and George!
Someone built a Phantasm Sphere drone to zoom around the room. It was pretty cool.
Epic wedding album keeper. (photo credit: Rod Nunley)
During the next break the rain was coming down too hard for anybody to go outside.
I use the term "anybody" loosely.
Everything you need to know about Windy can be found in this gloriously joyful photo.
Everyone else stayed inside and talked it up amongst themselves.
The awesome posters that line the Alamo Drafthouse.
During the screening of (a terrible print of) ANGRY RED PLANET some of my favorite people took a break in the lobby.
Hey kids, do you know the new Yoga move called the Sideward Guy? It's all the rage.
My selfie with Dannie Knowles was photobombed by Aaron and Giovanni.
Windy and Brian, soon to be starring in...
Let's take the next 17 photos and enjoy the Wonderful World of Windy seen through her selfies.
Be carful out there kids, BNAT kills.
Yes, even break time is an awesome part of BNAT.
Barbara Kennedy, Melissa and Debbie Cerda.
If a BNAT wedding wasn't enough, our own Cargill came to us pre-taped from England where he was co-writing (with Scott Derrickson) the new DOCTOR STRANGE starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It was really fun watching him on the big screen, especially when Cumberbatch did an awesomely hilarious impersonation of Cargill.
Cumberbatch is known for his great impersonations of celebrities so add Cargill to that list.
Cargill tweeted this a couple days later.
I caught up with Perrin during the break, with Creepy Brian making an appearance.
Then came the sweet Wampa photos.
Oya posed. (photo credit: Oya Bulak)
As did Giovanni. (photo credit: Aaron Mutter)
Then came Jerry's move that so enthralling...
...I had to join him. (photo credit: Jerry Bjelojac)
But the best was Windy, and not just because she absolutely slayed it... (photo credit: Windy Bowlesby)
...but because Rod, from across the lobby, caught her absolutely slaying it. (photo credit: Rod Nunley)
What's the strangest part of this photo? Hint: It's not the two grown men in wookie onseies.
It took me until the end of BNAT 17 to finally get a selfie with the always-rambunctious Tony Vespe!
Butt-Numb-A-Thon 17 in all its glory.
The line for BNAT 17 shirts was long, but filled with the most awesome people on the planet.
JJ Weber looks happy just to be here.
I wanted to point out to Meghan that I was proudly wearing one of her creations:
Breen: Hacking into government and corporate systems since 2013!
Mike Saulters has the coolest stache in the room.
Looking good, Harry! (photo credit: Jamie Paisley)
After nearly 48 hours of searching I finally found Courtney Hazlett so I could give her this sweet Hermione wand as her Secret Santa gift.
"His love for Frodo rose above all other thoughts, and forgetting his peril he cried aloud: 'I'm coming, Mr. Frodo!'"
The Mississippi girls survived another one.
Brian said his thank yous and goodbyes to Harry before we headed out.
So Jason Dubinsky kept yapping about how P. Terry's was better than In-N-Out. Sacrilege, I know.
We decided to test his madness before we left town.
This place has a more varied menu, but when you're there for the burger the rest is irrelevant (I mean, c'mon, chicken burger? Really?)
Ever the rebel, Brian did partake in an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie...
...while still wearing his BNAT badge.
Their lemonades were smaller though the taste was the same.
P. Terry's fries were a bit better.
But the cheese in the double burger was barely melted, becoming a bit of a distraction.
Brian thought the food was passable.
While I thought In-N-Out's Double Double was the better burger, P. Terry's offering was far superior to Whataburger, so there's that.
Meanwhile, the real hero of the story is Brian Behm, who, for a second consecutive year, went to Barton Springs for a post-BNAT dip. This guy is awesome. (photo credit: Angela Behm)
Brian always seems to have some malfunction at the airport, and this time was no different:
He forgot his BNAT 17 poster at the check-in kiosk and had to hurry back to collect it.
As we settled in and waited for our plane Brian leafed through the BNAT 17 yearbook.
I posted this photo on Facebook, which elicited some comments on Brian's hand placement.
A short wile later Brian did some of his own FB posting, which is also an appropriate end to our story.