When I returned from wedü with 9 people in tow, there were already 20 people sitting down.
People who were at dinner who were not at the earlier parts of the party: beginning, nikkiana+Matt, none of whom I had met before, as well as nysscubus, thunderbattle, Jim, formerly of wedü, and his girlfriend Jess, jpallan's parents, and my parents.
I grabbed a seat next to Ashley, who I have known online for almost three years and had never met before now. I gave her backrubs and neckrubs for most of the evening, while not wandering around and gladhanding the locals. I didn't talk much, because it was noisy and crowded, but I did give a speech, that went something like this:
I'm amazed. You people seem to have all showed up to celebrate with me, something I'm extremely grateful for. Many of you I've met before, some of you haven't, almost all of you are people I met and knew primarily from the internet. Some of you have come 20 miles to be here, some of you have come more than 1000. All of you must care about me to some extent to be here, and I'm extremely grateful for it, as well as being absolutely amazed that there are this many of you who actually even know who I am.
Some of you know each other, some of you don't. I won't introduce everyone here, because I don't think that it would really be worthwhile: None of you would remember who the others are in a few minutes anyway. However, there is one very special set of people you need to notice here today: they're right over here to my left, and without them, I wouldn't be here today. These are my parents, and I'm glad to have them here, and I hope you are too.
Throughout dinner, I went around and gave everyone hugs and thanked them for coming at least one or two times. The people were all wonderful, even when we ran out of chairs and had to eat in shifts. There was much talking and enjoying and all in all, everyone was just so awesome. There was good food, an awesome waitress (Yes, there was only one, for 31 people). The children were well behaved, the people all got along relatively well, and it was just an awesome experience to have that many people sharing in greeting me for my birthday.
Dinner was just an all in all wonderful experience, and I was glad so many people were there for me. Jess did a wonderful job of organizing everything to get all the people there, and it was great to have such a crowd.