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Monday, 29 August
Mario, Mario (Sung To The Tune Of "Radio Radio")

Friday night, the wife and I attended a wee party--a friend of mine from an exotic country called Kah-Nah-Dah was visiting (superhero enthusiasts will recognize this as the home country of T'challa, the Black Panther), and so a small group of us gathered at our friends' house out in Wallingford, mainly to drink and play video games.

You can see where this is going. House! Of! Geeks! Or, if Rob Zombie were directing a film about it, House of 1000 2 Geeks.

Aw, I don't mean anything by it. I'm kind of a geek. Or, rather, I would be if I were much smarter than I actually am. What do you call a geek who isn't very bright and in particular knows nothing about computers? I need to know. How about "pud"? In the house of geeks, the pud had come to drink.

I brought my WORLD FAMOUS Bloody Mary mix, which, I'm sad to say, I did not do a bang-up job with--I made it a little too spicy, as I was rushing myself when preparing it. However, the geeks were gracious about drinking them, which made my pud heart warm.

They showed me their geek accoutrements, such as a sheet of old promotional stickers for OK Cola that had been lovingly framed. Internet cables snaked orangely across the floor; these connected their computers to a little gadget they had built called the "steal-a-ma-jig," a device that hunts out wifi signals for them to poach on. It points through the blinds of their porch door. I was cautioned not to open the blinds so much that the neighbors could see their steal-a-ma-jig, which made me laugh. "Honey . . . those kids across the street have a rectangle pointed at us!" "Damn. I'm calling the FBI."

The geeks in question, J. and A., are really fine fellows, and I certainly do not mean to run them down. They are actually very much more socially attuned than we have come to think of the average geek. J., for example, claims to have a girlfriend who "goes to school in Nebraska" or some such story, and we all gently let this happy fiction pass unchallenged. Nebraska. Whatever little story gets him through the day. Sure, J.! Nebraska! Third moon of Mars! Whatever!

A. actually does have a girlfriend, a very charming tiny little woman who goes by T. She is also a robot, which A. wouldn't like to learn that everyone knows about, but it's pretty obvious. T. has a black belt, for instance, but steadfastly refuses to kick A.'s face around the room, no matter how much we all beg her, which clearly indicates some sort of programming constraint. I mean, I wish A. would just be comfortable enough to admit he built a combat robot girlfriend, but until he is, we just have to be good enough friends to let him pretend otherwise.

Anyway, it was a nice leisurely evening, and after a few drinks, we settled around the warm light of the TV screen and played us some Mario Kart. We were here joined by J. and P., a couple of other nice geeks who took extreme pleasure in kicking the everloving shit out of the wife and I at this weird game. J. and P. are both computer beasts; J. recently accepted some new position at some horrid company dedicated to ruining our lives, and P. is another computer beast who recently quit his job and subsists only on the lichens that grow in his bathroom, so there was some tension in the room.

Anyway. Mario Kart is a deeply weird racing game--to be honest, I'm not sure Mario even shows up in the fucking thing--where you race your choice of weirdmobiles around fantastic tracks throwing all sorts of nonsense ordnance at the other racers. The characters are a baffling mix of princesses, dancing tuxedoed men and what seemed to me like various tubers, and as you race along, you fling things like seashells and baskets of dead fish at one another until, inevitably, at the end, I lose. For a while, the others took great joy in watching me lose, by vast margins, but after a while, you could tell that they were getting a little irritated waiting for me to laboriously complete a course that they had finished half an hour ago. I devised a little death-howl to amuse them every time I drove my car off the track into the sea or into some nameless void--AAAAAAIIIIIIIIEE!!--but that quickly palled after they noticed that I did this approximately every ten seconds or so. Then they pulled out a game cartridge labeled "Mario Autopsy Derby," and the wife and I decided that we'd had it--especially after the Bloody Marys.

And really, there you have it. We did have a very good time, for a couple of lowly puds. One day I hope to finally achieve geek status. Don't get me wrong--I surely do love my wife. But it would be killer to have one of those combat robot girlfriends. I guess that's not very realistic. Pretty Nebraska, you know?

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Ooh. OK Cola promo stickers. I still have a sealed bottle of that stuff around somewhere. Killer packaging, but the soda itself sucked. Big time. And yet, you'll notice I bought another one, just to hang onto the package.

Comment number: 005991   Posted by: czeltic girl on August 30, 2005 01:56 PM from IP:

Um, I hate to break this to you, but your friends aren't geeks. They're nerds.

Comment number: 005992   Posted by: lefty_grrrl on August 31, 2005 10:04 AM from IP:

That is such an awesome game, but I never played it drunk. Should try it one day.

Comment number: 005993   Posted by: panajane on August 31, 2005 05:04 PM from IP:

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