If Gatsby were a technogeek...
written 2000-02-18 13:44:52

It's been awhile. Sorry, everyone.  I've been alternately busy and
exhausted, so I haven't been writing. Furthermore, Netscape decided to
eat a bunch of my email (and I don't even USE Netscape as an email
client!), so if you haven't gotten a response to a letter...sorry.

So let's catch up on my time in New York. Stop me if you've heard this.

First things first. I need to talk about Slashdot weenies.

Slashdot is a website, (http://www.slashdot.org/  "News for nerds. Stuff
that matters.") full of geeky stuff. Probably everyone that reads this
site is VERY fanatical about technology and/or buys our
games. Conversely, a lot of them are young and/or stupid.

There are people that were considered geeks in high school, and many of
them have either become rich in the computer industry or gunned down
their fellow students before graduation. Lots of the people who frequent
Slashdot fall into a sad third category: The Lusers. (I guess that's
short for "Lame User," but it's a frequent term, whatever the exact
definition might be.) Think of the jackasses that didn't shower much, and
didn't understand about computer technology so much as they played a lot
of Nintendo. Potentially (but not necessarily) smart yet irreparably
socially underdeveloped lifetime 15 year-olds: Slashdot weenies. You know
the type. Everyone knows a Slashdot weenie...Frequently Slashdot weenies
start out using Windows, but graduate onto using Linux, and find
instantly that this admits them access to a fraternity of angry holy
warriors that have nothing better to do than fling insults at Microsoft.

(Hint to any potential Slashdot weenies: Microsoft doesn't care.)

The reason I tell you all this is that Slashdot.org had a booth at
LinuxWorld. Not really a booth, but a stage. And there were Slashdot
weenies gathered about the area, wearing #!/usr/bin/perl t-shirts and
crying out for death to Sun Microsystems for their mishandling of
Java. (Bernd calls these guys the "GNUjaheddih." I'll explain that
later.) Some, from what I could tell, CAMPED in front of this stage all
weekend on the beanbag chairs that were placed in front of it.

Why? To worship Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda and Jeff "Hemos" Bates.

Rob and Jeff are about the same age as me. They run Slashdot. They're
worth probably a few million dollars, now, since Andover.net bought
Slashdot, and VA bought Andover.

Good for them. But they are just guys, and (at best) technology
journalists of questionable ethics. Still, lusers hang on their every
word. In Atlanta last October I watched a guy almost wet his pants when
talking to Rob. It's kinda frightening.

So the whole plane ride and first day of setup for the expo, we all joked
about the imminent arrival of the Slashdot weenies.

And arrive they did. And I discovered very quickly that not only does
Slashdot have Slashdot weenies, but Loki has Loki weenies.

So I spent a good deal of LinuxWorld in the SuSE booth. They wanted
someone from Loki showing off Quake III running with their software
underneath, so that duty fell to me. And what I discovered is that most
people that wandered by, even if they don't play games, still found
conversation about the technologies and what Loki does to be
interesting. So that was cool.

However, the lesser humans, the Loki weenies, have a different slant on
communication. This one guy came up to me, saw I was wearing a Loki
shirt, and (no shit) dropped to his knees saying "I worship you guys."


So I'm like, "Get up, kid, I'm not a holy relic."

Other than that, there wasn't too much to the show. Pimp the game, play
the game, piss away SuSE's money, since they were footing the bill for me
being here. And piss it away I did. Nothing really beats a 150 dollar
dinner in Times Square, except for a 150 dollar dinner in Times Square
with a non-itemized receipt.

A little more Linux social commentary: There's a company called LinuxOne,
who is greatly hated in the Slashdot realm, because they are more or less
taking MandrakeSoft's Linux distribution, changing the name on it,
selling it (which is legal in this case, but  unethical)...and they are
going public. Lots of pissed off weenies.

So I got some stickers from the Mandrakesoft booth. Their logo is a
purple top hat on the traditional Linux penguin, so I took one of these
top hat stickers and managed to stick it on the head of the penguin on
the LinuxOne package. I figured it was a political statement. I even
managed to get a picture of it with a digital camera. Figuring this would
be a prime piece of trash journalism for Slashdot, I go running for the
Andover.net stage.

And as I'm about to reach the weenie compound, a guy on stage with a
microphone yells "Holy shit! Ryan Gordon works for LOKI?!"

I look down at my hockey jersey, which is emblazoned with the company
logo in big letters, and wonder how this guy knew my name.

And I look back up to see Emmett, one of slashdot's authors. Right about
now I'm considering what a rediculously small world it is, since while I
had never met this cyberspace Emmett, I had met the real life Charles
Emmett Plant, whom I went to junior high and high school with.

Now the Chuck Plant I remember had a huge problem with truth. That's not
to say he's a dirty liar...he's actually a little better and worse at the
same time. It's more like he would construct a fantasy world around
himself. He'd tell me that Warner Brothers had hired him to do cartoon
voices, and that he did the music for the video game Wolfenstein 3D. This
was in 8th grade. Ironically, years later, -I- was the one who eventually
did some work on Wolf3D. I've met others in my life that have this same
pathological need to make stuff up. This doesn't bother me, because if
you can distinguish truth from lie, it all adds up to a good story,

Anyhow, here he was walking off the Slashdot stage (and if he had ever
told me he works for Slashdot I'd've assume it to be a fib), and we're
walking towards the Loki booth, and he's telling how he's known Scott
Draeker for years, and Michael Vance (a programmer at Loki) and he used
to hang out in Philly, yadda yadda yadda...and I'm thinking that I
haven't seen this guy in six years and he's already spinning a fantasy
world for me.

So when we get back to the Loki booth, the first thing Scott Draeker does
is say, "Emmett, where've you been?" And tosses him a Loki jersey that
says, sure enough, "EMMETT".

Whoa. I'd've expected Chuck to be living in a gutter somewhere,
roleplaying and avoiding showering for weeks at a time. Or to be dead. Or

As of that Thursday morning, when VA Linux Systems announced they had
purchases Andover.net, this guy who dropped out of tenth grade was worth
over a quarter of a million dollars. I would have never predicted that
Chuck would stumble into the role of the geek who became rich at 23 for
being a technology advocate at the right place and right time.

Some of the people on this list actually know Chuck through various
channels. For those people, I will pause now to allow you to clean up the
shit in your pants.

Oh, and your moment of Zen: "Blame Canada," the song from South
Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut...is up for an Oscar. Best original
song. I read that on Slashdot. Hah.

I will wrap up the New York stuff next time, and again, sorry to those
that haven't gotten responses to email. I am reading them, but I've been
somewhat overwhelmed. Keep writing.


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