Teesside Snog Monster (jiggery_pokery) wrote,
Teesside Snog Monster
jiggery_pokery

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Return from the Mac... T00bage

1) The concept of MacT00bage as a name is a sophisticated one. T00b is a word used through many of the hipper parts of the Harry Potter fandom; it does not come directly from any of the books and its precise origin is appropriately enigmatic. The etymology I put most trust in has a prominent fan fiction writer called Rube (the name Kissaki is sometimes mentioned here too, for reasons I don't understand) describing herself as "Rube the t00b" for rhythmic value, only for other people to decide that they rather liked the sound of it. The word has a placeholder function with little specific meaning and appears in a number of grammatical forms. (Compare with "wibble", as used in Viz and 1980s-1990s ZX Spectrum magazines - though "wibble" now has specific connotations of confused distress within the HP fandom.) Most frequently "t00by" is an adjective used to mean "fannish" with connotations of light-hearted, amiable folly; by extension, t00bage refers to such behaviour en masse and MacT00bage such behaviour in Scotland. Clear?

Along similar lines, the general gimmick of replacing the letter "o" with the digit "0" probably can be dated back to the first writer of advertising posters who decided to write the word "look" and turn the letter "o"s into cartoon eyes. From there, famous paleo-USENET running-joke B1FF stereotypes the replacement of many letters with digits; from here, we get the so-called 1337-speak. Probably only one such word has made it to the mainstream, "w00t", which has apparently been described as an EverQuest contraction of "wonderful loot", though I prefer the school of thought that the word predates EverQuest and has popularity due to being a bastardised sort of miscellaneous joyful "whoop". It is easy - and, indeed, 00ber-t00by - to turn pretty much every appearance of "oo" into "00" by extension. A lot of that went on. It was very silly, in a good way.

2) The typical day tended to start s00n before n00n... er, shortly before midday with extended amiable queueing for the bathroom. It would tend to include most of:
  • a few trips to the local Tesco metro superstore for provisions

  • the play of lots of games (mostly Scrabble, a little Cluedo and more)

  • copious posting to LiveJournals and use of online messenger services

  • much home cooking

  • some unusually deep and precise discussion of comparisons of transatlantic culture for this compendious document

  • extremely copious smutty reference

  • considerable singing.
The most-sung pieces included Hallelujah (by Leonard Cohen and/or Rufus Wainwright - not too sure here, but practically to be found on the Shrek soundtrack) and approximately daily runthroughs of the entirety of "One More, With Feeling" (the musical Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode). Everyone else could sing bloody well. Listening to people spontaneously starting to sing well is a real joy, joining in when you can is even better, being someone who doesn't know the song in a room of singers is no fun. Nobody else's fault there but my own, of course - I shall have to proactively start listening to more things that are liked by the people I like, practicing them so that I can join in with confidence. (I had brought a CD that I know that at least leiabelle and I could have sung along to, but I didn't actually think of playing it...)

To be fair, there was no such thing as a typical day: the first three days were taken up with people arriving, which was the major way to divide the day. This also meant we spent time following people's travel plans - the best laid plans of mice and men coming up against weather difficulties, as discussed elsewhere. I spent today preparing to leave. By contrast, Friday and Saturday nights were relatively similar: those who were drinking consumed many glasses of potent potables and there was considerable off-the-wall discussion.

3) There was remarkably little discussion of Harry Potter and the fandom, though a highlight were our readthroughs of the puppet show versions of the first two movies, complete with accents. cygnusfap does a remarkably accurate impression of Vladimir Putin Dobby the House-Elf. There was a lot of Buffy, far more than I was expecting, but even those who hadn't taken any previous interest whatsoever in Buffy (of which I was not the only one!) weren't lost. There was considerable attention paid to the Once More With Feeling musical episode, which is a very impressive piece of television by any standards. There was a considerable amount of sung "Grr. Arg." taking place over the weekend, almost to catchphrase proportions. If I happened to be downloading mp3s and RealAudio files of this episode, then I might happen to be doing so from a source which doesn't have the end credits with that ace broom-dance music and the endcap. Help, help, hint, hint. ;-)

I really will have to start to pay attention to Buffy at some point. It does seem very much to be the in-thing at the moment, though I suspect it probably really was very early-2000s in practice. Oh well. What next?

4) The highs were considerable, obvious and just the ones you'd hope for from a good party: memories to last a lifetime, shared jokes and turns of phrase that could not have been cracked anywhere else in the world, fab new friends and at least two handsful of experiences that I haven't tried before. (See the icon!) Just the chance to share a specialist culture with pleasant, like-minded people is a wonderful thrill, even (especially!) if this manifests itself at as high low a level as making up silly words with l00ts 00f zer00es.

The low points come into two categories: those which are personal to me, being based on internal misgivings, failings and self-unconfidences, so things that I don't want to talk about so much and to which you probably don't want to listen. There were also a few low points which were personal to other people which it would be rude of me to share. There was a particular ninety-minute-long low point on Saturday afternoon with the breaking news. In short, it's clear that I still feel uncomfortable with parties at large - I find they can be stressful, difficult and dismaying in some ways. On the other hand, I suspect this is pretty universal, even if it's not widely discussed as being such. Still can't help feeling that despite the immense happinesses and high points, overall I might not have enjoyed the event as much as everyone else, or perhaps as much as I feel I should have done. Can't think that anything needs to be changed; certainly no fault of John as host or any of the other attendees, though.

Tip to myself for future reference: always take more blankets, floor coverings and other softeners than you think you'll need. While sleeping in oddree's cupboard - the cupboard beneath the stairs! - was great for privacy, I think I would recommend it to someone three or four inches shorter next time.

5) One game I played for the first time and enjoyed was Gnome Toss - a licensed product. Sadly it contains neither actual gnomes nor actual tossing, but it's a pretty good fast-action twitch-reflex playing card game. It's at heart a six-player card game. Each player starts with a chunk from a communal deck of cards and plays it a card at a time onto a central pile; the image on the card indicates who should play next, either through its background colour or through a pattern of arrows. Playing at the wrong time or failure to play at the right time (there's a neat "challenge card" buzzer-like mechanism for this) penalises you by adding the stack to your deck; the first player to play their entire deck out wins. Some card images trigger all players slapping a specific card of theirs on the deck or raising it above their heads, the last to lose taking the central stack by way of a forfeit.

As I suspect may be reasonably typical, I took a while to learn what was going on, losing the first game horribly and winning the second flat cold. This implies a learning curve of two games, which means that this isn't a game you're going to want to play for five hour-long games in a day, but it's ideal as a party game where you might play it for half an hour twice a year for three years, having the fun of relearning the ways to think about identifying what happens next each time. It feels like the equivalent of the traditional £1.99 computer game. While I always have a strike against games which are designed to find a loser and spit out a winner as a side-effect, I'd play this again. People who enjoyed Gnome Toss would probably also like Concerto Grosso, a vaguely similar card game which has sillier actions (it's all about a rabbit orchestra...) and slightly different twists to the gameplay.

6) Something I had considerable cause to think about over the weekend was my relationship with alcohol. Specifically, I don't touch the stuff at all, though everyone else did. Being so out of touch with the opinions of people I like and respect is always good cause to make you reexamine your assumptions and reasoning, so here are the reasons that spring to mind as to why I don't drink.
  • I don't want to get drunk. The concept of "enough to drink" often seems to be ill-defined and the substance has judgement-altering properties which may not facilitate you to make good judgements in this area. My reasons for not wanting to get drunk include avoidance of mishap and embarrassment, which are actually quite selfish, vain and untrusting. On the other hand, I don't regard "Dutch Courage" (the poor Dutch!) as a virtue; if you are too inhibited to do something sober, then it's probably a poor idea for you to do it at all.

  • It's irrational. zorac (and I don't think he'll mind me quoting him, for I don't recall this being confidential) insightfully said that he does try to live his life by the principle of being a nice guy. This is entirely honourable and we can all attest to his generosity. :-) By this token, I feel that I can best justify my actions if I feel them to be rational - and I cannot find it rational to deliberately do something to impair my judgement of rationality. This doesn't stop me doing something completely irrational when I think it's funny and when I think everyone will find it funny, but I can't work out why I don't find the prospect of getting drunk funny.

  • Difficult to distinguish between drink and other drugs. As we all know, alcohol and tobacco cause at least as much vaguely hand-wavingly detriment to the world and its inhabitants as other modern forms of narcotics; it's only really historical cultural accident that fags'n'booze are seen by the world as OK when (eg) dope is largely seen by the world as Not OK. I support the theory that we should be consistent, but tend to favour solutions involving harsher treatment of alcohol and tobacco over ones involving less harsh treatment of other substances. (Only up to a point, though - I do recognise organic chemistry has this habit of naturally pushing alcohol to the inhabitants of this world in a way in which it doesn't push other stimulants. See the Prohibition period, passim.)

  • I might like it. This is the biggest reason of them all and I'm not completely convinced it's a valid one. The theory goes that if I decide I like alcohol and getting drunk then I may want to do it again, which is inconvenient and non-trivially expensive in both time and money. However, I'm not sure to what extent in general you can accurately judge the upsides and downsides of an action in advance without doing it - the extent to which it's acceptable not to do something because you don't like the possibility that you might enjoy it. It does seem a very negative, counter-productive general position to take, but on the other hand it seems impossible to ignore. Unfortunately I fear I may be looking for a general resolution of this dichotomy which does not exist, which is worrying.

I would also suggest that no matter how traditional drinking games might be, especially the infamous/notorious "I Have Never", they are a bad, counter-productive tradition which deserves to be proactively campaigned against rather than to be encouraged. While I have no objections to the practical game of "I Have Never" we played (queerasjohn described it as "not too dodgy", which worryingly implies the existence of a dodgier level), it's a game which at least implicitly encourages some destructive principles. Sharing tales of the things you have done (especially the exotic, daring or erotic ones) can be stimulating for both donor and recipient, but "I Have Never" implements this through a strange falsely-honour-bound regime of bullying, peer pressure and non-consensuality. I'm not sure if the right bunch of people exist with whom I would - should? - ever want to play "I Have Never" again. Count me out in future, folks, drinking version or no, and I hope that people won't mind if there is a non-"I Have Never"-ing faction from now on.

Reanalysing the general principle of "I Have Never", the concept of "Someday I'd Like To" could be more interesting. I wonder if there's a more consensual, more effective way to stimulate people to proactively think about things of which they wouldn't normally think, yet not force them to do so in an oppressive environment? This is working on a principle that all overshare and WTMI should be voluntary, but it could well be useful and beneficial for there to be a way for someone to indicate an event in a more subtle fashion than explicitly stating what they have or have not done. The game might be improved with a sense of thrill, a sense of tease, a sense of "masked ball" mystery to it - yet it would be a desirable thing if people could somehow find a mutual shared interest that they would never actually vocalise. Perhaps the "Oral Sex Donations Accepted" button has more than a joking purpose to it after all.

I find the consent and trust issues involved here disturbing, not to mention the fact that people don't seem to recognise (or apparently to care) that there are issues involved; I feel that I need to think about them rather more deeply. On the other hand, I also have a half-feeling that I'm being precious and pretentious about what really is a non-issue here. Or maybe it's not a non-issue if it's giving me problems? Hmm. I don't know.

(Grammarians, what's the difference between infamy and notoriety? This isn't the first line of a joke - I'm curious what the distinction between the two is.)

7) The conclusion of the event was slightly dissatisfactory, but purely my own fault. I misjudged how long a particular Tesco's run would take and so didn't get to give proper goodbyes to... anyone. Avoiding dramatic upscale "goodbye" angst is good, I guess, but it's not a fitting conclusion to a memorable event, somehow. Accordingly you t00bs are going to get online goodbyes. I really was going to hug you all when giving you them, too, and rather looking forward to it. Kindly imagine my air *glomps* and it's eyes down in approximate order of arrival for a full house:
  • queerasjohn: much much with the queerasjohn-loff. Or, in translation: many, many thanks for going to the time, effort, trouble and consideration of organising this event. You're an ace, hard-working host and a kind-hearted, generous guy. It's a joy to have got to meet you and I look forward to what you have to say in the future much more, now I feel I have a better idea of the intents of your comments which I have sometimes been unsure about in the past. In short, I'm thrilled to find out that you're really a great big fluffy bunny rabbit rather than a spiky bitch queen - but if you want to be both at once then that's cool too. :-)

  • mhw: the event was so much better for your presence. As well as being really sweet, great conversation, talented and generous with your effort, you're also really practical and really wise. Safe, comfortable journey home. *subscribes to alt.fan.you*

  • akahannah: lots of fun to get to meet you, I really enjoyed it when we got to chat. Glad you had such a good time over the whole event - fingers crossed for many more in the future. Your boyfriend is a lucky guy.

  • zorac: Mark, I've seen a whoooole different side of you this weekend compared to the past. I feel proud of you and proud to know you. Do you know just how many ways there are in which you rock so very hard, iama@ ? (Aside: can I have assh@t00b.net? Pronounce it...)

  • petulans: you weren't how I expected from your LJ, though I suspect I might not having been paying enough attention to it in order to accurately base opinions. I enjoyed the few short conversations we had because you're good fun to talk to and it would be cool to see you again.

  • anatsuno: you're awesome - I'm quite a bit in awe of you for your superhuman driving stamina skills and for the plain, wise good sense that you spoke. You're absolutely nice-mad for coming so far just for a fandom meet and I hope that it's all been worthwhile despite the hassle.

  • altricial, starcrossedgirl and penelope_z: I didn't get to speak to any of you much, mostly because of the smoking thing, but it was my loss. I enjoyed getting to meet you, am thrilled that you came so far and through so much difficulty to get here. I hope you all travel home safely, comfortably and happily; fingers crossed that our paths will cross again some day.

  • leiabelle: you are the t00biest of the t00by and the w00biest of the w00byie. Your sense of fun is even more playful and enchanting in real life than it is in your LiveJournal and it's so cool just to know you and to get to know the ways you're thinking. I look forward very much to seeing all the photos and videos and hope to get to see you again some day, hopefully without too much dilly-o.

  • lasultrix: you have this incredible sense of natural charisma even in a party which did seem to attract a lot of leader-types. It was great to get to meet you and every party would benefit from your presence. You might also have a convert to the Gill/Clarkson ship, even from someone who thinks real person slash is icky. Hooray for Ryanair!

  • frayer: sorry you couldn't stay longer. I enjoyed your ideas, your company and your accent. We really must try to get the North-East-and-Yorkshire types together at some point. Do you know other nice folk in Leeds, for instance?

  • cygnusfap: you're a kind, sweet guy and it's always a barrel of laughs to spend time with you and yay for getting to see the Norway pictures at last! (Here's to not getting you lost this time in Newcastle next time, right?) If t00bery gives you manb00bs then I dread to think how much of it the two of us together must have had over the years...

I am also honour-bound to point out that LASAIR IS THE VILEST PERSON WHO EVER LIVED. - but I wouldn't say that in a goodbye. Oh, if you don't know the reason behind this comment then I ain't saying. :-)

8) I suspect I really ought to see the Rocky Horror Show at some point (see discussion of Dublin, passim). Not sure whether the thought of seeing it in t00by company has excessively scary consequences or not.

It started to snow just as I got home from the journey, almost exactly as it was snowing when I left for St. Andrews all that time ago. This gave me a wonderful sort of "bookends" feeling, like you get in movies by that really classy director for a real sense of closure. This gave the whole MacT00bage experience rather a similarly classy sense of closure.

T00b. W00t. Sp00ns. M00se. Shr00k. Squ00t. T00bage. Grr, arg.

That sums up a weekend that has been wonderfully memorable for all the right reasons rather well, really... :-)
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