by Rania
Editor's note: Have you been drinking Yaje, Rania?

As we all know, the OBSSE is shrouded with several numinous mysteries and stuff, a numinous number of which have to do with people and their list personas.  Where did some of these personas come from?  Were they earned through blood, sweat, and tears?  Did they hatch whole, perfect, and complete like Athena from the brain of Zeus or some such bull-honkey?  Were they meticulously developed through scientific research, and then sculpted with a Michelangelo-esque artistry?  Or were these personas the result of someone saying something on accident once, and then that something escalating until it had a life of its own?

I know not the answers to these psychosocial, philological, paramasturbatory, epistemological, and huge-ass questions.

All I know is, going to Fest for me was like going to meet a bunch of my favorite celebrities, without having to feel guilty about not giving my celebrity-ogling money to charity.  I could not wait to meet people and see how like or unlike their list personas they were.  However, this excitement was tinged with a hint of trepidation.  I couldn't help but be a little worried.  For me, meeting celebrities has not always been a wholly pleasant experience.  For example, I really could have lived without knowing that David Duchovny up close and personal is as cross-eyed as the day is long.  Although I must admit, I am infinitely happier having verified the rumors concerning the size of know. 

Anyway, I am here to remove the shroud that has shrouded up the OBSSE as though it were a shroud of some sort.  I am here to dispel the rumors and mysteries of the OBSSE, and reveal what people are really like.  I am here to tell you The Truth.  I have The Key that unlocks the answers to every question that has ever been asked about the OBSSE.  One could say that I am The One.  Or something.

First off, I would like to share something that shocked my pants off.  I have never in my life met a bigger bunch of teetotalers than I did at Fest 2000.  I spent the whole trip drinking non-alcoholic orange juice (which is just wrong in my opinion) for fear of someone glancing at me askance were I to order, say, a hazelnut margarita. 

The second rumor I would like to put an end to right now is this whole idea that Beer likes and knows about cheese.  Those of you who could not make it to Fest need to thank your lucky stars.  Beer spent literally the whole weekend telling everyone that she is lactose intolerant.  We could not get her to shut up.  You know, that news was shocking the first time she told us, but then when she continued to say over and over, and I quote, "Did you know that I'm lactose intolerant?  Isn't that funny?  See it's funny because people think I like cheese.  Isn't that high-freaking-larious?  Huh?  Huh?!?!  Isn't it funny?  I CAN'T EAT CHEESE!!!"  And then instead of laughing she would say, "LOL."  I could not wait to get away from that woman.  She's weird.

Speaking of people who won't let a good joke die, I must say something about Dr. Sandy.  As some of you may know, our own Sister Sandy is A MEDICAL DOCTOR.  Doctor Sandy may speak in lowercase letters on the list, but the woman is ALL CAPS in real life.  Somehow, someone planted the idea in Sandy's head that it would be funny if she ran into the common room and screamed "I'M A MEDICAL DOCTOR" on the first day of Fest.  Well, Sandy took this idea and ran with it.  Every time she came into a room, she would scream "I'M A MEDICAL DOCTOR" and scare the bejeezus out of us.  By Saturday night, she was storming into people's condos without knocking and screaming it as loud as she could.  On Sunday morning, I was taking a little potty break and she ran into the bathroom and screamed "I'M A MEDICAL DOCTOR" and now every time I hear those words I have a little accident.  I don't think I'll ever be able to watch Colony/Endgame again.  We here at the OBSSE like our jokes, but we never, ever, run them into the ground.  We don't like that.  Apparently, no one sent that memo to Sandy. 

Also, some of you may have heard that Sister Lens of Science spent all of Fest showing everyone her plaque.  Everywhere you went, there was Lens showing off her plaque and talking about her plaque and protecting her plaque.  I have seen the inside of Lens' mouth more times than I care to share.  I know FOR SURE that I've seen her plaque more than any dentist ever has.  Never have I met someone so proud of her plaque.  It's odd I tell ya.

CathyB didn't disappoint me.  She is exactly like her list persona.  She rants all the time.  About everything.  You should have heard her go off about the rib situation.  "I can't believe we're having ribs AGAIN.  Ribs two nights in a row?  Whoever heard of such a thing?  I didn't pay good money so I could eat the same thing OVER AND OVER.  What animal did these ribs come from, anyway?  Are these woolly mammoth ribs, for crying out loud?  These ribs are GIGANTIC.  I'm very unhappy about these ribs and about Minnesota in general.  And while I'm here, can I just say that Kirby SUCKS."  CathyB is really hard to please.  And she's not very cute either.

Another thing that surprised me was who ended up being shy.  Sister Tammy 20 seconds Perpetua is really super shy.  Getting her to tell stories was like pulling teeth.  She's so shy, in fact, that we practically had to beg her to tell us the story about the time that Gillian Anderson touched her shoulder.  She wouldn't do it until we threatened to call Beer, Lens, and Sandy over and put them in the story chair instead. 

Despite how kind and gentle Sister Marie seems onlist, she is actually mean as a snake.  And how can I say this about Pteropod without hurting her feelings?  As my Irish Aunt Olive used to say, she smokes a wee bit o' the crack.  After just a teensy little hit, the woman can literally climb walls.  She also does fireplace dances for a nominal fee. 

I'm not even going to get started on the women of Cabin 8 and their affiliates.  Those cliquey bitches are so cliquey and so bitchy, that they can start their own damn mailing list alliance for all I care.  Hmmph.

In conclusion, the OBSSE is more numinously mysterious underneath the shroud of mystery than it is when shrouded with the numinous mystery shroud.  I can't wait until next year's Fest, when I am sure to discover that Skull and Aderyn don't really hit each other with clubs, and are actually from Zimbabwe and The Nation Formerly Known As The USSR.  Until then, I think I'll just drink as much as I can before I have to dry out at Fest 2001. 

ISLE (Reuters) -- Crowd control barriers were erected on June 24 in the common room of McQuoid's Inn for the Second Annual Presentation of the Cheeses.  In near-riot conditions, Cheesologist "Sister Beer" of North Carolina and her staff of cheese assistants risked hysterical thronging fans in order to serve and display the tantalizing assortment of gourmet dairy snacks.

"They, uh, they like cheese," Beer explained backstage, where tightened security guarded an unusually large stockpile of crackers.  "They like crackers too," the soft-spoken cheesologist added.  "We bought Carr's Table Water Crackers from England this year, and there will be strict cracker enforcement."

As the doors opened and music cued the processional entry, Sister Beer shouted above the screaming, camera-flashing horde, describing the prepared offerings:  "Let's see -- we've got Cave Aged Gruyere; Leerdammer (the whole milk Swiss-style cheese from Holland); Parmigiano-Reggiano (I brought that at sister sandy's request); four-year Canadian Cheddar from Quebec; Gouda; Fresh Chevre (or goat's milk cheese) from Celebrity Dairy in Siler City, N.C., the town that Aunt Bea retired to after her acting career. In fact, all of the goats at Celebrity Dairy are named after ... celebrities. Mostly old Hollywood actresses, like Rita Hayworth and the like.  Where was I?  Oh -- Monje Blue, a chestnut leaf-wrapped cow's milk blue from the foot of the Pyrenees mountains of Spain; and Manouri, which is a sheep's milk whey cheese from Greece.  These side dishes are a Greek country olive mix with herbs, and marinated, roasted Roma tomatoes.  I would have brought Cambozola, in honor of Squat, but the wheels I had in stock were too close to over-ripe -- they so would not have made the trip to Minnesota.  Oh, I almost forgot -- the salami is a hand made, dry cured soppressata from Molinari of San Francisco. It's got red burgundy wine in it and comes with a white mold rind, because of the method of aging."

"I've done this every year, for the past two years," Beer continued.  "Last year I was sort of in a hurry, and mentioned that I wished I could have arranged a more pleasing cheese platter.  Unfortunately, I said it out loud ... and, well... it almost ruined Fest.  I made an oath to myself right then and there that I'd never let that happen again. I vowed that next year I'd pull my cheese Feng Shui act together, and not ruin everyone's hopes and dreams by my carelessness."

A Cheese Feng Shui Inspector, Paula R, was present for the Feng Shui Review, which Sister Beer passed with flying colors.  "All the elements we like to see in a platter of this magnitude were well-represented," commented Paula.  "The wafty leafy romaine greens indicated Air, a crucial element, and while we were a little nervous about the presence of Metal, there was a fork in the tomato bowl.  Beer got very high marks for her excellent placement of Cheddar, facing due North, with Chevre pointing Southwest.  Only an experienced cheesologist with an eye for detail remembers that.  We passed Beer with a 99 this year, and have high hopes for next year.  She and her staff should be very proud.  Kudos to her lettuce and cracker procurement agents."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  
"I blame Marie for any feng shui errors. She is just so mule-headed in the kitchen. She won't take direction from ANYONE. "
-- Sister Beer

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *


Excerpt: Schmelden had never seen her more radiant. Her luscious tray of cheese samples, relieved against the dull tints of the crowd, made her more conspicuous than in a dairymen's convention, and under her dark hat and veil she regained the milky smoothness, the purity of tint, that she was beginning to lose after eleven years of late hours and indefatigable cheesemaking. Was it really eleven years, Schmelden found himself wondering, and had Miss Beerlet indeed reached the cheesemaking zenith with which her rivals credited her?

"What luck!" she exclaimed. "How nice of you to come to my rescue!"

He responded joyfully that to do so was his mission in life, and asked what form the rescue was to take. "Sampling that cheese," Schmelden hoped privately.

It can "bee" exhausting work making pins for 100 people

by Tina


  • 3'"x 2" black material (approx. 2 mm thick, pliable, easy to cut) 
  • 3" x 2" yellow material (same) 
  • 2 paste-on plastic eyes (3 if you want a bee à la Simpsons) 
  • 6" thin metal wire (for the antennas) 
  • 1 bar pin 
  • Scissors 
  • Glue (must be stronger than regular white glue) 
  • A white sheet of paper (on which to print the bee pattern) 
  • A nickel (for the head pattern) 
Optional material: 
Needle & thread (to sew on the pin)
Small single-hole perforator (for eye sockets)
Small pliers (to curl the antennas)

Step 1: the body
Print the bee's body Pattern on a white sheet of paper.  Cut out the pattern and place it over the black material.  Use tape to hold both pieces still.  Cut out the body by following the pattern.

Step 2: the head
Place a nickel on the yellow material and use it as a circular pattern.  Tape down the nickel and cut out a head.  If you have a small perforator, punch 2 holes for the eye sockets then insert the eyes.  If you don't, yell "You damn bee!" and resort to gluing the eyes above the yellow material. 

Step 3: the pin
Glue the pin on the back of the body.  You may sew it on afterwards to make it sturdier.

Step 4: the antennae
Cut the 6" wire in half.  Poke one wire ¼" through the head (that's what he gets for stinging Scully).  Bend the ¼" wire upwards to keep the antenna in place.  Do the same for the other antenna.

Step 5: the final stage
Glue on the head.  Cut out two curved stripes from the yellow material and glue them on the body.  You can even add a stinger!  Curl the antennae (preferably with small pliers).

Congratulate yourself, you now own a Damn Bee!

The PI Fashion Contest

The theme for this year's PI Fashion Contest was, of course, The Great Outdoors. Judge by Fashion Know-it-Alls La..Dee..Da.., Paula, and Kirby (who knows a thing or two about accessorizing with earflaps and plaid), the extravaganza took place Friday night at Eddy's. 

The competition was fierce. After much deliberation, bribes, and pandering, the judges awarded the following prizes:


Fourth Place:  The judges were rather pleasantly surpised by dioramas as a category this year.  This was an excellent one -- you've got to love a diorama with Scully hoisting the canoe while Mulder is flat on his face. Winner: Chris MN  

Third Place:  Wow.  This was an amazing entry.  Kickass!Scully  with cell-phone holster, spiked club, and boots.  Too bad you can't see it - looks like those GLITTER BABES are in the way.  It must be said that this PI might have taken grand prize if her top had not been so low cut.  Fetching and stylish as it was - The Blessed One would sensibly cover up from those pesky deep-woods mosquitoes. 
Winner:   Aderyn/Skull (The Severeds) 

Second Place:  Oo la la!  Khakis!  Poncho!  OBSSE sweatshirt! Jiffy Pop!  Coffee mug!  Stars!  Trees!  Furniture!  Coleman stove! Explosion!  Shiner Bock fergodsake!  Pandering!  Sadly, the only thing this little tableau lacked was bribes for the judges.  Oh fer fine fine details.   Winners:  Lensie, Nanners (who did win something that evening) and Lauren ------------------> 

Anti-CHarc and
Veg-o-mite Award:
This entry would have shouted
BEAD! from downtown Isle if it could have possibly been heard above its own loudness!  Eddy's is still vacuuming up the glitter.  Winner:  Bead

1st Place:
  Heavenly.  The simplistic elegance of this PI almost caused it to be overlooked for grand prize consideration!  Please note the practical, yet stylish black boots with contrasting red laces, red microfiber pants, and the gorgeous black suede jacket with white fur trim. Goodbye Darkness Falls.  The cunning potato peeler and snazzy binocs compliment this outdoorsy ensemble of perfection.

Winner:  Bryn - 1st prize winner two years running.