The Abbey All-Prance From a Lofty Point Of View
by Sister Sassejenn
After the Character Assassination that was Pranceapalooza, followed by (dum dum DUM) The Shunning, I felt I had more than fulfilled my prancing obligations to the Abbey. Therefore, when the All-Prance was announced, I scampered on top of the nearest chair and watched the madness ensue.
Nanchita and Paula handed balloons to each and every Festing member of the Abbey (including me - I stuffed mine in my pocket) not to mention Drex, Birch, and a visitor named Mike. Remember that name. The instructions: Inflate the balloon. Tie it around your ankle. When the beaver is thrown (or whistle is blown ... something...) stomp the hell out of everyone else's balloon. Last one inflated wins the All-Prance and is the Abbey Prancing Champion. Go!
Madness ensued. Some militant anti-prancers immediately stomped each others balloons and stepped out of the ring. Most OBSSErs, however, opted for the win-at-any-cost method of competition. Lensie? Was it you who half deflated your balloon, making it unpoppable? Meredith, Queen of the Water Blaster Rifle, deceptively stood against a wall for a few minutes, then came charging back in when the weak had been eliminated. The surrounding circle of watchers kept moving in, rather like the crowd around a gang fight. Within a few minutes, three people were left: Brother Elder Colin, Fest-Helper Award Winner Mandy/Fortunate One, and a nobody named Mike. Colin bit the dust after a brief tussle with Mandy, and then there were two.
She fought valiantly, sibliren, she did. She hid her balloon under her dress. She was nimble of foot. She may have growled. Alas, it was not to be. Our dear Mandy got stomped, becoming the Obi-Wan of the All Prance, and an unknown Mulderist named Mike became the Abbey's Champion Prancer.
Hmmm ... a Mulderist ... the Champion Prancer ... imagine that.
Mike soon saw the error of his ways and was converted. You may see him around the Abbey, going by the name "Brother Mike."
But tread carefully around him, sibliren.
Prancer of the Day
[Editor's note: In the rush to meet our deadline this article was hastily edited. Please forgive the work in progress.--Paula R.]
My, how things change. A year ago, at Fest98: I Can't Believe I Came All The Way To Pflugerville To Watch The Movie, calling someone prancy was about the worst possible insult and would lead to some pretty high-pitched squealing, "No I'm not! I am NOT prancy. You take that back."
Somehow over the course of the year, "prancy" ceased being an insult and became, well, let's just say that one impressionable sister showed up on the first night wearing a "Prancy and Proud" t-shirt. And she was much envied.
In a vain effort to combat this type of wrongness, Sister Autumn decided to have three Prancer of the Day t-shirts made, all of them as hideous and undesirable as possible (i.e. orange letters on either a pink or a maroon background). They were to be awarded to (inflicted upon?) those sisters who were the most annoying for a particular day, based on a consensus vote of the Elders, thereby fulfilling
two of the most important consideration s the Elders have - embarrassing others and amusing themselves. The sister who "won" this dubious honor would be required to wear the Prancer of the Day t-shirt all the next day until she could relinquish it to the next victim.
I will not further shame the first two recipients of the shirt by naming them here (OK, so I will... Pukagoat and AnnaSPI) but I will happily tell you all about the third, our own Sister Autumn. See, this is another thing about the Elders, they have
no sense of loyalty. They'll turn on each other in a second and that's exactly how Autumn wound up wearing a fetching maroon t-shirt with orange letters.
So, there we were on Friday night, a big group communing about all things Scully when Sister Autumn slipped out. Coincidently, at that very same time, a viewing of the season finale of Buffy:The Vampire Slayer was due to take place in another room. Autumn didn't return, someone mentioned Buffy and that's all it took for a
n evil plan to be hatched by the Elders in attendance. A simple application of Mulderist logic (helped by a Scullyrita or two) proved their point. Autumn isn't here, Buffy's being shown somewhere else, therefore Autumn ditched us to watch Buffy.
With Autumn's guilt already decided, the question became how to use it to the best advantage. It was quickly decided that she should be awarded her own Prancer of the Day t-shirt. But which Elder would
be brave enough to make her wear it?
Here's another thing you may not know about the Elders - they
are a rather spineless lot. Oh sure, they can come up with the funny ideas but when push comes to shove, they'll chicken out everytime. So they asked me, the one person both foolish enough to do it and secure enough to risk getting trout slapped to within an inch of their life (this last requirement kept Bead from awarding it).
So I did it and lived to tell the tale. Autumn protested of course, but no one believed her, especially after her own brother helpfully confessed that she even told him she was going to watch Buffy. Such family love, it was heartwarming to see.
Fortunately, many pictures were taken of Sister Autumn in her Prancer of the Day t-shirt so look for those and keep them in mind when she starts getting uppity.
She's a Prancer and we've got the pictures to prove it.
-- Nanchita. Look for me soon in the Witness Protection Program near you.
The Spaghetti Dinner
By Sister Paula
(...continued from "Rome on the Range")
....It's hard to talk about the Spaghetti Dinner. Perhaps it's because Sassejenn now has greens and roughage issues, and because from this day forward Lensie can look at me, smile that devious smile of hers, and say with edge, "I cooked eight pounds of noodles that day damnit."
Still, as Sister Autumn said, it's a testament to our sense of community that we could come together and put together a huge meal like that. It took everyone and everyone pitched in. The spaghetti was delicious, the salad fresh and enticing, the garlic bread tasty, and the dessert was perfect.
It should be mentioned that Brother Colin decided the right time for twirling in his black boxers was during dinner prep. The kitchen was filled instantly with thronging nuns waving tip money. Those of us holding hot dishes wished he was wearing last year's thick as oven-mitt boxers, but nooooo. We shooed the madding crowd out of the kitchen before they formed a conga line.
Beyond that I have no clear memories other than holding up my empty margarita glass and hoping Autumn's brother Birch would fill it. Nanchita, myself, and others who were equally scarred by the meatball, noodle, garlic bread, and salad frenzy, not to mention those who pitched in for the Herculean cleanup job - collapsed on the deck outside the kitchen. Thus endeth our last meal together. Janelle probably still has those tongs, St. Scully bless her.
As we all know Nanchita is particular about snacks - as in their quality and abundance. Early on in planning we peeked over her shoulder in the Abbey kitchen to see what culinary Fest delights were on the horizon. It will not surprise you to know that her little list, slyly and unassumingly labeled "Snack List" was filled with entries such as Warm Asparagus Spears with Aged Gouda and Gold Truffle Oil. You will probably not raise a Scullyistic eyebrow either at the idea of Mounded Tuna Tartare with Freshly Ground Horseradish and Flying Fish Roe. Or Little Lentil, Celeriac, and Beets with Ricotta Salata. Or the Mussels Escabeche and Saffron Aioli, not to mention the Slow-Roasted Plums with Minced Thyme.
It was difficult to talk Nanchita into scaling back, make things a little more simple. How, oh how, were we going to coax her to Costco? It was a dome-scratcher, we thought, as she floated about the Abbey kitchen, contentedly humming a little Andrea Bocelli number to herself, watering the mint and lavendar in the garden window... pinching back the thyme....
It would take something ingenious, yet not too obvious, something rather close to the truth, and so it was that we struck upon the perfect plan: our own incompetence. With enthusiastic clamor, we offered our help. We dug out the crock pot for the slow-roasted plums. We sent Colin fishing for Flying Fish with an eye for their roe. We asked her how small the little lentils should be, and called See's Candy for gold truffle oil. Mounds of tuna were easy and we demonstrated with vigor.
Alarmed by our ineptitude, Nanchita gently suggested Costco as a simple alternative for our snacking needs. And that, essentially, is how we came to have fabulous Chili Con Queso with chips, gorgeous vegetable trays with dip, crackers and cheese, trail mix and soda, etc. etc. etc. In keeping with true Fest tradition, we were never short of snacky things to eat.
(Personal aside: there is no real way to thank Nanchita and Autumn enough for all their hard work and planning. We tried at Fest, but we are all in their debt for a wonderful, superbly-orchestrated weekend.)
Cheese has become an important food icon for the Order, and is not to be mocked. Sister Beer, our resident cheesologist, carefully transported only the most precious, select cheeses (smoked gouda, Canadian sharp cheddar, mild provolone, cave-aged Swiss, leerdammer and parrano) from the state of North Carolina to Winter Park, Colorado, for the Abbey's consumption. It was only fitting that we had a special "presentation of the cheeses" after the Prance-Off.
Sister Beer confessed later in the kitchen, that as an experienced caterer she would have wished to have the cheeses arranged in a more pleasing-to-the-eye, color-contrasting display, but had no idea our cheese needs were so urgent. So, for those of you still whispering in the Abbey halls about this hideous, nightmarish, mind-scarring breech of cheese feng shui, give the girl a break, ok? Let's all try to forget about it. It was hard to look at, it was shocking in its overall color presentation and almost ruined the weekend, but give it up. She was in a hurry. Leave her alone. It's over.
Folie à Deux (California)
Dry Chenin Blanc
A one-in-five-billion selection, Folie à Deux is an excellent wine for those actual people over there. Hints of air conditioner mold, insect repellent, hospital corridor, and Haloperidol infuse this quirky vintage with an unusual, buggy character.
The exoskeletal body skitters across the palate almost imperceptibly, finishing rather blank eyed and pasty. After five years, oenophiles had to have seen this coming. Definitely a wine best shared by two, enabling the drinkers to compare hallucinations. Folie à Deux should be served in a little paper cup along with a favorite antipsychotic medication.
Mulderbosch (South Africa)
A moody, self-absorbed wine, Mulderbosch is full of surprises. Driven and obsessive, with complex overtones of sunflower seeds, pencil shavings, three-week-old Chinese leftovers, dirty socks, and diesel oil, Mlderbosch can be warm and embracing when it wants to be, neglectful and inclined to ditch when it suits. Swirling the glass reveals long, well-defined legs that are quite pleasing to the eye. The nose is substantial; the mouthfeel is smooth, silky, and delightfully manipulative, and the body is well-toned and firm if somewhat lanky. Mulderbosch possesses a tempestuous and temperamental character overlaid with dry humour, and leaves the palate fuming with its dismissive, arrogant finish. The wine will benefit from laying down for later consumption, but can be enjoyed now. Pair with anything down to earth and sensible. Best served at cellar temperature.
OBSSE CLUE: The Quiet Ride Again
By Sisters Gen and Glasses of the Consortium of the Quiet
As the MN Premiere party weekend was coming to an end last November, members of the original Quiet ("Ha!" Yells Chickie, but that's another matter) came up with a few ideas over a latte in downtown Minneapolis: how about we have a tournament of Clue, the boardgame, modified to suit the OBSSE's particular brand of humour. Upon further discussion, we chose rather to create one big life size game of Abbey Clue. We somehow knew that would create great (and compromising) photo ops involving a Pool Floatie.
Preparations for the event spread over 4 days, 3 countries and 2 continents thanks to the marvel that is the Internet. Sister Glasses came up with the design of the cards (and with the cleverest ideas for the rooms and weapons). They were uploaded to a free web account where I took them from Montreal to finalize in Photoshop; Sister Ant (Angie) printed out the final designs and plastified them at her office in Minnesota. Sister Synnova (Cherish), in between shopping for props, produced a mahvelous brochure containing the evening's programme and the rules to the game, also adapted to our collective bias. Chickie, Joanne and Juliettt (she mailed out the die from her home in Florida!) shopped around for props and prizes as Nanners made the signs indicating the rooms on the life size floorplan we put together with masking tape on the common room floor.
On the last evening of Fest, fully equipped and ready to go, we evacuated said common room after the pasta dinner and clean up of the last evening. Thanks to Leah, Beth and Sassejenn who went beyond the call of duty and even vacuumed the carpet (they do it all for us).
We admit that we encountered a few problems with the game that we, though not always entirely prepared for them (hey, we can´t always come up with a perfect plan for every occasion), tried successfully - well, mostly - to solve at the time of their appearance. Since the game took off to a very quick start, Sister Gen the Rulemaker (who had used the Master Clue rules as a guide) administered the alternative rule that upon an SRE only one card was to be shown to the investigators, in case more than one was available with other teams, but alas, the game had already progressed too far at this point and thus was over somewhat too fast. One team, whose anonymity we shall here preserve, had almost found the right answer upon its first attempt, thus subjecting a few of the Quiet to acute breathlessness. However, this effect might also have been caused by the altitude.
Playing with teams of eight proved to be an exercise in diplomacy ("No, I say we should SRE CSM with Fowley´s Bra in the Chapel! We can´t make an accusation *now*!") well mastered by the overwhelmingly demure nuns assembled. However, for future rounds a smaller number of team players is recommended.
The pawns on the board sometimes were just a bit too distracted by the life-size weapons provided by the planners, so that Rogue!Sister Meredith was practically forced to employ her trusty SuperSoaker in order to ensure a minimum of concentration. Who would have thought that thing carried halfway through the room? Not the Homework Princess, Lens and Janelle -Meredith's own mother! - who couldn't stop themselves from eating the Poisoned Tic Tacs, that´s for sure.
The most obvious glitch in the game, however, proved to be our choice of victim, as no one seemed too inclined at first to investigate the violent death brought to poor Mr. CC. The natural competitiveness of the OBSSE members which was a recurring theme all through the weekend (It´s All About Amusing the Elders), however, soon helped overcome this initial problem.
The general consensus seemed to be that this game was very enjoyable and hella fun to be played at home. Psychics as the Quiet are, we have provided for this foreseeable demand. You can find rules, brochure, board, and cards at this website:
Run, print, and enjoy!
Finally, let's not forget the winners of this Quiet evening. Team #4, comprised of Michelle aka Griot, Ann the Fandancer, Walrus (Amanda), Mr. SisShadow (Robert), CathyB, ScullyFu (Deb), Jezebel, JodySPI and Steph-Tacs found the solution to the crime: Marita, with the Plam, in the Wine Cellar.
P.S. Good luck finding weapon trinkets ;^)
Sunday, June 20th: "ScullyDitch" Day
"Saturday night, I was talking to Autumn in the common room. Angie walks in the door, a six-pack in each hand, and heads straight to Autumn, asking, 'Beer?' I grinned at her and said, 'Suckup!' Autumn turns to me and says, 'She's not sucking up! She's just really helpful!' I nod and start to walk away, and Angie turns to me, a beer in each hand, winks, says, 'See? *That's* sucking up,' and turns back to Autumn."
"It's Friday night in Go-Go Internationale. On one side we have Jean and on the other Chish, Beth, Sassejenn, and Amanda, who are all trying to bribe Colin for the Prance-Off. Nuns hint that they could help their brother out with the bar exam, and then Jean says, "I'm older; I'm more experienced" and the spewing of beverage begins. I'm sure the Prance Machine was referring to her dance experience..."
"Nothing is more enjoyable than singing filks off-key with fellow sisters... except maybe devouring lard."
"Prancing is not necessarily a bad thing if done in a demure, good-haired manner."
"I must admit one of my favorite things was finding out that our little nun Sarah Gillian had already been trained to blow a raspberry anytime the name Mulder was mentioned. It just seemed right."
"You know OBSSErs think of everything when during Tammy's video Sister SpicedRum was right there blowing bubbles for us to further enhance Scully's Chinga moment of relaxation."
"The first night of FEST there was a moment when, sadly, I found myself without a drink. Angie soon made sure that was no longer the case, but as I was enjoying that beer Mandy came running up to me with another. When I thanked her, but pointed out I already had one she launched into a hilarious parody of Season 1 Blooper!Scully telling me she had run barefoot in "the rain, and the mud, and the rain" to bring me this beverage. Needless to say I now had two beers."
"Also on the drinks front I found it very amusing that once Sister Beer had provided Lauren with what is called "Cheerwine" - supposedly a non alcoholic drink that tastes like flat cherry coke - Lauren was never ever seen without a big bottle of it. I suppose you can take the Princess out of North Carolina, but you can't take the North Carolina out of the Princess."
"Also thanks to Sister Glasses for transporting from another country that HUGE poster of The Blessed One to watch over her flock throughout FEST. It became a photo op for many."
Overheard by Paula R.:
From Sister Tammy Perpetua:
- Lens: "Fest: a summer camp for mean adults."
- Meredith getting the crowd to be quiet for her song: "A-FREAKING-*HEM*!"
- Allie, upon seeing the bee on top of the frozen green ice Parka Scully "Did someone kill that bee or did it die a natural death?"
- New Brother Mike: "I have four words to say: I. Am. A. Scullyist." The unison response: "I heard it. I heard it."
- At the closing festivities Clue Game: "Oh God, don't send Lensie into the confessional - she'll be there all night!"
"Nanchita, Steph-Tacs, ShannonC (aka Sis Bruce) and Nancy FF's Far From Evil Husband Holmes and little ol' me went on a second day of hiking fun. At one point, Holmes in his excitement went down the hill to some running water whilst the rest of us were resting (whew - our mountains in eastern Kentucky are really just big hills - they're *real* mountains in CO!) and brought back this small, cylindrical brown object and proceeded to excitedly tell us there were many more of the same object down by the water's edge. He was amazed that they were placed there so symmetrically. He showed Nanchita the object and she in her extremely quiet way said: "That's poop."
[Editor's Note: Holmes, repeat after me... "Fest - it's not about your personal dignity."]
Just How Did Shannon C Come to be Called Sister Bruce?
The truth is, while we adore our Elder Brother Colin, how to say this, um, decisions within the Order are not his forte. That being said, the other Elders usually just allow Colin one really bad Elder decision a year so he feels like he's doing something besides twirling for tips and we go on our merry way. Well, as you know the Abbey has its share of Shannons. What with both a Major and Minor were we to call Shannon C? Colin, in his infinite wisdom, came up with Sister Bruce. The rest of us are safe for another year.
Sister Michele aka Griot:
"Ten months ago, I read the newsletter describing the Austin OBSSE Fest and thought to myself 'I have to be there next year!' After 10 months of anticipation, could anything possibly live up to expectations? You bet! I've never had so much fun in my life. What can be more entertaining than watching your roommates excitedly prepare for hours for the prance off. To meet 70+ people for the first time, yet know them already, is an experience that cannot be described. No where else could you gather with so many people and actually LIKE most of them. Scully drew us together. And the greatness that is Scully must draw great people to her, because this is a tremendous group."
"Lens during the Prance-Off: My country fell over! Oh, well, we're used to that in Anguilla."
"Bead singing the 'Wheels on the Bus' to Sarah G. during the makeovers, complete with props."
"Nothing says Fest like arguing about what eyeshadow best conveys Bead!Cleavage as you up your roomie's cup size by three."
"Tell me there is not something inherently right about sitting with 5 other people, watching 3's Company, being able to recast the show with CSM and Fowley as the Ropers, Scully as Jack, Mulder as Krissy, and Skinner as Janet, and not being stared at."
TheTruth Behind "One Breast":
According to Nanners, CathyS, Tammy, and Steph, they were all commenting on how long Nancy FF's table in her room was. Tammy declared, "I bet you could even do One Breath on it!" After some experimentation, Steph was covered in a white sheet to reenact the touching scene, accompanied by Tammy as Captain Ahab with running shoe in hand. Although you can't see it in the picture, in Cathy S's words, 'Steph was laughing so hard her newly acquired cleavage was shifting to and fro in near-Baywatch fashion, only not as fake.'
Kirbs on her favorite things about Fest:
Dahlak (aka ¥Àa@~%vÀ, NaK):
- The expression on Cathy B's face upon her first glimpse of nearly a dozen OBSSEers at the Denver terminal. She appeared to be torn between delight and absolute terror.
- NotVideo night. I could have left after the first night, it was that good. It was like the anti-Jonestown. The NotMary video made me cry, and as I was sitting near the front of the room, on several occasions during the viewing I was compelled to look back at everyone's reactions, and I was fascinated by the mass involvement -- all those intent, focused faces, so delighted in the same thing I was. It made me happy. And NotTammy is a freaking genius.
- Mostly I just remember quite fondly putting the faces with not only the names but also with the mania, the humor, the intelligence, the perversion, the oddity, the freakishness, that came from all the months and months of posting on the mailing list. It completely transformed my perception of being OBSSE, and yet it didn't change a thing. I love nonthreatening change.
"I loved Fest. You could scream a Scullyism and everyone would get it. Being witty or funny or helpful or a good sport was all it took to get you loved and appreciated."
"Where else would you come across a horde of women wearing black bras under white shirts and willing to flash you just because?"
Deep in the bowels of the Evil Petting Zoo (that is, Barb, Bead, Minor, Loa, Reade, Jenna B, and Bob), plotting was a-happening. Barb, Bead, and Minor had missed all the gatherings, and out of this discontent, a need to plan and plot and cause talking occurred. The upshot is, Barb, Bead, Minor, and Loa went walking on a very cold night with signs... yes, those signs, people, though it shames me to say Barbie Joe did the thing about John Elway being washed up... and I remember the delight of fear, walking up to the doors and getting away quietly... and I remember my sandals were a bad choice of footwear... also that night is dark and stars are bright at 3 am. And I remember getting in at 4 am and laughing, because you know what? Plotting is fun. And getting away with it... well I don't know what that feels like.