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[humorix] The First Annual Nerdbowl
The First Annual Nerdbowl
January 30, 2000
JOHN SPLADDEN: Hi, and welcome to the first annual Nerdbowl
in sunny Silicon Valley. I'm your host John Spladden...
BRYANT DUMBELL: ...And I'm Bryant Dumbell. We're coming to
you live from the Transmeta Dome to watch the battle
between the North Carolina Mad Hatters and the Michigan
Portalbacks as they compete for the coveted Linus Torvalds
SPLADDEN: This is shaping up to be one hell of a match. The
Mad Hatters -- sponsored by Linux distributor Red Hat --
have been on fire the past month. But the Andover.Net
sponsored Michigan Portalbacks are on a tear as well,
thanks in part to the stellar performance of Rob "Taco Boy"
DUMBELL: Taco Boy is quite a star, John. Last week at the
Kernelbowl he blew away the Transmeta Secret Agents when he
scored 51 points singlehandedly in the Flying CompactDiscus
SPLADDEN: But then Mad Hatter's Alan Cox was voted this
season's Most Valuable Hacker in the Eastern Division. So,
this game is going to be quite a show.
DUMBELL: That's right. If you're just tuning in, welcome
to the First Annual Nerdbowl. This is the grand
championship game in the Nerdleague, an event that's
destined to become even more popular than the Superbowl...
DUMBELL: These two teams will compete against each other in
four different preliminary events before going head-to-head
in the Final Round. Over 5,000 people are watching this
live ASCII broadcast worldwide.
SPLADDEN: Before we introduce the starting lineup, it's
time for a word from our sponsor...
VOICEOVER: We at Andover.Net, the World's Leader In Linux
Portals(tm), would like to wish everybody a happy and safe
Nerdbowl Sunday. For over 1 year Andover has been providing
quality Linux news, opinion, and flamewars that live up to
our acronym, All Nerds Depend On Very Erroneous
DUMBELL: And now the starting players on coming out on to
the field! For the Mad Hatters, it's Number 4 Alan Cox,
followed by Number 42 Bernhard Rosenkraenzer... Here comes
Number 32, Robert Young...
SPLADDEN: The Andover.Net Portalbacks are now taking the
field... Look, here comes team captain Number 1 Rob Malda
followed by Number 33 Jeff "Hemos" Bates. Here comes some
fresh meat for the opposition -- ha ha -- it's Number 51
Patrick "scoop" Lentz.
DUMBELL: Where's Jon Katz?
SPLADDEN: He was attacked yesterday by an angry mob of
irate people demanding refunds for the book "Geeks".
Apparently the book didn't go over too well. Anyways, Katz
was uninjured, but badly shaken, so he decided to abstain
from participating today. Also, Robin Miller is currently
stuck on the 101 Freeway because his limousine broke
down... he's going to be a couple hours late.
DUMBELL: Look out! Here comes Linus Torvalds himself to
deliver the starting chug. The crowd is going wild... all
64 people in the stands are on their feet! Here we go...
Linus is lifting up the Ceremonial Beer Can... he's
flipping off the top...
SPLADDEN: You can feel the excitement in the air! Wow!
DUMBELL: ...And there he goes! Wow... he chugged that beer
in only 1.4 seconds... Let's see Bill top that! What a
remarkable display to kick off this grandest of all nerd
SPLADDEN: "Nerd sporting event"? Isn't that an oxymoron?
DUMBELL: Linus is now waving to the crowd... Oops! He just
SPLADDEN: Even Barney Gumbel on the Simpsons would have
trouble competing against that one.
DUMBELL: With that done, it's time for the game to begin
with Round One: The Flying CompactDiscus.
SPLADDEN: That's right, Bryant. Each team member will hurl
one CD-ROM and receive points for both the distance thrown
and whether the disc is still readable afterwards.
DUMBELL: First up is Mad Hatter's Alan Cox. He struts, he
winds up, and there it goes! Look at the trajectory on
SPLADDEN: That one is going to be hard to beat. Wait a
minute! Eric S. Raymond, the head referree, is coming on to
the field waving his arms wildly!
DUMBELL: That can't be good. Let's take a look at the
instant replay of Cox's throw... Uh oh. Look, John, he
stepped over the line right when he made the throw.
SPLADDEN: He's going to be penalized for that one.
DUMBELL: Alright, now it's time for the Portalback's
Anonymous Coward #521 to throw. This guy was voted as the
best CompactDiscus thrower in the league by popular vote on
SPLADDEN: Indeed, AnonCow has got some powerful muscles.
No brain though. Did you know that he dropped out of
college to join the Andover.Net team?
DUMBELL: Yeah, what a tough decision to make. It's now
becoming quite common for nerd superstars to ditch college
and move to Silicon Valley and receive Big League stock
options. Still, AnonCow was out for several games this
season due to a Carpal Tunnel flareup. I hope he isn't
squandering his millions... he might be forced to retire
SPLADDEN: AnonCow is stepping up to the line... he
squats... and lets it fly. Nice throw!
DUMBELL: That one is going to Omaha!
SPLADDEN: What is that supposed to mean?
DUMBELL: It was a nice throw...
SPLADDEN: Whoops... It's now time for another word from our
VOICEOVER: 95% of "dot com" Superbowl commercials are
produced by SuperMegaGeeWhizHyperMetaPublicRelations.Com.
DUMBELL: Welcome back. After Round 1, the Mad Hatters are
ahead 15 to 12. Round 2, the Caffeine Craziness event, is
SPLADDEN: This is my favorite part of the Nerdbowl. Each
player tries to consume as many gallons of caffeinated
beverages within one minute, and then points are awarded
based on the redness of their eyes.
DUMBELL: I like this event too... I must admit, it's much
better than the "Crash It" event that was played in the
Zeroth Annual Nerdbowl last year. Players were each seated
in front of a PC running Windows 98... points were awarded
based on how fast the player could cause a Blue Screen.
SPLADDEN: Ah, yes, I remember that. Everybody complained
that the event was too easy. "Where the hell is the
challenge?" yelled Chris DiBona while doing a victory dance
after the VA Linux Rich Penguins beat the SuSE Cats In The
Hats last year 121-96.
DUMBELL: Whoa, with all this chatter we're missing out on
the action... CowboyNeal is gulping down a Jolt at
breakneck speed right now.
SPLADDEN: "Breakneck" is right, Bryant. I didn't think a
human could keep their neck tilted at such an angle for
more than a few seconds.
DUMBELL: 60 seconds is up! That's an unbelievable amount
of caffeine to gulp down. Only Master Nerds can pull that
SPLADDEN: Let's go in for a close-up. Now those are some
red eyes! The judges will probably give him maximum points
for that performance.
DUMBELL: He'll definitely be wide-awake for the next
rounds, although I don't even want to think about the
headache he'll have tommorrow morning.
SPLADDEN: Let's see how Eric Hackerson from the Mad Hatters
does. This guy is another rising star that shows great
DUMBELL: That's right, John. A scout discovered him in a
Slashdot discussion thread. He went from poor college
student to billionaire code jockey overnight.
SPLADDEN: Look at him go! He's really enjoying the cool,
refreshing, pleasant taste of EyeOpener(R) brand
Caffeine-In-A-Can(tm). That reminds me, it's time for
another commercial break...
VOICEOVER: Having trouble staying awake for weeks at a time
working on that latest hack? Worried that some young punk
will take over your cushy job because you sleep too much?
Don't worry, EyeOpener(R) brand cola is here to save the
day. You'll never feel sleepy again when you drink
EyeOpener(R). Surgeon General's Warning: This product
should only be used under a doctor's immediate supervision,
as it contains more caffeine than 512 cases of Coca-Cola.
Caution: When sleep does occur after about three weeks,
optometrists recommend having someone on hand to close your
eyelids. Coming soon: ExtremelyWired(tm) cola with 50% more
sugar! May or may not meet FDA approval... we're still
DUMBELL: What an exciting Round 2! Thanks to BOredAtWork's
steller performance, the Portalbacks are up 43 to 37
against the Mad Hatters.
SPLADDEN: Round 3 could be critical for these two teams.
DUMBELL: Indeed. The Portalbacks have a slight advantage
in Round 3, the Obstacle Course Round, due to their higher
speed, but this game is still wide open.
SPLADDEN: In this round, the players must travel through a
cubicle farm and avoid the hordes of Lawyers and Microserfs
that pop up and block the path.
DUMBELL: It's always fun to watch this round, John. It's a
shame that lawyers are not in season in California this
time of year, however, or else this event could be much
more exciting -- and bloodier.
SPLADDEN: There's the starting buzzer... the two teams are
off! Hemos quickly takes the lead... he turns the
corner... and whoops! A lawyer tackles him from behind and
starts punching him.
DUMBELL: Now that's a subpoena he won't soon forget.
SPLADDEN: Good one, Bryant. Taco Boy jumps up from behind
and strangles the lawyer! What a great play... the judges
will be very generous with points on that one.
DUMBELL: Look out! The Mad Hatters are making their
move... Alan Cox is far in the lead... a Microserf has
popped up out of a cubicle... he's aiming a stack of
four-color glossies at Cox's head! He shoots... he misses
as Alan makes a dive and topples the Microserf.
SPLADDEN: But wait! A team of ambulance chasers are in hot
pursuit... Alan is in trouble! Here comes Bernhard
Rosenkraenzer and Havoc Pennington!
DUMBELL: Havoc grabs a lawyer and swings him around in a
wide arc. Now that's what I call habeas corpus!
SPLADDEN: Oh no... Scoop has been hit over the head with a
briefcase by an attorney that came out of nowhere! That's
gotta hurt. Now we know how that DeCSS hacker in Norway
must have felt.
DUMBELL: Look out, Taco Boy, there's a Microserf right in
front of you. Wait... the Microserf is turning blue!
Could it be?
SPLADDEN: It is! He's suffering a Blue Screen! While he's
rebooting, Taco Boy makes it safely past...
DUMBELL: Robert Young has found a shortcut! He's racing
towards the end of the obstacle course... All he needs to
do is find away around despised Microserf Fred Mouth.
SPLADDEN: This could be interesting... Young fakes left,
then right, but Mouth is not easily confused. Wait a
minute... Young just said, "Look behind you! It's Bill
Gates!" Fred Mouth hesitates... Young breaks through!
He's made it to the end!
DUMBELL: Now this is exciting! The judges are awarding
mondo points to the Mad Hatters!
SPLADDEN: Now the Portalbacks are down by 23. It's going
to be hard to overcome that shortfall with only 2 rounds
DUMBELL: While the players assume the position for Round 4,
the Who Wants To Be A Billionaire? Round, let's break to a
VOICEOVER (Homer Simpson's Voice): Need cash quick? Don't
mess with a bank loan... just con a Venture Capitalist into
forking billions over to your fly-by-night garage
operation! We have the contacts at VentureD'oh.Com.
VentureD'oh.Com: Helping People Buy Cars, One Rolls At A
SPLADDEN: We're back. The players have assumed their
positions and are ready to answer computer-related
questions posed by referree Eric S. Raymond. Let's listen
RAYMOND: Okay, men, you know the rules... And now here's
the first question: Who is the most respected, sexy,
gifted, and talented spokesmen for the Open Source
movement? [Bzzz] Taco Boy, you buzzed in first.
ROB MALDA: The answer is me.
RAYMOND: No, you egomaniacal billionaire. Anybody else
want to answer? [Bzzz] Yes, Alan Cox?
ALAN COX: Well, duh, the answer has to be Eric Raymond.
ERIC RAYMOND: Correct! That answer is worth 10 million
ROB MALDA: Protest! Who wrote these questions?!?!
RAYMOND: Moving on... second question: Who is the primary
author of the world-renowned fetchmail program? [Bzzz] Yes,
ERIC RAYMOND: Be more specific...
ROSENKRAENZER: Mr. Eric Fetch of Cincinnati, Ohio.
ERIC RAYMOND: No, no, no! The answer is me, ME, __ME__,
you idiots! Sheesh. I'm taking that 10 million points
ALAN COX: Are you going to ask any questions that are not
ERIC RAYMOND: Um... let's see... yeah, there's one or two
here... Okay, here's question three... What loud-mouthed
hippie-spirtualist founder of the GNU Project keeps
demanding that everybody use the crappy term "Free
Software" instead of "Open Source"? [Bzzz] Yes, Anonymous
ANONCOW: Eric Raymond!
ERIC RAYMOND: Why you little [expletive]! I'm going to...
SPLADDEN: Whoa! Let's cut to commericial while this show
is still suitable for children!
VOICEOVER: Forget Network Solutions, DotComDotCom.Com is
_the_ source for dot com domain names! Over 3 million
registered... get yours today before every single domain
with the word "Linux" in it is taken! DotComDotCom.Com:
All The Good Ones Are Taken, Suckers(tm).
DUMBELL: Welcome back. Round 4 is now over... we get the
distinct feeling that Eric S. Raymond won't be invited back
for the next Nerdbowl.
SPLADDEN: Indeed. Did you see the way he threatened the
Anonymous Coward with that portable flamethrower? It's a
good thing AnonCow always wears an asbestos suit.
DUMBELL: You got that right. It's now time for the Final
SPLADDEN: This is it. The winners will bask in fame,
fortune, and glory while the losers will be the butt of
every joke posted on Humorix for the coming year.
DUMBELL: I'm quite excited, and so are all 64 people in the
SPLADDEN: This has been quite a game, hasn't it Bryant?
This final round should be no exception. In this event,
the two teams must assemble a 16-node Beowulf cluster from
scratch, install Linux on them, and then use the system to
calculate pi to 1 million digits. This is the ultimate
test for nerds... only people in the Big League should
attempt something like this.
DUMBELL: And there's the starting gun! The two teams are
SPLADDEN: While that's underway, a very special visitor has
just dropped by... James Baughn, webmaster for Humorix and
founder of the Nerdleague.
BAUGHN: Hi, everybody.
SPLADDEN: What possessed you to start the Nerdleague and
BAUGHN: Simple, I needed cheap filler material for my
Humorix site. A transcript between two sports announcers is
easy to write. Besides, meta-humor is always an excellent
ploy to get cheap laughs with little effort.
DUMBELL: Who do you think is going to win this game?
BAUGHN: I haven't decided yet.
DUMBELL: Umm, yeah. One more question... [beep beep beep]
BAUGHN: Oh, sorry, that's my beeper. Apparently the
Slashdot Effect Prevention Kit software on my webserver has
just detected the possibility of a Slashdot Effect... I
better run and check it out.
SPLADDEN: Alright, that's James Baughn, everybody. Let's
get back to the game... the Mad Hatters have taken the
lead... they've got most of the machines assembled now.
DUMBELL: Look at that! Instead of messing with screws, the
Portalbacks are using duct tape to attach their
motherboards to the cases! That should save some time.
SPLADDEN: You wouldn't happen to have one of those
EyeOpener(R) brand colas would you? I'm getting sleepy.
DUMBELL: I know, this game is getting really boring. Oh
wait, are we still on the air? Uh oh...
SPLADDEN: Aw, don't worry about it. Nobody is listening
right now anyways.
DUMBELL: They've done it! The Mad Hatters have completed
the Final Round in 2 hours, 15 minutes. That's one hell of
a Beowulf cluster they produced... drool.
SPLADDEN: They're probably going to sell the cluster on
eBay next week. I'm sure it will be quite a collector's
DUMBELL: The five people in the crowd still remaining are
going wild! Alan Cox is doing a victory dance.
SPLADDEN: With that, the Mad Hatters win the Nerdbowl 105
to 68! There's going to be some serious beer-drinking
tonight back at the Red Hat offices.
DUMBELL: Linus Torvalds has emerged from the sidelines to
present his Linus Torvalds Trophy to the winners. What a
glorious sight! This has definitely been the best Nerdbowl
ever. I pity those people that have been watching the
James S. Baughn
Humorix: Linux and Open Source(nontm) on a lighter note
Web site: http://www.i-want-a-website.com/about-linux/