Our man on the scene at Red Hat's North Carolina retreat reports on his fun-packed week with Geeks.

Geekworld Title

All photos © Steve Wilson

The life of a geek has never been as, well, cool as it is today. Silicon Valley start-ups are hiring geeks by the trainload, East Coast publishing companies are buying geek Web sites, and though it may pain some to admit it, the world’s richest man was once just a regular geek. Perhaps it should not come as a surprise, then, that Red Hat Software recently decided to prove that geek chic had truly come of age by bestowing on geeks the most meaningful rite of passage in western culture: Random, short-term celebrity status. Hey, if MTV can make stars out of its viewers, Red Hat can make stars out of geeks.

Or at least they can try.

Red Hat picked six geeks at random and sent them on a geek week vacation in a luxury beach house off the coast of North Carolina. And they were nice enough to let me tag along for the ride. Here’s what really happened.

Raleigh, NC


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They won a contest. They lived high off the Red Hat hog for a week. They called me “Couchboy.” And, with one possible exception, they all could have kicked my butt if I got out of line. They’re the cast of Geekworld ’99.

Today’s the day. I’m off to Geekworld. Why? Well, as my editor gently reminds me on the floor of Linux Expo, I’m a geek and will therefore fit in just fine. No arguments here. If not “geek,” what can you say about a journalist who packs the more portable of his two copies of Steven Levy’s seminal geek novel Hackersas inspiration for the assignment ahead?

I leave much too early in the morning, but arrive in time to lounge for the last few hours of Linux Expo, where I get to meet the geeks who I’ll be living with for the next few days. Four of them (Graham Wooden, Kristina Pfaff-Harris, Phil Steinke, and Suzanne Shine) have assembled in Kristina’s hotel room. The room is smoky, pizza boxes are scattered about, and we hang out, trying to get our bearings as the realization that we’ll be living together begins to sink in. Call it foreshadowing.

It takes the geek gestalt no time at all to brand me with a derisive nickname: “Couchboy.” The beach house has six beds, so somebody will have to sleep on the couch. Guess who is awarded this fine distinction? It’s great fun for the geeks, and they delight in bringing it up as often as possible. “And have you met Couchboy? Please, let me introduce you.” But I’m not really sure that I’m happy with this new moniker.

Once the Extreme Linux part of Linux Expo draws to an end, Paul Belvoir and Tim Janik join the cast, and we head off to the Red Hat party at the nearby fairgrounds. All parties are too loud, it’s just a matter of whether the other stuff going on makes up for it. The booze flows freely into the battery powered mugs that everyone has been given. In fact, the booze flows so freely that Red Hat’s party people are forced to make a station wagon run to get more of it before the night is over. And the line for the realistic flight simulator (capable of doing a complete 360 — an excellent choice for tipsy Linux geeks) grows longer.

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Most of the geeks retreat to the outdoors. We wait around for an hour while Nikki Bass, our Red Hat Geekworld guide, tries to discover who has stolen her rented tabletop disco balls. Eventually Nikki gives up and we head for refreshment before beginning our journey.

At this point Graham becomes the recipient of the only personal blowup I witnessed at Geekworld — I witnessed this one, because I dished it out myself at the International House of Pancakes. As Saturday wound down, the “Couchboy” thing seemed to take on a life of its own. The number of people who knew me only as “Couchboy,” was getting out of hand, and people were learning of my new handle second or third-hand, not just from the geeks.

I had hoped Geekworld would make a name for me among the Linux community, but I didn’t want it to be furniture-related. I curtly put an end to that fun after the party, as Graham was in the middle of yet another “And this is Couchboy,” introduction to a Red Hat staffer. From then on, it was demoted from “official title” to the more tolerable status of “our private little nickname.”

We roll into the beach house at 3:30 AM. The night is still young. Everyone makes a quick pilgrimage to the fourth floor to inspect the wireless T1 receiver, and then most of the gang descends on the boxed computer equipment to begin assembling our network. Officially, Red Hat has decided to make things a little “challenging” for the geeks. There are seven of us, but only three computers. Red Hat has neglected to supply any configuration information, and one of the machines doesn’t even have an Ethernet card. In reality, the Red Hat people came out to set up our systems, decided they’d rather party in a swanky beach house than set up a network, and left the work to the geeks.

Wilmington, NC


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For most of the geeks, Saturday never really ended, but I eventually trundled off to bed. The network is up and running, everyone looks groggy, and Tim has already established his lair at the far end of the living room. He has a couch, table, and computer all to himself, as well as control of the windows (which he leaves open whenever the air conditioning is on).

Because of the slow start we were bound to get, we decided to forego the scheduled battleship tour; but we did keep our date at Screen Gems, North Carolina’s movie studio. Our tour guide is clearly in awe of the trappings of celebrity that litters the Screen Gems studio, but it doesn’t seem to rub off on the geeks (after all, these are people who have their pictures plastered all over the Red Hat site! ). It’s also difficult to stir up much more than a yawn in response to a tour of half-assembled plywood sets punctuated by a litany of Dawson’s Creek’s greatest achievements.

OK, it wasn’t completely boring; the high school hallway set was kind of neat. But the real high point of the tour was our inspection of the fake posters on the walls. They had all kinds of small type advertising jobs like “Chief Brownnoser,” tips on surfing for Internet porn, and other “We can do this because TV is low resolution and they’ll never see it at home” hilarity.

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If Nikki was frustrated because her first planned event wasn’t a smash hit, she was positively disconsolate following our trip to the grocery store. The allotted $100 didn’t quite cover the geeks’ ravenous appetites for munchies, Coke, and beer. Even worse, shopping while overtired and grouchy is bad news for one person, dangerous for two, and potentially lethal for seven. There was violence in the air over who drinks Pepsi (me, want to make something of it?), just how much water we needed to bring on the kayaking trip, and what brand it should be, and, of course there was the Great Debate over what exactly goes inside a proper sandwich.

Attitudes improve once we’ve had a proper meal and are lounging around the house. Graham, Phil, and Nikki set out on what could be the world’s longest road trip, to secure one lousy computer power cable. A short errand becomes a three hour excursion that takes them through most of greater Wilmington and to two Wal-Marts. All just to plug in a laptop.

By now, Tim has found his true calling within the geek house: pointing out failings of American culture and life. More notable than his actual observations is the complete sense of indignant incredulity with which he delivers them.

So, Tim’s Indignant Observations of the Day: American bread is too soft. It is inexcusable that Americans do not put butter on all of their sandwiches.


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Although most of the geeks got their first real rest on Sunday night, the cancellation of our planned snorkeling expedition comes as welcome relief. Because of high winds and choppy waters, we’ll be outfitted for snorkeling on Wednesday and be left to our own devices for the rest of the day.

Outside the snorkeling shop, somehow the group decides that it is time to picket something, and in a blink, the snorkeling shop’s unsuspecting neighbor changes from print store to target. Graham climbs to the top of the van (not an insignificant feat, since it’s such a huge van) and starts screaming about labor rights. Nobody is arrested.

Once a DVD player is secured and Austin Powers rented (so it can be played on average twice a day for the rest of the trip, baby!), Kristina tries to lead the gang in a rousing rendition of “We Are the Engineers.” The important lyrics: “We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the engineers / We can, we can, we can, we can, demolish 40 beers.” It goes on from there — not unlike Dr. Evil’s mad schemes for world domination — gradually becoming more ridiculous and less effective with each rendition.

By now, everyone has picked up my penchant for answering the house phone “Geek House,” which is great fun, but not the kind of thing you’d want to try at home — unless you plan to host next year’s Geekworld, that is.

Tim’s Indignant Observation of the Day: (made at a strip mall, where workers were spraying concrete aggregate to form faux brick walkways) In Germany, workers would use real brick. Everything is fake in America.


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After a late night and even later wakeup, we realize we’ve forgotten to prepare lunch for our kayaking trip. So we load the fixin’s into the van and take off at the last possible minute. Somehow Tim winds up in charge of sandwich assembly. Perhaps it was his inquisitive spirit (“How do you make sandwiches?”) that rewarded him with the mantle of authority. By the time we get there, Tim is a sandwich making machine, and there’s serious talk of establishing Tim’s American Sandwich Shop franchises in Germany on his return.

Our kayaking guide is a wonderfully patient person who miraculously, if not literally, manages to keep the geeks in line. Some of us master kayaking a bit more quickly than the others (Phil: “I didn’t think I’d be the buff one”), but nobody gets left behind as food for the pelicans circling overhead or the vicious little blue crabs in the water.

Kayaking is nothing like what they show you on TV. It’s calm paddling on calm water. A piece of cake, except for Suzanne who takes a header while exiting her kayak at one of the shallow stops. No crabs were reported hurt. Meanwhile, Tim earns the nickname “Das Boot” from his unstoppable compulsion to ram the rest of us with his kayak.

The evening includes the geekiest moment in all of recorded history: The official Geekworld debate over the real meaning of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and the very serious implications it may have on the identity of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru (Luke Skywalker’s guardians) from the original Star Wars. The discussion comes complete with a lineage guide from USA Today. It was priceless. And by the way, if Luke Skywalker’s father was a slave, where the heck did his aunt and uncle come from?

Tim’s Indignant Observation of the Day: It was reprehensible that he had to pay for a GNOME T-shirt at the Expo. (Of all of Tim’s observations, this one probably had the most merit. The guy deserves a free shirt.)


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Oh dear. A network problem has cropped up, and it takes considerable effort to drag everyone out of the house to make it for snorkeling close to on-time.

We meet the photographer for the Linux Magazine shoot. He’s a fun guy, full of local color and interesting stories. However, he’s a little too eager to share the helpful hint of peeing in a wet suit at the start of a particularly cold dive.

We head out to the murky bay waters for fun with jellyfish. Suzanne is not having fun, and between the aquatic life and her struggles with the wet suit, she calls it an afternoon very quickly. Everyone else has a great time. I am the only other casualty, after a slightly choppy boat ride causes me to pollute the waters with the partially digested contents of my lunch. Luckily nobody seizes on the moment to give me a new, more colorful nickname. Couchboy I remain.

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We return home to the network problem, and the geeks get a bit edgy as they try to ferret it out. It’s one of those things that screams out “I am going to be

ridiculously easy to fix; you just have to find me.” And it is easy to fix — rebooting the right computer sets everything straight.

Sandwiches need to be prepared for tomorrow’s excursion. Suzanne makes sure they’re made ahead of time. Tim is so agitated by American sandwich standards that he actually forces her to draw up a flowchart to ensure he’ll get what he wants on his lunch.

Meanwhile, there’s a case of Bud Light in the fridge just taking up space. A few brave soldiers go straight down the sink so that Tim can briefly get involved in the ashtray-making business, but soon he’s made enough and no one has any use for the Bud Light. Geeks like cheap soda but expensive beer. So we get the idea to pawn the beer off on the local college boys, who are busy filming us as a class project. I’ve never seen such gratitude for so dubious a gift. Eighteen cans of Bud Light buys us some friends for life.

Tim’s Indignant Observation of the Day: Only the waters in North Carolina make his eyes sting. He’s gone out diving in other ocean waters, but has never had a problem.


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A deep-sea fishing trip at seven AM; just what the late-night geek squad needs. There’s no room for Couchboy on the boat, and besides, after my last nautical experience, I didn’t really feel like it. I’m left to watch the house and catch up on my notes while the others head out for mackerel.

In a bizarre accident, the bumpy seas crash the Windows NT partition of Paul’s dual-boot laptop. Talk about fate. Suzanne suffers the fate of the seasick while Graham and Phil do most of the fish-catching — too much of it, in fact. The amount of food left over after dinner is staggering, and although we manage to pawn off some of the fish later on, what we’ve cooked just doesn’t keep long enough to be very useful.

The geeks had returned from the fishing trip earlier than anticipated, so Phil, Graham, and I spent part of the afternoon on the beach. In a scene straight out of a feel good romantic comedy movie, Phil and Nikki run to the ocean and positively frolic in the waves. (Geeks don’t do a lot of frolicking in public, especially with non-geeks, so it is quite a sight.)

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Since today is our last day at the house, it’s time to clear out the all of perishables from the fridge. Phil’s brew of choice for the week was Guinness Draught in cans, culminating in an entire four-pack to celebrate the close of Geekworld. For those unfamiliar with the thick, soupy beer, understand that it is not Guinness’s alcoholic content but its formidable mass that stops casual drinkers after two. Phil proves himself to be quite a dedicated fan.

We all gather in the hot tub — rather, around it, since it’s almost overflowing — for some cheap white wine and a round of toasts. I’m actually a little surprised at how maudlin the geeks are getting about parting ways. I guess we’ve all done a pretty good job of becoming friends.

Tim’s Indignant Observation of the Day: Tim had peaked by this point and had a slow day in this department. The best he could come up with was to join other geeks in their outrage at the way the Fast Company’s Web site was twisting their words in its reprint of their diaries.


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Time to wrap it up and say goodbye to the geek house. We’re very nearly chased out by a real estate agent who’s trying to sell the place. Is there one store where all real estate agents are compelled to shop? We could spot her matching-color knit blouse and skirt with pearl necklace at about 500 feet.

I was afraid of what might happen when we tried to take down the network. I had visions of hours and hours of everyone asking for “just one more minute.” Thankfully, the ISP cuts off our wireless T1 at ten AM, eliminating all ambiguity over our sign-off.

We stop for lunch before heading back to Durham for a tour of Red Hat. Lunch in Wilmington turns out to be an object lesson on the contemplative pace of Southern life — and restaurant service! It’s not that we’re in a big hurry, but humans die if they don’t eat. The delays give us an opportunity to discuss human relationships, and Tim’s demand for a white paper to get girls for dedicated programmers. I suggest it be dubbed RFC (Request for Chicks) 69. It’s one of my more successful attempts at entertaining the group.

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The tour of Red Hat is about as interesting as can be expected considering it is after five PM on the Friday before a holiday weekend. The office isn’t entirely deserted but it is quiet, with most people either in late-night sessions or already gone for the weekend. Senior management gets an eyeful when Phil blowfishes the floor-to-ceiling window of their meeting room — he probably gets away with it only because he, like Red Hat CEO Bob Young, is a Canuck.

Our final freebie is a nice dinner out at a local brew house restaurant. A few Red Hat staffers come by, including Rasterman (the developer of Enlightenment) who resigned that very day to move to another Linux firm. He spends the dinner hour alternately teasing Red Hat personnel with all of the advantages he’s about to enjoy, and entreating them to jump ship along with him. I’m not the only one who gets tired of hearing about his wonderful life.

After dinner, it’s back to the hotel for some general bumming around, and trying to drag out the end just a little bit longer. Some of the geeks and Red Hat staff head off to watch a movie in one of the rooms, and we all say our goodbyes. We pledge to stay in touch — of course, nobody’s read my article yet, so we’ll see what they think of me now.



From an idea that sounded ridiculous (and by all accounts, nobody at Red Hat really knew what to expect), Geekworld ’99 turned out to be a blast. After the first rocky, sleep-deprived day, we all settled in very nicely, and Nikki, who will never be a geek herself, at least learned to appreciate geekdom in its many forms. We became her special little geeks.

The geeks got quite a bit out of the experience in addition to a stupendous collection of free T-shirts. How many people actually win a vacation in their life, let alone a vacation with free superfast Internet access? How many get to vacation with a group of total strangers who share such a unique common interest? How many get to vacation with someone who auditioned to be a phone sex recording actress? (That’s Kristina, by the way, for those out there wondering. And no, I won’t give you her phone number.)

There was a lot of debate, both in the house and in the Linux community, over just what Red Hat was hoping to get from sponsoring the event. We did install the new Red Hat 6.0 at the house, but they certainly
didn’t need us to field test it for them. It was definitely a high-profile way to launch a product, but that’s probably not it either.

So then what’s the answer? Why hold Geekworld at all?

Because we can.

Jason Compton is an Evanston, IL-based freelance technology writer. He can be reached at jcompton@xnet. com.

Paul Belvoir

Age 39, Systems Architect

Could take me out in a fight?

I imagine so. The quiet ones are always dangerous.


Of all the geeks, Paul was the hardest to really figure out. He got off to a slow start with the group, spending Linux Expo in the Extreme Linux conferences rather than socializing. After that, even though he was almost always in the thick of the action, and always one of the last to go to bed, he was generally the quietest member of the Geek House.

It was a real shame for us all, because it was obvious that Paul could have shared a lot with the group. He’s worked with many of the top CEOs in Silicon Valley, held a variety of jobs, and generally seems to know his stuff. He built an IMSAI in 1976 and was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club, one of the first and most influential personal computer user groups. He spent a summer working for Zilog during their heyday, when everybody knew a Z80 was a CPU instead of confusing it with a Camaro.

This is fascinating stuff for a house full of geeks. But actually getting a conversation to flow beyond these facts was difficult. On the rare occasion he would introduce a topic, I found myself wanting to scream, “And? And? Tell us more!”

Perhaps he’s just a quiet guy who doesn’t like to boast. Perhaps he was off his stride because he was without a real peer in the group, being at least 14 years older than the other male geeks. Whatever
it was, I have a feeling that if there’s ever a Geekworld reunion, getting to know Paul better is going to be on most people’s to-do list.

By the end of the week, Paul was answering to “Phil”, and vice versa. Two “P–l” names was just one too many for us to keep track of. I’m pretty sure everyone slipped at least once.

Phil Steinke

Age 21, Student (Electrical Engineering)

Could take me out in a fight?

Phil, the Captain of his Karate Club? Yes.


Phil was the Walt Whitman of Geekworld. He kept a careful journal each day, and only a poet would describe a day’s weather as “op
pressive.” Not to mention the picturesque scenes in which he practiced karate forms every morning on the long boardwalk behind the house.

Although no slouch in his Linux knowledge, Phil was usually content to let the others in the group viciously attack the network and server issues that cropped up — more than once he made sotto voce remarks about “too many cooks,” and he was usually right.

The youngest geek, and the only geek still in school, Phil was the most interested in taking advantage of the vacation bonuses of Geekworld. This guy actually enjoys the outdoors. More than once, he subtly shamed the other geeks into going to the beach during free time, which would otherwise be spent in the computer room.

Phil’s Canadian citizenship permitted him to become a participant in Tim’s frequent “American beer sucks” sessions. It also seriously creeped out Nikki Bass. Phil’s Canadian accent closely resembles that of Red Hat CEO Bob Young and Nikki would jump about a foot whenever Phil would tease her by saying, “Nikki, is that report almost ready?” It goes without saying that when Bob met the geeks, he was most interested in Phil.

Graham Wooden

Age 23, tech support/sysadmin

Could take me out in a fight?

I could probably catch Graham off-guard with a sucker punch.


Graham’s the guy you want on hand when you discover you’re not much of a 15-passenger van driver. He rescued me from being the designated driver for the week, and I remain grateful.

Graham was easily the Geekworld front man. Most of the messages on the Geekworld message board came from his friends and family, and photographers just couldn’t stay away from him. Heck, even Nikki Bass from Red Hat, who was generally creeped out by most of the geeks, found Graham fascinating.

With one notable exception, he didn’t do much to attract or earn this sort of attention. The exception? Donning a tie and woolen socks with a T-shirt for one of the photo shoots.

In one of the early Geekworld online diaries, Graham described himself as a “jester” type. For the first couple of days he tried to take responsibility for lifting group spirits when the inevitable tensions popped up. But like many jesters, he underestimated the value of hanging back and letting situations resolve themselves, and once or twice made the situation a little worse.

Once the group dynamic settled in and people got some sleep (both of which by no small coincidence happened on Monday), he relaxed and concentrated on just being himself.

Graham’s wife, a Southern belle named Bianca, took home the unofficial “Most Concerned Spouse” award for her frequent calls.

Suzanne Shine

Age 30-something, sysadmin

Could take me out in a fight?:

I don’t mess with New Yorkers.


It should come as little surprise that the geek who did the most to keep the house clean and the
necessities in order was the one with a young child.

When she wasn’t cleaning up or making sandwiches to precise geek specifications, Suzanne was plenty geeky. She masterminded the effort to set up and maintain geekworld.org, the semi-underground Web site maintained by the house.

Suzanne volunteered “acerbic” to describe her personality. Well, she is originally from the Bronx and still resides just outside New York City. Much of her humor was pretty brutal, although the geeks were able to handle it. She delighted in giving the Geekworld photographers and videographers a hard time, promising rewards for particularly flattering, “Selma Hayek”-esque shots. And, let’s not forget: absolutely no butt-shots.

To my knowledge she’s never seen combat duty, but Suzanne may as well have. Let’s put it this way: her tales of medical woe are many and varied, and the one where her ear was surgically cut off and stitched back on isn’t even the worst.

Suzanne also lead an effort, joined by Kristina, to use the word tchotchke every minute orso throughout the week. A tchotchke is a particularly cheesy or gaudy souvenir. It is also a very irritating word. On hearing it for the 200th time, you find yourself wanting to tchot choke someone.

When the geeks saw Suzanne’s admin skills and found outjust how overworked and underpaid she was, they flipped. Everyone is pulling for her to get those resumes out quickly.

Kristina Pfaff-Harris

Age 30-something, sysadmin

Could take me out in a fight?

Army-trained, she would garrote me with Ethernet cable.


Where Paul fell short in storytelling, Kristina made up the slack. She served in the Army as an air traffic controller, is now a senior administrator for a big-ticket ISP, and in between has worked as a movie extra and lounge singer. She can’t not have good stories to tell. And, oh yeah, she had this one really long, funky thumbnail.

We’ll never know just how much fun Kristina might have been under normal circumstances, because she spent the first few days in a state of distracted rage. The story goes that Internic processed an obsolete and incorrect domain name change for her firm, setting off a very unpleasant series of events for her and her company.

The lesson we all learned from Kristina (whether or not we wanted to, owing to the yelling and cursing that came from her corner of the room) is that it’s best not to let Internic get into any situation where they might make a mistake, because:

A. If they can make a mistake, they will, and

B. They don’t
have after-hours or weekend emergency support.

I know there are some wild ailments out there, but I had never before met someone with an onion
allergy. You just never think about the many things enriched by oniony goodness until you pal around with someone who might get seriously ill if they eat them.

Sadly, the mutant thumbnail didn’t survive the week, although it held its own during such flashy, threatening tests as kayaking and snorkeling, it met its maker during a low-impact computing session. An object lesson on the powers of repetitive stress. Kristina was philosophical about her loss though, dismissing the nail as just one of those “let’s see how long it can get” experiments.

Tim Janik

Age 25, GNOME programmer

Could take me out in a fight?

Fueled by indignant rage, would probably pulverize me.


On paper, Tim was the outsider of the group, the only non-North American. He, like Paul, spent much
of Linux Expo in the conferences rather than with the other geeks, meaning many spent their first quality time with him on the road trip to the beach house. But with a very good command of English, a wicked sense of humor and the ability to very casually claim a large chunk of living space all to himself, Tim had no trouble fitting in.

Tim, a well-known GNOME hacker (one of the maintainers of the GNOME Toolkit), made valiant attempts to get real programming work done, but the strain of being a public personality often interfered. At every meal that was not covered by a photographer, he would sarcastically remark, “I can’t eat without a camera on me. Where are the cameras?”

Tim dished out a lot of left-field anti-Americanism, criticizing everything from beer to building construction techniques. In return, he endured a lot of ribbing in lousy German accents from the rest of the group.

Although a number of the geeks staked out a small area in the living area/computer center, Tim was the only one who established a bona fide lair. He shanghaied one of the three Red Hat-provided desktops for the entire week, and surrounded it with ash trays, beer cans, beer cans that had been made into ash trays, and assorted dishes. (Tim didn’t eat often, but when he did, it was best to stand clear.)

The end result was the best missed photo opportunity of the week: At one point, the table was covered with beer and Mountain Dew cans, with a large bottle of Ronsonol lighter fluid right in the middle. It was Tim’s world, captured in litter.

Nikki Bass

Age 20-Something, Red Hat chaperone

Could take me out in a fight?

Forget it. She has a large contingent of sizable male admirers.


Nikki had the unenviable task of turning a corporate mandate to “hold a contest where six geeks win a week-long vacation” into something fun and worthwhile. Equally unattractive from her point of view was the fact that she would have to spend a substantial portion of that week making sure the geeks stayed on track.

Now that’s not to say that Nikki hated the experience, or disliked the geeks, although she didn’t really make a connection with anyone except Graham. It’s just that she seemed to be a prototype of the All-American Girl (there was extensive speculation that she must have been a cheerleader at some point, though this was never confirmed), and doesn’t really go for geeking out in front of a 17″ monitor. Although, the geeks did manage to teach her how to use Pine.

Nikki’s spirits were dampened early on (the great Sunday Grocery Debate bothered her — she feared that the entire trip would degrade into petty bickering), but they improved when we finally convinced her that hours of pounding away on a keyboard did, in fact, constitute the best of all possible times for her crew.

Nikki did her best to make up for our lack of outdoor appreciation by hitting the beach whenever possible. Throughout the course of the week we met a number of her friends. Almost all of them were men. And almost all of them were over six feet tall.

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