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Leiden: Report

From: (Kimberley Verburg)
Subject: [F] Leiden Muppet Meet Report
Date: 02 May 1999 00:00:00 GMT
Message-ID: <>

[double-posted to]

This is what we call the Muppet Meet: The attendees were Jeroen Burger,
Jeroen "Labrat" Metselaar, Jos Dingjan, Leo "Treebeard" Breebaart,
Martin Wisse, Michel "Cybercat" Lanting, Patrick "Turtle" Dersjant,
Robert Collier and me.

Rob hopped over to the Netherlands on such short notice that he caught
the weather off guard, so the two of us could take a leisurely walk
through Leiden under a sunny and almost cloudless afternoon sky. Leo
joined us after skiving off work early and we spent most of the time
eating ice-cream and sitting on the warm, red bricks beside a canal. We
eventually made our way to the meet venue and carefully filled the
others in on our activities so they wouldn't feel like they'd missed

The naming of the meet for Rob's nickname and the arrival of the
appetiser was sufficient excuse for Muppet Show imitations with the
Swedish chef as favourite. In Eelco's absence, Jeroen M. immediately
asked for substitute vultures to hover over my food.

First on the subject menu was the KLM's shredding of about 400 "illegal"
squirrels from China. Patrick found it necessary to remark on the
similarities of the goose-liver mousse and squirrel, and other unsavoury
details I will not elaborate on in case someone is eating while reading
this. (I'm sorely tempted to board my next KLM flight wearing a squirrel
mask, not forgetting my passport, of course!) Compounding his dinner
topic faux pas, that dreadful turtle actually poured vinegar over his
chips, rendering them inedible to other hungry hoverers.

Leo continued the theme of disgusting food by telling us about a website
containing insect recipes. Someone else (possibly a Jeroen) added that
chocolate-covered grasshoppers had already made their debut at a UK
meet. On checking the site  <>, it turns out I
misheard the technical term for "insect eating" as "Antomophagy" instead
of the correct "Entomophagy". Can I make a case for grinding Leo into
flour for biscuits or covering him in chocolate?

It was noted with suspicion that Turtle and Roach hadn't been at the
same meet since the first time they'd been at a meet together. Do
Roaches go well with vinegar?

An object vital to the running of was proudly introduced
to Rob. The FTB hardware is called "Teddy Pratchett". Rob started to
repeatedly bang his head on the table for some reason.

2 x 4 geeks left, right and centre, embarked on discussions about
Partition Magic, Library's mailing lists and related matters that meet
reporters weren't meant to wot of -- the sign to ward off Word's Evil
Dancing Paperclip was hastily made. From there the conversation
fragmented: Michel's teeth came dangerously near Relevance; Jos declared
that he wanted to elope with Leo; the official and copyrighted spelling
of "mahna, mahna" was given; the appropriateness and quality of April
Fool's jokes on User Friendly and C'T magazine were talked about, and I
indulged in a rant on New Zealand's chaotic marking system while Rob was
more restrained on the decreasing difficulty of the UK's A-Levels.

Dessert arrived and I found myself happily embroiled in a language
discussion, this time on the uses of the subjunctive/conjunctive and
"assume" versus "presume", with the examples of Dr. Livingstone and
Stanley. I swear, next time I'm going to bring a big bag of dictionaries
and grammar textbooks to settle arguments...if only to hit the disputing
parties over the head with them.

In an attempt to interrupt the geeking that had resumed, I inquired what
people had been reading of late. "O'Reilly's" and "Linux in a Nutshell"
were the responses. *roll eyes heavenwards* I persevered. "Who's read a
good *fiction* book lately?" "Windows manual." answered Jeroen B.
promptly. Despite the faltering start, a satisfying discussion of books
soon involved the entire table. One end reminisced about Dragonlance and
Forgotten Realms novels and the other end critiqued more recent authors,
such as, Iain (M.) Banks, Neal Stephenson and Connie Willis.

The new blood, Martin, was quizzed as to whether he was a geek: "Oh for
heaven's sake, just look at him!" I blurted out. Someday tact and tongue
will combine. In my defence, his beard loudly proclaims him a geek (in
defiance of the clean-shaven evidence presented by the seven other geeks
at the table.)

QUOTES (also courtesy of Rob)

"An eight year, seven month, six day scream in a cup of coffee." - Rob

"I have no opinion on this at all" - Leo
"Yes, you do!" - Jos
"Well, yes, I do." - Leo

"I have this horrible feeling I'm becoming predictable." - Kimberley
"I knew you were going to say that." - Labrat

"Oh god, I'm such a geek." - Leo

"I met him, Tim met him, I met Tim." - Patrick

"It imitated a good book without actually being one." - Leo

"Hand it to the nearest trustworthy person." - Kimberley
"That's an hour by train." - Patrick

"You know it's been a good meet when you're in the quote file and you
can't remember why." - Leo

"Atom Ent." - Michel

"How do you UUencode a monitor?" - Patrick and Leo.

"The meet goes on." - Jos

"Your brownie spontaneously turned into cheese." - Patrick
"It's the fate of all brownies." - Martin

Kimberley Verburg
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