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The world’s 1337est Cyrillic characters

This year’s GoobNet Halloween party was one of the best ever, according to the participants. It was my first, and it really felt way different from all of the Halloween parties I’ve been to before.


Vanessa Hudgens: An England football jersey with the number 10 on it. She frequently removed a boot and kissed it. SCORE: One first half goal on a free kick

Tony Parker and Eva Longoria: Tony was in full racing gear with FRANCHITTI on it, and Eva was wearing as much University of Kentucky stuff as she possibly could. SCORE: 184 mph

Janet Love 1 and Ali Liminisi 2: They wore revealing outfits and kerchiefs tied around their hair. They were carrying basketballs marked RUTGERS. SCORE: One pink slip

Dave and Vickie Beckham: They wore shirts reading Sylvia’s and asked all of us if we would like more “M-Fing iced tea”. SCORE: One more pitcher

Rich, Gaby, Wen, and Nina: Rich, the chair of the GoobNet Special Projects Enhancement and Enforcement Division [SPEED], was in a suit and carried a wireless microphone. Gaby, Wen, and Nina were in matching blue dresses and posed next to anything they could find. Rich would then say something like, “Tony, is that candy bowl higher or lower than eighteen dollars?” SCORE: One thousand dollars and a bonus spin

Angela Ellen Keathley and Renee Thomas: Angela was dressed in a pink sweater and a sash reading QUARTERFINALIST. Renee had a sleeveless top, a sash reading SEMIFINALIST, and a lot of bicep-accentuating poses. The explanation was: “The women of GSN’s Grand Slam”. SCORE: 36.29 seconds to take through to the final round

Reg: A gray suit and a fake scar on his face. When someone said “Hi Dr Evil” to him, he replied, “That’s Dr Evil Vice President!” and placed his pinkie to his lip. SCORE: One impeachment bill

Me: I wore fishnet stockings, a tight tube top, a microskirt, and reading glasses. I identified myself as one of the rejected X Men, “Cryptonomi”, whose mutant skills include codebreaking and sorting books. SCORE: A ten cent fine

Debbie: She wore a blue blouse and lit a few papers, which said something like UNIMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT PARIS HILTON, on fire, one of the most exciting events of the night. SCORE: 4,000 supportive letters from viewers

Deb: A shaven head, no panties, remnants of an orange jumpsuit, shadowy eyes. SCORE: Three months in and out of rehab

Edvard: He had a T shirt reading ЗОМГ ИМ ТЭХ 1337!!!!!!. The explanation was: “Remember when all those Russians hacked Estonia when they moved that Soviet statue?” SCORE: Four bits

Mary-Kate Olsen: She wore a red trenchcoat and fedora. SCORE: Fourteen henchmen/women/things

Ashley Olsen: She had form fitting commando gear and a béret. The nameplate read VALENTINE. SCORE: Seven healing herbs

Reese Witherspoon: She had no clothes on but was painted entirely in silver. Also, her breasts were larger than I remembered them in Clueless. Or was that Alicia Silverstone? Anyway, the explanation was: “I’m the new Mary Carey-bot.” SCORE: Three nights of rigorous QA testing

Mary Carey: A tight black T shirt encouraged us to TOUCH ME. The explanation was: “I’m Apple’s new product: the Human iPhone.” SCORE: Two unauthorised software updates


This year, we had a Rockstar Games’ Table Tennis tournament on the Wii. Seventeen players entered, so Deb and I played a qualifying match. She won and went on to reach the quarterfinals. But Mary-Kate went on to be the champion, edging Vanessa in the final.

But throughout the night, other games were played on the Wii, like FIFA 08.


At about 03:00 PDT, I was talking with Mary, and I asked about her costume. She said, “Why don’t you try out my intuitive user interface? See what features you can activate by touching in different places.”

I said, “You mean, in front of everybody?”

“Sure,” she replied. “Why not?”

“I can’t!”

She invited me to the bathroom, but I couldn’t follow her there. Janet 1 and Ali 2 then came up and pulled her away, and I breathed a little easier.

Later, Ali 2 told me about some of the features that she found on the Human iPhone. Finally, I took a deep breath and went to find Mary again.

Sure enough, there were some really unusual features on that device, if you know what I mean.

I asked Reese what gave her the idea for her costume. She said, “Well, I met her last year, and she was... well... fun to be around. So I was thinking of how to improve her, and then I thought ‘Mary Carey 2.0’, and, here you go.”

“Cool. You like it this year?”

“Yeah, I really do. Especially because of, you know, everything that’s going on with me.”

I asked her, “What’s going on with you?”

“I just got divorced.”

“Oh. Um... should I congratulate you or comfort you?”

She smiled and said, “You can congratulate me.”

“Then congratulations.”


I fidgeted with my glasses for a moment.

Reese asked, “So are you and Deb...”

I stared at her. “Are we what?”

She stared back at me for a moment. Then she said, “No, forget it. Just wondering if you were getting along good. Working together, you know.”

“Yeah, we’re working together just fine,” I told her. “Why?”

“No reason. It’s just, she said she was trying to take care of you, being the new girl and all.”

I said, “Well, she does help out. Like when I need to know where the extra printer paper is.”

I was sitting next to Reg during the Wii table tennis final.

He suddenly said, “What do you think?”

“About what?” I asked.

“Your first GoobNet Halloween party.”

I hesitated, and then I said, “Well, it actually feels a little tame compared with the ones I’ve read about.”

He replied, “Yeah. It tends to get going a little later.”

We watched the next couple of rallies.

“Hey, Amber Lynn?” he asked.


“Do you know the SPEEDers?”

“I’ve met them, yeah,” I said.

“I was thinking about getting them more involved in the whole GoobNet situation, you know.”

“Like how?”

“They could serve on some of our committees, I think. And maybe they could get an occasional feature. You know, like a travelogue or something.”

“A travelogue?”

“You don’t think so?”

I said, “Well, I just think, you know, travelogues aren’t really the best sort of thing we do. You know?”

“I liked the one with you and Deb,” he answered.

Why is that the one that everybody remembers?

As we cleaned up, I asked Deb what her costume was, saying, “It looks kind of like Taritney Lohilton.”

The two of us pushed the last table onto the truck.

Deb said, “That’s close enough.”