Thursday, April 06, 2006

Odds and Sods for Thursday, April 6

More from the John Wetton Show at the New York Knitting Factory -- Katie Jacoby on violin, Zach Bukowski on flute, Stevie Roberts on keyboards, CJ Tywoniak on guitar, and Eric Slick on drums

So yeah, the last few days have been dull and I suppose I should be glad, but I'll be gladder if I can get some writing done today. Hey, it could happen...

No. It will happen. While it's been dull for me personally, it's been nuts here this week with kids and appointments and various other diversions but when I don't write for a few days I'm miserable and filled with self-loathing and we just can't have that.

Hey, it's starting to finally hit me that next Wednesday my son goes on tour for almost five weeks! Here's the official advert:

Cool, huh. And even better, I just learned my daughter Julie will be joining Project Object on stage with her bass for "City of Tiny Lights" and "Peaches and Regalia" on opening night at the World Cafe -- I will try to control myself and not cry or jump on stage with my camera. But yeah, to say I'm excited is an understatement.

So remember yesterday when I said I heard from an old friend -- the one who sent me the Texas Cowboy in Mexico joke? He wants me to co-author a book with him on a subject totally outside my realm of knowledge but I'm interested, I'm interested. But first he said he has to mail me some reading material.

Now this worries me.

Have I ever told the story of my first internet experience here? Well, if I have, I'm sorry to be so senile and you can stop reading now, but something tells me I never had the guts to share this before. Until now. And I'll probably regret it, but it makes for a good laugh.

I was probably one of the last people to go "online". I thought computers were part of a diabolical Republican plan to steal creativity away from our youth. And so while I had a computer and my kids were on line since the early nineties, I avoided it like it was the Mother of All Evil.

And then one day six years ago, the kids were at school, and I saw a commercial on T.V. for Gap On Line. What's this? I could buy my black t-shirts on line and never have to visit another fucking Gap store again? All I had to do was go to (I hate to shop, have I mentioned that? I mean, I love CD shopping and shopping for cool arty stuff, but regular shopping...arghhh).

So I sat down at the computer and had no idea at all what I was doing. I didn't know about Netscape or Internet Explorer - I knew we had AOL so I figured out how to sign on to that, not knowing I had signed on to my daughter's screen name and what that meant.

I'm in the middle of placing my order when I got my first instant message, only of course it was meant for Julie. It was nothing, just one of her goofy friends, but I closed the window and got all freaked out. I didn't want to invade her privacy...but...I wanted to be able to buy my black t-shirts on line, damn it!

It didn't take rocket science to figure out how to give myself a screen name. Oh my god, how embarrassing is this. My first name was Mrs. Hippie. Please kill me, I can't even believe I'm sharing that. Anyway, complete trusting novice that I was, I learned I could make myself an AOL profile and I was blatantly and disgustingly honest. You would have thought I was preparing a profile for for I listed my likes, my dislikes -- I did everything but list my actual street address.

Why did I do this? I have no idea, other than I thought that's what you were supposed to do in order to participate on AOL.

Oy.'s only about ten minutes in that I'm happily shopping with my new screen name when I receive an instant message. Apparently AOL has a feature where another member can type in a search word and find members with like tastes, and my first IMer ever typed in rock music and Philadelphia.

Ohhhh....I can't finish this story.

Nah, I won't do that to you. That would be cruel. So here is the edited, abridged, and kid proof version. We got to talking, and he asked me if I liked water sports.

I naturally thought he meant water skiing, boating, stuff like that.

He said he was e-mailing me some reading material.

I now had to learn how to download, but he coached me through it, and it landed on the desktop. Okay, no problem, right?


I open the water sports document and read Chapter One.

"What To Do In Fancy Hotels"


"You take down the shower curtain and place it on the bed like a sheet so you don't ruin the mattress..."


Chapter Two.

"The Nutritional Benefits of Urine and How It Can Save You If You Are Ever in a Plane Crash or Shipwrecked"

Um, I don't really have to go into this any further, do I?

Horrified, it took me three hours to delete it from the desktop (don't forget, I didn't know about "Trash" or "Recycle") and I sat there shaking with paranoia that my then young teenagers would find it and think it was mine.

Well, it was mine. Ha. I mean I was terrified they'd think it was something I was into.

I deleted my screen name immediately. Mrs. Hippie was no more.

Now you would think that would have kept me off line forever, wouldn't you?

(And trust me, I left out practically every detail I could just got the bare bones version of this story)

But no, here I am, and I even use my real name. How nuts am I?

Speaking of nuts, look, you know this is something I'd never be able to resist in a million years so I hope it happens -- in Neil Gaiman's blog the other day as concerns contributing to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

Neil said:

It's definitely time to say thank you to any of you who have contributed to the fund recently. And it's time for me to do several of the fundraising things I keep meaning to do but have been putting off. For example, about a decade ago I grabbed a few dozen of my older black tee shirts, signed them in fabric paint and gave them to the CBLDF who sold them at conventions for about $50 a shirt. I think it's time to go and buy some new pots of fabric paint...

Ahem. A vintage worn by Neil Gaiman black t-shirt? And only $50.00? And the money goes to a good cause?

Oh my God. A new reason to live.