The Beginning Of My Life As A Purposeful Procrastinator

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-8-15-02-amTwenty years ago this month Zen-Den and I bought a dial-up modem that we used to connect our home computer to the World Wide Web– and our lives changed forever.

For a few years before this, we’d been using a home computer to keep track of finances and to make a recipe book– well, one of us was making a recipe book.  These uses of a home computer seemed modern enough to us, but with a snazzy new modem we had the luxury of the WWW in our home.  Imagine!

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I knew about email because in college I had an email address.  That was only because I was part of an early academic study on how strangers interact with each other on the World Wide Web.

[Back then, the answer would be formally, as if writing a letter and responding back to each other on a weekly basis.]

I also knew a little bit about getting information from the web, although my experience had been with college librarians who were the only people with direct access to computers that connected to the WWW.

[Back then I’d give my query of keywords, perfectly parsed a la Boolean logic, to a librarian who then input my query into a computer.  Hours later I’d get a printout of where to go in the bricks-and-mortar library to read whatever it was I was researching.]

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But what I didn’t know about the WWW was how much I’d fall in love with it, and its ability to provide information and conversation instantly.

Now, of course, it seems completely normal. Pedestrian.

But I tell ‘ya when we first went online at home in 1997, I never dreamed that the World Wide Web would be the making of me.  And that the screechy sound of our dial-up internet connection was heralding my quirky future as a purposeful procrastinator with a blog.

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Questions of the Day

When did you first get connected to the WWW in your home?

How has your life changed because of it?

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S Is For Succotash, So Sayeth I

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.01.38 AMSufferin’ Succotash

… is what Sylvester the Cat says when confronted with yet another dilemma.  Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr., is a Looney Tunes star who almost always fails at what he’s trying to achieve.

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But did you know that his famous saying, “sufferin’ succotash,” is an example of a minced oath?

A minced oath is a term that refers to a word or phrase modified from rude, crude &/or blasphemous to a more benign saying that does not offend, but still imparts the same message.

For instance, when you say darn it to heck, that is a minced oath of damn it to hell.  When you say egads [and you do say egads, right?], that is a minced oath of oh god.

And when you say sufferin’ succotash, that is a minced oath of suffering savior, which at one time was vile thing to say.

[… and you doubted the value of a liberal arts education!  How else would I know something this obscure, yet arguably, interesting?  Hmmm?]

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G Is For Gravy, Good Golly

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.43.31 AMIt’s all gravy

… is a wonderful way to say that everything is going well in your life.  The logic behind it can be explained thusly:

“This phrase originated from an Old English saying. Life, it explained, is meat and potatoes, and the luxuries are gravy.”

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That being said, for me, this phrase was one that I never heard growing up.  My mother, Skinny Ginny, had an aversion to all things sauce.  Including, but not limited to, gravy.

There was no gravy in my life, so when I first heard this saying, while in college studying English Literature, it confused me.

To me, gravy was something bad.  Empty calories, you know?

When I finally figured out what the saying meant to the rest of the world, I had to laugh.  Despite my mother’s good intentions when it came to healthful dining, she did a really good job of screwing with my mind, and inadvertently baffling me.

Which just goes to show, it ain’t always what it seems.

We Didn’t Fit In, But We Had A Good Time: Go Bucks!

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If you go to OSU, the only red that counts is SCARLET.

On Saturday afternoon we joined our closest 105,000 “friends” and went to a Ohio State football game.  The game was in Ohio Stadium, aka The Shoe, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places.  It is located on The Ohio State University main campus, which is in Columbus, OH.

The Shoe was packed.

After exiting from the highway, getting to our parking place, which was beside The Shoe, was an adventure in dodging drunk psyched fans, driving hither & yon on surface streets– and highlighted by a bomb squad checkpoint.

We passed.

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Gray, however, is GRAY regardless of your OSU allegiance.

Then getting to our seats on a box level, accessible via huge dual-door elevators, turned into a lark.  Fortunately the arena’s staff kept us laughing all along the way, as we two confused outsiders tried to find our box.

Very pleasant people.

The OSU marching band, aka The Best Damn Band in the Land, did script Ohio, which I maintain is the real reason anyone goes to these football games.  And the home team won.  So all was good.

Yay football.

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Here’s my takeaway:

Every person who attended this event, except us, was wearing team colors, scarlet & gray.  I MEAN EVERYONE.  And though no one dissed us for not having any team merchandise on our bodies, I felt odd about it.

I’m not one to wear showy clothes, nor have I ever felt comfortable in team apparel, so despite wanting to be part of the group, I couldn’t bring myself to spend monies on any of the over-priced shirts, hats, shorts, sweatshirts, scarves, et cetera, that were available for purchase.

This wasn’t a problem, but it’s an observation that marketing has taken over the game.  Meaning that looking the part of a fan is now as important as, if not more important than, being a fan.

This reality made for a visually weird overly enthusiastic-looking crowd of people wearing, what they hoped was scarlet but in actuality was multiple shades of red, emblazoned with the iconic Block O.

Fans? Perhaps.  Followers? Definitely.

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Let’s Talk About Cowinkydinks

So here’s how it all happened.

I went to the grocery to pick up a few things for dinner.  Me with a list, even.  Rather clued into what was going on around me.

As I was walking into the lobby of the store I thought that I recognized another woman walking into the store.  I wasn’t sure at first, but I thought that this woman was my R.A. during my sophomore year of college.

At a small liberal arts university nowhere near here.  About eleventy hundred years ago.

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As she was grabbing for a shopping cart and turned toward me, I realized that she was, indeed, my R.A. in college, who I hadn’t seen in decades.  So I exclaimed her name.  Loudly.

Fortunately, she didn’t seem fazed by some crazy woman, moi, shouting at her.  And in fact we began to talk.  After a few minutes of re-connecting in the lobby of the grocery, she suggested we meet for lunch.

Which we did and had a great time of it.  We even plan to get together again next month to continue the conversation.

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This would be the end of the story if it weren’t for the weirdest coincidence that happened later in the day.  While at lunch my former R.A. told me that she had grown up in a town that I’d never heard of before, a small town in the next state over.

That evening Z-D came home from work and told me that he had to get up early to drive to a meeting somewhere he had never been to before.

Where was he going?  To a little town in the next state over where my R.A. had grown up.

Now what are the odds of that?