Today : Who, Me?
A long, long time ago...
So I've heard from a couple of people that "you should put up, like, a bio page and stuff." Here you go. Also, I did that damn survey that is going around at this time which will now become the past and already is to you but you knew that. I overexplain things sometimes.
I was born, oh, a long, long time ago, in a faraway land called Ukiah, California. Ukiah at the time was a dinky little town in the dead-grass end of Mendocino County, which is in the northern part of California. Most people think of Mendocino as being all pot farms, scenic coastlines, and rainy forests. The pot farms, well, yes. The other stuff is up above Ukiah. We mostly just catch fire in the summer. It's fun. I say "was" not because it's moved, interesting as that would be, but because it's become slightly less dinky in recent years due to an influx of hippie refugees and people with large unexplained amounts of cash to spend. (See "farms" above.)
Anyway. It was a very rural town. Pickup trucks, school plays making front page news, that thing. People said "sheeeit" in all sincerity. I have been told that the fact that "Ukiah" is "haiku" spelled backwards is purely coincidental. I've never believed that.
I am the seventh child of seven children in my family. Six boys and one girl. Spare my sister a tear or two, she deserves it. But I didn't really have a large-family experience growing up. The spacing in years between us, combined with our warm, close home life, meant that everyone was pretty much gone by the time I had any idea who I was or what was going on. I knew my immediately-older brother, I kinda knew my sister, who was right above him in age, and the rest might as well have been uncles or something.
I was a strange child. I have always treasured the note on my kindergarten report card that said, "He is often unaware of the effects his words can have on the other children." Some trends start early. Another point of pride: Not too long ago, I found out that the parochial school I was sentenced to in my early years asked my parents to please not re-enroll me, as I was too disruptive. Hah.
The main thing that both completely twisted me away from our normal family path and, probably, saved my sanity, was Ronald Reagan. He was Governor here for a while, and he had this clever idea that the state didn't need all these mental hospitals when the cities were full of perfectly good alleys and doorways. So he closed Mendocino State Hospital (among others), which was where my mom worked at the time. She had to transfer to Napa, and I got to go along.
This was significant for two reasons: one, Napa was a suburb of San Francisco, and two, my father stayed in our house in Ukiah. So instead of going through the dominance battles that my other brothers had fought, I got to be a science/theater geek instead, and go to concerts in San Francisco where all those funny people lived. My doom was assured. Saints be praised.
After high school, the science part of my geekdom went into abeyance for a while. Instead, I went to Emerson College in Boston, which at the time was still headquartered in Back Bay, and not whatever suburb I think it's in now. Nice city, Boston. Very cold. I did a lot of drugs, was in the Comedy Workshop with Dennis Leary, and even went to class once in a while.
That got to be too expensive, though, so after a year, I came back to the Bay Area and went to Berkeley. I lived in this little house on Frat Row, between two fraternities and across the street from a sorority. Naturally, I went insane. The proof was that I signed up with this strange cult-like company that gathered up naive young college boys from all over the country and sent them out to sell a single-volume encyclopedia door to door. I got sent to upstate New York, where I admired the scenic clouds of the dairy country and the fine atomic power plant at Oswego, and did not admire so much the baby-food-encrusted trailer parks where I found myself all too often. I got arrested in some small town up there for peddling without a license. The food in jail was terrible.
While I was there, I found out that the application I had sent in to NYU mostly as a lark had actually been accepted. Of course I had to go. I had spent Thanksgiving in Manhattan the year before, when I was at school in Boston, and upon first sight fell totally in love with it. Dirt! Pavement! Crazy people! Home! (I also got to see Dee Dee Ramone eating Spaghetti-Os, which was pretty cool as well.)
New York was great. My career at NYU, not so much. So I bailed on that too, after about a year and a half, and came back to San Francisco.
Then a whole lot of stuff happened for quite a while that I would rather not talk about right now.
Uh, so, later, there was SF Net, MST3K, and many drugs. Then there was the Web, and not long after, Potatoe.Com went on the air. For three years or so, I was content to leave it at that. But then, this summer, for some inexplicable reason, I thought it would be amusing to give people a peek into the mind (such as it is) of the person responsible for all of this silliness. That's where you all came in.
So now here I am, living in San Francisco, where I have a job and I write these words, the effect of which I'm still unaware. You can explain it to me if you have some ideas.
(For some incredibly detailed and not at all riveting facts, you can also check out my resume.)
Willfully blind self-indulgent nebbish or amusingly quirky old coot? And how bout that local sports team? Discuss among yourselves.
All names are fake, most places are real, the author is definitely unreliable but it's all in good fun. Yep.
© 1998-1999 Lighthouse for the Deaf. All rights reserved and stuff.
The motto at the top of the page is a graffito I saw on Brunswick Street in Melbourne.