There Is No Cat

Groovy '60s Sounds from the Land of Smile!

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Lunch With Suw (with apologies to Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory)

It wasn't like I wanted to take today off, but I didn't have a choice. My boss told us a few weeks ago that there wasn't enough money in the kitty for the contractors to work our entire schedule this month, so we each needed to take some time off. Being clever, we decided to hold out as long as possible before taking our time off, which paid off, as over the course of the month, most of the missing hours were restored and the financial hit was minimized. Still, as the fiscal month came to an end, they still needed a few hours back. So I took today off.

I was determined not to waste the day moping around the house. We've been meaning to get reprints made up of a few of our wedding photos, and the lab that our photographer recommended (the lab that had done a wonderful job with the prints in our album) was in the city, but only open on weekdays, so it occurred to me that this would be a great opportunity to go in and get the reprints done.

It was at this point that something cool happened. One of my blogfriends mentioned on her blog that she was going to be in New York City the week of October 17-21 to run a conference about blogging, and that she was sticking around for a few days afterward and if anyone wanted to get together they should let her know. "Ha!", I thought, "I'm going to be in the city that week!"

And so it was that, after an exchange of e-mails, I ended up having lunch today with the devasatingly charming Suw "Chocolate and Vodka" Charman, late of London, England. Knowing that Suw was an erstwhile student of the Polish language, I suggested a little Polish restaurant on the lower east side that Laura and I are fond of, Teresa's, over on 1st Avenue. I was surprised to find that Suw had never had Polish food, and so it was arranged.

I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone who has met her, but Suw is a fantastic conversation partner. The poor waitress had to come over to us three or four times before we were ready to order. We spent a good two hours in the restaurant over golombki (me) and pierogi (her) talking about weblogs, IRC, the net in general, the history of radio, the production value of podcasts, the use of Welsh-language t-shirts as an intelligence test, the demise of simple web surfing (damned spammers!), the fog of running something, gadget lust, good fortune, the BBC, and music, among other things.

Afterward, we wandered over to Kim's Video on St. Mark's Place, where Suw's friend and host Dan Dickinson, who was squiring her around the city, was waiting (I'm not sure if Suw ever got the text message from him that she was expecting; I think we just decided that he would probably be there by now if we went, and so we did). We found Dan there, and they spent a little time expounding the virtues of the movie Shaun of the Dead, which they described as "a romantic comedy with zombies". Not much of a zombie movie fan myself, but I think I may have to check that one out.

One of the things Suw mentioned over lunch was how hard it is to find Welsh-language music in London, or even in Cardiff. It would pretty much require a trip to Bangor, in the northern Welsh-speaking part of Wales, to find anything. Well, one of the best record stores in the world for finding obscure music just happens to be on the lower east side a few blocks from where we had lunch, so I suggested we take a look at my favorite poison, Other Music. Dan had heard of it, but hadn't been there, so he was agreeable. Wouldn't you know that one of the first CDs we saw there, on the featured rack just as you walk in, even, was a compilation of Welsh rock and folk music from the 1970s. Suw pointed out the track "Y Brawd Houdini" by Meic Stevens in particular. I'm afraid our trip to Other Music did Suw's credit card a bit of damage; I think she found four or five Welsh CDs that she just wouldn't be able to find even in London. Hey, I like to share the pain; it's not uncommon for me to drop a hundred dollars or more whenever I go there (I resisted this time and only spent about half that....)

It was fitting that, as we parted company, Dan took this picture with my camera of Suw and me under the sign outside Other Music.

Suw Charman and Ralph Brandi at Other Music in New York City

It's been several years since I met someone in person who I had only known online. I did it quite a bit in the 1980s and 1990s, and am still friends with almost everyone I met back then. Hell, I met my wife that way. A number of the friends I initially met online even attended our wedding. Thanks, Suw, for keeping my unbroken streak of positive IRL experiences alive. I had a great time. I would have taken the day off anyway.

Posted at 6:46 PM

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Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

You MUST watch Shawn of the Dead. I intensely dislike horror movies, and I adored Shawn of the Dead. Very funny/scary!

Posted by Elaine at 7:06 PM, October 21, 2005 [Link]

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


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[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

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[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

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