I was in the process of writing down my thoughts concerning my trip to Todd's Macworld party, but I realized that they were resulting in a monstrously long email message that no one would have the stamina to read start to finish (kind of like this sentence). So I present to you the short version of the story (honestly):
You've all read the setup. I stumble into the IMusic Forum Thursday night to find a bunch of folks chatting in the Rubber Room. It takes me five or ten minutes to realize that TR-i Party Central is actually Todd and that he is really having a party. Thanks to the quick thinking of CathyleeB, I get an invite from Todd (or whoever was behind the keyboard at the time - I'm still unclear if it was Todd himself).
After about a half hour of encouragement, frantic calls to friends with wheels, a rushed bike ride home for the camera and a clothes change, a longer than usually BART ride into San Francisco, a cab ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, a five minute ride on the magic bus, and somewhere in the neighborhood of $23, I find myself at Todd's door.
Now I'm stunned. I walk into Todd's living room. Less than two hours ago, I thought I'd be snoring by now. Needless to say, I can't even think about sleeping. I try to keep my cool as I spot Todd. "Don't freak out, Kurt. Be cool". I look around and spot some other familiar faces that I had met at a previous party after Todd's summer tour. Lots of Todd's computer posse. Eric Myers (?), Ty from Ion, a guy named Bruce I had met at the aforementioned party, Jean Lannen, Michelle. I hear people talking about David Levine but I don't know what he looks like.
I finally decide to approach Todd who is hovering over the liquid refreshment table. I introduce myself and tell him how I happen to find myself there. He finds it mildly amusing. I tell him that the online folks want me to report in and he promise to show me to a computer in a bit (by this time, I'm at least a half hour later than I told all the online folks to start looking for me logged on at Todd's). Todd fixes himself a Gibson and recommends Bushmills for me. I do have to drink for the virtual partygoers so I think I had better get started.
Todd disappears and I start wandering around chatting, eating, drinking, checking out Todd's house (but not wandering too far - don't want to go anywhere off limits). I'm positioned over the hams when Michelle enters the room. "Are you Kurt?" she asks. The shuttle driver had told her my story. She thinks it's a blast. "Come on, we have to get you logged on and let everyone know you made it".
Michelle leads me up a flight of stairs, further into Todd's home than I had earlier lurked. We end up in Todd's home studio. Keyboards, a guitar, tape machines, and a computer. Before we even try to log on, Todd bounds up the stairs and joins us in the studio. Michelle lets him mess with the computer.
A little trouble with the modem gives the three of us a few minutes to chat. Since I had been discussing Todd's touring guitar with someone recently, I ask what type of guitar it is. Todd doesn't remember! "I just sat down one day and played like twenty guitars and it happened to sound the best". Good enough answer for me considering I'm not even a musician.
The second try and we are successfully on Compuserve. Todd is saying "It's 5 AM on the east coast. They can't still be up." I'm thinking he may be right as I am an hour later than I had predicted. We ar both surprised to find a small crowd still there in the Rubber Room - John, Cathy, and Kimmie have been joined by Craig, Caitilin, and Shawn. Todd's account automatically lists the user as "Todd Rundgren". He hits a few buttons and brings up a change name screen. He yields the keyboard to me and I enter "kurt at TR's place".
The other users can see who else is logged on and the pandemonium begins even before I can announce my presence. "TR's here!" "Okay, where's Kurt? He's my houseboy!" Caitilin proclaims "It's really Kurt" The crowd goes wild. "Heyaah!" "MY HERO!" "OUR HERO!" "KOWABUNGHOLIO!"
After a few minutes, Todd leaves to hang out downstairs. Michelle reads the incoming messages over my shoulder as I try to respond to everyone's questions. All these people back east calling me crazy and they're up at 5 AM on their computers.
After a bit, Michelle leaves to join the real party as well. Jean Lannen strolls in a bit later. I relay a few messages from her to the collection of cyberfolks. Todd returns and sees me still hanging out with the virtual partyers. "You people are sick" is all he can say before heading back downstairs.
After about an hour, I tell them I'm going to go back and join the real party as opposed to the virtual party. They all bid me farewell and everyone logs off. Back to the real party.
It's a little thinned out by now but still cool. I descend the stairs nearly tripping over Todd sitting on the bottom step. A bunch of people are listening to some Australian guy play guitar. Another woman adds vocals occasionally. Everyone is mellow. Todd begins contemplating how he's going to get rid of all the extra food. We all compose a new blues song about the excess food. In my best blues voice, I chime in "I got a pocket full of mayonaisse running down my leg" (there was a lot of mayo!). Pocket full of mayo is repeated perhaps a dozen times later in the evening.
The rest of the night was basically just hanging out with Todd and about six other people. Michelle offered to let me sleep in the living room as I had no transport back home lined up. I declined and instead shared a cab back to SF with the woman who was singing.
Some of the highlights of the evening:
Michelle's outfit - a brown dress and a leather breast plate. She wins the best dressed award even if it is impossible for her to sit down.
Michelle offers me the second, unopened, smoked turkey. Todd asks "What are we going to do with this turkey?" every fifteen minutes or so. Michelle keeps replying "I'm sending it home with Kurt". Unfortunately, we all forgot about the turkey when I left. I don't think I could have eaten it all anyway.
I get to see the view from Todd's bedroom. Although it was a bit foggy, it is still a great view of SF, the Bay Bridge, and the East Bay. One must watch that first step though or they'll wind up on the porch below.
Todd begins channelling Frank Zappa at about 3 AM. One too many listens to "Strictly Commercial" has him singing "Give me your dirty love" every ten minutes. I want to know when we are going to see the full band version in concert. I'm sure it would smoke.
The turkey carcass. Todd decides that maybe his little dog Pixel would like a treat. He hefts the massive carcass and nearly crushes poor Pixel as he heaves it to the kitchen floor. Michelle groans. She thinks she'll be stuck cleaning up the mess. But she isn't. It's a woman's world after all and Todd cleans it up after Pixel picks at it for a while (it took him at least ten minutes to build up enough courage to approach it after it nearly clobbered him).
Bean attempts to talk the Australian into playing a song called "One Eyed Jack" (?). He doesn't know it so we don't get to see Bean do the Texas Gay Bar Dance that goes along with it.
I get my picture taken with Todd and Michelle in the kitchen so that I can prove my story to any non-believers. I'll cry if they don't come out.
It's finally time for the cab ride back that I mentioned earlier. We get to SF at about 5:15 AM. Conveniently enough, BART is just starting up for the morning commute and I can catch it back to Berkeley to avoid another $25 cab ride. BART delivers me back to Berkeley and I finally hit the pillow at 6 AM.
must be a lucky guy...
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