Okay, have done most of the modifications for my blog. Font color is a bit light but I'll find out where they hid that and get it changed. Otherwise I think I'm ready to give it a test drive. As of now and unless it blows up in my face all posts to my blog can be found at www.wolfshead.net or www.wolfshead.net/wolfshowl . All comments and suggestions will be appreciated. Thank You
Moving this thing is becoming tougher than I would have thought. I thought I had found a good skin for my blog but it seems that the comments section doesn't work right, others seem to have problems with my blog roll so it's back to theme hunting. Modifying these damned things ain't easy either, it's looking like I need a class in writing code since good old drag and drop don't want to work. Anyway I would appreciate it if anyone could try the links in the message below or type them nto their browser to see if they can get to my site. I have tried 3 different computers and have no problems but Mojo says he's getting errors. Would appreciate any input. Thanks.
Working on a new site for my blog as part of an overall website. Who the hell knows when it's going to be finished but it is going to happen, very soon I hope. Once it does I will put the new link on this site but this is just a heads upfor those loyal readers, all 6-7 of you to be prepared. For those who have me on your blogroll a new link will be necessary, for those who don't it will be a good chance to add anew listing. Thank You
Seems I have to continue with the trip on the wayback machine. Might get scalped if I don’t. Actually this thing has gone on longer than I originally anticipated but as long as it’s being enjoyed I guess I can keep it up. It ain’t no Frantic Friday but I seem to have found an audience however small and after all I always did love to hear the sound of my own voice and the keyboard is only an extension of the tongue and one people can turn off a lot easier. Story is probably more interesting than my poker ones but that ain’t saying much. What is really interesting is that as I am in the middle of this tale I’ve gotten a Facebook friend request from Jeff, a great guy I originally came across in Lapub and though he wasn’t around for this gathering we met at a number of other gatherings in Chicago and elsewhere over the years. Glad to know he’s doing well. So for those who are interested, here goes.
We left our intrepid hero heading off in the wee hours to grab a few hours of alcohol induced sleep. 8 am comes awfully frikkin early after a night of partying. Luckily the hotel was close. I grab some zzz’s then I’m up and showered and back to the house. Linda, my greeter, has kind of adopted me for the weekend and I’ve become her chauffer. She’s a good friend of Lavona and is staying at the house so I pick her up for breakfast and we hit a small coffee shop for some fuel for the day. I find out that she is a school teacher, whoo boy if the school board ever finds out about these weekends <>. (BTW, the <> with a G inside is a holdover from the P* days. It’s basically the equivalent of :-> before such things were thought of. Damn hypertext kind of kills my use of it these days) I also find out she’s from Terre Haute, been widowed and divorced and has a couple of kids, one who lives about two miles from where I work. Small world. Of course she’s not the only one talking but no sense repeating my vitals. So we finish up and head for the house where everyone that is heading for the zoo is meeting. We get there and sit around for awhile and eventually about 30 of us divvy in to cars and head in to Chicago. I’m driving again, mainly because I like to drive and because my car takes 5 without squishing so no one is objecting. It’s a beautiful day as we head out, sunny but not ridiculously hot considering it’s July. Traffic is nowhere near what it was like the day before but the construction is still there so ain’t exactly a picnic.
We get to the zoo and split in to groups with plans to meet up for lunch in a couple hours. Seems there was a beer garden type place there, might have been called Beer and Brats but don’t hold me to that, that we decide to hit. Always loved zoos. I grew up about half mile or so from a local park that had a small one, mainly US type animals such as bison and deer but there was a couple of big cats there also. Spent a lot of time in the park and zoo. Also used to hit the Philly Zoo every so often, even had a membership there for a few years when I was married. So I was really looking forward to seeing what this place held. It was a great zoo, very nice exhibits and a bunch of us cracked up when we hit the monkey isle. They had this large pit with a high mountain type structure in the center and a very large pack of monkeys running around the place. What had us laughing our asses off however was that a few of these simians decided to get in to the spirit of the weekend. In addition to a couple screwing their little buns off a few more males were sitting on the side whacking away. Then of course some wiseass chirps in with “do you think we should invite them to Studio whatever the next time we go?” And of course the jokes start coming, pun intended. Lunch was pretty good as far as lunches at these places go. Had me a brat, first time I had encountered them, and a beer. First time I came across beer in a zoo also. Definitely added to the experience. So we do lunch and head on out to finish our visit and my passengers agree to meet at the gate we came in at in a couple hours to give us time to get cleaned up a bit before dinner. Dinner is at the house so nothing really fancy but walking around the zoo in the sun was a bit sweaty even if it wasn’t scorching. Yea, a shower was called for. So we finish the day trip, head back to the house then I go over to the hotel for a shower, a change and to pick up my bottle of Myers rum. I’ve learned in my travels that Pa doesn’t necessarily have the worst liquor laws in the country so I usually carry a bottle with me, just in case. I also later came to realize that hotel rooms were a necessity at these things but a hated expense as you spent so little frikkin time in them. Be that as it may, showered, changed and carrying the necessities I head back over to the party. I also found out the black rum wasn’t so popular as it seemed that I kept coming across leftover bottles of Myers at various places I stopped at in the visits I made over the years.
Forget what we had for dinner that night only that it was good, as Richard was a pretty mean cook. He whips up a lot of it and one goes grabs what one will during the course of the night. People are basically just shuffling in and joining the crowd. I’m informed that if I want to spend some computer time there are some available to use upstairs. Folks just kind of wander up and down all night, some working their shift in the chat room, others just playing around, checking email or giving updates on the goings on in Chicago. I take a wander on up later and find that there is a whole room with about half a dozen computers or so Macs in it to be used. It is then that I find out that most every one is a Mac freak and, as a PC user, I’m the lonely little petunia in the onion patch. It is also then that I’m asked if I have any interest in being a Tend, a room host. It seems that AOL in its formative years would offer folks like Lavona incentives to develop things like chat rooms to attract new users. They offered the hosts a 2 for 1 deal, 2 hours of usage for every 1 they put in working the room. Considering the cost of hourly time one has to consider it, especially if one likes to play online. I tell them I would think about it and let them know. After AOL went to a monthly fee all workers just got a free account which was nice. Anyway I wander back downstairs where a number of folks are running wild, mostly outside, with the Super Soakers and Silly String. Don’t know who wound up cleaning up the mess, if it was, but there must have been some nice neighbors as the battles ranged all over the yards around that house. As time wore on the group settled down to mainly conversation and silly practical jokes played on one another. One character disappeared upstairs only to come back down wearing one of the teddys purchased the day before. Didn’t do a thing for his figure. Anyway, as a newcomer I was usually able to avoid the soakings and the jokes but I did meet a lot of people including a couple who lived not far from me in De. They had just applied for jobs with AOL and informed me they were hiring anyone with computer skills they were expanding so fast and would let me know if they got hired and I was interested. Not long after they did get in and offered to try and help me but it was an offer I turned down for a number of different reasons. Big mistake on my part. So, again in the wee hours I head off to the hotel after making arrangements to join everyone for a farewell brunch before we all head out for home. At least I could get a couple extra hours sleep as plans for food weren’t until about 10-10:30. So the next morning I’m up, showered, packed up and checked out and heading to an Old Country Buffet for food before I take off. No heading to the house and no passengers on this trip. Linda, my steady passenger all weekend was staying longer so had another ride back to the house and almost everyone else was booking from the buffet as was I. I wasn’t sure I had arrived at the right place as it was set in a shopping center but I then saw John standing outside so figured I hadn’t gotten lost. It was here that the only fiasco of the weekend took place. It seems this wasn’t the best place for a farewell meal. First they had a bit of a problem seating us altogether. Then, by the time that problem was solved they had started changing the buffet over from breakfast to lunch. As it was still fairly early most of us were more in the mood for eggs or waffles rather than ribs. We made the best of it, not letting something like this spoil what was a very good weekend. As we finished eating we said our farewells and headed our separate ways knowing we would be back in touch with each other in cyberspace within a day or so.
While eating I thought I was going to have to make a side trip to the airport as I left. One of the old timers with the handle of Godfather, and believe me he fit the name, looks wise at least, had a flight out that morning and was having problems getting to it. I volunteered my services but at the last minute he was able to hook up with a limo service and I was spared my first trip to one of Chicago’s airports. Made many trips to both of them since. So I said my goodbyes, pointed the Legend east and headed home, my first Live a success, in my book at least. The drive through Chicago was nothing like the trip in, Sunday traffic being at a minimum, something I couldn’t always say on subsequent trips. Somehow I got turned around getting on 80 and found myself heading towards Iowa but rectified the error quickly and was soon headed towards home. Ever notice how the trip home seems to pass by much more slowly than the trip out? Anticipation of something new does seem to help time pass. This feeling was abetted by the fact I was driving in daylight so had to behave myself compared to my late night travels. I actually didn’t get home that day as the family had a house in the Poconos that I decided to stop at and grab a bit of rest. It wasn’t all that far from home but on a homeward trip of that length the last couple hours always seem the longest and a rest seemed advisable since it was available. Was back home early the next morning and online that night, even though it was a Monday, to let them know I arrived safe. Thus ended my first live interaction of people met in cyber space.
I eventually decided to become a host and Linda was appointed my mentor to show me the ins and outs of keeping order in the room and making folks feel welcome. As time went on both AOL and Lapub grew. I attended a number more Lives not to mention other gatherings with friends I met through Lapub. The gatherings grew much bigger over the years as more folks got involved eventually stretching the whole week though the core was still the weekend. Those attending the gatherings just decided to get there earlier and do things together. I eventually started hosting a spring picnic at my place in late April/early May and ran about 5 of them until my marriage caused me to quite. In fact first words asked of me when I announced that I was separated a couple years later were, “when’s the picnic?” I even met my ex through Lapub, not one of my more glorious moments there <>. We were a tight community, not dissimilar to the blogging one though interaction was a bit easier.
Now that this tale is through I would like to dedicate to a very good friend, Tom. While Tom and his wife Jen weren’t part of this first gathering they arrived in Lapub soon after and as they lived in the Chicago area I soon met them at a Live. They’re good people and some of the best friends I’ve ever made, reality or cyber. Tom and I were kindred spirits and even resembled one another. While I was an inch or so taller and a few pounds, ok maybe more than a few, heavier we were both big, bearded men who loved a good time and good drink. In fact Tom’s only fault was that he was a Scotch drinker but that could be forgiven. In fact I still have a bottle of Johnny Red that he left at my house after one of my picnics. I made more trips to Chicago to visit with Tom and Jen and a few others that would gather on our own for a long weekend than I did for other reasons. I say this because I made my last trip to Chicago a few years ago for a very different reason than all those others. I went there for Tom’s memorial service. Tom had one other fault besides Scotch, cigarettes. He passed away from lung cancer at the age of 45. Tom was as good a friend as anyone could have especially considering we lived around 800 miles away from each other. I bring this up both to honor a friend and to ask other friends out there that if you smoke do your damnedest to quit. While we may not be the kind of friends that Tom and I were you are still friends and I am sure there are folks out there in the blogosphere you probably do have that kind of friendship with. If not for yourself do it for them. It’s a bitch to lose a friend so young.
Took time to post about Saturday’s game and a few other things but time to continue the trip on the virtual wayback machine. So off we go on another exciting into the history of my online adventures. Aren’t we all excited?
I was playing around on America Online for not quite a year, spending a lot of time in the chat room LaPub, mainly on Tuesday nights. I occasionally visited other nights but costs basically kept my time down and I had come to know the PubTends, the name given to the hosts of the room, from 8 to 10 fairly well. Oldwolf was the first person I had talked to as he was working the room when I first found out about. SeaSiren followed him and again I became very friendly. Oldwolf wasn’t really that old and Siren lived by a lake rather than a sea but who cares. So I was hanging around this chat room and after a few months I hear talk about something called Live out in the Chicago area, Wheaton to be exact. It seems that the founder of the room, a woman named Lavona had a gathering at her place on a weekend in early July. I said what the hell, I’m conversing with these people I might as go meet some of them. My family was aghast. You don’t know these people, they could be ax murders, was repeated more than once. Hell, I don’t know a lot of people I meet at the local bar or at the Jersey Shore either and I’ve survived those places. This is different in only distance. Besides, I’ve never been to Chicago. Since I’m new at my job I don’t have a whole lot of vacation time but it’s only a weekend so I decide I’ll leave Thursday night, take Friday and Monday off and do some major league driving. At the time I was driving an Acura Legend I had just bought before I had been laid off my old job and had never really had given it a chance to stretch its legs. I was used to a large part of the drive as I had been traveling from E. Lansing, Mi. to home and back the years I had lived in Mi. Besides the junkers I was driving then were nowhere near as good as the Legend.
So I packed the car when I got home from work Thursday, left a bit early, and caught a nap figuring on shooting across I-80 through the night. Got a few hours sleep, filled a cooler with a couple boxes of burgers and meatballs, my new job was IT manager for a meat processing company, as a donation to the event and headed out about 7-8 that night. Driving 80 at night in a car meant for driving is an experience not to be forgotten when you are young enough to do it and old enough to appreciate it. The Eastern part of PA you have to be cautious, it’s populated enough that the state troopers are usually out and about. I had it timed that it was still fairly early when I hit it. Nice cruising, making good time. I hit the central area of the state just as it was getting later. Here the towns are fewer and farther away from the highway. Cops are there but they are usually cruising, don’t have to worry about them sitting on the side of the road once it gets past 10-11 at night. Foot gets a bit heavier and the engine is purring. The western half of the state is deserted, ain’t even that many long haulers out right now which is how I had it planned. I’ve learned to be cautious through Ohio; those troopers are persistent and cut you no slack, so I want to make time before I get there. This is still the age of 55 even though my speedometer goes to 140. I never did pin that needle on this or subsequent trips but I gave the car the workout I had been wanting to since I bought it. Cranked it back down at the Ohio line but was still moving pretty well. Even though it was late, or very early, traffic picked a bit up once it blended in to the Ohio Turnpike but still not exactly bumper to bumper. I keep cruising and eventually pass my old turnoff when I would head in to Mi. in the old days, Toledo exit, think it might have been 5. A mile or two off that exit there used to be a place called Johnny’s Diner that I and a couple of friends had once hit on a road trip one night. Don’t ask. All I remember that something we ate had us driving back to E. Lansing with all windows and the sunroof open even though there was a steady rain falling. Just a short aside there, back to our adventure. So I’m booking on down the road and I’m soon in uncharted territory as I pass an exit we had once used to get to E. Lansing when we missed the other turnoff. So I’m booking along and soon I hit the Indiana border. Obviously I have hit the anteroom to the Great Plains. Ohio ain’t much but there are some dips in the road. Indiana was flat. Maybe not as flat as Kansas, which a friend once described as being so flat that he hated to get out of his car to take a piss because the people in the house 10 miles across the field might be able to see him, but it seemed damn flat to a Pa. boy like me. Don’t have any idea of what the cops in this state are like but it’s early morning, there’s no traffic and it’s a flat stretch of road. Maybe I can talk my way into just a warning if I get caught and off I go. Besides we’re only talking fine here, it ain’t a border state with Pa. so no reciprocal points. Not much to remember about the trip across In., not much there but farm fields. Do remember I had to turn off the ac as it was fogging the windshield so I opened the sunroof and somewhere along the journey I must have passed an herb farm because I smelled basil for about 5 or so miles. And I hit the outskirts of Chicago about an hour after the sun came up.
So now I made great time up one state and across 3. I now proceed to take over 3 hours to travel the last 60 miles of the trip. Little did I realize what the traffic conditions were in Chicago when you combined the morning of a work day with construction season? And I thought Philly was bad. Instead of my usual lead foot I needed a quick one on the break and my head on a swivel. Never knew when a closed lane would be coming at you. Fun part about this was I made several trips out to Chicago for a number of years and for the first 3 the construction was not only still going on but actually expanding, you would think they would finish one part then move to another. Not Chicago. Then all of a sudden it was gone. I made a trip and I saw no sign of construction anywhere. It was like Poof, the magic fairy made all traces vanish. Never did figure out how they did it. Anyhoo, I creep my way up the so called expressway until I hit the cross highway to take me out to Wheaton. My hotel is right off the main road but it’s a bit early for check in so I head for the gathering spot. It’s only about 10 min. away and I find it with no problem even though this is before the age of GPS. I do wonder if I’m at the right place though as I am confronted by what used to be called row homes in my younger days but when they are in this newer iteration they’re town homes. Nice looking place but seemed a bit cramp for a large sized party. Might as well find out and I head on up to the door and ring the bell. It’s opened by a woman about a decade or so older than I and I’ll never forget my introduction to the group. After all that time on the road to get here the first words I’m greeted with are “Who the hell are you?” Kind of left me a bit speechless. I finally manage to say that I’m herb, aka Wolfshead and find out I’m talking to Linda, known online as AFALindaS, who invites me in. While still wondering about the greeting I’m introduced to a few of the people who are there, most of whom I do not know as they aren’t regulars on Tuesday nights when I’m in the room. I meet Lavona, our hostess, and John, her husband. Her ex, Richard, is also there. Seems he does the honors in the cooking department for the weekend. I meet a few others that have shown up already and after giving them the boxes of burgers and such, which aren’t used that weekend though considering the quality and amount of food served I can’t complain. Anyway I grab a drink and fade in to the background and listen to the plans for the weekend.
Seems somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 people are expected and Richard is cooking lunch that dayv and dinner the next. The talk turns about the night’s activities some of which seems to involve a lot of Super soakers and Silly String and the anticipated reactions of the neighbors once they are brought in to play. I did say this house was in the middle of a group of town homes didn’t I? Not exactly the appropriate battleground for such items. What the hell, I don’t have to live here. There is also talk of a trip after lunch to a place that is basically a high class adult store. Have I mentioned the group around me right now is mainly women? Very bawdy women as I was to come find out. One of the adventures of LaPub was to see how far one could push the envelope. As I explained earlier America Online had its Terms of Service, rules you could not violate and overt sexual language was one of the no-nos. Suggestion and double entendre however became a well developed skill and pushing the envelope a time honored ritual. Well it seemed that it carried over to the Live get togethers. OK, in for a penny. A trip into Chicago for dinner and a night at a club s planned for dinner. Saturday it seems a trip to the Brookfield Zoo is on the schedule and then dinner and general mayhem. Sunday is brunch and everyone heading home. Sounds like a busy weekend.
So I head over and check in to the hotel and head back over to the house for lunch. Afterwards I get a couple of passengers, including my greeter from this morning with whom I seem to have a lot in common, and we head over to the adult store, going by the famous name of Studio 54 if I remember right. It’s an interesting place compared to what I’m used to seeing in an adult store. It’s not cheesy or set away from every thing else. The building isn’t the standard windowless cinder block structure nor is it garishly done. Actually it looked like a standard shop you might find anywhere. The front could be considered PG13 actually. Mainly sexy outfits and maybe a few less obtrusive accoutrements. Basically looked like a clothing store. The back room however was anything but. Videos, rubber novelties, whips, chains, handcuffs, you want it, you got it. Seems they were the main supplier to the strippers and drag queens in the Chicago area. Got to talking with the clerk and he said they had files on sizes and preferences of a lot of their customers. What a job. When we get back I find that some of the women had availed themselves of the delights of the back room. Some folks were in for an interesting night. Though not this trip I will say that subsequent trips did bring more than one proposition. It could be a high old time.
I head back to the hotel for a bit of a rest. Later we are headed in to Chicago to hit the North Pier. Dinner was to be at Dirty Dick’s, whose mottos were, the Shame of Chicago and You Can’t Kill a Man Born to Hang. This just keeps getting better. Then the plans call for a stop at the Baja Beach Club, an innocuous name. Was I to learn different. After a short nap I get ready and head back to the house to pick up a few passengers and we head to North Pier. One thing I notice when we got off the highways and on to city streets is that compared to Philly Chicago was a clean city. Parking was a lot better also and we head in to North Pier. We head in to dinner and I get my first look at Dick’s. It’s nothing fancy, basically a lot of picnic style tables and seats. Everyone mingles. Then I look over to the bar and above it looks like an acre of bras tacked to the ceiling. Hokay, great atmosphere. Sitting at the table I meet more folks who are attending the weekend but haven’t been to the house yet. Next thing I know is the waitresses start bringing drinks and a favorite, among the women at least, is something the mix at the table and slip a condom over. It obviously generates a gas as the condom starts to expand. Whether it was the actual drink or just the accompaniment to one I never really found out. Another popular one was something served in a flute shaped glass which the woman was supposed to pick up and drink without using her hands. Hard to see how the night could get any better. Food was ok but nothing special but the presentation was in keeping with everything else going on. One of the best dinners I ever had.
After dinner it’s still a bit early to hit the club so the crowd wanders. Some decide to get a bit of fresh air, others head for the virtual reality arcade in the pier and some of us just decide to wander the shops. Don’t remember much about them but on had a pretty eclectic collection of sweat shirts. One stood out, saying Because I’m The Fucking Queen. I remember it because my mother used to say it was because she was the queen when my brother or I questioned her when we were too old for the because I said so routine. Somehow though I don’t think this one would go over big with her however. After wandering around we decide to hit the club.
The club is another eye opener. Right after we go through the door there is a tub of bottled beer, Bud and Bud Light, the special of the night. How I noticed the beer is beyond me as presiding over the tub is a very lovely young lady wearing, if that is the word, a couple pieces of dental floss as tastefully as something like that can be worn. You bet that was an eye opener. What have I been missing doing my drinking in taprooms and fire halls for the last few years? After we get seated it seems that there are a number of scantily dressed members of the female persuasion peddling all kinds of different ways to part men from their money. Most popular seemed to be the two young lovelies in high boots and whips with a leather belt full of test tubes containing shooters. Seemed it was very popular for someone to pay them to go serve some one a drink in a most humiliating manner. Thank god I was a newbie this trip, no one wasting their hard earned dollars on me. Later trips I wasn’t so lucky. The show consisted of two guys playing grand pianos across from one another and running a singing war of very bawdy ballads. It was a hoot and I spent most of the night laughing my ass off. We closed the place up and headed back to the house to drop the passengers off, everyone making plans to eat breakfast wherever and meet later in the day to head to the zoo. Seems Linda and a couple others saw fit to allow me to tag along for breakfast so I head for the hotel and a short night’s rest.
Getting long again and I haven’t even gotten around to my picnics yet but we’ll take a break and continue later. Thanks for the listen.