Things that happened a long time ago.

(Or only just 10 to 15 years ago. That’s enough to seem like 30 or 40.)

I still maintain two Yahoo! email accounts, each of which took a turn as my primary email address before I switched to Gmail.

I don’t use the Yahoo! addresses any more; I pretty much keep them because they each have items of correspondence I’d like to save if I can, and I haven’t figured out any quick way to save the contents of the account and then ditch the account.

I should really look into that someday – lighten my load and all.

Anyhow, I have been reading and sometimes deleting messages from the older of the two Yahoo! accounts, and it’s brought back memories. Among my findings:

-A notification that my older brother had sent me a Picassohead. I forget who put up that site — there was some sort of commercial tie-in, I think — but Picassohead was a website with drawing tools you could use to make vaguely European-looking mini-designs. It was fun for two weeks.

I clicked the link, just for fun, but deleted the email after it became evident that Picassohead was as long-gone as … well, Picasso. Drink to it, drink to its health, you know it can’t drink any more.

-A notification that my older brother had sent me a song from Let Them Sing It For You. This was a website built by some guy in Sweden who had chopped individual words out of lots of pop songs. You could then write messages and email them to people, and if the machine knew the words, it would “sing’ the message for you by triggering the appropriate word. (If it didn’t recognize the word, it would either pick the closest word it could find or just make a buzzing noise.)

This was a favorite of my older son and I back around 2004-2005. I already knew this one was gone, alas.

-A note in which I encouraged my older brother to go visit a site, hosted somewhere at Harvard University, that allowed you to make a trio of sheep musicians (piano, upright bass, and drums) play together by programming in notes and rhythmic patterns.

The more complex you got, the more the central processing unit slowed down to process it in unpredictable ways. So the sheep would speed up and slow down at odd intervals, sometimes note to note. It lent the whole affair a charming floppiness.

My older son and I greatly enjoyed this one for a while too, to the extent that I saved our favorite 15 or so sheep grooves and I burned them to CD. I’ve just taken that out and am enjoying it again.


The site? Yeah, long gone.

(Wow. Also on this CD are several experiments in which I started “Funky Gibbon” in two, three, or more windows at the same time and recorded the results. Didn’t remember that either. I’m sure the kids enjoyed it.)

(Um, there certainly are a lot of gibbon variations on this CD.)


Also in the dusty recesses of the old inbox:

-A LinkedIn notification involving a contact who, in the 15 ensuing years, has changed gender.

-An email from Amazon notifying me that my Kodak point-and-shoot digital camera had shipped.

-A fairly detailed recollection of a very weird, violent and foreboding dream I had in January 2010. Apparently it affected me to the extent that I got up the next day and typed it out. I have no memory of it now.

-Notes from 2010 about dipping my toe in the water for a move back to eastern Massachusetts. Only took me eight years to chip through the wall and escape out the sewer pipe, but I did it.

-A series of emails sent by my wife, one slow evening on the Morning Call copy desk, when they started running song lyrics through multiple layers of translation to see what came out the other side. You’ll have no trouble identifyng this one:

> The fire of baby of fire! The fire of baby of fire!
> The fire of baby of fire! The fire of baby of fire!
> Burnin ‘! In more of my surprise, stories hundred
> cried high people gettin ‘ coward y’ all gettin ‘
> over the roof with people – of the orientation which
> it maintained thus – as the boogy started towards
> bottom to explode me intended some one to say to the
> fire of baby of fire! Hell of discotheque! The fire
> of baby of fire! burn how the mother fire baby to
> burn downwards! Hell of discotheque! The fire of
> baby of fire! burn to the bottom this Burnin mother
> ‘! Satisfaction came in a chain reaction (burnin ‘)
> which I could not receive enough, therefore I
> self-destruction heat had lit increased and will be
> on the upper surface, huh! Each one how to strongly
> go and it is, my spark me intended to say somebody
> warmly received the fire of baby of fire! – Hell of
> discotheque! The fire of baby of fire! you burn –
> how the mother fire baby to burn downwards! – Hell
> of discotheque! The
>  fire of baby of fire! you burn – this mother
> mentioned above my head hear to the bottom me the
> music in the air – what hear the music! That types
> that there I know, a party is some share

-A whole slewload of emails to myself, containing only links and an order in the subject line: “check out.” I’m deleting them; if the checking-out ain’t happened by now, it ain’t gonna.

-Some very nice emails I sent to friends, and some emails I sent to friends that make me want to scald myself, for reasons I won’t get into.

(The CD still plays. Wow, another gibbon variation! Multiple layers backwards, this one.)

-A list, from July 2009, of the best electric guitars under $300. Hey, I bet they’ll be even cheaper now, when I find them used!

-An email from myself on November 19, 2010, that consists entirely of the following two sentences, apparently cut and pasted from somewhere (it’s not my own work):

But the real classic is the album Gil made in 1975 with Jorge Ben (as he was billed then). Gil E Jorge, apparently made while both men were (audibly) blind drunk, is the sound of two men in deep sync with each other’s work.

-An email to myself from April 2011 with cut-and-pasted content from Twitter. A bunch of my Lehigh Valley friends and I went on a jag writing Lehigh Valley haiku for a day or two, and I saved a bunch, with asterisks on the ones I wrote. (I sent it to my wife, who wasn’t on Twitter at the time but who I thought would find them funny.)

Damn, I miss the Good Days of Twitter sometimes.

And, oh, you wanna read a haiku? There are more where this came from:

Has there ever been
A haiku about Schnecksville?
Still isn’t, really.

There’s more crap on the back shelves, but that seems like a good place to stop.

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