Well, I Can Die NowNov 23, 2003 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in BooksThe Bottom Line I am never ever EVER throwing away my Thirsty Bear coaster. I might frame it.
I figured that since Epinions is headquartered in the Bay Area they would sooner than later have one of their infamous Meet & Greet events nearby. I also figured that since KFH practically runs Epinions (through sheer charm she gets them to do her bidding immediately and faithfully), she would be at such a Meet & Greet event. For the last almost four years KFH and I have weathered the thick and the thicker in our friendship and if I didn't grab the chance to meet her face to face I would regret it until my dying day. Plus I thought it would be interesting to find out all about these strange people who run Epinions, and meet other people who, like myself, have become attached to the site with no hope of ever being freed from its clutches.
So, on November 15, 2003, I drove from Suckramento down to Richmond, and took the BART into San Francisco. I always do it that way because I can think of few things that are more frustrating than driving in downtown SF. On the way I stared out the window and kept thinking "what am I doing...?" Over the last two years I have written maybe nine reviews. But obviously that's not the point. The writing may have been where it started, but over time this whole THING grew bigger than that.
I remember joining Epinions at about 10 pm on a cold December night four years ago, typing my user ID for the first time, and then not giving it a second thought for weeks. Six months later I was solidly trapped in a bizarre emotional whirlwind of a situation with a group of totally amazing people. I admit that since I first became familiar with the internet I had arrogantly harbored a contempt for internet friendships. Well that came to an end pretty quickly when I bonded with a few certain people. There are some songs I can't hear without thinking of people I know but have never met. I've had dreams about situations I'm not sure whether I'm actually part of or not, and strapping explosives to the computer and tossing it off a cliff wouldn't settle my mind.
Most of that is over, and lately I have been drifting away from Epinions due to lack of inspiration to write about anything (although sometimes when I give my cat a new brand of food she looks at me with this horrible hateful look and silently curses me to an early and painful death, and I think, I really should capture this darling moment in a cat food review...) and I never would muster up the energy to type out all the words even if anybody wanted to hear my opinion on the subject. I'm pretty much just sitting here waiting for write-offs to spring up in front of me.
After a bit of nervous hand-wringing and crazy-people-dodging I emerged from the Montgomery BART station and wandered the three or so blocks down to the Thirsty Bear on Howard Street. The place is squashed between two larger buildings, San Francisco style, on a boring street south of the interesting parts of downtown, and it has a huge glaring sign out front so that you couldn't miss it if you wanted to. Inside it's narrow but long and has two stories. I asked the hostess about the Epinions party, and nearly started laughing when I realized I had never said the word "Epinions" out loud. She pointed up the stairs and said "they're up there... with all their little... friends." I knew what she meant by that... those frightful, insipid Epi Kids. Indeed they were everywhere, on all the tables and along all the walls. In the pool table. In KFH's shirt. In my night terrors. Everywhere.
So I walked in and picked out KFH in a couple seconds; she sticks out in a crowd. She is tall and gorgeous, and smart as a whip, and she has a sexy voice and she smells like flowers. What can I say, the lady has it all. So we said hi and she said I looked "so serious." I believed it. I get wigged out when I'm in a room full of people I don't know and I'm about as fun at a party as a potted plant. I sat down at a table with KFH and two other Epinions ladies who I had never heard of before. I wasn't really interested in the cooked food that was available, but they had some strawberries, so I was happy.
Newsflash. I actually met some other people besides KFH. I met and gabbed with megugrrrl, tiffy0380, and zzJulia, all very cool chicks. We caught up on gossip and old times with Mike_Bracken. I sort of half-met macresarf1. I met the Ep staff, including Alexis, Garrett, and Nirav. I didn't get to kiss Nirav like DavidK93 did, but it would have been nice because he is pretty adorable. I was actually on my way out the door by the time I met Horswispr, but he's a great guy and I wish I had had more time to chat with him.
The whole bartender experience was one of the highlights of the party. His name was James and KFH said he had a chin like Johnny Rzeznik. Having never paid any attention to Johnny Rzeznik's chin, I just took her expert word for it. I did agree that he was pretty luscious, but my favorite features were the earrings. James's main chick-impressing device was his encyclopedic knowledge of music, and when KFH told him about his Rzeznik-esque facial features he actually knew who she was talking about. He was just totally full of himself and it was almost funny. True, he didn't quite have his facts straight about Stevie Nicks' solo career, but I can forgive him, he was trying hard. When we were almost done sexually harassing the guy I took a picture of him and KFH together and she had better send me a copy (you hear, KFH?). Okay.
From what I could gather from others, this particular Meet & Greet was straight-up dumb dead boring compared to the one in NYC. Someone mentioned that nothing was really happening because here and there a few people would cluster tightly together around a table as if they were plotting the takeover of a small island nation and didn't bother to mingle and get to know anyone else. So that's the way it went. I didn't meet every single person at the party either.
Toward the end there were only a few people left: KFH, Horswispr, Garrett (roheblius), adriennefoster, Christal, and myself, and it was more than an hour past the time the thing was supposed to end. We finally took our leave and I gave KFH one last bear hug and made my way back to the BART in the twilight.
So now I can say I have been to a Meet & Greet. I met my friend. I got an Epi Kid (yep, the exclamation point one). It was short and straightforward and calm and not exactly an all-night rip-roaring kegger, but then my weak heart can only take so much. Thanks and good night.
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