The Conners Chronicle
Issue #1
May 24, 1998
Dear Family & Friends,
Welcome to my newsletter.  Iíve discovered this spring that I donít have time
to correspond promptly to my multitudinous friends and family members, so Iíve
decided to create this newsletter to provide all the latest dirt on what Iíve
been up to.  This way, everyone gets a decent letter, and I donít have to spend
three hours each day e-mailing people.  Everyone wins, no?
A few basics on the "Conners Chronicle"...  First of all, if youíre not on the
list of people that receives this, and would like to be, assume it is an
inadvertent oversight on my part.  Send me your e-mail address and Iíll add
you to the list.  If you are on the list, and for some bizarre reason donít
want to be, just let me know and Iíll remove you.  Also, anyone who wishes may
feel free to print this thing out (as long as they donít alter it in some
incriminating way), and distribute it to anyone who wishes a copy (i.e. people
who donít have e-mail).
Alright... time for the interesting stuff...
La Boheme
I hadnít been back on campus long before I ran into Professor Emeritus (his new
title as of fall 1997) Karlos Moser, an old aquaintance.  Karlos was having
trouble recruiting enough men for the chorus of the upcoming UW production of La
Boheme, and asked whether Iíd be interested in participating.  I eventually
signed on.  I hadnít done anything in theater for about 4 years, so it was kind
of nice to do a show again.  There were a number of people involved in the show
that I knew from previous shows, even after all these years, and it was nice to
see them.  The production was a success, receiving enthusiastic reviews in the
Madison newspapers.  A fine time was had by all.  La Boheme is supposedly the
last production Karlos will do for UW Opera (he has since "retired"), but I
refuse to completely believe it.
A Fool And His Money
Seeing that Best Buy was having a sale on memory chips, I decided to finally
upgrade my computer, which had been running on 8 MB all these years.  For those
who arenít computer people, Iíll just say that 8 MB is not very much .  While I
was at Best Buy, I also saw a good deal on a modem that was about 3 times as fast
as the one in my computer, so I bought it as well.  I went home to install my
stuff, and found that I wasnít quite as proficient with computers as I would like
to be.  So I went back to Best Buy, and paid a goodly sum for them to install it.
Several dollars later, I was back home, and discovered that I couldnít connect to
the UW server.  So I called UWís help desk.  To make a long story a little
shorter, they had me do something that completely hosed my PC.  They then told me
to call Microsoft for help.  Or if I preferred, I could have the UW help desk look
at it, for $60 an hour.  This upset me a tad, since my PC was working pretty well
until I called the UW help desk!  After a discussion with one of the help desk
supervisors, they agreed to look at it for free the next day.  So I took my
wounded computer (and wounded ego) to the UW help desk.  They had to reinstall
Windows 95 to finally fix the problem.  It was also revealed at about this time
that all that had to be done in the first place was enter the proper IP numbers.
This would have taken less than a minute to do.  Oh well, at least it works now.
The main reason I got the memory upgrade was because Iíve been having problems
with my CD-Writer, and figured it was a memory issue.  It wasnít.  Iíve called HP
and they are sending me a new one, since mine is still under warranty.
Surprisingly, they didnít make me jump through all sorts of hoops or anything,
just asked me to try a few troubleshooting things, then when that didnít work,
they said theyíd send me a new one, and I just send mine to them, postage-paid,
when I receive the new one.  I think Iím becoming an HP fan.
Car Trouble
(or, A Fool And His Money, Part 2)
After a recent oil change, I noticed my car was missing strokes.  My car doesnít
have a lot of power to begin with, so this was not a problem I could ignore.  I
took it in to Smart Motors, where they discovered that oil had gotten into the
spark plug area, causing my problem.  Four hundred dollars later, my car was
healthy again.  I just drove it from Madison to Charlotte, North Carolina without
incident.  Hopefully another eight years will pass before its next ailment.
Back to Work
Iíve gone back to Charlotte to work for IBM this summer.  Theyíve given me a small
raise, which is nice, and Iíve found a place to stay for $300 a month, which is
considerably less than I spent last time.  Iíve got a room in the house of a
former IBM employee.  Itís about the size of the dorm room I once lived in, or
perhaps a little bigger.  I only brought what I could cram into my car, so
thereís plenty of room.  Unfortunately, there donít seem to be any rocking
chairs in the house, so I may need to find a new channel for my excess energy.
I donít know for sure what Iíll be doing for IBM yet.  Iím planning to send this
letter on Tuesday, which is my first day (I donít have internet access outside
of work).
Joke #1
I will now attempt to create humor.  I hope this joke doesnít already exist.
Q.	What did the friendly shark say to the swimmer?
A.	Hi, chum.
Signature Conversation
I briefly used as an e-mail signature a list of my ten favorite albums.  I soon
got rid of it, because it was too large and unelegant as signatures go.  But
before I did, I happened to post to the rec.sport.football.college newsgroup,
with the signature attached.  The post generated literally thousands of
responses.  I donít read that newsgroup much any more.  They never talk about
college football.  The thread I started appears to have a life of its own
however, and will probably last until The End Of Everything.
For those who may be curious, hereís how the signature appeared:
******************************************************
Public Service Announcement Courtesy Ryan Conners Inc.
******************************************************
10 Albums that should be in YOUR collection:
1.  The Beatles,      Revolver
2.  The Clash,        London Calling
3.  Wire,             Pink Flag
4.  Squeeze,          East Side Story
5.  Prince,           The Hits
6.  R&R,              Three Weeks of R&R
7.  John Lennon,      Plastic Ono Band
8.  David Bowie,      The Singles 1969-1993
9.  Buzzcocks,        A Different Kind of Tension
10. Elvis Costello,   Trust
Note: I will not be held accountable for anyone's poor
taste in music.
I think it was the note at the end that did it... I also received comments
from several people I e-mailed during the time I was using the signature.
A definite conversation piece, it would seem.
R&R News
My band, R&R, recently received its first paid order in several years.
All the way to the top, baby!  I inadvertently got into a conversation about
Stiff Little Fingers after posting to the rec.music.beatles newsgroup, and
eventually my own band got brought up in a discussion between me and an
alleged former U2 roadie.  A check is allegedly on the way...
R&R Lyric #1
With our newfound success in mind, I think Iíll provide an example of our
lyrical ingenuity:
From the song I Hate You Too (1997):
Our relationship is love and hate, just without the love.
Thank you.
Five Dollars, Going Twice
After discovering a few Atari newsgroups, I decided to auction off about 15
cartridges I owned.  I also posted to a baseball newsgroup offering to sell
my Jose Canseco-autographed baseball.  It turned out to be a great idea,
and I made about $300 from the items.  For those who may be curious as to
whether their Atari stuff is worth hundreds of dollars, here are the final
bids from my auction:
CART               HI BID
The Chal. of Nexar $5
Private Eye        $12
Atari Video Cube   $60
Time Pilot         $17
Montezuma's Rev.   $16
Snoopy & Red Baron $17
Oink!              $5
H.E.R.O.           $14
Pooyan             $14
Tax Avoiders       $21
Frogger II Thrdp.  $23
Pitfall II         $10
Laser Gates        $9
Cross Force        $8
Cosmic Commuter    $14
Artillery Duel     $5
So, if your copy of Atari Video Cube is gathering dust in a closet, Iíd be happy
to take it off your hands.  If you want to see a complete list of which Atari
cartridges are most valuable, visit http://www.valendor.demon.co.uk/acn-uk/
It was interesting to see who bought these things.  I wound up sending cartridges
to winning bidders all over the country, and even overseas (Paris, France).  None
of the checks bounced.  Incidentally, I still have about 200 cartridges in my
collection, so I donít really miss the ones I sold (although Private Eye and
H.E.R.O. were pretty cool games).  To think, people couldnít give these things
away a few years ago!
The Jose Canseco baseball, accompanied with a set of Madison Muskies baseball
cards, went for $50.
The Rest is Silence
I managed to catch the last episode of Seinfeld.  Iíve heard that a lot of people
were disappointed.  Iíll go on record as saying that I thought it was pretty good.
I wasnít crazy about the way they tried to trot every past character out on stage,
but I felt the plot was quite nihilistic and therefore appropriate to the show.
I think in general people tend to expect too much out of last episodes... theyíre
waiting to see something Great, and are disappointed when nothing Great happens.
Hey, thatís just the way Seinfeld is.  It did seem to be a tad light on humor
though...
I should probably point out, however, that Iíve only ever seen about 20 episodes
of Seinfeld.  So maybe I donít have the proper frame of reference from which to
praise or criticize.
On The Way To St. Ives
Any time you drive to a destination a thousand miles away from where you began,
youíre bound to pass some interesting places along the way.  On my recent drive
to Charlotte, I passed several lovely landmarks, most memorable for their neato
names:
-French Broad River
-London
-Paris
-Lick Creek (although someone had carefully, even painstakingly altered the sign
so it said "Lick Crack")
-Stinking Creek Road
-Oak Ridge, TN (is that where the Oak Ridge Boys are from?)
-Billy Graham Training Center (?!)
I wound up staying in a Days Inn in Shelbyville, KY, which is between Louisville
and Lexington (I should have tried to find out whether itís anywhere near
Springfield).  I had decided to stop for the night because it was becoming quite
stormy out.  In fact, I got to see the largest lightning I can remember seeing.
It would start on one side of the sky and go all the way to the other side, a
good enough distance that I could tell which direction it was going.  I couldnít
tell where it was hitting the ground, though.  It was like horizontal lightning.
Driving into Louisville was really neat.  I went over a really big bridge (over
the Ohio River), with lightning going off all around me, and the night skyline
of Louisville lit up in front of me.  It was like something straight out of a
postcard, only without the slow shutter speed effects (maybe if Iíd been
drinking a little!).
The next day was sunny and raining at the same time.  And the sun made all sorts
of steam come up off the road, which was pretty neat.  I didnít check for a
rainbow, but there was probably one somewhere.  Later, I drove on a long stretch
of highway that was under construction, and had been grooved.  You could say it
was a really groovy highway.  I felt like a record needle.  All in all, Kentucky
was a treat.  But the Days Inn didnít have a porno channel like the place Rich
and I stayed in, in Myrtle Beach.  That was a mild disappointment.  But I was too
tired to watch much TV anyway.
Indiana was a surprise.  They had the exact same construction going on as they
had last year, on the same road, only not quite as much.  There was a sign that
said "Left Lane closed 5 miles ahead," so I pulled into the backed-up right lane,
so all the Illinois drivers could zoom by on the left while the rest of us waited.
Which was also the same as last year.  Next time I go to Charlotte, Iím gonna
bring a bucket full of nails, and toss them into the left lane when I get to
Indiana.
One final note
Write to me, for cryiní out loud!
As ever,
Ryan