The Conners Chronicle
Issue #2
August 24, 1998

Dear Family & Friends,

	Well, here I am again, ready to inform you of the latest events in my exciting life.
Iíve had a very busy summer (in the sense that if you asked me, "Have you been keeping
yourself busy," I would say yes, but not in the sense that youíll necessarily find any of it
interesting).  As a Creative Person, most of my spare time was spent Creating Things.  So,
without further rambling, Iíd be delighted if yíall would lend me an ear (or since this is
e-mail, an eye) whilst I fill you in on the many Creative Things I Did This Summer.

Pitfall

	Those of you who have known me well enough, or long enough, would already know that
I spent a great deal of time in the early-to-mid eighties writing game programs on my
familyís IBM computer (yes, I was cool back then too).  This was in the pre-Windows days,
mind you.  The language I used was BASICA, which is just BASIC with an A on the end (like
duh).  Later, in high school and college, I would learn other, more sophisticated
programming languages such as C++ and Pascal, but I never learned them as well as I had
learned BASIC.  Anyway, my greatest programming accomplishment in those olden days of yore
was my very own version of Pitfall (yes, the famous Atari 2600 game).  Or at least, it
would have been my greatest programming accomplishment if I had ever finished it, which I
hadnít.  As a matter of fact, I wasnít even close to finishing it, and had left it as a
great sprawling mess.
        Flash forward to present day.  I discovered this summer that BASIC still exists in
our modern Windows-based world.  Or at least a very similar language, called QBASIC, which
of course is just BASIC with a Q in front of it (again, like duh).  Since I donít have a
social life, I decided to finally finish my Pitfall program.  Well, actually, I decided to
trash the old program (which I donít have on disk anyway), and start over from the
beginning, since my programming technique has greatly improved since my earlier days.
        To make a long story short, I wonít tell you about the following month of my life.
I will instead tell you that after that month, my Pitfall program was complete, and every
bit as good as I had hoped.  At this moment in time, it is being beta-tested by my friend
Rich Dubielzig.  I will then make a few revisions and release it to the world at large,
either on one of the many QBASIC web sites out there, or on...

My own personal web site

	Thatís right, I have finally joined the information age and created my own web
site.  Itís fairly basic so far, but I tend to add things to it a few times each week, so
it should be pretty cool in a while.  As of today, it contains song lyrics by my band
(R&R), links to various web sites I like, an archive of the Conners Chronicle, and a
pretty good picture of my sister and me.
	So, you may be wondering what prompted me to construct this web site.  Well,
thatís a matter to be discussed in the latest...

R&R update

	Well, the guy I mentioned in the previous Chronicle never did send payment.  So
I never sent him his CD.  But R&R will continue on, despite these momentary setbacks.
And we wonít stop until we rule the airwaves.
	Step one in our recovery plan:  Enter the Unheard? Contest.  What, you may ask,
is the Unheard? Contest?  Well, maybe I donít feel like telling you.
	Okay, I lied.  Of course I feel like telling you.  I received some junk e-mail
from CDnow, an internet service I use every so often to buy hard-to-locate CDs, telling
me all about the contest.  Basically, Unheard? is a contest for unsigned bands who are
members of Cosmic Credit.  Which probably leads you to ask, ĎWhat is Cosmic Credit?í.
	(Iíll just go right ahead and tell you this time):  Being a Cosmic Credit member
means that you have a web site, and have a link to CDnow on your web site.  At the time
I read the junk e-mail re: the Unheard? Contest, I had neither, so I decided to venture
out into untamed cyberspace and get both.
	Which explains why I now have a web site.  I realize that is not a complete
sentence, but I never claimed the Chronicle would be constantly correct.  Grammatically,
anyway.  Which is another sentence fragment.  And thereís another one.
	Skipping off the tangent I so merrily rode in the paragraph above, I will impart
some further information.  As per the contest rules, we were allowed to submit up to
three songs.  We submitted three of the better tracks from our latest CD, Three Weeks of
R&R:  Kill Your Parents, All the Crap Bands, and Toccata.  See my web site for more
information about these monuments of pop sensibility.
	Anyway, the results of the contest will be announced in mid-September, so wish
us luck.

R&R lyric #2

	Allow me to treat you to a short snippet from the controversial and
aforementioned Kill Your Parents:

Itís apparent you should kill a parent, and then the other one too.

	Disclaimer:  R&R, the Conners Chronicle, and Ryan himself do not condone in any
way the killing of oneís parents (hint: the song is a satire).  Also, (my fellow band-
member) Rich wrote the above line.  Itís a product of his twisted mind, not mine.

Joke #2

	Okay, I now realize that probably nobody understood the joke in the last
Chronicle.  Even if they did, chances are that nobody found it especially funny.  But
as my parents used to tell me, if at first you donít succeed, trying again is worth two
in the bush.  Or something like that.  And so, what follows below is my latest attempt
at rubbing your funny bone in the appropriate manner.  Since the great Henny Youngman
died since the last Chronicle, I will honor his memory with a one-liner (at least, I
think this is a one-liner, but Iíve never been completely sure of the definition):

I once knew a guy who backwashed so much that heíd take a sip of your soda and return
the glass to you more full than when you gave it to him.

Argh!  Thatís terrible!  Iíll never be a stand-up comedian.  Poor Henny must be
spinning in his grave right now.  Itís clear that some people are in dire need of a
humor transplant.  Take my sense of humor... please!

Title pending

	Another project Iíve been working on this summer is a sort of scrapbook/
biography thing.  This has consisted of typing up old correspondence, photocopying
various artifacts from my Past, and grilling various friends for details I can no
longer remember.  This project has grown virtually without restraint, turning from
something fairly modestly-sized into a Great Beast that I no longer control.  Iíve
only been working on the years 1991-1994 so far, which is probably the most
interesting period in my life.  I hope the autobiographical nature of the project
doesnít make it seem like a Work Of Ego to any of you.  I think of it as more of a
Work Of Nostalgia.

I still compose real music too

	When I wasnít busy working on Pitfall, the Great Beast (above), or my web
site, I occasionally took some time to work on my compositions.  Iím hoping to hustle
some performances of my first three String Quartets this fall.  I also plan to
perform many of my piano works.  Other recent composition projects include a quintet
for clarinet, bassoon, horn, viola, and piano, and a short song cycle featuring lines
from Walt Whitman poems, that I call Whitmanís Sampler.

When did Wisconsin become so hip?

	Caught the premiere of the mediocre new Fox comedy with the extremely loud
laugh track, "That 70s Show."  Itís set in 1976 Wisconsin.  Is it just my imagination,
or has Wisconsin suddenly become cool (in the Chester Cheetah sense, not the 9 month
winter sense)?  It seems that a lot of TV shows and movies have been using references
to or locales in Americaís Dairyland in the nineties.  I think Picket Fences started
the trend, which was followed up by Wisconsinite characters in shows such as Frasier
and Caroline in the City.  Finally came the inevitable follow-up on the big screen,
Leonardo DiCaprioís character in Titanic.
        An alternate theory is that Wisconsin was hip from the start, but people
stopped noticing for a while... werenít Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley set in
Wisconsin as well?
        Just something to mull over, anyway.  By the way, I donít watch as much TV as
you think.  I just have a very good memory, especially where Wisconsin references are
concerned.  And I got a BC in my Introduction to Television class.

Three days doth a vacation make

	My sister came down to visit me two weekends ago and we had a swell time.
She arrived at the airport late Thursday, so I took Friday off.  We went golfing,
mini-golfing, played pool, hit balls in a batting cage, went to the Panthers vs.
Jaguars NFL game, took a ride on a trolley, went shopping, went to a sports bar,
walked around uptown (thatís what they call downtown here, although they sometimes
call it downtown as well), and basically squeezed the maximum amount of fun out of
three days that could be squeezed.
	The golf course featured a lot of water.  We bought 22 balls, of which four
remain.  And we didnít even play the entire course, because Ang, being a yankee from
Minnesotah, started to wilt under the North Carolina sun in the back nine.
	As horrifying as our golf skills were, the billiards may have been worse.
I think it took us about an hour to finish one game.  And it wasnít even a full-size
table.  But we had fun, even though we stunk.
	I wonít go into a lot of detail about the batting cages, except to say that
I grabbed a bat that vibrated a lot (rather painfully) when I hit in the Fast Pitch
cage, and Ang provided a nice breeze in the Slow Pitch cage.  We probably should have
stuck to pool.
	The Cats-Jags game was exciting, even though it was preseason.  Carolina
pulled off the win in the fourth quarter, and former Badgers Donald Hayes and Tarek
Saleh got in on the action a little.  Ang took a nice picture of Sir Purr when he
passed in front of us (we were in the first row of the endzone, but could see fairly
well).

By the way

Write to me, for cryin' out loud!

Etc.,
Ryan