"HTML Tidy for Linux/x86 (vers 11 February 2007), see www.w3.org" /> William A. Parrette: 'Net Friends I've Met

'Net Friends I've Met

[A picture of a puppy and a kitten]

Photograph of unknown origin. Copyright holder not known. Photograph found at: http://www.durango.com/AlpineAnimal/.


Stef is a real special person. I first encountered her on a mailing list I subscribe to where she rarely posted a direct question herself. But, when she answered a question, her replies almost always made me want to slap my forehead and say "Of course! That makes perfect sense!! Why didn't I look at it that way?" Stef's replies are always well thought out and, in my opinion, show a great deal of wisdom. Her words are often the embodiment of rationality -- almost scientific.

I was privileged to be able to meet Stef and her partner while I was visiting the "Silicon Valley" on a business trip. I was happy to find that she was as impressive in person as she was in e-mail. One can't help but get a philosophical, almost mystical, feeling when talking with Stef. Our time together for talking and visiting over a dinner of Chinese food seems all too short when I think about it. But the evening still remains as one of my most magical memories.

If you would like to visit Stef, she can be found at: http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/. When you leave, perhaps you'll know why (as her e-mail signature proclaims) she calls herself a rational/ scientific/ philosophical/ mystical/ magical/ kitty.

Gypsy Jack

Jack is another mailing list acquaintance. We "bumped" into one another when he mentioned that he was playing guitar in a "classic" rock-n-roll band in one of his posts to the list. Well, of course, considering my "short but illustrious music career," I just had to reply and let him know that I was a drummer.

We immediately struck up an e-friendship. When I saw him reply to a list post, I would often reply back and vice versa. Sometimes, we might exchange a general "how ya' doin'" message off list. When I found myself in the job market, Jack even offered to route my résumé through his company to see if there might be any interest. So, although we have never met in person, I found Jack to be a kind, kindred soul that I enjoyed e-conversing with.

What else can I say about a guy who has left me an open invitation to "sit in" and "jam" if I'm ever in the bay area on a night his band is playing? If you would like to visit Jack and his wife Dee Dee, they can be found at http://www.bayarea.net/~jvanbree/. Tell him I sent you and said to say "Hi!"


Hans and I were destined to meet. There's just no other way to explain it. I was teaching at a client site in San Diego doing a series of UNIX Fundamentals-type courses. After class, I remotely logged in to my IAP to post a message to one of my mailing lists describing some of my " stepping out on the fringe" experiences. And in the post, I happened to include the lyrics to one of my favorite "classic" rock songs called Journey to the Center of the Mind by the Amboy Dukes.

The next day, after class, I was remotely logged in again and was reading my mail when I found a response to my post. As I was scanning the header lines, wondering who the message was from, something strange hit me. This message was sent from the exact same company that I was teaching the class for. Wow! What kind of synchronicity could this be? The message was from Hans and he was commenting on the lyric that I had included.

Well I just had to reply. I told him where I was, we got together for dinner, and had a wonderful conversation about music, our common "fringe" explorations, and several other interesting topics. On a more recent trip, I was able to visit with Hans again along with his "squeeze" (as he so succinctly put it in a recent post to the mailing list) and had another wonderful conversation over an Italian meal in a restaurant that had a beautiful view of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

If you would like to visit Hans, he has a rather eclectic page at http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/7542. See if you can figure out what that schematic diagram really is at the bottom of his home page.

The "Imzadi's"

One of the disadvantages of being a traveling contract trainer is that you tend to spend a lot of nights alone in a hotel room. However, this wasn't a problem on a recent trip to northern New Jersey because I had an invitation to join Dennis and Debbie Staley -- the Imzadi's -- for dinner one evening. Dennis and Debbie are, like many others here, mailing list acquaintances and simply great folks!

I picked Dennis up from work near the Jersey shore and drove him back to the Bronx to meet with Debbie. I never would have had the nerve to drive around in one of New York's most famous boroughs by myself, but with Dennis, it was a breeze -- and, pretty cool. Deb was a little shy at first but when she found out that I wouldn't bite (after all, I do need an invitation to bite first ;-) ), I had a great time visiting with them and their children in their New York apartment.

They took me out to one of New York's famous "diners" where the food flowed like water. They kept bringing food, and food, and more food until there was little room on the table at all. In between mouthfuls of some really great dishes (and some surprises for Debbie as I actually ate the beet appetizers) we had a wonderful conversation about list topics and many of the other list folks in the area that I wouldn't have a chance to meet or visit. We stopped by a rather large Christmas display on the way back to their home and, when we returned, had some more great times and conversations.

At the moment, Dennis and Debbie's personal Web site is not available. I will put a link back up as soon as I get their new URL. When it returns to the 'Net, you can find out all about what the name Imzadi is all about. But then again if you're already a Star Trek fan ...

Donna and Allen Wightman

Donna Wightman is another Grand Funk Railroad fan. What is particularly interesting about Donna is that she had her site up essentially the exact same week that I did. I did a Web search for sites and found nothing, I put my Web page up, and did another search only to find that Donna had the same idea that I had. I like to say that "great minds think alike. :-)

It didn't take long -- I contacted Donna, we started e-mailing each other, and we quickly became good 'Net friends. We shared a lot of information with each other and helped each other improve and expand our Web sites. Then, in August of 1997, our friendship took a special turn when Donna and her husband invited me out to their house to attend two GFR concerts that were being held near their home in Northern California.

Towards the end of 1997, Donna had a very special honor bestowed upon her. The band was not happy with the professional Web sites that had been developed for them by their management. So, they chose Donna's site to be a fan-driven site that officially represented the band on the Internet. Since then Donna has become the official source of information for news about Grand Funk Railroad around the world through the 'Net. At the moment, Donna's personal Web site is down and not available. I will put a link back up as soon as I get her new URL.

Jimmy and Liz Giranda

Jimmy and Liz are also huge Grand Funk Railroad fans. Jimmy was an early subscriber to the fan mailing-list that I started (affectionately called "roadkill") and I quickly noticed that him and his wife Liz were attending as many GFR shows as I was. It was inevitable that our paths should physically cross some day. One of the more memorable meetings was at the Modern Drummer Festival late in May of 2000.

As you may have read in the Grand Funk Railroad area of this Web-site, Don Brewer was being honered by Modern Drummer Magazine as one of the most influential drummers of the century. As the festival was being held essentially in Jimmy and Liz's "back yard," in northern New Jersey, they attended the festivities. The next morning, a group of fans arranged to meet for breakfast at a local "IHOP" and I got to sit at the same table as Jimmy and Liz and their friend Sal Ciccone. We had a great time talking about the show and many other things and I came to find out that Jimmy was a fellow Macintosh fanatic.

More recently, I attended a GFR show in Muncie, IN. And, much to my delight and surprise, Jimmy and Liz were there too! We got to talk a bit and, of course, our common interest in the Macintosh came up again. At the time, I was in the middle of a lengthy bout of unemployment and was telling Jimmy that when I got a job, there were three things I was going to get as soon as I could: start buying the GFR remastered CDs, a new copy drum for my aging laser printer, and a copy of Apple's newest Macintosh operating system called OS/X.

Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks later when an unexpected package appeared at mt home from Amazon.com. Inside, was a copy of Jaguar: the latest release of the Macintosh OS/X! The enclosed gift card identified the sender as Jimmy G. (as other GFR fans have come to call him). I have always looked forward to seeing these fine folks at GFR shows. But, now I look upon this fine couple as very special friends. Jimmy and his friend Sal both work in the "food safety" industry and Jimmy has a web-site at http://www.concentric.net/~gfr2002/ which talks about the subject, Grand Funk, and a special passion of his: A ruby red metallic Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

Karen Utreras

There are times in one's life where you're certain that you've just met someone special. You can't explain it, you can't describe it, you don't know how or why ... you're simply sure that their life-path and yours was destined to cross for some special yet unknown purpose. And so it is with Karen.

Karen stopped by my Web-site to check out the Grand Funk pages and sent me a simple note thanking me for my work. As is my way, I replied saying "hi" and thanked her for stopping by my Web-site. And, from that point on, we became great friends. Even though Karen lives in Santiago, Chile, we found ways to chat on a regular basis.

Karen is a teacher (high school english) and I am (at the time) a trainer (adult computers). She loved deriving the meaning behind song lyrics, I have a passion for correct lyrics so the meaning can be understood. She was becomming a big GFR fan and I am a big GFR fan. She had some experience in the same fringe topics that I have experienced and described elsewhere in this Web-site. Our paths were destined to cross.

Karen has recently put up a "myspace" page. She also has a page over at Fotolog.com. Stop by and check her out!

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