John High School crush, Laurie Basler

In 5th grade John fell in love with Laurie Basler, but she knew that she was Top Kid. Laurie was a blond as you could be, almost snow-white. John was new to the school in 5th grade because he came from Seattle, the big town and had just moved to Alaska. Laurie had a Dorothy Hamill haircut, but it was the color of straw. She knew that John liked her, but was just like ”I’ll put that little 3x5 card in my card file or cards I don’t really care about” (RL305)

Kris Fayette

Kris Fayette liked John in 5th grade and he missed an opportunity there. She had braces and headgear, but she was a great girl. She was a skier and she had a lot of moxy, but John just couldn’t see her because all he could see was Laurie Basler. He could not have ever talked to either of them, it was all academic, like ”Hey, can I give you a call on the phone and we will talk on the phone?” If Kris Fayette had called him, he would have been like ”What? What?” and would have tried to get off the phone as fast as he could. (RL305)

John's High School girlfriend, Kelly Keefer

John only had one girlfriend in High School. (RL63)

Kelly became John's first girlfriend after Christmas break in 11th grade (RL305, RL63) when he was16 years old. He succeeded with her by repeatedly sending her notes until she accepted him. (RL238) She was Valedictorian of their graduating class, president of the junior class, and president of the student congress, so she was a very high achieving person. During their senior year in High School, she was doing that High School transcript padding that high achieving kids liked to do in order to have this huge list of past activities when they would go to college. She joined the newspaper and was appointed to be the editor of the newspaper, a position that John had aspired to for many years, causing some friction in their relationship. She didn’t really care about newspaper class and didn’t want to write articles about the JV Football team, but it just seemed that newspaper was an easy A and it seemed like the kind of activity you would do if you were to go to Johns Hopkins.(RW84)

After she and John broke up, she started dating David Brust who had the exact same birthday as John, but was a Junior while John was a Senior. David was a GQ type person. He wore a Guess watch, he wore penny loafers instead of boat shoes, he folded the cuffs of his shirt back a little bit, a weird non-functional thing he had seen in GQ, he wore a lot of Benetton clothes and there was something on every level where he was wrong. He was also very handsome and had prominent Magnum PI dimples. She was dating him only to get John’s goat and also for the dimples. You could go down the list of reasons not to date him and it was as long as your arm. The reasons do date him were: Dimples and it will get John’s goat. (RW84)

John’s High School girlfriend was a Mulatto-Irish red-headed girl. After High School in 1986 it was the very dawn of people getting tattooed even if they were not active sailors or carving scrimshaw. She got a tattoo of a little red-haired witch riding a broom over her bush in her bikini area. It was probably her spirit animal and she actually was a witch, although she was not casting spells. She was so proud of it as if it was for all the world to see, but it was just for people to see who got her panties off and by that time they already knew what a little witch she was. (RL48)

John's prom date and first girlfriend had hair like an Irish setter. She now works as a doctor in Central Oregon. Her mother was a seamstress and created matching outfits for the couple using pink leopard spot satin. For the girl she adorned a strapless ball gown out of black taffeta and for John she modified her husband's wedding suit. She had been a reporter before she was married, she was a pistol and she had a devilish streak. Sometimes she would rattle four wire hangers and their poor Weiner dog who hated wire hangers would hide under the couch. Her father despised John. Back when they were dating, they had a split-level house and John would not even go upstairs, but directly down to her room. (RL240)

John's girlfriend in High School was a manic pixie dream girl. She was very tightly wound like a Swiss watch and when John's car would suddenly start beeping, her reaction would be the same as if you had crashed a cymbal behind a sleeping cat. (RL252)

Merlin calls her the read-headed doctor. (RL333) She works as a chief surgical resident at Dartmouth hospital. She and John talk periodically, but it is really like talking to a doctor. The song Mimi is about her and John driving in a car on a narrow icy road and almost hitting a school bus. (KPJR1)

John's girlfriend, Laural

John met Laural, his first sober girlfriend, at the age of 26 when he moved into the house where he also met his friend Peter. (RL257)

John's girlfriend, the ballet dancer

In 1998, John dated a ballet dancer from La Jolla, California. She would wake up at 05:00 in the morning, run to Lake Washington, swim out to the Orca Buoy and back, and run back up the hill as a prelude to teaching ballet all day. She had one of those metabolisms and could eat 8000 calories a day. All she wanted to do was dance. She was like a race horse or like a Border Collie that you have to take out every day. You have to wear her out a little bit. She is a wonderful lady, but if she didn't have anything to do, she would literally climb the walls and you would find her in a corner up in the ceiling. She was very excitable and somebody had told John that she had an euphoria problem, like someone who had a religious experience and should be confined to a Monastery. They broke up after the terrible adventure of driving John's dad's truck down from Alaska. (RL183)

John's girlfriend, the one with the dog

John dated a girl once who decided that the additional dog she needed in addition to her Shih Tzu was a Great Dane. She rescued a Great Dane who was already 9 years old, which is 2 years older than any Great Dane should live. The dog was lovely, but he weighed 400 pounds, the size of a horse, and she let it sleep in her bed. Later the Great Dane started to shit the bed, which is like shitting out a printing press made of poop. John suggested that this Great Dane could feed a family of four for a month and she should just send it to the hamburger machine, but she pointed out that there is a reason he is not her boyfriend anymore. (RL184)

John’s girlfriend with the motorcycle boyfriend

One of John’s girlfriends had an ex-boyfriend who once rode his motorcycle up the stairs of her house to come to her in his leather pants and ravage her. John was not going to do any of those things and hoped she was content with him coming by sometimes. She wanted to establish that John was the lucky one to have her, and she was not the lucky one to have him, which turned out to be true. John did neither have a motorcycle nor leather pants. He was not even a heroin addict or a ravager, nor was he a rapper. Usually he would come to her house and go through the cupboards to see if there was anything to eat. He would take a bath and then he would mildly ravage her, like a wet ravage, before he would lay around and get a little more food. By sunset he would invite her to join him down at the bar while making it clear that she wouldn’t have any fun. That was about the extend of it. His complete lack of any ability to even pretend to try flipped the power dynamic between them until it eventually seemed like he was the prize. Think of the poor bastard who came next! Also, where was the guy with the motorcycle now? Because she was with John now, why won’t he ride his motorcycle down the stairs! Today John doesn’t behave like this anymore. Instead he is very interested, very attentive and he hardly ever goes through anybody’s cupboards. (RL259)

John's girlfriend, the smoker

John was dating a girl at one time and they would go on long walks together at night. As they reached the bottom of a very steep hill, which there are dozens and dozens of in Seattle, she would light a cigarette. He asked if she doesn't want to save the cigarette for when they were up the hill and have achieved their goal, but her attitude was not to tell her what to do. They would go up that steep hill and she would smoke the entire time. When they were at the top, John would have a valedictory cigarette, but she wanted to smoke all the way up. One time, they saw two kids with hoodies sneaking between the cars and John wanted to chase them. She agreed, but she lit a cigarette first. What kind of hot pursuit is that? The Viet cong will smell the smoke, and then the snipers will see the cherry. What if they run into a non-smoking facility, like a propane facility. You are going to lose half a cigarette or endanger their lives. It seemed crazy to John. (RL245)

The Millennial Girlfriend

Picture with link to her Instagram

John had a millennial girlfriend from Venice Beach (Pictures from December 2016 and February 2017). The relationship lasted from around October 2015 (RL308) until around May 2017 (RW68). She worked at SnapChat (RW83) as the lawyer of the labs developing the technologies (RL260) and her colleagues were a group of lawyers in their early 30s who all thought they were special. They started teasing her for dating an older gentlemen and have referred to John as "Peepaw" (RL238).

How they met

After John bought his GMC RV in November of 2015 he drove down to San Francisco and went to a big fancy party with John Hodgman. It was one of those software parties where they had Lobster Thermidor and naked jugglers. (RL308) Merlin came as well and because they were serving top-shelf booze for free he accidentally got really really drunk, which John didn’t notice. (RL290) He later Irish-good-bye-d in classic Merlin fashion as they were all walking together down a hall, John turned around and started ”So Merlin, what do you…” and Merlin was just gone. John hadn't even seen a door anywhere! Merlin had pulled out his bat-hook and went straight up! (RL308)

Among the guests was Elon Musk and a lot of software famouses. (RL290) It was not a good environment and the only people of color were the Asian girlfriends of software dudes. As John and John Hodgman were standing up to leave, a fancy girl came over to Hodgman and said ”I just want to say how important your work is to me” and it was so clear that she did not feel that way, because while you can love John Hodgman, it is very hard to say that his 10.000 Hobo names (from his book The Areas Of My Expertise) are important to you. She kind of All the great shows-ed him a little bit. (RL308)

Because John Hodgman loves talking to somebody who loves his work, they all sat down again, and ”Oh Jesus! Here we go!” This woman was one of the lawyers for Uber (details see OM105) and her friend who was also a tech lawyer was standing there rolling her eyes. She and John both looked at each other and John was like ”Oh well, shit! Hi!” and that was the beginning of his 2-year relationship with Millennial girlfriend. (RL308)

Alternative relationship

All of John’s relationships had been alternative, but this was his first San Francisco-style alternative relationship. Merlin lives outside of San Francisco in the Sunset District, which is the appendix of San Francisco, but this relationship was very definitely situated in the Castro District. John had been taking this bipolar medicine for 10 days (see Depression) and all of his sorrow was gone, but his problem were not solved by that, but he was just going out of the boiling hot pot into the fireplace! (RL308)

Random facts

She is very accepting of a lot of what would be described as John's peculiarities. She has her own very specific kind of ways that she likes John's peculiarities to be expressed. (RL238) She does not like people with the combination of unruly beard and well-groomed hair, but has no problem with unruly hair and well-trimmed beard. (RL238) She was really uncomfortable with John's Alexa on the table, because she was sure that Amazon was recording all her thoughts. (RW83)

Living together and the quick exit

She shortly lived with John in his house. She moved in and she moved out - it was a bumpy road. (RL250) Through a series of unfortunate events she did not stay with John as a permanent resident. She never even unloaded the shipping container with her things (RW84) When she left, she packed John’s Filson-bags with coffee and underwear. He did not lose all bags, but some, which is more than what he intended to lose. (RW78) He still has plenty of luggage, but confusingly she did abscond with one particular bag along with various other things. (RW84)

Bob Wood

When John was 17, he had a friend called Bob Wood. John liked Bob a lot because he was a nice kid and a good musician. He lived in a house in the forest that was all made out of shellacked wood like a 6-story tall book case. (RL14) Bob would always keep a frying pan with bacon grease on his stove. (RW68)

Bob's dad was a surgeon and he was such an asshole, a giant bald guy and an imperious born prickhead! Once in High School, maybe in 9th grade, Bob was caught smoking marijuana with his hockey player friends and his dad came down on him like a ton of bricks and actually broke Bob’s little spirit somehow. He was one step away from owning an Alfa Romeo, which you couldn’t really do in Alaska unless you were just such an asshole that you owned a car that you could only drive 2 months of the year. Bob's dad was very close to that level! (RL14)

While his dad was this massive prick, Bob's mom was what you would today describe as a MILF. (RL14) She was about 40 years old and was the most beautiful of all the middle-class mothers that John knew while growing up (RL238) with beautiful blond hair. She was such a charming person! Bob's mom would be sitting in the kitchen (RL14), wearing a T-shirt of Aung San Suu Kyi. (RL238), listening to NPR while she was sorting through bags of loose Lapsang Souchong that she got from different places. She would be polishing her copper colander, she had Le Creuset cookware in every different color, and she made salads in a big wooden bowl with salad tangs. While he was waiting for Bob to get his Nikes on, John would sit in one of their Eames chairs and talk to Bob’s mom who showed a lot of interest in him as a teenage boy. (RL14)

John didn’t know what to do with his feelings at the time and in retrospect he wished he had gone over there during the day and asked her for help on his homework, but it is too late now! John hasn't seen her in years and she is probably 79 by now. He should have been all over her, but his matrix of shame and anxiety kept him sitting in that Eames chair asking for another cup of tea with soy milk in it, which he didn’t even want, but he just wanted her to come over and hand it to him. Whenever John thinks of NPR, he thinks of Bob’s mom in this house tucked in the forest with the soothing sounds of NPR, and he is trying to picture her life with this asshole doctor. There are so many things he wished he had done differently, and one of them is that he should have taken Bob’s mom away from all that. (RL14)

If only Merlin could see John now, lighting his candles while swirling around the room in his cape! Where is his Lapsang Souchong? Is that real or Ping Pong talk? John has no idea! The name of the tea sounds like a dog, but the dog he is thinking of is called Shih Tzu, the little dog that guards the temples in Tibet. Merlin thought those were two lions (but those are called Shi Shi), Stout and Clarence. One is the gatekeeper, it might be Sigourney Weaver. Merlin is happy to be at a point in his life where he can find new sex things he had never thought of, like fucking Mrs. Robinson in a giant book case, which is practically German in its awesomeness. (RL14)

As a teenager, John wasn’t as connected to the great rhythm of life, to the resonating D-chord that permeates the Universe and that would have enabled him to be Dustin Hoffman in that scenario. Even though he was probably already 6 feet tall (180 cm), John still thought of himself as a kid at the time and he was in a position of waiting. Mrs. Robinson, aka Bob’s mom was also waiting. Here they were in this decored resonating wood-house, both waiting. Bob’s dad wasn’t waiting, but he was seizing the moment being a dick with every fiber of his being. John has no idea why she was with that guy, but he does not know what women like. If you want somebody to give you the mean bone, according to every porno movie it is fine to only be the pizza guy, as long as you are the really confident pizza guy with translucent sweaty skin. (RL14)

People are animals and those of us who let their higher functions get in the way of being animals all the time have not done themselves a service. We think about everything too much! There are people who are able to live more unreflectedly and who just smell somebody in front of them who smells like sex and their brain is shutting off and they are going to have sex with them now. Maybe they will regret it later, but their capacity to regret is something they forgot to cultivate as well and they will regret it for 30 minutes and then they pretend it never happened. (RL14)

Kevin Horning

Kevin Horning was John's friend at the age of 15.

Kevin would lay down with a boom-box playing British heavy metal (like the German band Accept) right in front of his face and he could still take a nap at the same time. (RL238) Kevin and his girlfriend would stuff leaves down the front of their sweater and would help one another to get the leaves out, touching each other. (RL252) Kevin's family had an interesting arrangement when it came to Pop: They had lots of different kinds in the house, but the Pepsi was for Mrs. Horning only. You could get a Hires, a 7-Up or a Dr. Pepper, but you could not touch the Pepsi! (RL151)

Chris Gills

Chris Gills lived in the neighborhood and was a better skier and much cooler than John. John's best friend Kevin Horning wanted to hang out with Chris Gills, and Chris was too cool to hang out with John, so Chris was hanging out with Kevin while John was not invited. Chris found John a little contemptible. When John made a joke everybody was laughing, but when he would take it too far, Chris was the one who was like "Ehhh, ja". Kevin was John's best friends and wanted John to make it to the cool kids, but he just couldn't do it. Chris Gills has really made it, he lives on the Bahamas on a sail boat and drives a powder-blue 1972 Oldsmobile. (RL189)

At one time, John was playing Dig-Dug at a Tastee-Freez and Chris Gills for some reason comes over and offers John a ride. Chris's dad had one of those Ford Thunderbirds that looked like a lozenge (like ibuprofen). His dad was a doctor and had a Nakamichi stereo where it would pop the tape out and flip it mechanically. At the time it felt so modern, but now it feels like something from The Flintstones. Chris Gill's dad was supposed to buy a BMW 740i, but instead he bought this Thunderbird (also: RL159), which was a symbol for John how cool that Thunderbird was. So they were riding and just chilling with each other. John was afraid to make a joke too far and Chris would regret offering him a ride. Chris said "Did you hear Van Halen picked a new singer? Sammy Hagar", which appalled John. But now they had something that bonded them because they hated it together. Chris dropped off John and "see you later", but they never rode in the car together again. (RL189)

Adolphus Busch Orthwine III

Adolphus was one of the heirs of the Busch beer family. He could light cigars on $100 bills and it was the same to him as matches. John spent a couple of months traveling through Europe with him. (RL14) He drank two liters of Coke a day that he preferred warm and flat. (RL151) He looked like a guy who was playing video games for a living, not like somebody with 24 Clydesdales. (RL14) He was driven to his prom led by Clydesdales (RL151) and it must suck if your father wants to give you Clydesdales when all you want is a Town Car. "We are having the Junior Prom here at the house!" Can you imagine how scarred you would be if you constantly get to show your trophyness? (RL14)

The best thing in life would be to find out at John’s age of 43 that he is actually from an obscenely rich family who has been keeping it from him the whole time, just because they wanted him to grow up with some intestinal fortitude and as soon as he did that, they would give him his inheritance. John is waiting every day for the knock on the door by his rich uncle coming and telling him. John lives in anticipation of a lot of door knocks. Is it an Alien or is it an attorney who wants you to sign some papers? There are a lot of people who could be knocking on John’s door.(RL14)

Aaron Kinneman

John mentions him as his best friend from High school (RW83)


In the Summer of 2017 Peter did some carpentry for John’s mom and she suggested that he could do some work on John’s basement. Peter currently plays video poker for a living and he didn’t think it would be a complicated situation to come out and work on John’s house despite being a friend and despite what happened in the past. Peter also recommended the carpenter Sahm to John. (RL257)

Being in the apple-cider business

In the fall of 2017, John's friends Michael and Peter planned to go into the apple cider business. Peter showed John bins full of crabapples in his garage. There is a large agricultural area around the town of Arlington north of Seattle where somebody has a field with all those vintage cider apples growing. Some of them don’t even exist in their original countries anymore because all the cider apples there are now by Monsanto. John’s friend Michael has decided that cider-making might be his new jam, so he and Peter are going to partner up on this. (RL260)

Peter lives on a houseboat

Peter lives on a houseboat that is owned by his sister, but not one of those from Sex and the City, but basically a tool shed on brackets, like a thing from Popeye (RL257, RL260) where fishermen lived in the 1910:s (RL260). The sister has money, she has a condo in Downtown and is often out of town, Peter is currently driving a Lexus because somebody owed his uncle some money and the guy paid him in a Lexus, the uncle gave the Lexus to his daughter to go to college, she thought it was ostentatious and somehow Peter inherited it. (RL257) Those houseboats are still around and they are a shingled bedroom on a floating palette, enough to put a double-bed, a lamp, a potty and maybe a little kitchen, but you can’t play Frisbee in it. It is not meant to go out for the day with, but it is more like a floating shack. You rent the right to tie it up and you can hook a 15 HP Evinrude to it and move it across the lake on a calm day. (RL260)

The pride of place on all of the house boat moorages around Lake Union is really the end of the dock position. You don’t just come along and moor your little outhouse to the front of somebody’s dock, but they will find little slots for you. Peter was talking about people who own the birth, the moorage of this houseboat community and there are the older-style ones where everybody is still a hippie. Up until 1995, living on a house boat was quite a normal thing to do and wasn’t considered magical. Then Sleepless in Seattle changed everything. Lawyers are always looking to take something nice and make it bad. Peter still lives in one of those communities where everybody is an old grouchy hippie. The people who own the marina just recently rented out a new end space to somebody who came along with a lot of money. They went right up to the property line on how big your house boat could be, they plopped it down on the end and the entire neighborhood is up in arms about it! This guy doesn’t care, because he looks at all those people behind him and says that they are just a Sargasso Sea of shingles, laughing and floating, floating and laughing. The people are mad, but you know what: Capitalism! Like: My name is Paul and this is between you’all! (RL260)

How John and Peter met

Peter was the first friend John made after he got sober at the age of 26. He didn’t understand how anybody could be sober because everybody he knew was a drunk, so who do you hang out with? Do you hang out with Normals? John was sleeping in the alcove at the top of the stairs in this house. It was before he lived in the van. He didn't want to sleep on peoples couches anymore, because he was trying to have a little bit of dignity. John met this girl Julie who knew this guy Brent who was a drunk, but Julie wasn’t. She invited John over to their house where 6 people lived and none of them were drunks. They were artists and kooks, there was a drum kit in the basement and somebody who did not yet understand the musculature of the human body had painted a mural of a Centaur on the wall in the living room. This ended up how John met Laural who became his first sober girlfriend. He realized that these people did not drink, but they were still kooky, weird artist people. It turns out there is a whole group of people in the world who are just interesting without being drunk. Peter had been around John’s life ever since. He was the original bass player of The Long Winters, but quit before their first show because their music didn’t sound authentic enough. (RL257)

Who scares the shit out of whom? (RL249)

Ben Shepherd, the bass player of Soundgarden is a local legend in Seattle. He is a ledgendarily intense guy and John has known him tangentially for many years. Ben is one of the very few people who scares the shit out of John. He is a big guy and his intensity is up there to the point of "scary". John's friend Mike Squires, guitar player of Duff McKagan's Loaded went on tour a long time ago and met Zakk Wylde for the first time. Mike had been in the Marines and grew up in an intense environment where you really had to be on your toes. He met Zakk Wylde and tried to josh with him, tried to be Mike Squires about it, but then he reported back to John that the one guy who scares the shit out of him and who he didn't want to moneky with is Zakk Wylde. John's big friend Andrew McKeag is now the manager of The Experience Hendrix Your, touring the world playing Jimy Hendrix music with all-star casts like Ringo Starr's All-star band. Zakk Wylde is in that band, so he and Andrew are now thick as thieves and John is no longer worried of meeting Zakk, because he now feels he has an "In": He can say that he is good friends with Andrew! Also, Zakk Wylde's manager apparently listens to this program. Ben Shepherd has always scared the shit out of John. He is one of these guys who would just stare at you from across the room.

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