Email, weirdness and baby

Too many messages in my inbox, Chico’s weirdness, and congrats to my friends

Oh, technology. The CN&R’s network provider went down Monday evening, and as of this paper’s deadline Wednesday morning, I could neither receive nor send emails. That means when things are up and running again I’ll likely have somewhere in the range of 1,500 to 2,500 messages to go through. How terrific.

March 1 is my eight-year anniversary with the CN&R, and I’ve had the same email address the entire time. It seems like I’m on everybody and their sister’s list. Each day, I get hundreds upon hundreds of press releases, everything from the announcement of new books to political news. Most of the messages have no relevance to our community, and go straight into the trash folder. And then there’s spam—lots of it. It’s a huge time-suck.

The sheer volume, about 900 messages daily, requires me to dedicate way too much time to dealing only with email. Even if I spent only 20 seconds per message, I’d still spend five hours sifting through it all. Because of this, I’ve become a deleting machine of sorts. I try to, in a second or two, determine whether something is or is not junk, and then move on. I’ve found this triage necessary, especially on deadline, when spare moments are few. Chances are pretty good I’ve deleted some messages that shouldn’t have hit the round file. If that includes any from you, dear reader, my apologies.

Weirdness. My husband and I drove down to Merced late afternoon Friday to spend the night and celebrate my sweet Italian grandfather’s 91st birthday at a luncheon on Saturday at Merced’s Elks Lodge. There, various family members had parts in the bash attended by about 100 people. My mom, who busted out her college theater chops, did a comedy routine dressed as Maxine, the cranky greeting-card heroine. Her musician cousins, who’d traveled up from the San Luis Obispo area, regaled everyone with some 1940s numbers. My cousin, a Bay Area attorney, played the straight man—as the emcee. And I—as hard as this may be to imagine—dressed up as Marilyn Monroe and sang “Happy Birthday” to Grandpa in my best sultry voice. The getup involved a blond wig, gold dress, some strategic padding and a glass of wine beforehand.

More weirdness. That pretty much prepared me for Saturday evening and the CN&R’s Keep Chico Weird Talent Show, our second such event. It was wild, weird and once again sold out. Most of the contestants blew me away and reinforced how fortunate I am to live in such a creative community—one that largely embraces its quirky citizens. I’m glad this newspaper is able to help celebrate that diversity.

Baby! Last but not least, I want to give a shout out to my friends Mark Lore and Alexis Harmon, who welcomed their first child, Carl Harmon Lore, into the world on Super Bowl Sunday. Why should you care? Well, Mark is CN&R’s former arts editor who still regularly writes for this publication. Alexis is a teacher who was an intern here years ago. They’re also damn fine human beings, the kind who will work hard to raise another fine human being.