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JadedJuToday, I had the pleasure of lunching with my friend Jill (aka JadedJu). We met over the internet through bloggy friends a decade ago and then in person, a few months later. When I returned from our first lunchdate, on a Sunday in February of 2004, I reported back to our blog circle with the following story. Later, I found it re-posted on some random site with the title “BEST TRUE INTERNET MEET-UP STORY EVER”. The word TRUE made me laugh for quite some time, but it remains one of my favorite stories and so I’m bringing it back around.

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 Every time I meet one of my blog friends for the first time in person, there’s a bit of a blind date quality to it. How will I know him? What if she stands me up? What if they’ve brought a fistfull of friends to stand and point and laugh at me? So when I went to Pescadero to meet Jill last Sunday, I was a little edgy, not knowing what to expect.

I saw her as I approached Duartes, winding my way through the long line of Harleys that filled every parking space on the block. Leaning against a lamp post, she had a look about her that said she’d been waiting for me to arrive. Her bright green mohawk didn’t surprise me as much as the fact that she was nearly seven and a half feet tall.

“Are you . . . ?” I asked.

“And you?” she countered.

We nodded in unison and I followed her into the restaurant.

We’d already ordered and broken into the soft, steaming loaf of homemade bread when she said, oh so casually, “So you’re all packed?”

I stopped buttering.

“Packed?”

“Yeah, we haven’t got much time.”

“Time for . . . ?” I glanced around the restaurant as if some magical answer to her question was waiting on one of the rustic walls.

“Time to catch up with them. We’ve got to be in Oregon before morning. The show opens in Victoria on Tuesday.”

I put the bread back on the plate and pushed back from the table.

“The show?”

“You ARE the Lion Tamer, aren’t you?”

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Tomorrow, I'm turning laurustina over to my good friend The Man Dan. Trust me when I say that you'll be in good hands.

When I first met The Man Dan in person, he had to rush home to prepare a salad for a dinner he was heading off to with friends. Jay and I tried to coerce him into staying for one more lazy Sunday afternoon Margarita on the Santa Cruz wharf but he insisted that this salad preparation thing was a big deal.

“Just pick up a couple of those pre-mixed bags of salad and toss 'em in a bowl.” I said. Innocently. Foolishly. Clearly unschooled in the ways of The Man.

He laughed politely and did not say (though now I can't help but hear him thinking) “Silly girl, would you ask Mozart to write you a soap jingle? Monet to crayon a page in a coloring book? Michaelangelo to craft you a clay ashtray?" And perhaps I might, 'cause I could make a fortune from such things on eBay, but what I didn't know then that I do know now is that The Man Dan takes his foodstuffs seriously in an artistically intuitive (and occasionally gloriously gluttonous) way.

A natural storyteller, Dan weaves narrative recipes like nobody else and I am utterly delighted to have finagled a guest post out of him to share with you here. I highly recommend following him at The Chucklehut for more tasty treats, linguistic acrobatics, charming photography and best of all, his exquisitely human stories.  And please DO make him feel welcome (i.e. comments are nice. You're such a quiet lot these days.)

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Professional Bloggers write for money. Personal Bloggers write for pleasure. It's a beautiful thing when the two intersect, when a Pro-Blogger gets to write on subjects they're personally passionate about or a storyteller gets paid for weaving the stories of their lives.

I am interested in what Professional Bloggers do, but have never considered myself one of them. I can (and do) write “informational content”, marketing copy and reviews, but for the most part, I've got an old-skool attitude when it comes to this site.

I've been blogging with some regularity since 2001. I was around when Heather B got Dooced. I remember when Diablo Cody was just a peep-show girl telling stories on the sly. I was one of the everybodys who read Plain Layne before we knew she was merely the smoke and mirrors of Odin Soli. I wasn't big or brilliant, neither famous or infamous, but I was there and I am still here.

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Do you see that girl, the one there on the left with the kick-ass blue satin jacket and Farrah Fawcett feathered hair? I grew up wanting to be her. Trying to be her. I did rotten things in an effort to execute that grand plan. I tried on her clothes when she wasn't around. I helped myself to her makeup, absconded with her jewelry and studied her every melodramatic mood and sarcastic sigh. And yes, I read her diary. Repeatedly. Regularly. Unlike my mother, I did NOT leave notes in her diary, critiquing the entries or adding my personal assessment of her emotional outpourings. I WAS however, dead set on figuring out to become her. As it turns out, that didn't happen and all things considered, that's probably lucky for everyone involved. Still, the idea of once again having daily access to her rantings, ravings and inner dialogue is something that fills me with delight, and so I am most pleased that she has decided to open up a blogging shop and backload it with a badass bunch of archives. Not all the way back to the feathered hair and satin jacket, but close enough to make it pretty fucking cool. Most often, I refer to her here as Ruby or Morticia. Occasionally I mention her as the first third of The Sisterhooe. But from now on, don't let my nicknames and labels define her. She calls herself Bullish and as of today her Ink is unlocked, and casually flopped open on the foot of the bed. No one is looking. We could totally tiptoe into the room and take a peek … and really who could blame us?

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About “Laurustina”: This blog’s title comes from the flower of the same name, the meaning of which is “I die if neglected”. When I was seventeen, I wrote a lyric poem titled “Death Loved Laurustina” and though the poem came and went, the name stayed with me. A later piece, titled “Drucilla, Laurustina and Me” cemented it as one of the pseudonyms I would carry with me ever after.