Saturdays it feels like I get the place to myself. The workplace. I don’t, but with few others on board and a general tendency to avoid shitting where you work I get a crystal clean bathroom and kitchen that only I will disrupt. I also woke up with a big fat boner, which hasn’t happened lately as my sleep has been so poor. Subways are mucked up as they often are on weekends but I aced it and I don’t even know why. Positive energy all through my body today. WIll it last?

Dodged another dating app bullet. I don’t even know if she was real but she started asking for money and to be fully paid for and I said see ya. It’s not lost on me that women, even in this year of 2024, expect to be paid for. Unfortunately, I’m a loser in that respect, living on a salary that puts me well below the New York City poverty line. So I will soldier on alone until I find the company of the self-sufficient. It’s happened many times in the past, but it never seems to gel when an app or website is the filter. Unlike in reality, standards are set and never adjusted because why would they be? There is always another 6, 6, 6 behind the next swipe.

I watched the JenniCam girl on Letterman last night. It’s from a VHS tape I had in a drawer since 1998, when the show aired. I’ve been digitizing old VHS tapes after acquiring a VCR for my birthday. My connection to Jennifer RIngley’s appearance on Letterman goes deeper than having recorded it to VHS. Her appearance came not long after I had been featured in the New York Times’ “Circuits” section in a piece about (what else?) my payphone website. It was a nice article. 

The day it published I got an email and then a few phone calls from the Letterman show’s talent scouts, asking if I’d be interested in being a guest. I was interested but didn’t think I’d be a proper fit. At the time I considered the payphone thing to be a source of poetry and stories from the streets. The only funny stuff was obscene and probably not suitable for network television. I went along with the phone calls anyway, until they stopped coming.

This was 1998 and Letterman was, on air at least, unfamiliar with this newfangled Internet thing. He probably knew it better than he let on but he acted like it was an annoyance. Still, as I later deduced, the show was looking for some kind of Internet star, some interesting or could-be-interesting individual or phenomenon unique to the Internet. Through tea leaves and observation I concluded that their talent scouts had circled the JenniCam and myself, and most likely others. In my mind, though, I positioned the Letterman show’s choice as being a depressed dude who looks for human connections through public pay telephones and a 20-something woman who gets naked on the Internet. That being the choice I think it’s a no-brainer which one a show like that would choose.

Jenni was probably not the first to do the sort of stuff she did. There was CuSeeMe, which I used from home and at work, but pretty much all I ever encountered on that platform was dudes masturbating. I had static-image webcams as early as 1995, if I remember correctly. They became cliche and tedious to maintain but I keep the spirit of camming alive with my self-maintaining live stream showing the street outside.

My memory of the Internet in the ’90s was that there were numerous cliques, clacks, and clutches of “scenes” all with one thing in common. Each group collecticely they all thought they were the only thing happening on the Internet at the time. As for Jenni I heard of the JenniCam but have little memory of experiencing it. That’s surprising because I was a huge fan of CamWhores when it was populated by genuine people who just liked to show off. This was before tipping and tapping were basically mandatory and the culture moved from what I guess I’d call grass roots to ass roots. That kind of relatively innocent exhibitionism became commoditized and monetized.

I liked the Letterman interview. His questions were prescient, and his creeper tendencies I think came off as obviously deliberate. She had a good presence and seemed not nervous at all, like I would have been. I don’t envy her for getting the Letterman spot I was up for. I would have not done well. It reminds me of when Allan Bridge, aka Mr. Apology, was being considered. Allan got as far as actually meeting Letterman in person, where it was decided that he was simply not funny, or at least not funny in a Letterman-genre kind of way. In fact, I think Allan felt insulted by Letterman in some way but he never explained this or recounted exactly what their conversation comprised.

I’ll finish these thoughts later.