1) Who are your musical influences?
They're pretty varied. I grew up listening to pop/rock and roll primarily, with a smattering of novelty music and country. I always liked classical, but most of what I knew of it was from performing it. When I first got to college I got into other things, like jazz (which I'd never really heard growing up) and folk.
I spent most of the 80s stagnating (more of my 80s in my answer to Question 2) musically. In the 90s my musical influences were a combination of what I got paid to listen to (literally -- I was working in radio) and what I learned from my late voice teacher, Judy Davis, who taught me about all those pop standards I would have learned about had I grown up in a "normal" household. Note that I've written music in the genres of new age, jazz, rock/pop, country, and folk. With perhaps the exception of folk, it's all been stuff I've been paid to listen to.
Nowadays most of the music I listen to outside of filk/novelty is rock/pop, R&B, and country. This will give you an idea of what you can expect out of me these days. :-)
2) What first brought you out to California?
An airplane. [g,d,rlh]
I was 50% of one of the early Internet (the ARPAnet) romances -- and later divorces. I was a student at Columbia University. My (now ex-) husband maintained the e-mail system at Columbia from Stanford. An e-mail bug caused me to send e-mail to him, one thing led to another, and we became engaged. After my first trip to California, there was no question as to which one of us was going to relocate (the one who had dreamed of living in California as a child vs. the one whose skin started crawling when he spent more than two hours in New York City). The "fun" part was explaining to my parents why he wasn't getting a job in NYC.
I wound up stopping out of Columbia (I was semi-paralyzed on my left side from the neck-down and in horrific pain, too much to be able to study). We loaded my belongings, along with what had been my Grandmom's living room, into a Ryder truck and shlepped it to California.
3) What's your favorite computer oldtimer and/or "net.fogey" story?
Wow. There are so many good ones to tell.... The one about the guy who used to e-mail out his diary of course seems tame by today's standards, even though he used to put sexually explicit stuff in it naming names. Given that the government owned much of the computing facilities, this was very unique.
At dinner tonight we were talking about the Computer Museum in Mountain View. They've got lots of old hardware there, but AFAIK they don't have a Foonly. What's a Foonly, you ask? Well...I'm one of the experts on the machine.
A Foonly was an imitation PDP-10. They ran the same instruction set, but each one was created with individually wire-wrapped boards and thus had a "personality." You could swap two "identical" boards, such as two disk controller boards, between two Foonlies of the same model and they wouldn't work, but swap them back and they would.
Foonlies were also cheap. The folks at Symbolics used to say, "You pay for a Foonly, you get a Foonly." The guy who ran the company was named Dave Poole. Dave was very bright but had quite a temper. If he decided he didn't like you there was nothing you could do about it. Poole would often tell his people not to service specific customers; needless to say, when Poole was on vacation, the company ran much better.
Poole used to throw things at his employees. He'd hire really bright people missing things like degrees, then make them feel like dung. I remember one of his people coming to service our computer with a bruise/wound that resembled a wire-wrap board having been thrown at his face. We knew Dave threw it. The one reason folks stayed at Foonly was his sick/vacation policy. Foonly employees each got three months of vacation time and three months of sick time. Needless to say, folks avoided taking vacation or sick time when Dave was taking his. Given this allowance, you could go the whole year and pretty much never deal with Dave, which was generally a Good Thing.
Eventually Dave's people got fed up with him and left, and Foonly disintegrated to Dave taking care of the few Foonlies left in service -- in particular, the ones running the Network Information Center at SRI. One of Poole's quirks was he liked to have a parrot on his shoulder. The main Foonly at SRI was covered with bird crap on the inside. This isn't just heresay; I saw it for myself.
A few years ago Poole set sail for Alaska in his boat. He disappeared at sea. Rumor has it he was diagnosed with something terminal and did that on purpose.