January 14, 2009

I Heart Poppy Buxom.

Posted in Hero Worship at 9:13 pm by the Green-Eyed Siren

I am a hard-boiled internet lurker. I am an internet crackhead. I am a gambler—repetitively, robotically, obsessively clicking in search of the next content jackpot, dopamine pulsing rhythmically through my brain as I ignore the state of house, children, and husband. Unfolded laundry piled a foot high on the queen-sized guestroom bed? Here’s a magic trick for you: I close the door, it disappears!  “Mom, when’s it gonna be dinnertime?” I channel W.C. Fields: “Here’s some Goldfish and string cheese. Now go away kid, you bother me.” People ask me how I can stand for Mr. Unfocused to be holed up and writing so much. There’s no one who’s company I enjoy more than Mr. Unfocused’s, but why would I be fool enough to object? He writes, I get to feed my addiction. Click. Click. Click.

It started innocently enough. Mugglenet was my gateway drug, a site I discovered sometime after the release of the fifth Harry Potter book. Intense storyline speculations led, perhaps inevitably, to the discovery of HP fanfiction. Oh, how embarrassed I am to consider the amount of time spent reading the earnest yet hackneyed, generally ungrammatical and frequently incoherent meanderings of high school freshmen. But it was a drug and it did its job on my exhausted mind, dissassociating me from the price my body and soul were paying under the demands of a very intense preschooler and an infant who did not sleep for more than 3 hours at a stretch until he reached 18 months old. Click. Click. Click.

Some time ago, Mr. Unfocused, in a fit of political defiance, rebelled against his Liberal birthright by announcing he was heretofore a Libertarian. Sort of. And he would subscribe to Reason magazine. Well. The Unfocused household began to receive said magazine, and at just about the moment that I was ready to shoot myself rather than read one more abysmally-written James/Lily story, it ran an article about the World of Fanfiction. Wait, what’s this? There’s a World? Of Fanfiction? And the article specifically referenced the virtues of Jane Austen fanfiction, written primarily by adult women. The fact that it was Jane Austen-based implied a certain level of literacy. And, whoa, check this out—not being written by tenth graders it even has, ahem, shall we say, adult moments shared by Darcy and Elizabeth. Very literary, of course. Super bonus score! Clickclickclickclickclick!

But even the World of Jane Austen Fanfiction was insufficient to satisfy my needs. I ran out, you see. There are probably hundreds of stories, some thirty-plus chapters long, on a number of sites, and I have read, basically, everything that’s out there. Yes, there are still lovely people laboring away at new crazy scenarios, but writing takes time, and there are delays, and it’s just a chapter at a time. Click…..click…..click.

I needed something more. Something fresh and new. Maybe a blog or two? Or twenty, or thirty. Mr. Unfocused started blogging, and he ran across Spynotes, which was pretty instantly identifiable as the work of a friend of nearly twenty years. So I started following Harriet there, and she had, it seems, already collected a great many bloggers for her sidebar; she had vetted them as a convenience to me, I am sure. So I started checking them out. All were excellent, of course; smart, funny, wry, provocative—did I mention smart? I bookmarked away and got into the habit of having about ten different tabs opened in Firefox at any given time. I enjoyed them all. Click-click!

But I confess that there was one blog that I more than enjoyed. I became unreasonably attached to it. Its author became my hero, my ideal, all to which I aspire. She is, of course, the inimitable Poppy Buxom, author of The Opiate of the Masses.

I clicked to Poppy’s blog and inhaled it as with my previous internet obsessions. I dove into the archives, marveling at her wit as well as her coolness quotient. And, hey—she’s a singer! Probably a real one, I’m likely a dilettante in comparison, but still! And she’s a fabulously retro housewife, and I’m…a housewife! And she lives nearby! Well, I’m in the city, and she’s in one of the leafy suburbs, but still! And her husband’s an attorney at some big firm, and my husband’s an attorney at another big firm! And it looks like she has a fancy degree! Well, my degree is just a regular one from a fancy place, but still!

Then came the day I discovered we had actually been in attendance at the same event, when she blogged about Music of the Baroque‘s 2008 Benefit last June. I was a member of MOB’s administrative staff for many a year, but, having been away for some time, I had made the prodigal’s return for the event. So, that night? When I butted in on that conversation? I could have been talking to Poppy Buxom and I would not even have known it! OMG!! An almost-brush with internet celebrity! Thank goodness I was well dressed!

At any rate, Poppy has attained mythic status in my mind. Recently at the dinner table I was telling my husband how Poppy Buxom is just like me, only so much better; kindly, albeit misguidedly, my children defended me (“No She Is Not! You’re the Best Mommy Ever!”). Sweet, innocent, trusting children. They know not of Poppy Buxom and her fabulousness.

The reason all of this is the least bit relevant to my life at this moment? In this recent fit of forcing myself on the unsuspecting internet public I not only started a blog, I joined Facebook. The same day. Like an idiot. And I discovered how excessively diverting it is to follow my friends’ every status update. I was even accused of being a bad influence (“It’s a good thing my wife’s not on Facebook”) for promoting salty exchanges involving my potential employment as a phone sex worker and the prospect of finding naked juice suppliers (as opposed to Naked Juice suppliers). What fun!

But this was not enough for me. (Do you sense a theme?) I needed more, more, more! updates from others who could amuse me all the day long. And I wanted to update more often than would be wise for maintaining my FB friendships. It was Time to Twitter. So today I became a Twitterer. And, figuring that since she has, like, 250 people following her Tweets already I could slip easily under the radar, I decided to follow her feed. Click.

Then came the shocking development that still has me reeling. Poppy Buxom, THE Poppy Buxom, Poppy Hussein Buxom to me, added me to her feeds. Poppy has included me in her Twittering Community. I instantly thought, Oh My God, Poppy is following me. Quick! Say something witty! Uhhh…. “Thinking that I wish I hadn’t forgotten to start the pork roast in the slow cooker this morning…leftovers for dinner tonight.” Doh! What a dumb-ass thing to say! Not witty, not clever, just…mundane. Crap! Later, “Considering the long-term implications of feeding my children nothing but Goldfish crackers and Capri Suns.” OK, that’s a little better.

I guess this means I can formally de-lurk on her blog at this point. Why not just go crazy and put her on my blogroll while I’m at it? I mean, Christ, she’s gonna know whether or not I get the pork roast in the slow cooker tomorrow morning, so it seems reasonable to say that I could occasionally pretend to be one of the cool people she hangs with online and comment like it’s a perfectly natural thing to do.

She’s probably testing me out right now, waiting to see if I can measure up to her standards for what makes an amusing Twitterer. Well, I can tell you right now, that’s going to be tough to pull off. Poppy is a shining beacon of teh interwebs.

Now I know what pressure is.



  1. Beta Reader said,

    If Poppy does not fall madly and deeply in love with your fabulous-ness and wit, she deserves you not (a little yoda speak there).

  2. the Green-Eyed Siren said,

    You are the best Beta Reader ever.

  3. LSM said,

    Well, now you need to add a twitter link to your blog, so we can all follow you!

  4. the Green-Eyed Siren said,

    Because I will be making such an effort to Twitter fascinatingly.

  5. Harriet said,

    Blog, Facebook and Twitter all in one week? God help you!

  6. Unfocused Me said,

    She felt unpoopular, so she has popped out at the party.

    God help her? God help the rest of us!

  7. bb said,

    Also: it was you who once called duct tape the “universal healer” and poppy just loves duct tape, according to her profile.

  8. Poppy Buxom said,

    What can I say? This may very well be the single most fascinating blog entry I’ve ever read.

    But I’m beginning to get an idea of what it must feel like to be dooce.

    (Except for the tall, thin, angular, so-hip-it-hurts part.)

  9. blackbird said,

    Now you’ll need to meet her IRL –
    I’m here to tell you: SHE IS DIVINE!

  10. the Green-Eyed Siren said,

    Poppy Buxom commented on my blog! And she didn’t say, “Go away, crazy internet stalker chick!” Thank you, Poppy!

    Blackbird: I would LOVE to meet Poppy IRL. I know beyond doubt that she is divine. But I fear that she would be whispering as I approached: “Oh, crap, it’s that crazy internet stalker chick!”

  11. Hugh said,

    Wow, to be quoted in the same blog post as Poppy Buxom! :-)

  12. Hugh, how could I not? It was an outstanding quote.

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