Kimmie David: Okay, so Lola is looking for the LiveJournal entry from the first day we met. And I ended up narrowing it down to July 2003 because while I was at work today I went back through archive.org and found that the first layout that I did for my website that had Lola in it started in July. So it’s kind of—it’s around there. It’s definitely 2003. Well there’s my icon.
Lola Pellegrino: Yeah, here we go. Um…I—
David: I’m talking about sporks…
David: I was like 17.
Pellegrino: Okay. And when you’re 17 you like to joke about sporks, monkeys, cheese—not you personally, everybody. Like, so okay. In my entry I write, “Imagine if there were sporks that somehow incorporated a knife-like blade for intense cutting power. Really, imagine. LiveJournal, what do you say?”
David: Scroll down.
David: Go on, go on. Keep going, keep going, keep going. I’m pink and—there I am.
Pellegrino: Okay. Here we go.
David: That’s me.
Interviewer: Is that a comment you left on the spork entry?
David: Yeah. [both laugh] And it says, “Well, if the spork-knife market’s been taken make colored sporks. Really dumb people fall for anything plastic and neon-colored.” Still true.
Pellegrino: Twenty-eight comments on the spork entry.
I did good.
Okay, so let’s see the next one. Had we already met at that point? Okay, and this is me talking about my zine. And h—
David: I got your zine. You gave me your zine the first day that we met. I took the train up to Columbia to find you sitting in the grass and then you gave me your zine. And your zine didn’t have a title.
David: It had a cover of photocopied candy wrappers and a blank space to write the title in, and you individually titled every single copy that you gave to everybody.
Pellegrino: Do you remember the title I gave to you?
David: No but I can find it. ‘Cause it’s at my mom’s house for sure.
Pellegrino: Yeah. Oh my god, did I not… I can’t. There’s no possible way I did not note this incredibly important occasion.
David: I think you didn’t, because if you did I would’ve shit my pants. Like, I still have an amazing Internet crush on Lola.
David: She’s like totally Internet crushable so hard. And…um…totally too cool for me.
Pellegrino: No. But not too cool for you. This is what I was— I’ve been thinking about this all day. And I think the thing that I had been thinking about the most as what I miss of the Internet was, when you were young there was so much like stranger danger on the Internet, and anybody could be anybody…
Pellegrino: Right. So like on the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog? But the fact is that all I would end up doing is meeting like other super awkward 13 year-olds from New York? Like my parents were freaking out, but there was really no reason to. Like who else would I meet, popular kids? No.
Interviewer: Right, who else spends all their time on the Internet.
Pellegrino: I saw something on Tumblr recently where it’s like a fake dialogue and the first person says, “Oh, I love the Internet!”
And the second person goes, “Oh me too.”
And then the first person goes again, “No, you don’t understand.” That’s the way it rolls, still.
But yeah, I met you. I think you were the first person I ever met off of the Internet.
Pellegrino: Straight up cold.
David: That’s quite…an accomplishment. I feel so flattered.
Pellegrino: You should be flattered.
David: Um… I don’t think you’re the first person I met off the Internet. But, I think you were the first person not from Queens that I met off the Internet. Which is a big distinction ’cause Lola did not live in the five boroughs.
Pellegrino: No, I lived on the upper upper upper, upper west west west side of Westchester county, which is north of the city. But I was in town because I was taking writing classes at Columbia for the summer in between my junior and senior year to help strengthen my resume for college.
David: Yeah. In which she wrote an application about circus peanuts. I mean an essay about circus peanuts for your application at Wesleyan.
David: And they accepted you.
Pellegrino: And they accepted me—
David: But you livejournaled about it. And it was the most amazing livejournal entry ever, and I was like, “How can I ever get into college if this is what I’m up against?”
Pellegrino: Oh my god, I republished that on Rookie recently.
David: [laughing] That’s amazing.
Pellegrino: Do you want me to read it a little bit?
Interviewer: The circus peanuts entry? This is like what set you on your path to success.
Pellegrino: Yeah, this is actually… And actually it was ripped off wholesale by another livejournal. Yeah. She got in trouble. I had like three or four people copy my livejournal but like change the content so it more closely aligned with them. It was weird—and then we would all pile on.
David: You’re Internet famous, dude.
Pellegrino: [whispered] That is so weird.
David: Everybody fucking loved Lola on LiveJournal. Lola… Okay, so do you want to talk about the face? Before we talk about circus peanuts?
Pellegrino: Okay, so the face is something that I drew because my friend was asking like about how to figure out whether or not you wanted to date a person, whether they were worth dating? And I was like oh, that’s easy. And so I took out a piece of notebook paper and I drew two smiley faces. One with filled-in eyes, and one with like empty circle eyes. And I wrote “soul” and “no soul,” and the no-soul face was my icon. [indaudible phrase]
David: So…the thing is like the no-soul face has been Lola’s LiveJournal icon for like…
Pellegrino: Ten years.
David: Over ten years. Like it’s synonymous with Lola. And…you had pins printed up.
Pellegrino: Yeah, I made pins.
David: So, in this photo of Lola that made it into my fifteenth web site layout— Everybody numbered their web site layouts, right?
Interviewer: [whispered] I remember that.
David: But the no-soul face is in that picture.
David: So no-soul face kind of just made it around the Internet.
Pellegrino: Yeah… I remember the first time I ran into somebody wearing one of my pins who I’d never met, on the street, and they said—it was near ABC No Rio and they told me that they had— Or it was like on the way to a show, it was a little punk kid. And I said, “Where’d you get that!” Except I didn’t say it like that, I probably said it in a nice way.
And he was like, “I found it on the ground at C‑Squat and I thought it was cool!”
I was like [claps three times]
Interviewer: So fucking punk rock.
Pellegrino: So fucking punk. But that’s like—I don’t know, that was like the currency. That’s how you met people. Just…anybody. All the punks.
David: I think I mitigated the stranger danger stuff with my parents by becoming pen pals with people? Like somehow that was more acceptable that I was communicating with them through paper? So…
Interviewer: Like this person can’t be nuts, they made me a pin.
David: Right. They made a pin, I wrote them a letter, you know like… It’s totally…that’s how I did it. And I’m still writing letters to everybody.
Pellegrino: That isn’t—
David: Dude I’m the first comment on your circus peanuts entry. [laughter]
Interviewer: Okay. Alright. I want to hear this.
Pellegrino: I’ll read it a little bit. Alright, I was allowed to choose my own topic, for Wesleyan University early action application. Okay, this is 2003.
Interviewer: Do you have a mood entry for this?
Pellegrino: Um, my mood— No, but I also had a convention. All my titles started with “In Which” So this is “In Which I Wrote This As My College Essay.” Ahem.
Can I tell you about circus peanuts? It only takes a moment, and it’ll change your life. Circus peanuts are the living paradox that sells for less than a dollar. They’re about an inch and a half long, orange like an orange fruit, shaped like a peanut fruit, and taste like something not quite like anything else you’ve ever had before. Certainly not citrus, almost banana. A cloying alien taste, like metal. Most people hate circus peanuts, unable to stomach the pillowy texture that fades to total sugar granulation. If one is eating a circus peanut and a friend asks to try, it is almost not worth it to share. Inevitably, the friend will spit it out with a comment towards one’s unnatural tolerance for sugar. You will also be out one of your peanuts. They come in packs in twelves.
And then I write a bunch of other stuff… Mmm…
They’re not peanuts nor have they ever existed at any circus. They will never go home. Go to CVS. Rush, rush to the circus peanuts. Grasp the package in your hands. Hold their soft, gelatinous vessels in your palm and contemplate the abyss. I am also Puerto Rican.
And then Kimmie says…
Lovely lovely assessment of circus peanuts. I hereby grant you admission to any college in the world, including Wesleyan. I am also Filipino.
Pellegrino: Oh, that’s so fun.
Interviewer: That’s so cute.
David: [indistinct] you really fond of that one.
Interviewer: Did you have web sites off LiveJournal, too?
Pellegrino: Yeah. [overlapping]
David: Yeah. I actually contemplated getting a LiveJournal—or debated getting a LiveJournal. Because I had my own domain, I had my own blog.
Pellegrino: Kimmie, what was that?
David: Um, after my—
Interviewer: Wait a minute, you were Perfect Prose?
David: Yeah. Did you know me?
Interviewer: I don’t— No, I knew of Perfect Prose through like pretty.com and like—
David: Oh my God.
Interviewer: —or maybe it was pretty.org. But there were like…I don’t know, but there was like a constellation and the name’s ringing a bell. Anyway.
David: Mm hm. So that was me. And I started that before I guess LiveJournal started getting really big? And so I kind of didn’t want to have a LiveJournal, ’cause it was like fuck that, guys. Visit my web site. It’s way cooler. But aggregation is powerful.
Pellegrino: Aggregation is very powerful. And also LiveJournal had like a good… Like, you had your friends list, and you could just read your friends list. And then people would comment back and forth, and—I don’t know, there was like an ability— Like, on Tumblr now you can’t really comment back and forth like you could otherwise, because it’s mo— Like, you have to post in on your own blog or it’s like not generated by yourself and it’s not made easy. So it’s harder to build that feeling that you’re like talking to a certain amount of people. Like, you’re talking to your friends.
David: Yeah, I think the Tumblr thing definitely pulls it out of like a circle. Because I think the thing with LiveJournal that I loved was you’d visit enough profiles and you’d start seeing the same names, and…you’d just feel like I want to be friends with that person because they’re friends with my other friends. But it’s not like LinkedIn where it would be like “You are two connections away from this person,” you know. You just had to do the homework, and it was…
Pellegrino: There was a lot of homework. I remember with you I was like sitting down and obviously we couldn’t list our hometowns. But I saw that you lived in New York and I started reading for context clues? And I knew that you posted on…was it leopard print? What was like the Long Island hardcore board that also had like cute girls on it?
David: Oh, there were so many of them. [laughter]
Pellegrino: But I was like okay, so she posts on this board that is on like a rando domain that my friend—like, other people from Long Island. So it’s like like Justine Kelly-Fierro.
David: Who I don’t think I know.
Pellegrino: Okay, then fuck it. Redacted.
And then I was like okay, so she has to be like probably New York-related. And then she’s still in high school. And I figured out you were still in high school because you were talking about getting your license. And then I like put all these other facts together. And then like there was like the inevitable sizing up of me against you, but like what bands were you into, like where did you…what did you like to wear, or like what were your friends like, did you have a boyfriend…? But it wasn’t like a malicious sizing up, I was just like trying to figure out like what normal was? Or like, what other people were doing in different…who were like me…or like what I could be doing. And then I friended you.
David: Well I don’t know if you remember how we… How I found you…
Pellegrino: Uh uh.
David: …was through—
Pellegrino: There was a mutual finding of each other which was really weird.
David: So I found Lola through Laundro, which is laundromatic.net, which was eBay for teenage girls? Because you had to be 18 or over to sell stuff on eBay. And so there was this girl named Randi, who I don’t know where she lived. But she was like, “Randi who owned Laundro.” And so I found Laundro I don’t know how, and was really into it. Like I still have people that I’m really good friends with that I met through Laundro and like still talk to.
So Laundro had like you know, whatever, auction shit for teenage girls. But the message boards were like the big thing. Like, everybody loved the fucking Laundro message boards. So I got on there, and then that’s how I found Lola. And it might’ve been through like a pen pal ad or something—
Pellegrino: I think that was it.
David: There was pen pal thread. And I probably was like oh my god you’re from New York, and you’re punk rock, and you know… Like I mean, Laundro wasn’t like…necessarily cool kids. It was teenage girls—
Pellegrino: Laundro was not cool.
David: —from all over the place. So the cool people you know, the punk kids and like whatever, sought each other out on there.
Pellegrino: I remember it was you, me, and Hallie, who now is married—
David: Oh my God Hallie.
Pellegrino: —to the dude from Pentagram. The like 70s like, progenitor… Is that a word? The thing that came before all the other things metal band, fancy metal bands. So she still exists in the best way.
Interviewer: Does Laundro still exist?
Pellegrino: I don’t know. What happened to it. Do you remember?
David: I think everybody got older?…and then just kind of stopped using it…? And I Randi just gave it up. But like there will be…every…three to five years, somebody tries to get a reunion of sorts together? Like does a Facebook group or something.
Interviewer: I was just gonna say, there’s a Facebook invite and it’s like ehhh…
David: Yeah, and then you find everybody. But it’s kind of like Twitter in real life now, where I’m like…I’ll see somebody’s Facebook profile, and I won’t know who they were because I don’t know their Laundro name? You know? And like oh obviously you’re from there because we have mutual friends and they’re all from there, but I don’t know who you were until you tell me your username. So.
Pellegrino: Actually I think it might’ve been one of the threads—and this is something that no longer exists—where…it definitely no longer exists. Those threads where people would post all of the stores they had access to?
Pellegrino: So, it would be like for instance, me in Westchester would post like, “I can go to H&M, or Hot Topic, or…” And like, you had like serious weight, you were like an OG if you could name like a million different stores. Which you could because you lived in New York City.
David: Yes and no. We didn’t have a Hot Topic. We didn’t have a Hot Topic, except maybe I think there was one in Staten Island?, until I was in college. So, I think there was… Yeah but people would post those stores because then you would request somebody buy something for you. So this is like way before everything was able—you know, you could buy everything online. You would say, “Hey, I can get Bath & Body Works stuff,” and somebody who lived where there was no Bath & Body Works would then ask you to buy them Bath & Body Works stuff and like mail you an envelope full of cash.
Pellegrino: Right. The best.
David: And then you would send them body wash. [laughter]
Pellegrino: Yeah, it was like totally desperate teen girls. It was like, “I have a Delia store in the mall next to me. If you need anything from Delia’s, send me like a pink envelope with cash in it, and I’ll buy you a gray sweater with a cat on it.” Basically.
But I remember like reading— I think it was yours, and I was like oh this person lives close by.
Pellegrino: And is also cool. Stalk, stalk, stalk. And then it was like oh, she likes The Get Up Kids or whatever the hell it was.
Interviewer: Oh my god, she’s into Saves the Day.
David: Definitely Saves the Day.
Pellegrino: I like thinking about the ways that we existed online and also the venues for connecting with people? So it was like you could go to a show and meet up with somebody.
David: Mm hm.
Pellegrino: Like, that was big. Oh, I’m going to that show, so even if you didn’t want to go full like, let’s hang out one-on-one, you’d be like. “Oh we’re all going to that show next week. We’re gonna go see Less Than Jake. We’re going to go ABC No Rio Matinee and see my friend’s shitty band.”
David: Or Against Me.
Pellegrino: Or Against—
David: That was my first ABC show.
Interviewer: Nice. Wait, I think I was— Is it in August? Do you remember if it was hot out?
David: Yeah. Yeah—no. I was wearing a jacket.
Interviewer: Is it when they got their tires slashed afterwards?
David: I think so.
Interviewer: Yeah, I was there. But I didn’t slash their tires.
But I know who did. [laughter]
David: I went to that show with my friend Kimmie from Maine who I’d met on the Internet because she had a Rivers Cuomo layout on her web site and I was like, “We have the same name and you like Weezer, we’re friends now.” And so she came down from Maine and hung out, and she’s actually coming to New York next month.
Pellegrino: Okay so there’s that and then there was like, you could be pen pals with somebody.
Pellegrino: You could meet somebody at the mall. I did that once. [crosstalk] That was cool.
David: I did that a couple times.
Pellegrino: Yeah. I miss going to the mall.
David: But I think the things that I really liked about it was that it wasn’t centralized into like a few couple sites. So, you kind of start running into the same people in different places, but it wasn’t as easy as like…
Pellegrino: No way.
David: I’m on your Facebook and now I know everything about you? You know? You kinda had to sift through the bad poetry and like, look for clues, and you know.
Pellegrino: But yeah, what you brought up before, it was pretty.nu, right? What was it?
Interviewer: I can’t— No, it wasn’t at .nu. It was either .com or.org. But she was one of the people who would host people.
Interviewer: And that was a super big deal, like to host people.
David: Well there was envy.nu, I don’t know if you remember Envy.
Interviewer: I remember that.
David: I had an Envy site first.
Interviewer: But there was like, a crew… I don’t want to say crew because that implies that like, we were more formed than we were, but there was like a subculture of girls who had domain names—
David: Yeah. This was part of that.
Interviewer: You had your top-level domain name. You were…
Pellegrino: Perfect Prose.
David: I was perfectprose.net
Interviewer: There was…labia .org. Like L H A B I A. That was definitely one of them.
Pellegrino: I was excitable.org, and I was extremely excited to have a .org, because .com was too expensive. And then other people did like .net. And then you would go to your links page and there was all the other people that you had like cobbled together, for instance. Like [froot.net?] or [noham.net?]—
David: I love Sandra! Oh my God, Sandra made me a birthday card once. Because she used to make birthday cards for people and then scan them, and it was like the highest honor.
Pellegrino: It was the highest honor to have that scanned in. And she would do it like— It was one of those things where nobody had really fast Internet, but she scanned them in in like the highest resolution. So you would wait— Like, every month when she would put them up, you would wait for it to load and see if you were lucky enough to be one of her birthday— She was so goddamn crafty and she loved The Smashing Pumpkins.
David: And she had the best bleached hair.
Pellegrino: Yes, she did. And the best canoe.
David: Yes, I was just gonna talk about the canoe.
Pellegrino: Yeah. She had a canoe and she had an accordion before anybody else did, on both of those accounts.
David: Mm hm. She would play her accordion in the canoe, and take pictures and blog about it.
David: She was amazing.
Pellegrino: And then there’s Gala who now is a professional blogger. I forgot what her—
David: I didn’t know Gala back in the day.
Pellegrino: I did, and I still kinda do. And um…trying to think of the other ones. There were a lot of ’em. And it was really fun. And everybody’s site was tailored to them. Like some people put the emphasis on music that they liked. I was like a photography person, like I put up new photos every month. I think—
David: I just whined a lot.
Pellegrino: And some people just whined a lot, [crosstalk] put the emphasis on whining.
David: And I had a cam portal. I had a cam portal, and I whined a lot and. Um…
Pellegrino: You’re so cool.
David: I think the thing that I loved about it was we all fucking built our web sites by hand.
Pellegrino: Mm hm.
David: Like, that’s something that definitely exists far less these days for kids who are our age when we were doing this stuff. Like I taught myself how to build web sites, you know, when I was like 15. And my sister who is 12 taught herself how to build web sites and like, didn’t want to be hosted by me? This was like…some little sister rebellion. So she was 12 and I was 16 and I had my own domain. And either she didn’t want to be hosted by me, or I didn’t want to host my little sister because I was embarrassed? So she went and just found somebody else to host her and it was like…amazing. And she had like a Good Charlotte web site—she was really into good Charlotte when she was 12. You know, but it’s like, where else do you find girls building their own web sites because they want to. Like from scratch.
Pellegrino: From scratch.
David: Like, you know, I remember teaching myself how to install Greymatter as my blogging platform and you know like, figuring out what the hell everything meant. [crosstalk] And trying to learn CSS.
Pellegrino: I remember when… I never got to CSS.
David: I didn’t, either. I tried.
Pellegrino: I remember like if I was investigating a new girl who would possibly be my friend, I remember like, loading up their site and there was frames. And then I’d be like— If they were truly cool like you, I’d be like “Oh cool, they installed Greymatter themselves.” And if not I’m like “I know this is a LiveJournal in a frame. You can’t fool me.” [laughter]
Interviewer: There was a lotta bad iframes.
Pellegrino: Mm hm.
David: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Pellegrino: I remember “If you’re stuck in a frame, click on this link.” Thank God for those little angels of the Internet. They knew what was up.