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… 

Pellegrino: Okay—

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. 

Pellegrino: Okay.

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: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. 

Pellegrino: No.

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. 

Interviewer: Oh…

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…

David: Yep.

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. 

David: Really?

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.

Pellegrino: Yeah.

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. 

Pellegrino: Aw…

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… 

David: 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: So—

Pellegrino: Yeah.

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: per​fect​prose​.net.

Pellegrino: [gig­gles]

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 pret​ty​.com and like—

David: Oh my God.

Interviewer: —or maybe it was pret​ty​.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: Laundro?

David: Right. 

Pellegrino: There was a mutu­al find­ing of each oth­er which was real­ly weird. 

David: So I found Lola through Laundro, which is laun​dro​mat​ic​.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?

David: No.

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?

David: Yes!

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. 

David: Yeah. 

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. 

Pellegrino: Yeah.

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. 

David: Yeah.

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 pret​ty​.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. 

Pellegrino: Right.

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 per​fect​prose​.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: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.

Pellegrino: Yeah.

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: Nah…

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]

David: Amazing. 

Pellegrino: Yeah.

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.

Further Reference

Episode archive page