Punkie's Frequently Asked Questions

"Why is that?" "How come this?" "What does that mean?" Well, here are a list of frequently asked questions I get from my mailbox. Please read this before you write to me, because I have form responses, and soon, they will be prefaced with, "As stated in the FAQ..."

Q: Why the name "Punkie"?
Not PunkieA: From "Punk Walrus," the main character in my book, "The Saga of Punk Walrus." I got the nickname back in my BBS days when I used the handle "Punk Walrus." A pal of mine from my chat room days, Liska, called me "Punkie" all the time, and it has been with me ever since. By the way, it's "Punkie," not "Punky," "Punkee," "Ponki," "Punkey," or even "Pukey." I'm not THAT picky about it, but just for the record. It's not short for or related in any way to "Punky Brewster," an early 1980's American sit-com. Years ago, a friend of mine doing numerology did some research on my names, and found that "Gregory" was a bad fit, "Greg" wasn't much better, "Grig" was somewhat better, and "Punkie" fit the bill. He suggested I go by Punkie in fandom, to bring good luck. So far, that's been right on the money.

Q: Isn't walrus kind of an insult? I mean, it's a fat, bloated mammal, right?
A: Tell you what, you go to Alaska and fight one hand-to-flipper. If you survive, feel free to ask me that question again.

Q: Okay, where did the name "Grig" come from?
Vacations on MarsA: I tell people it's a Swedish nickname for Gregory, because that's true, but there's more behind it. I got the name first from a roommate with an odd accent. She said certain words really strange (ask Liska, named by the same person), and my name became Grig. In fandom, this worked because at the time, "The Last Starfighter" had a main character named Grig as well. Later, I used this as my pen name for various fiction I would send in. Then I used it when I did retail sales because if I said, "It's Greg with an I," they would remember my name, and commission would be better assured to me. I still go by Grig at work, even my badge has Grig on it.

Q: So why such an elaborate web page?
A: I teach web design, as well as have a LOT of online friends who want to know what I am up to. This provides a central place for them to get my most current activities. It also gives them an anchor for some of my online essays. Also, I like tinkering with things, and it keeps me up to speed with the newest HTML and Javascript trends.

Q: So, are you really punk?
A: Depends on your definition. If you mean to I wear spiked leather, a blue mohawk, and 50 body piercings... no. Like to? Yes. But I'd also like to get a bank loan, and while I could rant about how unfair it would be that I would be judged on outer appearances in today's day and age... it still wouldn't help. Not only do I have a wife, kid, cats, dogs, fish, and a nasty computer habit to feed, but there's really a lot more to punk than that. Any spoiled yuppie can buy clothes and spraypaint their hair. I am punk in a lot of my attitudes, taste in music, and beliefs in freedom of expression. I hang around a lot of people who do dress the part, but for now, I have to pay the mortgage, support a family, so my desire to wear electric blue hair and 7 earrings on one ear will have to wait until I am independently wealthy. I stick with the simple black look for now, but still get at work, "Are you a ninja?" and "Where's the funeral?" I have been classified by a lot of people in the Punk/Goth community as "Perky Goth," a label I adore. I spent my time being depressed and filled with angst. I stopped complaining, and now I am doing. I still refuse to be labeled, boxed, cornered, and stereotyped, and I have great hatred for the stupid people on this planet who should know better, but never try.

Q: So are you Goth?
A: See the question about being punk above. I like to think of myself as "perky goth." You may not. :) Some people consider me a bit pessimistic, and I am trying to change that, but then I keep meeting stupid people, and the anger cycle starts all over again. I cannot wear whiteface, because I look dorky, and those of you who are also wearing whiteface and looking dorky (you Azrael Abyss's out there, I am talking to you), please stop. I married a Spooky Goth wannabe, though. Striped socks, Halloween fetish, and everything. I am so in love!

Q: I don't think your [sic] Punk/Goth! What do U think of that?
A: I consider myself punk, and so do a lot of people in the Washington DC Punk/Goth community. Back when we had one, at least. Whether you do or not is no business of mine. It's a free country, think what you like.

Q: What music inspires you?
A: Loud with heavy, rapid beats. I love the punk, techno, industrial, and some Emo. Prodigy is a good head slammer, Bjork is a fave, but my tastes vary. I also like a lot or Euro dance tracks and early 80's New Wave. Slower music that inspires me is Shakespeare's Sister, Dead Can Dance, and Hedningarna ("The Heathens", a Swedish techno-folk group). My albums and taste in music is eclectic, and I sport such artists as Danny Elfman, Barnes and Barnes, The B-52's, Dead or Alive, Stan Freeberg, and the Art of Noise. I get asked what kind of punk and goth I like, and while this is never quite a "genre" of music for me, I will say that I like Switchblade Symphony, The Sex Pistols, Green Jello(y), The Dead Milkmen, Rob Zombie, Type O Negative, Souixie and the Banshees, Dead Can Dance, Mantiza, Puke and the Rabid Dogs, The Ramones, Violet Serpent, Spit and Snot, The Sugarcubes, and others that I am sure no one remembers. I even like Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. Yeah, so what.

Q: What authors inspire you?
A: A lot of the hard-core SF, like Asimov, Bradbury, and McCaffery. I also like a lot of fantasy, especially humor-related like Aspirin, Gardner, and Adams. I also like a lot of "children's" authors, like Blume, Selden, Jansson, and Lindgren. But I also sport a lot of odd titles in my collections as well. Obviously, for those who have read my Punk Walrus Saga books, Lewis Carrol figures in there... just a tad... Online Blogs fascinate me. I love the Internet.

Q: What are your top ten movies?
A: Glad you asked. In no particular order:
  1. Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension
  2. Star Wars (whole series, although I don't take them seriously)
  3. Hairspray
  4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  5. Tonani no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)
  6. Labyrinth
  7. Lilo and Stitch
  8. Dune (Alan Smithee director's cut)
  9. Dark Crystal
  10. Oh My Goddess (the series and movie)
There are a lot lot more, but you only asked for ten. I like a lot of good, offbeat sci-fi films; films that have kind of a moral message or don't take themselves seriously. I like "Strange Grrl Flicks" like Ghost World and Fucking Åmål (released to the US as "Show Me Love"). "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain," called simply "Amélie" in the US release spoke deeply to me.

Q: Do you have any tattoos?
A: Well, Dr. Frankenfurter, I-- HEY! Actually, not really. I do plan on getting one, but the major factor in this is "What can I get that I will be assured to like the rest of my life?" I mean, in 1985, I loved D&D, but I would be embarrassed to have "Mordenkainen" on my arm now. Not that I ever *would have* Mordenkainen, or Eleminster, or Melf on my arm for that matter, but you get the idea.

Q: Uh, Rocky Horror?
Let there be lips!A: My first Rocky Horror movie experience was in 1982 (or something) when a bunch of DQ's (Drama Queers, not Drag Queens... although some of them... never mind) and I went out on Friday nights in Georgetown down in Washington DC. I was all of 13 or 14. It scared me. Then at Disclave 85, I saw a viewing with a more subdued audience and I was hooked. When I joined Prune Bran in 1989, a lot of them were Rocky Cast Members from Greenbelt. I learned a lot from them, and gained a life-long friend, Brad (who has played every part, literally, even Janet). Brad and I have been hosting Rocky Horror for science fiction conventions for over five years. I have never been in a "cast" and only once played the Narrator (and very badly, I might add). Mostly what Brad and I do is do some of the "stage props" (do things to the screen), read out the rules, protect the AV equipment, and introduce Rocky to those who have no idea what they are about to experience. Don't dream it, be it.

Q: Didn't you used to be a heavy gamer?
A: Yes, but I burned out. Heavily. In 1988, I got so sick of the gamers and the gaming community, that I finally lost patience and now I can't even play Monopoly unless at gunpoint. I got sick of the politics, the cost, the materialistic greed, and the complete lack of focus that gaming is for fun, not a dominant lifestyle above all else. I think some of my gaming years will forever be remembered as some of the best times I have had as a teen, but when I became an adult, it got ugly. I have been recovering though, thanks to some friends who introduced me to a game called "Lunch Money," which is truly sinister and hilarious. I have half considered giving the rusty DM engine another crank, but that will have to wait until I actually have time free to actually have games.

Q: What's with you and Legos anyway?
A: I like them. I like building things. This web page has been my Lego "fix" for a while, but now that I have moved and have a den where I can have Legos around, I plan on building major things in the upcoming years. I have enough Legos now to fill a 55-gallon drum almost to the top.

Q: So how come I never see your works in major books stores?
A: My publisher of my first book was also the publisher of Gateways magazine, and due to some internal disputes between the chief editor and the owner, they went out of the publishing business. It never made it past local comic book stores and conventions. This may soon be changed with my sequel, where I will have a different publisher. I am rather picky about the type of publishers I select. Most of them want copyrights to your work, lock, stock, and barrel. They buy it all, give you about 2%, and your promotion and hard work may be passed over because some girl in charge of getting your work may have a bad case of gas, and decide to skip on promoting you. And you can't do anything with your work anymore, because now it is copyright so-and-so, which isn't you. Some authors do manage to get themselves out of such BS, and I am trying to be one of them. Sorry TSR, but no.

Q: Who or what is "Punkadyne Labs?"Logo
A: It is my company, started in a decaying townhouse in Reston in 1992. Now it manages creative solutions for publishing, web design, data management, education, and physical systems. The full name is Punkadyne Laboratories and Archives. I have done work for major ISP's, small web sites, and a lot of in-betweens.

Q: What relationship do you have with FanTek?
A: I have been a friend of FanTek's since shortly after I started in fandom in 1984. I am not an officer or have a designated position (they don't have any), but I am one of their oldest members, and have done things from programming to vacuuming for them. Whatever they need. Bruce and Cheryl are part of my extended fandom family, and I love them like brother and sister. I am also the one who does the Martian cartoons in their margins and on sale in their Art Show. I started out with them as a guest artist at EveCon 4, then security, then registration, then programming, then emcee and judge for their Costume Call, where I sit now. I have created and hosted panels for them since EveCon 4 as well. I also help do their web site, and volunteer for a lot of small, oddball things. My wife Christine ran their art show for almost seven years.

Q: What relationship do you have with Katsucon?
A: I joined them just after Katsucon 3. Everyone had kept saying, "Oh, it's the best con, you have to go!" I met the (then) president, Mark Mandolia at a Castlecon art show, and he was hard up for staff. My brain fell out and I said, "Hey, I know how to do registration." I then ended up running their registration for three years. After Katsucon 6, I left that job to go into Pre-reg (a lot less stressful) and publicity. I managed their web site as well for a number of years. Christine is also their "con mom," making sure staff is fed and rested. She is far more popular with them then I ever will be. :) I ran their pre-reg for a few more years, but now run their Opening Ceremonies, as well as their Cosplay Halftime show. I am also the Cosplay Technical Merit Judge.

Q: How long have you been in fandom?
A: Officially, since Balticon 18 (1984?). My first con where I stayed the whole con was EveCon 2. Fandom has changed a lot for me since then. They are like family to me now, and a great place to see all my friends.

Q: How long have you been on the Internet?
A: Since 1991, when I worked on the University of Maryland's Bessel machine. Yes, the one with the Bessel MUD. People may recall me as walrus@bessel.umd.edu ("walrus at bessel dot um-dee-doo"). I could go on about the glory days of gopher and Usenet before the Internet was popular, but that would be so geekishly boring.

Q: How about your real family?
A: Christine, my lovely partner-in-crime with my life, has managed to withstand marriage to me since the summer of 1989. My son Christopher (a.k.a. "CR") has been with us since the summer of 1990. No new "Griglets" (thank you, Julie Lim, for that term) for right now. We were planning to adopt, but after many years of bureaucratic red tape, social worker racism, flaky parents, and heartbreaking ends (one of which was an abortion), we gave up. We were a good age when we started, but now we're too old to have new kids.

Q: What is the fastest land animal?
A: The Cheetah. Next?

Q: Weren't you with Prune Bran?
A: I was! I was one the main writers and a poor actor for the Virginia Beach based comedy group, "And the Prune Bran Players..." from 1989 until their break up in 1993. Skits I wrote for them included, "The Great Brag-off" "The Great White Party Hunters," "God version 2.0," "Security Blanket," and dozens of skits involving Star Trek, Rod Serling, and Zombies. I made lasting friends and have great memories about working with them.

Q: Should I fake my orgasms?
A: Yes. Next?

Q: Why would anyone ask if about land animals or fake orgasms?
A: It's a joke from the movie "Airplane II: The Sequel," where people go to the Airport information counter with bizarre questions. I am not kidding, and don't call me Shirley.

Q: What was that deal with "The BBS-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named?" Why won't you name it?Gee, sucks to be me, don't it?
A: Long story short: I was with them for many years, starting in 1991. Then a change of ownership occurred. Some e-mail of the newer members decided they didn't like me, sent me annoying and immature letters from false addresses (some spoofing friend's addresses), and then played head games and blame-o-thons with me and other members. I wouldn't have cared so much, but they became unsatisfied with my apathy, and so they started sending letters to my online friends as well, who were not even remotely related to "The BBS-That-shall-not-be-named." It kept escalating and escalating, with no end in sight. In the end, the Sysop said, "Enough," they got what they wanted, I left. Yes, I could have done some massive retaliation (and a thanks but no thanks to those who offered), but I didn't care enough anymore. But now when anyone flames them, they think it's me, and the whole things starts all over again. I guess my hard lesson was that even adults who have real lives and jobs can be immature weenies, too. I have removed all references to them, because the sysop was complaining about how "mean I said everyone supposedly was." Okay, fair enough.

Q: I have a story/poem I'd like you to critique, where should I send it?
A: To a publisher. Honestly, I really hate reviewing other people's work. There's a very good reason for this, and it's not just time, and it definitely not some snobbery on my part. It's the truth that I DON'T FEEL QUALIFIED TO JUDGE OTHER WRITERS. A lot of why I like a work and I don't is based on current mood, personal taste, and a lot of other factors that would be unfair to you, the writer. There is a LOT of crap out there that gets published and ends up on best seller lists. Who am I to prevent you from getting rich? Maybe I'll like something that others think is total crap. I have been rejected many, many, many times by publishers. Ted Geisel was rejected a record 47 times before his book, "Cat in the Hat" was accepted by a publisher, and look how good Dr. Suess ended up doing!

Q: What's the joke about "wicker rattan chairs?"
A: Based on a story of how I nearly broke my neck. Very funny, you should read it.

Q: I love your writings. Where can I see more?
A: I post a lot on several boards, mostly technical ones. After a few issues where either my friends or I got involved in political firestorms and psychodramas, I have decided to stay away from "online communities." A new book is in the works, which should be finished late 2004.

Q: How come you don't mention your wife and kids much in your blog?
A: Privacy reasons. And a little bit of security. I love them both, but if some asshat starts stalking me, I don't want it to affect my wife and kids. I am proud of my son CR and love my wife Christine very much, though. And if I just keep gushing about them, it will make my blog all mushy and junk.

Q: You mention a lot of "friends" in your blog. Are they real? Where do you find them?
A: Yes, but keep in mind some facts about them my be altered to avoid them getting hurt for the same reason I don't mention my wife and son much. Some give me permission to write about them. Some give me permission if I don't use their name or mention incriminating facts. Some don't give me permission, then yell at me, and I go back and remove it. It seems I have a lot of friends, and I do. I am very blessed. I may not have a lot of money, but I have some of the best friends in the world. All of them are oddballs in their own way, but then again, what's normal? I have made and kept many friends in the almost 20 years I have been in fandom, and another 15 with BBSs and the Internet. Last count I had over 60. I never lie in my blog (for the simple reason so many people read it, I could never get away with it), but some entries have hidden messages to specific people, so they'll seem like, "Why on Earth is Punkie ranting about THAT?" The blog is not only my journal of day-to-day events for myself and others, but essays in themselves about my journey into the 21st century.

Q: OMG! What kind of dog is Widget? Ahfu? Are they grown? How do they get along with the cats?
A: Yes, they are grown dogs. Ahfu is a Pekingese, an ancient breed (3500+ years back) from China. He was born in 1999, and currently weighs 19 pounds. Widget is a Pomeranian, descended from the sled dogs of Iceland and Lapland, and bred down for lap size. He was born in 2002, and weighs a mere 4 1/2 pounds. He's mostly fluff, and does tend to blow over like a tumbleweed in strong winds. They get along okay with our four cats, although they do chase them from time to time. It's kind of an uneasy standoff for now, although Cosmo sometimes plays with them. Widget also plays with Thisby on a rare day (they chase each other in fun), we think because they bond on some sort of "fluffy, poofy pet" level.

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