The Death of a Disco Dancer

What a day. And I wasn’t the one being interviewed by a major network’s morning show (name withheld at insistence of publisher’s lawyer).

I’ll let Heather talk about her day. God bless her for being “on” for 9 hours. But for me, the whole day was spent at work wondering if everything was ok (it was, but Heather was frazzled). Heather had unplugged the phone so Leta could sleep and she could be interviewed. I called the babysitter to see if she had heard from Heather and what the state of things were at home. Heather does not believe in having a cell phone, so I had to resort to a status report from the babysitter. God help us if there is a catastrophe. Yes, having a network TV crew in your house constitutes a catastrophe, but maybe not one in the biblical realm.

I arrived home from work early and was immediately in the hot seat. I had a mic wired up and was answering some intense questions. I don’t do TV so good. I tried to remember the advice that so many had given to Heather: Sit up straight. Talk in sound bites. Don’t swear. Don’t answer questions that make you uncomfortable. Anyone who has had more than 38 seconds of conversation with me knows that I don’t do “professional” well. I’m wordy and nervous talky and like to go off on tangents and use my hands. Plus, I look off into space as if I’m searching for just the right intellectual bullshit to spew. It’s embarassing.

Hopefully all of my stuff will end up on the editing room floor.

On top of the craziness of this day, Heather’s three-year old iBook decided, mid-interview and mid-over the shoulder camera shot, to die. The computer still works, but the video portion does not. Heather looked at me as though I had to pull every bit of tech ninja mastery to rescue her hard drive once the crew left or else I’d be missing one gonad. They were stoked because they’d get some shots on the auxilliary upstairs computer and thank God for that.

I’m copying the iBook’s hard drive as I write, via FireWire™. Pain. FYI, Heather has nearly 80,000 emails on her iBook. If she doesn’t reply to your email, BACK OFF. 80,000 people. 80k. On a three year old iBook.

I’m a little ripped on Pinot Noir (because after watching Sideways, somebody won’t buy Merlot any more) and wondering what our next iBook steps will be. I’m going to call Apple after this entry is published and see if we can’t qualify for the logic board swap program…

The TV crew were very nice, I have to say. Once we know if/when the piece will air, I’m sure there will be celebratory postings and more Pinot for all. And then we’ll feel ever so whorey and I’ll be super faggy about how I looked on camera and it will be an embarassment both to my psyche and to the the family. Chuck will lecture me about “owning” my maleness and not being a “pussy”. I’ll welcome this.

  • Allan

    Wow. Sounds like quite a day.

    And I bypass the Merlot since watching Sideways, too.

  • dr. dave

    You’d better hope your iBook doesn’t have a nick anywhere on it, or they could very well accuse you of dropping it. That’s what they did to me anyway, even though it was clearly demonstrating the problems described under the logic board exchange program. I have NOT had good iBook luck!

  • Jack

    I’ve had nothing but bad luck with Apple support. Most recently I got stuck waiting for 3 weeks on a logic board replacement for my powerbook. It took 1 week to figure out what was wrong, 2 weeks to get a logic board ordered and 1 hour to replace it. 😐

  • Margaret

    Go for the logic board swap. Mine did the same thing. It sucked, for all intents and purposes.

    There ain’t nothin’ wrong with Merlot. But then again, I haven’t seen Sideways.

  • Mike H

    My iBook suffered the same fate, but I had no problems getting the logic board replaced. And there were celebrations all round when I found out it would get done for free – I was imagining an insanely expensive fix after fearlessly sailing past my warranty period.

    Seen Sideways. Still on Merlot.

  • erat

    I love reading this blog as well as Heather’s, but please, don’t tell me you changed your drinking habits based on Sideways.

    Please… I’m begging you.

  • Jennifer in Kansas City

    Publisher. Network TV. Man, I’ve been smelling a Dooce book for a while, even though there’s been only oblique mentions. Good for both of you. Fingers crossed to see something more soon! Don’t forget the little people when you get all famous & rich and luxe life, but for god’s sake, if you let Leta start partying with Paris Hilton, I am so unbookmarking you. Besides. Chuck doesn’t fit in a purse.

  • shy me

    yeah, my iBook had to have the logic board replaced four times before Apple decided they’d give me a replacement iBook. They were pretty mean to me… or rather, the last guy I dealt with was. They really should just say OOOPS, we messed up, here, sorry!

  • Wade

    You own it, John; that dog’s got some sense.

    “If they order f#@$ing merlot, I AM LEAVING!”

  • RyanH

    The iBook logic board repair program is a cinch. I sent mine in and had it back in three days. Good as new. But it was still an old iBook. Still is, actually.

    The best part about the logic board repair program are the parties you can throw once you get your iBook back. I had a party when I got mine back. We all danced and drank in celebration of my iBook’s health. I bet there is some dancing and/or drinking in your future if you send your iBook away soon.

  • beautifulface

    it must be in the air

    sideways was on our dvd last night and tonight was a Sanford 2001 Pinot Noir night…mmmmm, tasty…

    no more merlot for me…but only because of the tannins

  • Jackie

    I read that Merlot sales have actually dropped precipitously since that movie came out.

    I’ll be excited to see you guys on TV, so let us know if you’ll be on so we can watch it!

  • Snozie

    TV? What Show? Where? CAble? Local? News? West Coast feed? Can I see u in the Midwest (aka Chicago)? Best 2 u three (plus Chuck).

  • leen

    our ibook’s logic board died 5 times. apple repaired it free every time and after the 5th they gave us a new (and also new model) ibook.

  • minxlj

    Awwwww whatever show it is I won’t be able to see it, being in the UK :-(
    They better put it online or I’ll sulk…

  • jules



  • Peter

    My iBook has had two of said boards replaced – nicely done in fact – thank God for Firewire mode at these times. What a fucking day, for both of you. How’s Chuck?

  • forrey

    Just wanted to chime in with my GOOD iBook/Logic Board/Apple Support Story: Yeah, so my iBook freaked out, the video died, we copied hard drive via Fire Wire (a long process, yes, but I was too busy hyperventilating at the prospect of being without a laptop- a compact stylish link to the INTERNET- to notice or care), called Apple Support, was told to take to Apple Store, within one week of the incident, I had my iBook back in working order.

  • Strizzle

    I got SO JACKED UP off wine while watching that movie. Like I drank a whole big bottle, not a regulat aize bottle.

    Which lead to a nice 4 am puking off the porch session. Good thing everyone ELSE was asleep. I was so drunk I swigged the last of the wine from the bottle…didn’t even know it….and put back the empty bottle.

    Good times, good times. The whole morning TV thing is EXCITING!!!!(sing songy voice)

  • be OH be

    It’s astounding that sales of a particular type of wine have dropped based on one line from a movie.
    And I don’t think that one outburst was ever justified at any other point in the film. So sheeple started avoiding merlot and they don’t even know why.

  • Foster

    The only reason that guy doesnt drink Merlot is b/c his ex-wife gave him a v v fine bottle of Merlot as an anniversary gift, so hes traumatized off of it. Merlot sales have dropped by 30% over a line that has absolutely nothing to do w/ the quality of the wine. Everyone thinks they are wine experts now, pfft.

  • melissaS

    can’t wait to see. I hope it’s the Today show.

    My logic board died FOUR TIMES. I hope it’s a one and done thing for your ‘baby’. The “good news” is that I got a new (better) ibook when it died the 4th time.

  • jm

    I’m voting for you guys to be interviewed on The Daily Show. Because Armstrong Family + Jon Stewart = awesome television moment.

  • blurb

    People. We still drink Merlot.

    Ahhhh, sarcasm. Breathe. Breath with me, people. Breathe like your life depends on it.

  • eleanor

    Um yeah, did you really need Sideways to turn you onto Pinot Noir and off of Merlot? I was so there, like, years ago…

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  • eleanor

    Alright, well, not “off of” Merlot (cause a big old purply Merlot is always good with steak) but Pinot Noir does rock for just sippin’.

  • Katie-be-bored-at-work

    Jon, sadly, most people in the blogosphere don’t get sarcasm. Let me breathe with you. Breathe in….

    Congrats to Heather for her newest interview! I can’t wait to hear when and where it will be airing.

    Chuck is such a cool dog. I’m glad to hear he can still own his maleness even with empty ball sacks. I think Chuck needs to be interviewed for morning tv.

  • honey bunny

    i agree with JM. the armstrongs on the daily show would be the best moment in TV history ever.

  • anna

    We had no problem getting the logic board replaced. BUT… WE LOST ALL OUR the grand scheme of things i guess it was a good trade off, but be prepared to say goodbye to iphoto.

  • indigo

    What a day! Can’t wait to see it when it airs. Say hello to Chuck!

  • Ninotchka

    ha ha ha I can’t wait to see it!

  • clarence

    This must be the month of iBook drama. My wifes lifes work including her dissertation is on her lil’ 800mhz and just yesterday it froze *twice*. Enter firewire drives for doing panic backups and doubles to disc! Keep your Kung-FU tight, J. Heather will continue to love you for it 😀

  • becaru

    Guess I’m likin my ibm stinkpad for once. Please do tell when Heather’s interview will air.

  • Mz. Smlph

    My iBook’s video portion conked out four times. The third time, Apple Care claimed to have done the logic board swap. After the fourth repair, it seems mostly ok, but I can’t tilt the screen too far back, or it goes entirely black. I’ve backed everything up on my iPod, so if I have to send it in and get a replacement, I won’t lose any of my files. Good luck!

  • Andrew

    We just went to a wine tasting at a resort with the sommelier – he was so f*cking sick of people basing wine snobbery on Sideways – it’s made him embarressed to admit he actually likes Pinot Noirs. Give me a Cabernet Sauvignon any day, or a nice heavy Spanish red (where the name comes from the region, not the grape). Tell Heather to try shiraz/syrahs instead – they have more balls than most Merlots foisted on the American public and were on their way to being the “fad” red before Sideways pushed Pinot Noir into the lead.

  • jesslin

    I’m looking forward to seeing the interview! Make sure you relax (haha, I know, I should be a comedian) after such a stressful day!

  • Sunshine

    Love you, love Heather, love Leta, love Chuck. (heh. Neighbor’s name is Lovechuck)

    Can’t wait to see y’all on the teeveethingy.

    When, oh when, will people realise that true wine snobbery is drinking whatever the hell you really LIKE, whether it’s a Cheval Blanc merlot, a Sutter Home white zin, or something aged in a plastic bucket, and REGARDLESS of what’s “in” right now….and that it doesn’t matter how much you coughed up for it, it’s how much you like it.

    (I don’t suck…do I?)

  • Laziza

    Granted, I’ve never met you, but I have a feeling you’re downplaying your coolness in the face of television. You and Heather both (who, again, I have never met) strike me as being capable of achieving maximum composure when the situation calls for it. I’m not saying it’s a way of life, of course, but I do suspect you’re capable! Either way, would love to see the interview whenever it’s on Mystery Network X.

  • Almost Lucid (Brad)

    I’m quite sure I would feel like a huge dork on TV. I hate my voice, and am sure I’d spit or drool on myself in nervousness.

    I hope you make the cut though. Surely they wont pick a clip where you look like a tool shed. :)

  • erat

    I’m with Andrew. Try the Syrahs and Shirazes (they aren’t really the same thing but they’re both good). I’ll add to the list Zinfandels. No, not the candy ass WHITE Zinfandel: RED Zinfandel. The Zins from California are incredible. I’ll recommend Cline (basically, anything from Cline is good) and Gallo of Sonoma (yes, GALLO) produce really good, affordable Zins.

    Also, you may want to try wines that aren’t so… American… WInes from Chile and Australia are fantastic — many are better than anything produced in America — and they’re not so popular that they’re outrageously priced like American wines. Try South African wines, too. There’s a whole world of wine besides what most wannabe wine enthusiasts in the US gravitate to (i.e. the new Pinot Noir drinkers, the Chardonnay drinkers, etc. There are some that are good — a winery outside of Portland makes some really good organic Pinot Noir, not that I can remember their name — but a shift in perception is healthy. Branch out, it’s good for you).

  • sue

    Whoo hoo! Can’t wait to see the show…

  • kristine

    hee hee. you really should post more when you’re ripped.
    I’m a tech geek and I love your tech writings, but you are SO FUNNY WHEN YOUR RIPPED!

    you said gonad…LOL!

  • Darcie

    Three-year old iBook here, too. (Though not with 80k emails!) I’ve had my logic board swapped out 3 times so far. Pain in the arse!

  • Norman Hollyn

    And after seeing APOCALYPSE NOW I stopped bombing small Vietnamese villages. And after seeing GODFATHER I stopped kissing the Don’s ring. And after seeing LORD OF THE RINGS, I stopped trying to steal Smeagol’s “precious.”

    Point is, anyone who stops drinking Merlot because a fictional character doesn’t like it, should re-examine drinking altogether!!

  • Dale Cruse

    To me, people who start drinking Pinot Noir after watching Sideways are the same types who make hand motions with the other hand in their pocket at Alanis Morrissette concerts.


    Merlot still has its place, as does Chardonnay.

  • Dale Cruse

    Try a nice steak with an Argentinian Malbec.

    Or some duck with Merlot.

  • devlyn

    wow – don’t know how you made it through Sideways. i attempted to watch it on an airplane from paris to detroit, and just couldn’t make it past 15 minutes. it may have been my airplane ADD persona, though. so, good on you for finishing it.

  • xta

    if the computer seems to be working fine, and you can see a *very faint* image of the desktop (though almost completely black), it’s likely just a bad display cable. there are long threads about the problem on the apple support boards.

    be wary of a logic board swap. you could be asking for more trouble, especially if the problem is just a bad cabling issue. (the white ibooks were designed poorly, and the display cable often gets worn in the spot where it feeds through the hinge.)

  • Courtney

    Dale’s got a point, drink what you like, and for me, it’s all about the Rioja (lovely litte Spanish red–could drink it ALL DAY).
    Plus, the fact that Dale and I share a wine “collection” helps…

  • Todd


    If you still have the DVD, you should really check-out the commentary. It’s just Giammati and Haden Church swatting back and forth for two hours. One of the more amusing things I’ve heard recently. It’s at least worth another bottle of Pinot.


  • Rebecca

    You should never let a movie, no matter how good (and Sideways is nothing else if not one of 2004’s best) influence your taste in wine. Let your palate decide. If you like it, drink it. I have to second Dale’s recommendation–Malbec is quite the tasty red.

  • Kahli

    Sideways was waaaay great. Way!

    If you need a pinot paella refresher, you know where to find us. I didn’t email because, well, yeah. Mini is assimilating to the household, his father is very tough on him though. Thanks for all the help in that arena. Hi, Armstrongs!

  • erat

    In the “Sideways is nothing else if not one of 2004’s best,” I’m afraid I’ll have to side with “nothing else.” I think Sideways would have made a fantastic short film but IMHO it was about an hour and half too long.

    (And I didn’t even watch it on a plane…)

    Just my opinion, of course.

    If it caused the Merlot and Chardonnay crowd to branch out then that’s great, but the folks who decide to go nuts over Pinot Noir just because of Sideways or who travel around trying to duplicate Miles’ and Whatshisface’s path are about on par with folks who dress like Klingons when they see Star Trek movies or white kids to try to act like inner city gangstas. It’s cute for a few minutes…

  • jj

    “Love. Peace. And harmony. Love, peace and harmony. Oh, it’s very nice, very nice, very nice…but maybe in the next world…”

    Can’t wait to see the show and you may need to put an “Amber Alert” on Chuck…me loves him.

    Lots of luck!
    A smudge of excrement from NYC

  • sweetney

    i kind of think being interviewed by the press is like entering a special circle of hell wherein every awkward moment of speech you’ve ever had descends from your memory and spews, tourettes-like, from your frothing mouth. i was recently interviewed by our baltimore citypaper, and i could not have come off sounding less articulate or more retarded. heather’s a trooper though, and seems to be equipt with some sort of anti-retardo speech shield.

    anyway, good for you both. you kids are, like, SUPAH-STARS!

  • sweetney

    ps: have yet to see Sideways, but i recommend both Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle and Garden State, the combination of which i’ve determinded is equivalent to a glimpse into my soul (not that you’d wanna glimpse my soul, but, uhh, that’s some good shit).

  • sweetney

    “determinded.” heh.

    [bangs head against wall]

  • Amy V.

    We still drink Merlot after watching Sideways; but we always refer to it as “f***ing Merlot”.

  • Dawners

    I second the motion of drinking the de-lish Rioja. And concur with the folks saying you should drink what you like. Don’t be sheeple!

  • Kate

    People: read before you post. Oh God, please read. Before. You. Post.

    In other news: MERLOT MERLOT MERLOT MERLOT oh and p.s. merlot

  • maxigumee

    Do you think that if and when the network place tells you when the show is going to air that you could post the date here? Just so I know when to freak out and beg somebody to tape it for me.

  • sweetney

    please note that if one insists on re-reading what one writes prior to publishing everyone misses out on the delight of happy accidents like “determinded.” or, in a different medium, this:


  • erat

    Funny proofreading story… (Okay, it’s funny to me.)

    The CEO of a tech company that I worked for a number of years ago had a “town hall” meeting in which he attempted to deride us for not keeping a positive attitude about the company’s future (the company ended up acquiring the engineering and sales assets from another tech company, then changed its business plan to “sue everyone who uses Linux.” Luckily I was out of there before that happened).

    On one of his PowerPoint slides he wanted to itemize how important it is to focus, but on the slide the word “focus” was spelled “fucus.” Imagine the fun we employees had with that.

    “Dude, you guys need to fucus more!”

    “You don’t fucus enough!”

    On and on… Ah, such fond memories.

    Anyway, I’m with sweetney: proofreading prevents happy accidents. Down with proofreading!

  • KTP

    Am I the only one who hated “Sideways?”

  • Jackie

    Just had to stick up for the people who drink more pinot after watching Sideways. I, being a young person, had never tried pinot noir. Sideways made me acknowledge its existence, I tried it, and I really loved it. I don’t think of it as trendy, nor do I care what *is* trendy. If a movie leads you to try something new, you’re not shallow simply because the movie was successful.

    OK sorry to get defensive on your blog :) I love both of your writing and photos, and hope to catch the interview.

  • erat

    I don’t think any of us have problems with people being turned on to Pinot Noir by Sideways. I think the problem we have is with people who drink Pinot Noir because one character in the movie liked it. Emulating characters in a movie is fandom at its most sincere but you have to admit it’s still very, very strange.

    If a movie gets people to discover new wines, fantastic. Just make sure you’re drinking the wines because you (the collective “you”) like them, not because a basket case in Sideways likes them. (You can do much better than Pinot Noir, by the way. Read some of the recommendations in the comments and branch out. Pinot Noir is actually kind of bland IMO).

  • blurb

    Is there a Pitchforkmedia for indie wine snobs?

  • erat

    You’re soaking in it… I declare this thread of comments to be the new for wine snobs.

    Um, yeah.

  • minxlj

    Hate Merlot. Hate Pinot. Hate wine in general, actually. Gimme a large bottle of Pernod instead :-)

    Hope you got your house back to normal after the invasion of the TV crew!

  • Tiffany

    The comments here are so refreshing. After a week of dealing with support for my iBook, I talked shit about Apple on my blog the other day and I think it made at least one reader cry. He started frantically pointing out the flaws in PCs. I never said I was going to buy a PC, all I said was that I was probably going to keep buying these crappy, overpriced computers even though they are so crappy and overpriced.

    I love my iBook. But it’s a dysfunctional, abusive relationship kind of love that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone else.

    Which is to say congratulations on all the television and the Leta walking and all the other general yay cool awesome yummy goodness. :-)

  • lemissa

    Seeing your world spliced and diced will be weird. Sometimes it’s better to never see the ” dj “.
    All this wine talk makes me want a PBR.

  • marsha

    my iBook did that at christmas. It was a 50 dollar board plus labor, cept I can do labor:)

    The logic board is for a different video problem I believe.

  • minxlj

    Jon – just to say I love Heather’s photo today, and I’m sorry to learn your father isn’t with you any more. It’s a nice tribute and a nice photo :)

  • Carli

    Crap. Now I have to Tivo that ADD crap-fest that is GMA. Thank God for fast forward. The Armstrongs are worth the five minutes a day it will take me to zoom through it looking for Chuck pooping on national tv. hehe, can’t wait.

  • Torrie

    Is there nothing internet people won’t get worked up about?

    Let’s have a frank discussion about capri pants.

  • http://NONE Athena

    Bbbbbbbut! Heather said the name of the show!

    PS your dog is magical. Much Chuck love, haha.

  • Howard

    OK, so I read half the comments and no one mentioned it so I’m going to. You need to call Apple and tell them that the iWhatever died ON CAMERA WITH GOOD MORNING AMERICA. You’ll have a new a brand new iWhatever the next day.

  • The Muff

    One can only imagine the strain of having MEDIA people in one’s home.
    I hope this comment doesnt “suck”.
    Oh and BTW, SOOOO glad to hear about the Corn Dog Stick finally making it’s way back into the world of the living. Jon, you are a very very brave man.

  • The Muff

    Oh, and if Pinot Noir isn’t doin’ it for you these days, all I’m going to say is…Salvia. And ONLY when the Avon WOrld Sales Leader is babysitting off site. Salvia. Best souvenir I brought back from Vegas.

  • bel

    Nothing wrong with merlot in a blend. One of my favourite wines is a cabernet merlot.

    I can’t believe I bothered posting this :)

  • oscar

    well id have to say that im with KTP about hating Sideways.
    I just happen to run across this site, comming from off course.. and i think i found that link on someones profile on myspace. Anyway, im glad to see im not the only one that feels like posting everything on a site, now its seems like its an older crowd (im 21).

  • Mrs. Paul

    Bel: I agree with YOU. I’m quite the wine snob, but I have my Nascar Vintage moments as well. Personally, don’t like merl or cab (even though I’m all about the dry reds), but a m/c BLEND, now that’s another story! Try Lost Horizons brand. I believe it’s either out of S. Africa or NZ. It’s reasonable as well.

    And I’m ashamed to admit, but we bought a bottle of Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot. It’s good for when you just want to catch a little buzz watching rentals. Another confession…Boone Farms. A must have for when you’re dipping your feet in a cool mountain stream on a hot summer day. AAhhhh….