Meet the MuPooles!

To explain the heading in our invitation a little... "MuPoole" is a combination of our last names, Muniak and Claypoole, and it serves as our affectionate nickname for each other. Early on in our relationship, Andrea started to call Mike, “Mu”, which he initially hated but soon couldn't live without. When we moved into our current house two years ago, we came up with MuPoole in thinking about what to call our place. It stuck.


How we met...

Andrea's version:

We were rockin' out to the Baltimore Afrobeat Society's version of Fela Kuti's music the night we met. I was deeply involved in a new bicycle collective at the time and telling my friend Stewart about an upcoming fundraiser for the project. He turns to Mike, who happened to be standing behind him, and says, “Tell this guy; he's into bikes!” Mike was indeed into bikes (and into me!), and started coming to collective meetings. The story later goes that the night we met, he thought something along the lines of, “Ohh! She likes my music, she's into bikes, AND she's cute!”

The fundraiser was right before Valentine's Day, and Mike spun all sorts of cheesy LP's at the event— Robert Goulet and the like. Afterwards, we hung out and jived off each other about neuroanatomy (I was taking an anatomy & physiology class at the time) as he showed me brain slides on his computer and played recordings of neurons firing (it blew my mind!). We later watched one of my movies on Ayurveda. He sat down right next to me on the couch, taking me by surprise. “Wait a minute... I thought we were just hanging out...Does he like me???” I'm generally pretty good at noticing these things... somehow to that point, I had missed the attraction signal despite our hang out time and his repeated efforts to get me out to events with mutual friends. Mike is subtle like that... apparently until he's not. In any case, our first real date ended up being at his house on V-Day, eating pizza and watching Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. That was our grand beginning.

Mike recently got a box of my old film developed as a present for our third anniversary. Among the images were pictures of the bike project fundraiser with Mike at the record player. In his own collection of photos, I also found a picture of me at the Fela show the first night we met. It's funny to look back on these images now that we've been living together for over two years, have three crazy children (cats that is—Misacke the fat cat, Tiberius the one-eared wonder, and Clementine, aka “Tiny” who recently showed up at our door), and have a greater, stronger connection than I ever thought was possible.


Mike's version:

What she said.

Well... mostly.... allow me to fill in some details of our courtship...

dee dancing to afrobeat December 3rd, 2005: Baltimore Afrobeat Society performs at the G-Spot. Everyone dances and gets sweaty for hours. I take pictures. On my way out at the end of the night Stewart Mostfosky pulls me aside and tells me to talk to this girl because I like bikes. This girl is wearing a dizzying black-n-white outfit that makes my eyes hurt. She tells me about a bike co-op she and some friends have been starting up. If I'd be interested in helping, they are having a meeting in two days. She's cute. I say I'll be there.

December 5th, 2005: Members of Velocipede Bike Project meet at City Cafe to discuss various topics such as fundraising and donations. Nine attendees, including four new people. I sit across the table from the girl who invited me, Andrea. I offer to help get some sort of web presence going for the organization. I continue to attend weekly meetings going forward. Enthusiasm all around.

December 29th, 2005: I am working a show at the Red Room, a live improvised-music venue that I co-organize. I had just returned from spending time with my family in Cleveland for the holidays. During my vacation, I was slaving away on a pet project which involved remixing Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite with Baltimore Club music, resulting in a well-received 25-min opus. I hand out CD-R's of the recording to friends at the show as a Christmas present. Andrea is there and gets one. I've titled it: "Crack Deez Nuts". Andrea tells me her nickname is "Dee". I plead coincidence.

January 23rd?, 2006: I may have the date wrong on this one, may have been another show a week earlier. Attending a show at the True Vine record store. Andrea is there as well. During the show I am perusing the vinyl offerings at the shop. Andrea is also browsing. This bodes well.

February 2nd, 2006: I've sent an e-mail to Andrea inviting her to a few events. Knowing that she is taking an Anatomy & Physiology course, I suggest we might visit the upcoming Body Worlds exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philly. She shows interest, but we need to find a date that works.

cache-flow at redroom: the trio February 11th, 2006: I play a special show at the Red Room: "Le Trois Cache-Courant Des Batteries Édition €1". Andrea is in attendance, and gets to witness me in my avant element. Later that night there is a massive snowstorm.

speakeasy poster designed by mike
mike djs the speakeasy
February 12th, 2006: Despite the large volume of snow covering the streets of an ill-prepared city, the "speakeasy" fundraiser for the Velocipede Bike Project is in full effect. It takes place at the residence of a few Velocipede members, including Andrea. Given its proximity to Valentine's Day, I designed a flyer to promote the event combining a heart and bike-gear (I further elaborated on this design to create the logo now used by the organization). To heighten the romantic atmosphere of the brunch, I DJ old records featuring classic crooners such as Sinatra and Robert Goulet. At some point, Andrea walked by and gave me a nice pat on the head. A good sign, I thought. I hang around afterwards to help clean up, and somehow we get to talking about neuroanatomy. I am in the midst of my first year of my Neuroscience PhD program, and currently taking a neuroanatomy course. I have access to high-resolution images of brain cells, and I eagerly show them to a fascinated Andrea. I also "wow" her by playing some sounds of actual neuron activity recorded in the lab.


Let's take a moment to tally up:

  1. Cute?   Check.
  2. Likes bikes?   Check.
  3. Digs weirdo music?   Check.
  4. Thinks neurons are cool?   Check.

Just making sure we're all on the same page...


February 13th, 2006: Another Velocipede meeting at her place. I hang out afterwards. We watch a movie about Ayurveda. She receives a foot massage.

February 14th, 2006: Talking via instant-messager, we decide to get together for pizza and watch Pee-Wee's Big Adventure on DVD. First date.

inside the heart of franklin institute April 15th, 2006: We go to Body Worlds at the Franklin Institute. It is also Easter weekend, and I meet her family for the first time. I am nicknamed: "boy".

first road trip: rocky mountains
first road trip: I-70 / utah
first road trip: dee's first time in california
more photos
May 30th - June 13th, 2006: As a prelude to spending my summer at a research lab in Portland, OR, we organize a road-trip around the great American west. The adventure starts in Denver where Dee meets up via airplane, and continues through the Rockies, Utah, Vegas, Death Valley, San Francisco, Route-1, Redwoods, and finally Portland. Spending two weeks with someone non-stop 24/7 tells you a lot about that person, and the ensuing relationship can either fall mightily or flourish and thrive. I'll leave the rest to you...