Books and Porn

Mark and I went to the annual Shepherd’s Center Used Book Sale yesterday, and found lots of great stuff. In addition to picking up about thirty books, I also grabbed a stack of old VHS tapes some guy had recorded from MTV in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I’m always on the lookout for that kind of thing.

I got home and started looking through them. There were a good batch of “120 Minutes” and “Headbangers’ Balls” shows included in the collection, along with some general stuff. I popped in the one marked “Guns ‘n’ Roses”, and was immediately transported back almost twenty years. It was not, however, due to Axl Rose’s onscreen presence, but to that of another long-haired guy, one who was actively buggering some other guy in a scene from a porn video I’d owned around 1990. As it turned out, the whole tape was full of random homoporn.

Somehow, I had the tremendouos urge to meet this Winston-Salem guy, who, in 1991, labelled his porn stash “Guns ‘n’ Roses”. At any rate, I briefly pondered going back over to the sale and seeing whet other mislabeled goodies I could find.

Cannibalistic Pigs

Is it just me, or is there something unspeakably ghoulish about the concept of Piggly Wiggly selling whole pigs for $1.19 per pound? And is it perhaps even more ghoulish that their cartoon spokespig looks so damned excited about it?

More pictures from our day trip to Fayetteville (a/k/a “The Armpit of North Carolina”) coming soon, I hope.


What if they built an airline, and you were only allowed to go to and from Columbus, Ohio on it?

My local airport is one of those served by the new Skybus Airlines. Their fares are great, with every flight having a certain number of seats as low as ten bucks. There’s only one problem: if you want to fly someplace other than Columbus, you still not only have to go through there, but you also have to spend the night. That’s because all flights into Columbus (from all destinations, as far as I can tell) are in the afternoon, while all flights out are in the morning.

Am I just missing something, or is this complete madness? Is there really that much demand for an airline that basically only serves this one midwest city? And, in particular, are there really that many people itching to fly there from Greensboro of all places?

Columbus is a nice place and all, but jeez…

Undercover Angel

I’ve heard Undercover Angel two different times on two different radio stations in the past five days, and this fact frightnes me just a little. I’m even more frightened, though, by the rest of the top five songs from the week of 9 July 1977, as listed on that page to which I just linked. It was a very bad week in music history.

I guess America was just too busy celebrating the recent arrival of one of its newest citizens. Which is as good a way as any to leave hints about his upcoming birthday, I guess.

Stupid IRS

Ah, the IRS. You know how those letters from them strike fear into your heart when they arrive? Well, I got one today, requesting payment for my 2006 taxes. Funny thing is, I’d sent that payment early in April, and it had already cleared the bank and everything. Unfortunately, I was having trouble logging into our bank account, so I had to call Mark at work in San Francisco and get him to fax me a copy of the canceled check.

After waiting on hold with the IRS for about half an hour (during which time I managed both to microwave and eat my dinner), I finally spoke with a very nice and competent lady in Memphis, who sounded a little like Fran Drescher and who manged to find my payment, which had been posted to someone else’s account. Per “Fran”, the guy’s name and social security number weren’t even close to mine.

It started me thinking and I remembered something similar happening to me about ten years ago. The issue then was that the IRS had apparently established two different accounts for me using the same social security number and that my checks were randomly being applied to one or the other, causing lots of laughs for me and the poor rep who had to deal with it.

Anyhow, it’s all fixed now. But somehow I can’t help feeling I’ll probably get at least one more threatening letter before it’s all over.

The Evolution of a Website

Eleven-plus years into this whole website business, I think I now have quite sufficient perspective to see how my approach to it (and your reaction to my approach) has evolved over the years.

A few weeks back, a longtime reader emailed me about something else and added as an aside how much he appreciated the fact that I’d been a “thoughtful” and “reflective” sort and that this site had apparently provided him with something rather useful over the years. It’s not the sort of message I get very often these days, and I appreciated it. In fact, as I’ll discuss later, I think my site is actually much less reflective now, at least on a personal level, and it was nice to hear from someone who’d stuck around since the days when it was more so.

It also reminded me, though, that I rarely get any sort of feedback about the site nowadays. I’m not sure if that’s because my traffic is way down from the “peak” years, or because people no longer use email the way they used to (and because I continue to use straight HTML here with no PHP-based comments option), or maybe because I got so bad about responding to comments over the years. Then again, it could be that I’m just not writing anything of any particular interest anymore. Although it’s something I think about from time to time, it’s not really a big concern for me. As I’ve often said, the website is primarily for my own amusement; if someone else enjoys it too, then so much the better.

Anyone with a website who pretends not to care at all about being read or noticed, though, is either lying or deluding himself. If we didn’t care about being seen, we’d just write in a personal journal and call it a day, wouldn’t we? In fact, I think I’m a much better writer now than I was ten years ago. I edit myself more stringently and am more careful not to repeat the same old ideas and beat the same old dead horses; that’s part of why I post much less often than I used to. I’ve composed a few essays in the past year or two that I thought were pretty damned good — much better than the stuff I wrote in the early days of the site — but none of them generated any discussion to speak of. And yeah, that bothered me a little.

Over the years, I’ve used the site as a means of making friends — including my best friend, the one that I’m spending my life with — as well as for self-expression. And yes, I maybe felt a little slighted when a few recent milestones passed without comment. I put a lot of effort into a tenth anniversary retrospective in 2006 that almost no one mentioned. A few months later, I made another very big (and less happy) announcement, although I minimized and even buried it somewhat, and I heard very little about that either. But I understand; I haven’t been very aggressive about reacting to other people’s milestones, and I rarely write to other people about their sites at all these days either.

The site is less about my life than it used to be. There are a lot of reasons.

To begin with, even though it suits me just fine now, I can’t imagine that the current version of my life would be all that fascinating to anyone else. A lot of people lost interest when I “coupled” and stopped writing about bars and sex clubs and boys I’d picked up. Others stopped coming by when I finally left San Francisco, since we all know that nothing of substance or consequence ever happens anyplace else, right?

In addition, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable about revealing too many intimate details here. Things that would have been big time post fodder eight or ten years ago now sometimes distract me from posting. Privacy is a concern, of course, as is the fact that my personal life is now somewhat shared and revelations about it now affect another person as well, no matter how well we retain our individual identities. Frankly, it’s too late for me to try to be completely anonymous; I’ve left too much of a trail dating back to a more “innocent” time online.

Anyway, I’ve been doing this for more than a quarter of my life, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon, although I know the process will continue to evolve. I’m not quite sure just what Otherstream is these days. In retrospect, though, I’ve never been sure of what it was, and it’s never stopped me before.

My apologies for being rambling and wordy. I’ll probably continue to do that for the foreseeable future as well.

Googling God

It’s really starting to creep me out that all the contextual ads on the front page are turning out to be god-related. I may have to end this little test drive less than a day after starting it. Of course, the very first ad that appeared this afternoon was for “Lesbian video streams”, which was just as inappropriate, but slightly less creepy, at least.

Bed now.

Database Nastiness

I was going to have a cool new post up this morning for your amusement, but instead I spent two hours fixing a database problem on the Groceteria Message Board, so it will have to wait. I’m not sure if I was hacked or what, but it sure was annoying having to figure out how to fix it and then change all my passwords, etc., especially since I had someplace to be at 12:30.

Anyway, look for something fun here tonight.

Disclaimer: your definition of “fun” may differ from mine.

May 1977

Tonight, in honor of the season, I’m celebrating May Sweeps. May Sweeps 1977, that is. These are taken from actual May 1977 issues of TV Guide, part of my sizable collection with which I’ve recently been reunited.

I remember 1977. It was the year the Brady Bunch embarassed themselves and their fans by doing perhaps the worst variety show in the history of network TV. And I watched every episode, for some reason. Masochism, I guess. Or a crush on Peter…

Yes, it’s the original Charlie’s Angels, and a special 90-minute episode, at that. And who remembers Space:1999, featuring the grooviest spaceship decor ever, stuff that I would have killed for in 1999. Or now.

The third anniversary of Happy Days. As I recall, that was about the time the whole cast got tired of having 1950s haircuts and started sporting a strange sort of Brylcreem and Blow-dried hybrid look.

Funny, but the term “brand new action tonight” in an ad makes me think of just about anything but Barnaby Jones.

Doesn’t it stand to reason that if it’s Chevy’s very first special, it would, by definition, be “like no special he’s ever done before”? Or is that the gag? I’m sure, though, that it must’ve bombed against the Arnold Schwarzenegger episode of The Streets of San Francisco.

Ah, 1977. When network TV still mattered. Except of course for Space:1999 and the Nixon-Front Interviews, which were syndicated shows. Had to add that for accuracy’s sake.

$1.99? Are You Out of Your Mind?

It probably comes as no surprise that, in general, I’m not a big fan of poetry. Maybe it’s just a reaction to all those high school papers I had to write over-analyzing The Waste Land, but using verse has always struck me as an extremely pretentious, obtuse, and (often) just plain silly means of making a point.

Why is it, though, that every time someone mentions a “poetry slam”, it fills my mind with happy visions of some new $1.99 breakfast combo at Denny’s?

Iambic omelette, anyone?

God Hates Tags

I suspected as much, and I was right. Fred Phelps and his wacky band of merry men will, in fact, be picketing the funeral of well-known liberal and homo-sympathizer Jerry Falwell. It’s always good to have some comic relief on a Tuesday morning, and those zany folks at Westboro Baptist Church are always already to deliver the goods.

Not Really a Personal Ad

I really need to find some kids my own age to hang out with.

I’m really not the social sort, and I haven’t really made many friends since moving back to North Carolina. Most of the ones I had here before have moved away, or otherwise disappeared. And my life has drifted off in a somewhat different direction from a few. So far, it hasn’t been a big problem. Frankly, I’m quite fond of my own company and I’m not at all averse to spending time alone. And I do a pretty fair amount of that since (a) I work at home, and (b) Mark is gone for two weeks out of every month.

But most of the social interaction I do have these days is with my parents and other assorted relatives. Most of them are on the north side of 70 years old. And I don’t think that’s entirely healthy for me right now, as much as I respect people of age — and even as much as I fancy myself as something of an old coot…

It’s difficult to think about one’s future when surrounded by people who, frankly, no longer think much about their own. Given my current state of mind, I really don’t need for most of my conversations to be about illnesses, doctors, and medication, nor do I want to start thinking of funerals as social occasions.

To be honest, I’ve had a bit of an overdose of “old” lately, and it’s getting me a little down. I’m becoming a little obsessed with aging and death, and that’s just not a good thing to combine with a midlife crisis. Being in school in the fall will help, no doubt, as will finding an outside job. Until then, however…

If you live in the Triad, and find me at all interesting, and if you want to hang out sometime (and are under 70), let me know. I like to eat (a lot), roam around used book stores, take long and pointless urban drives, etc. I tend to be cranky and antisocial on a superficial level, but if I like you, I’ll probably at least be less so. I also won’t require a huge time commitment, since I’ll probably always enjoy my own company more than anyone else’s anyway. Both boys and girls are eligible.

I’m not looking for sex partners (I have one), nor for people to play sports or “do nature” with (blecch…), nor for drinking buddies (I don’t drink). If you thought I was looking for any of these things, you obviously haven’t been paying attention and you probably shouldn’t apply.

Hey, this whole advertising thing worked really well once before, albeit under considerably different circumstances.

Super Duper

The last two days have been a touch unpleasant, thanks to a nasty bit of hard disk failure.

They would have been much more unpleasant without Super Duper. If you own a Mac, you should have this amazing and wonderful backup software that allows you to make a complete bootable clone of your hard disk. It copies everything perfectly, and then lets you restore your system to its original (or new) location 100%, without your having to reinstall every program and redefine every preference and setting. It is a wonderful thing. Download it. Give its creators money. Be happy.

I’ll get back to answering email and stuff soon. For now, I’m just enjoying having a computer again…

Charles Nelson Reilly, 1931-2007

My own farewell to Charles Nelson Reilly is this interesting moment I caught a few months ago and was fortunately able to backtrack and record on the DVR. Of course, I’m old enough that my first exposure to him was on reruns of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I loved that show. And what ever happened to that DVD release?