Moralizing Condoms


These signs can be seen on condom machines in better convenience store washrooms up and down the east coast, and they’ve always really irritated me. I’ll stipulate that abstinence or strictly monogamous relationships are indeed the most foolproof (albeit not necessarily the most realistic) means of avoiding HIV. But one does not have to be married to qualify. In fact, it’s not even a legal option for a significant part of the potential target market for this product.

About the last thing the world needs right now is a moralizing condom machine.

Cutting the Other Cord

The cable went a few months ago (even though it’s still very much here and probably will be for the foreseeable future, considering the efficiency level of Time Warner) and tonight, the land line went away. Our little slice of paradise is now an iPhone-only household.

I am so insanely busy this week that I probably won’t notice the difference except for the fact that my answering machine will never again be blinking when I get home. Not that it ever blinked much before…


Twenty-five years ago tomorrow turns out to have been a pretty major turning point for me. It was the day I resigned as General Manager of the student radio station at UNCG. In itself, this wasn’t a big deal, just the inevitable result of my having taken a position I never wanted in the first place. But it launched a chain of events that led to my dropping out of college, which was the start of a period I later referred to as the “dark years,” which included eighteen very drunken months in Greensboro, three more in Myrtle Beach, and most of my first residence in Charlotte.

Actually, resigning from the station wasn’t so much the beginning of my troubles, but the beginning of the series of events that signaled I’d let these troubles take over my life. It had been a really bad year all the way around. I had boy troubles, I’d sort of let myself get talked out of transferring to Chapel Hill for the fall semester. And I really wasn’t sure what the hell I wanted to do next. About the only things I was certain of were that I didn’t want to live in Greensboro anymore (interestingly, I’d taken my first trip to New York a couple of weeks before) and that I wasn’t going to finish the semester at UNCG.

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as miserable as I was during the fall and winter of 1984-85, although junior high (all of it) came pretty close. In fact, I think I was pretty perpetually miserable for the next three or four years, although I was too drunk to notice most of the  time. Maybe “miserable” is the wrong word; I did manage to enjoy myself from time to time. In fact, all I really wanted to do was have a good time. But whenever I took the time to think seriously about my life, I realized I didn’t have much of one, and it got me really depressed.

That’s not to say that everything was all peaches and cream after I arose from my little fog, moved back to Greensboro, and went back to school in 1989, nor that everything was perfect during the San Francisco years. In fact, I was quite directionless for a very long time. Nor was I any less intoxicated for most of that time. But maybe age gave me the perspective to realize that things would ultimately get better. Or maybe I just “flattened out” emotionally, sort of like a lobotomy patient. I can definitely say that I’ve very actively avoided anything resembling drama in subsequent years.

It took me a long time to recover from 1984, or at least from some of the decisions I made that year. In fact, I’m still in the process of recovering from some of them. Ultimately, though, these decisions and experiences, good and bad, have led me to where I am today. My life isn’t perfect, but I generally like it, and had I not followed the path I did, there’s no telling where I might have ended up. Since I can’t really change the past and I’m not certain that I would even if I could, I’m not really sure what this babbling is all about. But that’s what I’m thinking about this Sunday night. If I come up with anything more concrete, I’ll let you know.

Randomly Monday


I’m including this photo of yesterday’s family gathering at our house not because of the shot of me (trust me, I would’ve chosen something more flattering) but just to point out that there aren’t nearly enough screened porches in the new generation of McMansions being built in the south.

More random Monday stuff:

  • RIP Jim Carroll. I hope that someone apologized for that film adaptation of your book before you died.
  • On Toronto’s 1950s motel row.
  • The redesigned print version of the Winston-Salem Journal is without a doubt one of the biggest piles of crap I’ve ever seen. It looks like a weekly paper from some small town in West Virginia rather than a metropolitan daily. I remain a big supporter of local print journalism, but they’re making it really hard with this “less content, same price” mentality.

The Stupid Hurts

I’d finished buying my groceries and ended up in the white trash kid’s lane (not a difficult maneuver around these parts). When my turn came, I saw the guy’s tattoos up close. He had some generic pattern on his forearm, but what I really noticed was his hand. It was hard to miss. He’d opted to adorn a part of his body that he’ll never be able to hide from prospective employers.

And what statement had he chosen for this highly visible canvas? Cool original artwork? His girlfriend’s name? A religious icon? A Japanese character that didn’t really mean what he thought it did? Nope. This genius chose to permanently display…a Honda logo.

I’m not sure if I’m more worried that he’ll wake up one day wondering why he made such a stupid move, or that he won’t wake up one day wondering why he made such a stupid move.

Randomly Monday

This collection of German curiosities from the 1960s and 1970s made for a nice break from homework. Particularly noteworthy: Johnny Cash’s German version of “I Walk the Line” and Sandie Shaw’s groovy cover of “Always Something There To Remind Me”.

Completely unrelated:

  • Ray Bradbury at the cafeteria. If you live in LA, you must start eating at Clifton’s regularly right now, and help keep it open and functioning till I can get there for my next visit. Would this be a good time to mention that I miss LA?
  • Brilliant idea: As I’ve mentioned before (1, 2, 3, 4), those few people who still write checks at the supermarket also tend to the the oblivious sort who wait until after their groceries are bagged and the total is staring at them on the display to even start looking for their checkbooks. Denying them food can only be a positive thing for the rest of humanity.
  • Keep in mind that I really only post about the whole “checks in the supermarket” thing about once every four years, so it’s not quite the obsession it may seem to be. But I am a little surprised at what a running theme it’s turned out to be.
  • Guinness now recognizes that the CN Tower is, in fact, a tower and not a structure. This is good, yes?
  • It just strikes me that I may not want to drive up to Pittsburgh a day early for this weekend’s conjugal visit.

OK. Back to learning all about link resolvers, OpenURL, and ERM. And making sure my CV is corrected and up to date. But more about that later…

An Urban American Dream

The hubby pretty much blew the response I was writing to this post out of the water so I’ll defer, seeing as how he made all my points better than I could have anyway.

I wish I had the attention span or the energy anymore to write anything more than a paragraph long that isn’t a paper on data formats or metadata standards or a stupid post about people who write checks at the supermarket (OK, so even that wasn’t really more than a paragraph). Sorry. I’m having one of those “nobody reads this stuff anymore so why do I bother since I obviously don’t have much to say lately” moments. It’s probably just because I’m weary from school, or maybe because I haven’t had a  good night’s sleep since Tuesday.

I promise to be less whiny later, once I’ve had a conjugal snuggle. And there’s still that exciting upcoming announcement…

Life, Marilyn, Archived Magazines, Etc.


Evidently, I was born under the Sign of Marilyn in the Life Magazine Zodiac.

Think what you may about Google Books, but this new project is kind of cool, and will make a great time waster at some point in the future when I have actual time to waste.