Pretty Pictures

For your amusement:

I’m working on expanding the photo galleries this year, FYI.


Who the fuck cares?

Seriously. Is the fact that another overpaid jock used steroids really newsworthy? Don’t they all use steroids? And even if the do, is there any reason I (or Congress) should give a flying crap?

However (and hear me out on this one), I do believe the current battle of the late night talkshow hosts is worthy of considerable attention. It’s not because I care about whether Jay or Conan (or Mark McGwire, for that matter) ends up being on the air at 11:30, but because this is about a significant change in the way one of America’s biggest industries does business. For those who haven’t been paying attention, a lot of people who know what they’re talking about are suggesting that this is an early sign that the commercial broadcasting model is starting to break down.

That’s what I was thinking, in fact, the moment I first read that NBC was essentially giving up on the 10-11 time last fall by giving it to Leno. I couldn’t believe it. I’m not at all surprised that it backfired, but I’m really alarmed that NBC is pulling the plug even though they have no real programming ready to take over the hour. It wouldn’t surprise me if NBC weren’t programming 10-11 at all by this time next year. Fox, The CW, and My Network TV already don’t–and never have.

Programming issues aside, though, I think the next year is going to bring at least one major surprise with respect to broadcast television. I don’t know what it will be, but when it happens, it should be recognized as the major business story it will be rather than dismissed as pop culture fluff.

Oddly enough, I’m bucking the trend by having gotten rid of the cable and the satellite. Local broadcast is all the TV I have now.

Fourteen Years

It was a cold and snowy night somewhere on 13 January 1996, but not in San Francisco. There might have been rain. I don’t remember. I might have been drunk. I don’t remember. All I remember is that sometime that night, I uploaded the first version of the website that became this one. Using FTP. And actual HTML files. And the URL had a tilde in it. It all seems rather quaint now.

What’s really frightening to me is that I’ve lived almost a third of my life since that night. What’s also frightening to me is the realization of how long it’s been since I’ve written anything of substance here.

All the same, thanks for sticking around. I make no promises that there will be a fifteenth anniversary, although there probably will be. The five year multiples are milestones, after all, and are hard to resist.

Y’know What?

Any article that begins with “A gun collector who introduced several weapons into sexual play” is pretty much guaranteed not to end well.

Anything that happens after “three men had been smoking pot, drinking beer, huffing aerosol inhalants and having sex over a 12-hour period” is almost certainly not going to be something good.

Anyone who asks someone else “to put the gun to his head and pull the trigger to intensify his pleasure” is, in my view, somewhat unclear on the concept of pleasure.

This is why I don’t do drugs, in case anyone was wondering.

Preserve This!

Things like this get me really excited, as I’ve probably mentioned before. It’s not that I’m particularly amused by the particular episode of Mayberry RFD, which was pretty much garbage. But I am amazed that the video preserves a full half-hour of TV, commecials, “brought to you by” tags, and the rest, pretty much as it originally aired. It’s really difficult to find material like that from the pre-VCR era (and to be honest, I’m not 100% certain what the source of this type material is, but this YouTube user has lots of it). The only thing that seems to be missing is the voiceover announcer pushing whatever show comes next “over most of these CBS stations.”

The idea of preserving material like this–things that were never meant to be saved and generally weren’t saved–is a large part of why I became an archivist. Sure, you could watch this episode on DVD and get really nice picture quality and no commercials, but viewing it from this primary source gives so much more of a feel for what it was really like watching the show as it originally aired. I’m similarly fascinated by the Room 222 DVD release. Apparently, there were no really good masters available for this series, and the DVD release was assembled from a variety of 16mm syndication prints and whatever other source material Shout Factory could get its hands on. It’s not clean and pretty, but it is the way I remember watching reruns of the show as a kid–pops, scratches, wheezing theme music, and all.

And I guess this is why I keep most of the archives of this site availble online as well. Many of my friends have opted to remove some of all of their content over the years, and that’s a decision I respect and understand completely. Perspectives change, as does one’s comfort level with how much information to share. And I’ve removed some of the material from this site as well; the bar and sex club reviews and the “guide to San Francisco” from 1996 are long gone (although I have unpublished copies). But most of the material that has ever appeared here is still here. And even though I’ve contemplated edits over the years, it’s important to me that the majority of the site continues to be here, if not necessarily in its original graphic format, which is something of an unrealistic goal in a dynamic medium like this (although, again, I do have archived copies).

It’s not that I believe anything specific I’ve presented here since 1996 is do good or so important as to require preservation. I’m not that conceited, really. But I think it’s important that some personal websites of the 1990s and 2000s be preserved in a relatively intact state just to show what they were like and the (changing) types of contact that were presented on them through the years. And I guess I’m a relatively good candidate just because I’ve been doing it longer than most people.

This is a lot like my take on historic preservation; I tend to think the mundane, everyday structures and neighborhoods (supermarkets, taxpayer strips, and even tract housing) where people actually spent time and lived their lives should in many ways be more important preservation targets than grand structures, mansions, opera houses, etc., that most people have never even visited. I know that an occasional building will have to be lost or that an occasional journal entry (or even an entire website) will sometimes have to be be purged. But it’s nice to have some relatively intact specimens as reference points, and I guess I’m volunteering my site as one of those.

If only I could get a tax credit…