My stomach hurts…

…metaphorically, of course.

If someone told me that they planned to start repeatedly punching me in the stomach in the not too distant future, and then asked if I’d rather they started now or waited a while, I’d probably request that they not start at all. If that weren’t an option, though, I guess I’d rather they started now. That way, maybe I’d get desensitized faster and the blows would might stop hurting sooner.

But maybe that’s just all that junk food from the fair talking.

Monday morning

To say that this weekend really, really, really sucked would be the understatement of the year; the fact that I was actually sort of looking forward to going back to work this morning (just as a signal that the aforementioned weekend was over) should give an indication of the level of suckage.

But I did find what looks to be a very intersting read at a used bookstore in Charlotte on Sunday, so at least there’s that.

Just thinking…

I’m a little baffled as to how (or why) you would use an RSS feed of your email inbox. It would seem that you would have to be logged into your email for the feed to display in the first place (or at least I hope you would), so what exactly is the point?

Or am I just missing something?

I’m a little pissed off about RSS feeds in general today, but that’s a subject for another rant I don’t have time to write at the moment.

No more “Big B”

Belk used to refer to its old logo as the “Big B” back when it was first unveiled in the late 1960s. The old logo was actually the first logo ever adopted by the company chain-wide, thanks to its loose corporate structure. And it was one of the first things I learned how to draw.

The new logo, alas, looks cheap and tacky. It is in no way big, attractive, nor anything that I would ever want to draw.

It will not, however, stop me from shopping at Belk. I stopped doing that years ago when I gave up malls in general.

Death and the internet

I had some sad and unexpected news yesterday. Someone I’ve never met and wouldn’t recognize if he walked into the room right now is terminally ill and may not be around this time next week.

Let me explain. This person was one of my freelance clients. Although we’d been working together off and on for the better part of a decade, and even lived in the same town at one point, we’d never actually met in person. In fact, we’d only talked on the phone probably fewer than a dozen times. Even so, I felt we sort of “knew” each other. He seemed like a really nice guy and we got a long pretty well in a virtual sense. He even wrote one of my recommendation letters for graduate school.

There was a time ten or twelve years ago when a fairly high proportion of my friendships was virtual as well. I often used to spend a couple of hours a day in correspondence with several people around the  world that I’d never met but still felt very close to. In those days, online worked really well for me, because then (as now) I’m often uncomfortable talking on the phone. But I don’t really socialize very much online anymore–nor in person, as it happens, but that’s a story for another day. I don’t really engage in deep correspondence and I’ve whittled my Facebook feed down to about five “real life” friends I’ve known for years. And even then, I check in only sporadically.

Maybe I was just ahead of the curve with respect to online friendships and work relationships. But when you lose a “virtual” friend or coworker, it’s still sad, which says a lot about how different human interaction is now than it was, say, twenty years ago.

I won’t be in Pittsburgh this weekend

I have a Giant Eagle Advantage Card because I’m in Pittsburgh a few times a year. Like most of my other supermarket cards from around the country (yes, I have a lot of them), it’s registered under my Winston-Salem address. There’s not a Giant Eagle within about four hundred miles of here. You’d think their mailing list database software would recognize that based on my zip code and that I probably wouldn’t get postcards in the mail inviting me a to a one-day seafood sale on Saturday. You’d be wrong.

This isn’t really what I wanted to write about today but, hey, whatever…


The whole insomnia thing has been getting much better of late, but last night was a big exception. A combination of factors kept me up most of the night, the aforementioned factors ranging from a really exhausting quick weekend trip to Pittsburgh to multiple work deadlines to some personal stuff. I’d prefer to have skipped the whole sleepless night, but since I was up anyway, I went ahead and drove into work really early and found that (1) the traffic was quite light at that predawn hour and (2) I was surprisingly productive once I got to work.

But it’s only 11:30 now and I’m already beat. Plus I have two more meetings to go today. I’ll update you if I care enough to bother by the end of the day.

Don’t hold your breath.

So, about Pittsburgh

A couple of email messages and a post I found on another site recently have clued me in to the fact that a lot of people seem to think I’ve moved to Pittsburgh. I guess I can see how the casual observer might come to this conclusion, what with my (relatively) new job, the fact that  we own a house in Da Burgh,  the fact that we’re trying to sell the house in Winston, the hubby‘s recent abandonement of San Francisco, etc. But the reality is that I still very much live in the Triad. Full-time, even. The reason we’re selling the house is to eliminate the thirty-mile commute to Greensboro that we both now face on a daily basis.

Again, we do still have a house in Pittsburgh. Mark has done wonderful things with it. And I visited it this weekend for the first time in almost five months. It’s a nice house in a nice city. It’s just not where I live.

I wanted to make that clear, since geography is inordinately important to me.

Videolog Plus: Pretend We’re Dead

Pretend We’re Dead
L7 (1992)

Sometimes you run into an old song, one you might not have cared about all that much at the time, at a point in your life where it suddenly seems more important because it reminds you of another, earlier point in your life where things seemed a lot simpler, and maybe even happier in some ways.

I’m thinking right now of Thanksgiving, 1992, when I’d just moved to San Francisco. It was the first major holiday I’d spent away from North Carolina. I had dinner with the lesbians on Potrero Hill who were friends of my roommates, all of us expatriate North Carolinians. We were all different flavors of happy and excited about how we’d escaped and were carving out new lives for ourselves in a place that still seemed exciting and new.

My God, it’s been a long time. I was so young then. Everything seemed new and exciting. It’s just not like that anymore for me, and I miss it sometimes. I’m happy with a lot of things in my life right now. I love my boy, no matter what. I love my new career; in fact, it’s one of the only things I consistently enjoy these days, even though it comes with some stress of its own. And I’m OK with where I live, if not terribly excited about it. I’m not unhappy per se (I sort of am tonight, obviously, but that’s another story) but there’s this lack of intensity.

I know a lot of that comes with age. I’m not 28 years old anymore. I don’t have my whole life ahead of me. In recent years, I’ve become a lot more serious about attempting to have the career I never had when I was younger ad cared more about having a good time, mainly because I woke up one morning and saw myself heading down a path toward becoming a 62-year-old greeter at Walmart and it scared hell out of me.

Some of this lack of intensity or whatever is likely related to the lack of a social context in my life. I’ve never really been a social butterfly, but in recent years, I almost seem to have given up on the idea of having friends. I can see the progression; a lot of it started when Mark and I coupled. I’ve always been a person who needs a lot of time alone, and once we started living together, I became more and more stingy with the time I might have shared with my friends. Moving to North Carolina, where I really didn’t know anyone anymore, really increased my isolation, especially after Mark started working in San Francisco so much. Most of my closest friends probably had no idea what a dark period that was for me because, well, I wasn’t sharing it with anyone. I was unemployed, spending most of my time completely alone in an apartment on the east side of hell, and not doing much else. Throw in a little bit of cancer, the loss of any measurable self-esteem, and a financial paranoia that made me give up many of the things I still enjoyed (random, spontaneous travel is a good example) and you have my first two years back on the east coast.

It got better, obviously. I’ve reinvented myself these past few years and I’m generally happy with the results. Again, I’m not in my twenties anymore, and things will never be quite the same as  they were then. My priorities have changed. I don’t drink and smoke. I’m not looking for a party. I don’t chase boys around till all hours of the night. And I have absolutely no desire to start doing so again, even though I have no regrets about doing it before. That’s not how I want to spend my time now. Alas, I’m often not sure how I do want to spent my time (which is a pretty big problem for me lately) but I’m pretty clear on how I don’t want to spend it.

Maybe I’ve just become too serious or just given in too completely to my midlife crisis. I feel like I’ve aged about ten years in the past two months. Granted, there have been some major external forces involved in that, but it didn’t happen in isolation. I very much fear becoming a boring, vaguely sad man that no one wants to be around. I also don’t want this to become a boring, vaguely sad website that no one wants to visit, so I’ll shut up soon.

I miss 1992, but it’s not coming back, and the 1992 version of me likely to return. Neither is the 2001, the 1986, nor the 1997. The trick is to figure out what the 2011 model should look like.