It’s amazing how appealing some tasks you might otherwise regard as rather unpleasant can seem when you have a project you can’t seem to get going on and you’re looking for yet another way to avoid it. When I was in grad school,  the toilets were never so clean and the carpets never so vacuumed as when I had papers due.

All of which means I really need to get moving on this book chapter I’m supposed to be writing, but I’ll probably just have dinner with Mom and Dad and then do laundry tonight instead.

Videolog: Pepper

Butthole Surfers
Pepper (1996)

DJ Midnight at WQFS needs to be my girlfriend, not just for always playing music that restores some of the life that gets sucked out of me every Tuesday night at dinner, but especially tonight for choosing “Bigmouth Strikes Again” as her obligatory Smiths song of the evening.

And, um, also for playing this Butthole Surfers song that I hadn’t heard in a while–which is supposed to be the point of the post, I guess.

Dating? You’re joking, right?

A couple of people in recent weeks have asked me if I’m “dating anyone” these days. I know that’s the kind of thing one often asks an acquaintance who’s recently ended a long term relationship, but honestly one or two of these people really should have known better. So here’s the scoop: No, I’m not “dating anyone.” The thought of “dating anyone” hasn’t even crossed my mind.

First, let’s establish for the record that being coupled is not my natural state. Until I met Mark in my late thirties, I had never been in a really serious, long term relationship. Mark is a very special person. For him, I made a very special exception. It was the right decision and I stand by it even though it ultimately didn’t work out. Upon ending this particular relationship, though, I didn’t wake up the next morning and think, “Oh my God. I must find a new boyfriend. Today!” In fact, I’d say there’s probably a more than fifty-fifty chance that I won’t ever be involved in another serious, long term relationship. And that’s not really a problem for me. It’s not like riding a bicycle or falling off a horse; dating or jumping into another relationship just for the sake of it wouldn’t help anything at all and would probably only make wretched both my own life and that of my hapless victim.

Without getting into specifics, I think it’s obvious to anyone who knows me that I was not the instigator of our breakup. I don’t say that to assign blame nor to portray myself as “morally superior” and play the victim but to emphasize that I did not end this relationship because I was looking for a new life or new thrills or a new relationship. I had generally been pretty happy with the old life, the old thrills, and the old relationship. I hadn’t really bothered contemplating replacements or alternatives. When a relationship ends this way, it’s almost feels as if you’ve been widowed; your life has changed radically and it feels like it all happened more or less against your will. There’s a certain period of mourning you have to go through, and I haven’t quite finished going through it yet. I’m getting there–I no longer spontaneously burst into tears several times a day–but romance and sex are still pretty damned low on my list of priorities right now, thanks.

And let’s be honest: There’s not a long line of men outside my front door anxiously waiting for me change my mind, anyway. I left the Triad almost twenty years ago in part because of the lack of interesting and available men here. I was comfortable moving back five years ago because I was no longer looking, and now that pool is much smaller now than it was back in 1992–for me, at least. I’m not nearly anxious enough to “date” or get laid to make trolling the depressing collection of local queer bars (or the internet) a priority. In fact, I’m not really anxious enough to go to any effort at all right now.

So yeah. I’m not “dating anyone.” I’m not likely to be doing so for the foreseeable future. My life is about me now, not about the co-stars. You should not feel sorry for me because of this. I don’t. If you’re determined to feel sorry for me, I’ll try to make you a list of other, more valid reasons. Or not.

With that off my chest, I will go back to any number of other things that will help me put off the one thing I really need to be working on today.

You expect people to go to the bathroom in their living rooms?

From an article in the Charlotte Observer last week:

An apparently intoxicated employee of Rock City Tavern was arrested using the bathroom on the roof of the business early Thursday morning, police say.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but he was arrested specifically because he was not using the bathroom. If there had been an actual bathroom on the roof, and if he had been using that, there wouldn’t have been a problem.

The issue here, though, was that he was urinating someplace other than a bathroom. Thus he was not “using the bathroom” at all.

Got it? Good.


Forgot to mention it but I back-populated some old posts from the past few months over the last week or so. I do this pretty regularly with posts that don’t “go live” for one reason or another–either I don’t finish them to my satisfaction or the timing seems wrong or whatever.  I usually just pop them into place where they should have gone in sequence. That way, they’re included for completeness (the “public record of my life,” blah blah blah) but I don’t end up calling undue attention to old news in my RSS feed. etc. And yes, this makes you have to do a bit of work if you really want to read them. Sorry. I’ll give you a pointer to one of them, OK?

So what else is new in the life of yer humble host?

  • Work is good. Somehow in the middle of a major state budget crunch, I’ve ended up with an extra full-time person starting tomorrow, someone who was transferred to me from another department. I assume that’s a vote of confidence. Once in a while I start pondering the fact that they’re giving an awful lot of responsibility to someone who is, after all, still pretty much just out of library school. But I’m running with it.
  • I’m planning a semi-large road trip in late September or early October. The general direction will be northward. It may include places like Schenectady, Boston, Buffalo, and Toronto. I’m excited because I haven’t done a really major road trip in a long time. And frankly, I’m very excited about doing it alone because I haven’t done that in a long time either. That’s not to say I won’t be visiting friends and maybe even taking someone along for a leg or two. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Having also finally finished a writing project I’ve been avoiding working on for several weeks, I’m also going to take a short trip somewhere next weekend. Suggestions?
  • A couple of people in recent weeks (many of whom really should have known better) have asked me if I’m “dating anyone” these days. Honestly, the thought of “dating anyone” or “a relationship” or even “fucking someone” hasn’t even crossed my mind. This is partly because “alone” is my natural state in life; the last ten years were the exception, not the rule. It’s also partly because I’m still not in the best state of mind just yet, and jumping into anything right now would probably make things much worse for me and for my hapless victim. It’s not like riding a bicycle or falling off a horse. And let’s be honest: There’s not a long line of men outside my front door anxiously waiting for me change my mind, anyway. I left the Triad years ago in part because of the lack of interesting and available men here. Twenty years and many pounds later, there’s probably even less interest now, from them and from me.  I’m not nearly anxious or horny enough to make trolling the depressing collection of local queer bars (or the internet) a priority. In fact, I’m not really anxious enough to go to any effort at all. So no, I’m not “dating anyone.” I’m not likely to be doing so for the foreseeable future. My life needs to be about me now, not about a co-star. You should not feel sorry for me because of this. I don’t (Here’s the original full-length version of this bullet point).
  • Anyone for leftover birthday cake? The icing balloons are quite tasty although they’re getting a little crunchy with age. But then again, so am I….

Your basic nice Sunday…

Spent with a movie, followed by a few sublimely geeky hours tracing chain suprmarket history in Indianapolis and playing with video on the side, then a torta at Guadalajara, and now I’m reading my book (thanks, Sarah) and watching the big storm from the tiki room.

Sundays do not require excitement.

Winston-Salem 10th most fun, affordable city in U.S.

According to Business Week, that is.

Here’s why I hate stupid non-news stories like this:

  • They use questionable methodology.
  • They use inaccurate or irrelevant or inconsistent data.
  • They’re stupid, non-news stories and I don’t really need any further justification.

That said, I wonder if our ranking would have gone up or down if they’d included Winston-Salem’s actual population (229,617) rather than some random number (33,822) that came from…well…I don’t know where it might have come from.

Remember when reputable publications used to have things like editors and fact checkers? And writers, for that matter?


M is for “meeting(s).”

M is for “myriad maniacal morons in big-ass SUVs on I-40.”

M is for “Monday.”

But at least I managed not to spend the weekend dwelling on an anniversary I didn’t particularly want to remember. Instead, I explored Charlotte with Carroll on Saturday and spent Sunday eliminating things that no longer belong in my life. The latter sounds all mysterious and philosophical and shit, but it pretty much just means “cleaning out the basement.”

Friday from hell

I don’t like to whine, really, but what a shitty day.

I felt a little rotten this morning and stayed home from work, which is fairly unusual for me. But I ended up spending much of the day being inordinately stressed by something really pointless. No, I don’t care to elaborate right now. But I finally finished all related tasks and was headed home to start having my weekend.

And then my car started overheating. It’s no doubt the same problem that almost killed my trip to Atlanta three months ago, an it’s now ruining more weekend plans for me. I think I need a new car.

Season premiere


The long-running dramedy, which began as a mid-season replacement called Planet SOMA in January of 1996, enters its seventeenth season with some big changes in format. Most dramatically, our hero finds himself divorced–co-star Mark Arsenal departed for greener pastures at another network last season but is scheduled for at least one cameo appareance–and increasingly responsible for the care of his aging parents.

Like much of last season, most of the action now takes place in the college library where David works, allowing some youthful contributions to a series whose ratings have been skewing increasingly older in recent years. In October, the series will embark on one of its periodic “field trips” with hilarity expected to ensue somewhere in the vicinity of the Canadian border.

There has been speculation that a later plot development might include a relocation (David moves into the apartment above his parents’ garage?), the addition of a teenage character (the result of a long-forgotten heterosexual encounter from the mid-1990s?), or the death of a beloved long-term character in a helicopter accident somewhere in Korea. The producers would neither confirm nor deny these rumors at press time.

Season Premiere: Sunday, September 11 at 9PM Eastern.

Otherstream: The Plot Summary

The plot summary

I rather enjoyed this little exercise in creative writing and decided it deserved to be expanded into a new “about the site” page.

I’ve been thinking lately that my life the past few years bears a striking resemblance to The Doris Day Show, with a pretty major format change every year. This seemed a little more entertaining way of saying that than your average self-indulgent navel-gazing post. It also meshes nicely with the fact that so many big events in my life tend to occur in fall or during sweeps.