Crushes and Geeks

The great thing about being 36 is that I’ve gotten past those obsessive crushes of my youth. These things used to throw me into the most severe funks imaginable, but now I find myself getting more amused than frustrated by them.

The current one, as it happens, is directed toward this cute, geeky straight guy I know. Nothing will ever come of it, I’m quite certain, and I don’t particularly care. I don’t even think about him very often, save for the occasional masturbatory fantasy where he does really out of character things and talks dirty.

I love cute little geeky guys. They’re only one of many types which can get me going sexually, but they’re probably the only type which will ever have a real shot at me romantically.

By the way, I’m not using geek as a synonym for “computer nerd” here. The two types merge sometimes but not always. My definition of geekiness is based more on an active intellect combined with an almost childlike enthusiasm for a few really esoteric subjects (one of which may or may not be digital in nature). The “childlike” part is very important; a good geek is first and foremost a big kid.

Anyway, I’m not stressing about this little crush. In fact, I’m a bit relieved that it’s happened. In my cynical little world, it’s quite refreshing to find myself engaged in such an innocent and harmless pastime. Maybe there’s hope for me after all.

Things I like today:

Over-hyped thing I realized tonight I don’t much care for:

Sex in the City

Commercial Archaeology

Thanks to Chuck in Columbia (who has some bitchin’ pictures on his site), I’ve now realized that I wasn’t smoking crack as a child and dreaming that Hardee’s restaurants used to look like this:

I’ve searched years for someone who remembered this particular design. There couldn’t have been many built because no one seems to remember them. Imagine my surprise when Chuck casually mentioned a “a pagoda-shaped Hardee’s” in Columbia. Of course, he had other things to say too, but this was a 20-year obsession.

My friends know my much-indulged hobby is commercial archaeology, or the unearthing of former chain-store prototypes, motels, fast food joints, etc. My supermarket fixation is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve also been known to engage in such fascinating games as “find the former Sears” and “White Castle or White Tower”. Despite this fact, a few stout-hearted individuals are still willing to ride in a car with me.

The Hardee’s pagoda was one of the first warnings about my future hobby, way back when I was still in high school. Even then I’d ask people if they remembered that weird-looking Hardee’s on Battleground Avenue in Greensboro. I now know I wasn’t making it up. I am much relieved.


OK, so the Jackass Hill Road sign just wasn’t all that funny after about five days. Sorry. I’ve been busy. I’m not sure what I’ve been busy DOING, but I sure have been busy.

I haven’t even had time to dig very far into the pile of books Adric sent me this week. That’s reserved for this coming weekend and should take about six months or so. I’m, talking a LOT of books.

Part of what I’ve been doing is research for Bottles (and the upcoming made for TV movie, no doubt). Lurking around all those college libraries, along with listening to a couple of friends talking about college registration, has uncovered a mildly nagging desire in me to go back to school. It’s reminded me that one of the situations in which I’m truly contented is when I’m researching some major project. You’d think there could be a career in that somewhere.

I’ve also been working. Two TV station sites, two porn sites, and miscellaneous other projects. I’ve also been eating horribly, which usually happens when I’m working a lot. But we had nice, healthy Ethiopian food on Friday night, so that cancels out all the crap, right?

Things I hate today:

  • Libraries which have everything I need stored in some inaccessible off-site warehouse.
  • My low-flow toilet (again).

Things I love today:

Behind the Times

It didn’t strike me as odd at the time, but I closed an email message to Sarah this afternoon with something to the effect of “Gotta run…there’s the doorbell…” Sounds a little anachronistic in retrospect.

Yer behind the times humble host, volume 15:

  • I still prefer to read the newspaper in its cumbersome paper format, and I regularly spend money for content I could read free online. I make an exception for my hometown paper which I can’t buy here.
  • Iced tea must be brewed in a suitably stained pot. Iced tea in a can or bottle is a crime against nature.
  • I wish radio stations still had jingles and played music in the morning.
  • I have never owned an automobile with power locks or windows.
  • I do not automatically address strangers using their first names unless they introduce themselves that way, especially if they’re older than me. Yes, I behaved the same way even when I worked in retail customer service.
  • Canned vegetables are just fine in a pinch, thank you.
  • My long distance carrier is AT&T.
  • Give me “Maude” over “Ally McBeal” and “Streets of San Francisco” over “Nash Bridges” any day of the week.
  • The TV in my living room is a 20-year-old Sony. I’m not really inclined to replace it anytime soon.
  • Coke really does taste better from a glass bottle.
  • “Downtown” by Petulia Clark is still one of my favorite songs, even though it was released the year I was born. I listen to KABL more than KUSF these days.
  • I still use a 28.8K modem. I still believe all web designers should be forced to do the same.
  • My dream car is a 1964 Corvair convertible.
  • The last bar I visited was the Tonga Room. There will be pictures soon…

9 August 1999

Four or five stories above the crest of Nob Hill. Photo credit Sarah.

My mom has email.

Somehow I knew this day would come, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for it. This must be sort of how it felt for her when I learned to drive. OK, maybe not quite that extreme. Of course, the big and pressing question is how she’ll deal with this site when she lands here. It’s not like I do drugs or deal in kiddie porn or anything, but the self-revelation (and the language) might be a bit much. All in all, though, Mom’s pretty sane. I think she’ll deal.

More about the weekend soon (as Sarah has the first crack at posting certain pictures of certain celebrities), but here are the highlights:

I spent Friday afternoon doing recreational web browsing, which is something I almost never do anymore. In the process, I found current pictures of one of my high school lust victims as well as re-connecting with an old friend from college. I also ran across names of members of my family on someone’s geneaology page. That was a little creepy. And no, I’m not giving you the addresses. So there.

Saturday afternoon brought a Star Trek convention (more about that later) and a strange case of lust, which I’m still at loss to explain so I won’t right now. Thus I ventured out to the neighborhood watering holes Saturday night, which proved as much of a mistake as going out on Saturday night ever is.

Now it’s Sunday. I’m watching something really stupid on the Disney Channel. It’s time for bed. More babbling of substance, along with accompanying pictures, coming soon.

Independence Day

Independence Day random thoughts, nonsequiturs, etc.:

  1. Isn’t it wonderful that, if the House of Representatives has its way, the American flag will have more specific Constitutional protections than a majority of American citizens? Shouldn’t we consider giving the Equal Rights Amendment another shot before rendering a piece of cloth (or other synthetic material) more important than the freedoms it’s supposed to represent?
  2. How did I live here so long without recognizing that the outlying parts of town (the Outer Mission, Glen Park, Bayview, the Richmond, and the Sunset) are in many ways some of the most interesting parts of San Francisco, free as they are from the trendiness and pretentiousness of the sacred northeastern quarter? I’ve been spending more and more time “out there” in the past few months and it’s starting to grow on me. There’s a reality that downtown is sorely missing.
  3. Why would someone throw out perfectly good windows like the ones I found on Clement Street with Sarah this afternoon? They saw trash. I saw end tables which will soon flank the sofa I still don’t have.
  4. What is it about holiday weekends that makes even natives drive like complete idiots?
  5. Last, how many people know (or care) that the humble store on Irving Street pictured above was most likely the first Safeway store in San Francisco, way back in 1927? Even better, how many people will believe me (or care) when I say that there used to be Piggly Wiggly stores here in the 1930s?

Sleeping now, as the 5th of July is not necessarily a holiday for everyone…


It’s days like this which restore my excitement about the web. I rarely ever sit in front of the computer for hours randomly following links anymore, but today I did. Here are a few of my major starting points:

Yeah, I’m a nerd and I’m comfortable with that. This is the kind of stuff I read for entertainment. It’s the kind of stuff which got me excited about the web to begin with: obsessive information sites on obscure topics done by actual individuals with no corporate funding nor stock offerings to be seen.

I like to think I made my contribution to this field with Folsom Street in the 70s. And I’m working on a few more in my spare time, including a “Streets of San Francisco” page (on the TV series, not the actual streets) and some “then and now” photographs of certain cities.

This is self-publishing in its purest form: total narrowcasting which doesn’t attempt to reach everyone on the planet and doesn’t rely on slow-loading animations and other superfluous gadgetry to convey its message. These sites are about information, not flash. They’re about personal interests, not profit.

And Microsloth will probably never try to buy them out. Many of them, like Planet SOMA, have been sailing along in realtively low-tech bliss for years. Their creators don’t get paid to maintain these sites; they do it because they enjoy it. Here are a few which might be worthy of your attention:

Check ’em out on your way to whatever “dotcom” is having the most exciting IPO of the week…

Acceptable Week

All in all, I’d have to say it’s been a pretty acceptable week.

I was a little disturbed by life last week (you’ll thank me for sparing you the details and the whining), but things look a little brighter now. The financial traumas associated with setting up housekeeping alone have eased a bit. The construction across the street has become a little less annoying.

And I found a great new dive with an irresistable name: Big Joe’s Broiler #2. Look for a review soon.

My new part-time boss even scored points today. We were talking about Sunday’s demolition at SF State and about Detroit when he recommended a book I should read. Turns out it’s one of my all-time favorites, The New American Ghetto by Vergara (note the shameless marketing link…twice even…) When someone recommends one of my favorite books, I’m pre-disposed to like him, because (a) my favorite books are very specific types, and (b) my favorite books are really obscure.

I’ve even paid this month’s bills already. Some of them were even on time!

And I’m only four shows short of my complete set of “Streets of San Francisco” episodes on tape. I’ll have them all by Friday. There’s a database involved. Even my hobbies are becoming geeky…

On the other hand, I’m still behind on the email. Really behind. Up to a month in some cases. I seem to have developed this really bad mental block when it comes to email.

Yeah, I’m babbling and writing about nothing, I know. Maybe it’s best that I’m not answering email…

Webzine 98

Webzine 98 has come and gone, so the annoying animated gif is history. The biggest highlight for me was actually meeting a flesh and blood rendition of Larry-bob, after two year or so of web/email convergences. I also saw, but did not touch, the semi-legendary Justin Hall. He was dressed a bit like a Mormon missionary. I was mildly frightened by this.

I’ve decided now why I occasionally hit the neighborhood queer bars on Saturday night even though it’s traditionally my least favorite night to do so. I think that if I can make it through two beers amidst the Saturday night idiot fest on Folsom Street without killing someone, then I must have the strength to survive another week in San Francisco.

The Ideal Personal Ad

An ideal personal ad I’d respond to (Spring 1997):

Cynical queer loner, 32, recently committed to polygamy and recreational sex, seeks individual to challenge my resolve. Thoroughly bored with bars and sex clubs, but be forewarned: I’m not convinced a monogamous relationship is the right move for me now. Interests: road trips, lowbrow culture, text-based communication, obscure pop music, The Simpsons, and more. Zero tolerance for drug drama, pretentiousness, career or gym addiction, or attitude. Understand that I will eat meat and smoke cigarettes in your presence, and that I will not be willing to spend every waking minute of my life with you. Do not expect adventures on the great outdoors or candlelit dinners. Do expect drive-in movies, noisy bands, and Pinky and the Brain on Saturday morning. Sexual creativity a plus. Ability to be happy eating at Denny’s and Burger King essential. If you’re “straight acting and appearing”, you need to go have an affair with a woman and leave me the fuck alone.

An ideal personal ad I’d respond to (Summer 1996):

Queer-acting, queer-appearing omnivorous male into sleazy bars, pop culture, road trips, and “The Simpsons”. Hate long walks in the park and the “great outdoors” means an alley off Folsom Street. Meet me for dinner at Denny’s. We’ll have sex first and then see if friendship develops. I’m sometimes moody but generally cheerful, feel love intensely when I feel it at all, and have no patience with one-sided relationships. No gym clones, granolas, fashion victims, or people who act their ages. If you need drugs to have a good time, please do so with someone else. Must understand the irony of MTV planning a new channel which actually plays music videos. Understanding irony in general is also nonnegotiable.

An actual personal ad I placed online (Fall 1995):

MY STATS: Sodomite WM 30 (look 29 1/2), 6’2″, 195#, brown hair/eyes, stubbly goatee and head, lousy housekeeper, employed and in no major financial difficulty (for a change)

LIKES: Fog, Dragnet reruns, sleazy bars, Target, the occasional sex club, fast food, almost any boy on a skateboard, Camel Lights, roadside culture, Henry Weinhardts Red, okra, offbeat music (KABL to KALX), Converse hightops, funny porn, long-haired boys, grits, stubble-headed boys, driving aimlessly, cartoons, group sex, old movies, and white trash.

DISLIKES: Nature, Republicans, severe potheads, the Castro, sushi, people who act their age, romantic candlelight dinners, country music recorded after 1965, the Dead (as in Grateful), rabid Vegans, overabundant sunshine, upwardly mobile persons employed in finance, most art galleries, little rat dogs, and white trash wannabes.

WILL NOT TOLERATE: “Straight acting/appearing”, speed freaks, Southern Baptists, and closets.

LOOKING FOR: Well…I’m not sure. Someone maybe to have adventures with, to explore San Francisco’s hidden alcohol subculture with, or even just sleep with on a regular, sporadic, or one-time basis. (You maybe figured out by now that a one-on-one monogamous thing is not exactly what I’m looking for, but it’s not entirely out of the question, I guess.) I would prefer that you be in the 22-32 age range, open to experimentation, and not full of yourself, but I’m willing to negotiate. If you’re intrigued, interested, or curious, e-mail me. If I’ve pissed you off with my dislikes and lack of tolerance and sensitivity, then DON’T, ‘cuz I don’t care.

An actual personal ad I placed (Fall 1989):

Slightly depraved GWM, 24, cynical, sedate, and relatively harmless, into unnerving music, shocking video, stimulating conversation, sleazy bars,and okra, seeks similar individual with whom to share these interests and perhaps others. Basic intelligence and political awareness a plus. Coke heads, Republicans, and other losers need not apply. Respond creatively.