[Saturday 1 June 2002] Link
I finally finished The Ominous Parallels today (it took me almost a year of stop-and-go) and started The Death and Life of Great American Cities this morning. I've already polished off the first four chapters. It's probably the second greatest book I've ever read... In my endeavor to avoid the specticle of Pride Weekend here in Fresno's Tower District, I decided to do my reading downtown at Kern St Coffee house, where the Jacobs' narrative was given even more life in the context of a still-unfolding vision's movement.
I realize when I visit downtown Fresno that my city's old downtwon is far more funtional than most of the city planners and city residents make it seem. The place is teeming with life and wonderful to wile away a Saturday midday in the oppressive June heat. Not because of all the recent redevelopment, but in spite of it.
The Fresno city planners are perpetually disappointed with downtown. This is why I wonder how often they actually spend any appreciable amount of time there. Sure, the people walking its streets on a daily basis may not be of the economic or ethic class that the City Council envisions, and it is almost always difficult to take part in a conversation with a stranger without knowing at least some Spanish. But I love it there.
Fresno, largely because of perpetually depressed real estate prices, has an abundant time capsule of architecture. Everything from 1920s brick-clad high-rises to 1940s teal-painted office buildings to 1960s brutalist pillboxes to 1990s stucco nightmares is represented. It's absolutely beautiful. Where most downtown malls across the country failed and have since been removed, I'm beginning to believe that Fresno's Fulton Mall should stay as it is. It may not have the high rents and wealthy inhabitants Mayor Bubba wants, but all the shops are occupied, they do a brisk business in discount and ethnic goods, and they survive without subsidy, unlike most businesses in "renewal" areas. They pay their taxes and they keep the place safe and enjoyable even at night, with their busy Latin discos and edgy casinos.
I would hate to see City Hall move in and try to turn this into another "renewal project' as they propose. I see a bright future for downtown Fresno, provided it is left alone to develop in the organic and characteristic way it has the past decade or so. In fact, it's recent development has been almost entirely self-motivated. While City Hall has spent years trying to figure out how best to "revitalize" downtown (and done nothing more than build an odious stadium and raise the parking fees across the board), the city has gone ahead and grown and developed without any real decisions being made on the part of the local government. I kind of hope they keep it up. Let the bureaucrats spend many many years more trying to figure out how to bring suburban connectivity and Disneyland glossiness to downtown. So long as they are locked in their offices debating the issue, neither of these dubious goals will be accomplished, and downtown Fresno will flourish with the wonderfully dynamic atmosphere it has already...
[Monday 3 June 2002] Link
I've always hated drama. Whenever there's drama in my life, I start to feel like a cliche, or like I'm wearing my friends thin. Thus the past couple weeks, and their attendant family dramas are really getting on my nerves. The weekend passed in a relatively non-threatening way. I think everything will be OK. More than anything I think I just need to make sure I don't drag other people into potential dramas. I for one know how trying that can be on a friendship. Specifically, I don't want it to wear on David, who has been admirably patient with me.
Pay day today, on the new pay schedule. Follow-up check with Doc this morning. He says my blood pressure is better than it's been in 5 years (114/74 for those who are keeping track). So apparently the Accupril is working. He says I can do a bit of booze. "You don't want to get really drunk, that's all..." He says I may even be able to experiement with dropping the drugs in a year or so, since he suspects that much of the hypertension is stress-related...
So now to work on passing this horribly long week. Miss you terribly, baby.
[Monday 3 June 2002 - Later] Link
If you know where to look, I've written my first new dirty story in a while. Enjoy.
Now to think about dinner... Taco Bell beckons.
[Thursday 6 June 2002] Link
Apologies for being such a dud this week. I think I've been a little preoccupied with keeping myself from going crazy after not having seen my baby for almost 2 weeks. The amount of masturbation is getting ridiculous, I say...
[Thursday 6 June 2002 - Later] Link
New music of the moment now that I finally have my DSL back after a 2-week hiatus.
Superfluid show tonight. First one I'll have seen in many many months. I'll be recording it, of course. Maybe video even.
Whilst dressing tonight, I realized that the new up-sized wardrobe that I invested in less than 6 months ago is already too tight. It's time to definitely start watching what I eat... At least to save money...
[Friday 7 June 2002] Link
Things I should not do on a Thursday night if I plan on being at work Friday:
- Drink more than 2 beers
- Stay up after 1am
- Set my alarm for the usual extra half-hour earlier than needed
Things that would greatly improve my day:
- Food. Lots of it.
- Snogging with my baby for a few hours
- Sleep. Lots of it.
The latter will work best in that exact order, I think. With maybe a few more sprinklings of "Food."
[Monday 10 June 2002] Link
I, of course, had another wonderful, cozy, cuddly, relaxing, but all-too-swiftly-passing weekend with David. Now if only I hadn't developed this horribly persistent gastrointestinal ailment...
The car is in the shop for it's 120,000-mile service, as well as service to a persisting ABS problem. I feel fortunate to be able to say that I'm the one who put all of those miles on it. I bought that car (a 1994 red Chevy Beretta) brand new waaaay back in February 1994. I have put quite a bit of money into it as far as repairs and maintenance goes, but I think the investment has resulted in an admirably reliable vehicle, for its original cost of around 12 grand. That car took me to-and-from high school for 4 months, to-and-from college and part-time jobs for 4 years, and to-and-from college and full-time jobs for another 3.5 years. It's taken me to Las Vegas, Bishop, L.A., Cambria and San Francisco uncountable times, San Jose many times when my sister lived there, Sacramento and Santa Cruz for Creatures concerts, Mountain View to see New Order, San Luis Obispo to see the nearest premier of Female Perversions, and on a round-trip vacation to Portland and Seattle. Even Andrea commented on the memories of that car when I was driving her around Tacoma and Kent.
It's been hit by an uninsured little dipshit outside the Wal-Mart, by a drunk while parked outside my home, by a dump truck during neighborhood clean-up, and I've even put the odd nick or dent in it. But it sure has kept ticking strong. I like my car. I should give it its own feature here soon...
And so I'm stuck here at work for the time being. I'll probably be stealing a company truck for my lunch break. But I just thought I'd reminisce. Until recently, that car has been one of the most reliable, enjoyable long-term parts of my life.I've got a lot of history wrapped up in it, and I hope to hang onto it for years to come...
[Monday 10 June 2002 - Later] Link
I had the privelage of stepping outside with the welding mask and observing the eclipse this afternoon. Much fascinated and entertained was I.
I am really glad I got my medical insurance back in February. I have been using the hell out of it. My latest ailment is a combination of gastrointestinal problems which together result in much unpleasantness. I also really appreciate having a doctor who was willing to squeeze me in this afternoon rather than making me go to the urgent care ward. I'm very fortunate to have such an awesome Doc. He will be much missed when I relocate.
I obtained a new stack of tapes for my Siouxsie list. If anyone wants to trade, check out the list in the next day or so & I should have them posted.
And a big huge THANK YOU to Duncan for the birthday present: Dr. Stragelove - another one of my all-time favs. For those of you who haven't sent your presents yet, hurry! Only 20 days left!
[Tuesday 11 June 2002] Link
Car still in the shop. I have a zippy little Chevy Prizm rental in the meantime. She's smooth and quiet and feels suspiciously like a Carolla inside and out, but she gets me around. A thousand apologies to Andrea, who beat Duncan to the punch on the birthday present, but didn't manage to get it from the list...
Them Wish Lists are convenient for advertizing your desires to far-away friends, but it sure don't work well for inter-friend communication unless the rules are followed... And it will never be perfect until Amazon starts offering one-on-one naked sessions with porn stars... Or even run-of-the-mill celebs for that matter...
[Wednesday 12 June 2002] Link
I still love my car, but she can sure be a bitch sometimes... She took my entire July paycheck, damn it.
Looks like the marriage may have to be put on hold for another month or two, baby.
[Friday 14 June 2002] Link
A very dry past couple of weeks here, I admit. I just don't have much to say other than the complaints about the really inconvenient happenings in my financial world. And those are boring to anyone who isn't dependent upon said world. I hung out with Lauren last night. We were having fun easting sammiches and watching the satellite, but by 8ish we were also about to pass out. Maybe Subway spikes their bread with hash or something...
So tonight I should finally get to see my baby. That should greatly improve my mood - at least for the weekend - none of which any of you will read about, since I don't plan on being back to this page until Monday. Everyone have a fun weekend. Have you hugged your father lately?
[Monday 17 June 2002] Link
A snarky, vapid piece on the front page of Saturday's Chronicle inspired me to write my first new rant in a long time, regarding the recent debate on hate crimes legislation. The author advocated mob rule through unchecked democracy, and hate crimes legislation as a just means of enforcing official government ideology. "Democracy" and "hate" are call words which make the brainless ballast of society perk up and start their shrill screaming; but actually making people understand what they're screaming about is seldom the point of journalism. Would that journalists were more interested in reporting unslanted news and rational arguments than simply contrubiting to the ever-increasing shrillness of the screaming.
In other news, I had yet another wonderful weekend with David. We ate. A lot. We shopped. And we finally managed to meet up with Sister Betty Does. Much fun was had. I even managed to drink half a beer without feeling like crap the next day. Sunday involved a refreshingly drama-free barbecue with Dad. Tritip, potato salad and pork-n-beans. I'm still feeling the effects...
[Wednesday 19 June 2002] Link
Whether or not you liked the rant from Monday, you should check out the little tiff we've got going on David's message board. I was actually rather sheepishly proud of my own contribution...
[Wednesday 19 June 2002 - Later] Link
I haven't really yet managed a good rant about the current state of the ongoing war in Israel. But I realize I don't really have to right now, because Lileks has done such a good job, which reflects my own feelings almost entirely - if only for a very specific part of that conflict.
[Wednesday 19 June 2002 - Even Later] Link
I'm going to be moving my site hosting to Pair over the next couple days. The site may be down for a few hours while I get everything transferred. If you want to get in touch, use my contact form rather than my email until the switch is complete, sinc my email accounts will also be down during the switch.
[Monday 24 June 2002] Link
So I finally got everying working here on Pair. Soon I should have the forwarding working for the other domains. Then will come the project of another refurbishment, starting with changing that damn navigation graphic. If only I currently had an adequate image editor... If anything seems out of wack or disfunctional, let me know.
In other news, the past weekend included the following:
- Catching up on sleep
- The Penninsula
- Impulse purchases
- Home cookin'
- More home cookin'
- More driving
- More sex
- Assistance from a real web designer
You'll notice it was a rather depraved weekend. But At least now I have some tips for improving this site a little. And I have discovered that you Netscape users really need to Switch. Now. Why anyone is still using Netscape, I still fail to comprehend.
David and I drove down the peninsula after a hearty breakfast, taking the scenic 280 route, stopping by a killer old Dairy Queen, thrift shops (where I still failed to find any good work clothes), and Fry's. We shamelessly caved in to a bout of consumerism. Then back up the 101 to the ghetto Safeway and home in time to start the pork roast and watch some Cops. Sunday's drive was to the Über-Longs in Oakland, followed by a short tour of the seedier side of said city, lunch at the Emeryville Food Court (DO NOT get the Mediterranean food from the front counter - I got ripped off and accused of stealing!), and a loop through the downtown of San Francisco, where we reflected on the empty space where the Embarcadero Freeway once stood...
Only one week left to get your presents sent. My birthday is officially next Sunday, 30 June. But I'm holding the event this coming Saturday 29 June at Club Fred. Actually, for those who may be in the Fresno area and would like to attend, here's the low-down: We'll be starting with a pizza party at the Tower District Me-N-Ed's around 8pm on Saturday evening. Then we'll stumble on over to Fred's, where the agenda includes Sippy, Bowling and the 69ers. The Fred's line-up is a coincidence, but it's sure convenient. Everyone who wants to come along and celebrate the beginning of my second quarter-century is invited to attend the pizza party. You can contact me if you need better directions...
[Tuesday 25 June 2002] Link
I Changed my mind. Superfluid is playing Tokyo Garden the same night. This will help me with my sociophobia and claustrophobia, as well as allow me to remove the public part of the birthday party in favor of a more intimate thing.
I can tell you're all heartbroken...
[Wednesday 26 June 2002] Link
Today's link: Ugly People. Thanks to the The Front Row for the lead...
Duncan's still the only one that's sent me anything. The list is still there... I'm feeling so unloved...
New Music of the Moment, featuring Superfluid He3, who will be the featured entertainment at my party. Enjoy.
[Thursday 27 June 2002] Link
I agree with the Court. The majority of lawmakers and the majority of Americans think the 1954 version of the Pledge is better. This is because most lawmakers and most Americans are faith-based ballast. America is a secular state, and its laws should all be secular. America should have no institutions, laws or representatives that make reference to or base their policy upon faith or values which contradict the constitution.
I wrote an essay last October about how wrong I felt it was for the post-9/11 political rhetoric to make so many references to God - "God bless America" was the song of the year. That really disturbs me, because America is a secular nation. No legal system can survive without a secular morality, especially if it hopes to be free and noncultural. With every call for "In God we trust" and "God bless America", we buy into the morality of the terrorists and dictators that want to destroy us.
People should keep in mind that Eisenhower changed the Pledge in '54 as a reaction to the "Godless" Soviet Union. In reality, Soviet Russia had a more faith-based and mystical government than America has ever had. Eisenhower and MacArthur were convinced that the fight against communism was about God - rather than about economics or philosophy, like it really was. Communism didn't fall because America and the West became more Godly, it fell because it ate itself alive - like any cannibalistic slavery-based system would. The reciting of the Pledge should not be required of teachers, students or any other American in the first place, with or without it's '54 addition. If only that had been the basis of the court's ruling, rather than just toying with the syntax.
In other news: MCI Bye Bye... As if everyone didn't see that one coming. The most disorganized, horribly mismanaged telecoms company - which as far as I'm concerned has been a laughing stock for years already - announces that all their plans for reorganization and better management resulted in the discovery of even worse management. If I was working on that sinking ship, I'd have bailed 2 years ago. I'd like to see Sidgmore try to find a job paying more than minimum wage the rest of his life (if he's not in jail). Funny Andersen was WorldCom's accountant as well - maybe Enron wasn't as evil as we assumed - maybe it was Andersen all along?
[Friday 28 June 2002] Link
I've made a few changes, you may notice. New pic, no more annoying plain text in the navigator column, and a few clean-ups throughout the site. I finally finished my Bookstore, and now have no remaining "incomplete" pages. Of course, every web site is a work in progress, but I do dislike having pages with obvious unfinished bits.
I also have found that regarding the Pledge drama, sometimes the simplest statements say it best...
Now to reflect on the fact that my birthday party will in fact be a small affair but at least it will include my most beautiful boy, a seedy little downtown restaurant, one of my favorite local bands and maybe even some liquor.
Here's to a few more enjoyable quarter-centuries...
[Friday 28 June 2002 - Later] Link
Finally fixed up all the Pair accounts, and hopefully soon I have some content going at the other sites (right now they all just forward here). I'm also waiting with baited breath to see if I get commissined to host the web site of a particular band I happen to be working on something for right now...
Second birthday surprise comes courtesy of Chuck, who managed to forward a wonderfully cheesy e-card. A man of my own heart. Here's to a nonthreatening twenty-fifth.