I believe I am authorized to reveal that David has broken up with Carlos. You will of course recall these adorable Mexicans as exemplars of love at first sight, explored more fully elsewhere. Carlos is still a bit of a mess. David, like all beautiful cads, has nary a care in the world.
I miss my dead boyfriend Tom, and the jittery Dutchman Jerome. I resent one of the tall big sysadmin queens I met, and I regret complicating the life of the other one, who is a complete sweetie and hung very well indeed, an unusual combination. He’s back in the nation of Pacifica now.
Nick was really killing me for a few weeks. Without question, it was love, and he blew it, meaning he blew it for me autant que lui. I’m mostly done with Blogging Nick. Should be up this week. It’ll get me in loads of trouble.
Do I sound unhappy? Well, I am, honey.
One has come into possession of the very last issue ever of Diseased Pariah News, the scabrous AIDS zine with the highest production values south of Poz.
Why the very last? All the founders are dead. Beowulf Thorne finally kicked the bucket. One recalls visiting the ACT library to read all available back issues (some of which may still be found at This Ain’t). We loved the porn reviews, and the simple explanation of how everyone in the zine got the big H: From Danger Penis.
We recall a naked centerfold from Toronto’s own Kevin Bryson, still very big on getting fucked. (The butchest numbers always are.)
En tout cas, DPN Nº 11 goes out with a bang. The back-cover advertisement for AZT Lite will live in infamy:
"I realized that I wasn’t like all of the other boys, that I somehow didn’t fit in... I was the only one not taking AZT." [...] Introducing AZT Lite® in ultra-low 0.1 mg capsules. That’s right, now you can enjoy all the glamour of those stylish blue-and-whites with none of the side-effects! And to make you stand even closer in solidarity with all of your friends, you’ll pay the same outrageous price as for the regular full-strength capsules!
Always been a fan of the recipe column, “Get Fat, Don’t Die!” One is a fan thereof because of the drubbing some registered dietitian got in the Xtra fagrag for counselling that fat intake is not the primary concern of HIV-positives. Of course it isn’t, but the health Nazis and pedants in the audience wrote in. (Now we find there is some truth to the concern about low-fat eating given that heart disease is more and more common in long-term survivors, hastened by the ironically acronymized HAART.) In this issue, some kind of squid marinade: “Let’s see if having better-designed eyes helps the little fuckers defend themselves in the kitchen.”
A very disturbing article on CMV retinitis (you’ll be clutching your eyes and tensening your guts all the way through). And picture my surprise to find a well-written softcore Latino AIDS porn short story concerning a red-haired hockey player, of whom there are only two in the pro leagues, neither of them living in Vancouver. But we all can dream. “Last time a straight guy set foot in my place (two of them, in fact) was when the paramedics dragged me out on a stretcher.”
In the vein of “Are You a Serocloseted Republican?” (the famous illustrated parody), “The Well-Dressed AIDS Terrorist” depicts just which toolbelts are effective for toting vials of blood for tactical use.
Recommended soundtrack with which to enjoy DPN: “Positive Bleeding” d’Urge Overkill and “Superdeformed” de Matthew Sweet.
Selon Michael Dinsmore, Macs are a myth. Kids he teaches have no idea what a Macintosh is. Computer equals Windows.
Although most [students] have a computer at home, only 1/4 of those that are familiar with computers have ever heard of the Macintosh, or realize that there is another platform choice. Those that realize that there is such a thing as a Mac consider it, at best, of some historical importance, but no more relevance to today than the Model T. At worst, they simply sneer, although they haven’t actually ever worked on one. [...] My students have had no chance to make this decision--it’s been made. They grow up with a PC, they learn on a PC, and, if they consider a Mac at all, it is as a historical anachronism rather than a viable computing choice. [...] These are the same people that will buy computers in the next 4 years, as they go off to college, and in the next 8 years, when they enter the workforce. These are the same people that will sit in committees that make IT purchases for their corporation. Apple needs to win more of this new generation, and they had better do it fast. Although they needn’t actually make sales, they do need to present a strong enough alternative that their option is at least considered. As it is, Mac isn’t even within the scope of their perspective. Otherwise, in 4 years, when these college computers are purchased, Macs will surely be relegated to the “dustbin of history.”
In recent OLing, I sat next to an 18-year-old. He’d seen a Mac – once. And had never, ever heard of Rush, Foreigner, the Eagles, or Stevie Nicks.
It’s all very Handmaid’s Tale. Grow up using nothing but Windows and the use of anything but Windows is literally inconceivable.
Why am I not writing more? I’m rather barren. Have the long-delayed Blogging Nick treatise partly done, and already I’m imagining (a) girls or (b) clients reading it and turning green.
So I am waiting. I am not good at waiting.
I adore Paddy Chayefsky’s Network. There’s only so much I can say without writing an entire mash page, which I’m not into. Is there a better script in the history of the American studio system? (Maybe The Player, The Rapture, and indeed anything by Michael Tolkin.)
And I’m sorry, but “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore” (that’s the correct quote) isn’t even remotely the most memorable line in the film.
– Hi. I’m Diana Christensen, a racist lackey of the imperialist ruling circles.
– I’m Loreen Hobbs, a badass commie nigger.
– Sounds like the basis of a firm friendship.
And, with special relevance to my own personality (a comparison to Howard Beale would flatter me):
Your network news show is going to need some help, Max, if it’s going to hold. Beale doesn’t do the angry-man thing very well at all. He’s too, uh, kvetchy. He’s being irascible. We want a prophet, not a curmudgeon. He should do more apocalyptic doom. I think you should take on a couple of writers to write some jeremiads for him.
The Homosexualist Softball World Series is in town, which means big American guys with the big American breasts, if I may appropriate an early and seemingly unrelated stevemartinism. The question immediately became: How many of them are red-haired?
None. I checked. And all the black guys were homely.
However, last night at the Eagle, I was standing on the patio, quite truly minding my own business, when a tall, handsome red-haired fellow walked past, stopped, did a double-take, and peered quickly at the monogrammed swoosh insignia on my old-as-shite tennis shirt. (I’ll wear it till it falls apart, but I look like a nerd in it, or too prissy – or, last night, both.)
Hmm. The gears of my mind rewound to an old Woody’s best-legs contest, where the disagreeable transvestite hostess dragged a tall young fella onto the stage, whose name was soon revealed as Mike. If you ever have the chance to sleep with a redhead, do, she told us. Mike lost the contest (his legs, while not exactly of Rick Hansen thinness, were nothing to rub your knuckles along) and got the fuck off the stage pronto.
I chatted him up. You looked a bit mortified up there. Yeah, he said. I thought I was gonna fuckin’ die. Mike was later seen sashaying around town with a couple of friends.
And there he was again, last night. I was sure of it.
A minute shaking of the head, and a the beginnings of a telltale smirk.
– Have we met?
He mosied off to the john. I stood there puzzled for a minute, then went after him. Bumped into my bar buddy Dan, recounted the incident. This Mike surrogate reappared and dried his face. Quite freckly and boyishly handsome, delicately coloured, with excellent red chest hair. ("Hey, it is pretty red," Dan noted.) This fella was a bit more muscular than the Mike of yore.
– You’re not from here?
– Your name isn’t Mike?
Shakes his head.
– You’re in town for the softball?
– Well, I gotta tell you, you’ve got an absolute clone walking around in this town –
at which point he walked off downstairs.
As Radboy so eloquently puts it in War Boy, WTF?
After a discreet interval, I headed down to find him.
– Ohh-kaaay. Let’s take this from the top. Hi! My name’s Joe. What’s yours?
I start asking him if he’s really not from here (gullible, or what?) and then he chokes on his beer. Back upstairs.
A further discreet interval. I track him down. I also track down Dan and a second acquaintance, and fill them both in. Another tall sexy condescending Mike passes by and ignores me as I acknowledge him. This is getting too convoluted, too Hollywood-screwball-comedy. Yet in this bar, no one is apt to cry “Babalu!”
Once he gets out of the stall (with, suspiciously, his pants done up and his fly unzipped), all three of us ask redhead Mike if he’s OK. He kind of nods and grins in an inebriated way, and walks smartly off, tweaking my swoosh insignia en route.
And for someone with such notable hair and skin colouration, he sure as fuck made himself invisible quickly.
So what happened?
Well, obviously, this was the same Mike as seen at Woody’s. And Dan recounts that he does have a tendency to lie. Then again, he smokes dope on the Eagle patio all the time (activating his cloak of invisbility: I’ve never seen him), and last night he was drinking, so apparently Mike is a drunken lying drug-addled redhead.
What more could I ask?
Trust Dame Edna to combine understatement, neologism, and geek-style backformation:
Please ovate as I introduce the very acceptable Tony Curtis.
I’ve used the phrase before, very acceptable. It’s almost neiltennantesque in its understatement. As praise, it is not unnuanced.
Remember Sassy, the allegedly progressive grrrl magazine? I do. I read it from cover to cover. Consolidated should’ve written a song about it. (They were, after all, contemporaries.) The magazine claimed to espouse feminism and progressive thinking not to be found in Teen Beat, but every issue featured make-up and/or dating tips.
Surprise: An entire Sassy mash page, complete with patently illegal scans and uploads, and a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile of Sassy-style writing. (Didn’t Kurt Vonnegut say that any reasonably talented college student could write a Kurt Vonnegut novel in a few weeks, and that he received a couple of them every month?)
Disappointed not to find the article mentioned one fine day by Miss Meryn Cadell, entitled simply “...And They’re Gay.”
iCab 2.1a is out. Crashed on me once. Renders my pages spectacularly well, given that it is the only browser anywhere that really, truly supports HTML 4.0, including sexy favourite tags like
longdesc, and of course
title on absolutely everything.
The program also validates your code for you.
What’s not to like?
In the last two weeks, I’ve met two system administrator queens, both substantially over six feet tall and heavier than 200 pounds, at the Black Eagle.
– I’m a systems administrator.
– [Not believing any other options are possible] NT or Unix?
– Macintosh, actually.
– No, OS/2.
And they share the same first name. What are the odds?
Spending too much time on NUblog, reading Survivor (no relation) by Palahniuk, procrastinating scouting clients (met one this week; saw contenunian Emma Jane in situ), putting off writing very extensive book pitch, and fighting my shitbox of a computer for every last kilobyte of disc space. It’s to the point where I am offloading Eudora mailboxes of active mailing lists to save space. Word ate up 1.1 MB in temp files for a 52 KB document.
Furthermore, I am melancholy.
Spadina Bus nerds:
Unpopular in high school
Ah, yes. Spadina Bus, the “industry” party that did nothing but showcase its organizers’ grand delusions and deafen and parch its North Toronto participants.
And now they’ve topped themselves!
Today I received a superexclusive snatchmail. No doubt penned on a Wintel system, a platform rife with viruses and security breaches that were front-page news for weeks during the springtime, the snatchmail came equipped with three attachments, including a .exe file. Just the sort of thing that eats Windows hard drives for breakfast.
And these are the crème-de-la-crème of the Toronto nouveaux-médias demimonde?
(One notes also the assumption of a high-speed connection to download these wank files in the blink of an eye.)
The Spadina Busites, having already proven their incorrigible lack of cool, taste, and common sense, give themselves enough rope:
The next Spadina Bus e-cluster event will be a “streetcar party” on the 24th of August. Talk about close quarters networking!
SURVIVOR Street Car Party
Thursday, August 24th, 2000
Tickets: $20/person (max. 250 people)
Attire: casual (survivor-ware? [sic])
Have you survived SURVIVOR? Did you see all the episodes, follow the alliances ... and the romances? Do you wonder why Greg was not voted off the island sooner (cell-phones are bad enough, but talking into a coconut? ... yikes!)? Why the camera crew seems to like to take shots of Richard’s love-handles? Come out for an evening of internetworking, socializing and SURVIVOR games. You will join one of 2 tribes for the evening and compete for prizes as you travel through the Spadinabus.com area via TTC street car.
Ohh-kaaay. So we’ve got uptight social dysfunctionists paying twenty bucks to take unscheduled public transit in a tawdry, third-hand facsimile of a tawdry, second-hand facsimile of a television program.
These losers couldn’t survive being marooned at the corner of Queen and Spadina, let alone a trip to Ward’s fucking Island. (Where would I hot-sync my Palm?)
It appears that industry parties have become the high-budget, high-tech surrogate for pocket protectors as a dead giveaway of misanthropy, cluelessness, and a future filled with further misanthropy and cluelessness.
Would you like an attached file with that?
I met the lad named George Stroumboulopoulos at the now-infamous TSN “creative meeting.” A rather vicious comedy writer, with an air that he always knows better.
He certainly knows more people. George parlayed a middle-of-the-night DJ slot on CFNY into a high-profile daytime gig. All I remember is his glib, I’m-superior-to-all-this-and-deeply-unimpressed interviewing style.
I’m sorry, George, but you’re not that cool, and if there’s one thing I hate about Toronto, it’s the meme of checking out cultural works, as in “X-Men is worth checking out.” The image that comes to mind is of a self-consciously cool mid-20s woman (a class responsible for particularly bad Web sites and abysmal Canadian captioning) popping her head into various concerts, films, and parties in the run of a night, always with an aloof superiority – merely checking it out, as if her worldliness allows her to evaluate the whole scene in the blink of an eye. Her hauteur prevents her from feeling. That would be messy; she wouldn’t be surfing over the artworks, checking them out, were she leaving herself open to any kind of emotional engagement.
And God forbid that a radio DJ actually be a fan of a band he interviews. Or a foe. George’s radio interviewing style took that pretense to new dimensions. Let’s not be so corporate, sterile, distant, and safe, George.
Of course, that’s all behind him. I was somewhat surprised to hear that George had been subbed into The New Music. I was not at all surprised to read of his ascension to host of Loud, the lousy MuchMusic heavy-metal show that has improved noticeably with George’s presence. (A bit taken aback by George’s hosting a punk show on CFNY sponsored by Epitaph.)
George has, however, won me over completely. L’homme Stroumboulopoulos belongs on television. He hides behind the silver-rimmed sunglasses a bit too much; his eyes are large, and their sensitive nature is something George may want to hide; it clashes with the image of index-and-little-finger-extended headbanger manqué. George nonethless looks fab in his all-black attire. The Beëlzebubbian pointed goatee mostly works. Like the choker; works better than on the Volt kids. Still quite trim for an old fart, and quick on the mark.
Only one nugget of advice: When throwing to a video, mention the name once. Use a complete sentence and shut the fuck up. Listen to what you’re actually doing. You sound like MuchMusic megaditz Rachel fuckface Perry.
A new Situationist History: Putting Out the Fire with Vaseline, my journey through (glam-)rock night at the El Mo. A three-redhead, two-skinhead party where I am as visible as a pane of glass.
Rather in the vein of Situationist Histories, where I posit that seemingly small-scale happenings can loom far larger than the Major Life Events® we’re supposed to commit to our memoirs, my orbit has been jogged off its axis by Boring Postcards.
Mentioned en passant in a British newspaper article (no available online reference) on how Dull may become the new Interesting, the Phaidon book lavishly showcases 170 boring postcards from 1950s Britain.
Have I ever not been around: Boring Postcards are part of the collection of Martin Parr, a famed British photographer whose own photos often capture the mundane, albeit brilliantly. (Photography is supposed to refocus the eye.) An extended series of photos of Parr himself, situated in boring locations over the decades, comes out this year.
Boring Postcards is hard to read unironically. The parallel is viewing a western at the end of the 20th century. I saw the film Rio Bravo in an audience of hipster cinéastes. How can you take a western seriously these days? Everyone in the audience asserted their hauteur and distance by sniggering at the dialogue (from Howard Hawks, revered by the same cinéastes in canonical rat-a-tat-tat comedies like His Girl Friday) as if it were unintentionally hilarious – until it dawned on people that the film was meant sincerely.
Here we’re dealing with the distinction between kitsch and camp. Camp isn’t taken seriously at any time from the moment it’s born, whereas when it comes to kitsch, somebody really loved it. Boring Postcards spends a lot of time documenting social architecture, with a great many dining halls, shopping malls, and hotel lobbies, whose inhabitants are improbably well-dressed even for an era when the wearing of a suit was merely expected.
It’s as if Britons will do well after all, and will climb the social ladder, if everyone learned to dress well and aspire to the variety of infrastructure the postcards depict – power plants, campgrounds, “leisure” cottages, hotels and motels, airports, suburban subdivisions ("Pleasantly situated split-level houses in Cumberland"), and, crucially for the British psyche, motorways.
The effect is futuristic – the futurism of an idealistic era when consumer products signified a clean, prosperous life and, it must be said, the military-industrial complex had not evolved into Mulder’s military-industrial-entertainment complex. (That phrase has more than a grain of truth buried in layers of protective irony.)
Boring Postcards is a step back in time. I grew up in the dying gasps of this futurism, as expressed in Popular Science architectural drawings for hexagonal beachfront houses. ("Why, it’s so modern! It’s ultramodern! It’s like living in the not-too-distant future!") I watched every episode of Monty Python. I feel like I’m nicotine-stained by British modernism.
I never lived in that world, but, poring over my magazines, part of my me lived there and has never left. (Especially car mags, by the way. The possession I most want back from my childhood isn’t a sled or a teddy bear but a Citroën SM brochure – apparently available!)
The book twisted the psychic knife a few more turns through the colour palettes of the postcards, either deadly-dull dun or as Technicolor-bright as Play-Doh. The deep blues, the bitable reds, the sky blue straight outta 3-D movies – the hues make my heart sing. And I mean that. I’m a visualist.
(And for the record, several apartments of mine had walls of similar hues. I searched out the brightest yellow in town, painted it alongside light green down the hall from deep red, sky blue, burnt orange. Prison is a white room.)
Another strength of Boring Postcards? Documentarism. What was the world like in Britain in the 1950s? Through these individual frames, we know. I hope we find a way to preserve people’s home videos for posterity. That footage, along with snapshots, diaries, and compilation music tapes, will tell future generations a great deal about how we lived today, because for us, we can’t rely on postcards. They’re passé. Boring, even.
Sequels are planned for boring American and German postcards. I think the format should be licensed. I certainly would pay to see compiled postcards for Ottawa suburbs and the construction of Pearson Airport. Meanwhile, there’s got to be something boring about Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, and Hobart, and God help us when we get around to Auckland and Wellington.
(Unrelated boring postcards.)
Stood Up by Microsoft is now its own page. And yes, I name ’em now. The Microsoft Network stood me up at its own altar.
When was the last time you were treated properly by a would-be employer in the technology industry?
I’m behind on my updates. Boring Postcards and Vaseline, the queer rock night at the El Mo, are on the dock. I’m waiting till my OL meter runs out.
Which of the following do y’all like as a colour scheme for search boxes on this page? (You need functioning stylesheets to see the colours, and of course functioning colour vision.) If I were more of a shit-hot HTML coder, I’d give you a nice form to fill in with your votes, but since I lack that skill, mail me. (You can also suggest other colour combos, particularly those drawn from some palette other than browser-safe. I’m asking for help here.)
Some browsers that support
FORM will show you a tooltip or otherwise display some words describing each colour combo. (Metadata, baby.) Type colours in the Search button are particularly elusive.
If you’re of a mind to suggest something more sedate, don’t bother. I’m into flaming for August.
Final week of OLing, thank heavens.
Updates to be staggered through the week, as is the practice at NUblog.
Archives are now subdivided by month. Full-on Zopification may happen by fall. I’m not reducing the size of this page till August, whether you like it or not.
I have terminated Tales of the Toolbox. Why?
Ron and Glenn, and for all I know other people, have lost trust in me altogether. I ran into Ron the other day at the Toolbox, and at one point he uttered the phrase “I choose not to answer”; at another point, he walked smartly away from me as though I were carrying a Betacam connected by satellite uplink to a live CNN feed. Meanwhile, someone keeps plugging the word glenn into the search engine of this site.