Today’s Bullet-List

Posted in About Me on January 9th, 2006 by Дмитрий
  • My first real Xmas celebration - on Xmas, with hubby and family and tree and all - was immensely fun and I’m sad it’s over.
  • I’m contemplating the possibility of entering the real estate market in a Carolina community other than Charlotte.
  • I’m officially a telecommuter.
  • I’m enjoying porn more than usual lately.
  • I’m enjoying being home with the hubby very much.
  • I’m liking the friends I’ve made since I got to the East Coast.
  • I head back to San Francisco on the 21st, and will most likely spend more time updating when I’m there.
  • I really should update, considering I’ve got tons of pictures and stories from the past couple months I’ve failed to share.

Get Out

Posted in Sods on January 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Closet cases bug me in every way imaginable.

 

If you are not queer, you most likely won’t have a problem with being “falsely” branded as queer by some random asshole, and the truth will more likely than not come out when you bang your next opposite-sexed person.

 

If you are queer and trying to play it all secret-like, you have earned my sincere disrespect and can expect me to be first in line with the hatchet at your closet door. Going to great lengths to conceal your preferences presupposes a guilty conscience and a large degree of self-loathing. People that talk about “wanting to keep their private life private” are queer haters, and no different from the fagbashing frat boys who say stuff like “they can do what they want as long as I don’t have to see it”.

 

Your sexual preference is not part of your “privacy” - as soon as you fiddle with someone’s genitals, your sexual preference becomes public domain.

Why Chinese is Good for You

Posted in Economics, Rants on January 15th, 2006 by Дмитрий

The rise of modern China is one of the most lamented events in the news today. never before have I seen such an inevitable occurrence be so roundly loathed from every desk and aisle and corner of the globe (save, of course, China and the Chinese diaspora itself). I, for one, think this is wholly wrong-headed.

The primary reasons I hear to disdain the rise of modern China include its autocratic government and that government’s consequent effect on the lives of the Chinese themselves, the alleged economic losses China’s rise will supposedly precipitate in the current dominant world economies, and the security threat posed by a wealthy, powerful, populous China. I’m open to anyone who can provide additional objections, but these three seem to sum up all the ones I’ve heard til now.

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Social Networking and Popularity Contests

Posted in Misanthropy on January 17th, 2006 by Дмитрий

I know I needn’t complain about things I needn’t subject myself to, but I notice a large number of people - on LiveJournal, MySpace, all the social-networking sites - tend to collect ‘friends’ numbering in the 100s… If you use your journal/site to advertise your music/work I can see this, as it allows you to individualize your advertising and be better at ‘direct marketing’. But I doubt this many people are actually advertising their shows or art with their weblog/site. Rather, as someone mentioned in my previous post, it seems like a popularity contest.

 

I don’t really care much for popularity - I’ve never been very popular, and I doubt I ever will. The key for me is that I only have so much room for ‘friends’ - meaning people I want to interact with either in person or online.

 

The Economist had an article about evolution in their Xmas issue, which alluded to the idea that in ‘real life’, humans tend to aggregate into bands of about 150, even in our post-hunter-gatherer world. We tend to lose touch with distant relatives if we have a large immediate family, and lose track of old friends when we make new ones. In most cases, I tend to scoff at arguments for the hard-wiredness of human behavior. What I do agree with, however, is that the scope of a human’s ability to remember faces and quickly recall data about a person’s character and history is limited.

 

Technology has widened the scope of our ability to maintain contact with distant people, and better-enabled us to communicate and forge bonds with people we would otherwise not know at all. However, it does little in the way of help us better manage the masses of personal information we are inherently capable of managing.

 

I’ve got several dozen friends and family that are not online, and if you add in the people who have websites outside of the social networking sites, I’d say there is room for 75-100 interesting souls that I could keep up with and genuinely care about knowing. That’s why I tend to revise my contact lists often - when I find new people I want to keep up on, I have to decide whether I want to keep up with them more than the more marginal members of my existing list.

 

This is why when I see someone who is not a DJ/musician/artist/shopkeeper who has like 1000 people in their ‘friends’ list, I simply wonder ‘why?’.

The Password You Have Attempted is Not Valid

Posted in Get In My Head, Work on January 20th, 2006 by Дмитрий

I hate passwords. They were specifically designed by the software industry to make our lives hell and remove any blame for that state of hell from themselves. “O, well, you failed to give yourself a secure password, so it’s not our fault you got hacked”. “O, you forgot your password, then we’ll have to give you a tomato flogging and an anal probe and then maybe if you let us fuck your mother we’ll change it for you, and maybe even tell you what we’ve changed it to.”

Depending on what security software a website, program or file is using, there are about 5,000 different standards of password protocol. Like “must end in a number”, “must not end in a letter”, “must contain at least 3 numbers and 2 letters and one of the following special characters: [email protected]#$?>:(”, “must have three numbers followed by four letters followed by two more numbers whilst still being only 8 characters total and utilizing no ‘m’ or ‘6′ and cannot look like your name or sound like anyone you know when phonetically pronounced in a Semitic language”.

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The San Francisco Treat

Posted in San Francisco, Travel on January 21st, 2006 by Дмитрий

I made two distinct changes to my trip this time around that I’m already immensely happy about:

 

  1. I flew nonstop on USAir rather than deal with AirTran’s horrible layovers and customer service
  2. I checked into a hotel in the far-flung Inner Richmond, away from the bustle of the tourist areas. It’s cheaper than any other hotel I could find, but the sheets, bedspread, furniture and all seem almost new. It’s got a big TV, a fridge and a microwave. I think I’ll like it here, especially since it’s only a few steps from my favorite neighborhood on the other side of Park Presidio.

So I’m here. Again.

You Know You’re in San Francisco When…

Posted in San Francisco on January 22nd, 2006 by Дмитрий

…During your first bus ride of the day you overhear:

 

“I was at the Kimberly Clark protest this morning. They cut down Old Growth Forests.”

 

“That’s cool. I’m writing a paper about all the uses hemp has. It’s so stupid that Prohibition is keeping us from having better clothes and paper and stuff, just coz the government doesn’t want the people to have hemp.”

 

I’ve decided that I will from now on buy only products containing a minimum 10% Old Growth Forest content. Besides, Spotted Owl is yummy.

O Canada

Posted in Canadophilia on January 24th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Poor souls who have spent the past year or so plotting to escape our emerging fascist dictatorship for the great white north needn’t feel too disheartened by the shift in political balance on the other side of the 49th.

 

  • “Right wing” in Canada is sort of like Hillary Clinton in the US.

  • Trying to revoke legal marriages months or years after they’ve been approved is, as Massachusetts is learning, exceedingly difficult.

  • Canada will still probably have better finances than the US for years to come, if not for ever at this point.

  • After my first winter on the East Coast, I’m convinced that the US has nothing but pussy winters.

  • No one as creepy-looking as Stephen Harper can possibly be kept in office for long without the arrival of the apocalypse.

So don’t lose hope. Someday you may be able to take those French classes, or find a marriage of convenience with one sex or another, or get a job for an oil company.

 

Just remember to leave your porn and fetish supplies behind when loading up the UHaul.

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Screeds for your Friday Enjoyment

Posted in Media on January 27th, 2006 by Дмитрий

I’m not a big fan of movies in general, but two recent movies (or at least their marketing and word-of-mouth, as I have not seen them) annoy me immensely: Brokeback Mountain and Nanny McPhee.

 

Nanny McPhee is being marketed as “The New Mary Poppins”. This may be potentially true as far as the story/plot goes (again, I’ve not seen it), but in terms of aesthetics, it is massively insulting to Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins was Practically Perfect in Every Way - Julie Anrdrews was gorgeous and stylish, with rosy cheeks and beautifully controlled hair. Nanny McPhee is self-consciously ugly - that seems to be a primary plot point, in fact. I assume the reason is that we are to be reminded that “looks don’t matter” (another misguided postmodern perception that no one ever takes seriously, I might add), but that alone should be a reason to avoid comparisons with Poppins, whose appearance alone was an important part of the story.

 

Brokeback Mountain’s mere existence has been pissing me off for months. I’ve skimmed past redundant reviews of the thing and seen numerous journalers comment on how “groundbreaking” it is… No - King of the Hill featuring the Gay Rodeo five years ago on prime-time TV was more ground-breaking, and even that wasn’t. I listen to sissy metrosexual straight guys talk about how important the movie is, thinking that it makes them seem sensitive and cosmopolitan. It don’t. I’m sick of these faggy coming-of-age-homo-martyr movies. If you want a movie about faggotry, fine. Just don’t try to act like it’s some huge important event. Fags have had movies for decades; Hollywood’s been out of the closet since the 50s. Homos aren’t victims anymore - just pussies who prefer to have people feel sorry for us than to stand up for ourselves, most of the time. The mere fact that every bit of commentary on Brokeback Mountain seems to play the ‘justice to sods’ card is proof that homos have a long way to go in seeing themselves as equals in society, a prerequisite for obtaining any semblance of ‘equality’.

 

Another jarring thing I came to realize last night is that there are now quite regular Spanish-language commercials on many English-language channels here in SF. The jarring part is that I didn’t even give it much notice until last night - either because the music of foreign tongues is one of the attractive parts of being in SF or because I’m growing immune to commercials in general (or at least the ones that don’t show some new shiny gadget I’m interested in).

 

A news story from the other morning: “Why staring can help you get a date - details on this new and increasingly popular technique” (italics mine). Now, pardon my stupidity, but isn’t this called cruising? And haven’t fags been doing it for decades/centuries? And didn’t straight people pick up on it quite a while ago as well? This ain’t news, especially not in Homo-Central.

 

I have more, but this entry’s too long already…

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More Sodomite Misogyny

Posted in Misogyny on January 30th, 2006 by Дмитрий

One thing most sods never manage to fully enjoy is the ability to mould their dwelling into something which matches their personalities as men - interior decorating is so soggy with femininity that even men who have absolutely no reason to use feminine ideas to treat their home tend to do it anyway, since pop culture gives them so few immediate alternatives.

 

I’ve never - NEVER - met a straight guy who had a masculine dwelling - even in the loosest sense of that term. Even the most misogynist wife-beating macho straight guys have flowery frilly master bedrooms and pastels pastels pastels everywhere. It seems to have gotten worse over the years - I remember growing up in the late 70s/early 80s when our home was all dark wood panelling and olive green carpet - it was at least marginally mannish.

 

My parents’ current home is all pastels and cream carpeting, blonde oak furniture and floral prints. It would be less alarming if I could convince myself it’s just homemaker trends which will pass with time, but I think there’s something more sinister under the surface…

 

Anyway, I decided long ago that when I had control over my abode (read: when I buy a house - hopefully within the next year), there will exist not a single intentional pastel in the place. I want a 60s mod house full of burnt oranges, pea greens and crimson reds. Dark wood panelling and shit-brown shag carpet. I’m fortunate to live with a man who equally values a more classical concept of a living space, and probably has some even more radical ideas than I on removing our abode as far as possible from frilly 90s suburban soccer momhood.

 

I won’t even go into the bastardizations of a powerful business environment that have happened to modern office spaces. If they aren’t non-functional post-modern disasters, they’re bland, whitewashed soccer-mom storage cabinets. The past few decades have seen a predominantly male business class replaced with a primarily female office class - even the half of the offices composed of men are composed of the sexless metrosexualized boy-things that belong more in Banana Republic ads than behind computer screens.

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News Rant

Posted in Media on January 31st, 2006 by Дмитрий

E! shares a channel with Bloomberg here. How much more inappropriate a pairing could there be? Luckily, E! is only on from 8am-2am, so I get to see my stock crack in the morning. Alas, that all changed this morning because we all know that live coverage of the Oscar nominations is more important than global finance and business news…

 

And why, oh why, is commercial news so addicted to live coverage? In 98% of all instances in which it is used, it is unnecessary. Live coverage is appropriate for major political speeches and breaking emergency news events, but it’s used for everything from minor interviews with non-celebs to being “live on the scene” hours or days after anything happened at said scene. How many times does one have to see a reporter in front of a dark store at 5.30am talking about the fact that it was robbed 18 hours ago?

 

Not only unnecessary, the addiction to live coverage makes news virtually unwatchable/unlistenable to me. I’d say about every 15 minutes of news I watch, I see at least one instance of the anchors having to interrupt those they’re interviewing or those on the street reporting because they’re ‘out of time’ - meaning they’ve lost control of their commercial fill. If they were pre-recording and pre-editing, their news cast would be glossy and professional, rather than jarring and annoying.

 

Oh, but I forgot. News is not about conveying knowledge and information, it’s about building celebrity and puffing up the self-importance of the reporter (or in the case of Fox News, the network). It’s not about the news, but about the newscaster’s relationship with the news. You don’t have to look any further than that skinny cracker piece of you-know-what Anderson Fucking Cooper, whose smirking mug is arguably more annoying than President Bush’s, not to mention the fact that it’s smeared on my TV more often than the President’s. That’s because he’s such an insightful reporter, able to whip up tears by patting the head of a Katrina survivor or whip up anger talking about the injustices in the world or whip up courage chatting with Iraqi soldiers (that’s called sarcasm, kiddies!).

 

Gawd, I hate commercial news. I want my fucking NPR. Or at least my fucking Economist.

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Art - Ask for it.

Posted in Assholery on February 1st, 2006 by Дмитрий

OK, you asked for it. Fuck art.

This campaign includes billboards plastered all over San Francisco talking about how children to not recognize who Caravaggio was, of PSAs interrupting my stock crack on Bloomburg featuring a little girl who asks her dad to read her a planning and ordinance tome and another child changing the radio station to financial news in their parents’ car. They are trying to say these children are defective, nevermind that such children would probably grow up to be far more interesting and successful people than a child who spends their whole youth watching Gilbert & Sullivan musicals.

Fuck art. If these self-rightous morons think that art is more important to emphasize to obviously gifted children than the passions actually driving these children, they deserve the society they’ll get from it. I was one of those kids who would rather have read the encyclopedia than Huck Finn when I was young. As an adult, I would rather attend a planning session at City hall than the Opera. I would rather put my money into stocks and watch it grow than throw it into subsidies for a symphony and watch the hall be at half capacity on good nights.

Thus, I’m defective in some way. Society suffers from my lack of appreciation of art. Fine. Fuck Art.

I hereby declare war on art. Specifically, war on self-righteous, logic-loathing, economy-destroying art advocates. Fuck Art.

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Another Weekend in Fresno Flies By

Posted in Family, Fresno on February 5th, 2006 by Дмитрий

I love visiting my family, and I love seeing my hometown and my new niece. But every visit makes me a little more depressed and anxious.

 

My visits to Fresno lately have been declining in quality, it seems. So much is happening to Fresno, from new communities and new freeways and a new downtown skyline, but all I ever seem to see is the stale stretch of freeway between my sister’s home and my parents’. I’m usually rushing between the two or waiting for someone else to do so. In a 48 hour stay I should be able to find a 4-hour block to spend driving around and seeing all the strange changes and mutations this fast-growing city has undergone since I stopped living in it almost four years ago. But such a chance is never to be found in several dozen visits over the past few years…

 

I’ve always said I should plan a trip here with a rental car, no family agenda, and no schedule or pressures. Guilt usually overrides that idea at every pass (and every time I mention my desire to see/do more I get snapped at by one or all of the family), but it’s weighing on me less and less with each disappointing visit…

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Contemplating the Pittsburgh of the Carolinas

Posted in Home, Winston Salem on February 7th, 2006 by Дмитрий

… So if David and I moved to Winston-Salem, would y’all ever come to visit?

 

We’ve been looking at houses there. There’s so much more of the types of neighborhoods we like there, and it’s all so much cheaper. Plus the decay and oldness of the place satisfies our ever-so-gothy aesthetic affectations… Plus it’s much closer to David’s folks, who are needing their baby nearby more and more lately.

 

… It’s by no means a sure thing, but I would regret the idea of all the new friends I made in Charlotte and having to do it over again…

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It’s Cute, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There

Posted in Travel, Urbanism on February 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Yesterday my parents dropped in on me at work in SF. I showed them Twin Peaks, West Portal, The Richmond, and South of Market - what I dubiously consider the interesting parts of San Francisco. Of course, my Dad complained several times that he wished we would have gone to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown. Alas, it shows you how distant I am from my parents, and from polite society, to insist that one can find Disneylandized neighborhoods in any city and they’re all the same, but to find a truly functioning and interesting neighborhood is a rare thing.

 

But then, I’ve always said one of my severe personal flaws is that I judge all places and cities and neighborhoods on how much I want to live in them… I’m sure it makes me a rather annoying sightseeing partner.

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Dates

Posted in About Me on February 15th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Tomorrow: The two-year anniversary of my wedding. Such as it were. Althoughmy opinions on the subject of marriage and weddings have changed a bit in the past couple years, there’s still no one I would have rather spent a cold, rainy night outside City Hall with in order to say “I Do”…

Friday-Sunday: A weekend in Durham/Raleigh. Originally I wanted to spend a weekend in Winston-Salem, but the hotels there are massive expensive, and we haven’t seen Raleigh/Durham any good amount since more than a year ago when we passed through on our way to DC. This should be fun.

Next Tursday: Hopefully make my first trip to see Spider at her weekly gig. I had a ton of fun chatting my mouth off with her for coffee earlier tonight.

Sunday 26th Feb: Hop back on a jet plane for another couple weeks of fog and toil. The shortest trip yet (only 13 days), and hopefully more like what the balance of the trips will be like going forward.

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Horse Lattitudes

Posted in Travel, Winston Salem on February 24th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Some relief from the horse latitudes came as the week drew to a close. We decided to bail for a quick trip to Winston for our last 24 hours together before I catch my jet plane west.

 

March will be a better month, right?

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Hello San Francisco, Please Treat Me Well

Posted in Travel on February 26th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Back in SF for a couple weeks. Not quite as ready for this trip.

 

Friday/Saturday in Winston-Salem was nice. I want to return again soon. Have I mentioned how much I like it there?

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To My Homeowning Friends

Posted in Home on February 27th, 2006 by Дмитрий

…Please share with me your first-time-home-buyer stories.

 

As many of you know, David and I are shopping for a home. We are looking to move this summer. I’m so totally clueless and I want to hear something from people other than industry peeps and my parents on what the best ‘order of operations’ might be.

 

I’d be especially giddy if any unmarried couples (homo and otherwise) who are sharing ownership of a house have some pointers for us from a legal/tax perspective…

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Intolerance

Posted in Americana on March 3rd, 2006 by Дмитрий

RE: The new All-Christian town being built in Florida, which will eliminate the existence of pornography, homosexuality and promiscuity using a high-tech Moral Force Field system:

 

“While the governor does not personally believe in abortion or pornography, the town, and any restrictions they may place on businesses choosing to locate there, must comply with the laws and constitution of the state and federal governments”

 

Who wants to get together with me and create “Vampville” - a new All-Goth town which will not allow the sale of:

 

  • Anything in pastels

  • Bibles or other theistic religious texts (unless they are leather-bound and more than 100 years old)

  • SUVs

  • Granola

  • Tie-dye anything

     

    We will heavily regulate our media. A team of 4 appointed judges will decide if music, movies or TV shows are sp00ky enough to be sold or broadcast. The same judges will also approve or deny all chosen names. No citizen shall be allowed to choose the name ‘Raven’.

     

    We will not allow trendy upscale restaurants or shops. All construction requiring the removal of an existing occupiable building will be subject to referendum. An annual award will be given for the most authentic post-apocalyptic architecture of the year.

     

    Children under the age of 12 are not to be seen in public, and must be home-schooled until that age. Secondary schools will teach children basic BDSM along with standard sciences and technology and liberal studies.

     

    The age of consent will be 14. Same-sex and multiple-partner legal relationships will be fostered and protected. Common-law powers will apply to all households regardless of age, sex or number of partners.

     

    Renting out property at a loss will be prohibited. Real estate speculation will be actively prosecuted. All vacant buildings will be converted into coffeehouses or diners.

     

    No churches may be built. Public religious gatherings will be illegal. Proselytizing or recruiting for any theistic purpose will result in immediate arrest. Weekly public tomato-floggings and noodle-whippings will be performed on all convicted of theism.

     

    Clinics will dispense free condoms, lube and birth control to all individuals, regardless of sex or age, and abortions will be safe, free and completed anonymously as an outpatient procedure for all women desiring them.

     

    Vegans will be deported.

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Der Sport

Posted in Assholery, Economics on March 6th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Sports only amuse me to the extent that humans seem to have a severe need for fake conflict, and sports are a HUGE outlet for that. It seems like the times when there is relative stability in a society are the times when sports receive the most gravity by that society.

Today is no exception. Sports ‘news’ sucks up almost a third of the nightly news. More in smaller local markets. It’s got it’s own section of the daily newspapers.
It’s a huge revenue generator for ad dollars, due to its all-consuming popularity among the converted (though I argue it is in most cases a false econcomy), but when you look at who puts up the investment capital in the sporting-industrial complex, it’s overwhelmingly cash-strapped municipal and governmental bodies.

The worst part isn’t that these governing bodies act as venture capitalists, it’s that they act as venture surrogates (I need to trademark that). They take all the risk and put up all the start-up cash, then turn it over to team owners and players unions for the profit-making.

I really need to get over my sports putrification and invest in some teams of my own…

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House Hunt

Posted in Home on March 7th, 2006 by Дмитрий

More houseunt blather - feel free to move along if you’re sick of it…

 

Just got a call from the preapproval lady.

 

Wow. Our credit health is better than we thought.

 

They’ll probably try to make us look at like 500k houses and junk, even though I know we can only afford around 150k.

 

Now to find that 1962 mod split-level with rust shag carpet and orange mosaic bath tiles…

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Performance Enhancers

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Am I the only one who sees the use of steroids by athletes as such a non-issue? They’re using a performance-enhancing chemical to achieve the most at their preferred vocation. Perhaps its the fact that so many people take sports so much more seriously than its importance warrants that explains why the average American is so totally devastated when their national hero/icon is exposed for the career climber he is…

 

We all use chemicals to enhance our performances. The only variance is that those of us who do the least amount of performing tend to require the fewest performance-enhancers. Yes, kiddies, sports are a performance. No different than ballet or Hollywood or picking up your next fuck buddy at the bar.

 

As I’ve said before, drugs make you what you aren’t. They allow you to perform - to be outside yourself. Some of us only need our coffee to put on an office face (some lucky ones don’t even need that). Others must sniff something to get out of bed and pop something to get back in.

 

It’s a question of degree. Except pot. Pot is just gross and wrong and should be grounds for execution. Just don’t take roid-raged athletes too seriously without a bit of introspection…

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A Port to Drop Our Load In

Posted in Economics on March 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Isn’t it pathetic that our dottering dunce of a President was the unheard voice of reason in the port sale controversy?

 

I guess he gets what he deserves (and those who voted for him get what they deserve, in the form of greater anti-American/anti-globalism sentiment abroad). Five years of fascistic focus on the !!1!1!OMG Threat of Terrorism!!!1! OMFG!!!1!1! War!1!!1! OMGWTF!!!!1!1 Barely escaped attack!111!1! just bit him in the ‘nads.

 

Hi, I want to sell my enema business to someone whose Jewish father-in-law was born in Syria. Oh, I’m sorry, but the colons of a nation are on the line. We can’t have you selling our asses out to terrorists…

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Bad Mushrooms

Posted in Food on March 15th, 2006 by Дмитрий

So, David and I long ago decided that the Mellow Mushroom was the best pizza in town. Good ingredients, unpretentious, and not a huge boozer crowd.

 

However, we’ve had some service issues the past couple times we went to the North Charlotte location (N Davidson and 36th). I’ve usually given them the benefit of the doubt, since it often seems like when we get there that there are an inordinate amount of uncleared tables, leading me to believe that they just got swamped and it threw them off.

 

In cases where that is true, I’m actually glad for the slightly longer waits, since I know I prefer that to being there when the crowds were there.

 

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Pros and Cons of New Construction

Posted in Charlotte, Home on March 20th, 2006 by Дмитрий

This weekend we made our first visit to one of the ‘new construction communities’ of Charlotte. Blah. Alas, I remember back when my parents did the same thing in the mid-80s and it was actually pleasant and promising.

 

The hot real estate market has made people shelve the idea of owning a home in favor of owning Real Estate. People no longer want a home of their own to live in, they want an investment to occupy or hold for a while before reselling.

 

This is overwhelmingly the reason for new neighborhoods all being fenceless, colorless, treeless demi-condo developments where living without a Home Owners Association is the worst of all blasphemies.

 

The proliferation of HOAs alone to me is proof that people are more concerned with the near-term investment potential of their property than with having a home to live in and make theirs. Rather than buying a home and having a sense of ownership and self-investment for it, they buy Real Estate and ensure that they can control the behavior and appearance of their neighbors to avoid damaging their investment.

 

I just don’t understand the point of these places. If you want a ‘low maintenance investment property’ you buy a condo. To me, the reason one buys a house, as opposed to a condo, is the ability to paint, landscape, and personalize the property. Ceding control of those privelages to a committee of your neighbors for any reason just baffles me - why bother with the burden of property at all in that case? It’s especially true these days when you pay a 100-200% monthly premium just to own (at least that’s the figure in most markets).

 

I look forward to the day the bubble bursts. Then maybe I’ll finally be able to find new construction like my parents landed in the 80s: landscape your own friggin’ yard, paint your house green and purple, park your hearse on the grass, and by all means, spend a couple decades there…

Back in San Francisco

Posted in Home, Travel on March 26th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Another three weeks in purgatory. I’m trying to decide whether this is getting old.

In home-search news, hubby and I have decided that Winston suits us better. We’ve been pre-approved for more than we expected and we have a buyers’ agent in the Triad whose sending us loads of cute house listings in Ardmore and West End and West Salem and such. Since 90% of what we want from a home is city-independent, we’ve decided to shoot for the better value and cuter neighborhood…

But it’s not a done deal yet. He has one more job lead in Charlotte to follow up on. If that fails to materialize by the time I get back, we’ll be preparing for a move slightly north this summer…

Tricks are for Fairies

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29th, 2006 by Дмитрий

What’s this here thing? Am I supposed to be updating this or something?

Three weeks of Blah in San Francisco, which I expect to break up with one or two nights of dinner with friends, a trip to see the family in Fresno (and give them the gorgeous shiny videos David made for them) and a weekend in the great Northwest to see all the friends of mine who are escaping there…

Lest you think there is nothing but unendulged caustic ranting going through my brain these days, I’ll at least use this rare update to detail a couple things that make me happy right now:

He Was Edgy. Now He’s Jesus.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Is it revealing how much of an old geezer I am to have just finished watching Beyond Thunderdome and having had persistent thoughts of how much better old-fashioned mechanical effects were, and how modern action films are nothing but substance-less computer-animation eye candy? Nah, ‘course not…

Muzak

Posted in Music on March 31st, 2006 by Дмитрий

A list of some of my latest musical affectations:

  • The Six Parts Seven
  • Godspeed You Black Emperor
  • Beth Gibbons
  • Clan of Xymox
  • Marc Almond
  • Electric Skychurch
  • Skinny Puppy
  • Tom Waits

Make of that what you will…

PNW-Bound

Posted in Travel on April 6th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Southwest Airlines. Where everyone is treated as an equal amount of dirt. One of the few airlines where the law of the jungle trumps the laws of customer service. I can never decide whether I like that or not…

 

Preparing to board my 6th plane of the year… 11th plane of the past 12 months…Good gawd.

 

I land in Portland around 10 tonight. Then I drive to Seattle and visit with Andrea for a late breakfast and a pilgrimage to my favorite diner in my favorite neighborhood in all the Northwest.

 

Back to Portland tomorrow night and spend the weekend catching up with a couple old friends from the SF-Fresno diaspora and a couple new friends as well. Then back to SF Sunday night for my last week of purgatory.

 

Do you feel tired yet?

SouthWorst

Posted in Travel on April 6th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Thanks to the folks here at Southwest Airlines, I’ll be arriving in Portland a couple hours late. Which means I’ll be arriving in Seattle a couple hours late (meaning more like 3am or 4am).

 

This will be my excuse to drag David to Seattle for a real visit (meaning for more than 16 hours) sometime in the coming year…

Seattle

Posted in Travel on April 7th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Seattle. Geez, it’s pretty here.

 

My downtown Ramada was sort of a schitzo hotel. It’s got things like nice towels and real glasses and room service, but it also has things like no free parking, a lumpy bed and no wireless. Then there’s the fact that the in-room coffee kit included things like a coffee maker and real ceramic mugs, but no coffee. And the phone doesn’t work.

 

Luckily most of my time spent there was whilst I was unconscious, so it don’t really matter. But they really should decide whether they want to be Ramada or Motel 6.

Portland

Posted in Travel on April 9th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Portland. Lesbians in the morning, fags in the evening…

 

Arrived at a slightly more reasonable hour in Portland on Friday night. Checked into the hotel and took a quick drive up and down NE 82nd and noticed, once again, that Portland seems to have an unusuallly large concentration of large suburban adult bookstores. Luckily it also has Taco Bells.

 

Saturday was a tour of gluttony. Starting with McBreakfast, then to the Tin Shed to lunch on cheezy grits and biscuts and gravy with Kelly and Riz. They have a nice big cheap house, and I look forward to being able to say the same soon…

 

Spent a big ol faggy evening with Jack and Paul, first at Dot’s, which was wonderfully dark and gloomy with black and silver flocked wallpaper and tasty burgers. Then we retired to Jack’s place where we admired the fruits of his new career.

 

A few more hours of rainy evergreen gloom before returning to the city of doom.

Where do You Want to Go?

Posted in Travel on April 9th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Portland. Facial Hair capital of the world. A city composed entirely of the same cute 20s-40s neighborhood that I covet so. A cheap city whose housing prices do not reflect their Left Coast geography as they should. A city full of fuzzy granola fags with tattoos. Portland.

 

I met up with Amy for Bread and Ink, then we drove up to Multnomah Falls to take in some scenery - something which doesn’t usually do much for me, but which was necessary if only for the vast quantity possessed by Portland.

 

I spent a lot more time driving around Portland’s neighborhoods and exploring the places people actually lived than last time, when most of my time was spent downtown and in the far south of the area. I was very happy with what I saw, and my mind even ventured to feel a bit more attached to Portland than to Seattle.

 

Like most trips I take, I tend to evaluate a place I visit with the mentality of whether I would like to live there or not. I think I really need to get over this. The grass is always greener and I always find myself sad that I “can’t” live there.

 

There is no perfect place. Some places might have a higher concentration of things one likes, but no place is ideal and I’ll probably never find a city that meets my every aesthetic, economic and practical desire. I really need to remind myself of this more often, but especially when I visit the Northwest.

 

David and I have coveted a relocation to the Northwest for years, but the practical applications of such a desire just don’t work at this point in our lives. As Sister Betty once said, no place is sparkly-shiny. Every place is just someplace else. I think few of us actually spend years travelling, find our favorite city, and settle there because it’s our favorite city. Most of us settle somewhere that is a practical compromise between various other desires in our lives. I really need to travel and visit places and enjoy my time as a traveler and visitor, and stop being such a “surveyor”.

 

And if I’m incapable of achieving this sort of detachment, might the only answer to be for me to stop travelling entirely? Alas, I never travelled as a child, and only started seeing bits of the world outside Central California when I was in my mid-20s. This may have exacerbated the problem, since it meant I was an adult and had to make informed and responsible choices without having any experience about what was ‘out there’.

 

In the end, this whole post is mostly rationalizations and excuses for this particular breed of psychologically self-destructive behaviour in which I all-too-often engage. It’s an easy way to shrug it off for now as a developmental problem, and not have to analyze it further at this time.

Selfish

Posted in About Me on April 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

I started to take that ‘how selfish are you‘ quiz, but was so unimpressed that I skipped most of it.

 

First of all, the majority of the questions were about one’s behavior in relation to friends, family or dates. This doesn’t really jive, since most people are in a very strong reciprocal value relationship with these three types of people.

 

One is usually very generous and giving to ones friends and family because one expects those people to be there for oneself when needed. That’s why one calls them friends and family. Dates are treated well because they are usually expected to put out. Yet if you acknowledge this symbiosis by answering the quiz’ questions in the positive, you are considered ‘unselfish’ by the quiz, where in fact I feel that these types of relationships are the MOST selfish in which most humans engage. Love is a selfish emotion.

 

The quiz would have been better asking how one relates to strangers, the government, and society as a whole. Do you give money to indigents on the street who are holding a half-empty liquor bottle in their hand? Do you participate in charities which contribute to causes neither you nor your loved ones benefit from? Do you vote for candidates you strongly disagree with? If you answered yes to any of these, THAT would be genuine selflessness - doing things which give you no physical, psychological or emotional benefit.

 

Lending money to a friend is selfish. Lending money to someone you have never met and who you will probably never see again is selfless. Being an environmentalist is selfish. Being an environmentalist and setting up a machine that pumps gallons of nuclear sludge into your neighborhood is selfless. Eating a balanced diet is selfish. Gorging yourself on food you hate is selfless.

 

So few people understand the philosophical roots of the selfish/selfless dichotomy, it just tends to piss me off when I see people trying to evaluate others based on faulty premises…

The Spice of Life

Posted in Economics on April 12th, 2006 by Дмитрий

One of the more understandable arguments being made in the emotionally-soiled immigration debate is that the proximity of Mexico causes a more ambiguous sense of national identification and loyalty among Mexican immigrants than did such as Scotch-Irish or Sicilian immigrants in the early 20th century.

 

One good analogy to the Mexican immigrants in America is the Russian population of Ukraine. Ukraine recently had a big political upheaval, spurred primarily by the Ukrainian-speaking majority in the West of the country. It was largely not supported by the large Russian minority in the East. Now this division is making politics very hostile in this emerging country.

 

I would argue that America’s politics are stable enough to weather a significantly larger ethnic shock than Ukraine, but that doesn’t change the validity of the geographic argument.

 

However, I would also argue that the inability for Latin Americans (especially Mexicans) to easily, swiftly and cheaply immigrate is what’s keeping that population so closely hugged to the southern border, as opposed to any unusually strong native-land allegiance. Not only is it easier to illegally migrate into the Southwest, but the states of the Southwest often consciously fail to enforce their immigration laws to a greater extent than their northern counterparts due to their awareness of immigrants’ positive effect on the local economy and labor market.

 

If immigration laws were reformed to make it easier to import and retain foreign labor, companies throughout the US would be more likely to do so, and those corporations taking most advantage of immigrant labor would be less likely to be restricted to the Southwest. If the legal and economic disincentives were removed, I’m sure mining companies in Minnesota, logging companies in Montana and Dairy farms in Wisconsin would be just as likely to go after this lucrative source of labor.

 

Placing firmer legal and economic restrictions on immigration will merely increase the costs of using black market labor, and I doubt it would do anything to better integrate existing Latino residents or reduce foreign allegiances. Unnecessary and counterproductive (and explicitly hostile) action against a specific nationality may in fact have the opposite result, making these communities hug more closely to their ghettos for fear of external discrimination.

 

The fact that new Latino immigrants tend to settle in suburbia, drive SUVs and form safe, family-centered communities is a very American habit which Americans should take advantage of. Anglo-European Americans will change just as much as Latino Americans if the labor market is free enough and barriers to integration low enough, and these changes will make things refreshingly spicier.

House Hunt

Posted in Home on April 24th, 2006 by Дмитрий

We made an offer on a place in Winston-Salem yesterday evening. We’ll know by tomorrow morning whether we got it.

 

It’s on the higher end of what we wanted, but it’s friggin’ huge: 2100 immaculate sqft on the main level and an unfinished full basement that would make the coolest dungeon on earth one day. Not to mention that it’s in a nice neighborhood that we really like and has a 2-car garage, a nice small, low-maintenance yard on a corner lot, and would require absolutely no work before we could move in.

 

…Fingers crossed…

Jane Jacobs 1916-2006

Posted in Urbanism on April 25th, 2006 by Дмитрий

She was the lady that taught me to love cities. She taught me to temper my value system with real life. She was real. She understood applied philosophy. I’ll miss her.

 

David has also written a (more thoughtful) epitaph.

Mi Casa

Posted in Home on April 27th, 2006 by Дмитрий

As you may already know, we’ve entered into contract on our dream house. This is gonna be fun.

The view From Persia

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27th, 2006 by Дмитрий

I often feel that in the 40s, Soviet Russia was a greater threat to American security than Hitler’s Germany. In the end, the US had a lot more in common ideologically with Nazism and a Euro-hegemonic German state could have been pretty easily integrated into a world order with America still in a fairly dominant polar position.

 

The same could be said in 2000/2001 concerning Iran and Iraq. The US has some pretty strong alliances with much of the Middle East states, which might not bring peace, stability and democracy, but at the minimum gives the US bases, intelligence and influence in those unstable states - Syria and Iran are the only remaining big exceptions. In 2002, Iraq was the biggest exception - it was posing a more imminent and palpable threat than Iran, Syria or Lybia.

 

Now Iran is the big threat, but the US is at an advantage because in Iraq it has a strong regional base for launching destructive operations against Iran if it so chose (and totally could, despite the ‘overstretched’ pundits), whilst at the same time there exists the need to assert better authority in Iraq against the Sunni terrorists, which Iran’s Shia leaders would probably be amiable to assist with.

 

Mutual need makes good politics. Interdependence. I would also argue that the whole ’spreading democracy’ is 100% Public Relations, and that neither the US administration nor most Americans care whether Iraq becomes free and democratic - as long as it does not become as large a threat as it was 3 years ago ever again. Tying Iran into a military-political alliance with our puppet government in Iraq might be the quickest way to subdue the threats from both countries.

RWP

Posted in Home, San Francisco on April 30th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Lacking any formal plans for Walpurgisnacht, I decided to take a walk. A long walk. After finishing a quick bit of month-end prep at work, I walked through the RWP* District - encompassing Presidio Heights, Pacific Heights, the Marina, North Beach and the various northeastern ‘hills’ - not always an intelligent decision due to my familiarity with the little green monster (envy).

 

Strangely, this time I found myself obtaining an objective survey of these places, taking in the cuteness and the gaudiness for what it was, getting a few design and gardening ideas here and there, but altogether not feeling so generally deprived and sorry for myself. I think that the syrpuy-thick envy which dribbled from every orifice every time I would see a cute neighborhood or neatly cultivated garden was more than anything envy for the ability to do something which was mine rather than an envy over wealth or privelage. The psychological hole seems to have been filled quite immediately with the thought that once we close on this home we’re buying I’ll have something of my own which will be my responsability and my plaything - that responsability and that plaything is what I wanted more than anything, and now it’s what I have.

 

Damn. I’m gonna have a house…

The Record to Beat

Posted in Geekdom on May 1st, 2006 by Дмитрий

As of today, I have had my cell phone number longer than any other phone number I’ve ever had (aside from my parents’ house) - beating out the record of my old cell number (which I had in Fresno) of 3 years, 5 months and 19 days. It is the record to beat, and probably will be, provided we stick with a single carrier/service when we move house. This is because come September, when my current contract is up, I intend to finally dump the 415 (San Fran) number in favor of one that does not carry a 15-buck local telecom tax (and more accurately reflects my chosen permanent home).

 

Or, as David mentioned, it finally signifies our move from Neilsen DMA #6 to #47. At least I’ll still be in a slightly larger market than my hometown of Fresno.

 

But who’da thought that Asheville was a larger market than the Triad??

Approved!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Our loan was approved. All that’s left is the inspection (scheduled for a week from today), after which only 10 days will stand between us and our keys.

 

We’ll probably be moving in mid-late June, but our lease on our Matthews apt is not up until Mid-July, so I’ll be making every possible attempt at squeezing extra Gaggle time in between now and then.

Lies My Parents Told Me

Posted in About Me on May 5th, 2006 by Дмитрий
  1. You can’t drink soda in the morning

  2. Someday I’ll grow out of my obsession with Siouxsie and Robert Smith

  3. Someday I’ll have to wear a tie every day

  4. Someday I’ll have to grow up

  5. In the real world, if you look or act wierd, you’ll never get anywhere

I’m glad I uncovered these lies before I fell for them.

 

*sips Diet Coke*

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The Perils of Multiple Cultures

Posted in Americana, Economics, Rants on May 9th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Francis Fukuyama, in his book The End of History and the Last Man discussed the “Universal and Homogenous State” as that polity which existed when man had reached the end of his political-intellectual development. In Fukuyama’s thesis, this state was the capitalistic post-industrial constitutional democracy. His identification of this system as the culmination of mankind’s political and cultural development was rooted in the objective fact that all successful and competitive cultures on Earth today have adopted most of the Western system of legal and economic governance.

That is an important preface to any Western perspective on multiculturalism, because most Western pundits (who place positive value on Western culture and institutions) have spent dozens of years and gallons of ink criticizing the betrayal of Western culture to the “multicultural society” developing in most Western states.

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Egg Foo Yuan

Posted in Economics on May 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

A good few in Washington talk about an ‘unfair advantage’ being held by the Chinese market due to ‘currency manipulation’. Like many issues in politics, using vague and sweeping terms like these guarantees they’ll be able to prove themselves right.

 

Of course, they shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. The US has a huge fiscal imbalance which should result in a plummetting currency weight abroad. This isn’t happening too much in East Asia generally and China particularly - not because of some evil hostile communist plot, but because all the securities Washington is selling to finance its welfare and war ambitions is being bought by China and its neighbors.

 

In other words, without China soaking up US treasury bills to keep its currency down (and consequently America’s up), Washington would have a much harder time financing its 5-year spending spree. Either interest rates would have gone up MUCH faster the past few years, resulting in a much more painful recession and recovery (if any), or the administration and Congress would have actually had to control their spending and think of the future, or both.

 

I’m just saying, be careful what you wish for.

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Club America

Posted in Americana on May 10th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Can all you smarmy creepy metrosexual guys with your stupid ugly fake mohawks just die?

 

Painfully, preferably.

 

I remember back when I was hanging with the hardcore goths and a mohawk was something you had to spend a few hours working on each day, what with the hairspray and blow-dryer and bright purple dye… Now these metrosexual guys make them look like the result of just failing to take a shower for a few weeks (and sleeping evenly on each side of their head during that time).

 

I guess that could actually be the case. Maybe metrosexuals don’t sweat the normal natural scents we’re used to. Instead they just smell stronger and stronger of Hugo Boss or CK One as the days go by without a shower. But I guess they don’t have time to do anything with their hair or shower, what with all the time they spend making sure that their wardrobe does not match and that nothing about them makes them look straight…

 

As Robert Smith said 10 years ago, it’s all about “the way you so carefully couldn’t care less…”

 

“Club America” by The Cure

i ride into your town on a big black trojan horse
i’m looking to have some fun
some kind of trigger-happy intercourse

“club america salutes you” says the girl on the door
“we accept all major lies
we love any kind of fraud
so go on in and enjoy…
go on in and enjoy!!!”

i’m buying for my bright new friends
blue suzannes all round
and my mood is heavily pregnant…
yeah you’re right
i couldn’t help but notice your icy blue eyes
they’ve been burning two holes in the sides of my head
since the second i arrived

 

and it’s not too hard to guess from your stick-on stars
and your canary feather dress
your hair in such a carefully careless mess
that you’re really trying very hard to impress

you’re such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sensational dazzling perfectly sized
such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sharing it with me in club america tonight…

 

so we talk for a while about some band you saw on tv
but i don’t listen to you and you don’t listen to me
yeah it’s an old routine but it’s a very special part of the game
and you don’t really care what i call you at all
when i can’t quite remember your name

 

and it’s not too hard to guess from your stick-on stars
and your canary feather dress
the way you so carefully couldn’t care less
that you’re really trying very hard to impress

you’re such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sensational dazzling perfectly sized
such a wonderful person living a fabulous life
sharing it with me tonight

yeah you’re a wonderful person living a fabulous life
fantastic divine and thrillingly bright
such a wonderful person living a fabulous lie
with me in club america tonight…

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Aw, That’s Tho Thweet

Posted in Sods on May 11th, 2006 by Дмитрий

It’s apparently queer-boy couples’ night on HGTV. Three shows in a row featuring faggy domesticy boys (including two faggy firemen in Baltimore). Not all of them are the gross shiny annoying ones, either. Maybe David and I can get some free remodeling if we ask HGTV to visit our new house…

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Spare Some Change?

Posted in Home on May 25th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Geez, getting a house is a lot of work. We write our closing check today, after which we’ll be so incredibly broke. Thank gawd for that King of the Hill episode - maybe I’ll spend some time panhandling while I’m in SF next week - everyone else is doing it, and I’ll probably make more money than actual work…

 

Yeah, so that’s all I’ve got. Sorry a 2-week absence couldn’t produce anything more worth reading…

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