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Going down the rabbit hole…

Okay, so I don’t really want to reference Alice in Wonderland because I like it, but somehow I couldn’t help but think of it as a I went through all the clicks I went through to get to where I wound up.

Let me start at the beginning.

First, I found an article that wasn’t really an article.  It was just a slideshow of “30 Unbelievably Inappropriate Vintage Ads.”  Ad number 28 was called “Do you still beat your wife?” and went on to say “Maybe you should never have stopped.  Read why in the rollicking, provocative, yet educational booklet entitled ‘Why You Should Beat Your Wife’ written by an eminent practitioner of this manly art.”  It cost only 15 cents in “stamps or coin.”

Obviously, I needed a copy of this pamphlet.  Really, who doesn’t?

I tried to find one and buy it.  I checked with all the out of print places I know that might happen to have something as odd as this, and no luck.

However…when I Googled it (because we must all Google everything), I found an awesome article from the “Mail Online” from September 2012 when Pat Robertson told a caller that he should “become a Muslim” and “move to Saudi Arabia” because then he could beat his wife.  He whined because “you can’t divorce her according to the Scripture” and, as per the article, “lamented that we no longer ‘condone wife-beating.’”

Not quite what I was looking for, but it did remind me that I need to watch the 700 Club a lot more often!

Finally, I decided to go ahead and check out eBay.  Ah, eBay! What don’t you have?  I typed in the title of the booklet, in quotation marks, and…

Image 

Well, apparently they don’t have the booklet.  However, the sponsored links that came up began with finding a lawyer and ended with finding a single Baltic lady.  Hmmmm.  Even more interesting was the “See also” on the left hand side where it suggested I look for “Do You Know Your Wife,” “How to Murder Your Wife,” and my personal favorite “When Your Heart Stops Beating.”  I was slightly disturbed by the “It Should Happen to You.”

So if anyone has this booklet just lying around, please give me a shout!  I’m desperate to be educated about this “manly art.”

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The story of the chair

So, here it comes The story of the chair.

We went to see the Iron Maiden show at Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion. No lawn chairs (or full-sized blankets) were allowed. The lawn chairs because they rent them. The blankets because, apparently, people were using them to toss other people, resulting in injury…

Regardless, we got there, found our place on the lawn, and sat on our towels (which were approved).

Of course, this meant that two people with rented lawn chairs (who were thus taller than us) settled down in front of us. Nice.

Well, they weren’t huge fans, I guess, because they bailed about an hour in, leaving behind their trash (clean up your own messes, people!!) and, more importantly, their chairs.

The chairs just sat there, all lonely, surrounded by crushed up beer cans and cups.

Then it happened.

Someone came up and swiped one.

Suddenly we were down to one empty chair.

Then someone came up, looked around suspiciously (it’s a trap!), and sat down in the remaining chair. But I guess he was nervous and wasn’t there long. So once again, the chair was abandoned and lonely.

This picture is of the sad, lonely chair. All alone during the encore. Poor chair.

But really people – clean up your trash!

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Ode to a Cable Modem

Image 	Michael Holley's Home Computer in 1978. The items in the photo are a Southwest Technical Products 6800 computer with 36k of memory, dual mini floppies, a Hazeltine 1500 video terminal, and a Trendata1000 Selectric printing terminal. The small box on the disk drive is a homebrew 300 baud modem.  This photograph appeared on the front page of the July 1978 issue of the Northwest Computer Club News.
Michael Holley’s Home Computer in 1978. The items in the photo are a Southwest Technical Products 6800 computer with 36k of memory, dual mini floppies, a Hazeltine 1500 video terminal, and a Trendata1000 Selectric printing terminal. The small box on the disk drive is a homebrew 300 baud modem.
This photograph appeared on the front page of the July 1978 issue of the Northwest Computer Club

The little light
Shows it’s ready
Goes flash flash flash
But the Internet does not appear

The technician on the line
Asks me
If it’s been turned on and off and on
It has
But the Internet does not appear

I am transferred,
Upgraded in level
Asked if it’s been turned on and off and on
It has
But [again] the Internet does not appear

The new technician on the line
Asks me
If I can check the co-ax cable
It is fine
But the Internet does not appear

The little light
Still shows ready
Goes flash flash flash
But the Internet does not appear

The technician on the line
Tells me
Someone will come by sooner or later or sooner
They will
But the Internet does not appear

I wait all day
They finally appear
Ask if it’s been turned on and off and on
It has
But [again] the Internet does not appear

I call a new technician on the line
Tell him
I am placing my order
It will be DSL
So that the Internet can appear

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Taking Tampa by the Tale – Part V

Not Quite Urban Explorer Day!
Not Quite Urban Explorer Day!

So my travel wife, we’ll call her “Alessandra” for the sake of anonymity, decided to come along with me to one of the evening readings.  It was the first time that we’d be driving to the campus with the intention to actually park in the garage.  It was hard to find, and once we’d found it, we then had to fight our way through the rubble of construction and bush-whack from the back end of the campus to find the theatre where we’d get to hear the reading of one very boring presenter book-ended onto one of the most engaging readings of the series. 

When the reading was over, it was time to bush-whack back again, and we discovered the easiest way to get back and avoid the construction was to avoid the sidewalk and instead cut back through the empty residence

And they were creepy!  They didn’t look like anyone was coming back to them.  Bookcases against windows.  Mattresses leaning on walls.  Empty, darkened game rooms and Laundromats with unopened boxes that made it look like everything was in suspended animation.  It made me want to watch Chernobyl Diaries (no spoilers – I haven’t seen it yet!).

The next day, when I was leaving the Books Arts Seminar, I was traveling with a fellow student back past the garage and onto campus.  For her anonymity, I’ll call her “Trusting.”  So Trusting was kind of lost, having never been behind the garage and off campus like that before, and I say, “Hey, let’s cut through this deserted part of campus that’s deserted and spooky!”  And she, not knowing me at all, says, “Sure!”  Because she’s obviously never watched a horror movie.

Well, luckily for Trusting, it wasn’t a horror movie, but at some point between the previous night and that afternoon, someone put up “Caution” and “Restricted” yellow tape in a big X, trying to stop anyone from exiting – but not entering, which was really strange.  We had to cross through the X to get out.

And in that moment, I flashed on the movie I’d seen about urban explorers, and something tripped in my brain, and I was no longer content looking at pictures and videos of urban exploration, I got the urge to do it.  The person in the movie was right – there’s totally something that makes you want to go wherever you aren’t supposed to go.  If I didn’t have a witness with me, and if the security cameras weren’t as blatant as they were, perhaps I would have tried some doors and windows.

Instead, I think that flush of excitement is what led me to agree when the MFA program assistant, let’s call her “Flunkie” for this, pulled up in her golf cart and offered us a ride to the edge of campus, right next to the drawbridge, to help reduce our walk.  It was starting to drizzle.  We both said yes.  Since I had two bags (my computer bag and my purse), I took the back bench that faced outwards.

It was the scariest carnival ride ever.  No, there was no fear of it being old and creaky, but it was fast and felt out of control, hitting every bump of the bricked drives, swerving at the last possible moment, and hopping the curb (“Ooops,” Flunkie said), and missing a turn because she called out and waved to her friend on the porch of Plant Hall, losing track of her driving (“This is fun, kids!” she said, missing – or finding it ironic – that we were both almost twice her age.).

We got off and I won’t bothered with the clichéd weak-kneed, but I did feel like I had just survived a near-death experience, having spent most of the trip picturing myself flying out of the car and into a face plant with maximum injury and maximum bloodshed.

And then it got even more fun.  As we walked across the bridge, it went from a drizzle to a cloud burst.  I walked my mile back to the hotel with squishy sneakers, dripping wet hair, and a waterproof bag that leaked.

Still in Tampa…

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Ruining My Childhood Reading

One of the first SF authors I was introduced to was Heinlein (“I learned it from watching you, Dad!” – the reference for those who get it).  And for years and years, I fondly remembered the short story “The Roads Must Roll.”  It was a story I’d recommended to others.  Fun.  Interesting.  Awesome starter for anyone who wanted to read SF.  I looked back on it and loved it.

Then, almost 20 years later, I read it again, this time for a grad-level class on SF.  And oh my god! Suddenly I realized that this excellent, amazing, classic of a story was awful.  No, not the writing or the plot.  But the treatment of women! 

As an uber-feminist, I was shocked that 12 year old me didn’t notice just how badly the women were treated – and ignored – as human beings in the story.

Amazing what happens when we read something from a new perspective.  Which is why I now find myself in possession of the 75th Anniversary Edition of “Is Sex Necessary?” by James Thurber and E.B. White.  This version, unlike the one I read as a child, has a forward by John Updike that discusses many of Thurber’s issues and sheds light on why this comedic masterpiece may not be as funny as all that after all.

So here I go, plunging into the depth of another memory and seeing if I’ll emerge unscathed or soaking wet.  Wish me luck!