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April 13, 2006

Cut Off, Continued

Another library post. Someone shoot me.

Yes, I'm still without Internet at home. God. It's like living in 1986 or something. How horrible is that?

I'll update again when I get reattached to the world, or tomorrow when I come to the library, whichever comes first.


Here, have another open thread.

Posted by john at April 13, 2006 12:02 PM

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John H | April 13, 2006 12:14 PM

But, we haven't finished our first helping of open thread yet.

Anonymous | April 13, 2006 12:29 PM


clvrmnky | April 13, 2006 12:36 PM

Too sick for clever comments. 1985/86 made this pop into my head:

"Don't you, forget about me.
Don't, don't, don't, don't you,
Forget about me."

John H | April 13, 2006 01:02 PM

Simple Minds, eh? Sounds like the guys who cut John's Internet connection...

Dennis | April 13, 2006 01:15 PM

I can't help but feel we are missing an excellent opportunity to talk about John behind his back on his own website!

I'd like to suggest a contest to name the next book John will be pimping on this site.

"Cute Pictures of my Daughter Killing the Pets."

"Writing is Really Hard Work. It Only Looks Like I'm Just Goofing Off."

CoolBlue | April 13, 2006 01:36 PM

Yeah, well being one who went "on line" in 1980, where we had 300 baud modems with "earmuffs", the technology of 1986 was strictly Jetsons.

At least in 1986, kids screaming in the next room wouldn't knock you off line.

dave munger | April 13, 2006 01:51 PM

Speaking of open threads, does anyone else hate "open phones" on talk radio shows as much as I do. Why is it that people who call in to talk shows are universally idiots?

Jim Winter | April 13, 2006 01:56 PM

1986. Ugh. And yeah, I remember my best friend in high school getting an Apple IIc and had to call GTE to let them know he was using a modem.

Those text-based computer games were da bomb! But not as cool as Intellivision!

What else? David Lee Roth had not yet completely melted down.

My biggest goal was to get a linear tracking turntable, 'cuz dude, all that classic rock was coming out remastered.

VHS, baby. VHS. I could watch PORKY's without the cable filtering it out.

It finally occurred to me American cars were crap. Not crap like they are now. I mean REALLY crap. Unbelievably bad. My 96 Cavalier was a BMW Roadster compared to these rolling death traps. The only worse cars built were in the Soviet Bloc.

There was a Soviet Bloc.

I was 85 pounds lighter.

Eric Berlin | April 13, 2006 02:36 PM

Oh, God, anything but 1986!

Anonymous | April 13, 2006 02:46 PM

"Those text-based computer games were da bomb!"

Remember wanting to throttle Eliza? http://www-ai.ijs.si/eliza-cgi-bin/eliza_script

Harry Connolly | April 13, 2006 04:36 PM

I think it may be time for a blog entry about libraries.

Steve Eley | April 13, 2006 05:05 PM

Snakes in a....library?

No. Doesn't work.

David | April 13, 2006 05:27 PM

It works a heck of a lot better than snakes in a text-based computer game!

That Neil Guy | April 13, 2006 05:52 PM

But on the plus side, 1986 brought us Aliens, Star Trek IV, Blue Velvet, The Fly... and Howard the Duck, King Kong Lives, Psycho III, Shanghai Surprise and Lionel Richie everywhere we freakin' turned.

Never mind. 1986 sucked.

That Neil Guy | April 13, 2006 08:11 PM

And speaking of text-based computer games, did you see this over at boingboing?

This spot-on parody of the life of a writer on a deadline, written in the style of a Zork-like text-adventure game, made me snort coffee out of my nose:

> work on dissertation
You spend five minutes playing online poker.

> work on dissertation

You pick your nose.

> work on dissertation

You go to the kitchen and eat cheese.

> work on dissertation

The Mets are on. It should be a good game.

> work on dissertation

You watch the first three innings of the Mets game.

> work on dissertation

The Mets are ahead by three runs in the fifth.


The Mets win. You are in a study with a laptop. It is dark out. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.


David | April 14, 2006 05:04 AM

I read the whole thing. No snakes.

David | April 14, 2006 06:33 AM

I should be asleep now, but I'm still pretty wakeful. My last journey librarywards was a further step in re-reading all of the Travis McGee series, and I just finished "One Fearful Yellow Eye".

The book is copyright 1966 but it says, "First hardbound edition 1977". That makes me wonder, but I think it must mean the first one from this particular publisher (Lippincott). I just can't believe one of MacDonald's novels languished unpublished for 11 years.

The book is courtesy of Freeman Memorial Library, which is the neighborhood library for the area around Johnson Spacecraft Center in Houston.

On the flyleaf of the book is one of those old-fashioned checkout cards still in its little pocket and long since made useless by electronic checkout. But the card's still there.

The first date on it is October of 1982. I figure this wasn't the first checkout date and this is just the last of many cards that were replaced when they filled up. It has the date stamped with one of those cheap, rolling date-stamps you can get in office supply stores.

Back then, the library itself was in a house. The house was built next to a golf-course and was all by itself there. These days it has its own very large and impressive building which looks like it ought to have 5 floors but only has two. Checkout is by computerized carrels kinda like the self-checkout machines at grocery stores.

But back then, when it was in the house, it was a shoestring operation. They stamped the return date on the card, and wrote the borrower's card number by hand next to it. It was just a neighborhood library then, not a county library, and the area was unincorporated so there wasn't a city for it to be part of. Very shoestring operation.

The book was checked out again in November of 82. Then it sat for a while until January 83. Whoever read it then probably recommended it to friends, because it went out twice more in January, twice in February, and twice in March.

April of 83 was a busy month with three checkouts. (You can tell from the card numbers that these weren't renewals.) It was checked out once in May, twice in June, and twice in July.

Then one side of the card was filled up, so they started on the other side. The first checkout there was in April of 85. It must have fallen out of favor with such a long gap. But there were two checkouts in May of 85, one in June, two in July, two in August, and one in September.

But then it went to sleep again, because nobody checked it out for almost a year - July of 1986. That reader must have really disliked it and didn't recommend it to anybody at all. The last date on the card, stamped in blue ink with a completely different sort of stamp, is August of 1992.

I wonder where it was all that time, that nobody read it? I know the library itself was acquired by the County and moved to their sub-courthouse or whatever it's called. Did they maybe put it in storage and not have it available? Six years between readings, it's surprising they still have the book at all, I guess.

Shouldn't I be going to bed now?

Q | April 14, 2006 07:09 AM



David McNelis | April 14, 2006 07:39 AM

I know the pain John. Work at a company that provides a web service....Sprint is our backup provider, and they failed when our primary internet connection died yesterday. 12+ hours of clients not able to get what they paid for in the middle of the work day....not fun.

John H | April 14, 2006 09:06 AM

Could be worse...

It could be 1986 again!

Sue | April 14, 2006 09:29 AM

Gah. 1986. The year I graduated high school. I've been thinking about going back for my 20 year reunion this year, but I've decided that since I've been much happier in the 15 years it's been since I've seen any of my classmates than I was in the 4 years I spent with them, that I'm going to find better things to do with my money. Going would only mean that I needed to prove something to them and I don't need that stress.

My husband and I have a set of cultural references we use in our daily conversation, mostly lines from Mel Brooks movies, South Park, or The Simpsons. "You are likely to be eaten by a grue" is there, too.

John H | April 14, 2006 10:13 AM

I graduated in 1986 as well - not going to my 20yr reunion (didn't go to the 1yr, 5yr, 10yr or 15yr reunions either). It's not that I wouldn't want to see what happened to all those people, just that I would have to travel which would mean taking off work. And it just ain't that important to me...

CoolBlue | April 14, 2006 10:37 AM

Gah. 1986. The year I graduated high school.

OMG. I graduated in 1972. Why am I always surprised when I am reminded of how young everyone is? (actually, the inverse)

I have never attended any HS reunion. My graduating class had 2000 people in it and I only attended the school for two years. I wouldn't even know anyone.

Plus, I hated High School.

1986? Geez

John H | April 14, 2006 12:00 PM

That's OK - I feel the same way when someone tells me they graduated in 2000...

Steve Eley | April 14, 2006 12:10 PM

My child will most likely graduate from high school in 2023.

Old? Oh yeah.

M.A. | April 14, 2006 12:43 PM

Oh, man! My second marriage was breaking up in 1986. I was 38; I felt OLD. I guess I really wasn't...

Anonymous | April 15, 2006 05:32 AM

I was, err, born in 1986 ...

IRS | June 5, 2006 03:31 PM

IRS http://www.irstaxwebsite.com/

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