OAQ

[Occasionally-Asked Questions]

Where did you get the idea for this page, and what about the title?
To be out front about it, I swiped this idea from Kim Rollins, who once said that she cribbed it from Laura Lemay. I suppose, if you trace things back far enough, you can probably blame it on Dante, or perhaps John Tesh. And while the domain name seems a bit odd, I was worried that “phlegm-brulée.com” might have already been already taken.

Are there any really frequently-asked questions about you?
Only “Who the hell do you think you are?”, which generally doesn’t deserve a response from me.

Don’t I know you from somewhere?
Probably not, although I have been around for ages. My online debut was in the middle 1980s, which isn’t exactly the same as having once had a mastodon-hunting permit, but it’s close enough. Once upon a time, I was the moderator of FidoNet’s Controversial conference (area tag: CONTROV), a position I held for six years (after being a contributor for five). Before that, I did yeoman duty as a room host on America Online, even before Steve Case came up with the name. More recently, I have been sporadically spotted on various message boards, and until its 1999 death by malfeasance, in Prodigy Classic Chat, as Windowphobe, the Windows in question being a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. This name is also used, with variations as dictated by necessity, at various other locations. including the (so far) mostly unnecessary windowphobe.com. On the other hand, my Twitter stuff comes out under dustbury. And then again, you may just have me confused with someone else.

Wasn’t there a really ornate background graphic on this page at one time?
Supposedly, it was interfering with full enjoyment of the text, as though this text could be enjoyed fully. And anyway, it became irrelevant when I incorporated it into the WordPress install. Meanwhile, I am trying to simplify the interface without making it look like I learned HTML from an old crib sheet.

And where did you learn HTML?
From an old crib sheet.

What happened to the abortion stuff?
The Supreme Court has canned the Communications Decency Act, which forbade the discussion of such things in cyberspace; my little act of civil disobedience is no longer necessary. Besides, at the time, I needed the space. You can still read about Operation Fescue, though, and if I ever get any new ideas on the subject, I’ll put them up.

Exactly where is this “Dustbury, Oklahoma” anyway?
This question deserves a page of its own.

Any descendants?
Two children: Rebecca (born 1978) and Russell (born 1981). Four grandchildren: Nicholas (Rebecca’s son, born 1999), Laney (Russell’s daughter, born 2003), Jackson (Russell’s first son, born 2006), and Gunner (Russell’s second son, born 2007).

Other than genetic material, do they have anything in common with you?
Well, my ex-wife tends to yell at them a lot also.

Are you saying you don’t get along with your ex?
Actually, now that I’m out of the house and out of her hair for the most part, she probably thinks I’m not such a bad sort after all. Of course, the things we disagreed on before, we still disagree on; some things never change. A very nice person overall, but I wonder about her taste in guys sometimes.

Did she get married again?
She did. Twice more. Third time’s the charm, and all that.

So why didn’t you get married again?
The level of desperation reported to exist among contemporary women is highly exaggerated.

No prospects at all?
I didn’t say that. On the other hand, not everyone who seems interested can be considered a viable candidate, for a variety of reasons I’d just as soon not get into.

Can we infer anything from your complaint about Colorado’s Amendment 2, or from your opposition to the “Defense of Marriage Act”?
You could, but you’d probably be wrong.

Is it true you got 1600 on your SATs?
It is not true. Then again, I took them twice, and if you add the scores of both tests together…

Did you actually design this site with WordPad?
The very earliest design work was done on Notepad (!), but after the first year or so (by which is meant “when I finally got around to installing Windows 95″) updates were done on WordPad, which has a few more options and the capacity to handle bigger files.

You don’t use Blogger or some similar tool?
I didn’t at first. As of the last week of August 2002, the log (the front-page stuff and the archives thereof) was powered by Movable Type; I switched to WordPress in September 2008, and incorporated two years’ worth of bloggage into that installation. Everything else is hand-coded from the finest domestic bits.

Do you have a Blogger Code?
Oh, my, yes:
B9 d++ t+ k++ s++ u+ f++ i++ o+ x– e+ l+ c–

What’s with the goldfinch?
Well, it’s the state bird of New Jersey (and of Washington), but that’s not why it’s here. During her last days, my mother decided to spend some of her time working on crafts, and while she didn’t complete a whole lot of projects, she did finish up the paint job on a plastic model of a goldfinch. She’s been gone thirty-odd years, but the little bird remains with me.

What are you driving these days?
An Infiniti I30, vintage 2000. Her name is Gwendolyn. Don’t ask why. (And if you must, read this.)

What are you wearing?
It varies. If I’m at work, probably chinos, or somebody’s cheap imitation Dockers, and a pocket T. If I’m at home, unless it’s the dead of winter, likely nothing at all.

Seriously?
Why would I make up something like that? What’s so weird about chinos and pocket Ts?

Not that, you nimrod. I mean the nudity business.
It’s not a big deal, and I don’t know why you’re concerned about it. To the extent that circumstances permit — mowing the front lawn, for instance, is not a permitted circumstance — at home I do without clothing. Simple as that. Repeat: “It’s not a big deal.” Before you ask, I don’t answer the door this way, either, unless I know it’s someone who is, or claims to be, okay with it.

So are there nude pictures of you on the Internet?
There are, though I am not inclined to tell you exactly where they are. They’re not, however, hidden.

How is it that you don’t have any ads or popups?
Well, besides the fact that clickthrough is evil, so far I’m not using up so much bandwidth that I need help paying for this site, which runs somewhere around $150 a year. Repeat: “so far”.

Dozens of services offer free Web space. Why pay for it?
Migod, I’m beginning to think you like ads and popups.

And you don’t have a tip jar either?
Unless this site suddenly becomes a lot more popular, or unless I fall on hard times, I don’t need the bucks. There are plenty of deserving bloggers with huge online expenses who do; see to their needs first, wouldja please? A chap named Ravenwood perhaps says it best: “If you want to help me out, vote to lower my tax rate.” If you still feel like sending me a few bucks, I have a PayPal account under chaz at dustbury.com.

What Myers-Briggs type are you?
I haven’t taken the MBTI, but I have taken the sort-of-similar Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and it considers me INTJ.

Have you taken an Enneagram test?
I have. I’m a Five.

What do you do for a living?
I run an IBM i5 midrange server, which handles both local needs and our corporate Web site, and the attendant document production as needed.

Midranges? Aren’t those obsolete?
I wrote the first version of this page, and many of the subsequent updates, on a 386 PC. And an SX, at that. Now that’s obsolete.

What’s this “42nd and Treadmill” business?
It’s a convenient term for my workplace that casts the necessary aspersions without becoming particularly actionable — for one thing, 42nd is a good twenty blocks (more or less) away. Originally, “42nd at Treadmill” was a subsection of “Pictures of a City”, a track from the 1970 King Crimson album In the Wake of Poseidon, with an utterly disjointed Pete Sinfield lyric and an utterly distorted Greg Lake vocal; it would be appropriate based on these considerations alone.

How long have you been doing that? The servers, I mean.
Since 1990, taking time out for meals, of course.

And that’s another thing. How much do you weigh, really?
I consider myself average weight — that is, for a height of eleven feet, one and a half inches.

Are you actually that tall?
What are you, some sort of insurance-company weasel?

Does this in any way interfere with your love life?
It might if I had one, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Are you actively looking for someone?
Define “actively”. I’m not surfing the Net trolling for babes, if that’s what you mean.

What is your position on “cybersex”?
Uh, seated.

Okay, try it this way. Suppose the woman of your dreams shows up some night in a chat room. Would you blow her off?
What makes you think I haven’t?

Trust me, you haven’t.
If you say so. And anyway, that’s not a question.

What’s she like? The woman of your dreams, I mean.
Barring the sudden arrival of information to the contrary, the most pertinent word is “nonexistent.”

Should we take this to mean you’re not interested in an online relationship?
I don’t see any future in such things — at least, not for me. I know my limitations. Then again, I also thought Walter Mondale would carry three or four more states back in ’84, so don’t assume I always know what I’m talking about. Suffice it to say that the very demographic of cyberspace — mostly average men and above-average women, at least in the circles in which I’m likely to move — virtually ensures that I will encounter someone of prodigious desirability who wouldn’t have me on a bet.

Didn’t you have a photo gallery at one time?
I did; I took it down, thinking I could probably make better use of the material; finally I put up photo sets on Flickr.

I can understand the car posts and the computer posts and sometimes even the political posts, but what’s the deal with the shoes?
Think of it as a broadening of scope. I grew up surrounded by lots of gorgeous legs, by dint of having attended a Catholic high school during a period when skirt lengths were becoming, um, less conservative, and shoes are a logical extension of that interest. (So are underpants, I suppose, but those aren’t on display. Usually.) Besides, they always invite comment, even if it’s only “Yech, I wouldn’t wear that.”

How in the world did you ever become a fan of My Little Pony?
A person whose opinions I respect recommended it. I admit that I did not, however, expect quite the emotional connection that eventually developed.

Does your question remain unanswered? Send it in.

Current update: 1 April 2012