Author to San Diego goths: I’m no prude anti-ironist
Editor’s picks of stories Justin Wolff wrote for the Reader
Leave me alone: San Diego’s Goths
- During a conversation at an IHOP in El Cajon, Carnell brings up Hamlet. Carnell is the moniker of the 40-year-old co-publisher of Carpe Noctem; a locally published magazine of national repute that serves as a venue for goth writing, art, and interviews. Talking about the history of goth, he says, “If you look back at Joyce, Dickinson — and Hamlet. Yes, he was totally the first goth!” (Feb. 8, 2001)
Nothing beats the I-15 corridor. “This traffic today reminds me of LA. 20 years ago.”
Traffic Spares No One
- “In Carmel Valley there will be traffic problems when 56 is opened. There’s no northbound connector planned from Highway 56 to Highway 5, so we’re concerned about traffic backing up on surface streets.” (Apr. 5, 2001)
Dick Long checks dive suit for leaks. “What we did was hire these people from Canada. First, they cut some holes too low, and then they flooded the boiler room to see if there were any leaks going back to other areas, but they didn’t pump it out afterwards.”
Does the Yukon tempt divers to death?
- “I wouldn’t say it’s a dangerous dive,” Lt. Bass said, “but it’s an advanced dive that beginning divers should not make. I would say it’s been a success all the way around, except for the one fatality [Vila], but that didn’t have anything to do with the wreck. Right when she got to the deck, her brother and brother-in-law lost track of her, so we don’t know what happened to her, really (Aug. 30, 2001)
Sightseer stories(weekly column on noteworthy websites)
From altculture.com. If, like Tony Soprano, you must face your demons, this is an okay place to do it.
Already miss the 90s?
- I think the Zeitgeist of the ’90s was the main-streaming of the alternative. Not only did we standardize the word “alternative,” but we normalized it and commodified everything that was supposedly alternative — herbal medicine, punk, clogs, snuff films. (March 29, 2001)
Lescaux site. Paintings in the cave are about 15,000 to 17,000 years old.
Explore Lescaux caves with your mouse
- The vast fresco, covering about 60 feet, includes three groups of animals — horses, bulls, and stags — which recur in different areas of the “underground sanctuary.” The other galleries are the Painted Gallery, which is about 90 feet long; the Lateral Passage, which opens off the Great Hall of the Bulls; and the Chamber of Felines. (March 22, 2001)
Trabucco on PisserClam site: “When we were on the pier, I tried bringing in clams and lobsters from back East.”
P.B.’s Pisser Clam Club
- “Channel 8 responded. They called me and wanted to come and do a segment on the clam club. I told them that I don’t have the clams in yet, but they said, ‘That’s okay, we’ll come anyway.’ So Geni Cavitt came over at 5:00 in the morning and started filming. They were here at Chaz’s for two hours. Geni was slightly embarrassed saying ‘pisser clam’ on the air.” (Feb. 8, 2001)
From SmokingGun site. Russia, we know, has been selling portions of its huge weapons cache.
Where to buy Russian sub
- Finding itself cash short, Russia, we know, has been selling portions of its huge weapons cache. Rosvoorouzhenie, a state-owned company that negotiates international commerce with merchants in Libya and Iraq, is the broker. For some reason, the catalog doesn’t list prices, but I’ve learned that the sales team at Rosvoorouzhenie rates very high in customer service. (Nov. 9, 2000)
Padres site. At least the Padres aren’t one of the “Big Four.”
A place for Padres fans
- The off-season is a tricky time. Those of us who cheer for teams besides the Yankees need a respite from our unrequited love, but at the same time, the winter is about prospects. It’s about every connotation of the word: rookies, new acquisitions, rising averages, the meaning of last year’s late-season surge, dreaming about surveying those below you from the top of the field. (Apr. 13, 2000)
DuctTapeGuys site. Duct tape doesn’t work on ducts.
Duct tape madness
- Jim and Tim, who are brothers-in-law, came up with their idea for a federation of duct-tape enterprises one Christmas Eve when the power went out in the small Wisconsin town where they were having a family gathering. Jim said, “I bet I could fix this power outage with duct tape.” (Feb. 10, 2000)
The folks at HotRodder.Com invite anyone to submit memories about their first car.
Cars that are lemons
- The Most Disturbing Car Story Award goes to a nameless Watsonville, California, man. He noticed some little peculiarities right after purchasing the truck — “the speedometer would sometimes fall to zero then jump back up.” By January 29,1998, things had deteriorated: “All gauges malfunctioning. Could not duplicate problem for dealer. Over the next few days it gets worse.” (Jan. 6, 2000)
In 1980, the Rubik’s cube sold more than 4.5 million units and sold even more the next year.
Welcome to the Bad Fads Museum
- This on-line museum exhibits regretful fashions and events. In the former category you can try to come to terms with the coon-skin cap, “made popular in late 1954 with the debut of Fess Parker in the role of Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter,” or the pillbox hat, made popular by First Lady Jackie Kennedy. (Nov. 19, 1998)
Ghosttowns website. Decline and ruin are common occurrences treated with a Darwinian detachment.
Loneliest towns in the U.S.
- Besides the wonderful names of many ghost towns — in California, for instance, are Agua Fria, Reward, Rough and Ready, and Stovepipe — the words collected in the site’s glossary ring with a certain mystery and old-timeyness, though they also capture the rugged, mundane existence of the mining life. (Oct. 29, 1998)
From Manson site. The stated purpose of Access Manson is “to lift the shroud of lies and distortions.”
In defense of Charles Manson
- Smaller pieces of Manson’s writings are exhilarating, downright revolutionary and Dylanesque: “Ain’t nobody there, man. Just the air we breathe. It’s the trees, it’s the water, and the animals.” (Oct. 22, 1998)
Surfline, 1998. More to do with NOAA buoy reports than with a countercultural lifestyle.
Killer Surf Websites
- At SwellDirection, for instance, you’ll find precise descriptions of conditions: “SSW swell is on its way down at most beaches today. We should have sets in the waist- to chest-high range — maybe sets a little bigger with the tidal I believed push.” (Oct. 15, 1998)
From Ridout site. Ridout Plastics has grown from 8 to over 65 employees.
Ridout Plastics — beyond Preisendorfer surfboards
- A client can visit the site to order a custom-made skateboard or an oddly shaped piece of plastic tubing and receive as a bonus an education in the expansion and contraction properties of Plexiglas (acrylic). (Nov. 29, 2001)
From Anarchy site. “Without some means of exact time keeping, industrial capitalism could not continue to exploit the workers.”
Anarchy on the web
- The Anarchy Archives has its cynosure, and it’s a constellation rather than a single i guiding star. Here are names like William Godwin, Peter Kropotkin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and Noam Chomsky. (Oct. 4, 2001)
A nice 63-year-old American stands a better chance of scoring than a 31-year-old loser.
Find brides on the Volga
- We have found that writing many letters to your favorite girl works best. Write as many letters as you possibly can. Here are some tips that my father passed on to me once that I will now share with you: be warm, but not effusive; be charming, but not cheesy; be open and honest, but never, ever tell anyone anything about yourself. (Aug. 23, 2001)
From ESPN site. Not surprisingly, ESPN coddles Thompson. He’s an old pal of an ESPN executive editor.
Hunter Thompson just copied Annie Leibowitz
- Thompson’s most recent soapbox has been a weekly column for ESPN.com. Since November of last year, he has been writing “Hey, Rube!” which appears on the Disney-owned sports site’s irreverent Page 2. “Hey, Rube” means “Hey, Dummy,” as in “Hey, idiot, if you think this column is about sports then that’s your fault.” (Aug. 9, 2001)
From urinal.net. Time spent at a urinal is a time for introspection, relaxation, exhalation, and frankness.
The beauty of urinals
- Dan has been taking photographs of the Longest Urinal in the World, the 290-foot trough rebuilt each fall by Royal Flush, Inc, at the base of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island in preparation for the New York Marathon. (July 19, 2001)
Wolff wrote feature stories plus a weekly column on unusual websites (Sightseer) for the Reader from 1997 to 2006.