Drew Carey book

I read the whole Drew Carey book last night. It’s actually pretty good. He does a section that’s just jokes, a section that’s stories about the TV show, his life, etc, and then a section of short stories he wrote that are vaguely based on some events in his life, but fiction. I liked all of the other stuff, but the stories really kicked ass. They almost reminded me of some of the stuff in those Kevin Canty books – they really stuck with you after you put the book down. He should write more stories during hiatus week or something.

I am going to seriously try to edit Rumored to Exist this weekend. I know something will stop me, but I’m going to try. If I still drank Coke, I’d buy four two liters on my way home and pledge to finish them all by lunch on Sunday. Instead, it will be Sprite, and there’s no real reason to drink it that fast. I did more editing last night, although not a lot, and ideas are starting to come to me in the shower or on the drive over.

I’ve been listening to AC/DC in the car. My order from cdconnection didn’t get filled – all of the CDs were out of stock, so I got my money back. Maybe I’ll spend that money on some AC/DC CDs or that new boxed set. Of course, I am so whipped on this Silver Platters coupon system that I only buy CDs on Wednesday so I can get double points. I also found out if you buy 15 CDs on Wednesday, you practically quadruple points. If I could afford to blow a few hundred bucks a week, I could get a serious cache of points going.

(Do you remember the episode of the Brady Bunch where the kids needed the money to engrave their parents’ anniversary present, so they formed a band and went on TV to win the cash? The band name was Silver Platters. Coincidence?)

(I guess that only made sense if you lived in Seattle and knew I bought all of my CDs at a place called Silver Platters).


Rancid sandwiches, alternate realities

I guess I’ve officially re-started the edits on Rumored to Exist. I spent some of last night hacking at the text, trying to turn some of the “one-hit” stories into longer pieces. There are all of these parts with a single plot element, and they somewhat fall flat. It’s cool to work through these in edits and get some more length and depth in there. I think after (if) I finish an edit like that, and add the 55 fragments that are missing, the manuscript will be about 100,000 words long.

I just had to buy another lunch because the sandwich I made was rancid. I hate packing my lunch, but I hate buying lunch downstairs or down the street. Spending $3 on a tiny pasta salad or a half of a sandwich isn’t worth it. I’m almost used to eating the same stuff every day when I bring my lunch. Sort of like how David Lynch ate lunch at the same place for 17 years in a row or whatever.

I’m reading a Phillip K Dick book (I don’t remember the title) that takes place in 1960 in an alternate universe where the Japanese and Germans won World War two and divided up America between themselves. It’s not perfect prose – I’ve liked PKD for his ideas and stories, but never for his flowing use of the English language. Anyway, it’s an eerie and strange idea, and it reminds me a lot of an American version of 1984 in a way. Everyone thinks 1984 was such a high-tech story (the people who don’t read it), but it was really about the low tech situation. I should re-read 1984 right after this, it’s been a while. I bought a new copy at a garage sale about a year ago – it looks like it was originally from a school library. My old version was falling apart – I bought it 5 years ago for a class, and got a few reads out of it.

Orwell’s awesome, even outside of 1984 and Animal Farm. I’ve read Down and Out… many times in recent years. It’s a great book to read when you’re poor and out of money – one of my favorite college reads.

It looks like none of the CDs I ordered from cdconnection will make it – they’re all out of stock. I went CD shopping last night, and bought 2 Tori Amos singles and 2 albums by Tony MacAlpine, this mid-80s guitar hero type. I thought he dropped off the face of the earth, but here he is


At war with Columbia House records

It doesn’t look like my new update program is working that well now – it mysteriously got confused and started creating 0 length files out of some journal pages. I think I fixed it, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to modify it a bit more so it makes a backup of stuff before it starts destroying things.

I spent a lot of last night either trying to fix the above program, or trying to get to the end of Tetris Plus. I think I’m about 4 levels away from finishing. But the last time I said that was when I was on vacation and thought I’d cleared the four worlds on the map. Then, Atlantis and another 20 levels magically appeared, and each level has been tremendously difficult. I’ve probably burned through 6 sets of batteries on my Game Boy trying to beat this thing. While waiting in O’Hare, I went through one set of batteries on one level, playing it over and over. An addiction – it isn’t heroin, but it will probably burn out my eyes over time.

I’m at war with Columbia House records. About two months ago, they sent me a “we want you back” offer saying I could get 15 CDs for free, WITH NO SHIPPING, and then I’d have to buy 4 more and quit. I get this kind of thing all the time, but not with free shipping – that’s like $40. So I signed up (but not with the little stamps they gave me – I dug out my A-Z catalog and ordered a bunch of jazz stuff that never appears in their fliers) and I waited. And waited. That was on 10/7. With 6-8 weeks of postal malady, they’d be here by now, right? This Saturday, I got my first “return this or we’ll send you the new Madonna album or something else horrible”. OK, it had a membership number and everything, so that meant that either the stuff got crossed, since they send CDs 4th class and mailings second class, or someone took all of my CDs from the rental office and sold them for methadone. More waiting. Last night I got like 6 hangups on my answering machine while I was playing GameBoy (if your name doesn’t show up in caller ID, you talk to the little black box). I answered on the 7th, thinking maybe I’d won some German lottery, or my girlfriend was at a payphone with her kidney missing or something. It was… Columbia House. Some poor kid was reading off a notecard and asking me if I wanted to come back to Columbia House. After his canned speech, I told him I THOUGHT I WAS A MEMBER. He gave me an 800 number to call from 8am-10pm Indiana time (of course it was 7:01PM, aka 10:01 Indiana time). I called thismorning, and they didn’t know where the CDs were, although they sent them out on 10/22. But, they were nice enough to re-send all of the CDs to me and I didn’t even have to threaten them with bodily harm. (They run this club out of Bloomington – I could probably fly to Indiana, buy a flamethrower and an AK-47, and get my 15 CDs the hard way). Anyway, maybe my stuff will show up in another 2 months. Maybe I’ll get both shipments and I can sell one set of CDs.

My sister Monica bought a 98 Saturn, so I no longer have the newest car in the family. Maybe after I get rid of my Escort, I could buy the oldest car in the family. Come to think of it, that wouldn’t work – my mom’s husband has a bunch of 55 57 chevys.


Ugliest C ever

I just spent most of my lunch hour trying to add the stuff to my index program so the next/previous tags will automatically be updated on my pages. It is the UGLIEST piece of C code I’ve ever written – if you can even call it C. It constructs a couple of sed scripts that it systems out, and also runs a perl script to do all of the replacements. It is slow, of course, but not that bad. It’s only hacking at two files at a time. It looks like its working though, so I’m happy. I’m nervous that it will hit some kind of weird case where it will erase a bunch of files or something stupid like that, but it tested fine, and I think I’ll be able to just forget about it now and let it do its own work.

It’s another tiring day. I was up late last night reading my old journals from way back when. It’s pretty trippy – my first journal is very hands-offish and doesn’t really tell any details about what was going on in my life. I talked about paxil, and depression, but I never talked much about the women, or buying a new CD player, or working for UCS, or meeting Simms for the first time. A lot of weird stuff happened in that first few months of journaling, but it didn’t capture much. I had two journals going at once for part of that year, and the summer of 1994 (I kept one with me in a backpack, one at home). That journal was never finished, but the gossip and the dirt on a lot of the summer’s actifvities is all there – shit I forgot about. There were some strange gaps though. I talked about sex when I wasn’t having any, but on the rare opportunities that I did lure someone back to the apartment, I never filled the pages the morning after.

Some of my best paper journals are from the 94-95 school year. During this period, I wrote about 3 times more in my notebooks than I do now. And the stuff is classic – it was a period when I was reading a lot of stuff – my first Bukowski, WS Burroughs, Henry Miller, some Rollins – and I wrote for pages and pages every night about how much I hated Bloomington, and how I wanted to save my pennies and drive to San Diego or Mexico or Texas or Seattle and live in my car and write books about my fucked-up experiences. The stories about my wild ideas of escape would make a pretty good book in themselves. I guess I wrote a lot about my problems with Simms when we were living together, but most of it was some intense writing about that situation. I also had (shitty) ideas for a new novel about every other day. And the depression stuff was at its strongest then – a lot of rejection, all-out dating problems, almost no friends except for Larry, and I spent most of my time wondering when I would be fired from UCS for something I didn’t do. It’s pretty intense reading.

I thought about it a little, and it’s strange that my journals don’t talk about depression too much. I guess it has been pre-empted by long entries talking about dietary problems and gastroenterological problems. But ALL I used to write about was depression. It wasn’t that boring of stuff, either – a cross of parapoia and philosophy. I guess it’s hard to write about it when you’re doing OK.

I want to make sure this index works OK. Maybe I will write more, maybe not.


Stories of Japan and India and Morocco and Amsterdam

It’s sad when you spend a half an hour reading your own web page. I guess these things happen. Actually, I’ve been tearing things apart a bit. I just changed all of the colors (again), and I’m trying to find a scheme to put next/previous links at the bottom of each page. Don’t hold your breath – it’s going to be a weird hack to get it to happen for the new additions, and I have no idea how I’ll fix all of the old pages, except by hand, I guess.

I’m back from Thanksgiving, and it was okay – no major complaints, no real excitement. I’ve been sick since Friday afternoon or so, and as I type, I’m working on my first real meal since maybe Saturday. I’m pretty low on sleep right now – I went to visit my friend Bijan, who is moving to SanFran today, to start a new job.

Bijan went on this massive trip, basically around the world, recording sounds on his MiniDisc, taking lots of photos, and meeting up with weird and cool people all over the place. He was supposed to be packing his stuff last night, but spent most of the time showing me fliers and CDs and photos and playing me stuff on his MD (which, by the way, kicks ass). He showed me a japanese reissue of Miles Davis – In a Silent Way on MiniDisc that was probably the coolest piece of music media I’ve ever seen in my life.

All of his stories of Japan and India and Morocco and Amsterdam made me wish I would’ve packed up after UCS and spent a few months on the road like that. There were always excuses – mostly money, but also language barriers, time, etc, that stopped me. Now it’s things like responsibilities, money (again), and the idea of traveling Europe with colitis isn’t a pleasant one. But a summer over there would probably generate a thousand short story ideas

It’s December! Shit, I didn’t even notice that until a second ago. This weekend, I did all of my Xmas shopping except Karena’s stuff. My sisters and nephew are just getting gift certificates, which was easy and should save on shipping stuff back to Indiana. I should avoid posting a message about what I got my respective parents, on the extreme off-chance that they somehow get an AOL account and a computer in the next 24 days. Less probable things have happened.

The CD of today is Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell. I had no Black Sabbath on CD, just a motley collection of compilations on tape that I bought at gas stations when I was driving too much through central Indiana and got bored of every tape I owned, causing the purchase of many $3.99 cassettes at Marathon stations. Anyway, I got this Black Sabbath 4-pack of CDs at Costco (and miraculously, the CDs weren’t reissues, cutouts, or mangled in any other way). Anyway, three of the discs were Ozzy-era (Black Sabbath, Paranoid, and Sabotage), but Heaven and Hell is also included. It’s an odd-man-out because Ronnie James Dio sings on it. Plus, it doesn’t sound at all like a Black Sabbath album. It sounds more like a more refined version of early Krokus or something. It’s a decent album, and ahead of its time (it came out in 1980). I never liked Ronnie James Dio that much, but he’s tolerable here. During his solo career, I thought everyone in his band was pretty good except him. They should’ve fired him and becoem an instrumental band called “The Ronnie James Dio Experience”.

Speaking of Indiana, I am eating with a plastic spoon from Kroger. Of the things I miss about Indiana, Kroger is strangely on the top ten list. It’s probably because my mom shopped there when we lived in Michigan. She actually drove from Michigan to Indiana to get groceries at Kroger. Of course, if you live in Edwardsburg, MI, you drive to Indiana to put gas in your car, blow your nose, get a haircut, and about everything else. This was a town – sorry, this was a village – that had the village hall in a strip mall, next to a laundromat and a bait shop (and both of them were larger).

I think I’ve decided not to move from my apartment. To sort of offset this decision, I’ve decided to go through the whole damn place and throw out everything that’s not getting any use, and then buy some new shelves or an entertainment center, or some of those closet shelf organizer things, or something, so I can free up more spare room. If I get caught up on sleep, I might try to do that tonight…

I have put previous/next links on all of the pages except for this one. This one has a comment in it that will be replaced by the update program with a correct and automated line of html that will add its own prev/next links without my intervention. That piece of code hasn’t been written yet, but it won’t be difficult.

I weighed myself last night and I was down to about 185. Four months ago, when this whole dietary thing started, I was probably pushing 215. I’m probably close to the range considered healthy, although I’m still a little flabby around the midsection. I think I am also within a couple pounds of my weight 3 or 4 years ago, before I got a car and money to actually buy food. I’m still 20 or 30 lbs above my weight in high school. I always hated being that thin – I looked like a ghoul. Of course, if I was in high school now, with all of these Seattle bands and waif commercials and calvin klein, i’d be about perfect.

I think I’m leaving early. Nobody’s here, and I’m about to fall asleep. Later…