Seattle is back

Seattle is back. It’s 68, cloudy, and I managed to sleep without drinking alcohol last night. I even had to turn off the ceiling fan and close a window, it got so cold last night. I’m very happy – I feel like a changed man. Maybe I’ll get some writing done tonight.

My New York visitor is going to be here over Labor Day weekend, and I’m excited about that. Time to throw out the beer bottles, stock the bar, and do some serious cleaning…

The other night, I thought of the perfect plot for an action-adventure movie. I don’t know why, it just appeared in my head while drinking a beer and waiting for sleep. I’m thinking I subliminally ripped it off from some Van Damme movie or something, but I’m not sure – maybe it’s an amalgm of a bunch of movies. If I had any time whatsoever, I’d write a treatment, or even a screenplay, and then send it to a bunch of people. But I guess I have better things to do with my time.

I’ve been listening to the new Garbage album for some reason – I usually don’t listen to pop albums, but I got a copy from a friend of mine, and I actually like it in some weird way. I could imagine listening to it while doing 90 in a cnnvertible with the top down – it has a lot of energy to it, and sounds fresh. Maybe I should dump this to an MD and listen to it more.

I’m really not that nervous about the car now, but brief explosions of anxiety hit me when I really sit and think about it. I’ll miss that car, but not the dealership. My loyal zine readers keep asking me if I will still put “No thanks to Evergreen Ford in Issaquah” in the back of every issue of Air in the Paragraph Line, like I did with 1-9, or if I’ll find a new cause to berate. That’s a good question, and I guess you’ll have to buy a copy of #10 to find the answer.

I’m bored. I now have a NY subway map and a bartender’s guide, which should keep be busy for months.


beer before bedtime

The last few days have been a blur of record temperatures and incredible heat in my apartment. I got home from work last night and fell asleep with my jeans and shoes on. When I woke, I felt really sick, like I was going to pass out. This was with the windows open, and all of the fans running at full blast, so lound that I couldn’t hear. The apartment still felt like standing next to a kiln. I don’t remember it being this bad when I worked in a copper refinery in the worst of the Indiana summers.

My beer-before-bedtime solution to sleep is still working, but I think I’ve completely pumped up my alcohol tolerance, and I might have to start drinking more if this heat wave continues. Last night, I spent my last $8 on a 6-pack of Molson and a Chicken McNugget meal.

The great car exchange takes place Friday. I dropped off the Escort and took the Rabbit last night because the Escort’s brakes are starting to squeal, and I don’t want to make it worse. I hope that I can get that one past Ford without paying extra. I’ve got a bonus coming on Friday, and it should be decent, so it doesn’t matter either way. But if I just pay them the $620 or so in body damage and then get cut loose, that means a lot of screwing-around funds for the next few weeks.

It’s weird to be back driving the Rabbit again. I hate not having AC, but the sunroof is very awesome for weather like this. I’m not used to driving a stick, and the hills are a problem. Also, I have trouble determining distances and blind spots and all of that, but I’m guessing that after a weekend of blasting around Seattle, that stuff will pass.

I read somewhere that over 3 million copies of Dr.DOS have been sold in the last 18 months. Isn’t that weird?

I may have a visitor from NYC in the future. I may be going to Indiana again for Halloween. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.


The 30-day Diarrea Diet Plan

It’s motherfucking hot in Seattle. Maybe I’m just whining, but you should try hanging out in my apartment for a few hours. Even with all of the fans on full blast and the windows open, it must be 90 in there, and the mercury doesn’t drop much at night. I know there are some of you that think “I’m a tough guy – 100 degree heat doesn’t bother ME.” That’s because you’re brain damaged. I can’t do anything but sit in bed when it’s this hot out, and with the jet-engine roar of my fans, I can barely hear the sound of the stereo or TV. There’s no use in trying to read any new books or write anything. I’m glad I discovered that if I drink a beer right before bed, I fall asleep a lot faster. I’m not glad that I’m down to my last beer, and I’m pretty much broke until Friday.

Yes, I’m counting the days until Friday, when the Escort goes away. I have $400 of the $620 I need to pay Ford, and payday plus bonus-day is Friday, so I should be home free. I am down to my last $11, which I’ll probably spend on Sprite, Gatorade, and stuff for lunch this week. I should make it. And after that, I’ll have cash every month – enough to save for weird trips around thw world and still have enough to go to the CD store and buy everything in sight.

I keep thinking about where I’ll travel next. I think another default trip back to Indiana is in order, except this time I’ll try to hook up with Michael in Cleveland and take some better pictures of Bloomington. I also want to take a trip to NYC, and one to LA. This huge Amsterdam trek is still on the drawing board, but I’m not sure when that will happen or how I will pay for it. I’m thinking of keeping very detailed journals on my next couple of trips, and then writing a book about them. It would be about the tree or four places I visited, which would all be completely different, but it would be more about me and the time I spent on the road. It wouldn’t be like On the Road – more like Kurt Brecht’s book The 30-day Diarrea Diet Plan, which is a cool book about his voyage into Mexico on no money.

Nothing else. It’s nice in my office though. Maybe I should move in here.


CD test list

I’m thinking of sinking an insane amount of money into some new stereo hardware. I really want a pair of Magnepan speakers, and I really want a Crown amp. I don’t think panel speakers will sound too good with Entombed, but they’d sound great with this new Pat Metheny CD, or some Shadowfax or something. So I’m coming up with a list of all-purpose test CDs I could use while auditioning new gear. They all have to be familiar, but exhibit some weird quality I’d need to test. I think the list is something like this:

  • Motorhead – 1916
  • Chick Corea Electric Band – Under the Mask
  • Pat Metheny Group – Imaginary Day
  • Peter Gabriel – Us
  • Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey
  • Death is Just the Beginning II comp.
  • Dismember – Indecent and Obscene
  • Brahms – Piano Concertos (complete) (Philips)
  • Frank Zappa – Civilization Phaze Three
  • Frank Zappa – The Yellow Shark
  • Frank Zappa – One Size Fits All (Au20)
  • Joe Satriani – Crystal Planet
  • Shadowfax – Folksongs for a Nuclear Village
  • the digital domain test disc
  • the Holophonics test disc

I think with those CDs, I could find new speakers that didn’t suck, or at least piss off the sales clerks.

It’s a beautiful day out, I’ve got a twenty in my pocket – what the fuck am I doing writing on here?



If you still can’t figure out yesterday’s entry, it’s from the Conan O’Brien show.

There are several reasons why I haven’t been writing. First is the heat – at night it gets up to about 170 degrees in my apartment, and I want to do nothing but watch TV. I’ve begun tipping back a beer or two before bed, because there’s no other way I can fall asleep with this heat. I have a ceiling fan and a box fan – maybe I need more fans.

Also, my connection at work has been messed up. It slows down and times out way too much. It’s become too much a pain in the ass to write during lunch, so I stopped.

So that means no writing on the book. A few people are reviewing the first nundred pieces from Rumored to Exist, and I’m getting back some helpful feedback. It makes me want to write more, but the heat… the heat…

I’m getting a lot of conflicting information about what to do with my dating life. It was so much easier when I could just ask a girl in my Spanish class for help with my homework, buy a pizza, make up some stories, and bam. Now I have to explain a huge manifesto about what I want to do with my life when I meet someone new. Maybe I should stay single for a while longer.

I talked to Tom G. today, an old friend from my neighborhood. I guess he wasn’t a friend for a while – in 1989, my then-girlfriend took off with him, and they eventually got married, had two kids, then divorced. But I guess the statute of limitations on that stuff has run out, and it was good to talk to him again. It wasn’t much of an “old times” type of discussion, but more of a “what’s been going on” thing. It’s weird how much can change in 8 or 9 years.

I’ve gotta split – I actually have plans that don’t involve TV or writing!


Cable TV relapse

I gave up. I fell off the wagon. I relapsed. I once again have cable TV. And I’m watching way too much of it.

I decided one night that I wanted to watch the Conan O’Brien show again. He’s really funny, and I like his guests and his jokes with Andy and Max, and it used to give my life a certain amount of regularity. So did the Seinfeld reruns at 7:30, but they always preempt those with the fucking Mariners games. So the other night, I got out the wire strippers and fixed my TV cable, and there it was.

Conan was funny, and I watched some other pseudo-educational things, like a show on the Berlin Airlift, and this giant Noam Chomsky thing on PBS. But I find myself wandering the stations, which is bad. Oh well, I need some new ideas for the book, and I can’t think of any while hermetically sealed in my apartment.

It’s Friday, but it feels like Tuesday. I hope this will be a breakthrough weekend for the writing – I have been hovering right below 40,000 words on this project, and I’d really like to break through and officially be in the 40s. Yesterday, it got so nice out that there was an emergency beer and ice cream meeting on the patio. It was HOT out there – it felt good to be drinking cold Corona while standing around on the concrete and looking at Lake Union. Days like that make me wish I had a boat moored across the street, so I could hop in and hit the water.

I’m in the final stretch of this money ordeal, before the car is gone. It looks like I’m going to make it with a few bucks to spare, but I’m waiting for Ford to pull the old switcheroo somehow, and ask me for more cash. So that means I’m mostly broke for the next two weeks, but then I’ll be back to dropping bills in the CD store and buying many books I’ll probably never read.

I’m bored now. Time to do a bunch of stupid web searches.


Wedding invitation from an ex

I got paid a day early and didn’t know it. It’s raining. I think the I-5 construction is done. I gave a panhandler 75 cents. My apartment smells like something died in the pile of unwashed dishes. I’m drying some jeans for the 4th time and I hope I remember to take them out and fold them.

I got a wedding invitation from an ex-girlfriend. Not really an ex, we went out a couple of times and it disintegrated before the labels were established. But I liked her a lot in early 1993. I had a dream about her the other night. I’m not mad or upset that she’s getting married, but it’s another reminder that I’m drifting. And I wish I had a better alibi for being single and childless. I wish I was Marilyn Manson, so when people would ask me why I’m not married, I could say “Where the hell have you been? Turn on your fucking TV.”

At least I got an invitation. I’d like to make a list here of all of the people who are/were allegedly close to me who didn’t invite me to their weddings.

I think I’m taking a long weekend in Vancouver BC in the near future. I don’t even know what I would do there, but I just want to go. I don’t know anyone there, except for maybe thirdhand connections or vague stuff like that. Now I know a couple of people in LA, but I can’t easily drive there, so the investment is higher.

I really need to do my dishes and find out of something did die in the sink, before it drives me nuts.


Portable hot tubs and jackhammers

The jackhammers continued until about 5 in the morning, when the construction crews started running something that sounded like a tablesaw running in my kitchen, even though it was 200 yards away, slicing through the bridge decks of I-5. I hope to fuck that this roadwork finishes on time (allegedly tomorrow) so I can get some sleep.

07/13/98 12:46

The Damark catalog had a “portable” hot tub for like $1000 or $2000, and I kept thinking about how cool it would be to rent a two-bedroom apartment and set that bitch up – or a one-bedroom, and I wouldn’t put any other furniture in the living room. I don’t OWN any other furniture. Instead of buying a couch and a loveseat and a bunch of tables, I could just buy the hottub, and hang out in there when I rent movies. I just have to remember not to put any Japanese tourists in my Karl Fargman dresser.

Have I mentioned how slow the book is going yet today. Slow. Monumentally slow. Motherfucking slow. So slow, I shaved my dog’s ass and taught him to proofread backward. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Here’s an example – imagine you have to put yourself on a “tight schedule” to write a mere 300 words a day. Then imagine you break that schedule like 5 out of 7 days a week, and on the other two days, you don’t make up for it. This is why I’m thinking about a rewarding hobby in paint-by-number clown pictures, maybe working up to some dogs playing poker.

I was just looking at a web page and I couldn’t figure out why I would reload it and it would jump right to the end of the page. I thought maybe they used some kind of special anchor or something… until I realized I was holding down the space bar. It’s one of those days.


a diesel ghost

I saw a ghost today. To me, a ghost isn’t a dead person dressed like a Klansman, making weird noises and scaring people. It’s when one or more of my senses receive input that matches some other point in my history enough to make me think I’m there again. It can be a perfume, a song, a place, a car, a picture, or anything else that strikes a chord and really tears into me. Smell is my strongest sense, but a combination can really freak me out. An example – I used to drive a silver 1980 VW Rabbit diesel, back in 90-91. The smell of diesel fumes, like when a bus goes by, reminds me of my old Rabbit. Now I drive a silver 1978 Rabbit with a gas engine, which sometimes reminds me of my old Rabbit, but there are enough differences and I’m used to it, that it’s a different car to me. But, one time I was driving and I stopped at a light behind a big construction truck, and the diesel exhaust huffed away that familiar smell. And I saw a ghost. For a few seconds, it totally made me think it was the summer of 1991 again, like I was working at NIBCO and dating Johanna down in Bloomington.

Maybe I shouldn’t call it a ghost – maybe it’s more like a wormhole, a way for me to peer back into the past that’s triggered by external events. Like deja vu, but that’s more of an unexpected thing, like you’ve been at the current event before, not like the current event is a weird shadow or afterimage of a past event you know you lived. I guess this happens to a lot of people, and it’s simply called nostalgia. But I think it’s more for me, because I have such a strong memory for the past. Sometimes, when I’m hanging out with friends and talking about old times, I’ll rattle off a story from 5, 10 years ago with such precision, and everyone else says “I totally didn’t remember that until now.” Other people forget the past, and think it’s a curse. I think remembering the past is the real curse. I can’t put ex-girlfriends out of my mind, or forget my stupid mistakes. I wish it all faded away, but I think some people and places will chase me to my grave.

Today’s ghost was nothing tremendous. I walked to work and back, to time the distance (~40 min each way) and the clouds, the smell of the wind, the temperature, and the Rollins Band MD all made it feel like the fall of 1993 again. It wasn’t a total sensation – I was walking in downtown Seattle, not from Wrubel to Colonial Crest, the Rollins album in question came out in 94, and I didn’t have either the black leather jacket or the Aiwa walkman that were Konrath trademarks at the time. But it felt like time skipped for a second, and it lurched back five years.

That’s all I did today. I slept in, went for the walk, and by the time I got home, it was like 5:30. Then after I drank 2 gallons of ice water, passed out, and dealt with an incredible headache focused in the center of my left eye, I got my dinner, and here I am. I wish I had more stories for you about street festivals and shopping and contra dances and mountain climbing and running in the park with puppy dogs, but I don’t.

I should be working on the book…


Waterproof sunscreen blinding kids

Eating nachos, getting ready to launch into it on the book. There is heavy construction going on just outside my apartment – they are replacing bridge decks on I-5 south. The current work is about 200 yards from my apartment, and I think it’s a 24 hour job – lots of hardcore banging and welding and scraping with tank-like vehicles and about 100 cops blocking off the road.

There’s an urban legend going around in email about waterproof sunscreen blinding kids. It’s idiotic, and the “anything for the children” types have been pummeling it out there. I got multiple copies at work, and a huge flamewar per copy. I get a lot of this – people who forward on jokes, etc. It’s an odd internet phenomenon – I bet you could get a Master’s thesis out of it without much work.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m listening to Mariah Carey’s self-titled album right now. The only reason I don’t have sick and/or unrealistic fantasies about her is that if I did manage to luck into something with her, I’d have a Puff Daddy number of 2 (like the Kevin Bacon numbers, get it?)

I’ve given up on finding cool journals on the web, and I’ve given up on reading about 98% of the journals I once thought were cool. It seems like in my darkest hours, I’d openly embrace the whole journal community, but I still think the idea of telling people how their personal sites should be run is stupid. It’s the reason I’ve given up on the zine community – it’s all people saying “be 100% DIY and do your own thing – just follow these steps so your stupid punk zine will look like every other one and conform to the highly regimented rules of content and appearance.”

I don’t put counters on my pages, and although I could check server logs, I never have. I think there’s a sort of beauty to that. It’s art for the sake of art, and I’ve never worried how many people read this. (I think it’s somewhere between 2 and 3, but it could be less) I guess lately I’ve been preoccupied in telling people my ideals on this, and it’s wasting my time – I feel like Lenny Bruce, spending hours talking about trials instead of telling jokes. Maybe I should shut up about it.

07/11/98 14:12

Sleeping is out of the question. They jackhammered I-5 straight through the night. At around 6, it went from one jackhammer to a dozen. I managed to sleep about 7 or 8 hours, but it was in 90 minute spurts.

I have begun trimming back my web site – I pulled a bunch of stuff today, and I’ll continue cutting, abbreviating, and moving things. Why? Because I’m sick of selling myself on the web. I’m tired of the fact that when someone gets my URL, they instantly know a bunch of things about me – maybe the wrong things. I don’t think I’m extroverted enough to tell the world all about me. I’ve always wanted to have this cool website that archived everything I’ve written – the zines, stories, books, web posting, whatever, and anyone could jump there for free and print the stuff out, or read it online. I now realize that I don’t like putting my work on the web, because my old stuff really sucks, and I’m nervous about the new stuff – it’s not the kind of writing that you want your boss or your uncle in New Jersey finding on the web. So, it’s slowly being pruned. And I’m inches away from killing this journal again. I might just remove the archives, but I’m not sure. I’ll need to think about it.

It’s 2:17pm and I’m still sitting around here – no shower, no food, incredibly depressed about nothing. I have $21 to blow this weekend in the “miscellaneous” account, and I’m trying to decide whether or not I should cut off all my hair, or just go see a matinee and walk around the mall, looking at things I want and can’t have. I’d hash out the depression issues here, but it’s essentially the same old shit, a few new players. About that shower…