Canadian allergy drug lust

I’ve been suffering from allergies all weekend, or a cold, or both. Why aren’t there any non-drowzy antihistimines available over the counter? I heard that in Canada, you can buy Claritin and that stuff without a prescription. Oh well, I’m going to the doctor tomorrow – maybe I can get set up. I also found that antihistimine eyedrops help me out quite a bit.

Sunday night – eating sushi, chipping away at the book. I am surprised by how great a lot of Summer Rain really is, once I read it all straight through instead of reading the problem areas over and over for months at a time. I’m hoping another week or two of careful reading will turn out a good draft that I can send to the printer and get this whole process moving.

I should get back to work…


CVS woes

I should mention that I finished a draft of Summer Rain today. Now it’s time to shake out all of the bugs, and get this piece of shit to the printer.

I’m sick – probably shouldn’t be awake but my sleep schedule’s off due to a day of heavy cold medicine and too many naps. I ate dinner at like 5:30 and now I’m starving, so I woke up in the middle of the night to eat pizza. Make sense? Probably not.

Ten seconds after I convinced Michael that CVS was the greatest thing in the world, it stopped letting me check in files. This is a metaphor for my life.

04/28/00 13:59

I fucking hate being sick. Even though I got a good night’s sleep last night, I absolutely couldn’t get out of bed thismorning. So I called in, hacked (lungs, not code) for 45 minutes, and got back to bed. Had a weird dream that I was at the weird Maryland top-secret camp where they’re holding Elian and his dad. I was hanging out with my old friend Chris Hagen, who was desperately trying to convince me that I should have children as soon as possible. Chris has always been a strange guy, so this wasn’t entirely out of character.

I just got lunch from the Mini Star, a diner a few blocks away. Very cheap, pretty good, and extremely fast. And they let me order anything, no matter how small, with no minimum order. I think I could call and ask for a napkin, and a guy would be here three minutes later. It’s like having a Denny’s on call. Today’s a soup day – hot chicken noodle, perfect for this cold. I also got a $3 cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice that could regenerate the dead, it has so much vitamin C in it.

Otherwise, it’s very much a non-day. I kept drifting back to sleep, half wanting to stay unconscious for three days until this was over, half wanting to get up, take a shower, and get on the computer or clean or go to the corner store or something. I feel so guilty for sitting around all day, but… I’m sick.

It still hasn’t registered that I finished a draft of Summer Rain. It probably won’t; this is common for me. When I think about it, there are probably so many problems – continuity, gaps, grammar, and it’s going to be a huge task to fix all of them. I wish I could print the whole thing, mistakes and all. But it’s somewhat rewarding to find a major fuckup and thing “I’m glad that didn’t make it to print…”

Back to my soup…


final mile

Things are, at best, a blur. I think I’m getting a cold, which is a pisser because I’m in the final mile of editing Summer Rain, and I really want to blow through the last of the writing and get it over with. I’m down to five chapters with sizable holes that need to be plugged, and then it gets down to the monotony of spell-checks and passes through printouts with the red pen. I’m almost certain that two weeks into the month I’ve scheduled, I will say ‘fuck it’ and send the thing off to the printers.

I can’t think well at the start of a cold. It seems to cut into my creativity first. I think if I could sleep more, I would get past this. I got about 6 hours last night, which helped. Tonight, I will try for 8. I also want to think about what books to read next. I haven’t been able to read while I edit Summer Rain, and I want to get into stuff that will make me want to work on Rumored to Exist. Maybe some Raymond Federman. Or I could re-read Leyner.

I have an overwhelming urge to get a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator. I’ve decided to wait until the book is done and money settles down, and then I will waste my evenings on learning to fly a Cessna. And waste my paychecks on control yokes, pedals, and more memory.

Okay, back to the book.


I’m still very tired. It’s hard to say whether or not I’m getting work done on Summer Rain. I am filling in a lot of the holes in book three, finishing a lot of small pieces to bridge the gaps and get closer to being done. But I’m also so sick of the third book that all of it looks like shit to me, and I don’t even see the point of the last 15 chapters. I wanted to be close to complete by the end of this month, so I could spent all of next month just editing on paper and going over things carefully. I’m like 8 chapters behind right now. I might be able to finish some of it this week and weekend, but there’s no way I can finish 8 chapters.

As far as my mental state is concerned, I’ve been far too busy to really think about it. I mean, I had a long talk with Ray last night about it, mostly because he’s going through a bunch of weird shit and indecision also, and that’s helpful, but there are so many things that I need to think about. I feel like I need to get a lot of small things done in my life and make a lot of major decisions about what to do, and I really don’t know what direction to go. I do feel better about doing this alone – I don’t feel that I need assistance, but I do wonder what choices I need to make.

I am not saying that I am deciding whether or not to move to Sweden or start podiatry school or shave my head or anything. It’s just that my standard, default action at this point would be to sink into my writing, and buy a lot of DVDs and sink into mediocrity. Then in six months, I would start saying “fuck, I’m really lonely, but I’ve been eating pizza every night for the last six months, and I’m a poor slob with no social skills” and I would go into dramatics about how I needed to retrain myself to interact with humans. Instead of that, I am trying to think of how I can get my life together or keep my life together, but also work on my writing and try to stabilize things enough that I can interact with others. I just need to think about these things a little bit at a time, so I’m not floored when they all hit me at once later.

For example, I need to clean my fucking apartment. I have picture frames I bought four months ago that I still haven’t hung up. And my kitchen is full of boxes. If I ever want friends or people from work or whatever to come over and hang out, I should take the pile of six months’ worth of junk mail and do something with it. And I should buy some silverware. And I need to find a convenience store that’s open past 10. That’s completely unrelated, but I always run out of stuff to drink at like 10:07.



My alarm goes off in 8 minutes. I went to bed about 4 hours ago, and woke up about 8 times. I took three different medications to sleep last night. Today will be a long day.

I’m at the point where work or the pretense of work won’t hide the fact that I’m now single, and I need to think about what’s going to happen next. I’ve realized I need to take a mental inventory of what’s wrong with me and try to think of a strategy to fix things, avoid things, and deal with everything in my life. It sounds easier than it is, especially considering how guilty I feel about getting out of a relationship, and how at fault everything makes me feel. It seems like every time I’m forced to look at what went wrong, I find another major character flaw in myself that requires attention. A week ago, I felt that I was on the right track for picking up the pieces and starting over again. Now, I feel like I have months or years of overhead and recovery before I can even get back to the shaky spot I was at two summers ago.

I started reading old paper journals last night, in some effort to piece together an explanation of how I felt over the last two years. I expected to see some great pattern, a reason for what I’ve done or what I’ve become. Instead, I found that I was really obsessed with how many words a day I wrote during Summer Rain. Well, I’m still in 1998, so maybe this changes. I feel like an NTSB investigator trying to put a plane back together after a wreck. Unfortunately, I was also the pilot that drove the plane into the ground.

I don’t feel like writing about this anymore because it ultimately doesn’t do any good. I guess it’s a good excuse for why I’m not doing anything more creative with this journal right now. I’ve got a book to edit, and all of this to deal with. Maybe I picked a wrong time to start doing this.

I think I’m going back to bed.


back in Seattle

I feel like I’m back in Seattle – it’s been pouring rain, so much that the entire apartment’s humid and it feels like it will never dry. It’s also cold, and I ran out of hot water today. A nice hot shower is the only way to beat weather like this, and I didn’t get one today. I did, however, get the equivalent of a shower walking home from the subway, which is never fun.

My friend A is coming into town at any moment. I pulled her here to interview for a job at work, and she’s going to be around for the weekend to see some family. We get to hang out tonight, although I’m not sure I want to wander around the village or something when it is pissing rain like it is now. Her flight got pushed back because of rain and dreariness in Indianapolis, so that also sucks.

Work on Summer Rain has been slow and clunky lately. I’ve got so many changes to do in book three – one of the main characters has been totally rewritten. Or rather she is being rewritten – I am still doing major changes to the plotline as I am editing. The whole thing looks like a disaster right now, but it’s getting there. I just want it to be done and off to the press – Stutz is publishing a Linux book at the same press, except he’s just about ready to roll and send in his copy, while I’m like two months from that point. It will be very cool…

My favorite web site in the world today is Tens of thousands of plane crashes in excruciating detail – it is incredible!


Kava dreams and lucid nightmares

I take a lot of Kava to sleep. I’m back into the bad habit of coming home from work, falling asleep for two hours, and then staying up until 3 in the morning. It’s probably because I drink a 12-pack of Coke a day, but there are a lot of other factors. I used to take Nyquil, or Budweiser, or sominex to get to bed. I even got a script for Ativan recently, but all of that stuff makes my brain do weird things. I wake up hung over, and sleep in a blackened state of confusion. But Kava seems to work great, and slowly makes me more tired until I don’t realize it and slip into unconsciousness.

The flipside is that Kava gives me really fucked up dreams, the kind of dreams that you can’t even explain to people without laughing. They aren’t always funny, but they’re extremely nonsensical. Last night, I had a dream I was living in some underground bunker that looked like part of Quake II, with this family of other people. There was a huge pit, like a well, that had some kind of radioactive device in it. It would periodically leak or explode, letting loose this giant glow of energy. When this happened, you had to look away, and bury your face in the ground. Then, you would travel time. Once it happened to me, and I could feel the hair on my head falling out, my muscles atrophying. I sneaked a peek at the ground and saw dirt eroding at a rapid rate, like the movie The Time Machine. When it ended and I emerged, I looked like Tom Petty and I was a latin professor with twin baby boys that talked in Polish. The next thing I knew, I was in Canada, driving an RV with a boat on a trailer. I was visiting my friend Derik from grade school, and even though the RV was unwieldy, I whipped it through the streets of Vancouver or Toronto or whereever we were. You weren’t supposed to drive the trailer faster than 50MPH but I pushed it past 120, until the wheel bearings started smoking.

What does all of that mean?

My nephew looks exactly like me – I mean, when I was two. If I ever have kids (that can be pinned on me) I’m going to tell them that Ho Chi Mihn is a fictional character, like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Spiro Agnew. I think the worst part of having a child would be instilling a set of values in them, especially since everyone overlooks this step and turns to Jesus.

Okay, maybe I can try to sleep now.


Death metal and blind accordions

I can’t really write about what’s on my mind right now, except to say that I’m not feeling great today. I still don’t know who reads this or why, so I’m forced to tiptoe around assorted facts about my current mental well-being. While I agree that this is stupid, it’s probably best that I don’t drag other people’s lives into a public forum.

I can tell you that I’m listening to a lot of death metal these days. As I work on the book, it’s become essential to listen to the same stuff I had in the player back in 1992, so I’ve been burning CD-R’s of stuff as a sort of soundtrack. And it’s the only kind of music I like when I’m in this weird, mixed mood – half-depressed, half-pissed. Why would I want to listen to Tori Amos whine incessantly about how her boyfriend doesn’t love her anymore, further driving me to the edge, when I can put in the Satanic deathfuck of Blood Coven or something similar? It combines the power and hatred I wish I had with the nostalgia and memory of a distant time where I probably didn’t feel any better, but I was in much more comfortable surroundings. And it’s slightly less embarassing to getting caught with Yes – Big Generator in your walkman.

The album of the day is Dismember – Death Metal. I like a few things about these guys; one is that they’ve managed to put out new albums each year that are innovative yet still stick to the basic, thick, detuned Swedish death metal sound without drifting into pseudo-industrial, electronic, sampled bullshit like so many death metal bands that ruled in 1992 and are now working at a 7-Eleven. Their production is also phenomenal – the mastering, the way the whole CD comes out sounding ten times louder and heavier than the average CD. And their albums start off completely kicking ass, and push at this level of intensity all the way through. Although I’m not into Death Metal as much as I’m into their first or second album, it’s consistent.

On the train home last night, there was this blind guy with an accordion. I’ve seen him before, mostly causing a clusterfuck of congestion on the stairs at the train platform. Last night, he started playing on the ride home. It was a real disaster, only because the car was swaying back and forth and slowing and speeding up, and here’s this guy with a huge metal box strapped to his chest, both hands busy pressing the keys, and at every movement, I was certain he was going to plummet across the whole length of the car and take out four people with his needle-sharp blind cane. Luckily, nobody was hurt, and he got to play, and he even made a couple of bucks for his efforts.

I’m feeling less pissed now, but I have a bunch of work to do on the book before the end of lunch, so I better get to it.


Cold as hell for an April day

It’s cold as hell for an April day today, and I’ve got that Yes song “Leave It” stuck in my head. One down, one to go, another town and one more show…

I’m really pissed at my ISP today. They recently switched from sendmail to qmail without really telling anyone there would be any changes, sort of assuming that all of their customers are just idiots who read their mail in IE or something. After the change, all hell broke loose and pretty much everything mail-related in my account ceased to function. See, sendmail uses a spool directory, where your messages are concatenated one after another in one big file. Qmail uses a directory in your home directory, and it creates a file per message. It’s technically a better system, but after decades of the old system, damn near every program written for unix relies on the old way. That means that my mail program wouldn’t pull in new mail, I wasn’t getting notification messages when I got new mail, my account didn’t tell me if I had new mail when I logged in, I couldn’t quickly list the messages in my account, and so on. So last night, these fucking idiots converted all of my old saved mail folders to this new format, completely screwing me. The thing that pisses me off most is that these people profess to be unix-friendly and tech-saavy and all of this crap, and for the most part they have been, up until recently. Sigh.

Yes, I really am publishing Summer Rain. I don’t want to jinx it by posting all of the details, but I’m deep in the middle of editing it and trying to shake out all of the bugs. I hope to finish this by the end of May. Then, it goes off and in about 60 days, all of you will be cracking out your credit cards and going to to check it out. I’m very excited about the process, and I’ve been writing more in the last few weeks than I have all year. I stumbled through some pretty pathetic writer’s block for the last few months, so it’s nice to cruise through edits and work on things. I thought Summer Rain was a dead project, completely unworkable. But it’s been fun to work on it lately, and I guess that’s all that ultimately matters.

Rumored to Exist is still alive, albeit still up on blocks and awaiting more of my attention. I can’t wait to finish Summer Rain and get back to work on it. It’s been hard to write new stuff for Rumored, but the stuff that is there will blow your mind. It’s completely 110% balls-out, pure gonzo insane. I wanted to finish it by the end of the year – I might, but it might take longer. We’ll see.

And I’m thinking that between the two, I might try to publish all of the archives from this journal, with some editing and maybe an odd short story or two thrown in there. Would anyone actually be interested in something like that?

Goodbye goodbye goodbye bad
Hello Hello heaven.


Hello again

So I was walking through the rain today in Times Square, going to the American Express office at 47th and Avenue of the Americas to give them $1200 before they sent in the dogs on me, and I thought about everything that’s happened to me in the last eight months since I last did this journal. I got a job, I had a minor breakdown and started therapy again, I moved to Astoria, and just last weekend, I split up with Marie. Now I’m alone in a big city, buried in work, and trying to edit my first book for publication this summer. What better time than to start an online journal, right?

Where to start… okay, there’s the job. I’m working as a technical writer for a large ISP, one of the largest. I guess they’ll remain nameless, just to keep a solid line between work and play. It’s the same kind of stuff I did in Seattle, but I have a little more power, a little more money, and a lot more fun. I’m glad I have a job. It’s solved some of the problems from last summer, of not knowing what to do and having no interaction with anybody. Right now, this job’s one of the only reasons I’m still in New York. And stability can be a good thing.

The book – Summer Rain. It’s my big epic about the summer of 1992 in Bloomington, and it’s going to be published somewhere around the end of the summer. I’m in a frenzy of editing and corrections, which should probably finish by the end of May. It’s going to really be published, and I hope all of you go to Amazon or Borders or whatever and buy a copy. I don’t ask for many favors…

I moved to Astoria in December. I’ve got a cozy one-bedroom with a new TV, a new leather couch, a new DVD player, a new bed, my bookshelves filled with books, and a 384/128Kbps DSL connection to the outside world. I’m a half-hour on the N train from work and central Manhattan, and the neighborhood here isn’t too bad. I still miss my apartment in Seattle, but I’m starting to settle into this place.

I guess that’s it for now. I need to get back to work on the book…