Simms, Daly

I just got back from eating dinner with my old roommate Simms and two friends of his, who are in New York from Bloomington to see The Who tomorrow and Thursday. I dragged them around Times Square and we ate at Sardi’s, which was pricy but pretty decent. Since everyone there had to split at eight for theatre shows, we had the whole place to ourselves. I had steak for the second time this year; I wanted a black angus but they ran out, so instead I got the filet mignon. I’m not 100% on that cut, because you get a lot of meat in the middle and not as much on the outside, even if it is more tender. This was a pretty decent cut though; I had the same thing on my birthday in Vegas at the Circus Circus steakhouse (don’t laugh – it’s one of the best on the strip) and it wasn’t as good, but cost more.

(And before any of you PETA types send me a gallon of blood in the mail, I should disclaim that I am not a regular steak eater and I probably would’ve ordered a good salad, if they would’ve had it on the menu.)

While we wandered around Times Square, I ran into my old pal and Juno coworker Matt Daly, passing out fliers for a comedy club. He’s now a standup comedian, hustling people to his shows. I still haven’t had a chance to catch his act, but he is a funny dude and I hope to check him now that he’s got this thing in Times Square.

I’m still mentally off because of this heat. Last night the power went off and then back on twice, and each time there was a half-second when I thought I’d be truly fucked. Turns out a power station here in Astoria had a fire, and I was lucky enough to not lose power all night. But even with power, a fan, and a portable AC, it’s hotter than hell in here.

I got a new biography on Henry Rollins, so I’m going to read that for a minute before I pass out from heatstroke.

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Gaming the related books field

I really wanted to go to the movies this weekend, but it’s amazing how much total and utter shit is playing at the high point of the movie season. I think the only reason the movie industry is making any money is because the theatres are air conditioned. I’m sick of this formulaic thing where they make a sequel of a movie and then expect us to pay for it. I thought the first Austin Powers was moderately funny, but I thought the joke wore too thin to see the second one. And there’s no way in hell the third one would keep my interest. I also didn’t think Men in Black 2 would be worth paying $10 to see. I saw K-29 already, and that’s about it. I think I almost seriously considered seeing that new Halloween movie, even though I don’t like that genre at all and this is like the 68th sequel, and it has that hermaphrodite Jamie Lee Curtis in it. But I didn’t.

I spent most of the weekend watching DVDs, although the lack of AC in my living room makes this a losing proposition. I got a 2-DVD set of all the Mr. Show episodes from the first two seasons. I think I saw one episode of this back in 1997, so I’m glad they got the DVDs out. They remind me of the old UCB show, but slightly earlier and it was on HBO, so there’s more general obscenity. It’s always weird to see something like this or the Chris Rock Show DVDs and expect the general network TV level of dialogue, but then get all of the fucks and shits and everything else thrown in on top of it. I like the general format of their show too, the jumps into randomness. It reminds me a little bit of what I was trying to do in Rumored to Exist, which is also like what they did in Kentucky Fried Movie.

I am hell-bent on changing the “related books” fields in Barnes and Noble by buying some really stupid books and then buying a copy of Rumored in the same basket. I’m slightly amused that a bunch of Oprah books ended up under Summer Rain for the same reason. So I just ordered some stuff to test my theory. I’m still waiting on Amazon, and I have no idea when the book will show up there. I also wish I had more copies with me to take back to Indiana, because I know I could get rid of them if I had more. I think I have 3 or 4 spare copies around the house.

And yes, I am going back to Indiana on Thursday, for my sister’s wedding. This will be a tightly booked trip, and I have no idea if I will have any time to do anything other than the wedding and other family stuff. I will go to Bloomington maybe for an afternoon, to have lunch and take some photos. It has been ten years since the stuff from Summer Rain happened, so I need to get some kind of story out of this, and it would help to have some pictures, too. I’d like to redo the Summer Rain site, but I also need to redo this journal site, and I’m not happy with the Rumored book site, either. And that’s on top of about ten million other things I need to do.

Oh well. Waiting for lunch. It’s too hot to go outside, something like 95 out, maybe over 100 with the heat index. I need to figure out a way to rig my air conditioner so the humidity tank doesn’t fill up and shut off the AC in the middle of the night. I’ve got a hose, I just need to do some Rube Goldberg bullshit to rig a secondary tank. But first, I need to find out what the hell is up with lunch.

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Too hot

It is so fucking hot here, I’m afraid the computer will start melting at any moment. I just filled the bathtub with cold water and sat in there for a while. That’s not bad; it would be better if my laptop worked in the water.

I’ve been piddling with a short story about when I worked as a computer consultant back in Indiana, in the student labs. A lot of weird shit happened on a daily basis, and I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it was really like being in the army or something, we had so many different people working on different things. And every night I worked in the library, it was like Saving Private Ryan, only I didn’t have a gun or anything. So I think there’s enough there to get a few thousand words on a page.

My friend Andrea is in town briefly, and we got together for lunch at John’s Pizza and later for dinner at one of the Indian places on curry row. She’s got a very atypical appreciation for the city that I can’t fully explain. Most people (myself included) who go to a different place try to explain it by comparing it to another point of basis. For example, I might (and did) say, “Alamosa’s about as big as Goshen. But they’ve got a Safeway like one from Seattle.” But A has seen enough cities in enough different eras to appreciate it from a different angle, so that’s cool. She keeps bumping in here during other trips to Montrel or Sweden or whatever, and it’s always cool to see her. I wish I could convince more friends from way back to pop through the city and hang out, too. I don’t really have a great motive to brainwash them into thinking New York is the greatest city in the world or whatever, but it’s always cool to see people, and New York draws more people than Elkhart or something.

Too damn hot. I’m going to watch a few more episodes of The Osbournes. Marie gave me a tape with all of them, and last night I saw my first couple. I love Ozzy and have for years – I saw him back in 96 at the Tacoma Dome, but have been playing the tapes for years before. It’s a cute little show, and usually I avoid shit that everyone and their uncle thinks is neato and trendy, but this is an exception. It’s pretty good stuff.

Maybe if I keep my feet in a bucket of water, I’ll feel cooler…

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Rumored out

I’m back. I’ve been back for a week, I just haven’t been in the right state to get back into this. It was a long trip and everything went great, but it was also the kind of thing that made returning to New York difficult, and I’ve spent the last week not really able to work on anything.

The good news is that Rumored to Exist is out, and it’s at Barnes and Noble and I got my first six copies in the mail last week. It looks incredible, and having the book in my hands as a real book and not a bunch of laserprinter paper feels great. But I have no idea how to tell people about it, and I am not the salesperson type. So please check it out, and read it online, and tell other people or mention it on your site or whatever else you can do to help. I think people will really enjoy the book, it’s just a matter of getting it to them.

I am oscillating between two writing projects, and I’m not sure which one will take. The first is called The Device, and it is a time-travel story I wrote a while ago that I’ve been trying to get into a book for a few years now. The other is another book about Bloomington, something that takes place after Summer Rain and basically fixes a lot of things that were wrong in there. I’m not sure which one will happen, but I’m sortof gravitating toward the Bloomington thing, and I plan to visit there when I’m in Indiana in two weeks, so that might be the catalyst for the whole thing.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, mostly because it’s too damn hot to do anything but sit in one place. I’m working on this book by Joseph Heller that talks about his early life, his childhood. He grew up on Coney Island, a Russian Jew during the depression. His dad died when he was five, so everyone worked a million odd jobs to get by. But the way he describes the neighborhood, the boardwalk in its heyday, is the kind of writing I enjoy. I go to Coney Island maybe once a year, and it’s pretty much a shithole now. But there are these little glimpses of a more majestic past that intrigue me. I wonder what it would be like to live there, to have the ocean as your backyard and have all of Brooklyn and Manhattan in front of you. I’m only 50 pages into the book, but I’ve always been a big fan of Heller’s since I found a battered copy of Catch-22 in my parents’ books. (My parents were not literary by any means, but it must have been my mom that bought some of the grocerystore paperpacks that I eventually stole years later – stuff like Fear of Flying, The Terminal Man, and The Godfather.)

I saw the movie The Bourne Identity this Saturday, in a rare trip to the theatres. Since they closed the old Steinway theatre, so the “talk through the whole fucking movie” crowd has moved to the multiplex where I usually go. That means I pretty much can’t go to movies like Men in Black and I either have to go to a really late show, or to a movie that I know no adolescent Queens boys would like. And that’s fine, but it means I go less. Anyway, Bourne was a good movie, and had one of those prototypical Robert Ludlum thrillride suspense plots. As much as you want to make fun of me, I think Matt Damon’s a capable actor, and handled the lead in this well. Good action took place with the beautiful background of Europe. I realize I’m saying nothing about the movie itself, but it was worth a watch, and I enjoyed getting out of the house for the evening.

Lots of movies lately, lots of books, and lots of heat. It will be nice to go to Indiana in the beginning of August only because I will have an air-conditioned car.

Gotta go finish my Big Mac…

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