I watched about half of this new show Boomtown last night, which was mildly entertaining. There are far too many police dramas on TV right now, but its little gimmick is that it is nonlinear from multiple points of view. It makes people think they are smart, and it’s slightly easier to get caught up when you start watching late into the program.

Anyway, on the show, one of the cops had this list of things he wanted to do in his lifetime. I didn’t catch the setup to this, but it’s something that I see in many other journals. For some reason, on the subway ride to work today, I thought about how great it would be to make a list of 100 things like this, and then a year from now visit the list and see what had been done. Then I sat down at the computer and came up with like seven things. I guess I have a few more now, but my list is very testosterone-centric, and I’m not really into the whole Mountain Dew Xtreme Sport kind of thing, that’s all I could think of. There are a lot of places I want to visit, but there aren’t a lot of “humanitarian” sorts of things, or the typical ones like having a kid or getting married. I need to think about this list a lot more before I publically put it out there.

I also think I should put out a list of 100 things that I’ve already done that other people should put on their damn lists. I mean, I’ve stood at ground zero of the first atomic bomb explosion, flown in a biplane, petted a lion, gambled in Vegas, been to the top of the (then) tallest building in the world, wrote a book, shot an automatic weapon, and touched a moon rock. I don’t know what use this list would be, but it would be interesting to actually write this all down.

Nothing else is going on here; I’ve had a huge headache all night, and I’m stuck on this one battle in Final Fantasy X. The TV is all crap tonight, and I can’t really get into a book or some writing. I think I will see if there are some Star Trek reruns on now.



It’s been good weather for this Peter Gabriel soundtrack to the movie Rabbit-Proof Fence. I have no idea what the movie is about, just that it is Australian and has to do with two aboriginal girls. But the soundtrack is very dark, detailed, and somewhat ambient. It’s the perfect thing to have in the player when I am writing, and since it has been cold and pouring rain outside, it fits that climate well. I almost hope the weather is like this all weekend so I can put this CD on repeat and keep the words flowing.

I’ve been keeping steady with this Vegas story, but it feels like the more I write on “documentary” stuff like this, the more I harm myself for writing anything like Rumored again. It’s very difficult to think of following this book, especially since opinion on it has been so strange and mixed. I know I can’t go back to writing first-person, coming-of-age kinda-biographical stuff like Summer Rain, even though I essentially have another book up on blocks right now that deals with that. Sometimes I feel like I’m back to 1994 again about what to do with my writing. It’s very depressing to think about it.

I still have a stack of copies of Rumored to Exist sitting on my bookcase, awaiting the post office but I don’t know who to send them to. If you’re reading this and you don’t have a copy and you think you could somehow con a couple of other people into buying one, mail me and I will send you one. I’m not going to send them to every idiot who writes me like they are a free sample of nutrasweet gum (remember those?) but I would like more people to check it out.

Did they ever have an Apocalypse Now video game? Do you think it would cost a lot to license that shit from Coppola? I just found out that Take Two, the company that did GTA3, has an office about two doors down from me. I could swing in there, talk that shit up, and just sit around sketching up crap on a whiteboard and then sending it off to Korea or whatever to get coded. Who wrote the engine for Medal of Honor Frontline? Shit, I should look some of this stuff up on google.

OK, I’ve got time to kill until the new ER, so I’m gonna play some games.



The new Peter Gabiel album, Up is pretty damn good. The music behind it has progressed greatly over the last ten years, although in a strange way, this is not as pop-accessible to me. It reminds me much more of one of his first three self-titled albums, but if they were recorded with incredibly advanced and modern digital equipment. There’s still the world music-oriented influences on there, although in a different direction than Us. But the thing above all of it is that his signature voice is still as pronounced as ever. It’s a very strange experience, and I think it will grow on me even more after I get it on a MiniDisc and listen to it with headphones on the train for a week straight.

I can’t believe it has been ten years since the last Peter Gabriel album. I don’t remember exactly when I bought Us, but I do remember spending a hell of a lot of time listening to it in the 1992-1993 school year. It’s one of those pieces of hyper-nostalgia that ties me into that timeframe. I really remember listening to it a lot when I was briefly dating this girl Kim in January of 1993, because the song “Secret World” really reminded me of her. I also remember a night where I listened to the whole tape three or four times, when I was dragging my laundry from my house on Mitchell Street in Bloomington to the laundromat in Eastgate Plaza. It made me remember the whole routine; I’d drag the clothes there and practically explode the tendons in my wrists from the laundry baskets. Everything went in, then I would walk down the plaza. This was, of course, on a Saturday night, because I had no life. I would go to Morgenstern’s and look at some books or the magazine rack, and pick up some obscure magazine that looked cool. Then I’d go to the cheap Chinese place – was it called Grasshopper? – and order some very Americanized sweet and sour pork, and read my magazine. I guess the Peter Gabriel fit this well; Us was such an introspective and dark album, following Gabriel’s divorce and really picking at various parts of the same problems I was facing. It was such a soundtrack to the strange ups and downs of my life at that point, unlike the steady stream of Death Metal that also shared the CD player around the same time. Death Metal marked the peaks, the energy and anger of being 21 and being in college and everything else, but after that all faded and I found myself sitting alone in an apartment as a 31-year old writer, the Peter Gabriel stood the test of time.

Speaking about thinking about the past too much, I’ve been getting some letters about the NecroKonicon, the glossary about my life. I guess I’m not the only one plugging their past into Google and hoping for an answer. I wish I could do more with this thing, either expand it more or do something fancy with the layout. I also wish I knew of a better way to send this out to more people, or somehow market it or put the right spin on it. I have a hard time even describing it to people. Most of its readership is from Google. If you have any bright ideas, let me know.

I had to move all of my logs off of today, so I did a quick report with analog to see how things stood. The directory currently getting the most hits is the Vegas directory, and I suspect that most of the hits are from people googling on stuff like “cheap vegas hotel.” And a ton of them are from google’s image search. I have very mixed feelings about this. For one, I’m running out of space posting photos, and I get no feedback whatsoever from them, they seem like such a waste of time to me sometimes. But, if I had nothing but text, my site would be incredibly boring. So, I don’t know.




GTA3 Procrastination

I’ve been playing Grand Theft Auto 3 too damn much. The problem is I don’t want to write, or can’t write, and that game is the most perfect way to waste time since the invention of SimCity. I don’t even play the missions or attempt to advance through the strategy part of the game; most of my time is spent stealing cop cars and then destroying them in extravagant stunts that usually involve total destruction of the vehicle. I’ve been trying to make some of the crazier jumps with more and more stupid vehicles. There’s a jump over an elevated train platform that’s in all of the commercials, and last night, I made it with a stolen ambulance. I didn’t make it with a flatbed truck – it got stuck on the platform and I had to abandon it. I also got a tank to jump over the water between two piers by rotating the cannon backwards and firing shells to increase my acceleration. It’s a very addicting game, very realistic in some ways, and yet the over-the-top satire in the general theme makes it hilarious to me.

I have way too many things to do, but all of them are drudge-work, fixing stupid design stuff on web pages and finishing this giant trip report from last July in Vegas. I also need to figure out what to do do for this October trip. I wish I knew some people that lived in Vegas that I could hang out with, but I haven’t had much luck googling around on it.

Okay, I should get back to writing this thing…


Nothing, heat, Young Ones

Things have been slow. And once again, hot. It’s almost October, but I think I’m going to have to run the AC tonight.

I’ve been spending many of my free cycles trying to write a trip report for last July, when I went to Vegas and Colorado. I’m about 5/8ths of the way through it, and it’s about 8,000 words. So I might have to do some sort of design to split up the days or whatever, maybe put some photos into the body of the text to break it up a bit more. I really don’t like writing stuff like this after the fact, but even with the laptop, I’ve become so apathetic about keeping track of things during the trip. I think part of it is that I’ve been to Vegas enough times now that the novelty is not there, and I can’t do a story like the one I wrote for my 30th birthday, where everything is new and wonderful to the reader. It’s become repetitive, although I do find new things to do each time. But there’s a different between introducing the concept of the Vegas buffet and finding a buffet that is a dollar less or has a make-your-own taco station. I don’t dislike going to Vegas at all, it’s just the writing part, at least without a mission, has become tedious. But I feel that if I don’t write about it, ten years from now I will be working on some project and be furious that I didn’t. At least that’s the way I feel now about a lot of things that happened ten years ago.

I did absolutely nothing this weekend except spend money that I didn’t want to spend, and mess up my nutritional situation. I’ve been getting incredibly picky about what I eat, and the thought of pretty much any genre of food disgusts me. And without the Star Trek replicator in the kitchen, I’m limited as to what I can order. And of course I could buy a ton of crap and try to cook the food myself, but that takes planning, and this whole downward spiral of bad food planning is because I don’t think about this shit ahead of time, and it’s 9:30 at night and the only thing to eat in the house is a Lean Cuisine dinner that has been in the freezer since 1963. So things have been off, which puts me in a bad mood and prevents me from doing stuff like writing books or going out or whatever.

I did manage today to go to Best Buy to replace the battery on my piece of shit cordless phone, and I picked up the boxed set for The Young Ones, the old BBC comedy that was on MTV late Sunday nights back when MTV was almost cool. I used to love that show, and then it was impossible to find, and then some crappy VHS tapes came out. Now they are on DVD, and they are great. I watched the first six of them in one go this afternoon, and they are funnier than what I remember. I did not watch the one with Mot




  • When people talk about “hate literature”, how much of the hate literature out there is done via limerick? Is this a lost art form, at least in the genre of racist literature? I think the government should fund more hate limerics so they will have more of them to ban.
  • Can you go to school for arbitrage? Is that like a degree program, or just a certificate?
  • If this is such a violent country, why aren’t more people killed at sporting events? I would think arenas would encourange the occasional beating death to help stimulate TV ratings.
  • How many of those solar-powered calculators would it take to power my house?
  • Did I read this wrong, or is the woman that ate the apple in Genesis 3 a different person from the woman that Adam called his wife in Genesis 4? She isn’t called Eve until after they left the garden.
  • Dave Mustain of Megadeth broke up their band because he can’t play guitar. Metallica can’t play because their bass player quit. So why don’t they get the bass, drums, and other guitar from Megadeth and they could join Metallica? They would have 2 drums (like old Genesis), 3 guitars, and a bass. And they could call it Metallicadeth. Or Megatallica.
  • Would it be illegal to print all of the spam I recieve as a book? I would also include pornography so it is interesting.
  • If Jews atone their sins on the holy day of Yom Kippur from dawn to dusk, would a Jew travelling east in a plane be more atoned? Would a Jew who crossed the international date line be less atoned?
  • (Oh wait, I guess they aren’t supposed to fly planes then. Never mind.)
  • If we ever go to Mars, do you think the makers of Mars bars will have some special candy out? Or will it become the standard candy of Mars? I don’t really like Mars bars, but I would like to go to Mars, and don’t want to rock the boat or anything.
  • If a person with no hands used a Palm Pilot, what would it be called?

Okay, I’m bored of this.


Ozzy and Vegas

I can’t believe it – Ozzy is going to be in Las Vegas the day I get there. Unfortunately, tickets are going for $100 to $250, at the Palms casino. Either that is a really small place, or Sharon is really screwing people over, or both. For that price, he damn well better bite the head off of something. Paul McCartney is at the MGM Grand the next night, but it’s $150-$300. I guess I like the Beatles sort of, but not that much. I think you can get the entire Beatles discography on CD for that much.

Today seems to be one of those days. I tripped over everything in the house on the way out, and then found out my headphones are shorted out or something. So I need to go buy another pair after work. I also brought a bunch of coins so I could buy some Cokes today and it turns out that one of them is actually a French Franc. I don’t even think they use those anymore, so I guess it just becomes another coin-related keepsake to throw on the shelf with my obsolete Vegas tokens, Susan B’s, and gold dollars. (And I just got a shitload of gold dollars, because the LIRR ticket machine gave me back $10.50 in change, all in coins.)

I’ve been trying to write each night, but it’s hard, with no concrete direction for this book. I had a lot of thoughts about it this morning as I was half-asleep, so I need to think about it more, develop a plan. I spent most of last night dicking around with my Korg M1 and the MIDI hookup to my computer. I found a DOS program that shows a staff of music and reads in a MIDI file and displays it. Then it plays the song and shows you what keys to play on your keyboard; a tutor of sorts. But it wouldn’t recognize my workstation, so I gave up on it and tried to get Cakewalk reinstalled correctly. It worked, but the patches were all messed up by default, and I didn’t have a spare ten weeks to sit around and rename all of the shit to work right. So you would pick Xylophone on the program, and the workstation would change to the drum patch. Or whatever. I also downloaded the free version of PowerTools and completely crashed my machine three times before I gave up on it and put everything away. I didn’t really practice or anything either. I am thinking of getting one of those $60 piano tutor packages, but I’d probably only use it twice.

My Sick Speed CD finally showed up in the mail. I should be listening to some Zappa before I go to this Project/Object tribute show tomorrow, but I’m too lazy. I think I’m going to go review some more concerts.


Dream Theater and Joe Satriani

It’s pouring rain, but it’s nice. I didn’t really want to leave the house today, but I felt an overwhelming guilt to go do something. But I didn’t want to spend any money, and I didn’t really know what to do, so I fell asleep and woke up to a heavy rain, which kept the nap going and fairly enjoyable.

Last night, I went to Jones Beach to see Dream Theater and Joe Satriani. It took me about two hours to get there via trains and bus, and then while I was there, it rained. (Did I mention it’s an outdoor venue?) It was good to see what it was like down there, but the whole thing sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m also recovering, since it threw off my sleep/food/nutrition/hydration/etc situation so bad, I feel like I just flew around the world twice in a biplane.

I also went to see Quiet Riot on Thursday. I’m not going to write more about either of these because I’m currently making a page just for reviews of shows, as I’m going to a lot more of them. I’m also attempting to review old shows, at least as much as I can remember. I’ll put a URL out there when I have the site in a presentable state.

A bunch of other news – I am going to Vegas again at the end of October, staying at the Stardust again (but not in the rock-star suite like last January.) I am also going in January for my birthday, but hopefully with a few other people. I got tickets to see Rush the day before I go to Vegas, at MSG. $90! And I got tickets in November to see Dee Snider and a segment of his Twisted Sister band, at Lamour. So a lot of crap coming up. And I’m also extremely broke until 2003.

Very depressed otherwise, it’s just one of those days where you sit in front of the TV watching really bad movies on TBS with seven minutes of commercials every six minutes and wondering what the fuck you’re doing with your life. I think the Dream Theater concert threw me because half of the guys there were geeks that spend 20 hours a day practicing a musical instrument, and half of them were geeks who somehow managed to have a girlfriend, and then there was me. I don’t really know the importance of having a girlfriend or knowing how to play an instrument, but it really bugged the hell out of me for some reason.

OK, I should be trying to write a book now, but the air is as hot and humid as some kind of Cambodian shithole, so I think I will just play Playstation until I piss away the time until dinner.


Black Stickers

I think one of the biggest disappointments of my childhood was black stickers over cardboard packaging. Let me explain.

I had a lot of Star Wars stuff. Figures, playsets, the Death Star, the Millenium Falcon, the Slave One, and a bunch of other assorted crap, like a lizard with a trap door in his back so you could put figures on it. Also, when you moved his head, the tail would move in the opposite direction. So anyway, I got a lot of these figures. They came in a little blister pack, a figure on a card with a square plastic bubble that held the dude and his gun. On the back of each card were photos of other available toys. Well at one point a bit before Empire came out, the cards were printed with a special offer – if you clip enough proof of purchase seals, you can send in for a free figure for this dude from the next movie, named Boba Fett.

Of course, I immediately amassed as many of these damn coupons as I could find. I think I had enough seals for TWO figures, so I was in a frenzy over this. And this Boba Fett – nobody knew anything about him, but he looked like Darth Vader or a Stormtrooper, with an armor suit and so forth. But the coolest part was his rocket backpack. And the rocket looked like the same missile that equipped various Battlestar Galactica toys – a red rocket that SHOT WHEN YOU PUSHED A BUTTON!

There was no information about the rocket on the packages. My nine-year-old mind wondered why they didn’t advertise this in 72-point type, as it was obviously the biggest selling point of Mr. Fett. I mean, the big and somewhat dumb-looking Battlestar ships had two rockets, but that was on an entire ship. Boba Fett had a rocket on a single portable launcher, which meant a much higher per-capita killing capacity for him. Why didn’t they tell me more? Why weren’t there commercials every fifteen minutes during the Hanna-Barberra lineup every Saturday morning? I didn’t get it.

I heard rumors that some kid shot the Battlestar Galactica rocket down his throat and killed himself. Also, someone said Coke and pop-rocks may have been involved. And something about Rod Stewart getting his stomach pumped, but I didn’t entirely get the details. This was before the Internet, so I couldn’t just do a search on Bobo Fett or whatever the hell the guy was called. So I investigated the package further, and found a strange detail – the mail-away offer was printed on A STICKER that was glued onto each action figure package.

I also thought this was suspect. Were you suppsoed to peel off the sticker and put it on a card to mail in? Was I ripped off and did some cards have cooler stickers, like maybe a Death Star I could put on my lunchbox? The sticker didn’t peel off though, so I spent a few hours trying to carefully pry it loose. When I did, I saw a picture of Boba Fett’s backpack FIRING THE MISSILE! Why did they hide this? I don’t know, but I quickly begged my mom to send in all of the paperwork. I patiently waited the 16 weeks or whatever, and when the package showed up, NO MISSILE. The sticker was like a conspiracy theory to me, like a hidden level in a videogame that you know is there, but you can never find. I searched for stupid conspiracy theories like this in all of my toys. I took apart everything to search for hidden functionality. I played our Sears pong game for hours, thinking there might be a magic way to unlock a secret mission of some sort. The closest I ever got was a misprinted card in Trivial Pursuit.

And then when I got older and didn’t care about this anymore and my step-brother had a Nintendo and the game Contra, he told me about the up-down-up-down-left-right-left-right thing to unlock infinite lives, and I felt like my entire childhood had been betrayed. When I was a kid and my parents were spending their hard-earned money on my toys, there were no secrets. Now, everything is about extra features, bonus tracks, unreleased scenes, secret codes.

Oh well. I don’t know where I’m going with this, I was just thinking about that Boba Fett backpack.


Bike ride

It’s been a slow weekend, and I didn’t get out much. But today I got the bike out for a ride, and had a decent time with it. I have an e-bike – it is a retrofitted Heinzmann kit that I installed on a Mongoose mountain bike. There’s a motor built into the hub of the rear wheel, and then a self-contained battery/electronics kit rides in a modular pack that fits on a rear rack. Using a thumb-controlled throttle on the handlebars, I can get going from a dead stop up to 15 MPH or so. It also enables me to pedal normally, either alone or with the motor. The motor cuts out at 18 MPH, because that’s the limit for motor-assisted bikes as opposed to mopeds or scooters, which require a license. The battery, which weighs about 20 pounds, takes an hour or so to recharge, a bit more to get a good charge, and it lasts for about 10 miles of unassisted power on a flat surface.

So I got all charged up and headed east, trying to hit a bike lane on 34th Ave that cuts across Queens. The city has started painting these bike lanes on a few streets, and you can get maps of where to bike in local shops or online. But no drivers know what the hell a bike lane is, so you have to keep your eyes out. It’s always strange for me to ride away from my own neighborhood, into the areas that aren’t near subways or main roads. Queens rapidly becomes a car-centric area as you go east, so the landscape changes to more stores with parking lots, strip malls, and bigger areas that only cars would go.

I live on 36th Street and I watched the numbers go up slowly. The bike lane helped, but I could only hit a few lights and then I’d have to stop. Finally, I got into the hundreds, and reached the area by Shea Stadium and Flushing Meadows. I cut down 114th and ended up in the roughest neighborhood you could possibly imagine outside of a RoboCop film. The only cars I saw on the street were 100% stripped out and burned down, just the frames left. Luckily, I cut over a block and then down, and got to the park entrance.

Flushing Meadows is a strange little place. It’s a park where the old World’s Fair lived back in the 1960s. Now, all of the exhibits are gone, and there are neatly cut lanes that spoke outward, with trees and park benches. Some stuff is still there – I managed to get there on a big day for the US Open, and there were cops and limos and busses all over the place. I could hear the roar of the crowd in the tennis pavillion, probably watching the men’s singles matches. There’s also the hall of science, and those two big towers that were in that Men in Black movie.

So I rode around a bit, and went to the big fountain with the globe, which was empty. What was weird though is there were two blimps overhead, and there were these planes skywriting. But it wasn’t one plane, it looked like five planes in a line, so it worked like a dot-matrix printer. I think they may have been models of some sort, maybe flown from the blimp. But it was weird because they were skywriting these perfectly linear dot-matrix letters in a perfect circle around the fountain. I wish I would’ve brought my camera because it was a truly strange sight.

I also watched some kids with remote-control cars, in an area where they had an oval set up. These aren’t the cheap cars you get at Toys-R-Us and fill up with AA batteries. They had the variety that cost several hundred dollars, and had model airplane-type radios and chargable battery packs, with gearing that made them drive at scale speeds. It was cool watching it, because the tires must have been a “real” ply – every time they braked to go into a corner and then took off again, they would leave tread and smoke a bit. I saw a pretty incredible collision between two cars where one car lost traction and went sideways in a curve, then another t-boned him at full speed. It looked like a lot of fun, and I bet you could make tons of money sitting out there and renting out some cars and fresh batteries.

I rode around a bit, and headed back without too much incident. I hoped to save enough batteries to just coast back with the motor doing all of the work, but I lost a lot of juice and ended up only using the assist on start-up. I could get it up to about 18 with a bit of effort and then cruise through three or four lights before a red. The gearing really sucks on that bike, and there’s no high-end to really let me get going on flat spots. It’s also hard to get going from a dead stop because the battery and motor probably add 30 pounds to the 20 pound bike. It rides like a fully-loaded touring bike when I’m only hauling me, a bottle, and a small kit with a couple of tools.

So that was decent, except getting the bike in and out of the house. Other than that, I am fuming and fretting about this embryonic book, and in a strangely nostalgic mode. I could go on about this forever, but instead I want to get out of here and think about it for a while. So there.