walking, iPod

I went for a long walk today, because I figure I will take more than one when I’m in Hawaii and I could use a shakedown cruise or two. I found that my iPod doesn’t like being in a loose pocket when I walk somewhere between a fast walk and a jog; it tends to lock up and requires a hard reset, which isn’t good. Normally, I keep it in a small holster-type bag, but I didn’t this time. This will be my first trip with the iPod, so I’m trying to test out any use beyond its regular daily pattern, just so there won’t be any surprises.

The walk was good though. It was in the low 70s, and I got all the way to Queens Plaza before I chickened out of walking over Queensborough Bridge. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around SoHo and record shopping at a few used places. I managed to score a copy of the out-of-print Henry Rollins The Boxed Life 2-CD for only $4.99. I had it on tape, but it’s good that I have it digitized and ready for my long trip. That album is pretty much the reason I became a writer. I used to listen to it during my long walks to Colonial Crest, and it made me start carrying a pen and paper so I could collect my thoughts and eventually develop them into writing. And that was almost ten years ago – ten this fall. Weird how time flies. I bought an album today that I hadn’t heard in TWENTY YEARS. That’s a bit weird to me.

I updated the music collection pageĀ [long since gone], although I think I may have missed some things, and now I really think I should develop some sort of database system that is fed via a barcode scanner. The collection is now above 800 CDs. That isn’t the shocking part; the shocking part is that I really don’t consider that to be a lot of CDs. I really want to get above 1000 in the near future. Maybe I need to start scamming CD clubs again.

Okay, almost bedtime.


Sleep, sickness, Van Halen

I slept almost all day today. It’s rainy and I did manage to drag 30 pounds of laundry to the ‘mat and get a couple of bagels and some juice, but otherwise I spent the day drifting in and out of sleep, flipping through the channels and watching nothing, and wishing I didn’t have a sore throat. Now I await my Indian food, listen to Van Halen’s Women and Children First (current track “Everybody Wants Some”, which reminds me of my 30th birthday when I rented a Corvette and drove around Vegas with the glass roof removed and this track on repeat, the Delco all-exclusive, all-top-end, better-than-Blaupunkt premium sound system at like 11.)

I actually spent a lot of last night and this afternoon reading Chuck Klosterman’s book Fargo Rock City, which Julie recommended when I said I was writing a book about 80s rock. I got a copy from the last Amazon dispatch, and sat on it because I thought I’d take it to Hawaii with me to help kill the 12-hour plane flight. But I cracked it open last night and started reading. I thought it would be a quasi-fictional book about some dudes in North Dakota hooked on Dokken records or something, but it’s more of a reviewer’s deconstruction and personal tales about heavy metal and what it means to him.

That’s a great premise, and I really do like a lot of his examination of the genre. That said, he’s a big fan of various glam metal that I really don’t like and consider to be more of a product of MTV and the LA scene than the kind of music I like. There are generally two types of metal: the kind that’s about the lifestyle, and the kind that’s about the power, the extreme-ness. He’s the kind of person that loves Poison and Motley Crue and completely dismisses guitar-metal and Death Metal, while I’m the complete opposite. But there are enough bands in the gray area and he’s an intelligent enough observer that I didn’t throw the book out of the window at page 6. (Which I assume people like Ray would.)

That said, he says some pretty stupid shit. He dismisses Rush as a Christian band; he says Slayer is a Death Metal band; he rails on bands with a more technical guitar player (i.e. the Steve Vais and Joe Satrianis) and he spends a lot of time at the beginning trying to define and dissect hard rock versus heavy metal, mostly getting it wrong. There were many points at which I thought this guy was full of shit, aside from the fact that he liked the most weak bands of the era.

That said, I stuck with it, and a lot of his observation was dead-on. One thing that really struck me was the fact that any rock music on the heavy end is written in such a way that you think you have a personal relationship with the person who created it. I mean, if you are a really huge Van Halen fan, and let’s say you relate most to Diamond Dave (as opposed to being a guitar fan and Eddie Van Halen virtuo-protege), you think to some extent that you have a conenction to Dave. He wrote the music (okay, the band did, but he sang it on the record) and you understand it, so you think he understands you, or you understand him. So there’s this strange premise of “wouldn’t it be cool to just hang out with David Lee Roth and life would be just like that video with the chicks with the boobs.” But in reality, that isn’t true, and that’s just part of the product. You won’t hang out with Dave or Eddie, and if you do, they aren’t going to be flying through the air on wire-mounted motorcycles like the “Panama.” They’re probably going to be hidden away in a trailer, bitching about their accountants. And that strange illusion is weird, because once you really realize it, the whole thing breaks. You can’t be an insane fan of a band if you know that it’s all fake. It’s like hooking up with a beautiful woman from a Victoria’s Secret catalog and becoming her boyfriend and girlfriend, and then getting to the point where you watch her take a shit, and that wall of illusion is gone. As a person who has never had a truly successful long-term relationship, I often wonder what that happy medium is, and if the secret to fifty years of marriage is that you really need to fall out of love and drink a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon on a daily basis.

Okay, I went from book review to “too much information,” so I’ll stop there. I have absolutely nothing else to report – it’s been a very boring time around here. Maybe after my Indian food, I will have a greater burst of creativity and try to get to work on the book.



Nothing is going on. I am at a bad stuck point with this book because it is ultimately very depressing to write about your life right after high school. I feel that every single thing I did in that era was hopelessly wrong. Not in a moralistic sense, but in a very awkward way. If I could redo it all, there are so many things I’d do: I’d run ten miles a day, work two jobs, save every penny, take every summer class I could, and definitely handle things different dating-wise. But it’s stupid to look back at that shit and think about changing it. And I’ve done it so much, that the topic is worn out for me. And I didn’t really think about any of this when I went into this book. I am very tired about writing about this, and it’s very frustrating. It feels like I wrote “I will not think about Indiana anymore” 500 times on a chalkboard and someone asked me to do it a 501st time.

I think part of the problem is that there is not a catalyst for this like there was with Summer Rain. With SR, there were two “true loves”, two different people that I was obsessed with way back in 1992, very different people with very different reasons behind them. And a lot of that was still left over, and that really kicked me in the ass and made me want to write that book. With this book, the love interest that I am kicking around is really my first love. And it’s someone that royally fucked me over a long time ago, so long ago that it isn’t even worth thinking about. I obsessed over her and I felt pain for about half of a semester. Then I moved on. And now, I don’t even remember what it was like to be with her, to fall in love with her. It was a hundred thousand years ago to me, and so many things have happened since. So it’s hard to scrape up the energy to keep moving with this, which is frustrating because I really need something to keep going with.

I’ve been in a sort of social black hole lately. A lot of other people are busy with a lot of other things and I come out of this project to look around and see that everyone else is gone. I’ve had a few strange weekends where I’ve had nothing to do, and the PlayStation takes too much energy, and you can only watch Full Metal Jacket so many times on repeat before you think someone else should be going on besides your ass and the couch. It’s strange to think that I think there is nothing to do in New York, but I realize that it’s just me, not the city. I could be anywhere and be bored. All I really want is another book. Actually, part of me wants another relationship, but I don’t think I’d be able to manage one, let alone find one. What I really want is another book, like Captain Willard wants another mission at the beginning of Apocalypse Now. And hopefully, I’ll get it soon.

I want another book like Rumored. I feel some strange pain inside, some kind of hatred toward everything, everyone. I feel like this pain has been created by everything around me. And I feel like I’ve conditioned myself to ignore all pain. I’m not talking about the kind of pain where you grab the stapler off of your desk and empty a whole clip of metal into your forearm. I mean the kind that you tune out to ignore everything, everyone around you, to get up at the same time every day, sit at a desk, take a train home, eat number 9 with fried rice and a Coke every day from the same shitty Chinese restaurant, and never really think about any of it. And I think that Rumored was a good first step in taking all of that and putting it into prefabricated pieces on a page, combining the rage with the humor of knowing that nothing is taboo and everything is a joke. And I guess the next step is to keep going, and to make this more real and more of a book and something that more people will pick up like a virus and either love or hate, but at least experience.

I think. Or maybe I’m full of shit.

I think I have another three weeks until vacation, so maybe I will think of a good idea before then. Not much else to report here.


Allergy season and forgetting your own age

Ah, allergy season. I was wondering why I suddenly couldn’t breathe and my eyes were on fire. I skipped work yesterday and started the Benadryl/Claritin rollercoaster, which by mid-afternoon today had me to the point where I could see through walls. I think it will rain tonight, so the weekend might be tolerable. It’s amazing and yet not that amazing that I had no allergies for years, and then when I moved to the city with the absolute worst air quality in the country, I’m back to wheezing and gasping.

Not a lot has been up. I’ve been working on this book, which is going okay. I’m above 10,000 words, so I guess that’s an offical hull-laying, or at least enough that I can really say I have started. No title yet, though. The book is similar to Summer Rain in many ways, but it takes place over the summer of 89, when the main character (and me – what a coincidence) graduate high school and get ready to leave for college. It’s supposedly going to be heavily themed in heavy metal, or at least that will be a big component of it, the metal culture or lack thereof in a shithole town in Indiana at the end of the 80s. There’s also a lot of angst over going to high school with a bunch of dumb football jocks that will be in there, the whole coming-of-age thing, etc. The fact/fiction ratio will be more fiction than Summer Rain, but still somewhat based on my reality. It won’t be a true prequel to Summer Rain, because I have to change a few things to get stuff to work. It will hopefully be shorter, and the writing a bit lighter, but it won’t be anything like Rumored. That’s about all I can tell you right now.

Someone sent me one of those dumb things where you take the year you were born, multiply by 9, add the number of times a week you eat out, etc etc and then divide by 23 or whatever and it says how old you are. I couldn’t get it to work, and it was just tonight that I realized I FORGOT HOW OLD I WAS.

Okay, gotta start writing…



I don’t feel like writing, but feel a need to update, so you get another bulleted list:

  • I chopped off all of my hair today. It’s down to about a #2 guard, so it looks like I just got done with basic training. Much easier to wash, much more comfortable.
  • I saw the movie Old School against advice, and it was actually really funny. Will Ferrell didn’t actually ruin it, and Vince Vaughn was hilarious playing a blue-veined dick (which he’s sorto f typecast into.)
  • I saw High Fidelity tonight, after reading the book last week. (re-re-re-reading…) I loved the movie except for the woman who played Laura, who was horrible. The scene where they were beating up Tim Robbins/Ian is hilarious.
  • Still writing this new book, although it is going slow.
  • I hate daylight savings time, at least the spring part. It would be nice if it always moved backward, so you’d get like an extra two hours a year.
  • PS2: I got Splinter Cell, which is damn hard but cool looking; Auto Modelista, which is really interesting looking but entirely vapid; and Tribes Aerial Assault, which is very hard to play but incredibly worth it.
  • I heard the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” in K-Mart today.
  • I can’t think of anything else.


I’ve been having assorted sadistic daydreams that this SARS thing is going to be a global killer virus, something like in the movie 12 Monkeys and I, somehow genetically mutated through decades of psycological drug use and abuse, manage to survive. I had a similar dream when I was a child and suffering from a continual 104-degree fever; it’s one of my earliest memories. Except in this one, everyone was bursting into flame. At first it was isolated, but then it got to the point where you would be watching TV and an anchorman on CBS would suddenly immolate on camera. By the very end, the surface of the earth looked like the moon, and a giant voice laughed, like the end of a Vincent Price movie or something. Heavy shit for a 4-year-old, and with my newfound ability in precognitive dream prediction (see last entry), maybe it will all go down.

I’m going to see Twisted Sister tonight. I’m actually more excited at the thought of going to IHOP for dinner first, but it will be good to get out of the house, and a bit better now that there’s this no-smoking ban in New York. It’s gotten to the point that I have a second leather jacket I wear to clubs because the smoke is so bad. I do feel like going home and sleeping for a decade, but I’ll drink some Coke and jump around a little and try to get alive in the next two hours before I leave.

Not much else going on. It’s rainy and cold out here. I’ve been outlining the next book, picking at the timeline and the characters. I still don’t have a name for it, but you’ll be the first to hear.

It’s time to battle the subways and get home.


books on the stove, I am Nostradamus

I had two books (or more) on the stove at the same time for five years. Then I had one really hard book on the front burner for another two years. And for the last year, I haven’t had anything going on, and it has been driving me apeshit. I’ve started lots of projects that fell flat, and I’ve felt overwhelmingly depressed, examining short stories and pieces of outlines letter-by-letter, wondering why things didn’t work and how they needed to happen.

Last night, I came up with an idea for a book. It’s actually one that I kicked around a while ago, but dismissed as too hard or too far off. Then I found a way to frame it, a way to put it together, and a way to get it to work. And now, it’s all in my head, and I’m very scared about planning it and laying down, but I think I can. And I think it will work. And I think it will be everything I wanted Summer Rain to be, but I get to start all over, from a blank slate. And I’m very excited to have a project, to have a mission, to have something that just might work.

Of course, I can’t tell you shit about it on here. And I might stop posting for a while as I get started with it. Just a warning.

I had a super fucking bizarre nightmare last night about someone who shall remain nameless (who has already been told about this, so nobody else needs to worry that it was you) and I can’t really explain it, but it was this thing where I was eternally in love with some girl, and then she left, and I went to see this friend and confide in her, and somehow she was less than corodial about the whole thing, and even in the dream the depression and angst were so heavy and piercing. I stopped going to work and drove around Portland with my car in first gear, trying to hit something but only going a mile an hour. Then I showed up at work and this guy Mike was installing a rack mount with a bunch of new gear. It looked cool, and he was all excited, and when he switched it on, it burst into flames.

I woke up from this dream totalled, thinking somehow I’d subliminally hurt this person in real life, or lost my friendship with her forever, or some other bullshit you’d think before you get out of the comfortable womb of your bed and into the shower. So I went to work and told the fire part of the dream to Mike, who really was installing a new rack to hold an IBM xSeries blade enclosure and something like eight new blades.

About an hour later, I went to see what Mike was working on in the NOC, and THE FUCKING BLADE ENCLOSURE WAS POURING OUT SMOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!