Freaky dream

I had this dream Monday night that I had some kind of weird, parasitic, fungal growth under my fingernails. These little black dots, like tiny seedlings, were growing in a sort of paisley pattern that sort of reminded me of some sort of henna tattoo. But it was UNDER the nail, and was fucking FREAKING ME OUT. Any kind of fungal growth like that really bothers me. A friend of mine once told me she had some kind of infection or bacteria on her tonsils, and it was growing like little flowers on the back of her throat and it FREAKED ME OUT for like a YEAR. So I was going apeshit in the dream, trying to stick an x-acto knife under my nails to scrape away the stuff, and considering just going to the hospital and having them peel back my nails and then wear band-aids for weeks until they grew back. I was in a total frenzy, a shiver running through all of my skin, every pore itching every time I looked at my nails and saw these little creatures living under there.

I woke up, and looked at my clock, and it was about an hour until the alarms went off, so I turned on my desk light, and looked at my fingers, and THE FUCKING STUFF WAS UNDER MY NAILS!!

Then I really woke up. Holy shit, I hate dreams like that.

The Boston trip is planned and ready to roll, although I am no longer taking the last-minute special through Delta because they wanted to screw me into paying double for a hotel because I was traveling alone. So now I have another hotel booked, and I am taking the bus there, which only costs like $20 but involves four hours of sitting in a bus. I’ll bring a book, a gameboy, and the iPod.

What am I doing there, someone asked? John Sheppard is reading on August 1st. You can read more about the reading here. I am tempted to sign up for the open mic before the reading and rattle off a few pages of Rumored, but I don’t know if I will or not. Maybe, though. I will also be meeting up with a couple of other friends from IU, and I also want to check out the USS Constitution and USS Cassin Young, which are both a stone’s throw from my hotel. And I want to enjoy being out of New York for a long weekend.

Not much else to report, just playing Tribes: Aerial Assault constantly, and trying not to think about bugs under my fingernails.


Boston planning, memories

It’s been absolutely fucking unbearable here, heatwise. I spent most of yesterday sitting in bed with a fan pointed at me, reading and passing in and out of sleep. I managed to get out of the house today for a haircut, some shopping at St. Marks (including Toy Tokyo and Kim’s) and a late lunch of breakfast at Kiev. I also went to Barnes and Noble and got a book on Boston, so I won’t be completely lost when I get there on Thursday.

I’ve been to Boston twice already, both times at the end of ’95. Both times were for work, when I was at CompuServe, and both times I was there for a week for a trade show. I had fun both trips, although on the first one, over Halloween, I got really sick and had to fly home with a full-on head cold, which became the absolute worst pain I’ve ever endured in my life. But both times, I saw a good amount of the city, although most of it was spent zipping around in cabs with people who knew more about the general geography, so I have no idea which way is up. But now my new book has a map, and I should be able to get around a bit better.

My memories of that whole era, the first six months of Seattle, are far enough back that I only remember mostly good things. I spent all of my time hacking on my first two books, I didn’t have a TV, I didn’t have any money, and I tried to do a lot to find out more about the new-to-me Emerald City. Most of that involved spending the last few bucks after car payments and rent to go to Elliot Bay books, buy whatever Bukowski I didn’t have, and go to whatever book signing they had. I remember meeting Barry Gifford, Richard Rhodes, and Kay Jamison within a month of each other in the basement of that old bookstore. And when I didn’t walk down to Pioneer Square, I would drive north and south on I-5, going up to see movies at Mountlake Terrace and wandering around the Northgate mall.

I just realized I have a shitload of travel books, both of places I’ve been and places I’ve wanted to visit. I wish I could visit each of the places I have a book for; it would be cool to go to Japan, Amsterdam, New Orleans. I don’t think I am taking any more big trips this year, although I am going to Vegas and probably taking one more long weekend. But next year, I’d like to roll all of my tax money into plane tickets and hit a lot of places.



I just watched the movie Sneakers, which is probably one of my favorite movies of all time. It has a nice, twisty plot, and even with the fake crypto technology subplot, it’s a very memorable and fun movie. I actually saw it in the theater three different times with three different dates when it was playing in Bloomington back in 1992. It’s another piece of proof that maybe that year was my high water mark, as I could get three different dates inside of a month or so, and I don’t think I’ve dated three different people in the last three years. Anyway, the movie reminded me of that era, not only in reference to who I saw it with, but also the look of things. The toy company-slash-enemy hideout is decorated in that early nineties tech look that existed in Lindley Hall and other newly remodeled buildings when I was on campus.

Not much is up here. I have been borderline sick all week, so I haven’t been in the mood to write. I’ve been falling asleep after work, eating dinner late, having the whole evening collapse onto itself, and then oversleeping in the morning. It’s a bad pattern, and hard to break. I slept for almost three hours after work tonight, but luckily, it’s Saturday tomorrow (today) and I’ll be able to sleep in. I have planned another weekend of nothing, except maybe getting work done on this (still untitled) book.

I’m very tired and it is almost 2:00 AM, so I better split.


I don’t know but I’ve been told

I haven’t been writing in here much because I’ve been working on a new book. And I can’t talk about the new book because that would jinx it. But it’s going well, it’s getting there. And now I have a sore throat, so I’m expecting a cold and full shutdown some time this week. Some people can function fine on a cold, but it completely devastates me, and makes even the most simple daily routine difficult.

Got a whole new bundle of books from Amazon, but they are all at the office. I’m trying to finish up the 4-book Asimov trilogy, and just got done with book three. All of the other stuff I got is history, military. Good stuff.

I’m trying to run every day. It’s boring at first, and the boredom is pretty much my limitation now, moreso than shin splints or cardio. I just got a CD of running cadences recorded at Camp Pendleton, so you can march along with the Recon Marines. It’s actually pretty fun to march along with the CD, although my stupid portable CD player that advertises a 48-second skip buffer lasts about three good strides before skipping. I just zapped it all to the iPod, so hopefully that will work better.

OK, time to sleep…


Hammerfall, writing, travel

I have been doing nothing but eating pizza, drinking lots of Coke, and listening to this Hammerfall CD over and over and over and over. It is the best CD in the world. I’m sure I’ll be bored of it in a week.

I started writing a new book. It is like Rumored to Exist but way more offensive and it has more of a linear story. That is all I can tell you for now. But it will be cool.

I am going to see John Sheppard read in Boston on August 1st, and you should go if you have the means. There is a remote chance that I will actually read from Rumored to Exist, but it depends on my blood alcohol level at the time. Oh, and I bought tickets to go to Vegas on October 24-29. I have no idea where I am staying. If there is even a remote chance that you want to go to Vegas, you should go with me. Or bank up your change and go in January when I’m sure my cohorts will try to get me to throw up in another four-star restaurant.




It is sixty-eight degrees out! I don’t know how the fuck this happened. At lunch, it was mild out, but after work, I practically needed a jacket. I might actually be able to sleep tonight without taking a fistful of sleeping pills. It’s not even muggy or anything. I wish it would stay like this all month. (I hope I didn’t just curse it.)

I officially have too much stuff to read. The Asimov books are great, and I’m almost done with the first one. But I also got a copy of The Watchmen from Amazon the other day. It’s a graphic novel (i.e. comic book) from DC that everyone keeps telling me I really need to read. I don’t collect comics – I did for a little while in college, but got out of it when I was spending way too much money on Spiderman stuff. But I do occasionally like to read something when it’s good. The last good thing I read was the new Punisher title in the Marvel Knights series. I really like the faux-Mack Bolan anti-hero character, although he got a little too cartoony and weird during his run in other various Marvel comics. Ray told me to pick up the hardcover anthology of the first dozen or so of the new series, and they’re excellent. The art is much more realistic and gritty, and the stories have much more of a raw human feel to them. Like I said, I’m not the greatest fan of comics, but that book did it for me.

As far as other reading, I got a new book on flying ultralights today, but I forget the author/title. A quick flip on the subway showed a lot of good info about the meteorology side of things, which is good. I have a whole slew of books on my Amazon wish list. (If you’re curious, it’s here.) And then the other day, the guy who sits next to me ordered a shitload of books on Barnes and Noble, and they couriered the books to him THAT DAY. FOR FREE. Only in New York…

I think I’m back on the book of Bloomington short stories, and I’ve officially killed off any thought of working on my book called The Device. I did steal about 4,000 words out of it that I might use in a short story though, so that’s cool. I have 65,000 words of this book written, but much of that is in first draft format and horribly needs a rewrite. I hope I stay on this project, because I really need to get writing.

OK, that’s it. Time to sleep.


2.4 Mhz of raw computing power, in the palm(s) of your hand(s)

Still hot as hell here. I think I hit my upper bound on hot food, too. I never really got used to spicy foods, as I lived in the Midwest and ate a lot of really bland stuff. In college, I worked with a lot of people into the cult of the chile pepper, which seems to be prevalent in computer geeks for some reason. I had horrible stomach problems for years, so I didn’t get started on this, though. Since I moved to New York, I’ve slowly tried to introduce hot food to my diet, but I can only do it to a certain extent. I do okay with a chicken vindaloo, and I’m to the point where Tabasco is pretty middle-of-the-road. But I’m nothing like a coworker who is both New Mexican and of the aforementioned chile/tech geek cult, who can put ten ounces of pure nuclear habanero sauce on a single taco without flinching.

I don’t know if I mentioned that I bought a Tandy 102 from EBay. They are very neat little machines, especially given their mid-Eighties vintage. They have a full keyboard and a 40 by 8 character LCD display. Their 8-bit processor and up to 32K of RAM ran a tiny OS with BASIC, a text editor, and some other basic stuff like an address book and calendar. What’s cool is that the whole thing ran on 4 AA batteries for twenty hours, and when you hit the on switch, the thing immediately came on, more like a calculator than the five-minute wait on a current Windows laptop. It has a serial port to connect to a real PC, and should be a neat toy to play with on the train or while sitting in bed. Maybe I’ll run a serial cable from it and use it as a dumb terminal off of my Linux box. Of course, I have a real VT240 collecting dust in my closet, so I probably won’t do much with it. And the size on this places it smack-dab between my SideKick and my laptop. But for only $45, it’s not too bad.

I’m currently in the process of re-reading a bunch of Asimov stuff in order. In my senior year of high school, I only had to take a couple of classes in the last semester, so I had a few study halls, an hour that I worked in the theater, a piano class, and a lot of other filler. I had high hopes of reading every book in the library, or at least the ones I found interesting. After I read every World War II book cover to cover, I started reading all of the SciFi they had in the place – Bradbury, Orwell (okay, not really SciFi) and I worked through a lot of the Asimov. I don’t think they had any PKD, which would have been great too, although it seems like all of the good anthologies of his stuff have come out in the last decade or so. Anyway, I am reading through the robot books (I, Robot,The Robots of Dawn, The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun) and I’m considering going into the Foundation books, but it depends on how I do on the other stuff. I did some digging around, and I never knew that Asimov actually died of HIV complications. He had a heart bypass in 1983, and he got a bad blood transfusion. It was kept secret at his death, until a biography that came out last year. Pretty weird.

OK, I need to go write, if that’s at all possible in this heat.


New Coliseum

It’s hot as hell, still.

I did manage to get out today and find the new location for Coliseum Books. This was a pretty cool, non-chain bookstore up on 57th Street where I spent many a dollar on new books back in the day. Not only did it have a good location, but they had a cool selection, especially of history and literature. Unfortunately, they lost their lease, and the location is now a Fleet bank. I thought that was that, but on my walk the other day, I found they have a brand new store on 42nd Street, near the public library. I went in today and dropped about $50 on some new stuff, including a John Fante reader and a bunch of Asimov that I read back in high school, but really want to re-read. So that was nice, as was the air conditioning.

I thought that maybe eating hot foods from hot regions would maybe help me out here, so I had Mexican tonight and Indian the night before. I figured if they ate hot food all of the time, maybe they knew something that I didn’t. It didn’t help much, though. I think I really need to move, or build some kind of astronaut suit that has air conditioning.