Another Hundred Things

For those of you who think I am nothing but a cruel heartless bastard who spends all of his time writing books about corpse-fucking and serial killers, here is a picture of me with a baby.  My wife’s sister had twins in February, and they live in Davis, so we’ve been making visits to help them deal with the onslaught of human shit invading their house on an hourly basis. She’s going to have to start dressing them in different colors or something, because I can’t tell them apart, which probably makes me a horrible person.  Both parents are English professors, and they are surrounded by a dozen PhDs at any given time, so I am the only person who can explain to these two what the designated hitter rule is and why it’s a travesty, which I have.  You gotta start young.

(There’s not actually a lot to worry about, since the closest AL team to Davis is the Oakland A’s, and by the time these two are little league-aged, the As will probably have moved to Portland or Las Vegas or Puerto Rico or wherever someone writes them the biggest check, and good for them for getting out of that horrible stadium.)

So I am going to London and then to Germany next month.  I have done zero planning for both trips, aside from buying the relevant book for each.  What should I see?  What should I do?  What should I eat?  All I know is I will probably be doing a hell of a lot of walking, and I plan to take as many pictures as possible.  The flights will be a bitch – for both of the overnights, I am in the middle of one of those six-person rows in a 777, which probably means I will have two morbidly obese people having total flesh-to-flesh contact with me as they ooze out of their tiny coach seats.  I am very excited to take my DSLR camera over there.  I’ve never been to London at all; I’ve never been to Nuremberg, but have been to Berlin.  But Berlin was in 2006, and I’m sure the entire thing has changed since then.  Anyway, suggestions welcome.

I am also going back to New York in June for a brief work thing, which will be interesting.  The work part is good, but I just find myself with some odd nostalgia for the place, which will of course dissipate the first time I get pissed on in a subway car or have to deal with a cab driver or take a nice whiff of the garbage and dead fish aroma.  But yeah, it is weird for me to think about some random year, like 2002, and think about the time I spent in that Astoria apartment, or hiking to the subway, or sitting at my old desk, hacking away at FrameMaker docs while finding ways of covertly getting my coworkers to open up sodomy images unsuspectingly.  (Pro tip: create a Windows CD-R with an autorun that opens up goatse and then write “Half-Life beta” on it.)

In my mind, New York has this small, tangible quality to it, as I only remember the bits and pieces surrounding a narrow view of the past.  Like I think of Times Square and Penn Station, and how you could walk from one to the other in a few minutes, and in my mind, it’s almost the same as the walk from my front door to my parking spot.  But in reality, two and a half million people are between those two points, a densely packed chunk of an island with dozens of levels and layers of subways and trains and streets and sidewalks and offices and lofts and apartments, with wall-to-wall tiny stores and bodegas and locksmiths and cell phone stores and landmarks and all of that seems to fall from my mind.  I remember the last time I went to Manhattan, I stepped outside at night on Fifth Avenue, and at an hour when everyone should have been asleep or parked in front of their TVs, there were more people criss-crossing and walking than four minutes after the last out at a World Series game.  The height of the buildings and the bustle of the crowd and the noise of the car alarms and taxis laying on their horns overwhelmed me.  When I lived there, and in my memories, I turned all of that off, buried myself in my headphones and walked fast from point to point.  But when you’re in the middle of it… oh, man.  I do miss that, although I just want a small taste, and probably couldn’t hack a week there, let alone any long period of time.  How did I survive eight years there?

I may have mentioned to some of you that I had a health “thing” which of course was bullshit.  I had what I thought was a bad sinus infection that went on for a few months, and after a couple of rounds of you-just-snorted-anthrax antibiotics, I still had problems.  So I fought with my insurance company for a month and got a CT scan of my head, which revealed… nothing.  So I guess it’s just allergies.  But getting a CT scan of my brain definitely freaked me out, especially because I got a CD of it and have it sitting on my computer now.  And if you look, I do have a cyst in one of my sinuses, which is harmless and something like 40% of us have them, but when I first saw that, I was certain that was my death, a big, fat, c-word getting ready to tap into my brain.  It’s not, and there’s nothing else wrong in the scan, aside from my teeth, which of course contain more metal than a god damned terminator robot.  But still, the week between getting the CD and seeing the doctor was not exactly calming.

The mortality trip is a k-hole that I don’t like to fall down.  Everyone my age has parents that are checking out.  Every one of my aunts and uncles on my dad’s side is either dead or has some kind of cancer, except for my dad, and you don’t need to be a statistician to lose sleep over that one.  But it’s not something I can focus on.  All I can do is write as much as I can write, and try to not eat shit and get some regular exercise.  It’s been nice enough outside that I have started walking again every day.  And I bought a kettle bell, mostly because Joe Rogan won’t shut the fuck up about them on his podcast.  I used to lift free weights, and thought this was similar, but I did the DVD workout the other day, and an hour later, was like “why the fuck is the back of my upper thigh so god damned sore?”

I am continuing work on the next book.  I also have a number of old books that were never released as proper books that I’ve imported into scrivener, and I wonder if I should polish them up and release them.  The current list goes like this:

  • Air in the Paragraph Line #1-7
  • An “essay” book of some of my favorite blog posts
  • The story of my 1999 road trip across the country
  • This collection of short stories about Bloomington

All of these are “done”, but would require covers, formatting, editing, and names and blurbs.  The big issue is that none of these are part of the big picture plan, the direction I’ve been going with the last couple of books.  And if I had time to work on these, I would work on the next book.  And the big fear is that I will spend weeks and weeks getting this crap done, and it will sell exactly zero copies.  So, tell me if you’d really like to see one of these see the light of day.  For now, they’re all severe writer’s block day alternate projects.

Speaking of, gotta go write.

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A hundred things I wanted to mention

No, literally. I can’t write a thousand words about one thing, unless it’s “hey, remember the Magnavox TV (x1000)”, and everything within the next 18 months will just be a list, so here is a list.

  1. I gave away more books this weekend than I have sold in my life. I hope this is a good thing.
  2. I have a CT scan of my head on my computer, and I can scroll through it and see what the inside of my head looks like at any given plane. This is more strange than you could imagine. There’s a sense of mortality to it, I guess.
  3. I once had an endocrinologist who looked like Mike Brady and his entire desk was nothing but a vast collection of crystal figurines. It seriously looked like eBay shit the entire crystal figurine category on his desk.
  4. I’m going back to Germany next month. I’m actually going to London first, then Nuremberg, then Berlin. I have no idea what I’m doing in any of the the three cities, except “taking pictures”, and probably getting some kind of gastrointestinal malady.
  5. I’ve had some strange preoccupation with updating the firmware on one or both of the wireless routers I have sitting around the house that are currently doing nothing. I keep thinking they could get turned into a media center or phone switch, and then I remember I hate dealing with linux and have better shit to do with my time.
  6. A company has made a replica of the Commodore 64, except it is a Mini-ITX PC inside. See above comment about linux, and I think the thing, once fully-equipped, would cost as much as a decent Mac laptop.
  7. None of the ceilings in my condo are level. I think the entire building, which is made out of cast concrete, has a certain amount of slope to it, so that like, for example, from one end to another laterally, there’s a one-inch difference in height.
  8. I got this new entertainment center installed, and had a very brief flashback to the summer I spent unloading furniture off of trucks at Montgomery Ward, mostly because the smell of new furniture has that artificial chipboard processed wood formaldehyde odor to it.
  9. Toward the end of Jonathan Lethem’s book Chronic City, he mentions one of the characters is from Bloomington and used to swim in the granite quarries as a kid, and if I had his email, I would have told him I loved the book, but IT’S LIMESTONE.
  10. I am already done with baseball season. I have no patience for bad pitching.
  11. I need to buy a new pair of shoes, but I hate the fact that New Balance shoes no longer include those stay-tied laces, and the only place that I can find that sells them that isn’t storing customer credit card numbers in a plaintext file on the desktop of some Chinese computer is on Amazon and is charging like $24 in shipping for a $2 pair of laces.
  12. All food that is extruded is arguably better than other food, which is ironic or possibly easily explainable by the fact that the human digestive system is essentially an extrusion system.
  13. I think everyone is a hoarder, but doesn’t think they are, except for the people who are minimalists, and I think every person I’ve known who is a minimalist is also an alcoholic.
  14. I have a macro lens for my camera now, but its mostly shown me that every thing in my house is covered in cat hair.
  15. My childhood would have been far less interesting with wikipedia.
  16. My article, “List of drugs to take on the MTA subway while masturbating, in order” was recently rejected.
  17. I wish duotrope had a checklist that I could use to filter the list of markets that don’t get bent out of shape when you use the word “fuck” in a story.
  18. I guess I’m not a huge fan of pasta, and that’s extruded.
  19. I’m tempted to wire up something to my toilet that posts to my facebook timeline every time I take a shit.
  20. The Safeway near my house in Emeryville always smells like really bad weed. I don’t know if it’s the cashiers or the patrons. Maybe both.
  21. I’ve been obsessed with experimental noise/ambient/electronic bands lately, especially ones that have free crap I can download online.
  22. I’ve also been obsessed with either making a chapbook or making a combination book and CD, although I don’t have any good artwork for a chapbook, and nobody buys print books anymore, and I don’t know what I’d put on a CD, although I’d probably spend a week fucking off in Garage Band if I found a print-on-demand place that did combo book/CD projects.
  23. I wonder what happens if you tried to explain to a creationist that maybe god created the universe, but god was created by a massive expansion of a singularity.
  24. I have this strange urge to take my entire twitter feed and put it into a print book.
  25. I still have no idea what pinterest is or does.
  26. I saw the movie The Hunger Games this weekend, but I mostly went because I’m addicted to eating an entire bag of Reese’s Pieces during a movie. I probably would have went to the newest Tyler Perry movie, provided they sold Reese’s Pieces.
  27. I’ve been spending a lot more time reading 4chan lately. It’s probably the most motivating thing I do with my time.
  28. I am 89,000 words into my next book and still have no idea what it’s about.

Okay I wanted to write a hundred things, but that’s not happening.

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Happy 15th Birthday, Wrath of Kon

Back on April 11, 1997, I had a stupid idea.

I used to write in these journals, spiral notebooks, every day.  I started doing that in 1993.  I never wrote stories, and it wasn’t a diary either – it was some strange mix of both.  But any writing I did there was trapped forever on paper, unless I transcribed it, which I never did.  So my thought was to move some of this to the electronic world, to create a public web page where I posted some of these entries.

Jorn Barger coined the term “blog” on December 17, 1997.  They didn’t become popular for a few more years.  Livejournal started in 1999; so did blogger.  This diary project of mine was born before anyone knew what the hell a blog was.  I’m certain some other site influenced me to do this, and I didn’t pluck the idea out of thin air, but I don’t remember what I was reading on a daily basis back in 1997.

I did everything in emacs back then: email, book writing, usenet news.  I bugged my friend Bill Perry for some elisp help, and he wrote a little thing that would let me hit a magic key combination and open up an html file with today’s date as the filename.  So I’d hit Control-x Control-j, and the file ~/www/journal/html/041197.html would magically appear.  I then hacked out a C program that I could run and generate an index of all of these pages.  There was no database, no themes, no CMS.  This was five years before wordpress was a gleam in Matt Mullenweg’s eye.  It was rough, but it worked.

So on that Friday, I posted my first entry here.  Back then, this project didn’t have a name.  I called it “the journal” for a while.  It eventually got the name “Tell Me a Story About The Devil”, which has its origins in a Ray Miller story.  The name “The Wrath of Kon” is a more recent change.

I always hated the word “blog”, though.  There was this whole journal or diary movement in the late 90s that everyone has forgotten, and all of a sudden, blogs were “invented” in the early 2000s.  That meant I had a good five or six years of entries, when all of a sudden, everyone and their mother was a “blogger” and started getting book deals and money thrown at them.  So yeah, I was bitter.  But I kept at it.  Now, I don’t give a shit about the term “blog”.  I have bigger fish to fry.

There have been many changes over the years.  My Rube Goldberg mechanism would break on January 1st every year, and I slowly duct taped more functionality to the system, adding a bit of CSS, a comment system, and eventually ditching the entire thing for wordpress.  The page originally lived at, and moved to in 1998.  I eventually dropped the /journal part.  The content also slowly changed, moving from diary entries to stories to news to travel reports and back again.  I never had a solid theme, but I think that prevented me from painting myself in a corner.  I think if I originally would have only blogged about the books I read or a quest to collect every Atari cartridge, this would have died a long time ago.

So.  15 years.  1149 entries.  I think the last time I was able to calculate a word count, it was something like 650,000 words, and Infinite Jest is something like 460,000.  I did a book that collected the first three years, the Seattle entries; I keep thinking about a book that collects some of the best essays of the last dozen years, but I’ve got something on all four burners right now.

Anyway, here’s to fifteen years.  I don’t know many other sites that have been around this long.  I wonder where things will be in 2027.

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Read my interview at Bizarro Press

I have a story, “The Zombies of Kilimanjaro”, in the upcoming anthology from Bizarro Press.  I just did an interview with Etienne DeForest, whose most recent book was Texas Biker Zombies From Outer Space, a choose-your-own-adventure book about a zombie outbreak.

The interview’s over on the front page of  the Bizarro Press web site ( but I’ll archive it here, too.  You should head over there though and check out their books.  More news on the anthology when it happens – you will want to check this one out.

BP: Soooo, what are you wearing? (I never know how to start these things off right.)

JK: I work from home these days, so I’m almost always wearing the same exact thing: jeans and a t-shirt, tennis shoes. The shirt is one of those old-school Milwaukee Brewers shirts, the one with the logo that’s a glove with a ball in it. (Milwaukee’s not my favorite team; I just buy most of my clothes in airport gift shops, and I end up at Mitchell airport a lot.)

BP: Ya, but they’re named after beer…. Anyways, sounds like a tough commute. So what’s your “real” job?

JK: I work as a technical writer for a big software company that nobody’s heard of. I had a programming background in college, but hit the wall when it came to math. I started writing around then, and totally lucked into tech writing, right around the time the internet really exploded in the mid-90s.

There’s not too much crossover between my job and writing fiction. I think people expect me to eventually write some Office Space thing about corporate culture. Maybe some of my need to write absurdist fiction comes from that. And I guess I learned a lot about the tools I used to self-publish, page layout programs and distilling PDFs and that kind of junk.

BP: I could tell that you did some form of editing or writing when I read “The Zombies of Kilmanjaroo”. You didn’t make a lot of the mistakes most people do. So are you one of those formatting Nazi’s that gets all pissed off when you see a “;” or a “:” used incorrectly?

JK: Nah, I don’t get that pissed off about formatting, although it’s hard to avoid sometimes. Like I grew up in Indiana, and although there are plenty of people who can spell there, every time I go back, I see some incredibly illiterate hand-painted signs that make me want to stop the car, get out a can of spray-paint, and do some quick edits.

That said, I probably have tons of typos in my books that I’ve stared at so many times, I don’t notice them. I am thinking of doing what Cory Doctorow did, and asking everyone to email me their corrections, in exchange for a thank you footnote in a future version of the book.

BP: Whenever I picture Indiana in my head all I see is a bunch of white guys in short shorts playing basketball. Is that an accurate description?

JK: Well, there’s meth labs, too. I actually went to high school with NBA all-star Shawn Kemp, so between that, being a hundred miles down the road from the Bulls during the Michael Jordan era, and then going to college at Indiana University during the Bobby Knight era, there was a hell of a lot of basketball.

I wasn’t exactly a star athlete when I was a kid — spent most of my time obsessed with Star Wars and Commodore computers and Dungeons and Dragons. I guess all of that’s cool now, but back then, it was like wearing an Obama t-shirt to a Klan rally. So my time in Indiana was pretty depressing, and I spent every second of it trying to figure out how to get the hell out.

I wrote a lot about Indiana when I was still writing “straight” literary fiction, before really getting into the absurd stuff. My first book, Summer Rain, was about spending a summer at a college campus, trying to figure out what to do in life. I also wrote a lot of short stories about that era, but now that stuff bores me. Indiana still comes up a lot in my newer stuff, but mostly when I need a setting that verges on the post-apocalyptic, which is pretty much what the state looks like, now that all of the manufacturing jobs have vanished.

BP: Do you still get all boned-up when you see a 20 sided die?

JK: There’s still a certain nostalgia to it. Maybe every year or so, I’ll fall down this k-hole and start googling Gary Gygax, or looking for those old books on eBay. (I think I sold mine off for pennies on the dollar for beer money back in college.) But I haven’t seriously tried to get into playing again. I think part of it is when you’re a kid, it’s so easy to focus large amounts of time on stuff like that, and it would be easier for me to build a functioning helicopter than it would be to get four or five adults in a room for three hours straight every week. Like, I’ve got a nephew that’s 14, and is really into that game Minecraft. It looks awesome, so I installed it, thinking I’d build an aircraft carrier or a scale Astrodome or something, and about seven minutes later, I’m thinking, “I’ve got shit to do – there is no way in hell I can make 347 more mortgage payments and focus on this thing.”

I also wonder if D&D would lose its allure in the internet age. I think half of the fun for me was we could only get the books and figures at one store in our town, a Kay-Bee Toys, and they only had the most popular stuff, so we had to really search to find the rare stuff, like drive to Chicago or mail away for a xeroxed catalog to a PO box somewhere. So when I did run across a copy of some rare module at a garage sale, it was a huge win. Now, you could just google that shit, buy it from Amazon, or find it on eBay. It’s probably not as rewarding.

BP: I think your right man, I’m pretty sure all those kids play WOW now or something. It really is amazing how fast the internet changed everything.

You talk about a lot of hard drug use in The Earworm Inception. Soooo, do you like to party?

JK: I’m too old for that shit. I wake up every day feeling like it was new year’s the night before, even when I’m stone cold sober. I think my days of drinking a gallon of rum and puking in the middle of a high-end steakhouse are behind me.

I think most of the drug use in “The Earworm Inception” was self-medication, along the theme of how to make life complete or finding your place in the modern world. There’s this recurring character that’s introduced in “The Chapman Protocol Conundrum” that’s a prescription-happy shrink, and that’s something I constantly ponder, because I can’t go to a podiatrist for a hangnail without someone trying to write me a prescription for Lipitor. Between allergies and mood, I’m taking more pills per day than my grandparents were taking on their deathbed, but I also am fascinated by the idea that there could be medications that somehow unlock parts of your brain that would completely change your world.

BP: Who’s going to the World Series this year?

JK: I don’t know, because they changed the way the postseason works this year, and there will be two wildcard teams per league. I think they only did this to guarantee that the Yankees and Red Sox will always go to the postseason, because those TV executives have boat payments to make.

I think for the AL, it’s pretty much locked down to Rangers, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, in that order, with a chance of Tampa making the fifth spot if New York or Boston really screws something up. For the NL, it’s harder to predict, and there will be a close race in the NL West. I’m still a Rockies fan from when I lived in Denver, but they have to get past the Giants and D’Backs, which would take some kind of Buster Posey in 2011 broken leg injuries on those teams, plus a lot of luck with their pitching.

I’d ultimately like to see a couple of teams that don’t normally go to make it, like a Rays-Brewers matchup, but it will probably be something boring like a Phillies-Yankees matchup, which is like watching a demolition derby where everyone’s driving indestructible armored cars.

BP: It pisses me off that the Rangers magically got good. I used to be able to walk around in my Tigers shit and not get shit about it. Dallas fans are assholes.

Well, any closing thoughts?

JK: Thanks for the interview, and I’m looking forward to seeing the anthology get in the hands of the readers. Make sure to check me out over at my home on, or on twitter over at @jkonrath. Also, that answer about how to make your own full-auto AK-47 from stuff you can get at Home Depot was just a joke, so make sure to cut that question out of the final interview. Thanks!

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New flash fiction at Horror Sleaze Trash

I have a new piece of flash fiction, “Dwarf Meth Madness, Again”, over at Horror Sleaze Trash. I’m very happy to get a piece in HST, as it constantly publishes high-caliber Bukowskian poetry and fiction.

This story is tangentially related to one I had in Weirdyear back in January.  A brief quote for your Easter Sunday:

I also grew up in a town that banned Christmas, and renamed it Jesus Day.  Obese city cops with sniper rifles sat in towers at the edge of town, picking off anyone who dared to dress up like Santa.  We used to score a christmas tree from this dude that also sold heroin in the train station.  Just one fix.

Check it out:

As with all of the stuff I’ve been publishing like this on other sites, if you like it, it would be great if you could click the like button, leave a comment on the site, or pass it along to any like-minded degenerate friends who are into this sort of thing.

And if you haven’t kept up with the influx of stories coming out, head over to the Published Writing link.  Pretty much all of those stories are available to read for free.  And all of the books are on the Kindle for way cheap.  Thanks for reading!


New Story, “Peak Oil”, at The Mustache Factor

I have a new story at The Mustache Factor.  It’s called “Peak Oil”, and it’s about a guy whose sexual perversion involves watching people pump gas.

I think I wrote this the same week I read J.G. Ballard’s Crash, which has nothing to do with the Paul Haggis movie of the same name which came out in 2004 and won a bunch of awards.  I secretly hope some dumb fuck watched the 1996 David Cronenberg adaptation of the Ballard book, which is full of creepy fetish mindfuck stuff like James Spader fucking the scar on a disfigured Rosanna Arquette’s thigh.

Anyway, go check it out:



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New Story at In Between Altered States

I’ve got a new piece of flash fiction over at In Between Altered States.  It’s called “The Locality Principle” and is actually something that dates back to when I was hashing out Rumored.  Check it out here:

Also, Paragraph Line went live today with the re-launch in its new online format, starting with a story by John Sheppard.  Check it out over at