Randy Orton and the Loins of Passion

It is time for another bulleted-list update.

  • I was recently so bored that I rewrote the first three pages of an erotic story, retitled it as “Randy Orton and the Loins of Passion” and submitted it to a small press for consideration.  The story was an erotic coming-of-age tale involving Randy Orton, his father Cowboy Bob Orton, and Roddy Piper.  It was not picked up, so I will cease writing homosexual incestual WWE-related pornography and go back to my usual work.
  • Speaking of which, Ryan Werner mentioned me in this essay he wrote a bit ago about starting said small press, going on tour, and working as a janitor.  Read it here.
  • I am 83,477 words into a book and still do not know what it’s about.  It may actually get split into a couple of things.  It is 200-some pieces of flash fiction, and maybe could end up similar to Rumored to Exist, but it may take a while to get there.
  • I never knew this, but Jackson Pollock was allegedly decapitated in the car accident that killed him.  I’d like to think the interior of the car looked like one of his paintings after the incident, but that’s just wishful thinking.
  • Having just one hobby that I am no good at that makes me constantly want to spend thousands of dollars on new gear instead of practice to increase my skill (bass guitar) is not enough, so I have been doing down a k-hole with photography.  I am intent on learning WTF the difference between aperture and shutter speed is (I think I know now) and I’m trying to stop using the automatic mode on my camera.  I’m also trying to not spend any money on new gear.  I haven’t taken any phenomenal pictures I’ve posted online lately, but my flickr page is the home of all shots I have snapped.
  • Here is a new thing to obsess over:
  • One sister-in-law was here for about a week, so we got to go to all kinds of places we only go when people visit us, like the Pacific Science Center and the Oakland Museum (pics).  Unlike her last visit, we did not have a blackout, did not have a closet collapse, and did not go to see a Jackass movie, but otherwise it was cool.
  • We babysat the 18-month-old twins overnight for the other sister-in-law last weekend.  Even more miraculous than the ease of this operation was the fact that not one person mommyjacked my status update on facebook to ask me when I was going to have kids.
  • Joel-Peter Witkin created, among other things, the photo used for the Pungent Stench album Been Caught Buttering. Witkin claims that his vision and sensibility spring from an episode he witnessed as a young child, an automobile accident in front of his house in which a little girl was decapitated:

    It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother’s hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it — but before I could touch it someone carried me away”.

  • We’re going to Maui in October.  I have never been to that island, although I really liked both of my trips to Oahu.  (2003 pics, 2005 pics)
  • Thunderbird is still available and you should buy it.
  • I believe the 2015 convention for my UFO cult will be in the Bahamas, so please contact me for details.



Capillary dilation of the so-called blush response

I went to the farmer’s market in Berkeley.  Farmer’s markets are strange, because the places that have the most farmers generally don’t have farmer’s markets.  I grew up in a state where every other person around me was a farmer, and they barely had vegetables. I think attempting to open a farmer’s market in my home town would get you thrown in prison for being a communist.

Berkeley can be weird sometimes.  I think they’re the only city that banned nuclear weapons.  And they changed the name of Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples Day” or something like that.  I don’t give a shit either way, it’s just sometimes a bit much.

So next to the locally sourced organic vegan lard tent, there was an empathy booth.  I don’t know if it cost money or not, but it said something about the people there listening to anything you told them, without judgment or offering any advice.

My thought was that I should go up to them and lay some heavy trip on them, to see what it would take for them to crack.  You know, like “I’ve got this dude chained to the furnace in my basement.  We’ve been waterboarding him for hours, but I’m thinking about cutting his head off now.  It just makes more sense.  I’m trying to find a Wal-Mart around here to buy a chainsaw, but I’m not having much luck.  Maybe I’ll just use a butcher knife. Is that knife sharpening dude here today?”

But I really needed a diet coke.  The closest thing I could find to diet coke was a place selling some kind of locally-brewed kombucha, so I left.


A history of Rumored to Exist, by RCS checkin comments, without commentary

When I wrote Rumored to Exist, I used RCS, a source control system that used to be popular for unix.  (Since then, the cool kids have gone to using CVS, then Subversion, then Git.)

Each time I checked in a file, I left a little comment.  Here’s a log of those comments, in reverse chronological order.  (Note that I started using RCS about three years into the writing of the book, so everything before that was not recorded.)

RCS file: RCS/rumor-current.txt,v
 Working file: rumor-current.txt
 head: 7.10
 locks: strict
 jkonrath: 7.10
 access list:
 symbolic names:
 keyword substitution: kv
 total revisions: 54; selected revisions: 54
 Rumored to Exist main book
 revision 7.10 locked by: jkonrath;
 date: 2002/06/09 16:01:14; author: jkonrath; state: Exp; lines: +9 -6
 OK, I'm taking it over to Word. Wish me luck...
 revision 7.9
 date: 2002/06/08 03:23:29; author: jkonrath; state: Exp; lines: +644 -545
 No flags! A complete draft, and I just checked spelling, but it needs
 more work...
 revision 7.8
 date: 2002/06/01 22:17:12; author: jkonrath; state: Exp; lines: +272 -260
 This is the finish of a paper draft. Lots of corrections...
 revision 7.7
 date: 2002/05/29 03:31:44; author: jkonrath; state: Exp; lines: +1345 -934
 More changes, after going through a half paper draft.
 revision 7.6
 date: 2001/12/24 04:36:04; author: jkonrath; state: Exp; lines: +493 -482
 This includes comments and corrections from a paper draft edit that
 slowly took place over november and december, I think.
 revision 7.5
 date: 2001/12/23 05:16:11; author: jkonrath; state: Exp; lines: +584 -429
 Moving to a new machine, and there may be some editing cruft in there, too.
 revision 7.4
 date: 2001/09/26 20:51:32; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +1370 -1444
 Just thinking checking in would be a good idea. No logic behind it tho.
 revision 7.3
 date: 2001/09/07 03:41:30; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +170 -322
 Removed a couple of dead ones, did some merges on three sets of them.
 revision 7.2
 date: 2001/09/03 04:50:30; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +203 -195
 This has all of Marie's edits, plus a spellcheck, and some comments.
 revision 7.1
 date: 2001/07/29 05:04:33; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +509 -455
 Changes from paper edits on 7.0. Includes some comments.
 revision 7.0
 date: 2001/07/05 20:53:40; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +2 -2
 Bumping up to draft 7 in rcs.
 revision 2.32
 date: 2001/07/05 20:17:29; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +504 -38
 Aah, no comments. Close to the finish? Probably not.
 revision 2.31
 date: 2001/05/24 02:06:22; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +391 -419
 Another check-in, with most of the comments fixed, and just a bunch
 of vacant stuff and ordering issues to be done before this draft
 is wrapped up.
 revision 2.30
 date: 2001/05/20 01:36:35; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +327 -529
 I cut out about 4 or 5 things, pushes this below 80K, but makes it much
 better. Now I need to start writing more new stuff.
 revision 2.29
 date: 2001/05/10 04:08:50; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +777 -750
 This is the version recovered from a PDB file.
 revision 2.28
 date: 2001/05/10 04:08:06; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +397 -474
 This is a messup from a crash.
 revision 2.27
 date: 2001/02/25 06:23:10; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +452 -379
 The rest of the paper draft in there.
 revision 2.26
 date: 2001/02/25 00:38:17; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +131 -107
 The beginning of comments on a paper draft - 0-38.
 revision 2.25
 date: 2000/12/18 02:09:15; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +861 -855
 Another reorg, spelling.
 revision 2.24
 date: 2000/12/08 23:17:56; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +401 -488
 Another paper draft....
 revision 2.23
 date: 2000/11/25 04:50:27; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +1223 -1394
 A bunch of stuff done, holding at 200...
 revision 2.22
 date: 2000/11/09 03:51:40; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +213 -144
 I just entered a ton of comments from a paper edit. No real new stuff
 revision 2.21
 date: 2000/10/26 02:56:56; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +473 -510
 A quick checkin with comments from a 9/20 paper draft. No real changes
 in content, though. I'm going to start moving things, hence this.
 revision 2.20
 date: 2000/10/16 21:05:32; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +548 -24
 206, 83K
 revision 2.19
 date: 2000/09/16 15:44:09; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +1010 -490
 Almost 78K, 0-192, 75% there. This also includes all of the edits on a
 paper draft from about a month ago, including tons of comments on ordering
 and stuff I don't like anymore.
 revision 2.18
 date: 2000/08/22 21:16:54; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +438 -14
 72812, 180. Checking in just because.
 revision 2.17
 date: 2000/07/31 16:40:47; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +476 -174
 I feel a great need to check in. 0-168, almost 69K.
 revision 2.16
 date: 2000/05/26 17:21:28; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +99 -16
 Just making sure everything is cool here.
 revision 2.15
 date: 2000/03/17 05:31:21; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +22 -46
 revision 2.14
 date: 2000/03/02 17:57:50; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +170 -7
 I haven't been doing anything for a long time. 65K, 161?
 revision 2.13
 date: 2000/01/26 16:10:30; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +301 -54
 I'm above 63K, but it's going slow. Just wanted to ci and get
 something in for the new year.
 revision 2.12
 date: 1999/12/21 04:58:46; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +372 -278
 The first checkin at the place in Astoria. No idea what's here - it
 has been almost a month since I did any work. Maybe it will pick
 up soon? At 61K now.
 revision 2.11
 date: 1999/11/20 04:15:04; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +236 -7
 Lots more - broke 60K, 148.
 revision 2.10
 date: 1999/11/16 18:59:04; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +179 -11
 I'm slowly doing some work - 142/57658. Staying home sick today, hoping
 to hit 60K someday.
 revision 2.9
 date: 1999/11/11 02:21:44; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +115 -3
 Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
 revision 2.8
 date: 1999/11/06 18:09:16; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +76 -1
 Almost 55K words. Not much new here, but I should be checking in
 as much as possible since I'm moving between 2 machines.
 revision 2.7
 date: 1999/10/27 03:09:24; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +154 -2
 54K, 133 done. Just checking in to be on the safe side. I'm
 shuffling stuff back and forth to write at work, and you never know.
 revision 2.6
 date: 1999/10/24 16:13:48; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +174 -57
 Mostly checking if the log message works, a couple of new things.
 revision 2.5
 date: 1999/10/17 16:55:39; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +557 -1
 I haven't even looked at this in months - started my new job at juno
 and all - i am checking in before i start to fuck with anything,
 just in case there are changes - actually, i think i stopped right at
 the halfway mark, so there are some new things.
 revision 2.4
 date: 1999/08/16 22:14:08; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +1265 -18
 Approaching the halfway mark, running out of steam. i just wrote
 the same comment for the seattle checkin, too.
 revision 2.3
 date: 1999/07/31 00:22:54; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +794 -89
 Slow month. Given up on the annotations. Up to 82 now, still
 chugging along on it.
 revision 2.2
 date: 1999/06/30 01:03:31; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +215 -0
 Here's 0-63 (well, no 0), but they still need a once-over.
 This is where I will start messing with annotations.
 revision 2.1
 date: 1999/06/29 06:44:34; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +538 -9
 Here's a checkin with what I decided to keep plus some salvaged stuff.
 revision 2.0
 date: 1999/06/19 02:22:08; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +73 -4660
 Here's the first major cut and dice. not much left!
 revision 1.10
 date: 1999/06/18 20:30:02; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +41 -7
 This is the first checkin of the sixth draft, aka the "New York" draft
 In a second, I will blank this out, and start clean. I've got another
 copy called the Seattle Draft, and I'll hand-pick the stuff I like
 and put it back in here. Right?
 revision 1.9
 date: 1999/06/11 22:09:58; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +264 -13
 I'm in New York, so I should check in.
 This is up to 159, maybe 63K words. Still many comments, and
 a few new pieces.
 revision 1.8
 date: 1999/01/31 10:51:49; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +148 -59
 above 150 now. they all suck, though.
 revision 1.7
 date: 1999/01/28 05:51:01; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +537 -36
 60,000 words, motherfucker.
 revision 1.6
 date: 1999/01/12 05:15:53; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +1045 -649
 Contains a single pass of commenting on the first half, Marie's
 comments integrated (mostly), and a few new ones that pretty
 much suck.
 revision 1.5
 date: 1998/10/26 06:03:21; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +732 -29
 0-127 (I hope)
 revision 1.4
 date: 1998/08/04 03:39:49; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +73 -1
 eating white castle, checking in shit.
 revision 1.3
 date: 1998/07/31 03:41:47; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +74 -2
 more junk for the peanut gallery.
 revision 1.2
 date: 1998/07/26 22:02:31; author: root; state: Exp; lines: +1 -0
 this is a test of rcs - i hope it works.
 revision 1.1
 date: 1998/07/26 21:05:55; author: root; state: Exp;
 Initial revision

Noncompliance to ASTM F 899-12 Standard

I am now 58,000 words into a book that has absolutely no structure, no plot, and for the most part, no characters.  It is basically 226 nightmares and dream sequences back-to-back in no real order.  (In comparison, Thunderbird was 38,844 words.)  Part of me wants to come up with an overarching story that links these pieces together.  Or maybe I should not use this structure and stitch together the pieces into longer stories.  A big part of me just wants to publish it as-is and Captain Beefheart it, and people can either like it or hate it.  I think it would be awesome to just do that three times a year for the next twenty years, but it might get old fast.

(Dream last night:  I was in London for an extended vacation of some sort.  I found a loophole in the unemployment law that would enable anyone who spoke English, even if just on vacation, to collect unemployment.  The problem was that the unemployment office was in a basement, and legislators had removed the door, so you had to climb through the window.  While looking for a way to spend my Dole money, I went to a huge department store and really wanted to buy a bass guitar.  I kept seeing people carrying them or playing them, but could not find them in the store.  Then I started wondering if the bass guitars in the UK were the same as the US, or if the strings would be upside-down.)

There’s still that part of my brain that is begging for the release of dopamine from the completion of some amount of straight fiction.  I just finished reading that Junot Diaz book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and I really loved how he described Washington Heights.  I mean, the book was much deeper than just a novella about Dominicans running around and screwing each other, but the language of it made me think about writing something other than a guy taking a dump on a roulette wheel at Circus Circus, or whatever it is I’ve been writing lately.

There are two things that have happened that have made me think about the past in a strange and opaque way, and that’s what itches me about this straight writing thing.

One, I got a leak of the new Carcass album, Surgical Steel.  (Thanks to Ray for the hookup on this.)  I don’t really listen to death metal anymore, and certainly don’t keep up with news on it, but for whatever reason, I was curious about his, and it turns out my suspicions were correct on it.  It’s an excellent album, and sounds like they went into the studio in 1993 and recorded another album as perfect as their Tools of the Trade EP.  It’s amazing that they didn’t fuck this up and insert all kinds of nu metal or have a dubstep remix or, even worse, do what metal bands usually do after a twenty year hiatus and release a SSDD polished turd of exactly what they used to do in the 80s or 90s. It’s a perfect progression from what they did before, unique, and yet with a slightly haunting and familiar sound to some of the melodies.

I was a huge fan of their 1991 album Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious and probably mentioned it a thousand times within Summer Rain, because I listened to it ten thousand times in the summer of 1992, and then constantly put it in the player when I needed to teleport back to that time during the book’s writing.  I have so many memories of that summer that are directly tied to that 48 minutes of music, because I used to open my radio show with it every week, and kept it in my CD deck constantly.

So when I hear a new album that still invokes some ghost of that album, in the tone or the melodies or whatever it is that makes the two similar, it pulls me back to that time and to my old book and makes me wonder if there’s some other writing left in that era.  There’s a part of me that wants to do some Summer Rain 2 that either takes place right before or right after that book, or maybe takes place twenty years later when the protagonist goes back to a 2012 Indiana that’s not doing very rosy and the state of the economy and the world and the experience of hitting 40 and being at that fork in the road somehow echoes what happened in 1992 when I (and/or that character) was at a different fork in the road.  I know SR was rough, and I got unending shit because the book was “long” but it’s something that sometimes pulls me back in that direction.  And it’s not helpful that I have an almost complete but nowhere near finished book of stories that take place around the same time that’s sitting on the hard drive that will probably never see the light of day.

Here’s the other thing.  My allergies are bad now.  We’re talking attack-bad, give-me-more-steroids-than-ARod bad.  And so I went to the hardware store and bought a respirator mask, like you’d wear when you’re tearing down mold-infected drywall, and I started wearing that in the house today, just to see if it would help.  (It did, but it was so goddamn hot, I had to take it back off.)

There is something in those masks, some smell in the filter that is so distinct.  I haven’t thought about it in 25 years, but pulling air through that N95 filter and into my nose gave it such a distinct odor, the smell of surgical gauze and sterile supplies, it immediately teleported me back to the last time I wore respiratory equipment regularly, which was when I was 16 and working on my first car all the time.  I’ve talked about it too much before, but I had this old beaten Camaro, and even before I could drive, I spent all of my time and money sanding away rust and beating on metal with hammers and painting it back up with krylon rattle-cans.

I spent so much time back then wrenching on that car, and it was a piece of shit, but it was my piece of shit and it symbolized this additional freedom that gave me the ability to leave my house and branch out of my limited social strata and just point it in any random direction and feel the rumble of a V-8 for a twenty-minute side of a tape, until it auto-reversed and flipped sides and I changed directions and drove back.

I spent summers and weekends wearing this dust filter, a blue rubberized plastic thing that cupped over my nose and mouth and contained some kind of treated cotton or fiber inside of it that got replaced every time it became caked with paint and plastic dust.  The smell of that filter is the same as the smell of this filter, and it immediately reminds me of sanding down body filler and mixing together more bondo to squeegee into cracks and paint with more primer.  Everyone else in my high school turned 16 and magically had a car appear in their driveway, usually a brand new 5.0 Mustang.  I didn’t, and that’s why I spent time in junkyards looking for new sheet metal on the cheap, and trying to break rusted bolts and sand compound curves in my garage while listening to Grim Reaper and Megadeth on a jambox.

So that makes me think of that time in the 80s, the struggle of being a nerd when being a nerd wasn’t cool, being poor in a school where being poor wasn’t cool, driving a Chevy when driving a Ford was cool.  I wrote a book about that too, sitting on the virtual shelf, probably not to be released.  I always think about jumping back into that one, but the writing in it makes me cringe.  When I was in Mexico in 2009, I was sitting in a hammock every morning, staring at the ocean and busting my ass trying to turn out that book.  It’s hurried writing and painful to read now, but if I had infinite time, I’d beat it into shape.

Of course, I don’t have infinite time.  This is why I never post here – I need to be writing.  Gotta get back to it.