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I don’t have anything new going on, because I’ve been swamped at work since I’ve been home, and probably will be for the next month. Thank godzilla the baseball season already ended for me a month ago.
I fell down an insufferable k-hole last week and ended up reading a conspiracy theory page about how John Denver’s death was faked. I don’t remember the exact reason why, but the author had an incredible number of reasons, some theories implicating the NTSB, a map and a series of diagrams, etc. I’m not going to link to the page because I’m sure it would just cause trouble. I’ve found that even if you 100% agree with people this far gone, they will say you’re wrong. It’s like expecting to win an argument in the comments section of a small-town newspaper.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been re-reading a bunch of different music books. I have no idea why. Actually, I think it’s because I watched that Netflix docu-drama The Dirt. So I re-read that, the Nikki Sixx book The Heroin Diaries, Our Band Could Be Your Life, the first Chuck Klosterman book, and I’m reading the David Byrne book now. This is apropos of nothing; I am not planning on writing a music book. I’m just bored.
I first read The Dirt during a horrible bout of food poisoning in 2005. I ate some warm mayo from the Quizno’s on St. Mark’s (long since gone, as is everything else there) and became horrifically sick for three or four days, couldn’t hold down water, super-high fever, hallucinations — good stuff. My now-wife-then-girlfriend came to my apartment for the first time to give me gatorade since I couldn’t get out of bed, and she left me with a copy of the Motley Crue book with me for some reason. So I read the 400-some pages in a fever dream, and somehow remember flashes of it, but not the whole thing. Reading it now made more sense, but it’s pretty dated, and the band went through another complete cycle of fall-apart/get-together/quit since then. (Or maybe two, I don’t keep track.)
There is a new Elephant Man book out, and I bought it, because apparently I have to read every book about Joseph Merrick that comes out. This was written by a genealogist who is distantly related to the guy who ran the freak show Merrick was in. It was much more about the genealogy of his distant relatives and completely avoided talking about any of his medical prognosis. So I didn’t find it that interesting and only skimmed it, which I hate saying because the author was very thorough with the research.
There were some interesting bits in the book though, about Victorian history in general, which I should know more about, but of course I don’t, because lazy. One thing was a line about how the religious school system back then was designed to give god as hope to the lower class so they would ignore the insufferable misery of the economic system. That puts the Indiana public school system’s slow slide into parochialism into perspective. The other thing was they had a long run on the anti-vaccination movement of the mid-19th century, which is also timely.
I am still writing but I have nothing anywhere near complete. I have two untitled books like Rumored that are in the 90,000-word range but need serious work and some kind of structure or flow or whatever. Also a short story book that’s maybe 60K words, same thing. And then another 300,000 words of… stuff. Hard to pull this all together.
I have been hemming and hawing about writing a book about malls. I have a blank manuscript, a general outline, and I know what I’d write about. But each time I try to get started, I get a few thousand words down, and it feels so wooden and boring, I can’t do anything further. And aside from the fact that this is so off-brand that only three people would read it, I would get an endless amount of shit from the “NO YOUR WRONG WALMART IS AWESOME” crowd, or people who have somehow forgotten that K-Mart was always a shitty store. I don’t want to argue about it, so I don’t care.
I have been avoiding malls as much as possible, but the weather has been bad here, so I have been walking there on weekends. The most upscale mall I go to, Stoneridge, is a bit of a mess now, and very depressing. The big Sears closed, and Simon is in a zoning fight to tear it down and build some kind of “activity center” thing there, with a movie theater, gym, upscale grocery, and a few other retail spots. Probably a good idea, but who knows if it will happen before the next crash.
I also should probably avoid retail groups, but I can’t. I also can’t stop reading this Elkhart group, which is humorously bad. Every single post about anything ends up becoming about how Elkhart needs a Chick-fil-A. Every time they raze an old decrepit building to leave it a vacant lot (i.e. weekly) someone chimes in that it’s going to be a Chick-fil-A. Never mind that CfA has no plans to expand in Indiana for the next two years, and posts a list of all future store openings, and even if it were expanding, there probably isn’t enough traffic in Elkhart to support it, it’s still posted about fifty times a day. And I’ve yet to see someone spell it correctly.
The JoAnn Fabrics in the Concord Mall left. I think Kay Jewelers did too. Also the Fitness USA across the street couldn’t negotiate a lease and closed. I think it’s now down to under 20 stores. Still not sure of the end game here, but when your mall is 75% vacant and the highest-traffic thing is a pizza-by-the-slice place, that’s not good.
I still have not sorted through my Vegas photos, and haven’t been that enthusiastic about it. I don’t think anyone uses Flickr anymore, so I’m not sure what the point is. I post one-offs on Instagram, so I guess that’s good enough for now.
A tornado’s rolling through northern Indiana right now. Hope you folks are in your basements.