I’m back, and I had a pretty good four-day weekend in Boston. The weather was nice (albeit a bit rainy on one day), the subways did not reek of piss, the restaurants had working public restrooms, and the cashiers actually talked to you, as if having paying customers was a virtue. Quite different from my home town, and a nice change.

The main event on Friday was the reading, and finally meeting my writer friend John Sheppard. He read last, from his book Small Town Punk. I read from Rumored to Exist, the first time I ever read from anything, and it went okay. After that, we went to a bar called Bukowski’s. I met some cool people, sold some books, gave away some books, traded some books, and got some books. So that went cool.

I also saw some old IU friends. Jeff Sumler showed up at the reading and had a few with us there and at Bukowski’s. I hung out in Harvard Square on Saturday afternoon with Brian Smith and his wife Sarah, where we ate some Mexican food and walked around the Harvard campus for a while. And even though our plans didn’t pan out, I got to chat a bit with my old friend Drew. So there was a lot of the conversation about where persons x and y were, and what it was like back in Bloomington, and how the campus has changed in a decade, and all of that. And that sometimes feels a little childish, like I’m one of those high school football player types stuck in the past. But sometimes it’s good, too.

And now I’m back. And I’m dead tired, and I’d love to tell more details or upload the pictures and make a web page, but I really need to crash…


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.