Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Coltrane, Camaro

I’m still listening to Coltrane and loving the hell out of it.

I’m once again obsessed with the idea of restoring an old Camaro. I could probably pull together the money for the car and some of the tools after tax time. I’d need to find a good two-car garage, cheap – maybe in Tacoma. I’ve memorized every single nut and bolt you need to remove to turn a ’71 Z-28 RS back into air, earth, fire and water. I’ve memorized many Chevy part numbers I’ll need to know once I’ve stripped down the 350 cid engine. This sequence is played and replayed in my head: remove trim; remove front sheet metal; strip interior; pull engine and transmission; seperate engine and transmission; strip engine down to the bare block; remove tires; raise body; remove subframe; strip front suspension; strip rear suspension; strip body; buy a bunch of parts and go backward from here. I would document everything – film each step with my camcorder, and write down everything. Then I’d pay $1200 a year to store it, and I’d drive it 100 miles a year. It sounds nuts, but it’s more practical than a room full of beanie babies.

I keep having these life-changing, revelational ephiphanies, and then forgetting all about them a few hours later. Ever since I chucked the TV, I’ve been doing this more often. I guess I used to feel like part of the big NBC family, and I never tried to quantify things beyond that. Now… don’t get freaked out when I dig out all of the Zen books and start babbling about koans or ideal society models or whatever.

I drank the last of my high-octane, paint-stripping tea last night. Actually I didn’t drink the last half-glass because it looked like it housed an entire ecosystem of various debris and rubble. I’m hoping my body will now return to normal, or maybe it’ll take a few days of DTs and heavy withdrawl first.

If I keep listening to this Coltrane box set, I’m going to want to buy a tenor sax, and I’ll try to learn how to play for three weeks, tops. I wish I had a job where I had to sleep in my clothes and run down the tarmac at the sound of an alarm to get the bombers in the air within the 10 minutes it takes the Russian ICBMs to reach the base. I wish everyone had to take standardized achievement tests every 3 years, so people would brag about what they know about now, instead of what they knew about a long time ago. I wish the UN passed a standardized toilet treaty, so I could go anywhere in the world and find a good toilet. I wonder if a hang-glider would work from a 7-story apartment building. I wish I liked the taste of wine as much as I liked the cool looking bottles. I think about Jack Kerouac buying a jug of port and dragging it to Allen Ginsberg’s reading of Howl, or Bukowski drinking back some red in his shithole apartment while banging out the poems on his typer. Plastic two-liter bottles of Sprite don’t have the same aesthetic appeal.

Do chambermaids listen to chamber music?

06/11/98 22:32

I fell asleep after work – the thick, compressed sleep where it feels like you went through a weeks’ worth of REM sleep in an hour, and it takes a while to regain consciousness. Virginia Lore called, and we got into a long and 100% right-on discussion about relationships and, more specifically, my situation and my past. I’ve come to value the fact that my conversations with Virginia always fire on all 8 cylinders at high speed, and I can tell her a lot of weird stuff without freaking her out. I wish I could give you an example, but by definition, I can’t. Anyway, interesting talk, and now it’s going on 11 and I’m eating Burger King.

Was Burger Chef a Midwest-only thing, or did they have them nationwide? I remember really liking their hamburgers as a kid, and they had some kick-ass happy meals. If I remember correctly, they must’ve went under around 1980.

I’ve decided to put a bunch of useless facts [Long dead, sorry] about myself on my web page. I think I’m going to work on those more.