Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

books, road paving, fortran

Ah, the weekend. It’s actually pretty hot outside today, and I’m surprised. The last two weekends have been pretty dreary, and Thursday night a huge storm front started pissing away, so I thought it would be three for three on spoiled weekends. But I have no real funds in the discretionary spending account, since I just paid off the Amex bill for the Hawaii trip, and I’m trying to be good about paying up extra on bills instead of suddenly deciding I need a drum set or a scuba license or some other asinine pursuit that sounds good to me for about a week. Anyway, it’s beautiful out, and I planned on sitting on the couch and catching up on reading, but maybe I will try to find something sensible to do, or at least go for a long walk after I’m done with lunch.

I went to Marie’s the other night to loan her my camera, and met David and saw Poly, Mungo, and Henrey again. (Marie and David are humans, while the others are cats. Actually, it’s arguable that Mungo is a cat as he is as big as a mid-sized dog, but that’s another discussion entirely.) Anyway, Marie gave me a bunch of books, as she works for a publisher and is still in the loop as far as free promotional copies are concerned. One of the things I miss most about Juno is that it was in the same building as Random House and all of those other Bertelsmann publishers, so they always put racks and racks of free books down in the cafeteria. It would absolutely make Falli’s eBay mojo explode.

Anyway, I got, among other things, this book Pandora’s Keepers. It’s about the nine men who created the atomic bomb, and was written by Brian VanDemark, sort of. I say “sort of” because after the review copies went out, it turns out that a few other prominent nuke history authors found that he completely lifted parts of their writing in his book. So the book got recalled, and you can’t find it – but I have it! I’m about halfway through it, and as a person who was addicted to Richard Rhodes’ books on the bomb, I enjoy the reading. I can look past the plagarism charge, as all writing is essentially plagarism and I can see how he could have slipped up and accidentally boosted something. Or maybe I disagree, I don’t know. Either way, it’s a good read. Supposedly, a cleaned up paperback version will be out later in the year.

They are repaving several streets in my neighborhood, which means that if they repave mine and my windows are open, it will most likely turn my apartment into some sort of chemical death chamber. This is good only in that my survivors may be able to sue the city of New York for $50 million dollars, and 17 years later get a “buy 1 get 1 at half off” coupon for Pizza Hut or something. Also, if I do survive, it will make the street marginally better for cycling. It doesn’t cure the problem of a resident triple-parking his Crown Vic and opening their doors into traffic as I pass. I’m still working on a reliable way to mount an M203 grenade launcher on my bike frame, which will solve this issue.

My sister got a research position for the summer at Notre Dame. She is working with a professor on big bang nucleosynthesis, which has to do with figuring out how elements heavier than hydrogen formed right after the big bang. It sounds pretty cool, but the program they are using is written in fortran and is a mess. Still, it sounds like a pretty cool way to spend a summer. Better than teaching driver’s ed, at least.

I’ve decided to stop building models for the time being. I’ve found that painting models is pretty much impossible as a 32-year-old. It’s not like I’m going blind and shaking like a blender from Parkinson’s or anything, but I notice the difference when I’m trying to paint the instrument panel on a 1/35 scale model, and I wonder how I could do it when I was half my current age. (HALF MY AGE! Shit, I just thought about what I wrote about, and that’s way too fucked up.)

OK, time for that walk.