Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

I just had to restart xmms (aka my mp3 player), which meant that it went back to the beginning of my play list and went to the first album in the mp3 directory. For most people, that’s probably AC/DC’s Back in Black, but for me, it’s an odd little album called …To the Power of Three, by a band called 3. They’re basically Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer, 2/3s of the prog-rock band ELP, with Robert Barrie singing. This is a 1988 attempt at a serious rock album, back on the tail end of when Yes actually got a lot of mainstream airplay and even time on MTV. (Anyone else remember the April Fool’s day when they played like 267 different versions of the video “Leave It”, with the band upside down and singing? Except they swapped out band members for roadies and office staff at the studio and whoever else for the different iterations, and even played some of the commercials upside-down to keep with the joke. I know only like three people found that truly hilarious, but I was one of them…)

Anyway, the 3 album is a pretty weak stab at world domination. It’s got a cover of “Eight Miles High”, and the whole thing is basically 37:38 of vintage cheesomatic synth and very cookiecutter drums. I think I borrowed the tape from my friend Derik Rinehart at the time, and I’m not sure if I ever returned it (my old car had holes in the floors, many tapes didn’t make it.) A couple of years later, I found a copy of the CD for 88 cents, and picked it up. It’s one of those albums that is definitely stuck in my head, that I listened to at the time and thought “wow, Emerson sure can fucking play! This MIDI shit is the wave of the future!” and then got sidetracked when like Primus came out or something.

It’s been a nice three-day weekend here. I woke up way too early on Friday and had a bug to rewrite the backend of the glossary. I have a lot of work done on it, but I got stuck on something and decided to take a quick break and work on other stuff. I’ve been messing with this bike too, although it’s been a total pain in the ass trying to scavenge parts off of the old bike. I should have just parked that piece of shit somewhere without a lock and bought a completely new bike instead of trying to build one. I realized it’s been almost 20 years since the last time I built a bike, and everything’s changed. Every piece requires a specialized tool. It used to be with a POS Huffy all you needed was a crescent wrench and maybe a screwdriver, but now it’s like working on the Space Shuttle. I stripped off and totally fucked the crank on the old bike, so I gave up and bought a new crank and bottom bracket on eBay. That’s another hundred bucks and week and a half of time, but at least I will get a nice one, and save more weight. I have a huge problem with the front headset, but I think I’m going to tap out on that too and just bring the thing to the shop and have them put on a new one. (Probably another hundred.) Those things used to screw on, but in order to save like a dollar a year, they moved to these threadless ones that have to be pressed on with a hundred dollar tool. Well, at least I’m going to lose a lot of weight with this new bike. Not from the exercise, but from not being able to afford food anymore.

More photos are online. I’m also in the process of setting up a section of free stuff where you can download any of my books for free. You pretty much can do that already, but I want to put some section that screams “FREE STUFF! TOTALLY FREE! (p.s. sign up for my mailing list.)”

Also, has anyone ever installed vinyl flooring? Like those stick-on, foot-square things? I want to redo my bathroom and maybe kitchen floor, which have ceramic tile, but the shittiest tile in the world, and I figured if I could buy a hundred bucks of the stuff and a box cutter and invest a Saturday in it, maybe this place would look less like a crack den or something. I just don’t know if this stuff will stick to tile OK or if it’s a bad solution for what I just described. I was actually at Bed Bath and Beyond, and they had a big rack of it and no sorts of samples or pamphlets, so I took out the camera and started snapping away, and two big security guards sprinted into the flooring section like I was about to shoot the president or something. And when I asked if they had any samples or pictures or whatever, and they were like “look at our web site.” Which is pretty stupid, because what’s the difference between me taking a digital picture of the tile by myself, or going to their site and downloading a picture? So I just go to their piece of shit web site, and I CAN’T FIND THE TILE.

Oh yeah, and Best Buy was closed for Easter. I had to go buy DVDs and Barnes and Noble for like double the MSRP. I’m going to write them a pissy letter and complain that they don’t close for any of the Satanic holidays. Or at least a half day off for the Firestorm.