Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Goodbye 2005

Okay, it looks like the annual archive-last-year-and-start anew journal maintenance worked, and I’m ready to start 2006. Because I cobbled together this system back in 1997 and slowly added new features to it over the years, I can never remember exactly how to do this big shift at the end of the year, and every year I swear I will rewrite the whole thing to make it easier, but I never do. Maybe before 2007.

We had a pretty quiet but nice new year. We went to Balthazar for an early dinner, and that was pretty damn good. Actually, the problem there is that the same owner or restaurant umbrella or whatever also runs a bar called Schiller’s in our neighborhood, and they have a decent bar food menu with some similar entrees, and they deliver. We’re pretty much on a first-name basis with their delivery guy because they’re now the default delivery choice, and having their entrees constantly sort of ruins going to the restaurant and ordering them. But it was neat to see everything in full swing for the big night. We got out of there by like seven though, and went home to lay in diabetic coma after the big meal and watch TV. Nothing exciting, but it was nice.

In conversation, Sarah asked me what I did last year, and I couldn’t even remember. I probably watched Platoon for the 8000th time and contemplated rigging up tripwires and punji sticks to take out my neighbors. I haven’t done anything for the new year in a while. I know everyone thinks that all New Yorkers stand in Times Square, but I haven’t done that and probably never will, since even if the weather is ultra-nice on the 29th and 30th, it always turns horrible on the day of the 31st and dips below freezing, as if someone out there knows there will be tens of thousands of people standing out there waiting to get frostbite. The flipside of this is that every bar and restaurant in the city suddenly adds an extra zero or two to their rates, and you end up spending a grand to sit in a greasy spoon with a thimble of champagne bought at CostCo, getting loaded with a bunch of strangers. So I’ve always avoided leaving the house.

I think the last time I actually threw a party was when I lived with Simms and Liggett in Bloomington at West Sixth. That was in 94/95, and we had a huge bottle rocket war outside, lots of Simms’ chili, a keg in the kitchen, a ton of people, and Chuck’s nephew Eric made this fortified distilled champagne that was like rocket fuel and gave me a hangover for like a week. But without the huge college house and a bunch of roommates and ultra-cheap Big Red Liquors right down the road, it’s hard to throw a big bash like that. And the whole “too old” thing comes into play, especially since I don’t drink anymore, and it actually took some effort to stay up till midnight last night.

I considered typing up some huge year-in-review meme and decided not to. I really don’t give a shit about what happened this year outside my life, and it seems like most preassembled sets of questions seem to require me giving a shit about the hurricanes or Tom Delay or whatever else, and I honestly don’t. I had a good year in the sense that I met Sarah, and moved out of Astoria, and finally got out of the country on vacation (Canada doesn’t count). I got to Hawaii again, and I got some new states checked off of my list (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island.) I got the next issue of the zine out, which was good. Nobody bought it, which isn’t.

I really don’t feel like I got much done as far as writing this last year. I barely wrote in here (50,000 words compared to 2004’s 80,000), and a lot of that has to do with my own neuroses about what a blog should be and what I should put out there for people to read and all of that shit. Part of it is also just apathy. I didn’t write much in my paper journal, either. And other than the production of the zine, I didn’t really get any work done on any large projects. I think I cycled between six and eight ideas, all somewhat bad, and did little work in any of them. I don’t set new year resolutions, but if I did, it would be to get my shit straight on all of that, pick a project, and get some work done on it. I don’t even give a shit about the whole selling and finding a market and all of the other stuff that other so-called authors get stuck on. I just want to find a project and WRITE and get words on paper and come up with something that rivals the other two books in length, depth, complexity, etc. I have a bunch of ideas for scraping together various crap and stories and journals and photos and putting them into books that nobody will buy, but I’m so tired of the fact that all of those are the equivalent to “greatest hits” packages, and I need to move on to something new.

Add to that the usual resolutions, like getting in shape, paying off debt, etc. I also want to focus a lot more on completely ignoring politics, which will be important with the elections in the coming year. I’m also trying to read more this year, and maybe I should help enforce that by writing more book reviews and stuff. I have a huge stack of books from Christmas that I need to get through, so that should keep me busy.

We have a nice, three-day weekend, so today’s a day for lounging around. We also got started with zipcar, and tomorrow we are taking the afternoon to drive to New Jersey and go to the mall and to Target and just to get the hell out of the city for a day. I know there’s a common perception that Jersey is horrible, but after being cooped up on this little island for the last month or two, going out there is like panacea. So, happy new year and all of that stuff. I’m going to go read for a while.