Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

New York at its finest

I think the best way I could describe outside right now is “fucked.” It’s 30 and raining, basically, which means sort of snow but sort of not, very dark out, and the ground resembles a spilled Slurpee, but everywhere and not Coke-flavored. The intersection outside of my office is being devastated by a crew of phone company people. They’re jackhammering and scraping out a trench in the middle of the intersection, and it’s filling up with this slush, and traffic in every direction is fucked. The jackhammering and pounding sounds like the block is being shelled. A Verizon truck hit a guy in the face with their rear-view mirror in front of the Wendy’s, so there’s an ambulance blocking even more traffic as he holds a dozen yellow and crimson Wendy’s paper napkins to his face to stop the bleeding. A dozen people try to watch what’s happening, but everyone else pushes past them to go inside and get their Chicken Strips Tenders meals and Biggie sized fries.

This is New York at its finest. Every time someone tells me “I think it would be so neat to move to New York!” I want to make them endure an hour of this, and then send them back to Iowa or whatever.

As an experiment, I came to work without a cane today. Probably not the best day to do it, but it’s been working out okay. Of course, in about five hours, I will be screaming bloody murder about this brace on my leg, which usually starts constricting me too much after about eight hours. I have been able to find Vault everywhere, luckily, but I have been drinking so much of it that I think the caffeine is freaking me out. I drank 4x20oz bottles yesterday, plus a regular Coke, which is about a months’ worth of caffeine. I should stop that. I’m drinking a Dr. Pepper now, which is my favorite occasional drink. A strange thing is that maybe six years ago, I was taking some medicine for panic attacks, and I only took it for like a week, because it made me really sick to my stomach. But for some reason, it totally fucked up my sense of taste or smell for Dr. Pepper, maybe something about the vanilla taste in it. And I couldn’t even walk by a thing of Dr. Pepper in a grocery store without retching. I stopped taking the medicine, and then I was fine. It was pretty weird. I’m wondering why one of Dr. P’s competitors haven’t isolated this drug and put it in their drinks as a way to cut out the competition.

Lots of things are going on, and it will be very busy for a few days. It was Sarah’s birthday on Monday, which went well. And then her mom is coming in tonight for a long weekend. We are having an Oscars party on Sunday, and I don’t even know what is involved in that as far as planning or whatever, but I’m assuming it is taken care of. We’re also going upstate to Guy and Scott’s place on Saturday, which should be fun, but that’s just for a day. And add in a bunch of other dinners and seeing friends and soforth.

On top of that, we are catsitting for a friend and have her two cats for a week, because her place is being exterminated. The cats are mostly hiding right now. One is extremely skittish and we will probably not even see her for the week, unless treats are involved. The other one is a little more playful and okay with humans, and she was running around a bit. I’m still not sleeping through the night and wake up every few hours, and it was funny to wake up at like 4:30 and see both of them tearing around the house and playing.

I’ve been vaguely thinking about changes to this page, because I’ve been reading a lot of web design propaganda lately. I’m trying to think of some CSS changes to make to the site, which is not a big deal. The one thing I wish I could easily hook up are buttons for Back and Next at the bottom of each entry. There’s no easy way for me to do this. (Yes, I could hard-code the links in each time I update, but life is too short.) I wanted to do some PHP trickery in which each time a page is drawn, it takes a peek at the directory of HTML, and gets the two entries before and after the current one. The problem is knowing in the script what is “the current one,” because each of these pages imports headers and footers and there are symlinks and all other sorts of things that make the usual way of determining the current page to totally fuck up. I think I could do it if I passed the PHP the page’s ID, like I do with haloscan comments. But then I’d have to go back and edit all of my old pages, which might be a huge pain in the ass. I’ll probably do the CSS first.

Google ads are gone. Not really worth it for this kind of site. I think I made less than a dollar a month, and given that I make about a dollar a minute at my day job, it’s hard to get excited about that.

I have been doing a ton of reading, and at some point, you will get to read another huge list of what I’ve been consuming. But now, lunch is over.