Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

The joy of overwhelming rainstorms

One thing neat to me about Denver is we get these absolutely killer thunderstorms. I am not sure if it’s the altitude, the lack of humidity, or the rapid temp changes, but sometimes you get these wicked bursts where you swear someone is standing outside your window with a strobe gun. And to watch it at night is absolutely amazing, the way the bolts of lightning jump from the horizon and arc up to the dark clouds. We never had weather like this in Seattle, because the mountain ranges broke it up. New York sometimes had some dramatic storms, but when you’re in a brick shithouse apartment and your only view is your neighbor’s brick shithouse, it’s not as dramatic as having a full horizon view. I guess if you lucked out and were high up in a tall building, it would look cool with the lightning and the city below you, though. Probably the last place I had really good t-storms was in Bloomington.

And that reminds me of… Summer Rain. And it’s 15 years since that summer happened, which is a huge mindfuck for me, because so much of it feels like yesterday. And so much of it seems three universes ago, too. Of the many things that I recall from then, one of the strongest memories is watching these absolutely overwhelming rainstorms. There’s a scene in the book, which I probably don’t do justice to the environment, but I’m stuck at the north entrance of the IMU, and it’s pouring inches and inches of rain, to the point where the sound is overwhelming, like hearing a frying pan full of hot oil gurgle and explode at full tilt. And when a lightning strike hit, the darkness outside would suddenly get this brighter-than-day flashbulb for a split-second, and you’d see everything outside again like it was high noon. And every night I had a show at WQAX, it poured rain. If I did two shows a week, it would rain Tuesday and Thursday. If I subbed for someone on a Saturday, it poured. If I couldn’t make a show, no rain. That’s where the book title comes from.

And it’s also weird that it’s been 20 years since the summer when I got my driver’s license. I’ve gone on about this too much, the job at Taco Bell, my first CD player, my first car. It’s always weird to have a nice even number slapped on it. I mean, saying “I’ve been driving for 17 months and 12 days” is nothing like “I’ve been driving for 20 years”. And that’s a million worlds away – I’m 20 years and 1100 miles from there, and every old yuppie neighborhood is now a Mexican neighborhood, and one mall is dead and the other is dying, and my old Taco Bell is now a Mexican insurance agancy. But if I go to the Taco Bell on Colfax and order a Mexican pizza and a nachos with a Mountain Dew, it’s like a time machine back.


Vs. Brewers tonight at 7:05, if it doesn’t rain. And again Weds. at 1:05. Cubs on Thu, Sat, and Sun. I am not a huge fan of the Lou or anything; it just randomly ended up that way. BTW I got the 2K7 baseball game for Playstation 3, and man I have no hand-eye coordination whatsoever. It uses every button on the controller in 7 different ways, plus joystick motion. I was damn surprised when I was able to actually pull off the simplest of single plays, and I think I got a batter to make ball contact maybe three times. The neat thing about this is it has a manager mode, where you pick your franchise, draft or boot players according to budget, set ticket prices, move people up/down from minors, all of this. Then you go through the entire schedule and play a season (or a season with less games) and for each game, you pick starting pitcher, lineup, etc. Then you can either sim the game (have the computer zap through and tell you who won/lost/etc) or you can manually play it, where you’re the pitcher or batters. Or you can just manage the game, where you go through pitch-for-pitch and say what you want the batter or pitcher to do. It’s fairly fast, and you can get through a nine-inning game in like five minutes.

Anyway, like an idiot, I picked the Rockies as my franchise, and I finished a season at like .228 or something horrific. A couple of things worked OK – I traded Todd Helton for like 65 other players, and got Kenny Rogers to pitch, which is a good fit for the starter-deficient Rockies. Since everything is pegged at the pre-2007 stats though, none of the real shining stars of the team are there. Matsui is in the minors, and if you bring him up, he’s not a great hitter. You have Kim pitching, and he has like a three-digit ERA, and absolutely nobody will take him in a trade. I tried to give him away and I couldn’t. So yeah. I only have two complaints about the game. One is, I wish after you simmed or managed a game, there was a way to watch highlights ESPN-style or something, or even sit through and watch all 9 innings in the real, 3-d stadium view mode. The other complaint is I don’t have the time to fuck with this shit. I should put the game away until after the Rockies don’t make the playoffs and it’s snowing outside, then I will manage like the next ten seasons.

Man I’ve wasted too much of my abbreviated day on this – I need to start writing.