Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

2010, we hardly knew ye

2010 has come to a close, and I am getting a slow trickle of end-of-year letters and holiday cards in the old fashioned paper format, both things I always wish I would do, except I think about them roughly two days before xmas and all of my postal addresses are years out of date and in sorry shape.  Maybe I should put a reminder in iCal around mid-July that says something about thinking about this.  Another option is not giving a shit, which is more appealing.

But here I am, and here’s a year in summary for those who were not paying attention:

  • January brought about another trip to Vegas, my tenth trip there for my birthday.  I brought along my brand new DSLR, which I still know next to nothing about.  Highlights of the trip include paying for a dinner that cost roughly as much as my first four cars combined (although admittedly I used to drive some pretty shitty cars) and seeing Marc get so drunk that he sang “Turbo Lover” with great enthusiasm.  Photos of the trip, whittled down to a mere 100 photos (I took 49,324) is on flickr.
  • In February, I quit my job at the Korean status report company that happens to also make mobile phones.  During my tenure, I did all of the things a high-priced technical writer is most adept at doing, such as working at trade shows answering questions about said company’s televisions and washing machines, maintaining a bug database that was hardly used because the company preferred to use ten-meg excel spreadsheets mailed to the entire division to keep track of bugs, and daily maintenance of a farm of cell phones that nobody used that required battery-out reboots.  You can read more about my departure at Three stars in the sunset.
  • I published the 13th and probably final issue of Air in the Paragraph Line, which included two of my short stories, and lots of other great stuff by John Sheppard, Timothy Gager, Hassan Riaz, and a dozen or so others.  Check it out in paperback on Amazon – only $9.95 for 240 pages of excellent reading.  Or if you’re a Kindle person, it’s only $1.99 for the e-book version, which is a steal.
  • I got a tech writing job at a company nobody has heard of, which sells a pricing software solution that I could explain in maybe four hours with a whiteboard and a lot of markers, provided you have at least a minor in economics.  The good news is that I got on a team with three other writers and two more open positions (I have been working solo forever), met some good folks, and got to work in Java again.  The bad news is that when you have a product that only a couple of dozen companies use, you tend to do stuff like make the interface only work in IE6 and have a configuration situation that’s roughly as intuitive as being given nothing but air, earth, fire, and water and having to build a B-2 stealth bomber.  But the pay was good and the Cokes were free, so I planned to hang out there a bit and slog away at 600-page config guides.
  • After roughly six months at the new job, I got a call from my old boss at my job in New York where I worked from 2001-2007.  They offered to let me work at home doing what I did back then, and I accepted, bringing the job total for 2010 up to three.  The new job has been a great situation, albeit a bit weird to be back editing things I wrote years ago.  It’s great to be back with the band after so many years apart, but of course the best part is I no longer spend two to three hours a day in my Toyota stuck on traffic on the I-880.
  • We bought another house, the unit four doors down from our previous one, to have more space and to give me a home office.  It’s roughly twice as big as the old place, and after a few months of insanely high stress, it’s a pretty decent situation.
  • My seasonal allergy situation got progressively worse, and I went on a whole armada of pills, sprays, and inhalers to combat it.  I briefly tried acupuncture, which I found to be a crock of shit.  I then got allergy tested and started allergy injections, so we’ll see how that goes in a few months when I get up to maintenance levels.
  • We went to Denver in August to see the Rockies.  I spent more money than I have ever spent for a pair of seats right behind home plate, and of course they lost that game.  But we had a good time, and I shot roughly 847,231 photos.  I also found out Prince Fielder does not like being called Cecil, especially when he is at bat.  There’s some non-baseball pics of Denver here, along with the Coors Field tour, and the first and second game against the Brewers.
  • I saw a total of six baseball games this summer: Rockies @ Giants twice, Brewers @ Rockies twice; Cardinals @ Giants, and Rangers @ A’s.  Photos of a lot of those are here.
  • I got a new MacBook Pro, the highest-spec’ed i7 15″ model, the day the new rev came out.  It is a sweet piece of machinery and I love everything about it, except the fact that it has not made me write more or better.
  • I also got an iPad in October.  The world is divided into two types of people: those who have no idea who the hell would ever want an iPad, and those who realize that they will forever change the way you use a computer.
  • I went back to New York for the first time since leaving in 2007.  They’ve cleaned the subways since I left.  Once.  See also this and this for the full report.
  • I guess I read a lot over the year, but a good chunk of that was re-reading.  Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City was probably one of the more enjoyable books I read in 2010; Jerry Stahl’s Pain Killers was also a good read.  I also, thanks to the Kindle, got through a big chunk of Philip K. Dick’s older works, with Ubik being a great work and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch completely blowing my mind.
  • I’ve realized I had all but given up on being timely or in style with music, and I probably listened to mostly crap I’ve had for twenty years.  I think the new 2010 album I enjoyed the most in 2010 was A Star-Crossed Wasteland by In This Moment, although I am the only person in the world who liked their previous album better, but you can’t argue anything with a metal fan, which is why I have given up on ever reviewing albums.  The new Devo was okay, and BT released eleventy billion remixed tracks, which were decent but nowhere near This Binary Universe, which still probably remains, to me, as one of the best albums ever recorded.
  • I have big plans for 2011, and none of them involve writing more dumb bulleted lists, so I hope this gets it all out of my system.