Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Listicles Are A Window Into The Soul

I am stuck in that “what do I post here” mode lately, so it’s time for another big long list of random stuff.

  • I’ve been re-reading Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs, a book I think I haven’t read since 1995.  It has not aged well, for two reasons.  One is that the technology is obviously obsolete.  It talks about using a modem to dial into the Information Superhighway; the main character calls a travel agent to buy a plane ticket; people still use fax machines; Microsoft releases products people buy.  The other is that in 1993, a peek into the working day at Microsoft was revolutionary to straight America.  Now, every company from here to Kansas has tried to replicate their corporate culture, so much so that it’s incredibly cliche to have free soft drinks and ask interview candidates why manhole covers are round.  It’s still an okay read though, although it’s more of a glimpse into the distant past for me.
  • Two new donor Commodore 64s arrived via UPS today.  Both are missing a couple of keys; one is missing a couple of chips.  I plan on building a computer inside of a C-64 case, ala the x64, but for several hundred dollars less.
  • Allergy season is full tilt right now, and I’m contemplating a move to northern Alaska.  It’s been almost two years of allergy shots with very little improvement, plus my allergy clinic is dropping my insurance this fall, so I’ll need to find a new one.  I don’t know if switching doctors and trying something more drastic will help.  I’ve already tried OTC meds, prescription eye drops, nasal spray, inhalers, and pills, acupuncture, and allergy shots.  I’m thinking if there’s a stem cell therapy treatment, I’d be willing to sink five or ten grand into trying it.
  • I have not been watching baseball this year.  The Rockies have something like a dozen position players on the DL right now.  I heard the other night, one of their backup infielders went on the disabled list because of an infection he got from his watch.
  • I haven’t been writing much since the last book came out.  This is always the most depressing time for me, and it takes a lot of effort to get a good idea percolating, which is where I’m at.
  • I helped my brother-in-law buy a new TV the other day, and we went to Best Buy to look at their selection.  That place is seriously circling the drain.  There was almost nobody there on a Sunday afternoon, and their TV selection was worse than what they had at Target.  They were also fiercely pushing their “TV calibration” service, which as far as I could tell, involved paying hundreds of dollars to have a high-school dropout set the brightness and contrast on your new set.  Do people seriously pay for this?
  • I went through all of my old books and pulled all of the bookmarks out of them.  I usually use business cards, but I extricated this stack of store bookmarks (Elliott Bay, Morgensterns, Title Wave in Anchorage, Coliseum) and a bunch of receipts and bank slips, some of which were humorous.  Like I found a grocery receipt from Mr. D’s groceries in Bloomington from 1994 that was nothing but candy bars, TV dinners, and beer.
  • I have somehow become addicted to the show Friday Night Lights.  These things would not happen if it were not for Netflix streaming.
  • I am trying to avoid Benadryl, because it messes with my sleep schedule too much.  I don’t dream correctly when I take it, and then I’m hung over the next day.  I’m taking Allegra instead, although it doesn’t knock it out as well.

OK, that’s all for now.


3 responses to “Listicles Are A Window Into The Soul”

  1. Did your b-in-law actually get a TV from Best Buy, or did you guys wise up and go elsewhere?
    It's actually kinda difficult to find a good selection of TVs in stock anywhere.

    1. jkonrath Avatar

      We started at Costco, then went to Best Buy and Target to compare prices. Target had about the same selection as Costco, but maybe $20-$30 more, and almost nothing in stock. We were looking for like a 40" set, and Best Buy had a weird void in that class – everything was either a tiny 19" TV you'd put in your bathroom, or a 50"+ TV with all of that "smart TV" bullshit and 3D technology that will all be obsolete in six months and require you to spend another four grand on a different TV. (I have nothing against all of that streaming shit, but get a $50 outboard box like a Roku that you can throw in the garbage and replace in a year when the new one comes out.)

      We ended up getting a Sony Brevia (sp?) at Costco. In addition to being $30 cheaper, he gets something like 3% back because he had their amex card. Plus we could also get baby formula and a case of beer. (Neither for me.)

  2. I usually put the receipt in the book as a book mark. It's not a fool proof system, as I usually buy more than one book. That habit has been decreasing (both bookmarking and book buying) since I married a librarian. She can even pick better books for me than I pick for myself.