Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


  • I had an awful WordPerfect 5.1 flashback, just for a second. I was trying to explain some HTML formatting in an email, and my mind flipped back to the days of helping some old guy in the library un-fuck his endless maze of bold and italic codes in a blue-screened document. It almost made me want to get a copy of DOSbox and a pirated image of the install disks and try to run it. Almost.
  • I have been trying to walk every day for the last few months. I use a Fitbit to track my steps, and try to get 10,000 steps a day. But I usually walk right after writing, at like 5:00, and now it’s getting darker earlier, and I am not sure what I will do about that. Also, at the end of the month, DST happens, and it will be dark at 5:00, and I will be screwed. Or maybe I get a little headlamp. And body armor.
  • I listen to podcasts while walking, but I’ve been getting frustrated with it, mostly because when I listen to comedian podcasts (Maron, Rogan, etc) it makes me compare my career (or lack thereof) to theirs, or wonder why I’m not doing something more, or wish I was writing for TV when I was 27, or whatever. I know that’s stupid, but I always have a major depression after finishing a book, until I talk myself down and ignore everything and get another project going, and that’s definitely the case right now.
  • I became briefly obsessed with the Atari 520 ST yesterday, which is stupid. I find the Amiga/Atari rivalry fascinating in retrospect. I wanted an Amiga something horrible around 1990, and was saving pennies to get an A500, which was mostly obsolete at that point, but the idea of any other computer was so out of reach then, because a typical PC cost about two grand, but Monkey Ward sold the A500 for $500.
  • I had to use the 520 ST the next year, when I took C335, which was the assemblers/machine language class. We booted off a floppy, straight into something called the Gulam shell, instead of using the GEM windows environment. (This always reminded me of goulash.) The course was tough, but the computers were worse. You were dealing with a straight-up Motorola 68000 CPU, which was wonderful for ML programming. But the machines were pieces of shit, horribly obsolete. Every time you saved to floppy, you crossed your fingers and held your breath and prayed to ten different gods that the damn thing would work, and 30% of the time, it didn’t. I read that the typical Atari ST maintenance procedure was to drop the machine and reseat the chips, which explains why they magically started working when we’d beat the hell out of the machine at 3AM because code written on one computer wouldn’t compile on the one next to it.
  • I started reading Blood Meridian last night, which has been enjoyable so far, not for the story, but for the craft. It’s difficult to read, but wonderful. And it’s frustrating, because I wish I could write ten percent as good as him.
  • I keep reading blog posts about how RSS is dead and not needed, and it makes me sad, because I wish everything and everyone used RSS. The big argument against it is “well, people use twitter” which makes no sense to me. I do have a plugin that tweets my posts, but I want a simple way to read all the posts I have not read on a blog, and keep track of it. Sorry if this sounds too Andy Rooney, but I love RSS.
  • Fuck Goodreads for not keeping my bulleted lists from my RSS when these blog posts show up there. I’d complain, but I don’t even know how.
  • I ate four fake chicken sliders and I think I need to go to bed or get my stomach pumped, maybe both.