Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this for a few reasons, mostly because I still can’t wrap my head about it. Anyway, an old friend and former boss passed away suddenly on the 4th. We worked together at my old New York gig for years, and then back in 2010, he pulled me back in to work remotely at my current job, and was my boss there for five years. He was a super genius with a PhD in laser physics, an awesome developer, and the best boss imaginable. Coincidentally, we both grew up in Michiana, and had all the various regional eccentricities down pat. He was also a Rush-head, and the last time I talked to him was a brief text exchange right after Neil Peart died. The whole thing was out of nowhere, and he was a somewhat private guy online so I won’t go into any details, but this one really shook me.

This is really off-brand, but I’ve been on a Taco Bell boycott for almost five years. I know I joke about it constantly, but the last time I ate there was when I was at UNLV in the summer of 2015. No real political reason or anything, it’s just I was eating there too much, and it had become A Problem, and I had to force myself to stop. (And I should do this with all fast food, but that’s another topic.) Anyway, one of the thoughts that popped into my head when I heard the news above is about the time me and J. found out there was a Taco Bell at West 4th in Manhattan. There were no others around for miles; I think you had to drive into deep Queens or way the hell out in Jersey to find one. When we found this out, I took orders, hopped the F train, and came back with a big bag of tacos and burritos, and we reminisced about growing up on garbage food in the midwest. Anyway, when I heard the news Wednesday morning, I had to leave work and get my head together, and I ended up at Taco Bell in Walnut Creek, ordering my usual Mexican Pizza and nachos and thinking fondly about that episode probably eighteen years ago. A dumb tribute, I guess, but whatever.

The one good thing that came out of this is I talked to a lot of people in the last week I hadn’t heard from in over a dozen years. The bad news is that I’m still working on a code base that he wrote a huge percentage of, and every time I dig into it, I find some hilarious comment of his buried in the code, or in a JIRA ticket. I’m the last person from the original crew still working on this product, so that makes the whole situation bizarre. Anyway, it was good to talk to old friends and remember dumb stories that happened almost twenty years ago.

Other news – not much. I am taking another trip to Vegas in the first week of March. Once again, I found out I had a window to take a vacation either in a month, or wait for like six months and then watch that window close, so I had to book something right away. I looked at a few options, and thought about going to Phoenix for spring training, but things got stupid expensive fast, so that didn’t happen. Also thought about going to Colorado, but no baseball and it would probably be too cold. Indiana is not an option; it’s always super expensive to fly out there for some dumb reason. It would have been cheaper to fly to Hawaii, and there’s no chance of a freak snowstorm on Maui in March. So, Vegas it is.

I’m staying at Vdara this time, the all-suite tower of the Aria, sort of next to and behind the Bellagio. I booked through Southwest, and things were really cheap that week. I know the resort fee scam, but even with that factored in, it was pretty damn inexpensive to get a room with a kitchen in it. A car was also cheap, so I’ll probably be driving in the desert and posting from half-dead malls that have air conditioning.

Actually, I have no idea what I’m doing, though. It’s an odd time to visit, with a lot of shows dark (no Penn and Teller) and no minor-league baseball that early. There’s hockey, but I don’t understand hockey at all. I went to an AHL game once in Milwaukee and was thoroughly confused and could not keep up. It’s like basketball, but at least I can see an orange ball getting thrown back and forth. Also, it feels like I just was in Vegas, and burned through all the stuff I would want to do. So I need to do some research, but I’ve been too busy to get into it.

I’d post about this on Facebook and ask about what to do, but I’m 100% sure I’d get a bunch of stupid fucking replies. Every time I post anything on Facebook, the reply section turns into a stupid open mic discussion group for people who don’t get the fucking joke in the first place. I’m absolutely certain that when I finally do get cancer and post about it, the post is going to get 137 fucking Family Guy memes posted on it or something. I really need to delete my Facebook account and get it over with, but it’s the only place I sell books. Not that I sell any books at this point.

I still have a book out. Just a reminder.


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