Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Day 768

I think it’s actually like day 223 or something, I don’t know. I have lost track.

768 and 863 are magic numbers to me. I think I explained this before a long time ago, probably in the now-dead glossary. When I worked at Montgomery Ward in high school, I sold paint. Wards actually had really good house paint, probably the best retail paint you could buy. They did not white-label their paint; they owned a company called Standard T Chemical, which may have been from the days when Mobil Oil owned Wards. I once tried painting a black shelf with a single coat of white paint, no primer, and it covered it with no second coat. Anyway, Wards paint came in two lines: a ten-year and a fifteen-year. They were available in 768 and 863 custom colors. I can’t remember my own phone number, but those two numbers are burned into my brain forever.

I just realized – they stopped selling paint in maybe 1999 or so, and the warranty on the 15-year is long over, not that it would do any good to show up at the headquarters of the company that bought and revived Wards as a cheap Skymall-type catalog company and insist on some replacement paint.

Life lately has been more of the same, work disasters I won’t get into, and inadvertently obsessing over politics, which I really don’t want to do. All I know is that I won’t be going back to Indiana any time soon, at least until there is a COVID vaccine and a majority of people have taken it. I honestly don’t know the holiday plan right now, but it’s not something I’m terribly enthusiastic about right now.

Sarah is in Davis for the week – rented a house and is hanging out with her nephews and sister there. It is profoundly weird to have the house to myself. I ordered a pizza and watched the new Borat (a few lols there, but mostly eh) and I’m in bachelor mode for the week. I should be writing, but that never seems to work out. When I have the place to myself, or when I have the week off, I always end up writing less than normal. No idea why. I need a routine, I guess.

Paragraph Line has two books out: John Sheppard’s latest, and a new one from Keith Buckley. It’s been a while since we’ve worked with a writer other than me or John, but Keith’s a long-time friend from Bloomington, and his book is great. The only bummer is I’m not about to push something out the door myself. I’ve been struggling with a big book all year, hoping to get it out by December, and it’s not going to make it. Maybe I can scrape together another collection before then. We’ll see.

After a few false starts, we have a day of fall. (Forgot to knock wood – looks like it’s in the low 70s next week.) I’ve still been in heavy nostalgia mode, which is problematic. The cool weather reminds me of Bloomington in October, and that’s a whole k-hole for me to fall down. When I had all of the Comcast madness a bit ago, I had to unload and move a large storage shelf in my office so they could get to the network box, and I accidentally cracked open the box of journals and started reading. Never good. The nice round number of the year 2000 isn’t a good place to jump into, at least when I’m trying to do other writing.

Got a new Apple Watch for my anniversary, and burned about a day doing the upgrade cycle for that – had to upgrade the phone three times, the watch twice, etc. I now have an EKG and a pulse-ox monitor, so I know I’m not dying of an undiagnosed heart or lung disorder, so I’ve got that going for me. I also got a new Apple TV as a work anniversary gift, and that was easy to set up, but like the last ATV, it’s not an earth-shattering piece of gear. I guess it has Siri now. And apps, not that I can think of any apps I need on the TV at the moment.

I still have no idea what to do with this 2017 MacBook Pro with the busted battery. I sort of forgot all about it, in the mad rush of a million other things going on. It still has AppleCare until December. I was going to just mail it to Apple, but when I chatted with them about opening a ticket, they said I can’t mail in a laptop with a defective battery, because it’ll bust open and light a FedEx plane on fire ala ValuJet 592. And I can’t get an appointment at an Apple Store to drop it off. They suggested going to the store right before it opened and begging for mercy. It’s not time-sensitive, other than the December deadline.

I just realized the other day that I have taken almost no photos this year. I usually shoot maybe 2500 photos a year, and right now, I’m at 934. I haven’t had any of my real cameras out since the Vegas trip, and I didn’t take that many pictures when I was there, either. Either I need to take up food photography (and gain another twenty pounds) or I’m going to have to take some serious trips after this is over.

Speaking of writing, I need to get back to that.


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