Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

  • Steamshoveling into a basement

    I can’t wait to get all of my journals into HTML, so I can change the font so they all look like Motorhead album covers.

    Last night, I taped about an hour of my rambling about Summer Rain. I set up the camera and taped it on the VCR using a VHS tape running on the slow speed. I don’t care about the picture too much, I just needed the audio. So this way, I can put 6 hours of discussion on each tape. And after an hour, I realized it will take a lot of fucking discussion to get this thing rolling. I am hoping that by the end of May, I will have enough notes to start an outline and a completely new draft of the book.

    I brought Bill home last night and hung out at his place a bit, caught up with Jen and saw Liam. He was running all over, and talking about steamshovels. I guess he read this book, which I sort of remember from my childhood, about this steamshovel that digs this basement for a building and gets stuck at the bottom, so he becomes a furnace. Oddly enough, I had a dream last night where Liam kept saying “Boba Fett” over and over.

    I started re-reading this Rupert Thomas book, to get an idea of what I want to do with SR. There are a lot of fine details about his writing that make it memorable. I think it’s because he never directly builds up his characters – they are built through strong incidentals. Instead of saying his characters’ age or height or looks, he’ll talk about the cigarette they smoke or their mannerisms in such a way that you build up the character based on your expectations of a person that would drink that kind of drink or whatever. And the characters really build in your head, come back to haunt you long after you set down the book. I like that.

    I’m hoping to re-read about 5-10 books that contain pieces of SR that I like, and take a lot of notes on them. I also hope to collect together a bunch of music that will help me to write. I want to make tapes containing songs that I listened to in those periods, or songs that remind me of then. That’ll help me write a bit more. It’s too easy to listen to music that distracts me, or puts me to sleep.


  • Heavy metal \647

    More Motorhead today. I wish I could put the little umlaut above the o – there’s got to be some way to do it, but it will end up being a \647 in most people’s browsers or something. Motorhead, new leather jacket, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing at work. I should go out and steal a Harley.

    I had a very intense dream where I was playing with a cigarette lighter for a long time and I couldn’t get it to spark or light. I messed with it for a long time, got it to strike, and started lighting stuff on this kitchen table, sort of as a joke. There was a piece of wood, or a box, or something, and it was burning with an immense but slowly wisping flame, like a scene from Backdraft. I tried to stomp it out, and freaked out because no amount of suffocation would stop the fire – it spread and hovered with a lazy precision over the surface of the whole table, and later the floor. I was screaming and trying to beat out the flames when I pulled myself from the ether and back to the real world. But when I woke up, I could only see in black and white, almost a posterized image. I looked at my window and miniblinds for several minutes, and couldn’t see any hues at all. I got my glasses, and started looking at other things in the room, and my color vision was fine.

    I’ve begun reading these 20 year old encyclopedias (encyclpediii?) of mine, as leisure reading. It’s interesting to grab one and randomly browse through the pages, reading about countries you’ve never heard of. Most reference materials contain a certain political bias, but they also have so much useless demographical or technical data, that they’re better for me. I mean, you can’t find out about the Bahamas from travel agents or web sites or the media, because you’ll get this totally sterilized, promotionalized version of the story, wereas an encyclopedia will tell you the number of acres and average rainfall and chief economy and other items with relational values. Grated, they are all fucked up because this book came out in like 1973 or something, but ancient history doesn’t change too much. I mean, in recent years people might say that Abraham Lincoln fucked slaves or was a homo or smoked dope, but at least I can look up when he was born and died, and that hasn’t changed too much.

    On a logistical note, I started the first step of shifting everything around and getting it ready for html. I will eventually have a batch program that converts these text files to html. I don’t know entirely how I will do it – something with replacing blank lines and tabs, and slapping on a predefined head and tail, like I do with the index. We’ll see.

    I subscribed and then unsubscribed from the Diary-L mailing list. It seemed like a bunch of chattiness and no real talk about the mechanics of journals. Just the “what time of day do you write?” sort of stuff. Who cares.


  • Changing of the leather jacket guard

    It’s another Motorhead day – I picked up a copy of Overkill last night and I’ve already listened to it 3 times today. I also bought an Enigma CD, which must’ve looked weird to the guy at the counter.

    So in listening to Lemmy and reading about Burroughs, I wonder why my life is so boring and what I can do to fuck it up more. Most people feel the same feeling, but it’s from a Green Day record or something, so they go out and dye their hair or pierce something or tear up a pair of jeans, but those aren’t acceptable “nonconformist” things for me to do for the sake of adventure or deviance. I think about stuff like writing a completely fucked up story, one where even my friend Ray just spits Pepsi out of his nose while reading it and says “that IS fucked up”.

    Like I said, I have been reading a lot about Burroughs in this book – I forget who wrote it – about his years in New York in “The Bunker”, which was a fucking huge 3 room flat in the Bowery that had no windows and used to be a YMCA’s locker room. The book is a series of interviews, of Burroughs talking to artists and musicians and writers in the NY scene where art was getting decadent, music was becoming punk, and writing was just freaking out.

    Simms called me last night at about 1am – I left him a message about my Disney trip, because we saw those audiotronic bears at Disney and they were singing “Riders on the Storm”, which is a Simms standard and made me think of all of the Simms standards so much that I had to break out a tape of the Surfing Richards the other day just to listen to some of it. Anyway, he told me about 20 times to go see Lost Highway, so I will have to check it out. Unfortunately, it is just a midnight movie on the weekend, so I don’t know when the fuck I’ll get in there. But it sounds abnormal enough to make me think about what I’m doing with the writing.

    I also told Simms about the Small World ride, where they played the song like 2000 times and you couldn’t get it out of your head for days. After we rode Small World, I could sing the first note of the song and Karena would get all freaked out and have flashbacks, as would just about everybody else who rode the damn thing, including the ones who didn’t even speak English. So I was singing other songs all day, and then I would change the words. Like, I’d start singing the Motorhead song “(We Are) the Roadcrew”except when I’d get to the chorus, I’d sing “We are the Small World”. I did that with about every song I could remember the words to, and sometimes I wish/I’m glad I don’t have a portable DAT.

    Two unrelated but related items:

    First, today is my ex-girlfriend’s birthday. I don’t remember how old she will be, 23 or 22 or something. 23. I didn’t write her, because I don’t know where she is. I just remembered her birthday.

    Second, I retired my leather jacket, and bought an identical one. Well, almost identical – it is from the same store, same model, but it has different stuff in the shell, feels lighter, cheaper. The leather doesn’t look as black and the belt buckle is crappier. But the smell – it reminds me of the day I bought the first jacket.

    I bought that first jacket in November, 1993, with my student loan check. I bought it because she left me – because I felt like I needed some other icon, some other protective force that defined what I was. It was like a bulletproof vest. It wore on me more perfectly than any other piece of clothing I had ever owned, borrowed, or rented. It became a trademark – the Konrath jacket. Along with the Konrath walkman, it went with me everywhere. It went to Canada twice, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, California, across the country, on every roadtrip, to work, classes, bars, parties, concerts, everywhere.

    Anyway, it feels weird to have a new old jacket. The cut is about the same, and at first glance it feels identical. But it isn’t the same old jacket, which makes me sad and wish it was 1993 again. But it SMELLS like the same old jacket did in 1993 – that new leather smell. It’s a brief time travel to the day when it all started. Almost…

  • I need a Bunker Era

    I’m listening to Motorhead’s fine album Ace of Spades right now – Dojo has re-released all of the old Motorhead albums, remastered with lots of bonus tracks and new liner notes – all at a cheaper price point of about $12 a CD. I’m going to try to buy up all of them that I can, a week at a time.

    Last night was pretty relaxing. Karena and I went to eat at Marie Callender’s (Collander’s? Collenaderes? whatever). She had to leave, which was a bummer, but I didn’t want her to get caught in some windstorm at 11 at night in the middle of nowhere or something. I read the rest of On the Road and then started reading this book about Burroughs and the Bunker era – when he lived in NYC from 1974-1981. It was a decent evening because I was able to just read, and the TV set didn’t come on all night. I need to do that more often, if I want to get back up to speed with writing.

    That’s my next big plan – I’ve been thinking I need to get off my ass and start writing again. I haven’t even been reading at all this year, and I haven’t really been seriously writing for a year. I have been editing, dicking around, cutting up, experimenting, and writing journals. But I haven’t really been filling empty pages since last April, when I finished the first draft of Rumored to Exist.

    So I need to read first. And I need to think more about what I’m going to write. Not just the subject matter, but what I’m really trying to accomplish with the writing. When I read On the Road this time, I tried to ignore the urge to think of it as just an autobiography and really start to look at what Kerouac did with the book – the voice he used and how he had an agenda beyond just telling the story of a generation or a period of time in his life or a friend. There’s an underlying force that pulls you through the book, because if you really look at the plotline, it isn’t like your typical movie that has the whole rise-fall rollercoaster of plot. There’s a more subtle force pulling you from page 1 to 254, and I need to figure out what it is. It was also the reason I read all of Infinite Jest without giving up. Sure, I wanted to find out what happened to the characters, but the hooks were different than those pulling you through a Sylvester Stallone movie or something.

    In thinking about all of it, I want to rewrite my book Summer Rain over the next few months, but I want to throw out everything I’ve written sofar. I want to start with the story in my head, take some notes, write a really heavy-duty outline, and start completely over. I have a lot of new ideas, and I think it’s time to throw away the old approach and start filling in the blank pages again. I’m going to start reading books that I think are similar to what I want to do, and start taking a lot of notes.

    Ray interviewed Jello Biafra last night, over the phone. I’ve listened to his double- and triple- albums full of politics and humor and anger and punkness so much over the last 10 years, that it would freak me out to talk to him in person. It would be like going to a Pizza Hut with James Earl Jones or walking in a mall with Cheech Marin and hearing him say “gimme a dollar Jon, I want to go buy an Orange Julius” or something. Jello has such a trademark voice that you’d expect him to say a line off of one of his albums, not something that had to do with you. I guess when he talked to Ray, he was really nice and told this story about one time when he visited Goshen, Indiana on a whim – Goshen is right next to Elkhart, where Ray currently lives, and Ray’s girlfriend lives in Goshen. Anyway, it was also freaky to think of Jello in a town where I once spent a summer working in a factory dropping plastic pipes into boxes.

    I got the address of one of the main characters fictionalized in my book Summer Rain. We sort of dated about 5 years ago, became just friends, and then she moved away like a year later. I don’t know what she’s been up to, and I have been always wanting to contact her, but couldn’t. Now that I have her address in my hands, I don’t know what to write her or tell her. It’s strange that the most significant females in my life are the ones I can’t find anymore. I guess the lukewarm relationships always end on good terms – the most passionate ones end with somebody moving across the country without a forwarding address.

    I accidentally ate some avacado, and now want to go eat a pound of cream cheese to get the taste out of my mouth. I don’t think the taste of it is that horrible, it is just that it looks exactly like guacomole.

  • A week in Hollywood (or Anaheim, anyway)

    I’m back. The trip was a lot of fun and an interesting change of scenery, but it was also a lot of work. I’m pretty beat from all of the marathon days of walking miles in the heat and standing in lines. On most days, the fun of the attactions made up for all of that, but on the days of flying, there was no fun, and the crying kids, illogical airports and LA freeways took their toll. But overall it was fun.

    It would be hard for me to write a detailed list of what I did over the last week, so I’ll summarize. On Tuesday, we flew from Seattle to John Wayne airport in Orange County, got a car, and drove to Anaheim to check in at the hotel. The LA highways massively suck, and it took me 2 hours to make the 40-some mile trip, mostly because I ended up driving in the wrong direction and there was absolutely no way for me to determine this because none of the highways tell you where you are going, they just tell you nice names of dead Spanish people, which might help you if you are writing a term paper on the Mexican revolution or something but doesn’t help at all when you’re trying to figure out where the fuck you are.

    On Wednesday, we went to the park from like 9 to 7, and rode every single ride there except for the really dumb kids rides in ToonTown. The Star Tours ride was cute, Space Mountain was sort of a bummer for me, Pirates was great, and we rode Thunder Mountain about 4 or 5 times that day. Thunder Mountain is not an incredible rollercoaster, but it is scary enough to keep infants and screaming kids off of it, and it is unpopular enough that it did not have huge lines like Indiana Jones or Space Mountain. We did ride Indiana Jones, and it was okay, but not worth a 6 hour wait. We also ate in the New Orleans quarter, and it was surprisingly cheap – less than $10 each for lunch. That night, we got in the car and drove south, hoping to find a Boston Market or IHOP or something that was not within walking distance of the park. I found an all-talk radio station and Ricky Rachtman was on with a call-in show. It was surprisingly good, considering the grudge I hold against the guy for his years as the host of Headbangers’ Ball on MTV. We didn’t find anything, and came back to Anaheim and walked to a Denny’s. Once again, prices were low – I got my usual of a grilled cheese and a bowl of soup, and we both ate for like 11 bucks. I wondered if the rumored inflation in California was just a matter of perspective, and things would cost about the same as Seattle. And except for tourist traps, I was mostly correct.

    Thursday was early admission day, and we got to the park at like 7:30. We couldn’t get on any good rides like the bobsleds or Thunder Mountain, and everyone was jacking up the lines on the stuff like Space Mountain, so we rode the dumb kiddie rides before the dumb kiddies woke up. I camcordered stuff like the flying Dumbo and the Teacups. We rode a bunch of stuff over again, and checked out smaller stuff like the Disney Gallery, which had some cool models they used to build the park. We left the park to rest a bit and eat some lunch, and went to a McDonald’s which, once again, was only pennies more than the one here in Seattle.

    Speaking of lunch, I need to go eat some now. So, more in a bit…

    Karena’s staying at my house today while I’m at work – it was nice to come home and eat lunch with her there. But I was in the middle of a story, so I should finish my trip summary here.

    Okay, Thursday we stayed until the park closed, and then ate somewhere close to the hotel. I remember we ate at IHOP twice and Denny’s once, but I don’t remember which nights. There was a row of restaurants in Anaheim, and the selection wasn’t too terrible, but the places were packed whenever we got there, which generally made service below par. Both Dennys and IHOP were open late enough so we could get in there when nobody else was around, though, and the servers were pretty nice.

    Friday, we decided to change plans a bit and take a day at Six Flags. The drive north through LA was not too bad, and we even got to listen to a bit of Howard Stern on the way up. The park was crowded, but I managed to get to 8 coasters and a sit-down lunch of pizza in 6 hours. We rode on some Colorado water raft ride, and I thought we wouldn’t get too wet – I practically got immersed in the water and my clothes were wet from head to toe for the rest of the day. I almost got in a fight with some people who were cutting in line, which really pissed me off – later I realized it could’ve got me shot, and I calmed down. We left a little early, ate at Wendy’s and headed back. After some rest, we went to Disney and caught the night show. It was interesting – they did a bunch of lights and characters and music and crap, but they also had water projection screens and some explosives, so it wasn’t too bad.

    Saturday, we went to Universal, again in LA. We took the tram tour, which showed us old scenery from films like Spartacus, Back to the Future, Three Amigos, Psycho, and a million more. The rides at Universal were for the most part lame and had million mile long lines. But we did go on the special effects tour, and I got to do sound effects for a Harry and the Hendersons clip. We also saw the movie Chasing Amy while we were there. That night, we went back to Disney again to check things out and ride a few rides for the last time.

    Sunday was a horrorfest. We couldn’t find where to drop off the rental car at LAX, and then we couldn’t check in our baggage because we were too early. We couldn’t find any lockers, then had to go to another building to eat lunch, while dragging all of our luggage. We finally checked in, and waited another 4 hours for our flight. It was full, and full of screaming babies, so it took forever to load. We got back and I just broke down, from a total lack of sleep, food, patience, and ability to go on. Luckily, I was able to sleep it off, and here I am.

    And here I am leaving – it is 5:15 and I am still at work. Maybe I will write more later tonight.


  • Leaving for LA

    I’m just about ready to leave for LA – I’m totally packed except for last second additions, and I’m waiting for Karena to get ready. I still have some errands to run before we go to the airport, and we will probably go to lunch before we leave. My stomach is really tore out right now though, I don’t know how much lunch I could eat. Hopefully it will settle down soon.

    Not much else is up – we watched that Nick Cage movie Valley Girl last night. Interesting… It wasn’t until halfway through the film that I realized that the main girl’s dad was the guy that played Chef in Apocalypse Now.

    Time to get out of here. I’ll be writing more on the 20th, when I get back. Until then, it will be the trusty laptop – a 120 page Mead spiral notebook…

  • On the Road tradition

    I think I finished packing last night, but I still have to go buy some more stuff, like sunscreen. I can go from white to red in 15 minutes at dusk. I need the SPF-1000 stuff.

    I started reading _On the Road_ last night, a regular tradition before I take a big trip somewhere. (_Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance_ is also a favorite) I read OTR when I went to San Francisco last year, and it was great to read about places and then see them myself. I read all about North Beach while I was on the plane, and then when I was wandering around town, I saw all of the same landmarks. Someday, I’d like to read the book and write down all of the exact roadtrips that Sal took and then take the same voyages. I’m sure someone with more spare time than me has done the same thing already, and a lot of the roads don’t exist anymore, but it’d still be fun.

    I don’t know though – I drove almost across the country, and it sucked at the time. It’s fun to look back at everything I saw, but it was a really mind-numbing experience. I listened to every tape I owned like 10 times and had to stop in Minnesota or Montana or somewhere at this sad, prefabricated shopping mall in the middle of rural nowhere to buy some more tapes. I was so bored of even the same TYPES of music that I was listening to that I bought Billy Joel, Green Day, and big band tapes, just to keep me awake. And, as Chris Rock observed, malls in the most backward places of the country are the same as the ones everywhere else: Radio Shack, Sunglasses Hut, Chick-Filet, Orange Julius, and Payless Shoes. Anyway, aside from the boredom, I drove across the country on I-90, which is a fairly major road from East to West. Most of OTR took place on tiny, two-strip roads with lots of stoplights and small towns to pass through. This was before all of the highway bills of the 50s. If you’re a Seattle native, try driving on 99 from downtown Seattle to downtown Tacoma – that’s pretty much what Sal Paradise’s life was like for most of his travels.


  • Chasing Amy, recording CDs

    I ended up seeing _Chasing Amy_ last night with my friend Virginia. It was a pretty good film – a new direction for Kevin Smith, but a lot of the old humor and ideas that made _Clerks_ and _Mallrats_ so funny. I’m glad I saw it while it was in the ‘limited cities’ stage of release though, because I think the moral majority is going to pipe-bomb the View Askew offices to keep this film out of the multiplexes. And it’s funny, because all of these lesbian or chik bisexual lipstick lesbian wannabe riot grrls were at the film, and it was not some sort of anthem for the lesbian nation or something. I was getting ready for half of the theatre to walk out during the middle of the film when they realized the picture realistically showed both sides of the story.

    I should disclaim the last statement a bit by saying I have nothing against people who follow their hearts when they are finding their sexuality. I do have problems with people who define their sexuality by some flavor-of-the-week trend, or political agenda. It’s especially bad in Seattle – it seems there are so many people in this town that are ready to jump on the next bandwagon just to prove they are not part of the mainstream. Remember kids, it’s not nonconformity if everyone else you know is doing it.

    I was just thinking – I wonder what it would’ve been like if the internet was in full swing when the space shuttle Challenger blew up. There would have been two years’ worth of conspiracy theories about missiles shooting the thing down, explosive payloads, aliens, and CIA payback theories. Now that the internet propagates the most unofficial theories as official documentation, I think everything has a conspiracy theory behind it. I wonder if this fuels or sinks the paperback conspiracy theory book trade.

    The weather isn’t as nice today – pretty windy. I’m also still having sore neck problems, which makes me much lazier about the cleaning and packing chores. I might work on some video stuff today, and try to figure out what gear I’ll be taking to the park. That is, if I ever get a shower and some lunch…

    I’ve been taping CDs all day, since I won’t see a CD player for the next week. It’s so annoying – remember back when everyone’s albums were like 38-40 minutes long? Now it’s more like 60-72 minutes. So I bought some of those CD-IT tapes from Sony, mostly because they were on sale. Well, the commercials say “these are so custom engineered to be the length of your CD, you couldn’t do it better if you were loading the cassette shells yourself!” Anyway, after closer inspection, these are 94 minute tapes. So you get a whopping 2 extra minutes per side. TWO FUCKING MINUTES! Maybe these were custom designed for people recording Peter, Paul, and Mary albums, but 2 extra minutes doesn’t help me much when I’m recording this 74 minute Henry Rollins album, does it?

    Anyway, packing for this trip hasn’t been advancing too much. I did get my suitcase out of my storage closet, and my laundry is largely done, but otherwise I haven’t thought of things. It shouldn’t be too bad though – since I leave every other weekend, I should be able to just do the same thing I do on Fridays and throw a few changes of clothes in a bag, dump everything from my sinktop into a Safeway bag, and make sure the camcorder is ready to roll in its case. It’s a little more involved than that, but my typical philosopy when traveling is that if you forgot it, you can just buy another one. As long as I don’t forget something impossible to find like prescription medication or impossible to afford like eyeglasses, I will be okay.

    I didn’t mean to knock the Henry Rollins album. If I was putting out a CD, I would use every single bit possible on the media. It’s sort of sad that the longest CD in the world is a Depeche Mode bootleg.

    I need something to read for this trip, so I’m going to the bookstore. I haven’t been reading anything at all lately – I should get back into reading books on a regular basis. TV has doomed me, I’m thinking of disconnecting my cable just to get my mind back.


  • Disneyland on two broken legs

    When I woke this morning, it felt like my neck had been snapped. I started thinking about Christopher Reeve and this conversation I had with my girlfriend the other day about a kid who wrecked his ATV, ran up $125,000 in medical bills, and was a quadrapalegic (sp?). But I could move, so it was just a sore neck from my fucked up bed. I’m getting worried that with $1000 in nonrefundable plane tickets, that every single biological system in my body will completely fail in the next 3 days. I’ll be in Disneyland with two broken legs, no control over my own bowels, bubonic plague, and a blood clot over the part of my brain that controls my ability to discern the difference between being at work and being on vacation.

    Well, I did get some rest last night. I watched _Raising Arizona_ and Queensryche’s _Operation:Livecrime_ concert tape. I also did a lot of flipping through channels and a bit of writing. I was thinking about doing some video stuff, like editing together a bunch of crap to send to my friend Simms back in Indiana. I saw a show on cable access where two guys took some horrible Burt Reynolds film and replaced the sound to make it like a cross between MST3K and a 70s porno. It completely ruled, and I started thinking of how I could do the same thing with some of the movies I have here, like _The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari_. Eventually, I’ll have to do something like that.

    Overall, it was a strange evening. Now that I’m gone or have Karena here every weekend, spending an evening without her made it feel like a ‘school night’. I kept watching the clock, thinking I should hit the sack so I could get to work the next day. And thismorning – I forgot that without someone or something to get me out of bed, I don’t wake up until noon, and it takes me another 2 hours to take a shower. It’s 1:40 right now, and I still haven’t eaten. I think I’m going to go grab something, unload all of the CDs the Columbia House Club sent me that I don’t want anymore, and then maybe catch a matinee. Or just wander – who cares, as long as it doesn’t involve sudden neck movements.

    ObFlashback: I was eating shelled peanuts last night, and remembered a moment when I was a kid, maybe 6 or 7. My parents, sister, and I were in St. Louis, staying with some of my Dad’ friends from the Air Force. (My parents met in St. Louis, when my dad was stationed there). Anyway we were with my ‘grandpa’ Mamola, at some bar where there were free shelled peanuts and you just threw the shells on the ground. It was the coolest concept in the world to me, aside from that show ‘Rescue 911’ and maybe Godzilla. Also, grandpa Mamola was the first person I ever saw who put salt in his beer.

  • Home for a weekend

    It’s a beautiful day out and I wish I wasn’t at work. But, I just have today and Monday, and then I go on vacation. Also, we had pizza for lunch here at work, and ate out on the 10th floor terrace. The sky’s very blue, really clear, and it’s a little windy, so some boats were out on Lake Union. I hope it keeps up until 5.

    I found out that Queensryche will be playing here June 21, and in Portland on June 20. I’ll have to find out if the fan club has any special deal or anything like that before I buy tickets. I’d like to go to both shows, but I might only be able to afford one.

    It feels weird that I won’t be leaving tonight for Longview or waiting for Karena to come up from Longview. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing tonight, but I’ll probably just work on the video or maybe watch some videos, and get the place cleaned up. If I’m staying in this apartment for another year and a half, I need to think about how things are arranged and stored. I’m tearing apart my closets right now, throwing things out and rearranging things so I’ll have more space. If I rearrange all of the disorder, it will give me more room to live and make it feel like a new place. So, there’s a lot of cleaning projects going on before the vacation.

    I’ve been reading two books lately – _Your Money or Your Life_ and _Living Cheaply With Style_. They are both good books and get me into the mindset of spending less money. If I read video magazines or catalogs, I start thinking about how I need to spend money and buy new equipment or get involved in some giant project that involves a major investment in new gear. But these two books are slowly teaching me some things about saving money. This might just be a fad and I might just give it up and start blowing money in a week or a month. But I’d like to eventually pay off the bills and live somewhat frugally. I used to exercise some of these principles when I lived in Bloomington, just to survive. I didn’t always have the money to eat fast food every day, and I did more cooking back then. But, I also mismanaged money even more back then. I need to combine the two, and start to get money in the bank.

    I want to find that Boeing surplus store in Renton or Federal Way or whereever it is, and buy a bunch of weird shit and put it together to look very Geiger-like in my living room. I wish I knew how to weld, and owned a torch. I could build facing plates for my bed and appliances, and make them look like a crashed jet. Too bad I’ve got such a hangup about steel and the touch of metal – it makes every filling my my mouth try to jump out of my face or something. If I could eat with plastic silverware every day for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy man.

    I’ve seriously been thinking some surplus military radio gear would be almost perfect in my apartment. I should explain, since this is a new journal. I live on the 5th floor of a 5 floor building in downtownish Seattle. It’s technically called “pill hill”, the area between Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill, and it’s home to about a dozen hospitals. My deck overlooks James Street, which is 7 floors below me (2 garages), and The Thing They Didn’t Tell Me when I moved in was that about 400 ambulances come screaming up the hill every night, in addition to the helipad that’s just across the way at Harborview hospital. So when summer rolls around and all of the drunken rednecks who don’t wear helmets wreck their motorcycles, waves of helicopters come rolling in to attempt to save part of the pathetic people’s spines, maybe so they can still wrap their hand around a Budweiser bottle without the help of a nurse. Anyway, if I had a good enough radio, I could listen to these emergency radio bands and maybe even broadcast on them.

    On a vaguely related note, I was changing channels after watching ER last night, and at about midnight on the public access channel, they were showing all-out porno. Not that I’m against that or anything, but it was pretty surprising to see it on regular cable. It was some sort of artistic statement about having sex in public or something. It wasn’t just a couple people in swimsuits under a blanket or something, though. It was full-out, penetrative, no-holds-barred stuff. I guess they will let you play anything on public access cable.