Friday, September 30, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

So what does it mean when I don't post a HiYBG update in three days? Does that mean that it's going so very well, so very very well that I haven't the time to even talk about it? Or is it going and I can't face up to that? I think the answer is yes. I've made it to the third week of the 30 day project and I've passed the point where I talk to the fundamentalist Kirkland pastor about gay people and now I'm at the Reagan museum, eating a huge sack of jelly bellies watching the constantly looping video of the assassination attempt (located next to the air traffic controllers strike video, also looping). I was eating the candy because I didn't realize there was a cafe there.
And so I write every day. And I'm getting there. I think. But yet, I have to think that. Actors: you know how there's that one day about a week and a half before opening when you think "My God, we open in ten days and this isn't a play at all. We're going to have to cancel this thing, tear down the posters, because this is not, in fact, viable theater"? You know that part? I think-- THINK-- that's where I am. But again, I don't know. Have never written a book.
My pal Eric Liu told me today that when he writes, he dives in and for three to seven months he writes sixteen hours a day. I'm not sure other writers live on the same planet as the rest of us.
Behold the Anti-Majesty That Is...

The Van Morrison contractual obligation album.
(via BoingBoing)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

I got through the part about Charlie Daniels' version of Freebird. Next up: the Reagan museum, which I visited without having ingested any food but a big bag of jelly bellies.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

You Ask Me Why I Love My Neighborhood Coffeeshop?

Walking in to write tonight, I crossed the street while a car drove by blasting Christian rock power ballad music.

ME: Is there anything worse in the world than Christian rock power ballads?
BARISTA: (instantly) Christian smooth jazz?
ME: Good one. Is there such a thing?
BARISTA: Yes. Oh yes.
ME: How is something like that even...allowed?
BARISTA: I don't know.
ME: Can we stop it?
BARISTA: Not under the current administration.
ME: We need to oppress Christian smooth jazz. Would you agree that we don't need less oppression, just better distribution of the oppression we got?
BARISTA: Yeah, that sounds about right.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

I got to the part where Lee Greenwood ruins the Idaho rodeo for everyone. And I'm past the gun range part and the shopping for Escalades part. Target date for completion of first draft: end of pledge drive at some radio station where I work.
A Conversation with Charlie (Age 4) About Responsibilities

HIM: Dad, when I grow up I'm going to work at the zoo.
ME: Yeah, you've mentioned that a few times.
HIM: And I'm going to take care of the jaguar.
ME: The jaguar? I thought you were going to be the bird guy.
HIM: I am. But I'll do the jaguar too.
ME: Oh. Okay.
HIM: What does the jaguar eat?
ME: Well, according to the thing we read at the zoo, it eats everything it can find. Rabbits, ducks, deer, even tapirs.
HIM: Then I'll LIIIIIIFT the tapir into the jaguar's cage and say "here jaguar!" and then he'll eat it.
ME: Sounds like a big job.
HIM: Yeah. Dad, do the jaguars eat live tapirs or dead ones?
ME: Live ones.
HIM: Oh good. Then I won't have to shoot the tapir in the head with a gun.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Most Important Rock Band In The World Plays A Concert

So there's this band called Chicken Starship that...ah...I'm the lead singer of. We dress in chicken suits and play loud fast dumb rocky roll music. This Friday it will occur at the historic Blue Moon Tavern in Seattle. Only rocky roll loyalists are invited. Along with everyone else.
Katrina explained a crazy person.
(via The Corner)

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Conversation with Charlie (Age 4) About The Appropriateness of Humor

ME: Hey what do you guys want for breakfast?
HIM: I don't know.
ME: How about an english muffin with dirt all over it?
HIM: No.
ME: Or toast with worms? A big bowl of cereal with bugs crawling around inside?
HIM: Dad?
ME: Yeah?
HIM: Stop with all the jokeable things.
ME: The..the jokeable things?
ME: Yeah. Stop being so comic.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

When you get up at 6 almost every morning to go right for a couple of hours, well, it's hard to wake up. But you tell yourself that such discipline will make for a great story later on when you're on your book tour and your book is a best seller. But also, and you try not to think about this, if the book is not a best seller or, in fact, simply never gets done, then you've just gotten out of bed for good damn reason.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Oh My Goodness

So I write this little list thing for McSweeney's about Charlie Daniels and his big song, adapted from some thoughts I had for my book. And yes, the list will be part of the book. And the list gets really popular online, gets sent around a bunch, seems to kind of take. And that's the end of it. But no.

Someone illustrated it. I am impressed and deeply flattered. I hope this lubricioustouch person, if that is their real name, knows this.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Can't You Hold It? We're at the UN.

Yeah, this is a photo from Reuters. It's a note to Condoleeza Rice. Hoo boy.
A Question About Every Cell Phone Conversation I Overhear

If all the people who, when they talk on their cell phones, complain endlessly about other people were to have their cell phones snatched from their hands and destroyed, how many cell phones would there be left in the world?

Answer: about six.
How is Your Book Going?

I interviewed Griel Marcus a few months ago as part of my job at some radio station. He wrote this amazing 293 page history of the Bob Dylan song "Like a Rolling Stone". Before the interview started I asked him how long it took him to write it. He said he had made some notes and did some research but the writing took him two weeks. Two weeks. Two. F-ing. Weeks. I hate Griel Marcus.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Conversation with Charlie (age 4) About Safety

Charlie, Kate, and I were sitting around lighting a Care Bear birthday candle, occasionally singing "Happy Birthday", and blowing the candle out. They got more and more excited and started hovering over the flame, putting themselves in danger of catching their hair on fire.

ME: Hey you guys, you need to scoot back a little. You're too close.
HIM: Why do we need to scoot back.
ME: Well, you know what will happen if you get too close to the flame?
HIM: We will all burn to death?
ME: No! No no. Your hair might catch on fire a little.
HIM: Oh.
ME: You won't burn
HIM: Oh. Okay.
ME: Hey, you wanna melt the Care Bear's face off?

Monday, September 12, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

I'm sorry I talked to you like that. I don't...I don't know what came over me. 54 pages of Times New Roman 12 point, single spaced, empty line between graphs. Maybe a sixth of the way through the timeline. If anyone needs me, I'll be at my friend's house.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

How is MY book going? How is YOUR book going? How about that? Maybe instead of nagging me with your questions, you should look to yourself! Write your own book! Think this is easy? Well, I'm here to tell you...that...(whimper)...I gotta get back to work.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

The book spans a 30 day period. I have written draft covering up to 3pm on the second day. And yet I feel good about things. At this rate the book will be 400,000 pages long. With lots of information about Kid Rock and Charlie Daniels. Sounds like a best seller to me.
What was Pat Leahy doing in Mississippi in the first place?

Karma haunts Cheney.
Probably wasn't the best thing to say...

Hanging out at this farm/park with Charlie and Kate the other day. We were sitting down on the grass having a little snack when a middle-aged couple walked by.

GUY: Well it's not hard to tell that those kids are yours! They look just like you!
ME: Yeah, well, that was the plan when I abducted them from the mall.

We left pretty soon after that. One step ahead of Johnny Law.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What's the best thing about John Roberts?

Apparently, he's hilarious!

(thanks to estimable Wonkette)
Everyone's talking about what Kanye West said...

But it's all about Mike Myers' reaction. See the video.
A Brief Conversation with Charlie (Age 4) About Future Plans

HIM: Dad?
ME: Yeah, bud?
HIM: When I grow up I'm going to be a zookeeper.
ME: Well that sounds like a good fit. I know how much you love animals.
HIM: Yeah. And I'm going to be in the bird exhibit. With all the birds of prey. I'm going to show people the birds and tell them about the birds.
ME: Okay.
HIM: And I'm going to have a pet bird in my home. It's going to be an owl.
ME: A pet owl?
HIM: Named Picky.
ME: Picky?
HIM: Because he likes to pick pick pick at things. And I'll feed him dead mice.
ME: Are you going to live in a house or an apartment?
HIM: An apartment.
ME: By yourself or with someone?
HIM: Just by myself, I think. And my owl.
ME: Named Picky.
HIM: Yeah.

So as a Dad, I'm pretty excited. The future looks bright for my boy, alone in his apartment feeding dead mice to an owl named Picky. What parent wouldn't be proud of that?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

For the first time in my life, I can listen to music on my headphones while I write. Not only that I HAVE to. Even if Uptown Espresso is playing music that I like, I have to listen to it on my own headphones.

Monday, September 05, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

The book is a memoir, of sorts. A memoir of a very short period of time. And I sometimes have trouble with the central conceit of memoir: am I really so interesting that people will want to spend a whole book's worth of time with me? Cause I don't even like myself all that much. But I try not to think of that, or how this paragraph might be used against me in future negative book reviews, and just plow through with the writing. I'm getting Vollman-esque with word count.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Phone Conversation About Charlie (age 4)

ME: Hello?
GUY: Hi, may I speak to Charlie Moe please?
ME: Hmm. Not sure you want to do that. He's four.
GUY: Oh. Um...Well, I'm calling from the Sierra Club...
ME: Oh yes. He's a member.
GUY: Uh, did someone give him a membership as a gift or something?
ME: No, he joined himself. Heard about ANWR, emptied his piggy bank, and signed up. Did it pretty much on his own.
GUY: Oh.
ME: I mean, I could put him on the phone but...
GUY: Right.
ME: He wouldn't be able to...
GUY: Yeah...
ME: Okey-dokey. Good bye!
How is Your Book Going?

As I drove up to the coffee shop at 6:08 this morning, it appeared that the incredibly perky barista wasn't working. And I have to admit I was disappointed. I mock the perky, yet I need them. Turns out she was just wearing a hat. Whew. Good day writing. Got to write about my brother's long-ago assessment of Reagan's foreign policy as "suck(ing) donkey balls".
James Wolcott

Is SUCH a good writer, it makes one quake at the idea of being a writer. In this column, he just f-ing brings it. Throws down. Steps to. Read it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

How is Your Book Going?

Oh. Okay. I think that -- ah-- it's okay. It's good. It's really's okay.
Attention Condescending Pet Fish Store Employee

A few things on my mind after today's encounter:
1. I grant that you know a lot about pet fish. But I know a lot about pop music, global politics, and literature.
2. Well, pop music at least.
3. Outside of the store we were standing in, and maybe a handful of other stores, no one will find your specialty all that impressive.
4. Because they're just fish.
5. So, honestly, lay off the 'tude.
6. And it's not my fault that one of the frogs died.
7. No, the other one is fine.
8. If this place had more natural light, I bet it would be harder to clean the tanks cause of algae build up and what not. But it might also help you look, like, healthier.
9. Bye now.

Oh you're not...

"No. Don't...Mr. President...that's really not a good...uh...idea there...isn't there some other kind of dessert...see the thing is cake has all these...connotations...about letting people eat it...when things are bad...Marie Antoinette...there's this hurricane hitting...please, sir, I promise you this is a very bad idea..."