Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5th, 2010

Hello, you. Once again, I've had a drawn out cessation of blogs, but I figured the beginning of the year is as good a time as any to end it. So, here we are. First of all, I'd like to pay homage to my friend Lisa by writing my 2009 book list (I kept track of it because of her 2008 list):

Author Title End Date Pages

Elie Wiesel Dawn 1/5/2009 96
Elie Wiesel The Accident 1/10/2009 128
Chuck Palahniuk Rant 1/12/2009 336
Frances Mayes Under The Tuscan Sun 1/16/2009 304
H. G. Wells The Time Machine 1/17/2009 115
Don Delillo The Body Artist 1/23/2009 128
Lisa Shafer All In The Half-Vampire Family 1/23/2009 150
Mary Shelly Frankenstein 1/26/2009 242
Gore Vidal Inventing A Nation 1/28/2009 208
Gore Vidal Point To Point Navigation 1/30/2009 288
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights 2/20/2009 308
Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God 2/23/2009 256
Mark Twain The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn 2/27/2009 298
Toni Morrison Sula 2/28/2009 174
Mark Spragg An Unfinished Life 3/2/2009 257
Leo Tolstoy The Death Of Ivan Illyich 3/2/2009 134
Stephen King Bag Of Bones 3/12/2009 732
Ray Bradbury R Is For Rocket 3/18/2009 184
Ray Bradbury The October Country 3/18/2009 276
Garrison Keillor Love Me 3/19/2009 272
Geraldine Brooks Year Of Wonders 3/28/2009 336
Stephen King The Tommyknockers 3/29/2009 558
Alice Sebold Lovely Bones 4/2/2009 328
Henry David Thoreau Walden 4/9/2009 246
Jane Austen Emma 4/11/2009 384
Mark Twain The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer 4/15/2009 215
Jane Austen Sense And Sensiblilty 4/17/2009 272
Steve Martin Born Standing Up 4/17/2009 207
Jane Austen Lady Susan 5/2/2009 80
Arthur Miller The Ride Down Mt. Morgan 5/13/2009 128
Jane Austen Persuasion 5/13/2009 224
Paulo Coelho By The River Piedra I sat Down And Wept 5/17/2009 180
Gore Vidal The Golden Age 5/21/2009 467
David Guterson Snow Falling On Cedars 5/29/2009 460
Jane Austen Mansfield Park 5/30/2009 322
Jane Austen Pride And Prejudice 6/3/2009 272
Chuck Palahniuk Survivor 6/7/2009 304
George Orwell Animal Farm 6/7/2009 128
Harlan Coben Promise Me 6/11/2009 489
Harlan Coben Tell No One 6/18/2009 370
Philip Roth Everyman 6/20/2009 182
Mark Haddon The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The... 6/21/2009 226
Ray Bradbury Wonderful Ice Cream Suit And Other Plays 7/1/2009 161
F. Scott Fitzgerald This Side Of Paradise 7/9/2009 282
Terry Goodkind Wizard's First Rule 7/13/2009 848
Harlan Coben Prayer For Rain 7/16/2009 375
Richard Russo Empire Falls 8/5/2009 483
Dennis Lehane Mystic River 8/7/2009 401
Harlan Coben Gone For Good 8/8/2009 417
Toni Morrison Beloved 8/16/2009 324
John Steinbeck Of Mice And Men 8/19/2009 118
Charles Barkley I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It 8/22/2009 245
Tom Stoppard Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead 8/24/2009 126
John Steinbeck The Grapes Of Wrath 8/25/2009 406
Stephen King Desperation 8/30/2009 690
Richard Bachman The Regulators 9/1/2009 475
Stephen King Thinner 9/5/2009 318
Stephen King Cujo 9/12/2009 304
Chaim Potok I Am The Clay 9/14/2009 241
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Shiloh 9/17/2009 144
Henry Miller The Smile At The Foot Of The Ladder 9/17/2009 61
Ian McEwan Atonement 9/21/2009 351
Dan Brown The Lost Symbol 9/26/2009 528
James Joyce Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man 9/29/2009 253
George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four 10/14/2009 312
Victor Hugo Les Miserables 11/8/2009 1488
Mellisa Moore Shattered Silence 11/11/2009 250
Harry Dolan Bad Things Happen 11/13/2009 352
Stephen King Under The Dome 11/22/2009 1088
Kurt Vonngeut Look At The Birdie 11/29/2009 272
Philip Roth The Humbling 12/1/2009 140
Ernest Hemingway Across The River And Into The Trees 12/5/2009 288
Harlan Coben Hold Tight 12/9/2009 496
Henry James Turn Of The Screw 12/9/2009 160
Robert Penn Warren All The King's Men 12/12/2009 438
Kurt Vonngeut Welcome To The Monkey House 12/15/2009 352
John Updike Villages 12/16/2009 336
Ernest Hemingway Farewell To Arms 12/17/2009 336
Don Delillo Cosmopolis 12/18/2009 224

I apologize for the vertigo-inducing lack of synergy, for I have yet to figure out how to edit on this blasted website. I'll try to remedy it at a later date. Anyway, I also thought it a good time to make a small litany of goals for the new year...

First, the cliches...

Get in shape;
Become of sound financial standing;
Eat better

And others...

Get into a real writing schedule again and restart Corkboard Storytellers meetings;
Keep in more consistent touch with the weird web of friends that I manage to maintain;
TRAVEL (2009 had a pathetic lacking of such things);
Read 100 books;
Record 20 songs in studio (did 19 last year);
Play 25 shows;
Significantly increase my income;
Get out more at others' requests (I have a tendency to decline to much of anything that doesn't interest me, even if a good friend just wants me there. For example, I get invited to movies constantly, but find most to be uninteresting and sad, not to mention the fact that they make me very unsettled for the intelligence of the country I live in... So I opt to stay home);
Take a few risks;
More later, perhaps, when my brain decides it...


Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20th, 2009

Two of my all-time favorite authors were awarded at the National Book Awards last night. Dave Eggers won the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. And Gore Vidal won the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. It makes my day that good writing isn't completely overshadowed by warmed-over crap. That is all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 11th, 2009

Once again Philip Roth doesn't win the Nobel. I'm just saying...

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20th, 2009 (R.I.P. Frankie McCourt)

Here I am, just bumming at work like always. Anyway. Same old same as far as work goes, save for a fifty cent raise and an application in for a job that I'll never get on account of the lack of the skills. But, there it is...

The band's been playing a decent amount of shows lately. I'm pretty psyched about that. We have three coming up in the next nine days, so here's hoping for a decent turnout and a lot of fun.

I wasn't going to write anything at all today, but I wanted to mention the death of Frank McCourt. I was quite the fan of his. So, mainly I just wanted to say thank you for all the laughs and the perspective. I'll never forget them. So, my heart goes out to those who miss him as I do.

That is all. Take care.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23rd, 2009

Over this past week some friends and I went in to record some music together. We prepared on Tuesday and got started the following afternoon. When we arrived, Steve was already manning the chair, in which he makes magic happen. The room was at a pleasant 62 degrees, which we enjoyed on account of our knowledge that it would soon be pushing 100. Fordham got right to setting up his drums, and soon thereafter, we got to recording. Drum tracks took around four hours. The guitars, about six. Bass was kicked out in just over three. Then we started the most grueling part, vocals. Vocals took the better part of a day and a half. We got three of us around the mic and did a few group parts together to back up the lead melody. Then Mark sang lead for the first time on a song of his own. It was a lot of fun to work with him.

We go into the studio to finish mixing and to receive the final product tomorrow afternoon. I'm fairly happy with the way everything is sounding. I hope those who choose to give any of the songs a listen enjoy them as well.

I'd like to be able to say that I did things besides this, but I really didn't. I just hung out and bummed around. So, until next time...

Take care.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17th, 2009

I've realized that it takes too much time to think of a title to each one of these things, so starting today I plan to write nothing other than the date, save for big news, of which my life has very little. I just thought that I'd let you know every Saturday what happened over the previous week.

I started an exercise routine; most likely soon to be abolished, but I will keep it up for as long as I can. I've already been playing a good five hours of basketball a week on the court behind my apartment, but I'm going to do my best to add other things to the mix. I started running, mainly taking advantage of my parents being out of town to commandeer their treadmill. I did 7 miles yesterday and three today. I also plan to hike as much as possible until the heat becomes intolerable.

The band is recording this week, and I'm pretty stoked about that. We go in on Wednesday to begin drum tracks on three songs, to be finished by the weekend. We also have two shows tentatively (as all shows seem to be) scheduled for June 10th and June 17th. I'm for sure looking forward to those.

Take care.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Graveyard Shift

As I often tend to do, I stopped blogging for an extended period of time on account of my thinking that I had nothing of importance to say. After a little considering, I realized that I'm the only person who reads my blog--normally as one would reread journal entries, just a quick nostalgic glimpse into a small time ago--so who is to lash out against the boring and banal diatribes that I'm normally inclined to produce? So my rants or observations may be arrogant, self-centered, petty, ill-informed--a whole slew of adjectives held in negative regard--and it doesn't even matter. This is my blog. Such a thing is supposed to be all of the aforementioned things. That's its fundamental purpose. So, from here on out, I figure whatever is to be found here will be even worse, still more boring and narrow minded than it had been before.

So what have I been up to? If you know anything about me, you know that such a question will elicit nothing from me but a laugh and a self-deprecating comment or two, for I never do much of anything. But...for the sake of humoring myself on this nocturnal endeavor, I will try my best to recall all those things that I did manage, whether or not they are, in actuality, worth remembering.

So, since February, huh? Well, in March I went into Summit Studios in Midvale to record a five song EP with a few of my friends. It was my first opportunity to solely do vocals on a record, save for a small guitar part on a single song. The songs turned out decently, considering that we'd been a band for less than a month and a half when we went in to lay everything down. Since then, we've played two shows, one at Kilby and the other at Bert's, both being a good time. I didn't realize exactly how much I missed performing until I did it. I thought I'd be nervous because of the long lull in between these and the times prior, but I felt very comfortable on stage. It's a lot different to only be holding a microphone when you are so used to hiding behind a guitar. I couldn't figure out what I should do. So I just danced around a bit and made a fool of myself. Twice. But I'd do it again. In fact, we have two more gigs scheduled for June, which I'm looking forward to. Another recording session is hopefully in the works, too, because I'm quite the fan.

I went to Oregon for a week in March as well. Sam and I drove West to the coast, spending the first night in Frisco, and working our way up the coast from there. It's a long drive, for sure, but an enjoyable one, and we were in no hurry. In Newport, we were fairly idle, not venturing outside as much as we had planned on account of hostile weather. It rained all but a single day. That aside, a few storms were tolerably warm and made a stroll almost more enjoyable. We made sure to visit the beach several times, where we could view the horizon unblemished. If I had to pick my ten favorite things about this planet, physical and otherwise, the ocean would sit amongst the top contenders, as I'm sure it would on many such lists. When we were inside, we mainly just bummed around. It was nice to just have some time to relax, to read, to sleep in. And to watch Monk, of course.

Another happening that took place in March was my acquiring another job. I didn't need a second job. I didn't want a second job. But considering how vehemently I despise my primary source of income, I gladly accepted it when it happened to come along. It takes up over half of my weekend, but it makes it possible to avoid serving the Man for the bulk of the week, and for that, I am thankful. While I work, I am expected to do very little. I make sure everything is on the up and up, and if that is the case, I am expected merely to refrain from falling asleep, which I manage with minimal effort. It gives me ample time to read, practice guitar or catch up on this garbage that I'm spewing out at the moment. I'm not certain as to how long I'm going to be at such a venture, but I expect for at least the rest of the year. I see no imminent reason to think otherwise.

Lastly, I decided not long ago that if I reached a certain weight, I would do whatever I could to eliminate whatever put me over 160. That weight is 170. I weighed myself the other day and the scale had an ominous 169.9 across its display. It's obvious that soon, I can be negligent no more. I have gained 14 pounds over the last nine years, an amount most would find tolerable, but I'm definitely not a fan. I knew it would happen some day. My diet is atrocious. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. And I'm always hungry. Most days, I fall asleep within minutes of eating, and likely it's a dessert of some kind. Also, my father suddenly decided that he would go out and buy five hundred dollars of spices, a mortar, and a pestle, and do whatever he could to prepare a new meal every day. I frequently get invites to said endeavors. He has an obsession with his red pepper tree. He refuses to make a meal that won't put fire in your bowels a few hours hence. Regardless, most are delicious and worth the agony.

Anyway. I guess that about does it for a while. Hopefully I'll keep up on this a lot better now that I've got the time and a convenient means. Ciao.