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Of Pop and Posters

by Jonathan 2 Comments

June 25. The day bits and pieces of my youth fell away like so much old paint on a sun-beaten windowsill. Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, both of them gone. I didn’t think much of it at first. Just more in a long line of famous people coming and going.

The King of Pop

The King of Pop

But it’s more than that. Those personalities were fused to my childhood like knee patches in my Toughskins. I wasn’t a huge fan of either celebrity or the knee patches, but both offered some sort of buffer. The celebrities softened the edges of the pains of growing up. The knee patches, well, they were indestructible barriers between my knees and grass stains. (It was odd how the Toughskins would break down around the everlasting patches.)

I remember listening to Michael Jackson’s She’s Out of My Life on Casey Kasem’s Top 40 while playing in the backyard. He broke down with a sob at the end. For some reason I can’t forget that. I remember watching the Jackson 5ive cartoon. I remember sleeping over at my friend’s house, a bunch of eighth graders listening to Thriller in the dark when it came out.

I remember Farrah’s famous poster (though I didn’t know it at the time) hanging in my brother’s room. I remember seeing that poster at the Glen Rock Firemen’s Carnival, just waiting to be won by some kid who could pop the right balloons or knock over the milk cans.

Farah Fawcett

Farah Fawcett

I remember playing Charlie’s Angels into the twilight during summer. I never wanted to be Farrah, only because everyone wanted to be Farrah. Sure, I was a boy, but I loved the way those ladies broke bad on the villains. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?

More recently, a friend of mine got a gig as the sound guy for Michael Jackson’s latest tour. He said that if he did his job well, it would give him the leverage to name his price for future sound jobs. Michael Jackson was still a big deal.  “Before his death, Jackson had announced a 50 date sell-out This Is It comeback tour, in London, England (Wikipedia). Not too shabby. Michael Jackson still did it for millions of people throughout the world.

I don’t know that there is some deeper meaning here; I just was amazed that people I took for granted in their heyday, people I didn’t follow inentionally, could leave such a lasting imprint on my memories.

Two days of Mediocrity…

by Jonathan 6 Comments
Claytor Lake Virginia

Claytor Lake Virginia

…or one of Good?

I spent the day at my dad’s helping him repair some vinyl floating stuff and taking a short boat ride on Claytor Lake. It’s a 5 hour round trip. It was good to see dad and do some stuff together. I woke up with a little cold or allergy-type thing – not a big deal, but enough to cast a weird floating feeling on the day (It wasn’t the boat ride, I swear). I’m home now and we just got our daughter down for the night (maybe). I had originally planned to get to some writing tonight, but I don’t know that I have the attention span to churn out something serviceable. Also, if I stay up late struggling, I don’t get the rest I need and go into tomorrow in a similar state. I thought I might concentrate on getting some good rest and hit it hard in the AM, my normal writing time. That’s my plan.

Would you go for quality or quantity if you were in my shoes? All two of you who read this blog, I’m asking you. I think I can get both tomorrow with good rest tonight.

Stephenson's Quicksilver

I just started reading Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. I’m only about 30-some pages into it, but I’m loving it. I love the heft of the thing. I love the words packed onto each page. I love that there are two more volumes of The Baroque Cycle. I have to confess that I bought it for my mother for Christmas, hoping she would dig it. But, I was also hoping I’d get to read it as well. I got Anathem for my brother. Neither have completed their books as of yet. If I can read both and give them the big thumbs up, perhaps they’ll reconsider.

Neal Stephensons Quicksilver

Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver

The only other work of his I’ve read (book on tape) is Snow Crash. I found that to be okay, but definitely zoned out during the Librarian explanations. Because of his style, I am definitely leery of a similar situation in Quicksilver.

On the flap there is a review quote that likens it to the erudition of The Name of the Rose, which I read this Spring.  I think I can hang with that. I like learning a little something (or a lot of something) whilst I enjoy a good tale.

I’ll update this post upon completion, but if you have any thoughts on this or any of Mr. Stephenson’s offerings, feel free to comment.

Update 6/26/09

I’m now about 115 pages in. It’s still captivating. If you like the idea of the great minds of the natural sciences running around, making trouble, challenging the known world, this is pretty cool. From young Ben Franklin, Sir Isaac Newton, and Christopher Wren to John Wilkins and Robert Boyle, and Robert Hooke, this book seems to include them all in a very human light. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Society for a little background on the Royal Society that features so prominently in Stephenson’s book.

Father's Day

by Jonathan 0 Comments
Me and my girl.

Me and my girl.

Happy Father’s Day to all the pops, dads, fathers, daddies, old men, etc. I’ve only been at it for 3+ years, but there is nothing like it on earth. I can thank my daughter’s birth in 2005 for a change in perspective, a rearranging of priorities

Later on today, I’ll be heading to the writing shed a see what I can do. For now, it’s family time.

Up All Night

by Jonathan 0 Comments

We are in the middle of trying to get our 3 year old to go to bed. Time was, she would go to sleep no problem. Sleep 12 hours. Wake up at 8 or 8:30. The best part is I am hoping to go to bed early so I can shuttle my mom to the airport in the AM. 3:45 AM. This will probably be the night our cat can’t decide if he wants to be in or out and meows at the sliding door regardless of which side he is on. But you know what? It ain’t so bad.

Ye Olde Typing Apparatus

Ye Olde Typing Apparatus

Today is an off day for writing, but tomorrow I’ll be back in the saddle again, continuing work on my first novel. I’ve been at it since early April and am at the 45,000 word mark, whatever that’s worth. I’ve enjoyed the hell out the good days and haven’t minded the bad days all that much. At least I get to write. My goal is to have the first draft (~100k words) done by Labor Day, which is late this year, so that’s a bonus. Then I’ll have my wife give it the once over while I ignore it for a bit and get started on something new. Once I’m ready to look at it again and talk it over with my wife, I’ll pound out the second revision and send it to a handful of folks who’ve expressed an interest and aren’t homers. That is, of course, so long as the first draft doesn’t blow chunks and I hang it up altogether.

I seem to remember a saying about trying and failing being better than not trying at all. Sure. Why not.