14 April 2017
I have my microtop set up, and I write.
For those who don’t read my blog, my microtop is my term for my writing tools of choice. This consists of an iPhone, an iPhone stand, and a Bluetooth keyboard.
I use this setup because my laptop is bulky, and the battery doesn’t give it a lot of power. With this setup, I’m able to write for a lot longer.
I keep the keyboard in a keyboard case that I’ve discovered can hold a bit more than just the keyboard. Consequently, I keep some extra laptop batteries in there (AA), one of those portable power pack things that allows you to charge an iPhone, a cable for the iPhone, and the power cable for the portable power pack thing.
I usually carry around something to read as well. I’m almost always reading a hard copy book, and something on my ereader (the ereader is far more convenient when I’m on a train or bus). Right now I’m finishing “To Kill a Mockingbird” on the ereader, and am about halfway through a copy of “The Nick Tosches Reader” that I borrowed from my friend Tom.
My friend Tom makes me feel extremely underread, as do most of my friends. My friends read like fiends when they were young. I watched a great deal of television.
I did not watch cool television.
One of my favorite shows, as a kid, was called “The Cheap Show.”
On the show, people asked questions, while their teammate stood in what was called The Punishment Pit. When a person answered a question wrong, their teammate received dousings of slime and other horrible things.
Perhaps I was actually ahead of the curve, as this was a good decade and a half before Nickelodeon took this concept and ran with it.
I remember coming to school one day in 1978 and thinking that I was ahead of the curve because suddenly everyone was wearing a shirt that said Cheap Trick.
For a few hours, there, I thought that this game show had become a massive phenomenon.
I did, however, buy the “At Budokan” album, and Bun E. Carlos became one of my favorite drummers. It is because of Bun E. Carlos that I wore vests when I played drums in high school.
When I was in high school, I was briefly in a band that was sort of “the” band in the whole clique of high school bands at the time. They kicked me out. These people from that band are now bewildered at my not wanting to be Facebook friends with them so that I can have a constant reminder of one of the most devastating experiences in the drama of my miserable high school existence.
Some people. I tell you.
Anyway, I love this. I love being here, drinking coffee, munching on an oatmeal cookie, sitting here writing. The only thing that I like as much as writing and drinking coffee is reading and drinking coffee.
So. More about what I’m reading. Specifically, more about Nick Tosches, because plenty of people have written about “To Kill a Mockingbird:”
Nick Tosches clearly met everyone and drank at every dive bar in Manhattan before the exponential rent increases of the 1980s made Manhattan dive bars all but extinct. His writing is all about doing manly things, anywhere and everywhere.
Manly things, in this particular cases—and in the case of other writers such as Jim Carroll, Ernest Hemingway, Harlan Ellison, Charles Bukowski, Henry Miller, and others who do not come to mind at the moment—usually consist of strong drink (except for Harlan Ellison, who doesn’t drink), fighting, cavorting with women, and, it would seem, the ability to attend to the elimination of bodily wastes anywhere, at any time.
This is, by the way, is not to say that doing manly things is always a good thing. To read this stuff is to come across many times where a person regrets not perhaps curtailing these urges from time to time. There are many men who have gotten into trouble from simply forgetting that there at times where doing manly things is not always the best thing to do at particular given moment.
A quick nugget about Jim Carroll:
I interviewed him back when I was in college. Really nice guy. He was the guy who turned me onto the term “Manichaeism.”
“It’s all about that dualistic thing, dividing the world into good and evil and all that,” he said.
Later, when I took a science fiction class taught by this brilliant professor, Ernest Gallo, he used the term when discussing Ursula LeGuin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness,” a book about a group of humanoids who shuttle back and forth between being man and woman.
It contains the memorable line: “The king was pregnant.”
And a bit about Charles Bukowski:
I had a copy of “Tales of Ordinary Madness,” but I lent it to this guy with whom I went to high school, and he never returned it.
He was in that band that kicked me out. At the time, he dressed really cool and seemed to know exactly the cool places to be. I wanted to be like him, as did a lot of other people; he found me to be a pest, and at the time, I was.
He’s another one who wanted to be my Facebook friend. The sight of his name brings back memories of that band.
So. Nick Tosches and Harper Lee. That’s what I’m reading right now.
A bit more about the things I own:
I do not have many possessions.
I own a few pairs of jeans and many gray tee shirts. This is what I wear when I’m down in New York. When I’m up here in Beverly Massachusetts visiting my girlfriend, I wear all sorts of cool tee shirts
About the word "girlfriend:"
I love the sound of that word. Even in this liberated times, it’s one of those times where “girl” just says more than “woman.” Somehow, for me, “woman friend” sort of sounds like someone who’s over six feet tall, extremely broad, and fond of brandishing a rolling pin.
I have white oxford shirts and black pants. I own some decent pairs of black shoes. This is what I wear to work.
I wear a watch. It is a Wenger Swiss Army Watch.
It is a good watch. The jeweler who replaced the battery deemed it such.
“Ziss…ziss is a very good vatch,” he proclaimed, in this awesome Russian Jewish accent.
My older brother gave me this watch. We did not get along for a long, long time. We get along now.
The watch reminds me that I can spend so much time thinking about winning a war that I can lose track of how much better it is to win peace.
More about clothing:
I have a few hooded sweatshirts. One of them zips up. It is a gift from WFUV, back when I had much more money, and could make large contributions to public radio stations.
I also have a black pullover hoodie with Tom Laughlin from “Billy Jack” on it. That is another gift from my brother. He has a black sweatshirt with 1960s Cleveland late night horror television show legend Ghoulardi on it; that was a gift from me.
My brother wears this sweatshirt all the time. He is still a bit thunderstruck that I got it for him. This whole peace thing was quite an unexpected development.
My brother is very happy at the frequency with which I wear my Billy Jack sweatshirt. We occasionally quote our favorite speech in the movie, when Billy Jack says that he tries, really tries to control his temper, but that Bernard’s humiliations of assorted people—including a girl that everyone, according to Billy Jack, calls “God’s Little Ray of Sunshine”—makes him go berserk.
In truth, most of my friends quote that speech from time to time. They either quote that speech, or the line that ends with “and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.”
People who’ve seen this film know that exact line I’m talking about.
Still writing here in Beverly. I will continue to do so. And read Nick Tosches. And Harper Lee.