August 29, 2005


I exist. A troubling weekend. My grandfather died, the patriarch of the family. I can’t be greatly sad about it because he was turning 94 in September and he died peacefully in his sleep. If there’s a good way to go, that’s it. He lived to see two great-grandchildren. There’s also been some other stuff going on in my family. I don’t want to write about it directly because it involves someone else’s life, even if it impacts my own. I don’t like writing fiction directly about people either. Let’s just say it’s been a heavy weekend in the Baum family.

I’ve been in revision purgatory. Finished my novel, finally. I ordered another copy which my wife is going to read to see if there are any typos or glaring embarrassments. Also doing double time with my job, rereading the stuff over and over again to make sure it’s perfect because I don’t want to lose the job. If you’re wondering, I write copy for websites. My daughter’s out of daycare so I spend the morning at the park building sandcastles at the park in the 90 degree heat and then try and work when she’s napping in the afternoon, and then again after she goes to sleep at 7:30. I am a monster of responsibility.

Now I need to work on the revision for the story that’s going to come out on Cloverfield Press. I hadn’t looked at it for months and it needs some work. Good thing I’ve got my revision eyes going.

I would love to read something by someone else, so this weekend I went to the library and got:

Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor
Will Self, Grey Area
Lorrie Moore, Like Life
Gordon Lish, What I Know So Far
A.M. Homes, Things You Should Know
Ann Beattie, Secrets and Surprises

Mostly stories, from discussions at Reader of Depressing Books. For someone who’s read a fair amount, I’m not very well read. Certainly not like Jenny Davidson.

I’m probably going to have to duck out of here again.

August 24, 2005


Working on the book. And two jobs. No time. Brain imploding…

August 22, 2005

Henry Miller

Henry Miller Paris notebook2

A nice new blog devoted to Henry Miller:

Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company

August 20, 2005

Happy Anniversary


It’s my one year anniversary on this blog, which started like this. It’s been a good year.

August 17, 2005


Yesterday was a very weird day. My wife found out that she’s getting more hours at work which means she’ll make twice as much, with paid vacations and better health care. I also found a new job while at the very same time possibly losing another one. If I had found out the day before about losing that job, I would have been suicidal. We have been at the point for a couple years where if either of us lost a job we’d be homeless in two months. We couldn’t go on vacation because neither of us could afford to stop working. We could have found other work but it’s not so easy. If I lost the job with no back-up plan, doom would have descended here. I have to admit that it’s been hard to work on my novel and keep up the same energy for my job. I still have the job, but I can’t fuck around.

I thank whoever’s in charge of synchronicity for delivering that news about my job yesterday rather than the day before. It was the best way possible to get bad news. I would have been paralyzed. Now I’m hopeful. The family’s got some breathing room.

Also yesterday I received the CD burner which works just fine and I finished a draft on my novel. I’ve got to get this novel the hell out of the way, then I’m going to start recording again.

August 16, 2005

It's Chinatown

A horrible thing that happened: I was standing on the subway platform at my stop, East Broadway F train, Chinatown. On my way to a doctor’s appointment. Two Chinese guys were standing in front of me. The train arrived and just as it entered the station, one of the guys dove head first into the train so his head got caught between the platform and the train. It looked like he fainted--he collapsed stiffly like a tree falling--but it almost seemed like he did it on purpose. His head fit perfectly between the subway and the platform. In the break between every subway car, he would get smacked the head. A woman screamed: one of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard. His friend pulled him out and he sat up, cradling his head in his hands, blood pouring down the side of his head. It was like a chicken with its head cut off--there was no way the guy could have survived that but he had a little bit of life left in him. I left the station as people started crowding around him and I didn’t make it to my doctor’s appointment. That was bad. I write this story to bring a little joy into your day.

Gern Blanston

Other things I have liked in my life: I own copies of the early Steve Martin movies, "The Jerk," "The Man with Two Brains," & "Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid" along with his comedy records, "Comedy is Not Pretty," "Let’s Get Small," and "A Wild and Crazy Guy." I’ve watched and listened to that stuff over and over again. I can recite it. I just discovered the Compleat Steve which has transcripts of "The Jerk," "Cruel Shoes" as well as "Saturday Night Live" stuff. For some reason I find this really funny, from 1980, "…I believe that Ronald Reagan can make this country what it once was - an arctic region covered with ice." Because it’s true.

A friend of my dad’s lived next door to Steve Martin. After "Mixed Nuts" came out--which most people hated a whole lot--Steve Martin told him, "I thought it was funny. I just don’t know what’s funny anymore." Sad, and a private moment that I probably shouldn’t write about. Don’t know why he can’t be funny anymore. Paul McCartney can’t really write songs anymore so some people just lose it. I don’t know if I’d like those movies in the same way these days, but that's probably because I’ve seen them too many times.

August 15, 2005

Over the Place

Listening to Monk plays Ellington.

Started work on my novel again. I took a week off because I needed to put some space between drafts. I keep thinking that I’m close but there’s still a lot of red ink on some pages. I’m glad I at least have the energy to still work on it. It’s not like I have a deadline for the book but I’d like to get it done.

The New York Mets had another soul-crushing loss yesterday. I don’t write often about my obsession with the Mets. I mainly follow the Mets as a way to channel my boredom. Pedro Martinez took a no-hitter into the 8th and then lost the game on a triple and a home run. It came a few days after Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron collided. Pedro’s no-hitter could have been the thing to salve Met fans and the team but it ended crushingly. After games like that I wonder what’s the point of following baseball if it makes me feel so bad.

I can get depressed about anything. I always find the New York Times Book review depressing. A cover story about Brett Easton Ellis. William Vollman on Neitzsche. I suppose that should make me feel uplifted but it makes me feel like I live alone on an island. I am interested in the new BE Ellis novel.

Another mainstream obsession: I love the show "Law and Order." When my wife and I were courting each other we used to watch a lot of "Star Trek: Next Generation" reruns. I think it came on at 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. in NYC. Now we’re freaks about "Law and Order" of all kinds--except "Trial by Jury" and I think "Criminal Intent" can be too implausible. At some point, I’m going to think that watching a show about people being raped or murdered is kind of sick and wrong, but right now I’m digging it.

"Obsession" used to be my favorite movie. A Brian De Palma remake of "Vertigo." I had a crush on Genevieve Bujould. I haven’t seen it in a while. I think I’ll get it from Netflix. I’m a Netflix member now. "Napoleon Dynamite" is a dumb bad dull movie. For the same people who liked "Clerks," an independent movie for jocks. I don’t get it. And it has nothing to do with Elvis Costello. I liked the show "Freaks and Geeks" a whole lot better.

It’s true, I watch TV.

August 12, 2005

High School

You scored as Goth.

Goth 81%

Loner 75%

Punk/Rebel 56%

Stoner 50%

Drama nerd 25%

Ghetto gangsta 25%

Prep/Jock/Cheerleader 19%

Geek 19%

What's Your High School Stereotype?
created with

I wasn’t goth in high school. I was a loner. Reading "Maximum Rock n Roll" on the lunch benches by myself. Hating most everyone, including myself. Shaving my head with a Norelco razor which made my head all patchy. Taping my shirts and pants together with duct tape. I was such a good productive kid in elementary school.

August 10, 2005


Been feeling down lately. Rejection from various places. I hate having my life controlled by other people. Just sent my screenplay to a writer/producer and he turned it down. I had the fantastic delusion that it would help me escape from 9-5 work. Human race looking unredeemable to me at times. Bad stuff outweighing the good. Except when I see sites like this:

A very popular site, but it’s new to me. Non-stop entertainment. Makes me miss New York, though I have been feeling more at home in L.A. It has a non-dumb spirit to it if you know where to look. This was where I was raised so it’s a part of me. Hating L.A., hating my home, is a form of self-hatred. In some strange way, I belong here.

Drawn is a nice drawing site. Also really popular for all I know. A nice piece about Magazine Man’s Art Lad.

This past weekend I brought home this:


All of my brother’s LPs, some of my own, which he had put into storage. See that on top, it’s the live Rush record, "All the World’s a Stage." Jealous??? I’m thinking about turning this into a part mp3 blog, if I don’t get arrested for it. It’ll give me something to post when I don’t feel like/have time to write.

August 5, 2005



I finally went and bought a CD burner off of Ebay. I’ve never bought something off of Ebay before. I hope I don’t get ripped-off on this. The only way to get this CD burner was to buy it used. Tell me this, why do people bother bidding on items before the last five minutes of an auction? It just pushes up the price.

So now--if the burner works--I’m going to start posting music again. I can hear huge rounds of applause. Self-deprecation, I can do it. I was AIMing with Empty Drum the other day, who’s also working on a mini-rock opera. He figured out that he didn’t necessarily have to record the thing in order. This was another glimpse of the obvious for me. I’ve been held up because some of the earlier songs are incomplete, while later songs have been finished. I think I’ll just record the ones I’ve finished and then post them in order in the sidebar.

Glad to be getting back to music. That CD burner’s been out of commission for too long. I really hope this used one isn’t a piece of shit. The seller seemed nice enough. She said it was "Like new." Maybe I’m a sap.

Thanks to Indiepages who put up links to 3 songs. I didn’t even ask them to do it, which is cool. Hopefully I’ll be putting up new stuff soon…

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