1. There is no set form to these pieces. Expect something somewhere between a daily rant and diary entries. The purpose is to put some kind of record to the thoughts that bounce around my skull.
2. All names are changed to protect the...real people behind the stories (I hesitate at the word "innocent".)
3. I like words. All of them. Including, but not limited to, the so-called "dirty" ones. So, if you can't handle what TV Standards & Practices departments would refer to as "Adult Language", you night as well keep walking.
4. You may have questions on background, etc. I'll try to answer them in the course of the text, but once they're answered, I won't answer them again in the text. If something seems unclear or unrevealed, e-mail me and I'll attempt to clarify (though I reserve the right to leave things unclear if I so desire.)
5. I'm assuming, at least at the outset, that if you're reading this, you know me in some capacity. So I'm not going to go in to heavy detail bout my living arrangements, likes and dislikes, history, etc., except as they pertain to what happens on that day's entry.
6. I may play with the conventions of standard written English. Deal with it. And, I said, these are thought set to permanence, so interruptions are common. Expect parentheses inside parentheses, and abundance of dashes and () s and other kinds of quirks. I don't think I can footnote in this format, which is terrible, because it would probably make the task of you, the reader, easier.
If I come up with more general rules, I'll let you know.
So, June 4, 2001:
I was up at the ungodly hour of 5:15AM. My beloved father was scheduled for surgery on his feet at 7:15.
BACKGROUND: My father is 55 years old. Diabetic and in end-stage renal (kidney) failure. He is prone to infections, many of which, for whatever reason, end up causing trouble in his feet.
The people at the Naperville Surgery Center wanted him there an hour ahead of his scheduled time, so we were there (I had to drive, of course--you imagine driving after having surgery on both of your feet) at 6:10--odd, because neither he nor I is particularly known for our punctuality. Anyway, we went in, there was some minor paperwork, and then he got taken in back for preop. Which left me alone in the waiting room. I came armed--I was carrying Dave Eggers's "A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius" and Douglas Coupland's "Microserfs" with me. I had been working on "AHWOSG" for months, on and off, until finally, in the past month or two, it had been "on" and it had taken up residence in my car as my so-called "car book". (The "car book", of course, is the book you keep in your car for those times when you're sitting in waiting rooms of one stripe or another, or perhaps you bring it to lunch with you, or whatever--I find I do a lot of waiting, and though I'm fairly good at it, having reading material helps a lot.) Anyway, I finished it today, in the waiting room there, and (after going across the street to McDonald's for breakfast (Hotcakes and sausage and orange juice. Yummy. I'm a big fan of pancakes for the most part, and McDonald's "hotcakes" (the only place I personally know of that refers to them by that name) are fairly good, for being the apotheosis of mass-producedness)), I return to the waiting room with "Microserfs", which I'm starting from the beginning, but not really, since I first read it in 1996 or so, and I have read it about every eight months or so thereafter. While reading "Microserfs", I realize the connection it has to "AHWOSG"-both are first-person narratives (I can hear you talking about how that's a really rare device. Shuddap.) This low-level realization reminded me of this LiveJournal account, which I'd set up months ago and never used. So I decided to start using it.
Re-re-re-re-reading "Microserfs", I began to wonder about some things. Such as:
1. What are these characters doing now? I doubt Mr. Coupland is particularly interested in the idea of a sequel, but I am. "Microserfs" ends in January of 1995. There is much talk of multimedia applications. There is some talk of the Internet, but not too much. I am forced to wonder what happened to the characters in the (now six) years between the end of that book and my current reading. "Multimedia" is, at this point, almost as ridiculous a word/concept as "punchcard". I don't think Mr. Coupland (or really, anyone else) had a real grasp of just how huge the Internet was going to become in that time. From the way they were talking/behaving, I know the characters didn't. So I'd be very interested in a "Microserfs II" (2.0?)
2. I realized I wanted to do this kind of journaling project while reading these books today. But I face dilemmas. Do I try to change everyone's name, and leave all who read to try to decipher the identities of those I'm referring to? (See Rule #2 above.) Furthermore, how much do I censor myself? E.g.: I discover evidence that one member of a friend-couple is cheating (as far as I know, no one I know is, so don't try to figure out who I'm talking about). Do I mention that? Do I reveal information, be it my opinion or statements of fact? (Probably not.) Do I reveal opinions that may be unpopular/hurtful, a mild example being along the lines of "By jingo, Bubba's new girlfriend is ugly (again, not referring to anyone real)"? That's the sticky one. I don't want to alienate my friends/family/etc., but I want to be honest as well. At the moment, I guess all I can do is go case-by-case, deciding when to talk, and when to stay silent.
There is more to my day-I spent the entire calendar day without checking my e-mail, the first time I've done that while actually at home in god-knows-how-long. Started and finished "Microserfs" all in one day today (again, unimpressive when it's the tenth time through). Pater (no, I don't actually refer to him that way) made it through his surgery without much difficulty, but he's going to be wheelchair bound for a month or so. And I started this project. I wish I could go into more detail, but it's already after 2AM and I have some work to do for my mom's math classes (she teaches).
One other thing I'm going to try to do every day is offer a link recommendation. Today's is "Vicious Lies", the webcomic of my Valparaiso-University-days buddy Dave Fuller. It's found at http://viciouslies.keenspace.com/ Go read, and tell him I sent you.
6/5/2001 2:15 AM