Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good things come in Threes

Three Things I've realized about the novel:

  1. Creation is an acknowledgment of destruction
  2. Every page I write is a page closer to killing Edmund
  3. Every storyline in the book is a mirror of some part of Edmund

Full entry to come. Yay semester is over

Saturday, December 06, 2008

WiFi refugees

Ah the joy of holiday season at school.

Outside the snow is coming down (another 2 fresh inches on the ground from the looks). And I'm at the library doing final projects and homework.

It looks like a refugee camp in here on every floor of both the Hatcher and the UGLi. Hundreds of students huddled around any available space near a plug. Piles of coats and winter gear. Tables stacked high with papers, coffee cups, and food wrappers. This is the final week of class for the undergrads, and for us Grad Students it's the final week of classes period. This is the final push when everyone is doing absolutely everything they can before the mass exodus to whatever home town they come from.

I catch snippets of conversations of people talking about their first time driving in snow, and it makes me smile.

I walked to the library today in the falling snow, listening to the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas album, smoking my pipe, and reveling in the wonderfulness of the christmas season.

Other than that not much has been happening. There was a breach of student privacy by a faculty member at SI, which I'll talk about later when I have time to make a fully thought out post. I also printed out the 260 pages of my novel that's finished, and seeing that stack of paper is really a wonderful thing.

And on that note it's back to school work. One final push. One final mad dash to the finish line.


And their off...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Post From Turkey Break

Thanksgiving Break is anything but (well it is Thanksgiving, but it is sorely lacking in the latter part of the title). This is, of course, not all true.

Things I've done over break:

Things I still have to do before break ends:
  • Finish reading the Lord of the Rings (I started it back in August and I'm getting antsy to start something different)
  • Finish reading for class
  • Write a 5 page paper
  • Play a show with my band Anomaly
  • See other friends I haven't yet
Actually looking at those lists it would appear that Thanksgiving break has in fact been a break. But faced with the looming of the end of the semester and that final push to make awesome one the scholastic front, the list doesn't quite do justice to where the weight of the priorities need to be focused.

I wanted to work on my novel and I haven't done that.

Mostly it's the fault of Fallout 3, which is, in the next couple days, going to become not a time threat. This is mostly due to the fact that it has to go back to the rental store, and I have to buckle down on school.

Redundancies abound redundantly.

Next post is going to be a followup to the American Gods roadtrip post I made earlier. Going to start looking at the possible location of Lakeside.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Writing is what I do

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I decided to give it a shot again this year, thinking I could rip something out in 30 days, giving myself a month off from The Rider. I decided to not stray too far, attempting to adapt a story about a guy who gets seduced by the devil, based from Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell album trilogy (an idea I've mulled about for a long time).

10,000 words and two weeks later I found myself thinking again and sitting in front of my laptop working on the rider. Edmund will not leave me alone.

I went to Chicago last weekend to see my old roommate graduate, and also to have a whirlwind trip through the town that I hated at first, but now miss so much. I saw a few, but not all of the friends that I wanted to. I ate at a few, but not all of the restaurants I wanted to. But nonetheless it was much needed and a very cathartic send off to the end of my first Semester at SI.

On my last day there I got a call from my writing buddy, Lane. He's now down at SIU doing his masters in creative writing, and teaching an undergrad course in the English Department. We've been unable to get back together on the couple of trips I made south, and spent a long time catching up on writing and what we're doing. He mentioned the rider alot, using his actual name, Edmund, which was very endearing, and I ended up walking away from the conversation charged up to start writing again.

So here I am, almost through November, failing again at NaNoWriMo, and not really caring because I am further into the rider than I've ever been.


I tried something new, realizing I had a large number of unwritten or unfinished short stories. I took wall tack and 3x5 cards and on each card wrote a one sentence synopsis of the short story idea, and a hook if I could come up with one. Next I stuck the note cards on the wall in no particular order.

My plan is, starting in December, to take one card off the wall on the 1st, and by the end of the month have a first draft of a short story finished. Do this for each month, if only as an exercise to keep my skills sharpened while working on the rider's story.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

American Gods Road Trip: A Proposal

I first discovered American Gods in the summer after my Senior year of high school. I was taking my baby steps into the world of comics, reading some of the newest staples, the Ultimate Universe, DC New Frontier, Earth X, and one story titled Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman (at the time I thought it was pronounced G-eye-man at the time). The writing was sharp, the story fresh, and the art was eye catching. So naturally I returned to the catalog to find what more I could by this author, and it was then that I stumbled upon this little (har har) book called American Gods.

I don't usually do audio books. I'm very picky about my readers, and there is something about having someone else's imaginings of characters swirling in my head. Reading is a very personal thing for me. I get emotionally involved in the characters and their stories. Audiobooks sort of shatter that illusion. But on some unexplainable whim I got my hands on the behemoth 19 disk audio recording of American Gods read by George Guidall.

It was a chance worth taking. George Guidall breathed a life into the book and characters in a way I've yet to experience since. His gravelly, almost world-weary drawl fit Gaiman's wandering organic pace perfectly. Since finding the book I've added a copy to my iPod and have listened to the story on an almost constant repeat, and can now quote extended passages verbatim with Guidall. But I do have one nasty secret to admit... I've never actually read the book on paper. Every time I try, I end up starting it once more on my iPod, not wanting to lose the essence that Guidall brings to the story.

Almost as long as I'd been listening to the book, I've been dreaming of doing a road trip that explores most of the major areas in the story. It is a road trip book. A long, picaresque, wandering story that stretches up and down the midwest with stop overs all across the US. It sees many locales that are off the beaten path, and really gets at the heart of America.

So with that preamble I propose a modified version of the American Gods road trip. In a nutshell this trip would follow a more linear route, north to south, of the path that Shadow and occasionally his companions followed.

As an initial reference I am using a site that I stumbled to through the Wikipedia article. Only the Gods are Real has an interesting, but incomplete geography page (the above picture comes from that page). It breaks Shadow's journey into three major legs. Examining these maps reveals a central area down the midwest around the Mississippi River where the bulk of the journey takes place.

The trip I am envisioning starts at the fictional town of Lakeside (Through examining geographical references in the text I've found a town that seems to match the location (This will be discussed in latter entries) and make my way all the way south, ending at Lookout Mountain in Georgia

Along the way we will hit major stops from the book. These include (in a rough order)

  • The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • The Center of the US in Lebanon, Kansas
  • El Paso, Illinois where Shadow picks up Sam Blackcrow
  • Red Bull, Illinois where they stop for lunch
  • Cairo, Illinois
Other thoughts were maybe ending in Fort Pierce, Florida, but that would require an extra day's worth of travel for a very minute part of the book. Once itineraries get hammered out, we'll see where that leaves us. The above list was generated using the rough travel plan made on the website only the gods are real.

The trip as envisioned would last roughly a week (hopefully less if I can swing it). For cost saving most nights would be spent camping, or if cost is really an issue (and time) shifts could be taken for driving duties.

In upcoming entries I'll start to take on the nuts and bolts of the journey. Route plans, locations, and more. I'll do entries about major stops covering history and how it relates to the book. For the next entry I'm going to discuss the search I've been doing for "Lakeside" Wisconsin, and what real towns have turned up to be the most likely.

Until Next Time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Turning the Safety on Usually Helps

I shot myself in the foot (figuratively)

I've been reaping the fruits of my labor (or lack there of). Dropped the ball once this weekend on a group assignment, but I did manage to salvage it, and I think we're fine there. Got an assignment back from a week ago and it was a 60%. The middle of my semester has been one giant slack fest, and it's now coming back to bite me in the ass.

Now at the end of the semester I'm staring down the sights of hopefully 2 A's (one of which is a pass fail) hopefully 2 B's (low, but hopefully a B) and probably one C (well, we're not sure, but we're in bleak mode right now).

It's one of those reap what you sow situations, and i sure sowed a lot of crap. So now I've sprouted a crap tree.

It's time now to buckle down and rock the shit out like I always do.

In writing news I started a NaNo, but I doubt, unless i can organize my time for the rest of the semester better, that I'll be able to finish it. I've also not touched the rider since the start of Novemeber...

I just have to keep telling myself that this semester is almost over, and I can step it up over the next 3 to do alright.

And the beat goes on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Still here

My only excuse is that I don't have internet in the house. That's the only standing excuse that I can come up with. Otherwise I really should make sure to update this thing more often.

It's almost November, and we are entering the final sprint to the end of the semester.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing something wrong with grad school. Not taking enough opportunities? Or maybe I am going have this report card with EPIC FAIL written in large friendly letters. The semester started with this unnerving sense that the worst was yet to come. I spent every waking moment wondering if this was it. If I was about to be ambushed by assignments and paper and a massive wave of work. It hasn't happened yet.

I know that I'm not really doing the readings any more, and that might be part of it. But if that's the overwhelming wave of work then they've no idea the program I came out of. I blow off the readings and still do well on the papers. I feel challenged in some respects, but in others this has been a cakewalk compared to the last 2 years of the grueling swamp of homework and assignments (even if they were creative writing instead of essays).

I was talking to one of the second years I've made friends with and I mentioned that yeah I've been able to be very lax in my work, watching television at leisure, playing games, and generally just enjoying myself. She looked at me with jaw dropped surprise. With wonder that I could even be thinking about relaxing. "The first semester is the hardest," she insisted, and maybe at the end of the semester my grade will reflect it. God knows I haven't been able to find anything to say in mt 500 discussion section. And chances are that's going to hit me hard come the end of the semester, but the GSI knows my name, so that might help in being forgiven.

But there is a little part of me that says, "No, Nathan. There is a reason this is going easy for you. It's because you kick ass. And when you graduate this is going to reflect upon the awesomeness of the well paying job you're going to get." But that of course is worth a lark because I'm going into Library Science. That's not a place to make money!


I've been working on the novel a ton lately. Redrafted a portion of act I and have been attempting sorely to try and dive into act II. It's a very tiring process, and I find myself more and more afraid to write more. Maybe it's a fear of success, or just a fear of getting it wrong. Either way I am determined to make some serious headway to finishing it.


I also got nominated by a friend I met at the beginning of the semester for the Vice President position of the School of Information Student Association (SISA). And maybe this is just what I need. Get busy with applying myself and finding things to do! Could do me some good.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


"That F***ing thing is going to kill you," my friend Mike told me today when he asked me about my novel and I said that I was facing a lot of thoughts about what the story was about, what I have already on paper, what I need, what's unnecessary. It's a daunting and almost debilitating thing. And as I spend day after day replotting, restructuring and thinking thinking thinking I start to agree with Mike that it may in fact kill me to bring this thing to close.

I don't know why. I don't know how novelists do it. The ones who push them out so fast. Maybe I'm afraid of completing it. Success? Maybe but it seems implausible. Failure? Seems more likely. I mean Bam! this is crap they'll tell me and then my dreams are quashed. Sure but I mean I've sent things out already.

The rider's story should be an easy one to tell. I mean it has a direction. East. It has an end. He gets home. It has a focus. He spreads chaos. There. You have point A and point C and the bloody trail of bodies that represent point B and the space between. There. Story done. Now where does my problem come from?

I spent the last month exploding the story. Balancing a bunch of stories of characters who I want to be important eventually, but not until later. So what I did was send it out to a few friends to have them read it and toss their two cents my way. They have been. And it's been very helpful. But it's causing me to really figure out what I want to tell, and causing me to go swinging the broadsword of my editing ability and rebuild from the ashes of destruction.

Monday, September 29, 2008

back to the drawing board

Just got a rejection back from Greatest Uncommon Denominator. That was a very fast turnaround, only a matter of like two weeks.

They said that I had some interesting ideas "but the storytelling lacks punch." It's a problem I think I can see. It's a rather sedate feeling story, I think. So I guess what I'll do is go back for an overview of it here, and see where I can send it out next. Let it get rejected once or twice more before I make some major major changes to it.

So that makes rejection #3 ever. As a number it feels good to actually see myself making some headway.

Anywhoo that's all on that.

I'll be back later with a more in depth post about the reshaping of the Rider I've been doing over the past couple of weeks. I'm at a point where I think I really know what's going on with him.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Page turned

There are a lot of interesting phrases being thrown around that have me, a bizarre combination of fledgling and long-time fan of the University of Michigan's football team, scratching my head in both contemplation and hopeful agreement.

Things like "comeback" and "epic" and "team" all focusing around one central theme: The dawning of a new era.

That's the rumor. Saturday's game against the Wisconsin Badgers, that was supposed to be a blowout, and looked like a textbook blowout, turned into what Mitch Albom called "A comeback for the ages." My friend, when I called him after the game, to see if he was interested in celebrating our joyous upset, told me that he was glad that I could be at the game, and said much the same thing that Mr. Albom said about this being the dawn of the new era of Michigan football.

I guess I don't really know what that means. In the years that I've been around, I caught the tail end of the legendary General Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller, Lloyd Carr, and now Rich Rodriguez. Of those, I can only remember Lloyd Carr, the man who led us to a win at the Rose Bowl and a National Championship. He is like a walking god in my mind, deified from the years of my youth of my dad sitting before the television every fall Saturday and bellowing with all his heart as if his screams from Spartan Country could in fact help the outcome of the game away off in the Valhalla of Ann Arbor. With every touch down he'd get me riled up singing a rousing chorus of The Victors, the fight song which John Philip Sousa, the master of the march, declared was "the greatest college fight song ever written" (for citation see the wikipedia article). That was Michigan football for me. My dad called it smash-mouth. A battle in the trenches.

So when talk of Lloyd Carr's retirement became fact last year, and this was accompanied by his replacement with Rich Rodriguez, there was a natural fear. A fear of change. Lloyd has been god of this hundred yards of battleground for over ten years. He knew Michigan football, having apprenticed under General Bo himself, may he always watch over us. This new guy was--well, new. And in a buck of tradition he brought this dreaded "spread offense."

Now I won't go into a lot of detail on the spread, other than that RichRod more or less pioneered it, and it is utterly unlike Michigan Ball. It wasn't dirty and in the mud and the pushing and the grunting and the helmet to helmet smashing. It relied on spreading out the opponents defense and passing, and for the last couple years it had been wrecking havoc on our defense. As a response they brought Rich Rodriguez and with him the spread offense. As Albom said, an "experiment" that "wasn't working."

After a devistating loss to Utah, which brought with it tremors of another Appalachian State massacre, and another loss to Notre Dame, all hope was lost. In the fan section the cheers of "Hail to the victors" was replaced quickly with jeers about Threet's wonderful passes to the opposition, and a growing call to bring back Lloyd (one that I gladly picked up). Our offense could be summed up as "Threet and out," followed by the traditional and nearly impenetrable Michigan defense.

But then came the last Saturday in September. A cloudy and cool day, one of the first real fall days of the year. There wasn't a hope in the world--at least that is what everyone was saying. If you go by the first three quarters of play I'd have agreed with you. In the last twenty minutes of play we managed to go from nothing to a victory. And for the first time we looked like a team. "Now that's the Michigan team I know and love," my friend Zach texted me. I couldn't call him, not because I didn't want to, but because by the end of the game my voice was shredded from cheering and yelling along with the thousands in the student section.

And thus with the bellowing cries was a page turned and Michigan Football came into its new era. "We're one and oh in the big ten," our coach said.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Donut of Life

Updates are infrequent because I don't have internet in my house, and won't until I can get this whole "in-state" "out of state" tuition thing taken care of.

Until then here is a brief conversation I had with a friend contemplating the nature of people as it relates to donuts. I think Homer would be proud.

My friend

i'd say, we're two different vectors of weirdo, in two different directions, pointing away from this one collective blob of averageness


that sounds far too mathy for me

i like the idea of a donut

all the boring people are the hole

most everyone else is bursting with flavor

My friend

so you've contemplated hyperspace and hyperdonuts


and then there are the sprinkles

i like to think i'm a sprinkle

i'm above the donut

My friend

flavor? shape?


donut shaped


My friend

the sprinkle is donut-shaped too? deep


you mean what shape is the donut?

or the sprinkle




My friend

the you!


the sprinkles are a happy mix of whatever

i liked the dinosaur ones

My friend



what about you?

what type of sprinkle are you?

or are you just doughy?

My friend

good question


it's like contemplating your navel

but more homer simpsony

My friend

the caveat is that, regardless of where i am on this hyperdonut of existence, if i start walking forward in any direction, i'll eventually find myself right in the middle - exactly where i didn't want to be!

or, i could just stay in one place, which is even more boring


unless you're walking around the outside ring

there is a trail that will keep you far from the center

My friend

but to find that exact path seems so hard to do!

fuck up one parameter and i'm in the middle again!


but you're still outside of the dough

and unlike the empty middle

you have space

and color

and sugar

My friend



the spice of life?

the kryptonite of diabetics

My friend

and i always thought that salt was the ruler of spicitude


it was until they discovered that it is found in abundance in the sea

suddenly the salt trade was over

but remember

My friend



we're talking about the donut of reality here

not the bagel of being

My friend

you know, in the world of math, it's possible to turn donuts inside-out



My friend


i feel like that would shred the donut-coffee continuum and bring the whole Dunkin Donuts of Reality crashing down

My friend

this is why most people aren't mathematicians!


but if you notice the donut still ends up as a donut


helps me to conclude

that maybe that's already happened

My friend

maybe that's the midlife crisis?


and instead of the chocolate icing and sprinkles being readily available and visible for all to rejoice about their instead buried deep within the dough of normalcy

thus meaning that to really find your inner sprinkle you have to bite deep through the averageness

My friend

which ultimately begs the conclusion: damn, it must suck to be a diabetic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

print "nom" * 3

I'm sitting in my computer programming class. I'm taking my baby steps into to program writing world, learning Python, which a friend of mine told me that it was a "beautiful language." I like that idea.

I feel like a child first learning how to speak and read. Everything is far more amusing to me than it should be.

Every time I open terminal I invariably write this funny line of code

print "nom" * 3

and what that prints is


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fly Be Free!

I just sent a finally finished short story, "Just Jazz" off to GUD Magazine. It's a hybrid online print magazine that's been around for about two years now. Usually I am skeptical of the whole online market, the fluidity of it, and other tenuous reasons. There is something professional and serious about actually having a real and tangible magazine in my hands that I can read and carry with me. This is only further been solidified (har har) by my MLIS classes and the transience and general distrust surrounding the whole digital media world.

But after further reading from Duotrope and other online sources I'm intrigued by GUD's ideology. They appear to be on the cutting edge of how e-markets and print on demand is going, and their payment plan seems to make sense in embracing the changing market.

So that's that. Another baby away into the wide world to get mocked and ridiculed and hopefully at some point loved for the redheaded stepchild that it is.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Finders Keepers

The Law Quad is the perfect place to read on the first day of fall when the skies are gray and the temperature is not quite warm, but not quite cool. And that is where I found myself today after a morning of pointless stress.

I was doing reading for class sitting in the reference room of the Hatcher Graduate Library (which itself is a beautiful room). It was all technical mumbo jumbo that I'll never use beyond the confines of grad school. The Mathematical Theory of Communication was the paper that I didn't read. I started it, and then my brain began to ooze slowly from my ear. My mind began to wander and to try and make problems where there were none. Homework so far is just reading, which itself is a task, but still easy, and when should grad school be easy? Money is ugly, but isn't it always? Everything seems to be fine, but why should it be? Shouldn't I be stressed and grizzled and exhausted? I must be doing something wrong.

But I guess that maybe I'm not.

So with those thoughts running heavy and hard through my head I decided that enough was enough. That I was caught up far enough that I didn't need to stress anymore. I went back home and made a lunch, ate it, and then returned to campus. I was going to do some me time.

And that is how I found myself wandering over the Law Quad.

I'd seen it on my bike ride to work and to class, but never had I wandered in. It looked beautiful from the outside. The building old with brick buildings tall archway entrances and a green lawn visible beyond. Like the ideal college image.

The inside is a large plaza of green lawn intercut by a small grid of paths paved by flat stones. There are large, old trees with wide roots. The buildings have tall spires with intricate fringe work, huge wooden doors, and old windows. I took a seat against one of the unoccupied trees (many of the others had students with books and papers spread before them). And it is there that I discovered the perfect place for reading the Lord of the Rings. Beneath a gunmetal gray sky. A soft breeze. A warm cup of tea. Occasional squirrel bounding by in the grass. Students with thick backpacks and stacks of books in their hands. This is what a college is supposed to look like. I think I could easily fall in love with a place like that. I may head back there again, with a picnic perhaps, smoke my pipe, whittle away the hours contentedly. This is the collegiate experience.

Fall is coming fast upon the heels of a long summer. It was the season I hated most for the longest time, but I find myself relishing its existence now. When the leaves change. When the days grow shorter and cooler. It's always this time of year I find myself engrossed in adventure stories. Sometimes wishing for an adventure of my own.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"I'm a ninja warrior when it comes to CTools."

Making a quick post sitting in the back of my 502 computer class.

My teacher reminds me of Bill Engvall. He's very awesome, and a very interesting lecturer. He's very promotive of Open Access, and Open Learning. He's exactly the kind of teacher with the perfect pedagogy for modern learning. Here are some quick links about 502, and Open Education.

Grad School Begins

I told myself that I would try to not make posts about my writing process that involved phrases like "writing was good today," or "everything i put on paper today was absolute rubbish." But I'm going to break my own rules because it's my blog.

Writing was absolute rubbish today. Everything has been a strain to get out, the characters feel flat as cardboard, their dialog stilted, and the tone of the narration completely different and unrelated to everything that preceded it. I'll probably throw it away and start from absolute scratch the next time I sit down, with the only thing taken away from this sitting is a clear example of what not to do.


Now here's the rest of the post.

I started class yesterday. I had one in the morning, and then the rest of the day to myself. The lecture was interesting, but even walking in a minute late I felt like I was completely out in the dark. On the upside they'll be posting a podcast of it online as well as the slides, so I'll be able to catch up and/or review what I missed. I also won't be late for class tonight.

I start work tomorrow at the Knowledge Navigation Center (KNC). It's a really awesome department in the library that's aimed at instructing graduate students or teachers in different software. Problem is that I'm not educated in a portion of the software they're teaching. Upshot of which is they will teach me to use all the software. This is going to look good on the resume, and it pays well.

The School of Information is really awesome. My class is small (150ish people), and the school is promotive of group work, and of creating a real sense of team. They offer lots of opportunities for internships and jobs that are all in my field of study, and support in tailoring everything I do to reflect what it is that I want to take out of SI.

Thus far homework has been light (considering I've only been to one class that's not surprising) but I can help but feel like this is the calm before the storm. That seems to be the idea that I'm getting from most of my friends who are second year students here.

Game day is something else. The Big House holds over 100,000 people, according to the announcer on Saturday we had over 108,000. There was a flyby before the game of four fighter jets. When the student section cheers it is stunning. The volume is so loud, and there is such intensity in the cheers that the hair on my arm stood straight up.

Tonight I have another class, and then tomorrow is my full day, running for almost 12 hours. with an hour break from 4-5.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Call Me An Ambulance I'm Fading Away

I fucking hate retail

Ok, so I'd written this line in the blog at some point before I left for most of the rest of the evening, and I feel like I have to do some justification of it. I'm not going to go on a tirade like I did yesterday expounding the awesomeness that isn't my current retail job (for that just follow this link). It would get rather boring if I did that after every day of work. Instead I'll tell you what I did do this afternoon.

I got out of work at 2, came home, wrote this line at the top of the page, called my dad and asked about a few application related questions, filled out a new job app for Ann Arbor District Library, promptly went over there and turned it in. Later I spent some time with my friends Evan and Brett, playing board games, watching Olympics, discussing the finer points of our political views and listening to angry people calling themselves Christians lambasting people on the street. All in all it was a good evening full of not working retail.

I don't have to work retail tomorrow. Instead I'll write, maybe go to the women's soccer game over in Yspilanti. I may also do laundry and clean my room. And when I fold my clothes it will be for me, and not for some big tanking company. Part of me hopes it closes before I quit so I don't have to deal with the guilt of leaving so soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Retail Sucks

I'm sitting in my basement bedroom looking up to ground level and at the very dark very gray sky above, listening to it boom and thunder, watching the tree limbs whip in bursts, their weakest leaves being torn away, and I'm worried that when the rain does come (as tomorrow it is supposed to) am I going to be flooded in my basement. Logic tells me no, but after two flooded basements at my parent's house I tend to be a little leery on the whole subject.

I've also learned a very valuable lesson tonight. Retail sucks. I worked an eight hour shift today (9-5) which was monotonous and full of folding clothes and organizing cubes of folded clothes. Unlike the library gig of reshelving and shelf reading (it's funny, reshelving is not a word my spellcheck is telling me (neither is spellcheck...)) I'm not allowed to have my iPod on me to listen to books or music. I'm hoping tomorrow, in the moments before I go to work, I can be at a place in The Rider where I can be spending the long monotonous hours dictating passages of interesting prose to myself, which I will then scurry home to record from memory. I realized I had to work tomorrow and I groaned. First day on the job and I'm already groaning.

I'm hoping that if a work study job comes through (or this awesome library gig over at AADL) I can take it, because I'll quit at Steve and Barry's. The people are nice, don't get me wrong, but the work is just dreadfully boring. With every shirt I fold I ask myself, "Nathan, you have a bachelors degree. Why are you folding shirts for minimum wage?"

I'm at about 65 pages into the Rider rewrite right now (say that three times fast). The chapter I'm editing is one that got workshopped at Columbia in their Fiction Seminar class. I wish I could find the notes from there because a lot of really good things got said. I think I've got some of them jotted in my journal from class discussion.

I need to go grocery shopping, but I'm terribly nervous about spending money until I am sure that my loans are in place to help bolster the paycheck in paying for rent.

So instead I'm going to make a PB&J and watch the UM Women's Soccer play Notre Dame online.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beginning Grad School

I still have one week to go.

Things are looking up a bit from where they were just a couple days ago.

I came home yesterday from Haslett and went over to Steve and Barry's (inexpensive campus clothing) and applied and immediately got a job. Then I've got 2 emails from different places about possible Work Study jobs. One is over at Michigan radio doing something called "Development Assistant" which I think means glorified go-for. I've got an interview for that next Friday.

Loan stuff got hammered out, and though I'm going to be further in debt I at least feel a little safer starting the year this year, and I'm hoping and praying that it rubs off on post grad school career in terms of making money and paying debt off quick.

I had a random idea strike me when I was biking in to Steve and Barry's today. Haslett is not terribly far from here (an hour on the highway). So just a moment ago I google-mapped it (amazing how google has become a verb) and I discovered that it is only 57 miles when not on the highway. But why, some of you may ask, would you not want to drive the highway, Nathan? It's easy, I will tell you. I have a bike. I like to bike. I like to do random things. I think one of these times, when I have a nice large block of nothingness for at least 2 if not 3 days, I may take a trip back home to visit my parents, via a bicycle. It's about a day's ride one way, and unlike my lake shore rides I would do in Chicago, this one has a very visible finish some 57 miles later at home. I'll keep you updated as the plans flesh themselves out.

I'm also starting to do some hard core work on rewriting the first 200 pages of The Rider that I've got done. I finished the section introducing Shane, I'm hoping that it may be good enough, and enticing enough to publish as a standalone short, a sort of dabble into what is coming. I sent it to a teacher to take a look at and get an opinion on. More on that later as things come back.

Now I'm all excited about biking, I'm going to figure out what it would take to go to Chelsea Michigan and back tonight (if it's too far or what). Have a good night

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Nervous Post

I shouldn't be doing Grad School right now. It something I keep feeling more and more sure of as the days go by. I'm almost $100,000 in debt and that's just the undergrad. I don't have means for paying this. I don't know if getting this masters will really get me the means to pay it later. I keep having these terrifying visions of drowning in mountains of money that I owe other people, and I wonder why people do this? I want to help people but in order to do so I've got to cripple myself because I am terribly unprepared. And trying to find real help to get prepared to deal with this whole financial thing is so confusing. The people are so nonchalant about everything. It leaves me with the distinctly serious feeling that I SHOULD NOT BE DOING THIS.

My parent's are very sure otherwise. Don't worry about it now. You have to spend a little to make a lot. But it's not like I'm going into an exactly lucrative career. It's not like I'm going to be making large sums of money to pay back the even larger sums of money I owe. The amount I owe is going to be disabling me from really doing the good things that I want to do.

I keep thinking that on this one I really should throw the towel in. I really should call it a day, and just go find a way to earn money until I've paid for a large portion of my undergrad. Like 40,000 or so. Just knock it down by a fair amount and then, once you have to footing necessary to stand strong, go back and kick ass.

I'm very scared. I'm very out there. Things are out of my control and it has me terrified.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Put Stickers Everywhere

I just saw some wedding pictures from a girl who had a crush on me a few years back. I told her that I couldn't date her because of her proximity to an ugly situation with an ex. Now two years on she's hitched. It's not that I have feelings for her or anything, but there is this little nagging sensation that I may have missed out on something there.

I canvassed the town for jobs today and got about 10 applications out. I figure it's like spaghetti. If you throw enough soggy noodles at the wall, eventually one will stick. Lets hope I've cooked them long enough. Other than that I ran some errands to different locations on campus (Registrar's office, Student Financial Services, etc) and I got to see a lot of the buildings I'm going to be in and around. It has this bizarre feel of being in Animal House. It made me happy to be getting the college experience, something I never thought I'd be craving.

For my hard work I rewarded myself with lunch at the Fleetwood Diner, a little hole in the wall place on Ashley Street. It's the diner of my dreams. The quiet cook in the back making food. The waitress hustling you for tips. The grease of the food so thick you can see it in the air. It's 24 hours. It's exactly what I've dreamed of in my Interlude story and in The Rider. It's so awesome.

I also saw a bumper sticker on a wall today that said "Put Stickers Everywhere." I thought it was ironically funny.

I've also started writing again. I'm doing a redraft of what's done of The Rider to fit in with my reformatted synopsis. So far it is a lot of copy and pasting, but eventually I'm squeezing in the new character, Shane, and his ghastly exploits. More to come.

I'm going home tonight to do dinner with the family, pick up the speaker wire so I can plug in my electronics and throw away the electronics box and finish cleaning my room. Very exciting these happenings. I can't wait for school to start. Sitting around makes me bored and overthinky.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Lost Weight?

I biked most of the northeast side of Ann Arbor today. Saw a large chunk of North Campus (though I'm still unsure where my buildings are). I'm now sitting and watching some of the Women's Triathalon via It's only slightly more exciting than the marathon, which I watched yesterday with my roommate Adam.

While biking today I saw a couple funny things that I didn't snag pictures of. The first was the Prickly Pear Cafe (It's uhhhh.......). I also saw a robot repair shop. Not entirely sure of the roads I found myself having made tracks all the way to the south side of town. I also passed over the Huron river.

My room is starting to take on a semblance of roominess and no longer messiness.

When I made dinner (a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some carrots) my roommate, Adam walked in and for a second my mind kept throwing up warnings that I was intruding in someone else's home and I should be ashamed for getting food out of the fridge. Here I am a rent paying individual living in this house and I feel like an outsider. I hope I can shake this feeling in the next day or two, or else eating is going to be a rather awkward task.

Here's something else that's kind of funny. In the basement bathroom there is a scale, I'm assuming my roommate's. I went and stood on it just before taking a shower just for the hell of it. At the beginning of summer I weighed myself out at about 175ish. Today I clocked in at around 160-162ish. I can't believe I lost almost 15 pounds. I guess that's what happens when you start running, though I have to admit I've been eating like shit all summer long. I'll be interested to see what happens to my appetite now that I'm reformatting it to be a little more healthy, and when I start lifting after school starts.

I would've made a blog post last night, but by the time I was able to connect to the internet I was sitting in a chair watching Michael Phelps go for his 8th freakin' gold medal. At that point I'd packed up a trailer, drove to Ann Arbor, unpacked the trailer, assembled a desk a futon and two bookshelves, unpacked maybe 4 boxes, and walked a couple of miles. Needless to say I was exhausted.

This morning I've been unpacking. Just like the last time I realize that unpacking stuff in one room amounts to pushing it around in circles over and over again until those piles disappear. It's a very slow and grueling process but I have definitely made some serious headway.

I think I am going to stop for a while now and go explore Ann Arbor a bit, maybe figure out some loan stuff, and then come back once the weather gets bad (which it's supposed to do today).

Friday, August 15, 2008

And Away I Go....Again

Ok, except for the next couple weeks of getting settled and moved in and finding jobs and other such preschool nonsense, summer is over.

I spent the majority of today packing my stuff up (which actually translates into watching a lot of Olympics, getting breakfast, and reasoning myself into sitting some more) and moving it out to the garage. It's now sitting in a meager pile waiting to be loaded onto a trailer and moved to Ann Arbor tomorrow. I'm not sure of what stuff I'm going to need, of what stuff my roommate's have, if my roommates are cool, or even if they are crazy axe murderers and I am only days away from a bloody gruesome worthy of Saw VII death. I just keep telling myself something my dad always says to me.

He likes to tell me, "Nathan, you have the ability to fall into shit and come up smelling like roses." I like to believe that's true, and I like to hope that things are going to work out (because they do always have a tendency to do just that) but it doesn't stop that slight niggling doubt in the back of my mind.

I've decided to fight it by being efficient in my first few days in town. Move in tomorrow and also catch a Men's Soccer game in Ypsi, and then Sunday and Monday start aggressive job hunting/finding loans for school. I've also decided above all else that I am going to put myself into a very aggressive exercise/weight training program. As a UM student I've got access to world class weight facilities, pools, and running paths. Just to see what I can do, I'm going to have my dad take a picture of me tomorrow, and then again in May so I can see the progress of a year. It's something to do, and another goal to shoot for.

Speaking of goals I was looking at an earlier post where I was laying out my plans for summer writing domination. And I'm ashamed to say it hasn't panned out even remotely at all like my original intentions. The only thing I actually finished was one short story, edited and almost ready to go. SO this fall, if my load doesn't prove too daunting (great little caveat I can use as an excuse), I am going to ramp up my writing productivity.

And on that note I've got to crash because I still have so much work to do tomorrow. Pack clothes, load trailer, disassemble Xbox, drive to Ann Arbor and unpack everything... Just remember, I fall into shit and smell like roses.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not A Happy Post

I don't really like making angry posts. I've liked trying to keep a mostly neutral air about my life and keep the focus of this strictly on the goings on of writing and trying to write and trying to get published. Maybe an update here or there about where I'm at in my travels, a bit about school, but above all my writing. But I'm taking a minute here to gripe and complain about the awesomeness of some people in the world.

A few weeks ago I got hit by a car. It wasn't a fun experience. It was exciting. I've still got a bit of pain in my rib, and my left hand still has limited grip from time to time. The scars on my right hand have almost healed, and for the most part I'm back to normal.

I took my bike in today to get an estimate about the repairs and it came out to a fairly pricey replacement of both wheels. So I decide to call up the woman who hit me and see if she could help pitch for the cost.

She was rude. Told me that there was a big dent in her hood and that if she is going to pay for my bike I would have to pay for her hood. Or we could call it a wash. She hit me. I totally had control over the damage my body made to her car while flying over the hood and on to the cement. People are fun.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pirating internet at the Fowler's in Wisconsin.

They went to Madison to pack their daughter's apartment up to prepare for her move next weekend, and left James and I alone at the house. We're eating cereal and watching the Olympics, and we're thinking of popping over to Starbucks for a pick-me-up.

Last night's concert was a lot of fun. We had lawn seats in about the same spot that we did last year. It was nice this year, a little cooler, and no mud. James ended up dancing with a girl that he met (and I think was rather inebriated) for the entire night, and I got heckled by the most obnoxious and most shit-faced bro ever. Tonight we have reserved seats, so I'm hoping the cost is enough to whittle out the annoying people. If I can figure out how to get a picture off my phone and on this computer I'll upload what pictures I can (though most of them are explosions of indiscernible color because my camera isn't the most advanced).

Right now women's quadruple sculling is on the Olympics. It's not anything I'd normally watch. More than anything it makes me hope that Chicago gets them in 2016. I'll go down (if that's not where I'm living) and spend a couple weeks there watching the games.

James just finished his cereal, so we're heading over to Starbucks. More later (maybe some writing this afternoon).

Friday, August 08, 2008

Off Again

Just popping in for a quick one.

Leaving for Wisconsin today for two days of Dave Matthews concerts.

I stuck a note on my door asking my parent's not to wake me up. They woke me up over four times this morning. I guess that must make today opposite day...

Ok now I need to pack and get really ready to go.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Back Home

Alrighty! I am back home and have internet.

I got in yesterday evening and discovered the internet was down, and by the time that it popped back up it was so late that I didn't really have the energy to go make a post. So, a day later, here I am.

This last week was (as it seems to be every year) one of the highlights of my year. It has, as it did last year, left me recharged and also very exhausted. I've got a lot of things to do to get ready for the move to Ann Arbor and beginning Grad School. But here are the highlights to my break.

I ended up driving up late last Friday because I agreed to pick up my friend, Ben from Lansing Airport. My family and our friends from Wisconsin were already there when I arrived. We played three days worth of volleyball this year, instead of five, and my team lost this year, which is ok because we swept them last year. We ran about seven miles twice while I was there, and I realized that in terms of endurance and stamina I'm in the best shape I've been in years. We had hobo pies. I edited a short story. I got really tan. We water skied and went camping on Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I realized when I went camping this last week that it is high time that I sit down and examine just exactly what I need in order to properly camp. My tent was in shambles and is far too large for a hiking back pack. My sleeping bag is good if you're not hiking and if you're going to be spending time at the north pole. I need a multi stage bag, like the military one my old roommate has. Something with the zip out insides to make it an all weather all purpose (and very light) bag. So the quest now is to find the bags and equipment I need.

I've got a wedding to go to later this afternoon, and a trip to plan with James for the Dave Matthews concert next weekend (our annual escapade). I've got to figure out my work schedule. Tomorrow I get my laptop back (I had to take it in when the keyboard mysteriously stopped working). I also have to get my suit ready for today.

This was a rather wandering post... Sorry about that. Expect something a little better soon. Maybe some pictures or some links or something.

Friday, July 25, 2008

And Away I Go

Heading up to my cottage for a week later tonight.

I seem to have been roped into a new roll as of late. Airport Taxi Service. Not that I mind, of course. It's fun being able to pick up friends coming and going and have some one on one time to talk to them, and hear all the crazy things they've been up to. Tonight before I disappear north I'm picking up my friend Ben from Lansing and bringing him home. He's been in Florida all last week at a band camp training percussion. Next sunday I'm taking my other friend Kate down to Detroit to fly back out to California. She's in town this week for a wedding.

I was down in Ann Arbor last night paying for a place. I've now got the keys, and I am officially moving down on the 16th. Orientation is ten days later. And then begins the great quest for my masters.

While filling out the stuff for orientation I think I found a second specialization I want to go after. Community Informatics (CI) is the name of it. It's focused on the social and political application of Libraries and information centers, and how to better bring it to the people.

And with that (and a lack of anything more interesting to say) I'm off to pack, clean out the car and then skedaddle up to Houghton Lake, from which I will return a week later with a tan, maybe in better shape (if I remember to go for runs), and good memories and photos. See you in a bit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Used To Be King

I found an apartment today! Well. Ok let me justify that. I found a basement room in a duplex today! It's pretty awesome. I go down to close the deal Thursday in the evening. Life is good. It's a great deal and it's really close to Central Campus, and not far from North Campus.

While driving down there today I saw the Big House for the first time ever. If I wasn't limited by gas I would've made my pilgrimage to it, but alas, it will have to wait for another day.

Other than that everything is getting around and together for the move down there, and also my week-long vacation up at Houghton Lake next week. I'd warn you that I doubt I'll be able to make any blog posts up there, but I'm notorious for forgetting long stretches of time.

In other random news, to make this blog post seem semi worth-while, I got my hands on the new Coldplay album, Viva la Vida. It's amazing, and the title track is phenomenal.

Ok, I've got nothing... To bed I go.

Crazy Random Happenstance

I got hit by a car yesterday.

Now to justify that claim.

I did in fact get hit by a car, but the worst damage I got was a cut up knuckle and (as it's appearing now) hands with limited gripping abilities. As such this probably won't be a long post because it kind of hurts to type.

I was on my bike coming back home (on the sidewalk (which I found out is not what your supposed to do, but you try riding on those roads, it's dangerous)) and I see this lady rolling through her stop looking the other direction. I go because it looks like she's stopped all the way at one point. She goes (not looking in my direction) and BAM! Up onto her hood and then I'm thrown from it onto the cement. There was so much adrenaline in my system at this point that time was moving very slowly. I remember thinking that I have no helmet on and I'm going to need to protect my head, hence why my knuckles are scraped up.

I'm lying there on the cement. The wind is knocked out of me, so my sternum has tightened up, and I'm hoping I haven't broken a rib (I didn't). She pulls around the corner and stops. Two other guys stop their car and come to check on me. I see one of them walk my bike out of the road, and the back tire isn't spinning. Across the street people have lined up to watch (everyone loves an accident). Then a cop shows up. Then an ambulance shows up.

It was quite an experience. But typing is not a very comfortable activity at the moment, so I'm going to bring this post to a close.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thinking Thinking Thinking

I just saw Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog last night. If you read this today you need to go check it out now before you can't get it for free after midnight tonight. It's a very funny 40 minute web musical faux video blog in the vein of lonelygirl15, but with higher production values and Neil Patrick Harris singing.

It got me thinking heavily about new-media. Dr. Horrible was made by Joss Whedon with money from his own pocket. He and his collaborators wrote and made it during the Writer's Striker earlier this year as a way of saying to their fellow writers and actors and other non-mucky-muck Hollywood friends that it is possible to do high profile media without the attachment to a major studio. You can read Joss's own words here. After tonight it can be downloaded for a nominal fee from iTunes, which I highly recommend. You can do that here. There is also a DVD with a supposed "musical commentary" and extras coming out.

Ok commercial done. Sorry about that. And back to my thinking brain.

Watching it got me thinking about new-media, indie films, and the accessibility of the internet. It got me thinking, more than anything else, that we (by which I mean myself and my many filmmaking friends at Columbia) can be doing this. We could be making this. Low-budget, high traffic, the internet is rife with opportunities.

So I'm hoping this week to get together with my cohort and collaborator, Duke, and start to think seriously about a story. I'm already putting the feelers out for potential interested film people. I have a producer in mind who may be interested if she's not too busy.

And that's the idea. Make something flashy and interesting that people can download. And if they like it, maybe they'll buy t-shirts, or something, I dunno. Maybe make money, would like to break even at best. But mostly just want to create and get my name out there.

I'll keep this place informed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jobs, Rain, and Vacation

I'm about a week and a half into my job at McAlister's, and it has confirmed for me, once and for all, that I am not meant to be in the food service industry. Especially in the food service industry that is fast. So on that note, tomorrow I am heading down to Ann Arbor to apply for a job at the Ann Arbor District Library. We shall see how it goes.

The temperature has been wonky in ways that make me look at all the people who deny the existence of global warming like they're telling me that green tinted poodles are falling from the sky. It was a balmy and humid 75 for the past couple weeks, and then just over the last couple of days it skyrocketed into the upper 80s lower 90s. Then tonight we got hit with heavy and hard storms and lightning like so many camera bulbs.

It's funny because right now I'm reading my way through Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capitol Trilogy. I'm at the very end of 40 Signs of Rain, and the characters are going through much the same weather fiasco that we're facing. It's not great fiction, per se, but it's a wonderful medium for his theories on how to best restructure the government to be more apt to face these looming crises.

Next Friday I'm going up to my cottage for our yearly week long vacation. I can't stress enough how excited I am to get away and get to write and run and eat hobo pies and sit in the sun, and generally just decompress one last time before diving in to grad school.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Long Overdue...Again

Ok, so I got rather busy between the reading and now, and here, 2 weeks later, I am finally making the massive catch up post.

First off, the reading.

It went very well. I ended up reading only two stories, Just Jazz, which was received very well, and is now being cooled before going through rewrites before an eventual submission somewhere. And I also read an excerpt of The Rider (I think that is going to be the official title now). The Rider was received well, but because it was a middle of the story excerpt they didn't know entirely how to take it.

I've decided from this reading that I need to brush up on my public speaking skills. I also need to stop drinking coffee before a reading, and start drinking something more quenching. Like a Gatorade. I was up there and my mouth got really dry. The caffeine made me really nervous, and one eye teared up. And I was sweating like a madman. Most people said that it was a decent reading but I felt like crap while I was up there.

And congrats to the other readers. Martel Sardina read her story about Zombies and Chicago's notorious "vote early and often" saying. It was a very clever tale. The other was Joshua Doetsch who read excerpts from his upcoming novel "Strangeness in the Proportion" which won a publishing contest through White Wolf and will be available (according to his myspace page) "sometime in the near future." He has an amazing mastery over words and the ability to turn a phrase.


I went up to my cottage for the 4th. It was a weekend of running, geocaching, drinking, and fireworks with the family. We accidentally had two fireworks (very LARGE fireworks) go off on the ground, which was a rather disturbing experience.


I also got a job at Mcalister's deli. It's funny, I never thought that I would be working in food service. It was always one of those menial jobs I'd managed to avoid through high school and most of college. It helps being able to tell myself that it is just a summer job that will pass.

Really I miss working in libraries this summer. It was nice being in that field of public service and not in a private industry that is more concerned with resource conservation and anything in the name of a buck. I felt like I was doing actual good, and now I'm just working.


I'm still apartment hunting in Ann Arbor, but I have my hands on a few interesting places. Now I need to get the time off of work to head down to Ann Arbor for a few hours to check it out and do some job hunting and generally try to make like a progressive college student.


Other than that life has been fairly quiet. I've not done nearly the writing that I wanted to. I've only written one short story this summer. Goals are made to be broken and I am a pro at doing it.

On the good side I did go to the coffee shops around the area the last few days and have managed to more or less hammer out a cohesive outline for the Rider. It's raising some interesting questions and taking the story in a few different directions than I'd initially intended, but so far it isn't anything I'm too worried about, and the outline isn't set in stone. Maybe I'll go finish it tomorrow at the Starbucks in the mall.

And with that I'm going to go curl up with a beer and a book and fall asleep.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pretentious Drivel

I finished the first draft of "Just Jazz" yesterday at a Starbucks in the mall. It took about 4 more hours of writing than I'd planned. Today the story is out with a couple of friends and a former teacher. They're doing read throughs on it and hopefully giving me some feedback.

Every time I finish a story these days I keep stepping back and wondering if I've written something good or if I'm just spouting pretentious drivel. It's something that is very easy to do, especially with a theme of fate, and destiny, and the interconnectedness of everything.

I could be going to Chicago tonight, or more than likely tomorrow morning. I'm hoping tonight, but fate rests in the hands of Duke.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Interview and Graffiti

After a few days of glitches there's an interview up at Twilight Tales. Just follow this link.

I had an interview at Target today. It turned out to not work even in the slightest with my schedule. They wanted to hire me for temporary work starting in mid-August through September. Exactly when I couldn't work because I'll be prepping and moving to Ann Arbor. So in the end that puts me all the way back to square one.

I saw the greatest graffiti in the world today. It was a stencil sprayed onto the ground that said "I Love Waking Up With You." It made me smile.

Duke is coming with me to Chicago and to my first reading. We're staying with my friends Kristy and Lisa. I haven't seen either of them since I graduated and got back to Michigan, and Kristy I haven't seen since January.

Now I'm going back to watching Battlestar Galactica with friends.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Micronation

People will never cease to amaze me.

A little over a year ago I made a blog post about this thing called a micronation. You can read that here. It was about a little weapons platform off the coast of Britain that got claimed by some rich people and turned into their own micronation called Sealand. I laughed and used the article as the basis for a novella idea which has since been maybe abandoned and probably eventually turned into a short story.

Today I'm skimming Yahoo News, a tradition I do every morning after reading up on all the blogs I've missed and webcomics, and I stumbled on an article titled "Tiny Shetland Island Declares Independence." (Note that most Yahoo News links tend to be very transient and may not work).

How tiny? you might ask. One Hectare (which translates to 2.5 Acres or 107,639.1 square feet). I went and did a little research on Wikipedia and discovered a full article about the country of Forvik. And from there was a link to the Declaration of Direct Dependence.

The population of the country is 1. A man named Stuart Hill, which, if wikipedia is to be believed, goes by the nickname "Captain Calamity."

It seems that the once glorious United Kingdom is falling apart. One acre at a time.

God save the queen.


Sealand has a website that can be accessed here
According to Wikipedia the rebel government of sealand's website can be accessed here

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Catch Up

I'm back from the great white north.

I went up this weekend to Gaylord to visit my Grandparents for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. We had a party for them, my mom and my aunts put it on. It was all in all a very good time. Full of turkey and beer and more cream puffs than any one person should eat. The mornings that we were up there we were greeted by the roaring motors of airshows from the airport just south of town (I saw a parked F-18 when we left there this morning), and in the evenings we were annoyed by the obnoxious thump thumping of a concert which (according to my grandparents) was over a mile away, but prided itself on the volume of its music, which we could hear clearly.

I figured out what I'm reading at my first reading next Monday (see my previous post for more information). I'm doing a short excerpt from The Rider, all of Interlude, and all of another short story I've yet to finish titled "Bern Corwyn and the Society of The Miracle Workers," though I'm thinking of shortening the title to "Just Jazz." Now I actually have to finish that story, let it cool for a couple of days and then run a second draft over it before I read it. And this is how I still procrastinate even when I'm not at school.

There should be an interview up on the website at in the next few days.

I have an interview with Target on Tuesday for a super early morning job (4am-8am) stocking shelves or some nonsense. It's crazy, but it should pay well, and it'll line my coffers while I attempt to really do this thing we call writing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

First Real Reading

Whoa! Sorry about the long drought of posts for the past couple weeks. I'd tell you that life has gotten the better of me and I was doing stuff, but it's not true. I'm still here. I'm still (mostly) unemployed. I'm still broke.

I had a relative die the other day, and so have spent the past few days doing funeral stuff. But that's all done now.

In better news we're a week and a half away from my first non-school related reading! Pop on over to Twilight Tales for more information. specifically their schedule section.

Monday, June 30

  • Joshua Doetsch

  • Martel Sardina

  • Nathaniel Gray

    Tonight's event will be held at The Fixx Coffee Bar, 3053 N. Sheffield. Just three blocks from the Belmont El Stop!

I think it's free, but don't quote me on it. It might cost a few bucks at most (not to pay us, but to pay the group and pay for the venue). I'll ask around and let you know. A brief interview should be appearing on the front page of Twilight Tales in a couple days talking about what I plan on reading and such.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

So maintaining this strict regimen has been (unsurprisingly I would bet) laughable at best. I've been running fairly consistently (though I haven't in the past few days). Writing on the other hand has been an entirely different story. I need to kick it back up a notch and embrace this absolute lack of schedule conflicts.

I started going to Cappuccino Cafe to write and read and drink coffee. I've been getting a fair amount of work done there, but it is still not enough.

Tomorrow is going to be job hunting day, followed by a resounding afternoon of work at the cafe. I want to start reexamining the plot I've got for the Rider, and look at scenes I've created in Bombed. At the very least I can get the ground work laid out for the rest of summer.

And on that note I'm going to crash without having run today. Tomorrow I think I am going to eat a breakfast and then try to do the lake. We'll see...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Summer Slow

My sister graduated this weekend, and my grandparents came into town, so I've been busy entertaining the family. After that I don't have much excuse for not posting other than that I've really not had a whole lot to write about.

Last night I went to Dublin Square with Duke and we sat and talked about writing among other things. I've got him reading the first hundred pages of Bombed. He helped me figure out a few problems that I've known were arising in the last probably 30 pages of the book and how to nip them in the bud before it kills the book.

The problem that has arisen, beyond the usual figuring out of character things, is the lack of funny. I started out funny. I planned to barrel on with the funny. I also wanted to be aware of the gravity. And the gravity weighed me down. It seems like every event is now: they go somewhere, get shot at, get safe, get sentimental about the fact that things suck now. So Duke told me to change it. Throw in something absurd or funny. That I've got enough root in reality that the absurdest things that happen will still be believable. What that means is today I'm going to the coffee shop again with my laptop and I'm going to kill an afternoon reformatting everything.

Ran 7 miles last night. Finally I am back to what I used to do.

Other than that all is quiet. Still job hunting. Still putting off figuring out grad school hooplah... Probably shouldn't put either of those off anymore. And now I begin my day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Holy delay, Batman!

It's been a lot longer from my last post than I'd intended. And here is my excuse...

I went to my cottage last weekend, so I had been without internet Friday-Monday. Than I was just busy Tuesday through today.

Yesterday (seeing as it is now past midnight) was my birthday. Yay. I'm 22.

Real post tomorrow (or today as it would technically be).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

This is something I need to keep telling myself.

So far the regimen is working pretty well. I ran twice today. A 2-miler and a 3-miler. I feel great too. I tried to do pullups tonight but my abs were in pain so I let it go.

I wrote only about 500 words today, so tomorrow I have to pick it up a notch. And I need to start reading.

I think my room smells gross, or it might be the fact that my sister hasn't changed the water in her fishbowl. Either way I'm opening my window tomorrow and burning incense until my room smells good again.

Tomorrow I get my ears lowered! And then my barber, Tom, who has been my barber since I was 4 is retiring. I'm not sure what to do.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Am The Million Dollar Man, Somebody Catch Me While You Can

Ten points to the person who knows the artist who sang those lyrics...

Ok. It's summer. I have time and as of yet no job. So here's the plan.

I have a few goals this summer. They are as follows

  1. Write one novel (Bombed)
  2. Write 6 short stories
  3. Get in shape
Now here is the plan itself. I'm going to start running every single day at least twice a day for a half hour each time. As the summer progresses I'm raising my evening run beyond a half hour, while keeping my morning run the same. I need to figure out the schedule for the weight room at Haslett High School, and then start coordinating time to go there at least three times a week to lift and work muscle groups. Do what I can on the machines at home and pullups.

In terms of diet I'm slowly bringing it around, eating better as I can stand (not exactly a vegetable guy) and eating out far less (except for Sip and Snack (we all have to have a vice)). I'm eating less more often to help promote a faster metabolism.

Now in terms of writing I'm setting a lenient schedule. 10,000 words a week until the novel and at least 3 short stories are done, and then I'll shorten it and use the other time to start rewriting. On top of that I'm going to make sure to blog every day, and start sending more and more stuff out every chance I can.

And this is all while hoping to have a job I can be working at least 20-40 hours a week.

I want to keep a very rigorous schedule to ensure that everything gets done. And to make certain that my life now beyond the intensive writing drive of Columbia is still productive. I also want to start reading more across the board.

That reading is going to start focusing on research for my Jack novel, getting my hands on anything and everything and inundating myself with American Folklore so that when I get finished with Bombed I can get started right away on Jack and get that written.


In other news I applied for two jobs at Ann Arbor District Libraries today and got signed up to be a sub at any of the Capitol Area District Libraries. I went to the bar with Duke and we talked a bit, and he gave me an amp that he had lying about, so now I can hear what my Baritone Guitar sounds like. I went and saw Ironman again and I picked up GTA:IV.


One last announcement.

Plans are set now with Twilight Tales. I'm going to be reading there on the 30th of June. They are no longer at the Mix, but have moved to a new location called The Spread. I'm just waiting to get a questionnaire back from them and all the final details which I'll then post here and probably email everyone about a million and a half times.


Now I sleep and tomorrow I begin kicking ass!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

First Day Home

I found a fortune cookie on my parent's counter. It says

"Listen these next few days to your friends to get answers you seek."

It kinda creeps me out how applicable this is

Thoughts From After The Fact

Straight up, I don't know what to think.

I graduated today, and here less than twelve hours later I'm back in Michigan no longer living in Chicago. I'm not sure what to think of it. I know that as of right now, I don't like it. I don't like it at all. It feels like such a massive step back. A dropping of all the good and awesome things I had going and a picking up of all the old and problematic things I'd left behind. It's not that, I know. It's really just a return to a holding pattern as I circle once again waiting to land. But like an airline I feel like I'm just preparing to land at another port, pick up a bunch of people and just take off again leaving the previous load behind.

For the two years I was in Chicago I kept telling myself, "make no roots, get in get out get done," and then, just within the last 5 months or so I really started to settle in. I started to meet people I respected, started getting comfortable with people, making real friends, getting situated, only to have it usurped. Have a life that I was growing to really really love just get pulled away. And I don't understand me, but it is never until afterward that I really savor what I had. The glory of my routine last fall where I was being UBER productive, reading, writing, exercising, and just generally kicking ass in my setting. And this semester, though i griped about the work and the stress and how much I couldn't wait to get done, I am now savoring the moments I had. Seeing my friends as I was moving couch to couch. Long talks and gripes and many many beers with Lane. Preproduction sessions including lots of smoking with Mike and Andrew and eventually Sam. Long nights watching Lost with Lisa and Dan. Lots of good things not savored enough until they're gone and I'm on my own again.

Moving down to Columbia was an interesting situation. Fresh from a breakup that had a lot of strings attached and a lot of pieces to pick up. I'd planned on doing my time and getting out (which made that great opportunity sound like a prison sentence) and the feeling stuck for the first year. The summer started to fix it, being in a new apartment with a new roommate. Then in the fall my friend Kristy finally dragged me out and forced me to be sociable and it's been all uphill since then.

Only to hit this frustrating bump of switching tracks and having to start running on a new direction. It feels like a step back when it shouldn't.

I talked to my parents a bit about this on the way home, and it helped a bit, but not really. I've just got to figure out what I want and where I want to be. Some of it, I'm convinced, comes from being single. Some of it comes from having a fairly lax plan. Some of it is just life, man, I mean that is what this is I'm dealing with, just that next step in life.

Dan Rather spoke at our graduation. It was very interesting. He had lots of good things to say about being the now. Not just the future. I liked that.

This summer is going to be a writing summer. If I'm stuck at home then I'm going to be productive. The idea is 6 short stories and 1 novel by the time school starts in the fall.

I don't know where I want to end up after. And I know that is a lot of thinking ahead, but longer plans feel so much safer and more malleable than figuring out how I'm going to deal with this move.

My friend Lane called me not long after I crossed the Michigan border and was asking about when I planned on coming down next. He sounded bummed that the soonest I was thinking was end of June, and he talked about how we should shoot to get together sometime in the next month. It hurt. It hurt knowing I've made these friends that are built on so little time to just turn around and say goodbye to them again.

That's really all the thoughts I've had. Lots of thinking in circles. Trying to figure what I want and who I want to be around. Sorry if this post was so rambling. Back to the writing tomorrow.

Yay I'm graduated.

Thursday, May 15, 2008



Really that is all this blog post should say. I should wrap it up here and go back to working my last day and be happy with being able to say I'M DONE!

But I won't.

Yesterday my last class, with Tina Jens, got out and I went straight to the bar and proceeded to drink myself embarrassed. Then I went to bed, slept till 7, showered, came to work. And I have no right to feel as good as I do right now. In fact I should be in massive amounts of pain. But I'm not because I have an iron constitution (and I got rid of most of it). More than anything else I was surprised at how loud my iPod was from the walk home. I stepped out the door this morning, put the earbuds in hit play and tore the earbuds out of my ears because it was on full.

Now I have to go work my last day, but I'll make a real blog post later...

Monday, May 12, 2008

At The Desk....Again

It's starting to feel like I never leave this place, the library. Once written and looked at, the idea of never leaving the library doesn't seem as bad of a problem as it did when I wrote it.

It's Monday. The last Monday of Columbia. That sounds like a great apocalyptic story title. "The Last Monday Of Columbia." Maybe I'll write it once I get my free time. It would have as a main character the Columbia of the Chicago World's Fair.

I'm feeling punchy because it feels like I got out of work, went and watched a couple of episodes of Family Guy, fell asleep, woke up, and was back here a half hour later (which is all in fact true).

Homework is almost done. Semester is almost done. Living like a bum is almost done. I need to shower.

I started trying my hand at a Cthulhu story, but I feel like I need to read more. Haven't been writing much else though in the last couple of days.

Now back to work

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Last Sunday

I'm working at the library all day today. In a nutshell this means I'm sitting at the desk working on homework while around me students bustle and hurry to do their last minute homework also. Sunday is quiet enough that the most complicated question I've got is about printing and Oasis, the wonky page that allows classes to be somewhat internet based, that's if it ever worked.

I just sent a short story to Doorways Magazine, the one that Mort edits.

Also I'm hammering out the details with Twilight Tales about being their featured reader in June. The date is currently looking like the 30th of June, which would be very good because it falls on the same weekend as the Wizard World Chicago. So maybe I'll make a long weekend of it and come down and get my geek on.

I've got less than 7 days left here in Chicago and it really hasn't set in yet. I've been so busy just living on the road between couches and friends houses and the craziness of actually getting projects rolling and submitted that the fact that by next Sunday I won't be living here anymore has not set in. I know I'm going to need to start making serious plans to see as many people as I can before I finally bug out and off to the future.

In writerly news I'm still hammering away at Bombed, a post apocalyptic stoner buddy roadtrip comedy (the current word count is 18,000 words). I'm thinking about some major usurpations I'm going to be doing to the Rider's story. I'm working on finishing first drafts of a couple of short stories and I'm doing some preliminary research on a short story involving Yig the serpent god of the Cthulhu Mythos and the creation of Man according to the book of Genesis.

And now I'm back to figuring out what piece of work I can regurgitate for my History of the American Working Class final project.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Goings On

Sitting at the Library right now ripping DVDs and working on the final rewrite for my Advanced Class.

Tonight I'm going to be sleeping on a couch just south of Wicker Park with my friend Anna. She's a more traditional Artist who I am hoping to collaborate with on a sort of comic tomfoolery that I wrote back in Mort's class and have been meaning to get out and published eventually. And conveniently enough Anna has a magazine she's getting started called The Happy Collaborationists.

Mike expressed interests in directing an animated adaptation of my short story "I'm Just A Boatman." And we're beginning to figure out the necessities for getting that going this summer. I also just heard back from Mort on that, so I'm getting ready to send that out his way.

Tomorrow I am working at the library all day, which in a nutshell means I'm going to be doing homework while sitting at a desk and telling people the proper way to print.

Library is closing soon so it's time for me to start packing up and get ready to roll out to Wicker Park.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Vagabond Life

I went out West to La Grange last night with my friend Lane. I met his dog, the now legendary Charlie, who was the basis for the dog in his novel. I met his mom and his brother. I visited the La Grange public library. It has an amazing graphic novel selection. I read the majority of Infinite Crisis, which was just ok. Afterwards we went to the bar and I had a french dip and far too much to drink and spent far too much money. I also met Lane's girlfriend for the second time, and I'm 2 for 2 for meeting her while I'm inebriated. Then we went back to her house and I fell asleep on her couch.

The floors of her townhouse are very loud. One of her roommates, who wakes up early for work was stamping around the house (by which I mean she was stepping as lightly as is possible) and into the living room to get something off the coffee table near where I was sleeping. It was after 6:30, so already I was in a half conscious morning-after daze, unsure of most everything except that I'm on a couch, and the roommate makes enough noise to jilt me a little further awake.

"Sorry kiddo," she says.

Now, quick aside. The only person who has ever called me "kiddo" is my mom, and she does it very often. Back to story...

So I, hearing kiddo, and still feeling a little spin from the alcohol look around more scared and surprised and had to stop myself from asking loudly, "Mom?!" It was the first time ever that I had a "where the hell am I??" moment.

I'd left my phone charger and my toothbrush at Ryan's apartment, so when I got back into the city I went up there to pick it up, and also borrowed his shower. And now I'm sitting in a Panera, waiting to hear back on a couch for the night.


So this post is going up later than I planned. When I went to hit the send button last night and put it up for you all to see I got this warning that I had used all my available peak time. And the above was all that was saved from the post before the internet decided to stop.

Afterwards I went with my friend Sam over to the house of my director and his Gaffer/DP, Mike and Andrew (respectively). We smoked a lot, drank a lot, and got Sam signed up to produce Mike's independent film, currently titled "The System." Then Mike and I stayed up very late talking about Star Wars and actually good movies, and future project ideas. I crashed on the couch there and now I'm at the library with Andrew discussing a potential future comic/mock movie preview for our hero, The Purple Magnificence. We're thinking of getting it together and squared away to have as something that can be passed out at the Chicago Comic Con either 2009 or 2010. More to come on that later.

Now it's time to do homework

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Coming To A Head

I'm out in La Grange with my friend Lane, staying on his girlfriend's couch tonight. Right now I'm at the library reading DC Comic's Infinite Crisis. The big event from a year or so ago. It's pretty good and Geoff Johns is my favorite writer (see his work on the Green Lantern volume 4 (Rebirth, Sinestro Corps War, and the upcoming Blackest Night)), I've just never been a big fan of DC's big events, and most of the Crisis events have been a let down. Except Identity Crisis, which is some of the best comic writing to date.

Things are starting to come to a head with school. I have 6 days left. One story is out circulating, and, for a grade for my Fantasy class, and for the sake of getting things out, a second story is entering its final draft and getting ready to head out.

A little over a week ago I had my reading with the fantasy class at Twilight Tales. I posted about it here. And I just got an email from Mike Martinez from Twilight Tales about being a featured reader in June. When I work the details out I'll be posting more information.

And with that I'm back to reading comics.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Interesting Quote

I saw this quote in an article in the news yesterday. You can get to the article here. The quote has been zinging around my head for a while and I'm trying to figure out what to do with it.

It has to do with the Fritzl incest case. One of the kids who had been locked in the basement for his entire five years saw the moon for the first time when the cops came and let them out and he asked the cops, "Is that God up there?"

There is something about that awe and wonder in the article that has been sitting with me. Maybe I'll do something with it later.

Quick Addon:

Miles Kurosky is starting to put out his solo stuff!!!! Check it here!

This is my musical second coming...


I'm up early this morning and I'm stressing about money.

I look at my bank account and I see that I am living paycheck to paycheck. This is normal, Nathan, you're a college student. I can't help feeling like I am living so far beyond my means that it is going to come and bite me in the ass later.

In my history of the american working class class the teacher was talking about the need to make capital. The need for property. The need to dig our way out of the poor who live how? paycheck to paycheck.

It's daunting. It makes me wish I could turn back the clock. That I could take the last two years back and instead fade into obscurity at some university with half the debt, studying something like anthropology, or mythology, or philosophy or something that could make me some money maybe. Instead I'm studying fiction writing at a college that has sucked me clean dry of money for the next thirty years.

It's one of those things I think about now with only 8 days left of school. That I think about with the fact that I am about to go to grad school. That I haven't published anything yet. That I'm not even trying really. That I think about when I'm sleeping on my friend's couch because I don't have anywhere else to stay.

I was raised in the land of middle class. The land of creature comforts. The lands of cheerful mediocrity. And right now there is this daunting worry that I may not be able to achieve that. That I am living on a dream of publishing. Something that is so hard and so unlikely. My Fantasy Teacher, Tina Jens, tells me I have talent and that I should be publishing now, so does my friend Mort. I believe them, I do. I just can't seem to find a way to finish stuff.

This is all so daunting. And at 6 in the morning on a friends couch there isn't a thing I can do, and I have never felt so powerless.

I wrote this in my journal a while ago:

I'm dreaming of a small two story house right on the threshold between the suburbs and farmlands. On the edge of a small town, but only a short jog from a college town. Maybe an hour or so from a city. I'm dreaming of having some decent acreage with a little bit of woodland. A garden near the house with corn and potatoes and tomatoes and carrots and beans and jalapenos and strawberries like what my mom used to grow. I'm dreaming of comfort. Not of wealth. I don't want wealth. I am dreaming of a place that has areas where I can get away from the bustle, but also get to it easily. This sanctum sanctorum from which i can write my novels, and do my library science world changing. It's safe. It's comfortable.