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This weekend was a nice, sort of lazy weekend. Got some housework done yesterday, dicked around a little on my manuscript last night, and this afternoon, since Tara already was away with her mother, I was going to meet my own mother (LVP) for dinner in Wilkes-Barre, and decided to leave a lot earlier and go to Guitar Center at Montage and look at guitars and amps, as in the back of my mind I'm contemplating getting a new electric guitar and some sort of small amp at some point. My beloved 1979 Fender Stratocaster needs a good fret job (which I don't know how to do and would have to pay a specialist [after finding one] to handle), and I'd like to change the electronics and get new volume and tone pots in it. And my Stooges-autographed guitar is not meant for playing, period (whoever assembled it after attaching the signed pickguard didn't really now how to set up a guitar anyway). 

Anyway, probably with no thanks to Steve Jones and Robert Fripp I figured I'd look at Les Pauls, or rather the Epiphone line of Les Paul guitars (Epiphone is a subsidiary of Gibson). Guitar Center folk tend to be very freindly and open about folks trying out the instruments, which helps. The first one I tried was a black Les Paul not dissimilar to this one. It was nice enough. The next one I tried was this beauty in black, which I liked the sound and feel of even better than the first one. There was an Ibanez Les Paul-style guitar nearby that I gave a few minutes of attention to as well. After those, I started looking around at Fenders, trying unsuccessfully to find a Jazzmaster (I would LOVE TO have either this one, this one, this one, or this one but they are all out of my present reach moneywise to begin with!), when I happened to see the Fender Joe Strummer Telecaster hanging nearby. I plugged that one right in and tried it. Very nice and I don't mind the delibrately distressed look (those closest to me might think otherwise) but the guitar they had there is $699. Now, if I am going to do this I am not planning on spending more than $700 altogether for guitar and amplifier. We'll see.

When I was trying out the guitars I played punk riffs pretty much exclusively (Black Flag, Clash, Sex Pistols, Stooges - Morning Musume's "Yuujou" was the only exception, and that's a punk song in style and execution, too!). When I was trying the Joe Strummer Telecaster, the one clerk that told me I could try out any guitar I wanted saw me picking it up, having overheard what I was playing on the other guitars, and said with a smile, "Now there's the guitar you should be playing the Clash on!" And yeah, chopping out the opening chords to "London Calling" on it felt pretty good... Still, we'll see. If I had the money now and was going to make a move this week I'd probably go with the second Epiphone Les Paul. Amplifier-wise, I only need something small, maybe with some built-in effects, that I can also plug headphones and a CD player or iPod into, on the assumption that when I get this it's gonna have to go with me to whereever Tara and I move into next spring, and there's a ton of possibilities there to get into. But again, this was and is all just a little thought in the back of my mind, I'm not making any moves just yet, just seeing what is possible.  

As I was leaving Guitar Center, another clerk there who  was manning the table by the door and had overheard me playing told me how much he liked the fact that I was playing a lot of punk stuff.  

Whoa, getting late, better rack - another work week starts tomorrow. 
Tara worked overtime all week, so today was the first time I got to see her in a while. I'm actually trying to recall what day I saw her last before today. We're in almost constant contact thanks to our BlackBerrys, but it's not the same as being with her in person. Anyway, she came with LVP and I to Wilkes-Barre and then for some quick grocery shopping. We tried to stop at a church bazaar in Mountaintop on the way back, but there was no place to park. Sheesh!

On the way home, Tara was telling me how she makes ringtones so she sent me these instructions for an audio program she uses. Works pretty good. Of course, one of the first ringtones I had to make was for MiniMoni's "MiniMoni Telephone RinRinRin". Hey, what kind of a Morning Musume/Hello! Project fan would I be if I didn't have that as one of my ringtones? I also did ones with Minutemen, Meat Puppets, and Brian Eno songs too. I was going to do a Black Flag one but I couldn't decide which song of theirs to use. Could you imagine the chorus of "Rise Above" coming out of a cell phone? LOL.

Damn, it's almost 2:30, I really should call it a night... 

Quick mini-random update.

Tired as hell today. Got some writing in tonight after dealing with some "writer's constipation" yesterday, finally passing the 169,000-word mark. Going to try for 175,000 by Monday. Racking right now though.
Look up your birthday in Wikipedia. Pick 4 events, 3 births, 2 deaths, and 1 holiday.


July 17th


1899 - NEC Corporation is organized as the first Japanese joint venture with foreign capital.

1945 - World War II: Potsdam Conference - at Potsdam, U.S. President Harry Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the three main Allied leaders, begin their final summit of the war. The meeting would end on August 2.

1955 - Disneyland televises its grand opening in Anaheim, California.

1996 - TWA Flight 800: Off the coast of Long Island, New York, a Paris-bound TWA Boeing 747 explodes, killing all 230 on board.


1948 - Ron Asheton, American musician and composer (Iggy Pop & The Stooges) (d. 2009)

1966 - Lou Barlow, American alternative rock singer and musician (Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh)

1984 - Asami Kimura, Japanese singer (Country Musume)


1967 - John Coltrane, American musician (b. 1926)

1996 - Chas Chandler, British bass guitarist (The Animals), record producer and manager (Jimi Hendrix) (b. 1938)


Kyoto, Japan - Gion Matsuri

Too many cool people were born and passed away on my birthday (Coltrane's death was the exact day I was born, for Chrissakes!) - I could have easily thrown in Geezer Butler, P.J. Soles ("Riff Randall" from 'Rock n' Roll High School'), Guru from Gang Starr, Nicolette Larson, or Wolfgang Flur from Kraftwerk for the former. I didn't know until I looked this up tonight that Billie Holiday died on that day in '59.

Happy Birthday to Me...

I turned 42 on Friday. It was an interesting day. Original plan was Tara and I going to Cooper's, but her sister and brother-in-law had gotten four free tickets to a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (minor league farm team for New York) game, complete with access to one of the party rooms, so we went for it. The game was a bit of an anti-climax because, for one, it got rained out after a few innings (and the game was delayed about 45 minutes to begin with). Second, in the middle of the second inning the Yankees' pitcher had thrown a ball too high, forcing the umpire to throw him out of the game. The Yankees' manager went apeshit and got in the umpire's face and got thrown out as well. So much for that. We left around the time the third inning was starting because the rain was getting band and because a lot of other people who were staying inside the party room were dominating the seats by the windows. Hey, everything was free - even the hats, so what the hell. Cooper's we'll be saving for when LVP takes us out for my birthday dinner in a few days.

Tara gave me my presents early this morning rather than either lug them to her job where I'd be meeting her after work, or going to her house after dinner and everything else. Wise move. She got me a Canon PIXMA MP620B Blue Edition printer/scanner/copier, a copy of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (I'll bet I already have about 400 to 500 of those titles!), a copy of the Rhythm Heaven DS game, a Peanuts DVD set (all of the TV specials from the 60's), a DVD trivia game, the ever-traditional pair of pajama pants (this time with a Mario Bros./Nintendo design), a copy of a Life commemorative Michael Jackson special, a little canned Trivial Pursuit game, and a Gillette razor set. Tara was afraid I'd be disappointed in everything, but to be honest, I never know what to ask for most of the time in these occasions and she always comes through with some goodies.

Getting the blinks, so I'm going to crash... good night!

Vacation (writing hiatus), Day 8

2,661 new words, making for an updated word count of 156,801 as of a minute ago. I had a late start on the writing and my eyes are starting to droop. I shall try for 7,500-10,000 words in these last two days of the "writing hiatus" and figure out my gameplan to reach 200,000 by my 42nd birthday on Friday.


Vacation (writing hiatus), Day 7

The manuscript is now up to 154,140 words as of Thursday. I cannot help but feel proud. Tempted to do a little more but am undecided as to where to continue. I went over some of the freewritten scenes that I have left and I cannot decide right now which one to start cleaning up. Perhaps I will start another need-to-write scene entirely before officially calling it an evening. Could I possibly reach 200,000 by next Friday, which happens to be my birthday? It's possible. 

Vacation (writing hiatus), Day 3

Not much on the writing front, but I kinda planned for that. I did add a little to one scene directly in the manuscript itself earlier today, but the focus of today was actually spending Independence Day with Tara. LIke last year, we brought along our bag chairs and a couple of books. Tara only brought along Atlas Shrugged, while I, unable to decide which book or books to bring along, carried in my old Barnes & Noble James Joyce book bag Ulysses, Netherland, Sputnik Sweetheart and Eclipse.  I started on Ulysses first and got through the funeral/burial scene and got thrown off when all of a sudden Leopold Bloom is in a newspaper office and every few paragraphs are split up with headlines! This is part of the notoriety of Ulysses - how crazily stream of conscious the damned story is. I switched to Eclipse and read that until it started to get dark and noisy. 

Other than that, not much else going on. Going to rack now. 

Vacation (writing hiatus), Day 2

Writing hiatus (vacation) officialy began yesterday,even though I started on it after I came home from work on Wednesday. The scene I started on Wednesday night, I finished yesterday (after getting a fuckload of housework out of the way), then I started on another one. This morning, I started, after morning e-mail, to rewrite one of the earlier scenes that I'd first written for the book. Since the "original" version had some setup for the character, I simply tossed some of the backstory that was already told better in the preceding months since I started writing this novel, extended a few other things, and kept the rest. This afternoon and evening, with a somewhat reluctant break for dinner in Wilkes-Barre with LVP in the middle, I continued working on the scene I started Thursday night. And the new word count is:


It is an incredibly wonderful feelign to know that the conclusion of this first draft may come to fruition before the end of the month. If it actually comes before the end of the vacation, I will be quite shocked, but it goes without saying that I am simply very excited and very proud. So much so, that I just want to keep on writing the night away. It's a tempting thought, but with nine days left between now and Monday I think I can get a shitload of overdue work accomplished. 

Jun. 28th, 2009

As hoped, I spent a good deal of the day on the novel, cleaning up some of the freewritten scenes, writing another scene, and putting all of those into the manuscript. And the new word count is...


No patting myself on the back or anything, but that's pretty fucking good for a day's work considering that I was somewhere in the 122,000's last time I checked. I feel very accomplished. That's it for me for writing for the day. I'm going to shoot for another 2,000 words minimum tomorrow. 


Reina Tanaka 'Hello Internet!'
CJ Marsicano (CJマルシカノ)

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