Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Do you guys want a chatlog?

I have a chatlog for you!! Sorry it's so long. I'm not cutting anything out. I know you'll love it.

Jason: hello steve, i am better than you
Sent at 12:51 AM on Tuesday
me: jason
great scott
jason kramb

Jason: hello
me: how's it going?
Jason: guess where i am?
me: africa

Jason: yup

me: internet cafe
city i don't know
Jason: no, peace corps office in dar es salaam
me: oh cool
Jason: its not very exciting
me: oh damn
how's everything going?

Jason: lots of white people though
thats kinda fun

me: mmm feels like home
Jason: yup
its going ok

me: good
Jason: school is starting now so when i get back home i'll have to start teaching
whats up there?

me: nothing
school starts in august but until then i have no job
mikey's in vegas right now playing poker
i'm pretty sure he's getting owned
Jason: that's the way to go
oh damn
why is he doing that?

me: because mikey is kinda pathetic
he never got a job after he graduated in january

he just plays poker online
i guess online he can make money but in person he's not

Jason: can he actually support himself playing poker online?
me: yeah he said he can
he was living with his brother in chicago for a while, but his brother had to go back to cincinnati for school
not sure what mikey is gonna do, find a roommate i guess
Sent at 1:06 AM on Tuesday
Jason: thats funny
tell him good job for not giving in to the pressure to be a productive member of society

me: hahah yeah
speaking of which beard's going to grad school so he's avoiding it too

Jason: yeah that what i heard
me: also beard bought multiple mopeds at his parents' house
Jason: stupid beard
me: i think all of us went crazy basically
are the kids learning anything?
Jason: no not really
i really dont think i've thought anyone anything

me: haha damn
Jason: yeah, i guess its a combination of the kids not speaking english well enough to want to pay attention to me and me not speaking swahili well enough to teach in it
and then all of the kids just being terrible at physics and math
me: hahaha
Jason: and i think they are in general much worse than sci 190 students, which is pretty bad
me: fuckk
at least they don't come in and bitch to each other about their hangovers and how much they miss mom
Jason: haha yeah that is true
me: i'm going to be teaching freshman english in the fall
feelin' pretty unprepared
Jason: by yourself?
me: yeah, like a real teacher
Jason: hm
make sure to dominate them
and give them all f's
me: haha yes
Jason: cause i
m sure they deserve it
me: haha i'm kinda scared they're going to be shitty
i don't want shitty students

Jason: haha
well from my experience you get use to it
me: hahaha
Jason: but yeah it would be nice if they didn't suck hard
me: hey have you been cutting your hair
or do you have a huge fro
Jason: eh, i cut it sometimes
so its usually shorter than in the states
but now its pretty long
me: cool
Jason: people here like short hair, so they think it looks a lot better cut
but i
am lazy

me: haha yeah
Jason: plus i have no water at my house
me: owned.
Jason: so that makes washing long hair a problem
yeah it sucks bad

me: how far away is water?
Jason: there was a pump at teh school which they turned on about 30 minutes every other day, so that was maybe 200 meters
but it broke
so now the next closest is like 1km or more
i don't really know

me: fuck.
Jason: i had to start paying someone to bring it
me: daaaaamn
Jason: yeah i don
t know why people choose to live there

me: africa....
so you have like 14 months until you can be done, right?
not that you're racing to get out of there or anything, but you started in september, i think?
Jason: yeah started in septmeber
so i'd be suppose to come back in November of 2009 i think
me: okay
Jason: but theres a pretty decent chance i'll quit a few months early so that i could start grad school in september
me: cool
Jason: maybe coming back in the very beginning on august or something
don't tell peace corps though
they would be unhappy
me: fuck em
Jason: yeah, they are pretty dumb
me: why are you in dar es salaam right now?
Jason: i have a meeting here today and tomorrow
peace corps likes to have meetings
especially when we are suppose to be teaching

me: what's the meeting about?
how awesome running water is?

Jason: i'll bring that up, since it is suppose to be about volunteer concerns or something
i am the representative from my region

me: hahaha
that's probably kind of a concern in your region

Sent at 1:27 AM on Tuesday
me: have you kept up with the news?
nothing really interesting going on, actually

Jason: i kind of keep up
i listen to bbc radio

me: cool
Jason: so they talk about some good stuff
way to much soccer and cricket though
me: yeah probably
i just ignore headlines on my home page
israel, iran, sudan charged with war crimes, blah blah
Jason: haha
some things never change
me: true
where do you want to go to grad school again?

somewhere in washington dc?
Sent at 1:31 AM on Tuesday
Jason: i'm thinking finland at the moment, there's a school with r master's in applied physics /renewable energy program
me: oh dang awesome
Jason: i applied this year and got in, but i'll turn them down since i'm still here and apply again next year
me: haha suckers
Jason: yup
me: i heard finland has running water
Jason: it does, and you can drink it straight from the tap

me: hahaha
you know tony's working for pappa storti now
doing something or other, i don't know
Jason: is he at home or in chicago?
me: in chicago, he lives pretty close to my brother
oh fuck
i'm going to copy this chatlog onto my blog and they're all gonna get insulted
whoops i didn't make their lives pathetic

Jason: well they are all pathetic, we knew that
me: yeah
teresa got into the PhD program at her school
Jason: cool
me: which means like five years of research, no more classes or teaching, and she'll get the phd
Jason: so you'll be in colorado for a while then?
me: yeah
i'll get the master's and probably teach for a while
no idea what we'll do after she graduates

Sent at 1:40 AM on Tuesday
Jason: so you'll teach after you finish but she's still going?
me: yeah, i could try to go straight for a phd but they usually look for teaching experience, i guess
with a master's i can teach english in college, just not a lot of upper-level classes
Jason: when are you gonna start writing books?
me: gotta wait for that war i get involved in
i'm pretty sure that's how it goes

Jason: just go to iraq now
me: hmm
iraq, eh
i bet going to iraq would be really shitty
i've been writing a little bit this summer but i suck at focusing

Sent at 1:45 AM on Tuesday
me: how much do you get to talk to the girl in finland?
also what's her name?
Jason: Tähti
i'm talking to her now
she came and visited last month too

me: oh awesome
Jason: yeah it was really fun
but other than that we usually talk on the phone like once a week for an hour or less
so we talk some, but not crazy lot

me: yeah that's not much
Jason: and write letters maybe once a week
and they take about a week to deliver

me: haha
Sent at 1:48 AM on Tuesday
me: are you trying to learn finnish?
Jason: eh, not really now
i have a book on it but it is suppose to be pretty hard

me: yeah
Jason: and i still dont know swahlili well enough, so i'll probably wait until i go there for school to really try
me: oh that's true
Jason: but i will try to take some classes and learn it eventually
me: awesome
was the application to the school in finnish?

Jason: na, the program is sort of targeted to international students so a lot of it is in english
me: cool
Jason: yeah it seems liek a cool program
and finland is pretty cool too
a slight step up from tanzania

me: hahah

Jason: am i allowed to be now since i've lived in africa?
or is it still not ok?

me: if you make at least one friend
Jason: thats all it takes?
me: yeah, man
then anything you say is cool
because you aren't racist, you have black friends
fuckin AFRICAN friends

Jason: awesome
than i can say whatever i want i think
i got way more than 1 african friend

me: so are they all lazy thieves or what
Jason: of course
me: knew it
teresa and i moved closer to our schools
but now we are surrounded by white people
no more indians or mexicans or africans
just white people although i think a couple are immigrants' children

Jason: thats a little dissapointing
me: yeah
oh well, never talked to the old neighbors anyway

Jason: do you talk to any of the new people
me: nope
not yet at least
i hide in my apartment

Jason: it sounds like i should be giong now
me: okay cool
good luck with africa

Jason: i might get on later
you have a good time too

me: okay...it's two AM here so hopefully in the morning maybe

Sent at 2:01 AM on Tuesday

Yeah. I talked to Jason. Jason rules. Jason probably really wants some running water.

I'm sure this post is already immense so I'll just say nothing is happening here. Teresa is visiting her family in Texas and I'm sitting around staring at objects all day. I think tomorrow I'm going to go clean the old apartment and maybe speak to another person...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Okay look at the story.

I have this story and I got responses from Brad and Patrick with some really good suggestions. But I haven't actually changed it at all. I've had other shit to do! It's at the end of this post.

Teresa and I moved last week. We're way closer to the train and to her school now, and the place is nice. No more Chinese or grocery store in walking distance, though. :( Actually wait there's a long line of things up on Evans a couple blocks away, I just don't know what because I'm a shut-in. We've been unpacking and cleaning shit and I have been going back and cleaning the old place the past week. I've also been writing song lyrics and sending them to Brad. But that's another post.

Okay here's the story. I hope you like it. ???



We noticed the scratching during dinner. David heard it first, and looked around, and lowered his fork; and Ben and I stood up and went to the back door. There was a dog there, brown and black with a stubby tail, and he was scratching insistently at the back door, and whining sometimes. Ben stopped, because he hates strangers and dogs, and this was a strange dog. I walked to the screen door and told the dog to go away. He had yellow eyes and he stared through the screen at Ben, and me, and whined.

“Get fucking lost.”

“Where did he come from?”

“Got to be a stray,” I said. “Pretty fucking skinny.”

The dog kept scratching and David appeared in the doorway, and I knew that he’d be getting fed and probably put up in the garage, or maybe at the foot of David’s bed. The garage is too cold in January, David would say.

“Fuck off,” I told the dog.

David crossed the kitchen and looked down at the dog. Ben still hovered near the doorway to the living room, and the dog wagged its short tail and scratched at the screen door.

“Well, hello,” David said to the dog. He crouched and peered through the screen. It was evening, and dark. Behind the dog the trees shifted in the wind.

“Whatcha say, buddy?” David said in a playful voice. “Huh? You hungry?” Ben quietly backed into the living room. David, still holding his fork, went to the fridge, muttering to the dog.

“You hungry, little guy? Look at your sad little face! I bet you’re really hungry, aren’t you?” David searched through the fridge and came out with a box of leftover fried chicken and potatoes.

“Here we go, my man. Here we go, buddy boy. You stay put just a second, you’ll be eating like a king.” He crossed to the cupboard and took out a bowl, and he carried it to the sink, still talking. The dog scratched and whined.

“Can’t eat something this salty without some water, amigo. You don’t have a collar, huh? You a stray? You probably don’t get—”

“David,” I said. He stopped talking. “Don’t feed that fucking thing. It’s going to come back every day and it’s fucking annoying, and probably diseased.”

David stood in the middle of the kitchen, leftovers in one hand and water in the other. His fork poked out of his shirt pocket. He looked at me.

For the past month none of us had spoken like that. Not to each other and not, to my knowledge, at all. A month ago we moved into the lake house south of the city, and since then we had been agreeable, and now I could see in David’s face the things we had thought, and hadn’t said.

David had suggested the lake house to me in a phone call a week after John and Dorothy’s funerals. I was sitting at home in Denver, and David was still at his parents’ in Littleton, near the city, where he was staying for the funerals. He called in the morning, while I was reading the newspaper.


“Andy, I’m, uh, don’t think I’m going back to work. Not yet.” He was stuttering.

“David? What? Are you still in Colorado?”

“Yeah, and I missed the flight to L.A. today. It was this morning, I missed it. It’s leaving now.”

“Ah, shit. When can you leave?”

“No, well, no, I don’t know when.” His voice was faint. “I really don’t know when I will go back.”

“Did you call the sisters?” David worked at an advertising firm run by two tiny and hilarious sisters whose names were Penelope and Celeste.

“No, man. I’m just—” He took a long breath. “I can’t go yet. I might not go back.” Another pause. “Fucker,” David said, and he was crying.

“What do you think you’ll do?” I stared at my groceries, still in bags on the kitchen counter. I’d gone early that morning.

David exhaled. “I want to stay here. I rented a house down at Cold Springs, on the lake. I’m going down tomorrow afternoon.”

“Cold Springs?”

“It’s the place John and Dorothy first met.”

“It is?”


“Give me the number there.”

He did and we hung up, and I went to the kitchen and poured myself another drink.
Two days later David and I stepped up the stairs onto the faded red porch of the house where John and Dorothy met on vacation when we were sixteen.

There’s a picture in Ben’s parents’ house that I have memorized. It’s the four of us—Ben, John, David, me—dressed and ready for our first day of kindergarten. Ben, even then so small, stares earnestly at the camera. David fiddles with his backpack; I reach over and try to make him pay attention to the picture being taken. John, hands in his pockets, looks to the side. His face is upturned, beaming. According to his mother, when the adults said “Smile!” that was John’s response. He is looking at her, at his mother, smiling in his fierce, honest way. We used to laugh at that reaction, his intense happiness.

When people ask me what John was like, I tell them about that twenty-year-old picture.

Starting the next summer, when we were seven, our parents made a tradition of the summer trip to the lake houses in Cold Springs. The faded red house, the faded yellow one to its right, and the two white houses across the street—these were our castles, our playgrounds, our dream lands. A week there every summer seemed to last an hour; we were giddy. Even as we reached adolescence, our weeks at Cold Springs were always brighter, livelier, fuller, more real.

Then a few weeks before we were going to Cold Springs, when we were all 16, Ben’s cousins came to live with his family. His aunt and uncle had some kind of problems. Those cousins—Dorothy, and her very frightening sister Susan—came to Cold Springs with the Bransons, and slept in Ben’s room. Ben slept with me.

Dorothy hated us, and she was beautiful enough to get away with it. She was probably beautiful enough to kill one or two of us, and I guess she considered it. We gave her reason to; we were as horrible as 16-year-olds get. I think she despised life on both Monday and Tuesday of that week.

In the mornings, she read, sitting on the shore of the lake. When our staring and sad attempts at conversation bothered her enough, she locked herself in Ben’s parents’ room, and talked to her friends on the phone. She ate dinner alone in her room, and all evening sat in the corner frowning. She went to bed early just to avoid us.

By Wednesday I think that Dorothy decided she was tired of being bored, and wanted something to do. She never admitted this, but I believe it. I once asked her, one night, when John wasn’t around, and she smiled and said, things certainly got more interesting after that day, didn’t they. Then she walked out of the kitchen and I watched her walk until the door closed behind her.

That Wednesday morning Ben, David, John and I were going swimming. We walked past the chair where Dorothy would sit and read her book. After twenty minutes she appeared and watched us in the water. She said her cousin’s name, and Ben went to her, then came back. “John,” he said, “your parents want to see you at the house.” So John went to Dorothy, and the two of them went to the faded red house, and we did not see them until dinner, when John pulled out a chair for her and she smiled a staggering smile at him.

By Friday John had returned to us, and Dorothy joined us. I think Ben hated the idea of it, for just a while, but soon enough we could hardly remember how it was before. In the following years there would be additions and subtractions—girlfriends, wives for Ben and me, coworkers, other friends—but none of them ever fit like Dorothy.

Now David stopped looking at me and turned back to the dog, still whining behind the back door. He tried to open the back door with his hands full, and I shook my head.

“Fine. Fine. Take it somewhere besides the back door so he doesn’t come scratching all the time. I don’t give a shit.” I put my hands in my pockets because they were shaking, and I turned and looked at the refrigerator, and I heard David pull the door open and walk back toward the woods with the dog still yipping away, and him still talking to it.

When I came back in the living room, Ben was talking to me. “Walk time,” I said.
“Want company?” He lowered his fork.

“I don’t think so. I like the time alone.”

“Where do you go?” Jesus, Ben. I was almost out the door.

“Just wander, I guess. Sometimes down to the lake. Be back in a while,” and I went out.

I crossed the street to the white house with the green shutters, where my family had stayed; the one with the shed in the back that we used to climb into through broken slats in the back corner and hide among the rusted lawn care equipment and play cards. From the shed you couldn’t even see the street.

I walked around to the back corner and pushed the slats aside. There was still about a third of the bottle left.

I had gotten a phone call from Dorothy’s mother, now divorced from her father, to tell me about the accident. It was the end of November and the third day in a row of something falling: rain, sleet, hail, snow. I was at home with the TV on; it was a Wednesday night. Dorothy’s mother, a heavy and even-tempered woman named Dawn, called, and she was sobbing and hysterical and before she finished a sentence I was on my feet, and sweating, and I knew what must have happened. She was at the hospital, she said, there was an accident. John and Dorothy had been driving home from visiting her sister and there was an accident on the highway.

“Where are they now?”

Dawn was crying hard, her breath ragged, and she didn’t say anything. I could hear some voices near her. I was looking out my window.

“Are they both in the hospital? Where is it?” My hands were clenched.

Her breath was coming in long harsh jags that tore at her lungs. She started to speak.

“No, Andy—” Her breath caught again. “It was bad. They didn’t—” Dawn went silent, and then came back. Her breath trembled but her voice was more steady. “They didn’t make it. The doctors couldn’t help them.” She started crying again, harder now, and I hung up the phone and looked out the window at my building’s parking lot and the rain-covered street that shone with reflected light.

The streetlight was blinding; I was in front of the white house my family used to rent and the light was very bright. I was on the sidewalk, and I was planning on crossing the street. “Too much,” I said. I quit crossing the street and sat down in the front yard of the white house. There was a plane overhead and its blinking lights looked like alien ships laughing.

I’d drank the open bottle and finished it, and felt good. My hands were relaxed and my mind was clear, and then I saw the second bottle of the cheapest whiskey I could find and I had opened it and drank until it was a fire inside me. Now I was not going to get across the street; it looked like a long walk and anyway Ben and David would know. I had wanted to come back from the walk calm and settled, not off balance, not loud. I looked down and found the bottle still sitting between my legs. “Oh,” I said, and I got up to take it back to the shed.

After I put the slats back in place I felt something and I looked up, and there was the dog looking at me in the darkness. I knelt down and he walked over to me, tongue dangling.

The empty bottle was still next to my foot and I picked it up and hit the dog with it. It hit the dog near his eye and he screamed out and cowered down, and I was on him. I pulled him down and we both fell, and I had the bottle and I hit him again. He made noises like crying, and I pushed him onto his side on the grass and I kept hitting him with the bottle, hit him until his eyes turned from black to black, hit him until he wouldn’t keep moving any more.


I guess the formatting might be fucked up, I don't know. Let me know what you think of it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A lil update!

Brad got me he revisions on my story. It's gonna get so much better when I look at their suggestions. Heck yes. <3 Steve

Gahahaha Patrick Coate rules

I finished my story the other day and sent it off to be read, and Patrick already got back to me with a bunch of revisions. It's pretty impressive. I am going to read through what he thinks and make some changes before I post it here.

Also that review of the Hold Steady album? The album's not coming out for a while so why review it now?? Plus I am lazy.

In other news: there's a new place to be. The Stortis have created a website and forum called nothingbutnothing.com. The link is over in my list of links. It is going to rule, but I can't decide what I want to write a column about. I thought maybe books but the fact is Paul and probably a few other people read more than I do, I think. Maybe teaching? That might get weird. Suggestions welcome.

Teresa's mom is in town to help us move at the end of the week. I'm going to Costco to buy duct tape. I have been sitting around and it's still pretty nice. Well, bye.



Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tony sent me the new Hold Steady album.

I'm going to review it later. Probably later today. Plus I want to write a new story! I hate the old one. Lots of writing today, I think. And some ironing. I'm like a non-hideous Stephen King.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh crap! A song by 65daysofstatic that I like!

That's worth blogging about!

Tony recommended 65daysofstatic a long time ago, and I think I have two of their albums. It's instrumental, kind of metal, definitely not jam band music or anything like that. A little bit of math rock. I thought it was too jerky and arrhythmic. But eventually Winamp on shuffle led me to "This Cat is a Landmine," a song as good as its title. I'd recommend it on free.napster.com if you have the time. Although I'm not even sure it's on there. It's a good song. Thanks, Tony!

Also, I think "That's worth blogging about!" will be my new catchphrase. If only...I talked to other people...



Saturday, June 07, 2008

Okay no story yet.

It didn't go as quickly as I thought. Right around 3 AM I started thinking it was a huge piece of shit, actually. I'm going to send it to my mentor Patrick Coate and see what he thinks. After I finish it. Which will probably be tonight. I hope.

Anyway I have a cool new project for this blog, thanks to Joseph. He bought me a gift subscription to Netflix, which fucking rules because I have nothing to do these days. I'm gonna watch hella movies, and write reviews here! Except I have no idea what to watch. I get so many suggestions I can't remember them all. So please, leave a comment and tell me what movies to put in my lil queue.




Friday, June 06, 2008

Story time! Pretty soon.

I picked up a story that I started a while ago, maybe three months ago, and I've been working on it a lot today. It's coming along. I'll probably put it up tonight.

Hahahaha yeah I don't really revise. Or I guess I do, but I'll revise a sentence until I like it, then a paragraph until I like that. Then I won't go look at them again. So the story, or a draft of it, will be up very soon.

In the meantime, here's a video. I have to admit I quit watching at the 2:30 mark. I won't tell you the overwhelming emotion I was feeling; it might be fun for you to guess.



Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hahaha I have nothing to do all day!

Here's another noir story. These are kind of fun to write! Go visit the other blog too.

I woke up and it was dark. Finally, death.

Turns out it was worse. Life. Well fuck.

I got up for some reason. I could hear the boys down the hall. They were already a few drinks in and halfway through their favorite flick, a little number about the Oriental invasion. They'd been drinking. So had I. Of course I had. You would too.

I walked down the hall. That's what people are supposed to do, I guess. Fine.

The boys were talking about some dame one of them had been around with. Not much fun to talk to, but a lot of fun to look at. Good for the bone, the boys said. I wouldn't know.

There was a noise in the alley. A man vomiting. I smiled. Awesome. One of the boys said he had had too much. Maybe...maybe he hadn't had enough. I didn't even know any more. I said something that people find acceptable. The man called Beard kept making jokes. I fucking hate jokes.

"YOU LEAVE STEVE WEISHAMPEL ALONE," I told him. The boys laughed. Motherfuckers. They would all bleed one day.

I looked at the one called Beard. His face was hideous to me. He showed me a picture of animals. "Friends forever," it said. I grimaced. Life is unbearable. Before I went back to bed--forever, if there is a God--I told him my mantra. Nothing, but nothing.



I started a second blog!

Who knows how this will go. It's called "The Cowboy Scene" and it's located at thecowboyscene.blogspot.com. Like that one song! Hope you like it. If you want to be invited to contribute, just let me know. If you have a better suggestion for a name, let me know that too.

Later! *vaults majestically onto moped*