jason erik lundberg
writerly ramblings

goals for 2005
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Last night, Janet and I had a good time. The temperature was perfect and we didn't have to deal with any drunken assholes, which is quite a change from many New Years I've had. We had dinner at Thai Villa, this absolutely fantastic hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant near our apartment where we have become regulars. After eating some sumptuous grilled salmon in red curry (Janet had vegetables and tofu) and taking a bit of a walk around the parking lot, we headed downtown for First Night. There was stuff going on all over downtown, from the Capital area (where the Museums of History and Natural Science are located) down to the BTI Center for the Performing Arts (where the Acorn was dropped (more on that in a moment) and where the NC Symphony is housed).

After buying our admission buttons (which functioned kind of like convention badges, getting us access to all the events), we headed up the Fayetteville Street Mall (the pedestrian mall that stretches from the Capital to the Convention Center) to get the Museum of History for a comedy improv show at 9:00, but we got there too late, as the auditorium had been filled to capacity. We tried another comedy show down the street, but got the same response. So we wandered back to the Mall and listened to a really interesting musician, a guy who combined world music and folk by using a multitude of instruments. What was really cool was that he had about a dozen pedals at his feet and could record himself playing a few bars, and then have that sample put on infinite loop as he grabbed another instrument, and this continued, layer after layer of new sound as he accompanied himself, first rhythm guitar, then lead guitar, then wooden recorder, then tin flute, then trumpet, &c. It was pretty amazing.

After listening to him for a while, we headed back to the museum to catch the 10:00 improv show, and after standing in a long-ass line, we got in. The show was just okay, more misses than hits. Part of it was probably that it was the fourth show (in a row) that they had done that night, and they were probably tired and running out of ideas at that point. But another part was that it was very loosely structured, where they would take random suggestions from the crowd to build a scene on, but it was never really concrete enough to get them going, like a mood (scared) and a location (Scotland), where a guy with a terrible imitation of a Scottish accent was talking to a woman who was frightened at everything he said, and they floundered for minutes at a time on what to do. That said, there were some very funny moments in the show, like a narrated fairytale ("The Lizard Who Ate Peppers"), and there was one performer was particularly good in the scenes he was in.

Once the show was over, we walked back up the Mall to the BTI Center, where a band was playing, and where the Acorn-To-Be-Dropped was situated. New York has a glittery ball, Atlanta has a big peach, Raleigh has a giant metal acorn. We called my sister on the cell phone to wish her a Happy New Year, then wandered around a bit, ending up in another long-ass line, this one to buy hot chocolate. It took us nearly a half-hour to get through the line, during which we saw the Acorn being hauled up on a line by a construction crane (Janet and I speculated on how many people would get hurt if the line broke, and we hoped it would at least get the band, who was playing alt-country/pop stuff and not doing a great job). With two and half minutes to go, we finally got the hot chocolate (which was only a dollar), snaked our way to a decent viewing position, and counted down along with the digital ticker, watching the acorn being lowered, then screaming "Happy New Year!" and giving Janet a great big kiss, then turning around to watch a fantastic fireworks show.

All in all, a very fun way to spend New Year's Eve.


A few little things:

I've changed the "Where I'll Be" section on the journal home page, with an emphasis on activities in Chicago. I don't know if it's wishful thinking or positive mojo or what, but if I keep thinking I'll get into UI-Chicago, maybe it'll come true.

Scattered, Covered, Smothered is now also available through Quail Ridge Books and Clarkesworld Books. Though, you know, we do prefer you buy it from us first. The anthology is selling really well: out of the 200 copies we printed, only ~60 are left. Still only $9.99!


I'm going to riff on two writers I admire right now, the first one being Ol' Mike. Here's a list of goals for 2005:

  1. Be the best husband I can be for Janet. We've been spending a lot of time together now that school's out and there have been some holiday days off. We're enjoying each others' company a lot in this little break, and I'd like to continue it.
  2. Exercise daily and lose some serious weight. I've been overweight for a long time, and I'm feeling more effects of it now on my health. I'm certainly eating better now that Janet's here (much less junk food), but I can do better. I'd like to start at least fast-walking on a regular basis, and get back into yoga, which was really helping a lot while I was doing it.
  3. Finish the Master's thesis. I have to finish writing "In Jurong" and rewrite "Last Fare," and I'm hoping to get both of these done by the end of the month, so that I can then print out the entire thesis and turn in copies to my committee. If I can defend by sometime in February, I'll basically be done then until graduation.
  4. Publish Off the Map by Daniel Wallace. I need to finalize the layout of this chapbook, and get it to printers so that we have copies done by the end of the month. It's shaping up to be a really cool little collection (with illustrations by Wallace), and I already have March readings lined up at Quail Ridge in Raleigh and The Regulator in Durham. Ordering information will be going up soon as well.
  5. Start a new novel. Boosted by the good fortunes of my writing pals, I'll be starting a novel soon, showcasing my new-and-improved style monkey voice. It'll be for my doctoral dissertation, but I want to get it in publishable condition as well. I can't say much about it yet, since the details are still amorphous in my mind, but I'll be reading Kafka's The Castle and Catherynne Valente's The Labyrinth for inspiration, if that gives you any idea.
  6. Sell a story to a professional market. I'm starting to have some moderate success with semi-pro markets, and it's time I kick that success up a notch with a pro sale. I'm getting more confident with my writing and the way I tell a story, and I'm hoping that 2005 will be the Year of the Jason.
  7. Learn Chinese. I've been wanting to do this since Janet came over last February (and even before that, when we first started dating), but we just never got the time. When we go to Singapore and Hong Kong to see her relatives and have a second wedding ceremony (whenever that may be), I'd like to try to not look like an idiot in front of her large extended family.
  8. Take short vacations with Janet. Now that I don't have to take any more classes and Janet's in a full-time job (which definitely helps with the income), I'd like us to be able to get away more often. We were stuck at the apartment far too much last year, and I'd like to take some weekend trips to the beach and the mountains, and explore the state a bit more.
  9. Help more in the kitchen. Janet often shoos me out of the kitchen when she's cooking, since my current abilities seem to be limited to heating up frozen dinners and ordering take-away. She's a phenomenal cook, and I'd like to be able to learn some of these dishes to help her out, and also be able to cook them when she doesn't feel like cooking. I also need to be more attentive to the dishes; I clean them quite a bit after dinners, but if I have other things going on, I often forget about them and they stack up in the sink for days.
  10. Read at least 70 books. I got close in 2004, with 67 books, but I think I can beat that record. Also, I want to read Lord of the Rings this year, since I never have. I got the three-movie complete DVD extended edition set for Janet this Christmas (we've already watched the first two), and I realized that I'm such a fan of the movies that I've just got to read the books now. No excuses.
And to round off the entry, a New Year wish, quoted from Neil Gaiman:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't to forget make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

Now Reading:
Postscripts no. 1

Stories Out to Publishers:

Books Read This Year:

Zines/Graphic Novels/Fiction Mags Read This Year:

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