I guess I’m going to try my hand at that NaNoWriMo thing this year.  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It is a little organization that encourages people to plow through becoming a novelist by drafting an entire novel (50,000 words) within the 30 days of November.  It is all about writing in quantity without editing or second guessing.  The goal, or at least my goal, is mainly just to have some fun with writing and hopefully crank out some new ideas.  It may not lead to anything.  I may fail.  It would be foolish to hope for an On the Road type of improvised writing success, although I have to admit I was fascinated with the idea of trying to write using Kerouac’s typewriter scroll method when I first learned of it and read On the Road as a teenager.

Now, ten or eleven years later, I think I’m going to give it a try.  One thing we have up on Kerouac is that word processing does much to facilitate such a writing style.  Now that I think of it, probably a big part of Kerouac’s success in writing a great novel in 3 weeks was that his narrative was largely autobiographical, so he was simply describing memories, and memories he was passionate about, rather than making up characters, events and settings.  I realize that this is something that I should think upon as I begin.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t dwell upon it, because the point of the exercise is to have fun and be productive and ignore all the rules, I think.  Maybe I should place no expectations on myself beyond those just mentioned.

Every day for the next month I need to spew out between 1600 to 2000 words to meet the quota for conquering NaNoWriMo.  The words won’t be showing up on this blog, though.  I want to put all of my writing energy into my hypernovelwriting project, so the Froz-T-Freez may need to close shop for the off-season.  This makes me feel kind of bad because I built this new blog and I was about to hype it to everyone I know, but I already have failed at adding substantial content on a regular basis.  (By the way, my idea of “hyping my blog” means to send out a single email to family and friends, letting them know that I have a blog.  My method is not quite as extensive as the J.K. Rowling or Kanye West publicity models.)  I’ve been debating whether to continue importing my little twitter updates, because I know they can be confusing or irritating in their brevity in a blog context. My original intent was that they serve as interludes to the regular posts.  Minimalistic, improvised blog haiku, if you will.  I also had the idea that I would use them as seeds for actual blog articles.  So far, this post is the first time I have successfully used the twitter seed method; all the other seeds I scattered have not grown.  Despite the minor frustration they may cause, I have decided to continue with the twitter updates.  They may be the only action this blog sees for another month.

So, thanks for reading, and please wish me luck on my little November writing experiment. I have one request, in all seriousness: please don’t ask me at all what I am writing about.  I’ll get nervous and frustrated and  I won’t tell you if you do, anyway.  As of right now, I don’t know what I’m writing about myself.  I guess I’ll find out when I start tomorrow.

Happy November! (I’m kind of a humbug when it comes to that holiday that happens today.)


Years ago I had a musical pining (one among many; I should probably verbalize and codify all of these sometime) for guitar that sounded like neon.  That is the simplest way I know to describe it.  Vibrant, loud, pulsating, humming with a palpable electric energy, intensely clean and clear.  It’s been in my head all this time, and although occasionally I have heard glimpses and allusions to my imaginary timbre, its full actualization has forever eluded my ears.  At times I have entertained the possibility of trying to take up electric pedal or lap steel, for, among other reasons, I thought it might be the instrument best suited for me to eventually obtain my Disneyland electrical light parade fireworks star wars light saber hyperspace sound.  Haven’t gotten very far on that one so far, but I’m not dead yet.

Last night I was on emusic.com and on a whim I downloaded an album by one Marnie Stern, after hearing a few seconds of clips.  By all extraneous indications, this album does not appear very exciting.  The cover art looks a lot like it could be a Joni Mitchell album. (Nothing against Joni, I love her music.)  Marnie Stern isn’t exactly a name that screams out “Rock Goddess.”  But all of this melts away in fervent heat when you press play, as I did when I got home from work today.  No one else was here to confirm or deny, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a constant smile on my face while loading and unloading the dishwasher, as I did today, listening to the album two times straight through.  Marnie pretty much stole my neon sound (well, at least one aspect of it), but I’m not mad because she’s done so well with it, adding layers of overdubbed joyous vocals to her songs and finding a totally kickass drummer that is in all ways equal to her enthusiasm and stratospheric shredding.  In order to prove my unspoken sonic theories she has called forth a frenetic calculus of rock and roll exultation.  I’m just proud to have been such an important influence upon her music.

Of course I make this post all about me and my overly baroque writing, but still you must hear a track.  Her record label is offering a  gratuitous mp3 of a great one, entitled “Transformer,” a line of which provided this post its title.  Enjoy.

This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That

This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That

by Marnie Stern

Released by the label Kill Rock Stars on October 7, 2008.

I don’t know the name of the drummer because I just have an mp3 version, but I can find out.

Cascade and Timpanogos

As I was driving home this evening I just couldn’t resist driving a little ways up the Squaw Peak Road (okay, it was only about one or two hundred yards to the first turn) para tomar estas fotos.  I payed the price, too: for one or two fateful minutes of frantic gear shifting, clutch release and re-engagement, gravel/mud spewing, restarting the car twice,  and the slight smell of burnt rubber, I thought I had got our little Vibe stuck just off the road.  But I and my car are here to tell the tale.  I think a contributing factor to this situation was fact that the back was weighed down with a bunch of recent Costco purchases.  It certainly wouldn’t have anything to do with my manual transmission driving skills.

But that’s not why I called.  Here are the photos:

First Snow at Vivian Park

I guess it’s only appropriate that the occasion of the new Froz-T-Freez going public should be heralded by snow.  The pictures shown below were taken this morning. It has actually all melted now, but still, this foreshadows the commencement of a cosmic battle. It is now cold enough that we are burning wood whenever we are home. If you are confused as to why the coming of snow is such a conspicuous event for us, you need only to take a look at some of the pictures from last February.

See the rest of these photos by clicking the link:

The Froz-T-Freez Story

Okay, as you might have noticed, the Froz-T-Freez isn’t an actual Drive-In. It’s only a blog. And this is how it got started.

Years and years ago, I had daydreams of opening a record store.

But that doesn’t really explain anything.

Concurrent and somewhat coincidental to my frequent record-store-owning-and-operating daydreams, I came to develop a love of what I would call “authentic” fast food establishments: hamburger/shake stands with car hops or walk up windows, taquerías, Hawaiian plate lunch Drive-Inns, roadside diners (still haven’t really found a good one of these yet), etc. The smaller the town, the better. The more local and idiosyncratic the menu and condiments, the better. Secret menus or code names for certain items or variations of preparation, known only to the initiated, have come to play a big part in the mythology.  Another key factor is what James Murphy refers to as borrowed nostalgia.

At some point in my daydreaming, the obsession with drive-ins began to converge with the record store thing. It went through many iterations, but the final business model was that of the record store soda fountain. It would simply be a new variation on the drug store soda fountain which permeated America in days of old. The sodas and shakes would be authentic, the jukebox would be free, the soda jerk would be friendly and accommodating yet have impeccable musical taste, and the hipness and diversity of the kids who hung out there would be almost utopian.  Strange that in my daydreams I wanted to own and operate a teenage hangout when in reality I usually can’t stand places that are teenage hangouts.

But anyway. It turns out that I don’t really want to open such a business badly enough to devote my heart and soul to it, so it remains a pleasant daydream. And instead of a record store soda fountain, I have this here Froz-T-Freez. I guess my ultimate goal is to be that friendly and accommodating soda jerk with impeccable taste. I’m not in it for the money, so I tend to stock the racks only with the things I love. If you’re browsing you may find things you already know and like, or you may find something new.  But we cook everything to order, so if something’s not here that you would like on the menu, just let me know.  We may actually have a secret name for it already.