Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

This is another reason why I love the U.P. so much. Towards the end of September, beginning of October (yeah, this post is long overdue), my Dad and I took three days to hike the the Pictured Rocks trail. The trail goes from Grand Marais to Munising (around 45 miles). As you can probably see from the pictures, we were, at times, right on the Lake Superior beach, and other times we were peering over cliffs some 1,500 feet above Lake Superior.
We left early on a Friday morning. Lucky for us, Stacey was headed back to Grand Rapids and was able to drop us off in Grand Marais. We averaged 15 miles a day, and landed in Munising on Sunday. Again, Stacey was on her way home from Grand Rapids and was able to pick us up. Though we expected (hoped) to see quite the variety of wildlife (bear, dear, etc), it turned out to be more of a bird-watching tour than anything. A hawk, a pair of falcons, an owl, a blue heron, and a Bald Eagle. Finally, while filling up our water bottles from a creek one morning, we did notice an unexpected visitor spying on us. A Marten. For a while, I couldn't figure out what the heck it was, as it was the first I've seen in the woods. If you haven't seen one, it looks like a cross between a fox and a weasel. I actually thought it was a fox at first (it was about as large as one) but then I saw it tear up a tree across the creek from us and peek its head around to watch us.) From its tufted ears, square face, and long body, my dad knew it was a Marten. Pretty cool. Another odd thing we saw was this old (1930's perhaps) Plymouth car abandoned in the woods. We just walked around a bend and it was there.
At times, the lakeshore was so isolated and deserted that you could walk on the beach, look for miles, and see nothing but the large green expanse of Superior and the reddish rock of the coastline. It was unbelievable. In some more remote areas, on the beach, their were actually remnants of old shipwrecks that had been washed up.

So, as I am nearing the end of my degree, only one more semester, you can probably see why I am so concerned with location. Stacey and I both really hope to stay where we are. But, it depends on whether or not I can get accepted into Northern's M.F.A. program. Other schools I have been checking out are either in Oregon or Montana or Wyoming. I don't think I could go south. I love the North Country. For now, though, I am not hiking as much. Instead, I am working on my applications, and writing samples, a letters and all the other fun stuff that goes along with applying to college. Hopefully, by doing this, I can stay here for another few years and enjoy the northern portion of our beautiful state.

So, next hike on the agenda: Isle Royale. I graduate on May 3rd (or somewhere near there), and Kevin and Teague (some of my friends that will also be graduating) and my dad and I plan on taking a week to do it shortly after graduation. For those that didn't know Michigan had a National park, Isle Royale is a National Park in the middle of Lake Superior, accessible only by boat or sea plane, and native to Timber Wolves and Moose. Stacey is going to Europe around May 17, so we're planning on going around that time.

I'll keep you posted (though, as you probably know, it may not be very timely).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

arts and crafts time

Grad school isn't all about reading, writing, and teaching. At least not for me. That is why the other day, during about the 2nd hour of reading some texts for my thesis, I began to lose focus. I had fixed myself a small snack and as I resumed my reading of Lee Siegel's incredible novel, "Love and Other Games of Chance," I couldn't help noticing the fruit flies surrounding my plate. I tried to ignore them, but I am only human. So, I fired up the computer (read: opened it), and typed into the google search engine the words: "how to trap fruit flies." This was the start of a forty-five minute distraction. After locating what I thought to be a reputable and distinguished site of fruit fly trapping, Arts and Crafts time began. With an old mason jar, a pungent concoction of old orange juice and bourbon (for the trap, not me), some masking tape, and an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper, I started building. I thought of pre-school, the hard moments of listening through a "Clifford, the Big Red Dog," book that always ended with snack/craft time. And also a nap, which I'm sure I eventually took that day, too. I also thought of high school shop class, building birdhouses. Not much has changed. I built my fruit fly trap with as much vigor and excitement as I've ever had. Once complete, I set it on top of the stove (the site said that heat attracts them), and tried to resume reading. All was good, except that, unlike the regular outdoor fly traps on old porches, fruit fly traps do not buzz when a kill has been made. So, as I flipped each page in my book, I couldn't temper my curiosity. I had to get up and check. Thus, I did not get any effective reading done. However, if you look closely at the picture, you will see some floating fruit flies in the bourbon/O.J. concoction. Productive day? I think so.

Jason: 1
Fruit Flies: 0

P.S. After several days, Stacey was not as excited about the traps as I was. The smell was pungent, and they soon lost their aesthetic appeal. Especially when we had company over for dinner. They have been removed, reluctantly, and I am back to just reading. For now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

not completely gone, just busy.

(i'm in hiding).
Alright, It's jason. the owner of this blog. i understand if you do not recognize my voice. it has been a while since I've posted. but, i am still here. school officially started about 2 1/2 weeks ago for everybody else. for me, it started almost 5 weeks ago. 2 weeks before the official semester started, i had class for about 7 hours a day to prepare me to begin teaching.

so, now i am teaching.
The class I am teaching is not exactly like this (me teaching emily how to hit my drums), but there are certainly some similarities--short attention spans, lack of discussion, and lots of energy. However, I am really enjoying it. They are a good group of students, and I think that a handful of them are very talented writers. It has been a lot of fun and challenging trying to figure out how to present lesson plans in a way that is interesting and that actually teach something that will stick with the students. They have their first essay due in about a week, so I am eager to see where everybody is at. I have definitely grown sympathy for a lot of my own professors in the process. The amount of time it takes to prepare for one 1-hour class is way more than the time you actually spend in class. I spend a lot of time in my office researching different plans, reading essays, and planning discussions--and more than a little time bull-shitting with kevin and jef. My office area is great. The full-timers call it "TA row," cause it is where all the TA's are located. It is very helpful, though, because we often congregate and share some of the things that have been working/not working for us. As well as schedule our evening rendezvous, band practices, and weekend golf-outings. Plus, the entire department is right there and it is very helpful to be able to speak to one of your professors about an issue you are having in the class you are teaching. A lot of the full-time faculty are very willing to help a desperate TA.

So, in addition to teaching, I have actually gone fishing for the first time this summer. I can't believe it has taken me so long to get out there, but now that I got the taste for it, I may have trouble stopping. Over Labor Day weekend, Stacey and I spent some time in Hessel (other side of U.P.) with her parents. They had a boat so we scooted around lake Huron and we caught a good deal of perch. It was a perfect week. After leaving Hessel, stacey and i, wanting to waste a little time, found a driving range and hit a bunch of balls, stopped in sault sainte marie and played black jack for a while, then used our winnings to buy lunch at a little dive bar by lake superior, right next to the soo locks. Eventually we made it home (only to find that i had missed band practice). but, since then, we have made plans to go to a friend's property this saturday and to spend the entire day on the lake blue gill and perch fishing and sitting in the sun, and (maybe) drinking beer, and possibly camping. we are really looking forward to it. the whole plan sounds great.

In other news, stacey and i woke this morning to find water dripping from our dining room light fixture and onto our table. apparently a pipe had busted above our kitchen and pooled up in our ceiling until it found the hole by the light fixture to drip from. So, we have several holes in our ceiling that will not be fixed for a couple weeks, and tomorrow we have a plumber coming over to work on it. It sounds like they will be replacing the entire pipe. Since I am at work now, and get out at 8am (same time the plumber is arriving), i am considering bringing a sleeping bag over to my office to catch a few z's. we will see. well, the water issue is well photo-documented here if you are interested.

If you are looking for something to read, check out:
Lee Siegel's "Love, and Other Games of Chance"
Z.Z. Packer's "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere"
Tobias Wolff's "The Night in Question"

And if you are looking for some new tunes, maybe try...

Mono Men "Monomen LP"
The National "The Boxer"
Decemberists "Crane Wife"
The Shins "Wincing the Night Away"
M. Ward "Post-War"

Alright, so, sorry about the hiatus. no promises that it wont happen again. please direct all questions and concerns to the comment box...


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Running With the Bulls

Class is done, no more required writing, reading, etc. i am finally getting a chance to read and write the things i want to read and write. The reading includes Cormack McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" and Lee Siegel's "Love and Other Games of Chance." The last required reading i had to read was a re-read of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." I guess that is why i posted this picture of the guy getting gored through the leg during the most recent run. (If you haven't read "The Sun Also Rises," do so immediately). You don't have to be particularly into bull fighting, just sadness, alcohol and emasculation. Great, sad novel. I have also been thinking about this picture lately as everything in my life has slowed down temporarily. With my first break in classes since last august, it feels incredible to have some time on my hands. i've been watching movies and walking outside, playing my drums and reading and have even sat by the lake a few times. I have 12 more credits before i get my MA and then decide what to do from there and where to do it. About 3 weeks left before i get back into the footrace, when i start my training for teaching next fall. so now, i'm just relaxing. perhaps, gored a bit, but recovering. From all the forced writing exercises and from having someone always tell me what to read. recovering from all-night writing binges and neck-aches from trying to stay awake during four hour workshops after eight-hour midnight shifts at the hotel. so, nothing season ending. (alright, i've been watching a lot of baseball, too).

I'm not sure if the metaphor of running with the bulls works or not. it something that i've always wanted to do. though i may have to forget about this picture before i try.

in other news, today i swam in lake superior for about twenty minutes in cut-off jean shorts. it was very warm, but the walk home kinda sucked.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

my lookalikes

just because i wanted to post, but am too tired to write much, you can now scroll to the bottom of this page to view my celebrity lookalikes. very important stuff, here. and yes, john candy is one of them. did i ever mention someone told me i look just like ron jeremy? yup, glad he didn't show up on this one.

warning: if you don't know who ron jeremy is, i would advise NOT googling him.

its not fair. people say my brother looks like russell crowe, my dad looks like sam elliot, and me? I look like pope john paul I, and john candy. hmmm....

p.s. i used another photo of me and fidel castro and paul mccartney came up as the top 2. though, Kirsten Dunst also came up. i guess thats kinda cool.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


for some of stacey's photos of our latest outing with our pals, click here.


Before you start reading this, hit play on that white "play button, " to your right, you'll be glad you did.

My first task as i showed up to work today was to disperse a band of angry rodeo cowboys from the hotel lobby where i work. apparently, the hotel bar closes at midnight and these rope-swinging, cattle-dancing, herders were not gonna have it. especially on a FRIDAY NIGHT!! Rodeo night, to boot (cowboy boot)! I tried to explain to them that i don't know how they do things in Houston or Albuquerque, or Lonesome Dove, but up here in Sawyer, where the population of people is about the same as the amount of wild horses that need to be roped in the U.P., people are usually in bed by midnight. even on a saturday night. even on rodeo night. its not a very lively community. in twenty years when the fifteen people that live here move on to the lovely military base in the sky, Sawyer will probably cease to exist.
After a few griping comments, one handlebar-mustached cowboy noticed i had a copy of The Mining Journal (marquette's newspaper) sitting on the desk. I handed it to him and they all spent the next fifteen minutes looking for the "write-up" on the Sawyer Rodeo. For pictures, I assume. Then, they went to bed. There was no write-up in the paper. I sure hope this event won't ruin their ropin' tomorrow.

In other news, today, Stacey and i took our first swim of the summer in Lake Superior. Though it was 87 degrees most of the day, I'd be exaggerating if I told you the water was in the mid-50's. About ten feet out, it was tolerably warm--really, not bad. But after that, it was bitter cold. So, like little kids at the beach, we splashed around and swam in thigh-high water, enjoying every minute of it. I love Marquette.

Also, in case anybody was curious, the Stampers, my raggled group of english grad/softball players came out of last night's game with a 25-5 victory. It was beautiful. We had lost our two previous games in extra innings by only 1 run. We wanted this one badly, and I think it showed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

the mighty stampers have struck out

softball season officially started last wednesday when "the stampers" fell 11-9 to "team b." we had a slow first inning, giving up 6 runs. in the bottom of the 6th we came within one (8-7) only to give up 3 more runs in the seventh and then failed to recover. it was a good start though. not a bad effort from the graduate english department team. we had a blast. i played third base and hope to stay there. i guess i could just stay there, since i'm the captain, but i'll try to be fair. it was a very sunny and chilly evening. sweatshirts and long paints. (notice the grass stains on my right pant leg in the second picture and the clean pant leg in the 1st and 3rd picture. a result of sliding into second right after that hit you can see in picture # 3. a grass stain i am very proud of. i may not wash those jeans again.) we had to play on a grass field, infield and outfield, grass. it was hard to see the bases, so we're going to try to sneak to a real field next week. normally you have to pay to get on the real fields. but, we're crafty. after the game we had a mandatory team meeting at vangos bar and pizzeria, where we discussed batting order, euchre techniques, and cormack mccarthy. then played euchre and shared pitchers of beer till it closed. a great ending to a great evening.

incidentally, last night the pistons beat the bulls in game 6 to advance to the eastern conference finals for the 5th time in five years. i was booted out of the house so stacey could watch the season finale of grey's anatomy, so i rode my bike to the nearest watering hole to resume my watching of the game. go pistons.

also, this is for you alex, tonight, the tigers will take on the cardinals, a recap of last year's world series. looking forward to watching that one right after softball practice. go tigers.

Monday, May 7, 2007

graduate drumming

someone mentioned to me the other day that shrontz is drumming again. i think this is a good thing. i think this is a good thing for all of us. to listen to it, click here. This is my new band. so far, we call ourselves "the teague whalen trio." Though, there is four of us. i hope you enjoy it. and yes, that is a rhodes piano that jennifer simula is playing. beautiful isn't it? by the way, this is the second of two posts i've written tonight, so keep scrolling.

my new ball mitt

i'll get this part over with quick, the negative part (by the way, the picture is of a mini origami swan, the symbol is one of tedious-ness):
1. i don't have a job. everyday now, I have been pounding the pavement, turning in applications. i trust it will come soon, though. today i had to do a little research and report my employment history for the last ten years!! TEN YEARS!! thats a lot of entries for a lifetime college student. 14 jobs i recorded in the last ten years, and that still allows for my time off for high school and college. But, i finally did the research, got all the addresses and numbers. i found out that 4 of the places I've worked at went out of business soon after I quit (either that means that they could not function without me or I am like the plague, hire me and your business will go OUT of business). Also, I am in the process of applying to the local casino, but their application is about 40 pages long (lots of regulations to work on an indian reservation).

2. school is out. This should be a good thing, except that I am a nerd. I like school. i like required reading and deadlines and research papers. I am not me when i am not doing these things.

3. Joel Zumaya, Tiger's reliever, may be out for the next fifteen days or longer due to a sprained finger. I guess as long as sheffield, mags, granderson and monroe continue to hit the long ball, we will be okay. 7 game winning streak as of now. (sorry about your cardinals, alex. it's early).

okay, the good stuff.

1. i'm sitting in my living room, wearing a #32 rip hamilton pistons jersey, drinking beer out of a pistons mug that i got at game 5--pistons vs. philadelphia in 2005, while watching the pistons beat the bulls by more than 20 points in game 2 of round 2 of the playoffs. this is a good start to the evening. oh yeah, and stacey and i just ate a pizza from vango's--the best pizza in town, maybe the world.

2., and probably the most important. the other day i bought a baseball mitt. i am the captain of my english dept. softball team this summer and on saturday i bought a mitt. i was like a kid in a candy store, or better yet, like a kid in a baseball mitt store. lets just say, very excited. i bought a cheapy, as our budget allows. when i finally got home, stacey and i played catch (i had some extra mitts in my truck from my other teammates). if you've read stacey's blog, this is the part where we heard the fire alarm, smelled the smoke, called the fire department which shipped out two full trucks with sirens blaring, beckoning all our neighbors within a 3 mile radius to come out to stare; all to find that up upstairs neighbors moved out, leaving on their self-cleaning oven. so anyways, soon afterwards, we put down our coronas (it was cinco de mayo) and went inside. at this point, i had the pure and simple joy of spreading oil on my mitt. i havent oiled up a ball glove since my little league days when my dad coached, brother pitched and i caught. it was pure bliss with the ability to erase any stress I have had during the entire week (week being Finals Week: 2 research papers and 2 full revisions of 2 short stories). Then, after my ball glove was thoroughly oiled, i wrapped a giant rubberband (one of stacey's hair bands) around my glove and hung it in my office. I scheduled a softball practice tomorrow and wednesday. i am looking very forward to putting on my now oiled and pliable glove to throw around the ole baseball. this will be a great summer.

sorry about the positing hiatus.

your brother,
jason shrontz

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

It's Good To Be King

Stacey finally admitted that I am the Cribbage King. We were playing last saturday and I tried telling her before she took me on that I was the cribbage king, but she denied me. She took me in the first game, and her confidence rose. A little too much as I smoked her in game 2 and 3. So much so, that in her shame, she made me a crown and crowned me the Cribbage King. In the second picture, you'll notice that I just wanted to document those 3 words, so people would believe me when I tell them stacey was wrong. Or believe me when i tell them she admitted it.

Next stop: the backgammon bad-ass. (i can't think of any other good "b-names" to go with backgammon)

well, stacey and i have a snow day, today. there is quite a vicious blizzard outdoors. I just helped un-stick a guy from a snow drift i nthe middle of a parking lot. it is wicked cold. so, in honor of the snow say, we are having a movie night. and ordering out. maybe some more cribbage.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kings of Leon and New Top 5 List

Today, I had another workshop for my new story in my fiction course. It went well. When I got home, I planned on reading through all the letters that my classmates write in response to my story. However, while checking my email, I found that Kings of Leon put their entire new album, "Because of the Times" up on their myspace page for a free advance listen. The album comes out next tuesday and I have been anticipating it like crazy. So, instead of reading through my workshop letters, I sat in my dark office and listened to this album in its entirety through headphones. Wow. Its incredible. Check it out by clicking here.

Also, last friday, stacey and i went to another GWA (graduate writers association) reading at the Landmark inn. Just like last time we went, it was wonderful. We all sit in a room at the hotel and listen to each other read recent poems, stories and essays. A waiter comes by and gives us stuff to drink. Our heads get lighter and we listen to unique voices reading powerful writing and playful writing and sad writing and hopeful writing. It is such a great experience as so many of us writers are all in the same boat, here: laboring over every word on our new story or poem late into the night and hoping that it may be the one that might be published or speak some truth to a ready ear. Whether it is this experience or the concentration of serious, serious work and sweat put into these pages or the possibility and fear of the truth that may have been read that night, we often all drink too much and end up at another bar laughing and arguing and talking about hemingway. After sitting with my writing friends late at the shamrock late into friday night, this was certainly the case. Saturday morning i came up with this list:

Top 6 Albums for a Hang-on (greek-speak for a hangover)
1. Tom Petty's "Wildflowers"
2. Grateful Dead's "Live in Europe, 1972"
3. Pavement's "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain"
4. Black Rebel Motorcyle Club's "Howl"
5. Sufjan Steven's "Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State"
6. Kings of Leon's "Aha Shake Heartbreak"

feel free to post your own top 6.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Graduate Assistantship

Saturday, while playing backgammon and drinking Jameson with my family back in GR, I received a phone call from my advisor in the English office at NMU. He called to offer me the Graduate Assistant position that I'd applied for. This means that, starting next fall, I will be teaching a Freshman Composition class, on my own, but with guidance from a mentor. In addition, all my tuition will be waived and I'll be given a stipend to live on. I am very excited. and, i just figured I would update everyone. For those of you that were praying for this, thank you. We are blessed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

not a cheap trick

seriously, this is no cheap trick. this is real. this is rock'n'roll. if you want to be the next rick nielson, you need the best up-date reviews in rock'n'roll critique. you can find it here.

Monday, March 12, 2007


the king wants YOU to have access to the best rock'n'roll reviews and top 5 lists in the jailhouse. do it here: uh-uhha-huh-uh-huh (quivering lip not shown).

Sunday, March 11, 2007


alright. we are home. last night we just threw our bags in the office, got some food, then just vegged while we watched "marie antoinette" and "the departed." today we set about the fun task of unpacking and cleaning our apartment. I was very tentative about unpacking my backpack as i already found one scorpion crawling through my hiking clothes (see below). so, very slowly, i unzipped each pocket, peered into it with a flashlight, then pulled out every item, shook it a few times and set it aside. I didn't want to leave the room during this process in case a scorpion crawled out while i was gone and i couldn't find it. I took out every item of clothing and put them right in the dirty clothes bin, that went right to the washing machine (i figured if i missed one, i'd at least drown it). all that to say, my backpack is finally deloused of critters. no venomous arachnids in our apartment, clothes, or luggage.
i must say, though, a little bit of me kinda wanted to find another one. I had already planned out the container I would keep it in--a cardboard box with holes punched in the top--and what flora and fauna i would place in the box to make my scorpion feel like he was in the desert--some sand, a large peice of bark, a few rocks, maybe some snow just to confuse it, and a bowl of water--and exactly what i would feed it--crickets, grasshoppers, earwigs, old research papers. But, alas, no scorpion. i suppose we'll sleep better knowing that are apartment, though drafty and with a nonstop running toilet, is venom free. safe for children and sleepy students. i can safely walk around without socks and lay on the couch without investigating under its cushions. though, the experience made me want a pet. i'm sure i'll get over that, for now.

sleep well, i finally will.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


as you may know, i've been in tucson, AZ for the past week. and have spent much of my time hiking in the mountains. well, as it is our last night here, i was packing my clothes into my backpack and apparently brought something back from the mountains with me. i was rolling up a shirt and as i shoved it into my pack, this crawled out. also, if you didn't know, im staying in a condo with my wife and her grandma, aunt and cousins. im the only guy here with five girls. i wanted to be discreet about catching it and letting it go outside, but i needed something to put it in and did not want to lose sight of it. so, i had to yell to stacey in the other room to bring me a cup and a cover. then, everybody came in my room to see what is up. thats when i caught it, and let it loose outside, after everybody saw it. i wonder how the girls will sleep tonight...

p.s. grandma troost did a little research on this scorpion and what she found is here. in case you don't read it, here's what you missed:

"It is the most dangerous scorpion in Arizona. The sting of this scorpion can be fatal to humans, mainly infants and small children, so it is important to be careful when picking up firewood or rocks. During the past century, the sting of this scorpion has killed more people in Arizona than all types of poisonous snakes combined."

sleep well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


since spring break started, these are the books I've read, and all three of them are very much worth mentioning. The first is George Saunders, In Persuasion Nation. This is an incredibly (almost) flawless collection of short stories. From cover to cover, the best collection i've read. If you want stories, but do not want to tackle 300+ pages, read this. If you want social consciousness and commentary that probably will lend insight to some of the frightening things you notice in our culture, but are not sure how to articulate them yourself, read this. I think he is master of the craft, and is very thorough. If you dont want the social commentary, read it anyway. The stories can be both funny and devastatingly sad at the same time. I am confident that these stories are all very important. And I know that there are few writers like George Saunders. Check this out, please.

The next book I read was Lee Siegel's Who Wrote the Book of Love. This is part of a quasi-trilogy about writing about love. I've read Love in a Dead Language, and it was equally as wonderful as this book. If you don't mind reading about the complexities of love, mainly sex, from the perspective of a five-year-old lusting after his classmates and friend's sisters, while ultimately learning priceless lessons of love that some of us that are not five-year-olds still have trouble understanding, this is a book you should read. Siegel's mastery of lanuage (he's a professor of religion studies at the University of Hawaii) and wordplay, puns, allusions, etc is so evident in this book. There are many plays on Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn throughout the book. If you catch them, you will undoubtedly fall out of your chair in a fit of laughter and utter amazement at this guy's brilliance and mastery. I'm a bit biased as I started reading this book already in love with Siegel, but am confident that if you like a well written story and are somewhat interested in sex (and love), you will like (and want to sleep with) this book.

After finishing the Siegel novel, I found this on a used shelf at a grocery store in Tucson. Immediately I thought of the hardcover first edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends that I lost to my brother in a latenight card game months before his daughter was born. (Although I haven't yet given him all the books and CD's that i lost to him that night via IOU's, I feel that the Silverstein book was a good start). Anyway, this is Shel Silverstein's The Missing Piece and it is fantastic. The drawings, the rhyme, the simple story: wonderful, as Silverstein is. I read it in one sitting (on the toilet, so the book has already been defiled and the chances of my brother now wanting this one during a late-nite card game has dropped drastically) and it was as close to literary happiness as I have ever acheived while sitting on the toilet. I would like to thank Shel for that moment. If you've read Silverstein, there is no sense in describing this book. it is simple, clever, and I am sure that if you ever owned a puppy, or listened to Dr. Hook and The Medicine Band, you will enjoy it. The only difference is that this is one complete story instead of a collection of stories.

I am currently reading Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. The picture here is of an audio recording, but I am actually reading it. I am enjoying the read: wonderful sentences, mysterious, with some blunt comments on metafiction and studying literature. I've heard that this is probably the most read Pynchon novel, but not the best. I suppose it is the most read because it is the shortest. Which is, guiltfully, why I picked it up. All I can say is that I am thus far enjoying it, and appreciating the humorous techniques Pynchon uses and hope to, by the end, understand exactly what purpose those techniques are serving.

Hope you check out these books, and i hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


stacey and i are in tucson arizona this week. we're on spring break from school, and are out here with her grandma, aunt and cousins. it is out-of-control beautiful out here. like marquette, but different. where in marquette there are mountains of snow, here there are mountains of jagged rock. where, in marquette, beer cans and cigarette cartons dot the snow, here cactus and wildflowers pepper the mountains. it is wonderful. the sky goes on forever. at night, it feels unnatural, like it is still being worked on, like color splotches are lined up in the sky waiting for an artist to pick the right one. i'm fine with all of them. we went hiking yesterday. these pictures are all ones stacey took . some from the condo, some from our hike. well, i think people are waiting for me, so i better get going. i'll probably write some more later.

sorry about the rushed-ness of this post.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

happy birthday cobb...

just so everybody knows, its this guy's birthday today. actually, since i am posting this late at night, yesterday was actually his birthday. (the one on the left--the one on the right is my neice, emily). This is my cousin, jacob: my hunting, guitaring, "madden"ing (as in the playstation football game--not the act of inciting anger within one), heater installing, golfing, soon-to-be-fathering, always laughing (and making others do so), rugbying, fishing comrade and brother who is also always willing to drive his two brothas (from another motha) to taco bell when we've had too much too drink. i love you jacob. can't wait to see ya in a couple weeks. work on that golf swing, spring is coming. GO TIGERS!!! --manbaby

Monday, February 19, 2007


stacey and i went dogsledding this weekend. not really, but we volunteered to work at the end of the big dogsled race this weekend. we were off on our lonesome, in the woods, right on lake superior. it was fantastic. big oil drum. started a fire. brought flashlights and read and listened to music. it was great. we actually stayed long after the last team came through. it was a little funny though cause we expected to see these teams just racing through. but, as we were on the last mile of a 200 mile race (i think), the dogs were moving at a pace a little faster than i walk, in foot deep snow. but, it was still great. i love these times the best. being alone in the woods with stacey around a fire talking and reading and comparing what music we're listening to. by the way, i've been reading short stories by robert olen butler. check him out, he's really good. we were actually trying to figure out ways to camp out in the woods this time of year, but we couldn't figure out how to bring enough wood with us to burn all night. there is no way we'd get any sleep in this cold. anyways, we had an awesome time. these are our pictures.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

stacey's birthday

just so everybody knows, its stacey's birthday today. she's twenty-five (and she thinks thats old!!!) not old, though. very young and healthy. this picture here is of her following the doctor's advice that a beer every day is good for your heart. i dont think he was referring to these 2 25oz'ers, though, babe. (actually, one of 'em is mine--but only one of 'em). if you know stacey, give her a call today and wish her a happy birthday. we're going to houghton tonight to see the ice sculptures at michigan tech. and maybe get a little chinese food. tomorrow, we've volunteered us to work big dogsled races that come through marquette, and stacey has the day off work. so, hope ya'll have great weekend, too. jason.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


just for anybody that tried to leave a comment but couldn't, i want you to know that i fixed it. anybody can now leave a comment. all right then. goodnight.
i was at the gym the other day, having just a hell of a time. i was running on the giant industrial treadmill at about 6 mph, a nice steady pace. my goal was 3 miles. i was feeling good. listening to miles davis' "filles de killimanjaro," getting completely lost in the incredible drumming on that album. miles and herbie hancock were taunting each other back and forth with trumpet and keyboard, each shooting off turrets-like blasts, back and forth, back and forth, each only about a half measure long and so loud and overfilled with notes, sounding like an old man trying to catch his breath but only coming up with spastic coughs. it was great. i was about 12 minutes into my run, about a mile and a quarter, when the machine just stopped. didn't slow down, nothing gradual, but instantly came to a complete halt. i was not focusing on running at all, everything was going smooth, until i about busted my sternum on the front display of the treadmill and nearly flipped myself over the top. well, looking like an idiot, i quickly tried to find the problem so i could get back to my run without losing any more momentum. so, i got it started back up again and was about 7 minutes into it when the same thing happened. my reaction was the same. i was angry and frustrated and looked like a complete fool when the girl next to me said "yeah, it was doing the same thing to the last person" (i'm not sure why you wouldn't tell the new person about this problem).

so, i got on another machine, finished my workout and headed to the locker room. when i got there, and old man, probably mid-60's, and very heavyset, was standing in front of my locker in only his tightie whities. i stalled a bit, avoiding eye contact, headed to the bathroom, filled up my water bottle and went back to find him in the same spot, still in his underwear, but now with a t-shirt on. i finally struck up a little conversation with him, mentioned that he was in front of my locker, and he moved and we kept talking. the conversation was empty, but it was nice. my favorite part was after i was complaining about the treadmill and that nobody warned me, he said, "well, they say that the problem with common sense is that it isn't all to common."

i felt good, then. the saying, well, it was cliche and not very enlightening, but it felt good just to have this little bull shit conversation with this guy, both standing in our undies. it is something that i really have been missing up here, the simple camaraderie with people, talking cause you're both people and, why the hell not? people walk around the gym and don't acknowledge anything but themselves. they ignore you and pump their chests out and admiringly stare, pseudo-intimidatingly at themselves in the mirror, ignoring everybody. i realized through this conversation that when i am really tired during my morning janitor shift at the ice rink, frustrated that nobody seems to be able to hit the urinal and i have to mop their piss off the floor and clean tobacco chew off the locker room walls, it is still important for me to at least, acknowledge people. just say good morning to them when i pass them in the hall, slow my pace a bit and linger, just in case they need to indulge in a little bull shit conversation. everybody is in a situation. not the same situations, but maybe they just bombed a test, or their baby at home is sick, or they broke up with someone, or maybe they are just ornery because its so cold outside, but they are in a situation. that is kinda what brings people on the same level with each other. and maybe just being acknowledged throughout their day instead of feeling invisible may make that situation a little easier to cope with. even a little bullshit conversation, at least somebody is realizing that you're there.

im not pretending to have advice to spread, or to insist everybody begin talking more, i just made a realization for myself. this old man helped me to remember something about being human that i left somewhere in high school. i felt good when i was finished in the locker room. but i felt inclined to linger a bit. i was sad for this man, knowing that he was headed into the gym to exercise and knowing that for the next hour or two he would be completely ignored and snubbed and labelled and probably discouraged. though i felt so much better, i left hoping that sometime on the way home, whether at the grocery store or at the fuel pump, somebody would engage in a little bull shit conversation with him.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

im a baboon's ass

okay, so today i made a complete ass of myself in class, today.

i was in my fiction workshop and we were work-shopping a classmate's story. I really enjoyed the story. Briefly, it dealt with a man, somewhat of a recluse, who accidentally wandered into the wrong house. the resident was on vacation and the man was fascinated by her grand piano. he eventually started sleeping there until she returned. he spent a lot of time fixing up the piano and cleaning her house. while he was there he brought over his cat and let it play around with him. that is a very unjustly summary to a wonderful story.

so, at the beginning of the class, we went around the group and spoke about what we really enjoyed about the story. When it got to me, i went off on a tangent about how much i appreciated the consistency in representing the man's disturbed childhood and his reliance on his imaginary friend throuhgout the story. Well, apparently there was no imaginary friend. it was a cat. a real one. Turns out, for whatever frickin reason, i read the story, 3+ times, and it never occurred to me that the cat was real. though everyone else did. So i was going on in class about this imaginary friend that was only imaginary in my own head. Very humbling experience for a graduate level fiction workshop. the biggest problem was that all my comments on her paper, as well as my 1 page written response all dealt with her successful inclusion of an imaginary friend in the story. i get this sick feeling that she is back home now, reading my responses, in tears of laughter.

the problem was that last thursday i was out with some friends and i asked one of them (who was in my class) about the stories, as i hadn't read them yet. he remarked that one of them was dealt with magic realism. for whatever reason, i just assumed it was this particular story and after 3 reads, never thought, even for a second, that the cat was real. apparently, my classmate was talking about something else.

my the majority of my embarrassment is due to the fact that i am an english nerd, literary geek, etc., that prides himself on his close reading of texts, and well, i can't deny it. im officially a literature geek.


Friday, February 9, 2007

new blog

this is my new blog. it is a supplement for my existing myspace account. i hate the format of myspace and i figured that since i'll probably keep the same songs up for years, but put new writing up occasionally, i should have a format where the writing is more accesible and immediate, and the music is in the background. hope you agree. well, kind of. if you only agree because the music is shit, and the writing is only good because it is not the music (you can skim the writing and you definitely do not have to listen to it) then don't tell me, or at least, tell me to my face. i want to see your expression. nothing else is pressing enough to write further about, so i will say hello to my first post, and goodnight to everything else blog-related.