Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Back on the Bus

After getting my car in July of 2016 I think it was, I have not been on the bus since.

Today, though, was a Snow/Ice Day in Austin -- my work, schools closed down, etc.

When I looked out the window, I saw no ice. And there was none. I live within 2 miles of work, and decided to go on in (earning comp time), taking the Austin "Rapid" bus system that I used to take all the time years ago, which has stops close to my current apartment.

The way there: No big deal. Until I got off on my work campus. To be polite, I called out, as you're supposed to do: "Thank you!" to the driver as I stepped off. He replied in a weirdly sing-songy overtly girly voice (obviously mocking me), "You're wel-come!" OK.

After working a few hours, I went to the bus-stop to get home. It was about 5pm. The digital display showed arrival time of the bus in 3 minutes. I stood there for a while, then checked the display again: Now, the arrival time was 11 minutes. After waiting a few more minutes, I checked again: Arrival time was 15 minutes.

THIS is exactly why I was so eager to get a car. The constant bullshit involved with bus-riding. #1, the dick driver on the way there. #2, the completely ridiculous grid not displaying the correct times.

As it turned out, I left my office at around 4:55pm. I live 2 miles away. I didn't get home until 5:45pm. Liberals shouldn't complain about why people don't want to take public transportation.

Friday, January 12, 2018

1937: FDR meets Joan Crawford

1937. FDR in Poughkeepsie, New York, with Joan Crawford "Bride Wore Red" billboard.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


Packages sitting around my apartment since September. I just finally opened all of them yesterday.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hunkered down for New Year's Eve in Austin

45 minutes until the New Year (Central time). Stocked the fridge earlier today. Am steeled against whatever jerks set off fireworks within my apartment complex (as they did on July 4). Old (like me) = worried about loud noises rather than planning where you're going on New Year's Eve.

p.s. The Trump socks: I bought them pre-election 2016 and have never gotten to wear them. What better time than... ALONE FOR NEW YEAR'S! :)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Shape of Water

My adventure for this Friday was taking the bus to downtown Austin to see "The Shape of Water" at Violet Crown on 2nd St.

I arrived early and was walking around with time to kill when a young man approached me at an intersection: "Sorry to bother you, but do you know where the new library is?"

While wandering around aimlessly, I had been wondering the same thing: The newly opened big-deal-of-a-library was somewhere in the area, but I hadn't seen it. I apologized for not knowing, explaining that I was just killing time before a movie. What movie? I told him. His girlfriend had just "made him" see "The Shape of Water," but he didn't like it. Why not? He didn't know --- just wasn't his thing. What about (my second and third choices for holiday films) the Churchill movie and "Three Billboards"? He liked Churchill... I wished him luck as we crossed separate streets.

After briefly contemplating changing my movie plans after talking to a complete stranger (!), I went on see "The Shape of Water."

It was, in many ways, an intensely beautiful movie. It was shot beautifully. And I am so utterly alone that I, of course, related completely to the mute main character, to her ageing gay neighbor, to the "monster." To the sympatico, delicate connections. THAT was the beautiful part of the movie: "We are not alone."

Plot-wise, the film was also intense: The Evil Villain versus the Good Guys. I cringed and got angry where appropriate; I cried.

The acting was great: Michael Shannon as the Bad Guy (whom I'd just recently seen in a funnily evil bit on the Amy Sedaris show) was the best; Sally Hawkins as the The Mute was very good (especially her "FUCK YOU" signing scene).

The film was based on "The Creature of the Black Lagoon" --- director Guillermo del Toro has said in interviews that he had a fantasy about the Gill-man ending up with the Girl. That's a thing unto itself. (I had my own fantasy about "Sunset Boulevard.) And that fantasy of "the Beast" winding up with its object of desire is a long-standing thing (realized here). As is the non-sexual fantasy of "the Beast" potentially being rescued: Frankenstein, King Kong, ET, Trog...

My problem with this movie, though, was that the "other" wasn't explored very intelligently or subtly. There was a lot of heavy-handed social critiquing going on. For instance, the main character and her gay neighbor like to go to a "Southern" diner where the studly young counter-man calls out to customers "Y'all come back now, y'hear!" The gay neighbor  has a crush on the young man. At one point, the two start to have a personal conversation about being alone in the city; as soon as the older gay man takes the young man's hand, the latter pulls back ---- then a black couple comes into the diner and the young man tells them to get out... Point taken: "Southern" and "white" is "Evil."

Same goes for the main "Bad Guy": He's a Fed; he reads "The Power of Positive Thinking" in his spare time; he fucks his wife with his shirt on; he crudely comes on to the saintly Eliza; he mocks black people; he sucks up to a general; he adheres to protocol. In an A-movie, I've never seen such a blatantly negative portrayal. Shannon was riveting in the role, but his role was cartoonishly one-sided.

(In other blatant ridiculousness from the director: "Movie-watching = Good; TV-watching = Bad.)

In other, more intelligently done, movies where an "alien" was involved, directors were more subtle. Think of "ET." Often, there's a scientific argument about what is to be done with the alien creature... This movie, though, takes a completely simplistic ham-handed approach. I got over that to enjoy the ride, but I was still obviously aware of the ham-handedness.

"The Shape of Water" was a very good, simplistic B-movie. In the "olden days," not Oscar-worthy (but just watch --- it'll get a bunch this year.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Say Ginny had not left me...

We knew each other in high school in the spring and summer of 1983.

She died in 1988.

1983 to 1988, she came and went in and out of my life. I was in college in Austin, but I was also conscious of what she was doing.

She called me in 1987, asking if I'd graduated yet. (Since I'd gone off to college in '83, I should have graduated by 1987 -- I hadn't.) She then got her "other" friend to come stay with her while she died in Georgia.

But what if I'd been with Ginny when she died? What if I'd stayed in Azle after I graduated in '83 just to be with her? I think I would have done so if she'd wanted me. [Edit a few days later: I was winning all sorts of minor awards in high school and clearly going off to college in Austin. Ginny wanted me during my senior year of high school, but it was clear that I was going off to college. She could have joined me in Austin a year later, when she graduated; but by then she'd chosen someone else. I would NEVER have stayed in Azle in 1983. I had too much of life before me to investigate.]

And after she died in Georgia? I would have been a lost soul. I'd probably be working as an Admin Assistant today.

When I came to college in Austin in '83, I used to constantly bemoan why she wasn't with me. Every experience that I had, every club I went to, every apartment I lived in wasn't as good because she wasn't there. Such an ugly, creepy feeling. She didn't want me, but I didn't like what I was living because she wasn't there. I went on with living, but it wasn't as good.

Say she'd wanted me...  I used to think that I would bring her into my college world because I was so serious about it; but she could just as easily have dragged me into her world --- her nothing-world, where she worked at a record store at a mall, and stole from them... And then blamed me, in Austin, where she brought her stolen tapes to sell.

All of this is nothing. She was an idiot. But she was more memories than I've ever had with anyone else.

Making my choice for me

Ever since I moved into my current apartment last April, I've been undecided about whether I'll stay here. A huge stack of boxes in my living room (saved in case I need them for books) is testament to my indecision.

Today, I did a search for my apartment complex on Craigslist. I pay $1275. The ad for the same exact apartment was for $1375.

No way. I have a front-view of air-conditioners. I have a small backyard, but with layers of other apartment dwellers looking down on that backyard. I never go out there.

I've been arguing with myself: It's quiet, except for when I'm home between 8 and 5 and have to listen to the maintenance guys banging around next door.

I've been 50/50. If rent is going up to $1375, I'm for sure leaving. This is a generic place. For $1375, I could at least get an apartment downtown or a duplex or something somewhere.

February 15, I must make up my mind.

Praying for Rain

On Christmas Eve, some assholes were actually shooting off fireworks in my neighborhood!

I'd never (literally) heard such a thing before. I knew that July 4 and New Year's Eve were holidays for fireworks... but on CHRISTMAS EVE??? It went on from about 10:45pm to 1:45am.

Can't wait for this coming Sunday... My only hope is the weather on Sunday night (New Year's Eve): There is a possibility of rain and sleet. Dear god, let it rain and sleet and snow and drive these creeps back into their hovels.

I think it's fair for fireworks on New Year's Eve being shot off from, say, midnight until 1am... But in my experience in Austin, fuckers keep shooting off stuff until 3am. I'm tensed up ahead of time.

Cyndi Lauper - I Drove All Night (1989)

I had to escape, the city was sticky and cruel
Maybe I should have called you first
But I was dying to get to you
I was dreaming while I drove
The long straight road ahead
Uh-huh, Yeah
Could taste your sweet kisses, your arms open wide
This fever for you was just burning me up inside
I drove all night to get to you
Is that all right?
I drove all night crept in your room
Woke you from your sleep to make love to you
Is that all right?
I drove all night
What in this world keeps us from falling apart?
No matter where I go
I hear the beating of our one heart
I think about you when the night is cold and dark
Uh-huh, yeah
No one can move me the way that you do
Nothing erases this feeling between me and you
I drove all night to get to you
Is that all right?
I drove
I taste your sweet kisses, your arms open wide
This fever for you was just burning me up inside
I drove all night to get to you
Is that all right?
I drove all night crept in your room
Is that all right?
I drove all night


I did, in 1994. After doing some detective-work, and drinking quite a bit, I made a 200-mile trek to West Texas, chasing after my boss, where'd he'd gone to cover a football game. Exciting momentarily when I got fucked immediately... but ultimately meaningless and odd: We kind of didn't know what to do with each other in the hotel room after we'd fucked so monumentally. We ordered food; "Tom Jones" happened to be on the hotel cable, so we --- since we were meeting surreptitiously --- awkwardly felt that we had to eat our takeout in a "sexy" fashion a la the "Tom Jones" scene... He was worried about the next morning---he was there with other work friends who might come to his door... And what about the hotel maids?

The next morning, no friends or maids came by, but his wife did call the hotel room; he was in the shower, and I was not a bitch --- I let the phone ring without answering it in a breathless voice. When it was time for checkout, he offered to drive behind me to help me find my way back to Austin... I said thanks, but I could do it myself. (The drive home much less exciting when sober.)

I felt guilty and skanky as hell in 1994.... But come to think of it 25 years (!) later... The aftermath was dumbly depressing, but during the drive there, and when I first knocked on his hotel-room door, and when we first fucked...nothing but exciting anticipation.