Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Haunted / Really Bad Year(s)

Last night during my 12, or whatever it was, hours of sleep, at one point I was dreaming and found myself upstairs in an old 3-story house (which I'd had one or two dreams about before). I started to open a door to a room I'd been in before. But this time, the air inside the room was very, very dense. Not only grayish to look at, but also very HEAVY, where I could barely push the door open. I finally got the door open to where I could see in, but all of the air was pushing back at me, and every cell in my body was telling me, "You don't want to go in there. It's haunted." I felt every bit of whatever was haunting that room and backed out. And immediately woke up, utterly spooked...

The feeling reminded me of one other instance: Back in '91, during a time of going to sleep every night drunk and crying while in the long process of losing my first girlfriend... One night, at one point I'd just fallen asleep, and suddenly felt a dark, dark presence in the room; I don't know if I heard an "outside observer" speaking, or if I just felt this, but something told me: "It wants to get inside you." I immediately woke up, sat up in utter horror. And turned on all the lights in my house. And sat up awake for the rest of the night, lights blazing, not daring to move until the sun came up.

That was the only time in my life where I ever actually felt an evil spirit. Though last night's dream came somewhat close, it wasn't quite the same.


I was just now thinking: 2009 has got to be one of the worst years of my life! It started out coming home from a Christmas where I couldn't afford to buy anyone presents (unlike the year before, when I'd had a good job and had neat NYC-related gifts for everyone), and after not meeting up with someone I'd been hoping to meet up with. And I'd left my cat Gracie home alone for 5 or 6 days; plenty of food and water, but she was never the same after that. Almost immediately, she started to get sick; the awful deterioration went on for months until she died April 15. In February '09, my boss told me that after my 6-month contract was up May 17, the company couldn't afford to keep me on. So that was hanging over me, the unemployment stress and uncertainty continuing to this day. Then there's been the hurtful, murky stuff with S. all year until now. It's ALL been very, very murky and unpleasant. A lot of extreme heaviness and sadness.

Other bad years: 1984, 1991, 1996-99. And by "bad," I don't mean that the year was one of "change," which can be scary but still exciting, but rather one (or several) of utter STAGNATION and nothingness and deadness.

'84: My second year at UT. Back home, my first love Ginny'd found a new "best friend," but that summer we tried to reconnect...only, the new "friend" had to be included whenever I wanted to do anything with Ginny, and Ginny had started to talk just like the girl...just a big emotional mess. And my mother and I fought constantly. I ended up "running away from home" (at age 19) after 6 weeks in Azle, then spent the rest of the summer in a one-room-green-shag-carpet apartment in Austin, drinking a lot of wine and listening to Simon and Garfunkel and writing lots of morose poetry. That fall, couldn't concentrate at all in school, almost flunked out. At one point in the fall, Ginny and "friend" showed up, to sell tapes they'd stolen from the Fort Worth record store where Ginny worked. The Austin store called the cops on them. Ginny got in legal trouble; her father blamed ME. Ginny, I figured out later, had told him that I suggested she steal the tapes and bring them to Austin (which I certainly had not). Just as, when he once found cigarettes in her car, she told him they were mine (they were not). I was madly in love at the time, but have to admit now that she was really a shitty person.

'91: I wasn't in school, had a low-paying job, nothing going on. Final break-up year with first girlfriend after 3 years. The breaking up went on forever. One lowlight: We'd planned on spending the 4th of July weekend together. At the last minute, though, she said she had to go to her sister's place in Gonzalez for some family function. I'd been there with her before, so was disappointed not to be asked to go along. But, OK, it was a family thing; I wasn't mad, just disappointed. HOWEVER... the girlfriend was kind of a local Austin "celeb" on the club scene. She'd get blurbs written about her in the "Chronicle" and other smaller club/gay 'zines. And, a week or so after the 4th of July, lo and behold: there was a little article, complete with photo, about her and her bevy of 16-year-old punk chicks at some club party IN AUSTIN on the 4th of July weekend! Busted! While it felt a little good to be vindicated in my utter distrust of her, it mainly felt like shit to actually know the truth. September of this year was our final breakup (well, until 2000). With a lot of shitty feelings all year.

'96 - '99: I got my Master's from SF State in December '05. Hated SF, was very lonely, couldn't wait to get back to Austin after 2 years away, where I thought the following all awaited me: My two very close girlfriends of 9 years; my friend Jerry, whom I always went to see bands with; my writer's group (with my good friend Brian; as co-editors, we'd put out 3 lit magazines in Austin before I'd left); my (male) lover, whom I'd been seeing for 8 months before I left.

Well, within 6 months of my return: Both best girlfriends moved out of town with their boyfriends. Jerry moved back to San Antonio. Brian got accepted to grad school at Johns Hopkins. My lover stood me up at what was to have been our reunion, and I never saw him again. Seriously, all within 6 months. I was devastated by all of the losses, and basically went on a drinking binge that lasted for 4 years. Compounding the misery, I couldn't find a decent job, and ended up working at the same low-paying library job that I'd had before grad school. (I'd thought that having a Master's would immediately open all kinds of doors... Nope.)

2009 ranks right down there. Can't quite figure out which has been the worst! Maybe '96 - '99.

I'll always have Ring-Dings

There's a deli near my house where I don't go very often 'cause the food isn't very good, and it takes forever to get anything made. (Even though it's run by a huge Arabic family, with a mom, a dad, two kids, various cousins, every time I go, it seems there's only ONE person minding the shop. They'll start to make my sandwich, then a customer will come in and they wait on him, then back to the sandwich, then to another customer, etc. etc. It's always about 20 minutes for me to get my food.)

But, still, I'll go there maybe once a month; the mom always remembers me and my (un)employment situation! Today, when I stopped in for a greasy burger and fries, she was ringing me up and asked if I'd found a job yet... Nope. She shook her head sympathetically and then threw a package of Ring-Dings into my bag: "Here. These will make you feel better."

Ah, the kindness of strangers! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Big Hug

People hug all the time. Mostly they don't mean it, they just barely touch. I'm not a hugger. I try to avoid hugging most of the time, 'cause it's usually phony.

One hug in my life that I really felt, where I remember actually deeply feeling the other person's body, spirit, sadness... my friend Kathy, in the summer of '88. We'd been friends in Austin and this hug was to say goodbye because she was going back to Fort Worth for the summer.

Earlier that spring: I will never forget how fucked up we were one night, crashing in her apartment. At some point, I guess it was the next morning, we both needed to brush our teeth. I didn't have my toothbrush with me, and was prepared to do without... but Kath offered me her own toothbrush. She offered me her own toothbrush.

Years later, I also remember the fun time we had going to watch "Chicago"... and loving it so much we had to immediately afterwards stop off at the WalMart, or whatever it was, to buy the soundtrack CD, and then go home to her apt to listen AND DANCE to it over and over and over and over and over... (Thanks to Kathy's husband for being so nice and patient with us!) :)

Other things over the years: When I was feeling sick and isolated, she brought me a surprise McDonald's meal. When I didn't have a car, she took me for groceries. One birthday, when I didn't have anybody to share it with, she came over with movies and pizza. (The latter two long after she was married and lived way out in the country, far away from an easy jaunt to my house.)

I miss Kathy a lot.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Only in New York: Bluegrass and Gilbert Gottfried

For days I've been lying about the Weehawken house again, but this morning leapt out of bed after having an invigorating dream about selling deli sandwiches from a cart. In the dream, at first I was just standing in front of the cart, mumbling things aloud off the menu posted on the side, stumbling along, nobody really paying attention to me. Finally, I just started yelling energetically, "Hot pastrami! Get your hot pastrami sandwiches right here! Try 'em! They're delicious!" And all of a sudden, there was a long line of people!

I woke up right after that, thinking immediately, "Time to get into the City!" And I did! (What's funny: after re-reading the below, much of what actually happened to me while I walked around sounds like I was still asleep and dreaming!)

I must've walked 10 miles today. First, to and halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge, then up past City Hall/Gracie Mansion, and then to Hester/Mulberry streets (which used to be the heart of the tenement district but is now lined with blocks and blocks of crowded, expensive cafes, and all the interesting tenements boringly yuppified). At one point, I stopped at a store to buy candles, and gave the clerk a $20. He had to call his manager so she could witness the fact that he was receiving CASH! At first, I thought he was trying to be funny, but no: He said that hardly anybody pays with cash any more, so it's store policy that there has to be a managerial witness to make sure the clerks don't pocket the money!

There were dozens of blocks of street fairs going on today, too, with tons of earrings and cool T's and things to look at. Here's something that put me in a GREAT mood: I was browsing at one earring stand, and 3 Puerto Rican teenaged girls a couple of feet away started whispering loudly to each other and staring at me. I kind of glanced over at them, then looked behind me to see who they were looking at. And then one of them took MY picture with her phone! I looked at her, surprised, and she asked me, "Are you somebody? I've seen you before." I laughed, and shook my head "No" and went back to looking at earrings...and then she took more pictures of me before I walked off! Who the heck did she think I was?? (My best claim to pseudo-fame remains: While I was on vacation in NYC in 2005 or so, I was standing in Columbus Circle trying to figure out directions and a 40-ish woman in a business suit came up to me and asked if I was Nicole Kidman!!! I stress the "woman in a business suit" part because, no, it wasn't some crazy homeless guy asking!) :) :)

After that ego boost, I kept heading North, stopping for a street vendor's gyro/rice/salad plate and settling down at a public cafe table near Madison Square Park. I was momentarily disgruntled when some idiot cheerily asked if he could share my tiny table. ("Sure." I wanted to point out to him that there were other empty tables really close by, but instead just started scarfing down my food so I could escape. Luckily, he got a phone-call so I didn't have to make conversation with him.) While eating, I could see a big crowd gathered at the park and hear music that sounded kind of like the Dixie Chicks. Curious, I ate even faster so I could go see what was going on over there...

Not the Dixie Chicks, but rather "Sierra Hull & Highway 111," a bluegrass/country group, playing a free show. (I'd never heard of them, but apparently Hull is some kind of bluegrass/mandolin wunderkind, which I learned after getting home and looking her up online.)

Their music reminded me of Austin and Texas music, and I started getting goosebumps (like the time a Tejano band in full regalia played for money on my subway car) and tapping my toe and bobbing my head... When I caught myself tapping and bobbing, I at first stopped myself self-consciously: "Gawd, everyone's gonna think I'm a hick!" But then I looked around me: the whole crowd of over 500 New Yorkers was full of toe tappers and head bobbers! Well-dressed middle-aged and old couples, young hipsters, Japanese and German and Icelandic tourists, 30-somethings with baby strollers whose toddlers were dancing around in front of the stage (just like at millions of outdoor Austin shows I'd gone to). I had to bite my lip several times to stop from getting teary, the vibe was so good! Hard to explain, but while I watched the show I was so full of love for New York and New Yorkers, loving them for getting into the good country music and enjoying themselves.

And then, the icing on the NYC cake: Standing just to my right, a 50-something unshaven gray-stubbled man and his younger blonde wife had two kids with them. The man was watching a baby in the stroller while the wife chased around their toddler, who kept dancing closer and closer to the stage... I was smiling at the toddler trying to escape and kept watching the parents to see what they'd do... Then I noticed that the man looked very familiar: short, VERY squinty eyes... He was wearing a baseball cap that had "Comedy Central" in small letters on the back. When I saw the "Comedy Central," it clicked: the comedian Gilbert Gottfried! Nooooooooooo. I looked secretly again and again. Oh, yes! I was standing next to Gilbert Gottfried, of all odd people, at a free outdoor bluegrass show in the heart of New York City. (And I was happy to see him with a family! Every time I've seen him on TV over the years, the thought has always crossed my mind: "Oh my god, he is so weird and annoying. Who would have sex with him?")

(Just to make sure it was really him, once I got home, I checked his Wikipedia page. Sure 'nuff, he has two kids, one born in 2007, one in 2009. Then I looked up his wife Dara Kravitz's photo --- see below. It was them! I had to do the same "research" the time I spotted Elvis Costello and wife Diana Krall walking a twin stroller around Union Square last year, after not believing who I'd just seen.)

What a wonderfully dream-like place, even when you're awake! :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights"

When did this song first come out? Some time in the mid-'80s? At the time, I loved it, and I always remembered it as a very moving, spiritual song, about the darkest of literary lost loves...

I just now re-looked the song up on YouTube... and was appalled at how awful and jokey Kate Bush was. The intentionally freaky bug-eyes and waving of the hands. The whole video is stilted and silly. And messes up a great song. I'm surprised that I remembered it as being serious.

Done Broke Down

My VCR/DVD players don't work. When I moved into this apartment last year, the cable man looked at them and fidgeted around and claimed, "They just don't work." So I can't watch movies here. ("I can't watch movies here??" Jesus! I used to be so excited by whatever Netflix movie arrived next.)

My computer, bought in 2000, works, but it doesn't work swiftly. As the webmaster of a Joan Crawford website, one of the neat things about the site was being able to find new pictures on the web and post them to the Joan photo gallery. Now, my computer doesn't allow me to download from eBay or other web sources without hours and hours of transferring (rather than the simple "click, copy, save").

Nor does said computer, being so old, allow me to download photos from the new digital camera I just bought after the old one broke. I used to love wandering around NYC and Weehawken shooting things, and it was fun posting the pictures here on my blog. Now, no can do.

Listening to music/making mixes: In the olden tymes of CDs/tapes, I would spend hours making mix tapes of songs I liked. Now, I don't have an iPod. And my computer is too slow to download any songs (not that there's anything to download songs TO).

And this is a silly thing to throw in, but... My left eye, for the past 6 months, has gone blurry! I obviously now need glasses, but, being unemployed and having no insurance, can't afford them. I'm a copy editor/proofreader by trade. This sucks mightily work-wise. And spare-time-wise, also: I can't read small print any more. The listings in "The New Yorker," for instance, or the expiration date on a dressing bottle.

Speaking of the latter: I was in the Pathmark supermarket today, on the soup aisle. And a woman in her 70s approached me sheepishly. She said she didn't have her glasses with her... could I please tell her the expiration date on the can of soup that she wanted to buy? I had to squint and squint and squint before I could help her out! (March 2011)

I'm sick to death of being poor and decrepit! Jesus H. Christ. Is it too much to ask in this day and age that my DVD player works, that my computer be capable of downloading photos, that I can make mix tapes, that I can help out people 30 years older than me in the grocery store without too much strain?


Monday, September 21, 2009

In praise of weeds and sperm

"Give up. My motto once was 'give up.' Now my motto is 'give on, go on.'"

Drive along any highway, and take a look at those weeds coming up through the cracks of the nearest underpass. What an unlikely place to sprout. And why the hell.

That's LIFE, baby. At its purest, most basic level. Whenever I'm feeling down, I think about those silly weeds, and their life-instinct. (Oddly, I also think about all the sperm that have to swim upstream... how many each time? hundreds of thousands? millions? And only ONE makes it! But the little buggers keep TRYING...)

Spelling Queen Bee

Days ago, I posted here an upbeat message about a job I was excited about, and what a phantasmagorically great cover letter I'd written... Well, something had been bugging me for days afterward, and I finally just figured out what it is after checking my Webster's: In the cover letter, I misspelled the word "knowledgeable"! I didn't add the "e" after the "g"! (The worst thing is, when I used that word in the cover letter, I thought at the time about looking it up; but then thought, "Eh, it's one of those words where you can either leave or delete the "e" before adding the suffix, depending on house style..." Wrong!)

95% of employers wouldn't notice or care, but... copy editing/proofreading jobs??? OMFGeeeeeeee. When I was a supervisor hiring, the FIRST thing I'd notice was misspelled words in the resume!

Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgh. (Did I spell THAT right?)

Reminds me of my 6th grade spelling bee. I won the school bee and was sent on to district. I made it down to the final 6, and then was done in by "pistachio." I was thinking of "Pinocchio" and other Italian words that I'd read with 2 "c"s, and I added an extra "c" in there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Scarlett Dilemma

You know, for the past couple of months, I have been applying for jobs, but I've been doing so in a VERY desultory fashion, maybe 2 one day, then nothing for a couple of weeks, then 1 or And I'm embarrassed about the cover letters I've been including: a few dull, brief sentences with just the bare facts.

This morning, though, I woke up with the windows open, and it was a brilliant sunny day, and I loved how the Weehawken trees and sky looked and how everything smelled...

"Sometimes the day dawns like a beautiful girl, eyes and legs flashing,
all one shiny-bright hello..."

And I suddenly felt like applying for a bunch of jobs and being charming and "Chatty Cathy" with my potential employers in the process. Here's a sample paragraph in one of my cover letters:

"...To be honest, I'd never heard of "--------------" before today! But the more I browsed your website, the more excited I got about the idea of working with the vast array of interesting and informative material there. (I didn't have time to read many of the columns at this outing, but did especially enjoy looking over the stats and search-engine watch info. I'll definitely be going back!)..."

Now, if you haven't written many cover letters, you might think the above sounds kind of odd: admitting I'd never heard of the company, admitting to not reading some of their material... But the kicker is how gosh-darned enthusiastic I am and how I'll be going back to their website on my own time, even if I'm not hired.

Of course, I then went on to list the relevant details of my work history...but I also gave them a sense of personality. In just about every job I've gotten, at the interview, the manager commented on my "interesting" cover letter. (And I've been a supervisor responsible for hiring a couple of times myself, so I know how deadly dull some people's letters can be. Like mine were a few weeks ago! Which is fine in a boom economy when you just need bodies with relevant experience, but not in a recession, when hundreds of people are applying for every one job available.)

So, anyhow, it felt good to finally get my sad ass in gear and make an effort at the damn cover letters! :)

I think because it's getting down to the wire -- my unemployment checks running out VERY SOON -- I'm finally getting a sense of what's actually going to happen to me if I don't make a real effort to find another job up here... Nothing dramatic like me "being out on the streets" or anything. But I will end up back in Austin. WITH NO CAR. (My mom's already told me: She'll pay my rent/utilities there for a couple of months while I get back on my feet, but she ain't gonna buy me yet another car!) :)

My family's in Austin and San Antone, and I have friends in both places; so my social life will improve drastically if I move back. And my rent will be half of what I'm paying now, so I'll be able to survive on a shit-paying job while I look for real work. But, but... I don't love Austin. I like it. It's nice. It won't kill me if I have to go back there. But I don't looooooooooove it.

Am I just shallow? Am I a "weather queen," in love with 4 distinct seasons (esp. fall leaves and SNOW!)? Am I a "milieu queen," in love with NYC's, and the surrounding area's, cultural and historical aura? I am, I am indeed.

And what I do in the next 6 weeks is going to determine the course of the rest my life. Kind of like a marriage decision: Which do I want, the nice, safe guy, or the exciting rogue with depth?

The Scarlett Dilemma.

In two senses for me. The first is Austin being Charles Hamilton/Frank Kennedy -- the fall-back choice when there's nothing better to do. The second is more personal, with "the IDEA OF" Sandra being Ashley, and NYC being Rhett. The former is constantly vacillating, constantly elusive, ultimately NOT THERE, despite my efforts. The city, on the other hand, is utterly real and open and offers up anything I want, if I choose to go for it... With the very real potential of a "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" as a result of my long-term inattention! And I have truly been inattentive, moping around on my couch for months dreaming of a ghost rather than devoting my time to the vibrant and potential-filled here-and-now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Let's Pretend/Big Guys

The very first song on the very first album I ever owned. (The Bay City Rollers' "Dedication," 1976.) Reminds me of the times I was allowed to play my albums in the house. After school, of course, when there was no one else there. But also, in the mornings while I was getting ready for school, so my mom was forced to listen to everything I was "into" at the time! And then at night, as I was going to sleep, I was allowed to put on one side of an album, volume turned way low. (For a while there in the beginning, "Let's Pretend" ruled my world!)

1st album ever: BCR "Dedication"
2nd album: BCR (untitled debut)
3rd album: Shaun Cassidy (untitled debut)
4th album: BCR "It's a Game"
5th album: Shaun Cassidy "Born Late"

And after that, Leif Garrett's debut album, and more BCR and Shaun, and then, finally, some real rock shit hit this 12-year-old fan in '77 with KISS and Cheap Trick et al...

p.s. RE Cheap Trick's "Live at Budokan": There was a song on there called "Big Eyes": "Big eyes, I keep falling for those big eyes..." After playing that side of the album mornings before school for weeks, my mom finally came to me and asked, "Why, exactly, is he singing about 'Big Guys'?" :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Not Dead Yet: Lohan's "I Know Who Killed Me"

Lindsay Lohan's last feature film "I Know Who Killed Me" came out in July 2007. I was one of the few to actually pay to see it at the time, in a theater in Times Square (sparsely attended by me and, oddly, several black couples).

Afterwards I was inspired to write pages and pages about both that film and about Lindsay Lohan herself. Was just going through old papers, cleaning out my files, and came across all of these notes (which I've edited down by maybe 50%, deleting most of my silly ponderings about Lohan as a woman and actress).

Here's the IMDb link to the film:

In a 2006 Elle interview, Lindsay Lohan mentions seemingly offhandedly: "Yeah, I have a dark side. I go to my dark side. I watched all those videos on Charles Manson for a while." To which the interviewer responds: "Huh. Older people like me don't understand this kind of meanness that's pervaded the young Hollywood set." Say what?

Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me seemed to me like her attempt to upwrench that idiotic "huh" and equally obtuse follow-up question out of the interviewer's mouth. As in, "I'll show you 'dark,' motherfucker."

Unfortunately, the poor, amateurish writing and editing of "I Know" severely undermines an interesting premise (not nearly adequately explored) of the film: the concept of the Double, the Other, the otherworldly source of the "phantom limb" phenomenon -- the latter a concept LL's character Aubrey/Dakota relates to the existence of ghosts: not with us, but still psychically present nonetheless because they "remember the pain."

Rather than delve into any of those interesting areas, however, what "I Know" turned out to be is a sleazy showcase for gratuitous sex / generic torture-porn. A cheesy "serial killer movie" with a ridiculously bland and underdeveloped killer and police force.

Watching "I Know," I got the definite sense that LL was purposely trying to be "bad." (Wooooo, she's a stripper. Wooooo, she's having sex.) And that, similarly, the filmmakers didn't give a shit about any story line but rather only wanted to show LL (a) as a stripper; and (b) as having sex.

As I write this, I haven't yet looked up the director on the IMDb to learn his history, but I'll be damned surprised if his background's not in videos for 3rd-rate LA hair bands. The guy underestimates his audience. Sure, we want to see Lindsay in a thong. But, more importantly, I do believe we're also interested plot-wise in why exactly she's on the dance-floor and her fuck-me GLOVE is dripping blood. Oh, woooops, turns out she's got a finger missing and, folks, it's because... "Sometimes people get cut." Which could have turned out to be a Zen-like bit of wisdom, but in this case... forget it.

Like the "remembering the pain" ghost idea, the "sometimes people get cut" notion also gets lost in the overall idiocy of the movie as a whole, in its urgent need to show Lindsay stripping and fucking. Not a knock against stripping and fucking -- these can be extremely intimate and moving things, even at their most decadent and defiled levels. Yet, this movie was fake all the way -- the torture, the sex all done on an extremely juvenile MTV level. Nothing hurts to watch.

If you want to "do" serial killers or random killers, then make it real. Make it as fucking scary as "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" or "Silence of the Lambs" or "In Cold Blood." That cinematic bar was raised long ago. This movie's designated killer doesn't come close to being interesting, nor do the non-entity police officers on the case, nor do Aubrey/Dakota's parents (complete with a wasted Julia Ormond and her hair extensions as Aubrey's mother. Ormond's agent should be ashamed).

"I Know Who Killed Me" is a terrible movie. A list of the overtly bad things:

1) When Aubrey/Dakota is marching up the drive to the parents' house, she perhaps should have been limping, given her fake leg.
2) The lights in the fake leg flashing during the sex scene: Please.
3) The boyfriend proclaiming his undying love during lab class was forced and stupid.
4) How the hell did Dakota's finger get cut off?
5) The piano teacher as Possible Serial Killer was silly.
6) Dakota's having-sex-in-the-house scene was stupid, as was mom Julia Ormond's simultaneous "scrubbing-the-already-clean-sink" scene (as was Ormond's whole appearance).
7) If the dad stole a baby, why did the sonogram only show ONE baby, not twins?

Too bad for the producers that the star wasn't someone like Tara Reid or Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. If one of those famous-but-not-talented girls had appeared, I'm sure the film would have later found a spot on the camp circuit, along with the likes of "Showgirls." As is, the ludicrous movie is combined with Lohan's subtlety as an actress. No one will make any money whatsoever.

I don't think Lindsay Lohan "works" as a 21-year-old. Or as an American. Despite her Long Island/LA roots and her Hollywood child-star history, and despite her youth, the girl looks like she's a WOMAN -- a woman in either a Bergman or a Rosselini film, a "Fallen Woman," a femme fatale. I long to see her well-lit, well-directed, sans dumb "gypsy whore" LA clothes and hair extensions. If she's suffering onscreen, I want to see her suffering mentally, and subtly, because of some love gone wrong, NOT because of some cheesy, overt MTV-like serial killer scenario.

Anne Sexton Scrapbook

The first 2 photos are from an early scrapbook she kept, soon after her marriage. (Click to enlarge.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Another Rainy Day in New York City"

Bay City Rollers, 1978, from their "Strangers in the Wind" album. My very first favorite band.

And it's fall here in NYC! Rainy, and 62 degrees, as September should be! :)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What to do

I don't know what to do.

Last night, I watched the (bad) "Manson" pseudo-doc on the History channel. Vincent Bugliosi said that as Abigail Folger was dying of stab-wounds, she was calling for her mother. (It's also always freaked me out that Folger was sitting on her bed reading and, as her soon-to-be murderers walked past her door, she allegedly smiled and waved at them... Then, there's her "Please stop. I'm already dead" on the front lawn...)

I just now found out: Folger was born on August 11, like me. I think Bugliosi said earlier in his book that Sharon Tate, while she was also being stabbed to death, also called out for her mother...


It's funny... In our time of need, we don't call out for Roman Polanski or Woytek Frykowski...

Hotter than a two-dollar pistol

What a happy, happy song! I love all of it, but especially the line "it's the brunette in your 'vette that turns me on"! :)

How anal am I??

I was cleaning up some old papers lying around, and came across this, notes to myself written July '08... about a pizza delivery gone wrong! Here're my notes, verbatim:

7/15 Monetti's

@5:30 - called - ordered delivery (woman answered)
- LG pepperoni
- sm. salad (no olives, no peppers)
Pd. over phone by debit card + $2.00 tip = $17.25

@5:50 - arrived - peppers in salad
- only a cheese pizza

I called @5:52 to say wrong order (same woman)
- She asked if I wanted new pie? Yes.
- said it would take 15 to 20 mins.

6:10 - She called back - "we only charged you for cheese. Have to pay extra."
I said - for all my trouble and waiting, can I get a break?
- She puts manager on phone.
- He says they'll send over a bag of pepperoni!
- I say "What??!"
- He finally agreed to new pie. But will take another 1/2-hr.

6:26 - arrives. (I give back old cheese pizza.)


It cracks me up that I wrote out all of that! But still...At the time I remember being utterly outraged at the stupidity and incompetence of these pizza folk! "A bag of pepperoni," my ass! :)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Yelling at the neighbors

OK, the thing is: Up here (NYC/Joisey) people live very close together. And most of the people are aware of that, and so are consequently pretty quiet and well-behaved. However... a Dominican family just moved into one of the duplexes next to mine. And they're friggin' loud! They actually set up big umbrellas in their tiny back yard so they can be outside all day. (They apparently don't have air-conditioning.) And they spend the whole day running in and out of the house, SCREAMING left and right! I've counted 2 men, 2 women, and a boat-load of kids coming in and out of the place.

A few blocks west is Union City, aka "Dominican Central." But up 'til now, I've known Weehawken (bordering the Hudson River) to be pretty quiet.

Earlier today, after HOURS of these neighbors' shenanigans, I finally leaned out of my window and yelled at them: "STOP SCREAMING!" One guy looked up at me, and I repeated, "Stop screaming. Please." But he just looked back blankly, and the screaming continued into the day.

I felt creepy and awful yelling at the neighbors. Yet... SHUT THE FUCK UP! I beg you! Can't wait for the cold weather, when these Union City refugees will be forced to shut their doors and windows and stay the fuck inside.

I Always Get Lucky With You

I would fuck George Jones in a second, just based on this picture and just based on this song (minus the unnecessary Mark Knopfler part!).

There Is Always, Always Your Mother

by SS:

Sky Torn To Ribbons

When you tore the sky to ribbons
and left me wanting to die
I began seeing ribbons in the sky
painting the sky as shredded ribbons
looking out the window and saying 'oh my god, the sky has been torn to ribbons'

And then my bedroom was decorated, covered in fabric with blue and white shreds
of ribbons, hanging from top to bottom.
Draperies, my curtains were made of sky blue ribbons
torn to shreds, fabric covering my headboard, sky torn to ribbons.

Last night, as I continued to make a choice of crying or dying,
tearing the sky to ribbons or turning the shreds to fuel
I began dancing to the words...'thought I heard her calling my name, hush, hush....
sha na na na na na na na na, hush'
my fuel turned to fury as i danced in a rage and began letting go of the sky torn to ribbons
letting go of the sky still getting shredded
my wild dance of joy began with hearing 'hush, thought I heard her calling my name'
early in the morning, early in the evening.

It ended, or began, with discarding the sky torn to ribbons headboard
which supported my death like sleep, for seven years,
my deep blue sadness,
my despair for for just seven out of fourty
my headboard of shredded blue ribbons lasted long enough to let me rest
and begin to live, now.

Not From Here

Back when I was in college at UT-Austin, around '87 or so, I was waiting for a school shuttle bus. I was dressed all in black, hair pulled back in a severe bun, had on dark red lipstick. (I was going through my attempted "goth" phase, which lasted maybe from '87 to '89. I say "attempted" because I could never quite pull it off. While goth internally... alas, on the outside I look, as a middle-aged married Greek guy shagging my 20-year-old friend and trying to get me to sleep with his buddy, once told me, "like a Nebraska farm girl." The bane of my existence!)

Anyhow, there I was, dressed in black, waiting for the bus. The one other person at the stop was a Middle Eastern student who kept staring at me. Finally, he burst out with, "Where are you from? You don't look like you're from here." I asked, "Where do you think I'm from?" "New Jersey." "New Jersey?? Why on earth?" He thought for a second: "The black clothes, maybe. The lipstick."

Now, 20-some years later, here I sit in New Jersey! :) (Where girls decidedly do NOT wear black and red lipsick! I suppose the young man was thinking of NYC.) And just a couple of days ago, I was in my local pizza joint waiting for my slice to get warmed up and the Middle Eastern counter guy started making conversation: "Where are you from?" I didn't make him guess, just told him I was from Texas, had moved to Manhattan, then to Weehawken a year or so ago. He replied, "You didn't look like you were from here."

I'm also now flashing back to another encounter, this time also around '86 or '87 when I was still in my black-wearing phase. I was at a country-western dance club in Austin, where my friend shagging the middle-aged Greek guy always dragged me. (I didn't particularly like going there since I couldn't ever learn the dances and wasn't attracted to country men, but I went for something to do -- and I liked being around people of all ages, not just 21-year-olds.) I'd usually just sit there and drink and talk to people while my friend danced. One night a guy kept asking me to dance, and I kept smiling and saying "no." Near the end of the night, he came up again and said, "Well, you don't look like you belong here, but you shore do look purty!" :)

And then there's the night in NYC couple of years ago, before I lived here, but when I had flown in to visit for a few days. One of my Joan message-board buddies, a gay man who'd lived on the Upper West Side for 20 years, was taking me around town showing me the night-life. We were dressed up, and went to the Rainbow Room, a play, then to a drag show at a little club in Chelsea... At the drag show, the drag queen kept focusing on us, making jokes about "Uptown straight people slumming"! My friend was in a suit, and I was wearing black Capri pants and flats and a red/black top; I had on make-up and my hair was fixed... The other patrons were more scruffy and punk-ish... My friend and I were/are both gay as hell, yet the drag queen immediately assumed we simply MUST be a straight married couple! :)

Gawd! Now that I'm no longer wearing all black, I suppose I should just move to Nebraska and be done with it! :)

I'm a perverse soul, so it's actually kind of flattering to me to be told that I look like I don't belong someplace... I hate preconceived notions, and like messing with people's heads -- not intentionally going out of my way to mess with them, but messing with them because of THEIR already-existing prejudices that they then have to think about. Yet, on the other hand... it might sometimes be a little nice to just be accepted and not to have to continually prove myself and, here's the thing: NOT HAVE TO PUT ON THE CORRECT COSTUME to prove I belong... That's happened soooooo many times, in every type of "community," from small-towners back in Azle (where a 7-11 clerk once asked me and my friend Ginny if we were "from there" because we were wearing off-the-shoulder sweatshirts with Japanese writing that were so hot circa 1983!), to the tattoo artist AND the professor in San Francisco who gave me the cold shoulder until they learned I was gay (and then both became very friendly), to drag queens in New York City!

It's funny how very alike those in the so-called "counter-culture" are in behavior to the small-town "closed-minded" folk that they claim to despise! And, tellingly, it's, in my experience, always been the more educated, big-city folk who were the ugliest-acting toward what they perceived as the "outsider." The 7-11 Azle clerk, the guy in the country dance place, the pizza-guy: They were just sayin', just curious about another person. On the other hand, the SF tattoo girl, the SF professor, the NYC drag queen: They were not curious, not out to learn anything about another person, just out to mock. (I had SOOOOOOO little respect for these people once they started acting nice to me just because they learned I was gay.)


A p.s.: The conversation between me and the Jersey pizza guy continued with him asking me which had the better pizza, New Jersey or Texas... Now, one would assume the obvious answer: Jersey. WRONG! Contrary to popular belief, NYC and Jersey pizza isn't that great. I love all pizza (except Conan's in Austin, whose sauce contains big stewed tomatoes--UGH!); you can hardly go wrong with pizza... but I'm here to tell ya that places in Austin like Brick Oven and Double Dave's have MUCH better pizza than the slices up here. (I felt bad giving the guy my honest opinion; he looked shocked, and I suppose it was rather rude of me to tell a Jersey pizza guy that Texas pizza was better! He went on to tell me about his friend living in Houston who had told him all Houston and Texas had was Domino's and Little Caesar's...)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"Meet Cute" vs. "Meet Cuckoo"

Now this sounds like a "meet cute" scenario for a romantic comedy: Woman stands alone at a railing overlooking the Hudson, gazing at the New York City skyline as the sun sets and the lights start to go on over the city. 100 feet or so away, a man is walking his poodle, who suddenly runs away from him. The man calls frantically, but the little dog is sassy, and keeps running. Until he gets to where the woman is standing. The poodle stops right there and looks back expectantly at the man, waiting for him to catch up. The woman smiles at the dog and starts to talk to him while the man approaches. Once the man gets there, the dog runs off again, but this time the man lets him go, deciding to stay and talk to the woman...

The man introduces himself, and says he's running for Congress. He points to his car, which, sure 'nuff, has a big "J--- B--- for Congress" sign on the back of it. So far, so good. But then, he goes on. (And, are those shadows, or does he have a few teeth missing?) Not only is he running for Congress, but he's also running for governor. And last time he ran for governor he came in second, only the media didn't tell us that. And he's been on "60 Minutes," only they edited his interview out. And he's friends with the Bushes and knows their business, and someone out there doesn't like that. (I couldn't figure out who -- the Bushes, or the liberals.) And how long have I lived in Weehawken?

By this time, the polite smile was frozen on my face. "Not long. I'm from Texas." "Oh, so you're familiar with the Bushes." [me: sigh, looking over his shoulder for the dog] "Yes, I'm familiar with the Bushes." "Maybe you can help me out in this election." "I'll Google you to learn more about your record." "If I were you, I'd Google me from the computer of someone you don't like, if you know what I mean." [me: prolonged clenched teeth and polite smile] "I'll do that. You'd better go find your dog! Good luck to you!" [him: hesitation -- let go of the stupid conversation or go find the dog] "OK, goodbye!"

Story of my life: NEVER the "meet cute." Always the "meet cuckoo." :)