Friday, September 30, 2011

Haven't I the right...

Baby Lawyers

My temp assignment for Thursday was playing both a juror and a witness in a mock murder case at the UT law school to help law students practice their courtroom skills. (Dear god, WAY beats the mind-numbing data entry crap I've been offered lately!) :)

My witness character was "Morgan," a friend of the murdered girlfriend, Nancy, of "nice-guy" Don, who was on trial for hiring his friend/bad-boy (and on-the-side lover of Nancy) Frank to kill Nancy after she left him.

About 20 of us temps got various character scripts and evidence packets to review an hour before the mock trials. My packet to learn consisted of Morgan's 2-page sworn testimony that Don was a really cool guy. We met on the docks years ago, and every time we'd gone fishing together, he'd been so laid back. But that Frank! What a loser! He hung out with drug dealers, and even bragged about getting off on an assault charge back in Joisey. But Nancy seemed to like him. Yeah, so what if I gave Nancy Frank's number and got them together, even though I was Don's friend. She liked the bad boys. If that's what she liked, then...

Beforehand, I thought that I was just reading over all this stuff, but... when I got into the mock courtroom, I actually had to BE that character and give testimony without my script, with the student lawyers objecting for "hearsay," etc., and the judge either sustaining or overruling and instructing me on how I could or could not answer! If I forgot a fact, the lawyers approached and showed me the transcript of my former testimony to refresh my memory -- just like in real life! (Or at least on trials I've seen televised!)

There were two student prosecutors and two student defenders. I was a defense witness, with one defending lawyer responsible for prepping me ahead of time. The info packet that I'd received made me believe that my character's friend, the defendant "Don," was guilty, but when I met with my "lawyer" for a few minutes before the trial, he explained that I needed to focus on Don's good qualities, even reinterpreting the e-mail that I'd received from Nancy on Christmas, saying why she was leaving Don for Frank... (In the reinterpretation, she wasn't really leaving Don at all, though in actuality she might have been.) My Baby Lawyer was also interested in who the hell we role-players were -- were we hired actors? :)

The whole process was frigging interesting! The "judge" was a UT law professor who was also a former state prosecutor. And he was hard-core with the student lawyers, calling them on every mis-step, making them blush and freeze on occasion (though they all eventually recovered adequately). I was scared for the students, putting myself in their places and wondering how in the hell, verbal as I am, I would ever respond to what the judge had just said to me.

I loved seeing how the training of our country's future trial lawyers was done. This time with babies, but give 'em 20 years, and they'll be out there actually doing the real thing. And this is where they learned...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Dream Man (well, except for a few minor things...)

While waiting at one of my bus stops today, a graying guy came over to wait. As he approached, he looked down at the side of a concrete post and said, "Oh, cool! Some kids have stenciled [some Star Wars characters that I'd never heard of]!" Then he walked over to the other side: "And look! Over here they did The Three Stooges!" He looked around cheerfully at the other three of us sitting/standing there.

No one else paid him any mind, so I answered (kind of liking his enthusiasm): "Do you have a camera with you so you can get pictures?" (Because, see, that's exactly what I like to do -- get "found" shots like that. Only, I hardly ever remember to carry my camera with me whenever I go out on errands.)

"No," he said, "but I DO have my cell with me! The shots won't be great, but I can post them on my blog!" (Sadly, I forget the name of it now. Something about "Austin Street Photos," though that's not the exact name. But gee, that's what I like to do -- post photos on my blog.)

Me: "Well, I'd get up and look at the stencils themselves, but I'm too lazy to move right now."

Him: "Don't worry. Let me get them on my phone and I'll show 'em to you. We're on the verge of a complete matriarchal society anyway. Women shouldn't have to do anything. Boy, 2012's just around the corner."

OK, the "matriarchal society" part was getting a little weird. But still, it was kind of nice to have someone thinking that just because I was a woman, I shouldn't have to move my lazy ass off the bus-stop bench -- he'd bring his photos to me! Which he did. Wooooo! (Not-that-interesting art by the stenciler, though public art is always mildly interesting; nice to not have to move.)

And I must admit that I am curious about the Mayan "the end of the world" date of December 21, 2012, though I wasn't about to encourage that kind of conversation with a strange guy at a bus stop. Then he went on in the astrological (and I guess "matriarchal power") vein: "Oprah and I have the same birthday. Though she was born 3 years sooner." Again, I'm very interested in people's birthdays and also who shares birthdays with whom. Caution precluded me from revealing my own to him and giggling about Hulk Hogan sharing mine (or mentioning that the Mayan calendar also said the world began on OUR -- mine and Hulk's -- birthday...). But I did nonetheless ask him what birthday he and Oprah shared: January 29.

Him: "I don't know if you know anything about astrology..."
Me: "I do."
Him: "... but I'm an Aquarius, and I also have Aquarius rising."
Me: "My moon is in Aquarius."
Him: "[singing] 'When the moon is in the Seventh House...' You know what scene always gives me goosebumps? The very end of 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' when they play that song!"
Me: "I like that, too. The whole movie has good vibes."

(It's true; it does!)

Him: "And you know what else gives me goosebumps? [here he names a song from "Pulp Fiction" that I can't remember] They played this whenever Samuel L. Jackson was quoting from the Bible."
Me: "Did you know that he wasn't quoting exact scripture? [I saw this on TV somewhere] He was saying the gist of it, but not exactly. I wonder if that was part of the character..."
Him: "That would kind of make sense for his character."
Me: "I know! He's very righteous, but not that educated..."

Then the guy goes into Roger Avary, whom I'd never heard of -- a writing collaborator with Tarantino on various projects who never received full acknowledgment, apparently... I didn't know him, but wondered aloud, "Maybe he doesn't care; maybe's he's like Bukowski, just drinking and doing what he does and not caring about any credit..."

Him: "I hope so! That would be better for him!"

And then when we saw the bus coming, we started talking about today's cost of bus fare and Austin rent and then what his grandfather used to pay for things at the turn of the century. He tried to come up with equivalent amounts, without much success, and then I told him about an online Inflation Calculator (www.usinflationcalculator.com) where you could plug in any amount from the past to present to figure out the equivalent rates. I'd always found that handy and interesting to know...

Him: "There's such a thing online? Wow! I'm definitely going to look that up."
Me: "I can't remember the exact address..."
Him: "It doesn't matter. I'll just plug in the key words..."

This whole thing was, seriously, the most interesting conversation I've had in the past 6 months! Veering as it did all over the place, I was still honestly interested in just about every (seemingly) random thing the guy had to talk about: street photos, blogs, matriarchy, end of the world, astrology, movies (music, character motivation, writing/collaboration)...

So, before I got off the bus at my supermarket, did I give the guy my phone number and say let's meet for coffee/a drink? Of course not. Why? #1: He was in his 50s but was wearing Converse low-tops and carrying drumsticks and 2 Bruce Lee DVDs with him. His hair was scraggly and unkempt. (All of the above cute for a college kid in his 20s. Only.) #2: His face looked way too weatherbeaten for his age (signifying either way too much drugs/drinking or too much time spent outdoors -- i.e., some homelessness most likely). #3: In between actual conversation, he muttered way too much to himself (he was 90% coherent, but the other 10% was too much off for comfort). And the matriarchy-thing was too weird.

Had he and I both been in our 20s, I actually would have wanted to go hang out with him to talk for 4 or 6 hours! So why, when I'm 46 and he's in his 50s, was ever meeting up with this guy again (just for conversation, mind you!) completely out of the question for me?

In the same vein: Say Sandra liked my verbal interactions with her online. But... Entertaining as they were, when it comes down to it, I'm a poor woman with no job. Who's going to pay her rent? In my case, with the guy at the bus stop: I can pay my own rent; and I'm grateful for actual communication; but I don't want someone friggin' weirder than me in my life. I can come up with 2012 and movie theories on my own. It's nice to share said theories out loud with someone, but, in the end, I want someone who's more stable than me, someone who's a potential mate. The way I internally blew off this guy was pretty much the way Sandra blew me off, though one took 20 minutes and the other took 2 years.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Art of Loving, part 2

I had no idea what Erich Fromm's "The Art of Loving" was going to be like; in a blog entry a couple of days ago, I made a joke of how Plath had it on her night-stand when she killed herself, and later Assia Wevill took the book over, writing her own name in it... and so how "helpful" the book must have been, relationship-wise!

Since it was published in 1956, I'd kind of thought it was just going to be a self-help book for lonely women, "how to keep a man" and all that. But it actually dealt/deals with all sorts of love: between parent and child, between adult lovers, a feeling for all of humanity, love of god, self-love, etc.

Some passages were helpful to me at this extremely barren time in my life:

"...one must learn to be concentrated in everything one does, in listening to music, in reading a book, in talking to a person, in seeing a view....If one is concentrated, it matters little what one is doing; the important, as well as the unimportant things assume a new dimension of reality, because they have one's full attention. To learn concentration requires avoiding, as far as possible, trivial conversation, that is, conversation which is not genuine. If two people talk about the growth of a tree they both know, or about the taste of the bread they have just eaten together, or about a common experience in their job, such conversation can be relevant, provided they experience what they are talking about, and do not deal with it in an abstractified way; on the other hand, a conversation can deal with matters of politics or religion and yet be trivial; this happens when the two people talk in cliches, when their hearts are not in what they are saying.... just as it is important to avoid trivial conversation, it is important to avoid bad company. By bad company I do not refer only to people who are vicious and destructive; one should avoid their company because their orbit is poisonous and depressing. I mean also the company of zombies, of people whose soul is dead, although their body is alive; of people whose thoughts and conversation are trivial; who chatter instead of talk, and who assert cliche opinions instead of thinking."

This made me think of several things: One, one good quality I usually do possess, since about the age of 8, is said power of concentration and focus. Of trying to understand the very core of the thing or at least the thoughts they evoke, whether a Bay City Rollers song, a dead actress, the aura of a city, the shapes of trees at a bus-stop. And trivial, "received" opinions are sometimes literally sickening to me. THAT part is not my problem.

My danger, in my sometimes too-harsh reactions to what I perceive as the trivial or untrue, is in becoming one of the "bad company" -- a vicious and destructive person. An example of this is my getting into arguments left and right with various of my "Friends" on Facebook over the past few months especially. For instance, one Friend from my old hometown posted something that I thought extremely trivial and dumb about getting goosebumps when seeing a Boy Scout sitting in front of the American flag while selling candy. Now, annoying as that perhaps is, I could have just ignored it or replied with a mildly sarcastic "And I get goosebumps whenever I eat my mother's apple pie at a baseball game!" But nooooo.... I posted something like, "Really? You really get goosebumps at such a cliched thing? We're in our mid-40s! How many times by now have you seen Scouts selling candy? How exactly is that inspirational any more?" The result, predictably, was a huge Facebook brouhaha, with people saying how negative I was, etc.

The Fromm book's passage that I quoted above continues with a possible other way that I could have reacted: "However, it is not always possible to avoid the company of such people [the zombies], nor even necessary. If one does not react in the expected way -- that is, in cliches and trivialities -- but directly and humanly, one will often find that such people change their behavior, often helped by the surprise affected by the shock of the unexpected." While my "Are you serious?" reaction was surely "direct" and "unexpected," it was also extremely negative, placing me in the "bad company" category, and highly unlikely to elicit any sort of future "changed behavior"!

The attitude possibilities there reminded me of an incident that happened maybe 15 years ago, while I was getting gas at a 7-11. I'd pulled up too far away from the pump, and the gas hose would not stretch all the way to my tank, stopping just inches short. (There was nothing obstructing me, I just hadn't parked very well.) I yanked and yanked with all my might; when that failed to stretch the hose, I started cursing like an insane sailor: "Goddamn it, you motherfucker..." All the while continuing to futilely try to make the hose stretch to my tank. The guy parked in front of me getting gas made eye contact and said, very calmly, "I think if you pull your car up a little, the hose will reach." The complete rationality made me laugh out loud and thank him. I immediately did as he suggested. Now, if he'd just scowled at my unnecessary outburst or said something (deserved) like, "What the fuck is your problem?" that would have contributed to my then-irrational sense of complete injustice and meanness of the gas-hose AND of everyone else in the world! But instead his simple words snapped me out of my stupid tantrum. I need to learn to be more like THAT guy, who was exhibiting Fromm's "brotherhood of man" concept!

Another thing from the Fromm book: "There are many layers of knowledge; the knowledge which is an aspect of love is one which does not stay at the periphery, but penetrates to the core. It is possible only when I can transcend the concern for myself and see the other person in his own terms. I may know, for instance, that a person is angry, even if he does not show it overtly; but I may know him more deeply than that; then I know that he is anxious, and worried; that he feels lonely, that he feels guilty. Then I know that his anger is only the manifestation of something deeper, and I see him as anxious and embarrassed, that is, as the suffering person, rather than as the angry one."

I have wanted/expected others to see through MY periphery of anger, but... I have not usually been able to do the same for others. Whenever a person has been a few inches shy of the gas tank, I've yelled at them rather than offering a calm, sane solution.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The King is Gone



October 6: George Jones in Austin at the Moody Theater. I will marry the person who takes me! ;p

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Art of Loving



I'm just a supahstah every 6 months or so after I've gone downtown, gotten books from the library, and then am sitting around on a park bench trying to avoid going home!

Last March, a Japanese girl asked to take my picture while I was on a bench reading. Today, some Arabic guy wanted an iPhone shot. The latter not as cool as a girl with an actual camera! (Something about iPhones and swarthy guys just seems cheesy. While Japanese girls and 35mm conversely signify... ART!) :)

My original intention today was just to take some books back. Had no idea of anything else to get, but ended up -- as usual -- with some stuff I'm looking forward to:

Sedaris/Handler/Cynthia Lennon on John for fun.

Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (published in 1774) just to know what the big suicide fad as the result of that book was all about!

"Leaving New York: Writers Look Back" (wow, the fact that there's a sad genre of LEAVING New York might help my own being sad at leaving).

"The Night Club Era" (1933, by a reporter on the NYC club scene in the '20s) and "The Blood Countess" (1995 by Andrei Codrescu of NPR) --- about the 16th-century Hungarian countess who murdered dozens of virgins in order to bathe in their blood and maintain her youth... Both of these for screenplays I've been thinking about for years: Joan Crawford's early years in NYC and Elizabeth of Bathory just for her own evil's sake. Hey, if I'm in such a bad, bad mood lately about succubi, might as well channel it.

Finally, "The Art of Loving" (1956) by Erich Fromm. Found on Sylvia Plath's night-table after her suicide. But, oh, there's more... According to the FRIENDLY bio "Lover of Unreason" about Assia Wevill (the woman who "stole" Ted Hughes from Plath)... After Plath killed herself, Assia installed herself in the same flat. Not only did she live in the same flat, but she also, curiously, took over some of Plath's books. In PLATH'S very own copy of "The Art of Loving," which Plath had inscribed "Sylvia Plath, Court Green, 9 November 1962," Assia wrote her OWN name and "Sept. 63." And, according to the FRIENDLY Assia bio, Assia underlined the following quote:

Some mothers, Fromm wrote, "want to keep the child, the adolescent, the man, with them; he should not be able to breathe, but through them; not able to love, except on a superficial sexual level -- degrading all other women." Was Assia thinking of Edith Hughes as the cause of Ted's sudden reluctance to include her in his life?

Um... don't know about Assia's perception of Ted's mother, but... is there something just a little weird about Assia signing her own name in the dead wife Sylvia Plath's book and then underlining stuff in said book owned by dead wife? The more I read about Assia, the more I disrespect her. Ted Hughes once wrote of Sylvia Plath: "She had character." Assia, on the other hand, had no character whatsoever. By all accounts: Someone to fuck, but not to trust.

Can't wait to read and learn from the text that inspired two such great loving relationships!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Altered States

Back in my small-town Texas high school in '82, there was a big announced assembly in the cafeteria: Real Russian soldiers were going to talk to us!

There were two guys there in "Russian" uniforms. My classmates, and the school principal, were immediately randomly belligerent: "Why don't you believe in freedom?" After my principal -- a grown-up -- acted like that, I got up the nerve to stand up and, first, apologize for my principal for being rude (to boos) and then to ask a specific political question: "If the Communists claim to stand for workers, then why did your country crush the recent workers' revolution in Poland?" (the "Solidarnosc" movement led by Lech Walesa).

I don't remember the answer, except that it was a generic, non-satisfying one. What I do, though, remember, is the knee-jerk idiocy of my high school classmates, all-too-eager to mock the so-called "Russians" standing before them. No one had anything intelligent to ask; it was all put-downs.

It was subsequently revealed (later that day in school) that the "Russian soldiers" were American Army plants, sent around to high schools to inspire patriotism. Yes, Reagan was sponsoring these kind of odd things -- among high school kids -- in '82.

That moment stood out to me. The knee-jerk nastiness from the whole crowd (including grown-ups) and just me asking the actual political question, and another girl (just moved to Azle from NYC) asking, in the face of all the nastiness, about what the soldiers ate for breakfast on an ordinary day! :)

That same girl, by the way, gave me a 3-inch John Lennon "Listen to this Button" button that she'd gotten in NYC, after learning how much I liked him. Marilyn Carmody. Later changed her acting name to "Rose Carmody." We acted in one one-act high school play together that won her an award in state competition: "I Never Saw Another Butterfly." She was the main Jewish girl in the concentration camp. I was one of the 3 supporting Jewish girls, whose main scene consisted of clutching some barbed wire and wistfully spewing a line.

What I also remember about her is when I'd gone to see 1980's "Altered States" showing at the theaters in Fort Worth a year or so later... A friend that we shared had told her that I was an "intellectual." Maybe, but as a teen, I was a very tongue-tied one. I'd loved the intense movie, was very moved by it. But when the NYC-girl asked me what I thought the "message" of the movie was... I was unprepared to "discuss" it. I stared at her like a dummy. And then she said, "I think it was about Love." I nodded. Despite all the goings-on, it was indeed just about that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

...And In Every Home


The biggest purchase I've made after my big 5-weeks-of-work paydays: A JVC iPod dock/CD player/radio! (On sale online last week for $74.99; regularly $120 or so at various other places I checked.) Back in the olden days (before moving to NYC in '07) I had a regular stereo with various components and massive speakers; that one was actually worth about $500 -- when I bought it nearly new from a pawn shop for $200 in 1987!! So the thing was ONCE state of the art! Sold the various parts in my going-away yard sale, for maybe $75 total. In NY, made do with a cheap $50 boombox (CD/cassette(!)/radio) I picked up from a discount store there, and then paid to have shipped back to Austin last year.

There was something very psychologically satisfying about buying a NEW sound system (however minor) with NEW technology capabilities, like a dock for the nonexistent iPod that I WILL (dammit!) get soon! And despite no iPod to dock, playing my CDs in this pretty cheap new player is also satisfying -- the sound is a LOT better (clearer, and no skips in the CDs) than the boombox. Haven't cranked it up yet, but will (briefly) during the day tomorrow when I hope no neighbors are home to be bothered... That's another thing: I'd been so uptight since living here about other people's stereos that I'd barely played any of my own music (just kept the TV on constantly or watched videos on YouTube), not wanting to be a "hypocrite" for potentially being loud myself. I need to just relax about that. My having the volume at "2" doesn't even come close to the mayhem that the now-gone asshole next door subjected me to, with his hours and HOURS of shit turned up to "9" 4 or 5 days a week!

I really missed listening to my CDs! I've got about 200 now, down from maybe 500 that I used to have (before pawning some over the years and selling a ton before I left for NY)... One really stupid decision I made about 15 years ago in a moment of poverty: Selling off most of the entire collection of Beatles albums I had on CD! That wasn't like selling off a random band's 3rd album or something -- I KNEW that I'd want all the Beatles stuff back. (Now I just own "Hard Day's Night," "Help!" and "Rubber Soul.") I also miss all of my XTC and Doors and Concrete Blonde CDs (once had them all). And multi-disc collections from Sinatra and Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. And the ton of other country CDs -- from '40s through the '90s -- I amassed while living in San Francisco in the mid-90s... (though I never sold any of my George Jones!).

Right now listening for the second time in a row to Elvis Costello's "Imperial Bedroom," one of my favorite albums ever, just repurchased last week.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

'Til I can make it on my own

I've been weak this past week, drunk-dialing a lot (well, several times on two different nights to the same person -- that was enough)... Here's my excuse in song:



Also just tonight finished reading the 2010 Tammy Wynette bio by Jimmy McDonough... Is it better to have a yes-man for a husband who feeds you the drugs you ask for, or to have a wild-man genius of a husband who drives you nuts with his behavior but who also truly loves you on a level deeper than the everyday?

I vote for the latter, George Jones, rather than who Tammy ended up with, the Nashville hanger-on George Richey. She gave up. She died of the pharmaceuticals.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Auspices

(my first dream on my new pillows was seeing cloud-messages that S. had written in the sky for Jim)

What the sky spelled out that day
was no accident; she'd paid
for the words the planes so casually spat in cloud

like the small hearts of birds a cat not yet mine
once left on my ledge.

I hadn't her heart; I never had.

The tired pilots wanted only lunch
The rest of us aground, agape

The entrails lasted while they did and then were gone.
I drove on, then swerved back to look and look
up at nothing, tracing words of love and hurt dispersed faster
than even any engine could spurt them.

Murder, She Says



Someone across the hall from me just got murdered (well, MAYBE) last Tuesday night, but everyone seems kind of blase about it! (No, it wasn't the neighbor that was bugging me with all of his loud bass for half the summer --- now THAT would be suspicious!) ;0

Tuesday night, around 8:30pm, I started to hear all sorts of loud bumps coming from across the hall. At 8:45 or so, I poked my head out of the door to see what was going on... There was a group of about 5 young people (early 20s) gathered around the open door of the apartment one door down across the hall. When I opened my door, they all stopped whatever they were doing and looked at me and kind of giggled (yes, giggled): "Huh-huh --- Sorry!"

I said, "Just seeing what was going on out here!" then went back in. There continued to be bumpings and scrapings for the next hour or so. I didn't pop out again, just assuming that the kids were either moving out or in.

The next day I get up and there's a bright orange police HOMICIDE SCENE sticker on the door of that apartment! I immediately called the apartment manager:

"Did someone get KILLED here last night?"
"Oh no, no." [silence]
"But...there's a big crime scene sticker on the door across the hall that says 'Homicide' on it!"
"Well, someone did die there last night. But it was of natural causes."
"But the sticker says 'Homicide'!"
"Well, that's just the department that's handling it."

I then told the manager about all the bumping and scraping. And about my peering out the door to see the group of "kids" kind of giggling.

"Well, his friends were trying to contact him. They'd tried calling him on his cell, but there was no answer, so they broke the door down. That was what you heard."
"But... why were they smiling and giggling when I looked out to see what was going on?"
"I can't answer that. But the death was of natural causes."

Very mysterious! I guess the guy overdosed, but... why in the world were his "friends" so jolly whenever I looked out?

I've lived here for over a year now, and have never seen the person living in that particular apartment. Just about everyone else on the 2nd floor I've seen come and go and have said hi to in passing. I had no idea, though, who lived in that apartment...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 dream (during my all-day sleeping)

For the past 4 weeks while doing my 9 - 5 temp job, I've been on a sleeping schedule and have usually been up early even on weekends -- on Saturday, doing grocery shopping and other chores; on Sunday, going to The Mom's for swimming and doing laundry and dinner. It's been a good, productive month.

This weekend, though, with the job about to end early next week, I just lay in bed all weekend, doing nothing at all but being lethargic. At some point during my constant sleep on Saturday or Sunday, dreamt of being at a soccer tryout hosted by a Pakistani coach. At one point, saw S. across the room and kept looking at her and studying her face and thinking how pretty she was. I finally approached her and said, "Hi, S." She said, "Hi, Stephanie." And then turned her back on me and walked away. (She was wearing a pair of weird trendy jeans; the jeans looked stupid but her butt looked cute.)

In the dream after that, I tried to find a matching pair of shoes for the soccer tryout. I couldn't get 2 shoes to match, even thought I knew I'd brought a matching pair to tryouts. Somehow they'd disappeared.

And then I woke up and thought: "What if S. is dead? What if that was her spirit's Goodbye to me?"

A bad, sad weekend. Come back.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

What would YOU do?

Today at a convenience store, I saw a guy slide something from the shelves into his pocket. I made eye contact with him and said in a low voice, "I saw that." He then got in line with other items, with me a couple of people behind him; he kept looking back at me, and I shook my head and mouthed, "Put it back."

When he finally got to the register, he did take what turned out to be 2 packs of chopsticks (!) out of his pocket and paid for them. As he was leaving, he actually said to me, "Thanks. I'd forgotten about those." (He hadn't forgotten about them; but thankfully for my psyche, he didn't say, "F you, bitch!")

Now, what would YOU have done? (1) Ignored it, none of your business; (2) What I did; (3) Immediately gone to a clerk and pointed out the guy stealing.

The whole thing was stressful for me! I mean, it turned out perfect, but it might not have. What if he hadn't ended up paying for the stupid chopsticks? Would I have yelled out, "Stop that man!" Would I have been silent until I got up to the register and only THEN told the clerk, "That guy stole something" and then felt like an idiot? What if he'd confronted me with a "Mind your own business, Bitch!" And, the guy was Asian and obviously a young student. What if it had been a gangsta-looking black guy or a rough, drug-addled-looking white street guy? Would I have been so quick with my "I saw that" and "Put it back"??

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Ask



(The Smiths, 1986. Pictured: Yootha Joyce.)

SHOES!!!!!

A fresh $2000 in the bank today after 2 weeks of work!!!! With at least another $1000 to come 2 weeks from now. After that, most likely no perfect-for-me temp job! :(

So I'd better save the money and guarantee rent/bills for 2 months, right? Or maybe just go out and get these shoes IMMEDIATELY... God, I'm starved for shoes. I just sooooooooo want to buy the EXACT shoes I like and not worry about practicality and/or if they cost $200 or not! I really miss my old college days: The financial aid checks came at the beginning of every semester, and then I'd splurge on one, or maybe two, pair of just-exactly-what-I-wanted/cost-be-damned shoes, usually from "cool," too-expensive stores on the Drag in Austin.

I'm so covetous of the shoes below! I can at least get the $60 Zelda sneakers (which I spotted and wanted last year), and the beige Oxfords (listed at $139, but I saw them recently online for $99)... I suppose that's a good compromise. But DAMN do I want those spiked loafers and patent-leather Beatle boots and red '30s pumps!

I'm so tired of being cribbed and cramped and stifled and stymied and this-that-n-the-other forms of not getting to be/do what I want! This fantastic temp job of the past 4 weeks has given me a taste of freedom, that's for sure. (That, and the taste of fall weather currently in the air here in Austin -- Sunday it dipped down to 58 at night after 5 months of nothing but 78-ish at night... I need some FRESH AIR!)

In the past couple of weeks, I've flashed back to hints of a sensation that I remembered from high school: I'd just learned to drive but didn't know my way around the Fort Worth area very well at all (basically just knew how to get to school and to my local job and back). At one point I needed to drive somewhere in the city, can't remember where, but had only a vague idea of how to get there, even after studying a map (the loops around Fort Worth are tricky). My mom was driving in that direction that day and so I followed behind her car... God, her keeping-to-the-speed-limit drove me nuts! We poked and poked along, me gritting my teeth. Until finally I saw a familiar landmark and something kicked in and I knew EXACTLY which route to take... I could not wait to GUN the engine (if a '79 Pinto's engine can indeed be "gunned") and speed past her and wave!

I'm feeling antsy like that now. I want to stop shuffling along and GO! While wearing a pair of $200 spiked loafers.





Sunday, September 04, 2011

A Thousand Miles From Nowhere



At 4am your own aloneness merely reflects the nothing going on outside your window. So it's all momentarily OK! :)

Throwin' Up and Goin' Down (Another Like You)



You were smoking on a cigarette
Talking about the deficit
Putting all them wild boys down
A-like a drunken Mona Lisa or the Leanin' Tower of Pisa
You were hanging off the edge of town
I overheard Afghanistan is safer than a minivan
Left me wonderin' what I should do
Ah, you're like a four leaf clover
I just had to come on over
I've never seen a woman like you

You was falling like the Alamo
Drinking fast and talking slow
Looking like it's time to go home
Were you hitting on the stripper cause you can't afford to tip her
Or just afraid of being alone
You was openly frustrated
You said Dylan's over rated
For singing Tangled Up In Blue
I don't know what I was thinking I could feel my heart a-sinking
I have never seen a fellow like you

Ain't that the way we do it's true we fall for the first one
How come it always ends up the worst one?

Well you're probably a Democrat,
What the hell is wrong with that?
Nothing if you're Taliban
I see, well, I bet you slept with half the south
Don't you ever shut your mouth?
How much did you pay for that tan?
More than you paid for them boots
Oh, shouldn't you be purging?
You're probably still a virgin
I can't believe you're not on The View
Have to have another round, it's looking like we're trouble bound
I have never seen another like you

Ain't that the way we do it's true you take the breath from me
It seems like you are bound to be the death of me

Oh, well, a couple hours later, we were in the elevator
A-making out like Bonnie and Clyde
We were dizzy from the love we found
Throwin' up and goin' down
Lord it's been a hell of a ride
I'm having trouble breathing
Well I probably should be leaving
You know I'm up in room 402
Well I gotta hand it to you
There's a chance I'm gonna screw you
I have never seen another like you
I don't know if it's forever
But I'm glad that we're together
I have never seen another like you.

Friday, September 02, 2011

She eyes me like a Pisces...

Just finished reading a terrible Nirvana bio by Everett True. 400 pages, like watching 400 hours of, oh, "Millionaire Matchmaker" or TMZ or something. About 90% junk and 10% actual interesting tidbits. Worst is author True's complete lack of style --- obviously influenced by the heyday of Rolling Stone/Creem writers in the '70s, he attempts to take that at-the-time fresh style: "So, I'm in a bathroom stall with Courtney Love..." etc. But then... I think she just tells him to get out or something. There's absolutely no psychological insight whatsoever from any of his personal hangings-out/on with either Kurt or Courtney. Exactly like TMZ.

And when True wasn't there personally, he completely, ineptly jumbles up influences, history, etc. (I was, for instance, appalled by his ignorance of Seattle native/actress/Kurtney-influence Frances Farmer's life: According to True, Farmer wrote a poem called "God Is Dead" during "the height of the Cold War" that got her committed to an insane asylum by the political powers-that-be. In reality, Farmer wrote her essay "God Dies" for a high-school writing competition... in 1931. (The Cold War didn't start until after World War II. It wasn't the essay that got her committed.)

When this style of rock journalism first caught on in the '70s (Lester Bangs, Hunter S. Thompson, et al), it was because it was GOOD WRITING. It was not only juicy and gossipy, but it was also LITERATURE. Most powerfully, it was psychologically interesting. Not so at all here in this book.

But the book did, though, still make me very much crave "Nevermind," "In Utero," and, especially, the Unplugged sessions --- SOMETHING by Cobain to channel his spirit. When I went to put on Unplugged, I discovered that all of my Nirvana CDs, I'd sold before I went to NYC in 2007. :( I have a LOT of CDs missing 'cause I sold them for cash back then...

So tonight I spent some time on eBay, getting a few things back (all for about $5 apiece): Nevermind, In Utero, Unplugged. (Oh, plus Elvis Costello's "Imperial Bedroom.")

In the meantime, here's "Heart Shaped Box" live and "All Apologies."




She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for a week
I was drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice

Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath
Broken hymen of your highness, I'm left black
Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back

Hey!


When the Going Gets

It's been so long, farewell, goodbye
I do, you do not, do not do
Any more than meets black eye
Sky's cri de coeur seeks claire de lune

a tic, a talk, a casket, Pet
classic basket Case of the Hard to Get.