Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'll scratch your back...

...and you knife mine.

Woman is the Nigger of the World

John Lennon, 1972

Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is...think about it
Woman is the nigger of the world
Think about something about it

We make her paint her face and dance
If she won't be a slave, we say that she don't love us
If she's real, we say she's trying to be a man
While putting her down, we pretend that she is above us
Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me take a look at the one you're with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Ah yeah...better scream about it

We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother hen
We tell her home is the only place she should be
Then we complain that she's too unworldly to be our friend
Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me take a look at the one you're with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Yeah (think about it)

We insult her everyday on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she's young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb
Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me take a look at the one you're with
Woman is the slave to the slaves
Yes she is...if you believe me, you better scream about it.

We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance
We make her paint her face and dance

Got some Green?/Stay Smoov

"Got some Green?" Early-20s white kid in a white Lexus randomly driving up, sheepishly asking the two early-20s black kids at my bus-stop today. And they did; but drive around the back of the fast-food restaurant.

I dunno why this was so depressing to me. But it was. Like listening to the young black guy on the bus today trying to re-connect with a female friend who had just gotten on the bus; he'd been in jail for 3 years, just gotten out. She was glad to see him and chat, but didn't at all want to give any contact info, not her phone number, not even her Facebook page address. They eventually agreed that she would give out her "Yahoo number"...

"Stay smoov," he said, as he got off the bus.

Rob Brezsny Leo horoscope, week of October 25

I hope your father didn't beat you or scream at you or molest you. If he did, I am so sorry for your suffering. I also hope that your father didn't ignore you or withhold his best energy from you. I hope he didn't disappear for weeks at a time and act oblivious to your beauty. If he did those things, I mourn for your loss. Now it's quite possible that you were spared such mistreatment, Leo. Maybe your dad gave you conscientious care and loved you for who you really are. But whatever the case might be, this is the right time to acknowledge it. If you're one of the lucky ones, celebrate to the max. If you're one of the wounded ones, begin or renew your quest for serious and intensive healing. Halloween costume suggestion: your father.

Rob Brezsny Free Will Astrology


According to Rob Brezsny, whose "Free Will Astrology" horoscopes I usually respect, I should be my father for Halloween. How, though, does one dress up for that? A gun in my hand while he's shooting at my mom? Maybe snatch a 12-year-old girl and drag her by her hair down a hall because she was writing in her diary? Maybe take a 13-year-old to a school football game and then point out all of the "sluts"? Maybe take her, for a "treat," to a Cowboys football game... and then get so drunk during that she has to steer the car home after. To repeat: I'm puzzled, Rob Brezsny: How exactly does one dress up for that? With a beige suede jacket and cheap cologne?


What---did I think that bald men and thinning-haired women CHOSE to have their hair like that?
Did I think that people who wore glasses CHOSE to not be able to see clearly?
Did I think that the shuffleuffaguses on the bus/downtown CHOSE to not be able to walk briskly, or even "normally"?

Good lord. The same tendon in the ankle that one vicious cat of my first NYC roommate bit in the midst of a catfight with my Gracie back in 2008 (and that hobbled me for 2 weeks back then) gave out completely today. The tendon in the foot started niggling last week. I wore more comfortable shoes to work on Thursday and Friday, thinking that would make things better... Today, Saturday, went off to do shopping, with only minor pain. Two or so hours into the day, the pain kicked in. By the time I got home, I was uncontrollably visibly limping.

Later, once home, I realized I didn't have enough cigs in the house to last me through Monday morning, so needed to walk to the 2-blocks-away convenience store. By that time, I'd taken 4 ibuprofen, hoping that would work... And I put on my most cushy sneakers, hoping that would work... It didn't work. Still, needing cigarettes (and milk and OJ and trash bags), I SHUFFLED the 2 blocks to the convenience store. God, how embarrassing to be so publicly decrepit.

p.s. How do I get to work on Monday if this physical ankle-idiocy doesn't quit it? Take a $20 cab to and fro each way for a $12-an-hour job? (i.e., the cab charge is half my daily temp salary) How do I go to the grocery store tomorrow and get what I need to get for the coming week? (cereal, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.)

Eyes of a Haunt

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Memorable films as a kid

My favorite film as a child was "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." My mom actually went
out and bought the LP soundtrack after we saw that together, one of the few
albums we had in the house and played over and over, the only thing we ever danced to together. I still remember every song from the movie, even the at-the-time complete-bottom-of-the-totem-pole boring stuff for a kid like Truly Scrumptious's "Oh What a Lovely, Lonely Man" and the Grampa's "Posh, Posh, Traveling Life."

The other film I remember most clearly from my childhood is "Wizard of Oz," which was shown/watched in a yearly summer event on network TV---CBS, I think. (My most intense memories from "Oz": The scary flying monkeys and their evil basso profundo chanting, and the wicked spinster-lady-on-a-bike at the beginning stealing little Toto! And the whole tornado fear---very real to me, living in rural Texas!)

Childhood films that I saw at the theater were few, but the '66 "Batman" was
one, which was a big thrill for me, because I loooooved the TV show so. I lived
on many Air Force bases as a child, and they were always re-running
several-years-old films as matinees; the "H.R. Pufnstuf" movie was another that
I must've seen 3 or 4 times---how weird was THAT one? :)

One time I walked by myself (back when 8-year-olds could still walk to and
attend movies by themselves) to what I thought was going to be yet another
Saturday morning showing of "H.R. Pufnstuf"... Once I paid my $1 or whatever and
sat down, the movie on the screen turned out to be "Shenandoah," the serious and, to me, disturbingly intense, Jimmy Stewart Civil War movie, instead. That, and the '71 "Mary Queen of Scots" with Vanessa Redgrave/Glenda Jackson, were two adult movies that I accidentally saw while only around 7 or 8 (the latter because a visiting older cousin from Germany wanted to take me to it; historical, sure, which was her intention, but...good lord, the stabbing going on! And King James's festering face! And the close-ups of Mary's face as she suffered. And of Elizabeth's face as she tortured from afar...)


I just bought this floor lamp on eBay. With shipping, $67... I THINK that's a good deal! (They were offering "Buy It Now" for $149 plus s/h. And all other mid-century lamps in this good shape offered were all $100 or more...) I LIKE! :)

What I also like is that chair behind it---doesn't go with the lamp, but the chair would be perfect for a good old-fashioned LIBRARY with built-in bookshelves and fireplace (tended by others) and a huge mahogany desk (with green-shaded desk lamp). I would like a Victorian or Edwardian library (and bathroom, with clawfoot tub and stand-alone sinks, though I'd prefer a modern-plumbing toilet instead of a big ceramic bedside bowl to piss/shit in and secretly inspect before servants discreetly hauled away---how embarrassing to have someone else literally see your shit! Thus the influx of money from rich people back-when for the modern-plumbing invention!), a Danish Modern sun-room, an Art Nouveau bedroom, a Deco living room. And a 1930s American kitchen and car!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I hear an elevator sweating in New Orleans,
Water folding black on black in tanks deep under Carthage,
Unfracked oil in Lancashire
And what you're thinking. It's the truth --
There goes your silent count to ten, the held breath
Of forbearance, all the language not yet spoken
Or unspeakable, the dark side of the page.
But this is not about you. I can hear
The sea drawn back from Honshu,
Hookers in the holding pen, and logorrhea
In the dreaded Quiet Coach,
The firestorm of random signs
On market indices, the bull, the bear,
The sound of one hand clapping and the failure of the rains,
The crackle of the dried-out stars,
Stars being born, anomalies and either/or,
The soundtrack of creation in an unrecorded vowel,
The latest that might be the last, the leading edge
Of all that is the case or is not there.
"The contradictions cover such a range."
And I'm told that soon it will be easier
To balance out the love-cry and the howl,
To wear an aid and act my age, to hear the world
Behind this world and not to crave amnesia.

---Sean O'Brien
(The New Yorker, 5/14/12)

My god, I love this poem! On first read, I thought, "Alright, alright: 'black/tanks/Unfracked/Lancashire'-- 'nuff showing off with the sounds, Mr. Clever." But then came the surprising, quiet "And what you're thinking." And then it's off again, such energy, such motion! And all about stasis! The perfect "balance" indeed! I must've read it 10 times in the past couple of weeks and keep liking it more!

Sean O'Brien on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gangnam Style! (aka "a classy girl who knows how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee")

I just read a big article in the New Yorker last week about the recent worldwide upsurge in "Korean Pop"---I checked out on YouTube some of the girl groups the article mentioned and didn't think they were that interesting; I didn't even bother going to see the also-mentioned "Gangnam Style" by Psy...

Well, had dinner with the fambly last night, and the second I walked in the door, the 10-year-old nephew was shoving his mom's SmartPhone at me, wanting to know if I'd heard "Gangnam Style"! I had kinda forgotten about the article, but once the video came up on the phone... "Ohhhhhhh! I haven't HEARD it, but I DO know ABOUT that song!" So I got to watch it about 3 times in a row; then I got to watch the two nephews (the other is 7) do the Gangnam Style dance! Over and over and over... And when there was no dancing or video, there was plenty o' "Oppa gangnam style!" bursting forth from the 10-year-old over the next 4 or so hours! And how a friend or two of his are going to be the singer "Psy" for Halloween!

It was cute how into it they were!

I didn't get the thrill of the music just by reading the article; but I certainly DID get it once I saw how super-excited the boys were by this song! :)

English Translation:

Oppa is Gangnam style
Gangnam style

A girl who is warm and human during the day
A classy girl who knows how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist

I’m a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

A girl who looks quiet but plays when she plays
A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensible girl like that

I’m a guy
A guy who seems calm but plays when he plays
A guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes
A guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles
That kind of guy

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two
On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two

You know what I’m saying
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

Translation Credits: pop!gasa

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Intellectual Curiosity

This afternoon, my boss called me and the guy who used to be doing the secretarial stuff that I'm now doing into his office to brief us on an upcoming conference.

The best part of the meeting was the fact that my boss started out by saying that he'd been to visit my Joan website and was very impressed by the work that had gone into it! And then he asked what first made me interested in Joan Crawford. So I got to tell my "Well, back in the '80s, I was first fascinated by Greta Garbo, and so checked out from the university library the '32 film 'Grand Hotel' and watched it in a tiny room, on a hard chair, on a 12-inch screen, since at that time VCRs at home were still a newfangled technology and no poor college students owned them. And upon watching said film, ended up HATING Garbo's woodenness and marvelling at Joan Crawford's freshness...I want to know more about HER, said I to myself..." story.

And he LISTENED to all of that! :) He'd seen "Grand Hotel." He liked Joan Crawford's acting. He remembered those viewing rooms at the UT libraries! Which segued into the also-small rooms at another library on campus where he used to go and SMOKE while he was working on his book. Which is where I shelved books in the '80s and had to pick up books from those smoking rooms, which REEKED! But, hey, I smoked then and I smoke now! (but those smoking rooms WERE pretty nasty) And isn't it interesting how smoking used to be allowed in university libraries!

He and I were going on for a while, then he snapped to and sought to bring the ex-secretary-guy into the conversation. Had HE heard of Joan Crawford? No. Must be too young. (He's late 30s, for pete's sake!) Mildred Pierce? No. Mommie Dearest even? No. As it turns out, this one doesn't "like" movies or watch them, unless it's with his kids. And even at the kid movies, movies put him to sleep.

I was incredulous: "No WAY! You don't like movies? NO movies?" How can anyone not like ANY movies???? Seriously. That's ridiculous and, yes, just plain retarded (in both senses of the word). It's like someone saying they don't like books, ANY books. Or music, ANY music. Or art, ANY art. (You get the idea.)

I couldn't quite grasp this: WHAT, did this person grow up seeking absolutely NO point of reference other than his own? Despite all of the available sources of other references, NEVER chose to further explore ANY of them? My god.

At just this embarrassing point, my boss wisely and semi-apologetically (for workplace purposes) chose to re-direct the meeting toward its actual initial goal: My arranging hotels/food for the upcoming meeting! (EXACTLY what I'm sooooo good at!) :)

"The Semplica-Girl Diaries"

I started reading this George Saunders story in the New Yorker only half-paying attention, initially kind of yawning: "Gawd, another only-mildly humorous midlife-crisis/striving-suburbanite-with-family story, with the schtick that it's told all in diary entries." But then I started coming across (to me) VERY funny passages like this (a spot-on parody of some of my OWN too-earnest blog entries right here!):

"...Note to self: Try to extend positive feelings associated with Scratch-Off win into all areas of life. Be bigger presence at work. Race up ladder (joyfully, w/ smile on face), get raise. Get in best shape of life, start dressing nicer. Learn guitar? Make point of noticing beauty of world? Why not educate self re birds, flowers, trees, constellations, become true citizen of natural world, walk around neighborhood w/ kids, patiently teaching kids names of birds, flowers, etc., etc.? Why not take kids to Europe? Kids have never been. Have never, in Alps, had hot chocolate in mountain café, served by kindly white-haired innkeeper, who finds them so sophisticated/friendly relative to usual snotty/rich American kids (who always ignore his pretty but crippled daughter w/ braids)..."

So I started paying a lot more attention because I was laughing out loud. And then the mentions of the "SGs" started sneaking in; at first I again wasn't quite paying attention so it took a 2nd or 3rd mention to quite snap to what was going on... At the end of the story, I had goosebumps! I just sat there for a second, letting it soak in, and then went back and read it a second time.

Read more

And the below excerpt from an accompanying interview with the author also gave me goosebumps, because I think he put his finger exactly on the frightening sadistic mental undercurrent among the elite in OUR society--the women even against themselves: witness the carving up of faces, boobs, fat-suction, et al. Talk about "aesthetic landscaping"! Though the society in his story is completely imaginary, he assures us!

And Saunders' explanation of his own mental processes while creating the story was also fascinating to read.

Why the microline through the brain, instead of a less invasive harness?

The honest answer is because it was that way in the dream. Part of what moved me about the dream was the extremity of it—it was very unreasonable. And since I was interested in writing the story because of the lingering power of the dream, I was loathe to change the basic terms of the dream—especially in the direction of softening them.

To look at that choice as a reader, instead of a writer: If we imagine two cultures, one in which the residents harness poor foreign women and hang them in their yards, and another one in which they surgically put wires through the heads of poor foreign women in order to hang them up—well, those are two different cultures, and the second one is, I think, more interesting. Why? Because that second culture is more intense. It’s more direct in enacting its desires. It has to be richer (to afford the surgeries); its taste is more refined and strange and perverse/decadent. It is a more demanding, narcissistic culture. It doesn’t like the harness idea because the harnesses would look baggy, the SGs would hang at strange angles—something like that. But another (nastier) difference is that there is an element of complete physical domination/subjugation in the surgical approach that this culture (subconsciously) likes and wants; and that, in turn, says something deep about the lengths to which this (imaginary, I assure you!) culture is willing to go to optimize its aesthetic landscaping choice, i.e., its “pleasure.”

Read more

Monday, October 15, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Spending Dilemma

OK, I have $9500 (down from $10,000) in the bank. But a full-time temp job that pays only $12 an hour. At the $12-an-hour rate, I'm pretty much treading water to keep that $9500 intact. Maybe a couple of hundred left over every month after expenses to blow on a few small things.

Though, the $9500 or so has made me cocky and semi-spendthrift of late. In the past couple of weeks, I've bought (online) 3 leather bags, 3 pairs of ankle boots, Tennessee Williams's complete plays and memoirs, a new set of sheets, a new pair of pillows, the AP Style Guide (used, 2011), the APA Style Guide (used).

The bags: My black one was worn out. Needed a new black one. The earth-toned one: The one I bought at JCPenney's over the summer completely disintegrated after 3 weeks ("American Living" was the brand, made in China---don't buy!), so I needed a new earth-toned one. And then there was the great "oxblood" they're calling it this season that so matched my clay/oxblood loafers that I love so.

The boots: I already had 2 pairs of ankle boots, about 5 years old: black leather and beige suede. But the heels were too high to walk in comfortably for the mile or so a day I'm walking. So... new ones needed! (Plus a cheap pair of fake black leather for days when it rains!)

Williams: New intellectual stimulation and discovery needed!

Sheets: For the past 2 years, I've only had ONE set (burgundy) that I keep on my bed ALL the time! (My mom had given me a crappy old dark-blue set as a spare, but... dull/UGLY! Want to return to her ASAP!) So, OF COURSE, I need a 2nd set!

Pillows: Guilt here. I just bought 2 new pillows last year from Marshall's. But they turned out to lose their shape and flatten extremely quickly. I was pissed! To me, that was a real expenditure last year when I was super-broke! So it pains me to get newer ones so soon, but... I want good pillows! Dammit.

AP Style/APA Style: Tools of the copyediting trade. (Along with Chicago Manual of Style and Webster's New World Dictionary, which I've always kept up to date with and personally owned.) AP/APA, I've never owned, just used in offices. But in anticipation of any freelance work, it's about time I had these in my own home!

What's going to be the biggest surprise to my cushy little $9500 nest-egg is the huge hit it's going to take sometime very soon, when I go out and buy a new decked-out laptop for $1000. My mom bought me my first computer (an HP desktop) in 2000. By 2008, it was on its last legs, and a nice Joan Crawford website supporter then sent me his own old laptop (Dell, from 2005), which I've been using ever since (and am using at this moment).

Like the minor purchases of style guides -- like nearly everything above, actually -- now's the time to spend some of the money I have saved to FRESHEN UP and get realigned/rebooted for upcoming endeavors/struggles.

Quit judging incorrectly, young'uns!

Inspired by the variety of apropos-of-the-occasion actually stylish Longhorn burnt-orange fashion that I've seen the rich women wear in the suites during UT games, I decided to get myself something Longhornish. Well, nothing even a quarter as fancy or fashionable, just a plain 3/4-sleeved blouse from Marshall's, but HEY, it's BURNT ORANGE, dammit. (I dunno that I'll wear it to work or out in public or anything -- Team Spirit post-age 18 is pretty stupid unless you're way out of state and flaunting/flying your colors in the face of a good-naturedly "hostile" environment -- but at least I HAVE it to wear instead of a UT sweatshirt if I'm ever invited to a game-watching party or something.)

So then I get to the Marshall's register, and the teenaged girl working it says to me perkily when she sees the shirt: "You must be a Longhorn Mom!" What?! No sense at all of my mild aspiration to have "the right shirt for the right occasion" and the fact that being able to buy something frivolous makes me feel GREAT after years of shopping deprivation?

Flashed me RIGHT back to the Levi's store in Manhattan circa 2008, where THAT perky, teenaged salesgirl said to me: "I wish MY mom looked as good in those jeans as you do!"

It doesn't matter that I don't have any kids. That unknown fact stops no judging process by young folk! I'm 47! And I LOOK LIKE SOMEBODY'S MOTHER! Aarrrrrrrrrrrrgghhhhh! ;p Awaiting the inevitable: "You look like a Hot Longhorn Granny in that outfit!"

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Recent Goosebumps

Walking around downtown Austin at lunch.
Eating lunch at Murphy's Deli or Quizno's with a window seat (Buddy Holly playing at the latter), watching passersby.
My leisurely after-lunch smoke on a Congress/6th-Street bench, watching passersby.
Standing at the bus-stop downtown after work, looking up at the buildings.

Watching "Long Island Medium," hearing Teresa Caputo tell people things that only someone in tune with spirits would know. Feeling that maybe, just maybe, someone "on the other side" might be looking out for me. But who? My first love Ginny? My Memaw from my father's side? My great-grandfather from my mother's side?

Ginny's birthday is today. She was born October 11, 1966.
(Sandra's mother died today. October 11, 1975.)

The Talk

Last week, my boss had me make a few copies of a PowerPoint presentation he was giving that day. Since things were slow and I had little to do, I made myself a copy and "for fun" copyedited it. I didn't do anything with it afterward, or even mention it to my boss, but I did hang on to my marked-up copy.

Well, lo and behold... This afternoon, my boss came up and asked, "Do you remember that PowerPoint presentation I was working on last week?" As it turned out, his higher-ups had gone over it and come back with a list of edits that they wanted him to make, which he wanted me to do for him. Which was when I got to triumphantly nearly-shout "A-ha!" and whip out my already marked-up version! Then I started comparing the list in his hand to what I'd already found: 95% of the style/grammar/punctuation stuff they wanted done, I'd already marked! :) :) He was very happy, and I looked very good.

"Yes," I said, fake-modestly, "I had some free time last week, so I thought I'd copyedit just for fun. Most of my jobs before this one have been copyediting and proofing. I LOVE this stuff!"

I actually didn't know if my skill set would matter to him, since it's a techie environment. So I was greatly surprised when he acted super-happy! As it turns out, his bosses are VERY into having a uniform style for their documents and have always been quick to let him know when his department's output needed to be rewritten and restyled. Then he went to his office and dug up the style sheets they'd given him, but that no one in his office had ever actually used! Just like every set of style sheets that I'd ever seen, whether my office was a publisher or a financial company or a newspaper! I felt immediately in my element and told him that any time he had any docs to go out, I'd be happy to look them over first!!

And THAT led to... "Stephanie, I've been meaning to ask you..."

What were my job goals? Did I want to stay a temp, or was I looking for a permanent position? Which is when I got to gush: "I REALLY want a PERMANENT position! Oh my gosh, I'm so SICK of being a temp! I've been temping for 2 years after getting back from New York, and I'd really like some STABILITY!"

Well, the NYC mention then brought on fun conversation about NY and how we both think it's impressive, and then he started asking even better stuff like, "So, what is your educational background?" ("Master's in English" always sounds good when I get to throw that around, especially when I'm working as a secretary and no one knows anything else about me!) And then he asked about all the copyediting work I'd done. (All the areas from educational publishing to newspaper work to financial and legal proofing always sounds good.) And then he asked about any university work experience I'd had. (The fact that in 2000 I received my 10-year-pin for all my cumulative years at UT since the '80s sounded VERY good.) And THEN he mentioned that he himself was pretty anal, like a copy editor has to be, and that he got his start doing work in a library, which was the ultimate in persnickety work... Turns out we both worked at the SAME campus library back in the '80s (me as a student shelver, him converting the card catalogue to digital)! :) Oh, and there's more: When he asked if I knew anything about updating websites, I THEN got to go on about creating my Joan Crawford site FROM SCRATCH and the fact that I've been updating it at least two or three times a week for the past 8 YEARS! :) :) THAT part was cool because I got to talk about the amount of research (and, yes, just plain "anal" updating work) that goes into it, but even better because he then asked about Joan Crawford in general (and wanted the address for the site so he could visit)! :)

So we gabbed and gabbed and gabbed for over an hour (me missing a couple of my buses completely, but who minds?!). No, I didn't get a job offer, but there were plenty of hints about how much money his department has to create SEVERAL new jobs in upcoming months. And I could see that he was actively trying to figure out how my skill set would fit into the needs of his department. (Hey, I wouldn't mind at all being part-secretary, as long as I could do other things, too: like copyediting and document-revision and website updating, et al.! And best of all, I got to throw out, just in the natural course of conversation, that I loved the environment I was in and the people I was working with, but that $12 an hour was just not a living wage for me (me, with a Master's degree!). Which he agreed with.

We ended with him asking me to send him my resume once I got home tonight! Just did.

How nice to talk to a boss who LIKES me and is interested in my background and experiences! I cannot stress enough how the hateful, rigid environment at my last 4-week temp gig brought me sooooooooooooo psychologically low. Even before our conversation tonight, my current boss--and the other 4 or 5 people I've been working closely with--have all been genuinely NICE and nice to be around. I've had personal conversations with all of them, and been able to let my real personality show around all of them. (Unlike the last place -- which flashed me back to my very CHILDHOOD, for pete's sake, where my innate exuberance was hammered down at every opportunity by people who constantly made a point of expressing their dislike of my personality. I've spent my years post-18 making my own point of staying far away from those kinds of people. Even if it's cost me jobs/friendships/relationships.)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Baby, don't get hooked on me.

Pleasant as my current temp job is (through the end of October), and despite hints that I've received after 2 weeks that they really like me and would like to keep me on... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Like HELL I'll spend the rest of my life making appointments and taking calls for $2000 a month!

p.s. The Mac Davis song above reminds me: Which is more closet pedophilic, "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" or Conway Twitty's below "You've Never Been This Far Before"?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Easy Money?

Working the suites at Saturday's UT game really stretched my patience for EVER doing that work again, although it's only a few times per football season. Not because of the rich people in the suites, not even because of the high-school-principal-like boss-lady who always makes me tuck in my shirt-tail. Instead, it's the "working poor" co-workers. One guy I'm always stationed around is super nice. But he's also super STUPID. Which is fine, unless YOU HAVE TO MAKE CONVERSATION WITH A STUPID PERSON FOR HOURS ON END. (Seriously. Just try it sometime.) Two-thirds of the way through the day, I thought I was going to scream out loud just before going insane.

I don't ever want to hear "it's all good" again. (Said constantly by him in general to anyone who would listen. I personally had more than enough of the platitude after he said it to me when I questioned why he allowed people to go down the elevator that he was specifically supposed to stop people from going down! At which I finally had to counter: "No, it's not ALL good! THIS really was NOT good!" I left off the "Dipshit" epithet.)

I don't ever want to hear "God just blessed us with one" (about his one child) again. (It was mildly charming the first time; it was godawfully saccharine and monotonous the second and third and fourth times.)

I don't ever want to hear about his "battles" with not smoking again. (He hasn't smoked for 18 years, but he used to smoke "one or two" a day in his decadent heyday. "One or two packs?" I asked. No. One or two CIGARETTES a day! At that I, feeling like a Pink Lady from "Grease," outright laughed: "That's not even smoking! I smoke a pack a day!" Which briefly shut him up, thank god. But only briefly. He later took it upon himself to comment on how unwrinkled I looked for someone who smoked that much. Why was that? ("I moisturize.") And why didn't I have a raspy smoker's voice like most smoking ladies? ("I don't know.")

He also confessed that he got a buzz a couple of days ago from "2 beers." I didn't reveal anything in response to that!) :)

I don't ever want to hear about his job plans again. Once he learned I was a copy editor, he nodded and said he'd always thought he would make a great "copy writer." I refrained from trying to explain that "copy editor" and "copy writer" are not the same thing. But when he started to go on about how much he enjoyed (!) reading the ad flyers he got in the mail and thought he could do the same thing, I did decide to burst his bubble and tell him that people, believe it or not, actually STUDIED either advertising or marketing in college to learn ways of doing that sort of thing, the psychology of mass marketing, etc., and that corporations usually hired the people responsible for writing the flyers. He didn't get it. Instead, he's going to start writing up his own flyers just so he'll have a collection to show potential employers.

I don't ever want to hear about his dieting again. The first time I heard about his being proud of not going for a Whataburger late at night with his friend, I laughed while remembering all the late-night runs I used to make when I had a car, and said, seriously relating: "That IS willpower! Whataburger really does hit the spot late at night!" But then a couple of hours later, he started telling me the same (extremely) minor Whataburger/friend story yet AGAIN! I said, "Oh, you already told me!" But then he kept going on and ON with the SAME EXACT STORY! Even when I pointedly started looking up and down the hall, anything to avoid paying attention to that SAME story...

Good lord, I don't think there's any way I can handle listening to that sort of idiotic BLATHER all day again. We'll see how much the $80 means to me in a couple of weeks when UT has another home game. (I don't NEED the money this year, like I did last year. But I still keep thinking: "Very easy work. $80 = new pair of shoes or 2 weeks' worth of groceries. Don't turn down easy money." Etc. Etc. But BOY...)

Friday, October 05, 2012


"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."

--Tennessee Williams

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


In 2010, a London paper published a Ted Hughes poem left out of "Birthday Letters," about the last weekend of Sylvia Plath's life:

“Last Letter” by Ted Hughes

What happened that night? Your final night.
Double, treble exposure
Over everything. Late afternoon, Friday,
My last sight of you alive.
Burning your letter to me, in the ashtray,
With that strange smile. Had I bungled your plan?
Had it surprised me sooner than you purposed?
Had I rushed it back to you too promptly?
One hour later—-you would have been gone
Where I could not have traced you.
I would have turned from your locked red door
That nobody would open
Still holding your letter,
A thunderbolt that could not earth itself.
That would have been electric shock treatment
For me.
Repeated over and over, all weekend,
As often as I read it, or thought of it.
That would have remade my brains, and my life.
The treatment that you planned needed some time.
I cannot imagine
How I would have got through that weekend.
I cannot imagine. Had you plotted it all?

Your note reached me too soon—-that same day,
Friday afternoon, posted in the morning.
The prevalent devils expedited it.
That was one more straw of ill-luck
Drawn against you by the Post-Office
And added to your load. I moved fast,
Through the snow-blue, February, London twilight.
Wept with relief when you opened the door.
A huddle of riddles in solution. Precocious tears
That failed to interpret to me, failed to divulge
Their real import. But what did you say
Over the smoking shards of that letter
So carefully annihilated, so calmly,
That let me release you, and leave you
To blow its ashes off your plan—-off the ashtray
Against which you would lean for me to read
The Doctor’s phone-number.
My escape
Had become such a hunted thing
Sleepless, hopeless, all its dreams exhausted,
Only wanting to be recaptured, only
Wanting to drop, out of its vacuum.
Two days of dangling nothing. Two days gratis.
Two days in no calendar, but stolen
From no world,
Beyond actuality, feeling, or name.

My love-life grabbed it. My numbed love-life
With its two mad needles,
Embroidering their rose, piercing and tugging
At their tapestry, their bloody tattoo
Somewhere behind my navel,
Treading that morass of emblazon,
Two mad needles, criss-crossing their stitches,
Selecting among my nerves
For their colours, refashioning me
Inside my own skin, each refashioning the other
With their self-caricatures,

Their obsessed in and out. Two women
Each with her needle.

That night
My dellarobbia Susan. I moved
With the circumspection
Of a flame in a fuse. My whole fury
Was an abandoned effort to blow up
The old globe where shadows bent over
My telltale track of ashes. I raced
From and from, face backwards, a film reversed,
Towards what? We went to Rugby St
Where you and I began.
Why did we go there? Of all places
Why did we go there? Perversity
In the artistry of our fate
Adjusted its refinements for you, for me
And for Susan. Solitaire
Played by the Minotaur of that maze
Even included Helen, in the ground-floor flat.
You had noted her—-a girl for a story.
You never met her. Few ever met her,
Except across the ears and raving mask
Of her Alsatian. You had not even glimpsed her.
You had only recoiled
When her demented animal crashed its weight
Against her door, as we slipped through the hallway;
And heard it choking on infinite German hatred.

That Sunday night she eased her door open
Its few permitted inches.
Susan greeted the black eyes, the unhappy
Overweight, lovely face, that peeped out
Across the little chain. The door closed.
We heard her consoling her jailor
Inside her cell, its kennel, where, days later,
She gassed her ferocious kupo, and herself.

Susan and I spent that night
In our wedding bed. I had not seen it
Since we lay there on our wedding day.
I did not take her back to my own bed.
It had occurred to me, your weekend over,
You might appear—-a surprise visitation.
Did you appear, to tap at my dark window?
So I stayed with Susan, hiding from you,
In our own wedding bed—-the same from which
Within three years she would be taken to die
In that same hospital where, within twelve hours,
I would find you dead.
Monday morning
I drove her to work, in the City,
Then parked my van North of Euston Road
And returned to where my telephone waited.

What happened that night, inside your hours,
Is as unknown as if it never happened.
What accumulation of your whole life,
Like effort unconscious, like birth
Pushing through the membrane of each slow second
Into the next, happened
Only as if it could not happen,
As if it was not happening. How often
Did the phone ring there in my empty room,
You hearing the ring in your receiver—-
At both ends the fading memory
Of a telephone ringing, in a brain
As if already dead. I count
How often you walked to the phone-booth
At the bottom of St George’s terrace.
You are there whenever I look, just turning
Out of Fitzroy Road, crossing over
Between the heaped up banks of dirty sugar.
In your long black coat,
With your plait coiled up at the back of your hair
You walk unable to move, or wake, and are
Already nobody walking
Walking by the railings under Primrose Hill
Towards the phone booth that can never be reached.
Before midnight. After midnight. Again.
Again. Again. And, near dawn, again.

At what position of the hands on my watch-face
Did your last attempt,
Already deeply past
My being able to hear it, shake the pillow
Of that empty bed? A last time
Lightly touch at my books, and my papers?
By the time I got there my phone was asleep.
The pillow innocent. My room slept,
Already filled with the snowlit morning light.
I lit my fire. I had got out my papers.
And I had started to write when the telephone
Jerked awake, in a jabbering alarm,
Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.
Then a voice like a selected weapon
Or a measured injection,
Coolly delivered its four words
Deep into my ear: ‘Your wife is dead.’


And here's a review of the poem/circumstances.

I didn't quite GET this before: While Hughes had left Plath for Assia Wevill/was kicked out by Plath in August of '62... On the very weekend of Plath's death in February 1963, he was sleeping with a secretary/later very minor poet named Susan Alliston (who also died young, in 1969; no, not suicide, just a disease, I forget which)--and NOT Assia Wevill--in the same place where he and Plath had slept after their marriage.

I dislike Assia Wevill greatly as a person (stupidly immoral throughout her life), but I can also see something like, since she was a touted beauty, a GREAT SEXUAL ATTRACTION that could not be denied between her and Hughes... But to find out that Hughes was just sleeping with WHOEVER on the weekend of his wife's death? AND in the SAME PLACE where he and Plath first slept together after their marriage?

As one commenter on a London-paper blog noted, to paraphrase: "Funny how he [Hughes] identifies in his poetry with males of uber-aggressive species like jaguar/pike, but was in fact, in his real life, more representative of a weasel."

As Sylvia Plath wrote, after their break-up: "He has become a little man."

I thought she was just being momentarily bitter. But, really: A random person on the weekend of his wife's death--AFTER he'd been to Plath's apartment and seen how sad she was? That is, indeed, pretty small. Wish Plath had kept herself alive long enough to really KNOW that fact deep-down.

Kinda reminds me of a time right after my first girlfriend had broken up with me: I was devastated and miserable, but consoled myself with, "We just need some time apart; I KNOW she misses me as much as I miss her..." In desperation, I started answering personals ads in the local weekly. I was talking to one of the girls I went out with about my ex... and it turned out that this woman had gone out with the ex just a couple of weeks earlier; they'd also met through the personals! I was shocked! The ex hadn't left me to somehow "heal" our relationship; nor was there a "mystery woman" in the picture who had stolen her from me. In actuality, she preferred going on random dates to being with me. One of what would be many eye-openers in my long path toward healing from that horrible relationship.

I think Plath was enamored of Hughes for surface (masquerading as profound) reasons: He was fantastically charismatic, plus he was a very good writer, plus he represented the uninhibited "id" that Plath yearned for (at least according to her young self in poems and journal entries, she so long constrained by her uptight ego/super ego-oriented upbringing).

On the other hand, Hughes has in numerous writings expressed admiration for Plath's 1950s "American-ness": blonde, "clean," well-organized, "new." The ego/super ego to his id, sure, but also very much the bright-n-shiny American to his perception of himself as being "post-war utilitarian," as he refers to himself TWICE in "Birthday Letters." Youth in post-WWII Britain didn't feel good about themselves. The country was still rebuilding, things were grim and gray. Plath represented everything that was NOT grim and gray. Plus she had plenty o' publishing connections and so wanted to help him, which is attractive to any writer!

I dunno. Maybe I'm just feeling jaded after reading about the Susan Alliston incident. To me, that indicated absolutely no empathy for/with Plath on Hughes's part whatsoever. An empathy that he, 36 years later in "Birthday Letters," claimed to have felt all along... I've now got to call "bullshit" on the latter-day "empathy" claim. I'm sure the older man did have many regrets about his earlier behavior. But... where was his true self on that February weekend of 1963? It's not that he was simply trying to avoid an emotionally charged situation with his wife, from whom he was separated; it's that he actively chose that weekend, IMMEDIATELY after Plath had indicated how much she needed him, to sleep with a random woman IN THE SAME PLACE THAT HE AND PLATH HAD SLEPT AFTER THEY WERE MARRIED. (Hughes would later write that he had no idea how much Plath needed him; an outright lie.) Such an act is not mere "self-protection" or "avoidance." It's an overt act of hostility, sadism, and hatred. Hughes never admits these destructive impulses toward Plath in "Birthday Letters," which is basically a shallow paean to his meeting her and then his later trying unsuccessfully to understand her alleged "daddy fixation," which the "simple country boy" he portrays himself as couldn't ever seem to grasp. "What did I do wrong?" he constantly whines. He never confronted the utterly destructive "weasel" part of himself that constantly broke emotional/psychic bonds by having sex with other women while married or in a long-term relationship. He cheated on Plath, he cheated on Assia Wevill, he cheated on his 2nd wife (Carol Orchard, a farmer's daughter 20 years his junior--the one who was finally able to put up with it without psychic consequence. Good, yet sad, for her simpleton self!)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

"The Mind of a Middle-Aged Man"

Back in 2010 or so, when I (completely involuntarily, out of extreme financial necessity) lived with my mother for a couple of months and we occasionally did things together (for the first time ever), we were in a used-book store, and I came upon a book titled, "The Mind of a Middle-Aged Man." I laughed out loud when I saw the title! I wasn't trying to be mean, or PC, or ANYTHING... it's just that... the VERY LAST THING of ANY interest to me--in any way!--was/is "the mind of a middle-aged man"! :) Even my mom, who's 71 and has always been very male-oriented, had to laugh at the idea of a whole book about THAT rather limited topic! :)

Now, all that said... I'm now currently in a work environment with a great many middle-aged men, 50-60. Highly paid executives. And they're all NICE! And self-deprecating and funny! I went back and forth yesterday with one man about the joys--or not--of living in Manhattan (downtown Austin even was way too loud for him); another man overheard that conversation and approached me today about where I was living there... turns out his 2 daughters are both now in Brooklyn, previously living in East Austin, just a street away from where I lived up until my move to NYC in 2007.

And my immediate boss: When I first started this temp gig last week, I'd told a younger guy who was training me that I'd had a bad experience at my last temp job, where everyone was always trying to make me feel bad. (They weren't actually "yelling," just psychologically "yelling"!) So, feeling comfortable with the young guy, I asked facetiously, "No one's going to be mean and YELL at me here, are they?" My boss, in passing, overheard that, and said, "No, no yelling. I'm afraid it's usually the other way around." Meaning, the secretary yelling at HIM! :) That was cute and nice.

Here's what I've discovered, and what I very much like, about some middle-aged men: When they're highly paid AND mentally occupied with real intellectual/business issues, they're completely secure with themselves. And that's reflected in how they interact with others--both their peers and their support staff. (And in their family lives, I'm guessing.)

Sanity. The middle-aged men in my current work environment feel like utter sanity after what I've been living through for most of my life (and especially the last 5 years)!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Joan Crawford, 1932.

That face... and that BACK! How sexy is she! Some photos of Joan are meant to be looked at and admired aesthetically, but this one just makes me want to TOUCH her.