Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hitting the Spot

Oh my god but did this whole can taste good the other night at midnight scarfed down after 7 beers! I hadn't eaten Chef Boyardee in over 25 years...

Tennessee Williams

"To be passionate and to be lonely isn't the easiest of things in the world."
--Tennessee Williams


I finished Williams's extremely frank and sweet and enjoyable "Memoirs" a couple of weeks ago and am now about halfway through the very well-researched/written '95 bio by Lyle Leverich. And then the 2 volumes of complete plays await! I'm so anal, I want to start at the very beginning and read ALL in order, rather than skipping around...We'll see. And I thought FOR SURE I'd at least read a couple of them already, but I think I'm just remembering seeing the movies that were based on them ("Streetcar," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Suddenly, Last Summer," etc.).

I'm so ignorant regarding most playwrights. I've been REALLY knocked out by the profound sociological/psychological truths of, say, "St. Joan" by Shaw and "A Doll's House" by Ibsen, but never explored the works of either further...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deadline / Astrology

By Friday, I've got to make a decision: Give my 2-month move-out notice at my 400 sq ft apartment, whose rent is going up from $600 to $650. Or sign a new 12-month lease. 12 months for $650; 6 months for $750; month-to-month for $850. If I sign for the 12 months (and I'm not going to pay any more than $650 for this teeny apartment), I'll be stuck here 'til the end of January 2014!

Damn. I SOOOOOOOOOOO wanted to move on with my life by the end of this current lease in January! I was really feelin' that it was time, psychologically...

Still have $9000 in the bank; am, with my current low-paying but long-term temp job, bringing in a few hundred more than I usually spend each month so the bank balance is relatively stable. BUT... As long as I'm just making $12 an hour, no new, bigger, more expensive apartment will take me because I wouldn't be making 3 times the rent...

I've thought about just making a wild move---giving notice, then telling whatever new place that I'm a freelancer and don't have pay stubs to show them, but that I'll pay them up front ALL of the rent I would owe for 6 months... Assuming I'd be paying @ $900 a month for a duplex or garage apartment (if I could even find one in a central location), I DO have the $5400 I could just GIVE them...

But that all feels a little too scary. The last 4 years (up until the money-full 2012) of extreme financial insecurity/instability really did put the fear in me. I NEVER want to be living month-to-month again. (And I will NEVER forget the fall of 2011, when I was about to run out of money for the next month and told my mother about it: "What are you going to do, Steph?" was her reply. She would have grudgingly given me the money rather than see me on the street, of course, but I would have had to have groveled for it. I hated her at that moment, and I hated myself for having nowhere else to turn.)

But on the other psychological hand... I'm antsy as hell living in this one room! I've been here for 2-1/2 years now! I kind of feel that I've paid my penance after coming home from NYC with my tail between my legs! :) But, seriously, my "feelings" don't really count at this point: Fact is, I still don't have a permanent job. If I did, I could do whatever the hell I wanted to do. But I don't, so I can't... Gotta face those stone-cold facts. Can't simply rely on "chance" any more, like gambling that if I go ahead and give notice, I'll miraculously find my dream-place that will be perfectly amenable to the pay arrangements that I come up with! :)

But on the other, other hand... If I give up on "chance"... Then I've, in a way, kind of given up on Life itself! 'Cause "chance" is part of the fun of it! I've experienced a lot of bad financial consequences in the past few years because of my gamble of going to NYC, sure, but... Am I willing to live a staid existence for the rest of my years? It's likely that where I'm working temp right now will indeed at some point in the next month or two offer me a permanent job as a secretary. Which will pay under $3000 a month, but still be enough to get a better place in 2014. But do I WANT that 8-5 life?? I've been doing secretarial tasks for the past 2 months in a very pleasant environment among very pleasant people... BUT I'M NOT A SECRETARY!


My Leo sun sign LIKES working downtown with smart, well-heeled people and likes being financially independent. But Leo HATES being a secretary (too servile) and having to be around the misshapen, annoying bus/bus-stop people every day, who all reflect on Leo's own circumscribed circumstances.

My Taurus rising sign LIKES the idea of a staid existence (permanent state job that provides health care and paid vacation/holidays and enables a secure, nicer place to live if I'm just patient). And Taurus doesn't really HATE anything, but does think simply getting a cheap car would remove the griping about unwanted contact with annoying bus/street people. Plus, with a nicer, bigger place, I could again have a kitty...

My Aquarius moon sign LIKES the idea of giving notice, gambling on finding a cool place, not worrying about the future 'cause something always turns up... And Aquarius also HATES being a secretary (no excitement or creativity), though finds all the bus people interesting...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things That Turned a Shitty Holiday Weekend Into a Good One

1. Roses from a stranger.

2. A bunch of new Cat Power stuff to explore. (Not a huge fan of "Sun" after only 2 listens. But one thing I read in many reviews of her albums on Amazon: how person after person also initially felt unenthused, but then at one point or another, the lightbulb seemed to have come on...)

3. Lindsay Lohan as Liz Taylor Sunday night! And, no, not to laugh at! In EVERYTHING she's in, however silly--and this was pretty silly--there are always moments of soulfulness in her acting. I'm being perfectly serious.

As Bravo's Andy Cohen said on his live show "Watch What Happens" Sunday night when giving a "Jackhole" award to "Liz & Dick" haters: "Really? Come on. It's Lindsay...playing Liz...on Lifetime! What were you expecting: Lincoln?!"

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Catfish film.
Catfish show.

Just caught this on MTV today while lying around with my Thanksgiving hangover. First the original documentary from 2010, then an episode of the new weekly show based on the film and hosted by the same guy who was the "victim" in the original doc.

The doc is about a young NYC photographer, Nev Schulman, who is initially contacted on Facebook in 2008 by an 8-year-old child prodigy named Abby, who lives in Michigan and wants to send him a painting that she's made based on one of his photographs she's seen online. Abby and her 40-something mom Angela strike up a light friendship with Nev via Facebook, and Abby continues to snail-mail him actual paintings she's done. And through Abby's Facebook photo gallery, Nev discovers her older half-sister, Megan, a gorgeous dancer and songwriter. Over the next few months, Nev and Megan graduate from sharing casual photos and songs online to eventually becoming a lot more emotionally involved, even sexting and having hours of intimate phone conversations. (In the meantime, Nev's brother thinks all of this is funny and starts filming their burgeoning relationship.)

After nearly a year, Megan is still reluctant to meet, and Nev and his brother start to get a bit suspicious, especially after they search on YouTube for one song she has claimed to have written and discover that the very same song was performed by a completely different person. So the guys decide to make a surprise road trip to Michigan...

They're greeted by mom Angela, who is hospitable to them, also revealing she has uterine cancer. Angela is a stay-at-home mom married to a simple guy named Vince, and she cares for Vince's 2 severely disabled sons. Nev asks about Abby and Megan. They all go to see Abby, who's playing at a friend's house; she's very puzzled when he asks her about her art. Megan, it seems, has just been admitted to rehab, which is why she can't see him...

With a little gentle prodding, all is eventually revealed: It's been mom Angela who's been doing everything: painting the pictures, having sex-talk with Nev on the phone, etc. She does have a daughter named Megan, but they don't speak. The photos of Megan were all of a completely unrelated young woman in Washington; Angela just copied all of them. (And she doesn't have cancer.)

I watched all this, uneasily fascinated, kind of sickeningly knowing how it was all going to turn out since a very similar thing had happened to me.

Through a Joan Crawford message board in 2001, I initially met "Julie L.," a bisexual woman from London who'd moved to Norway to live with "Ivar B.," a Norwegian businessman sugar-daddy that she'd met in a London nightclub. Ivar was stifling, and her mother, who was heartbroken that Julie had left England, had recently committed suicide. Oh yeah, and Ivar also had a brother, Geir, with whom Julie was sleeping, since Ivar was so dull.

Julie was a troubled soul, who'd had miscarriages, had been raped as a teen, etc. I was fascinated by both her wit and her shadowy personality, though, and pursued her online. We e-mailed constantly, and exchanged gift packages on 4 or 5 occasions. But she wouldn't ever send me a photo or talk to me on the phone.

She constantly behaved skittishly, getting mad at me over trivial things, and we'd often not be in e-mail contact for a month or more at a time. After months of this, I finally got fed up and e-mailed in a fit of pique, "All of my friends are telling me you're a man, anyway." Which my friends and family WERE indeed telling me since she was acting so oddly and so reluctant to share any pictures or talk to me on the phone, which I'd often asked to do.

Whoa! At that statement of mine, she completely cut off all contact. Puzzled at the yet-again over-reaction, I remembered something she'd once told me: She'd been an exchange student in the US at Patsy Cline's old high school... I looked up the name of Cline's high school online. And, from what Julie had told me, she was 3 years older than me. As it turned out, that high school had a website with yearbook photos of their alumnae going back for decades... I looked up the appropriate year... No, no "Julie L.," but on a hunch, I then looked up "B.," the last name of her alleged "sugar daddy"... Sure enough, there WAS a Norwegian exchange student with that name...

I couldn't personally ask her about any of my discoveries, since I was blocked... but I posted a coded message on our mutual Joan message board: "Julie/Geir: Contact me IMMEDIATELY." When I posted that message, I still wasn't 100% sure about what was going on, but her reaction immediately confirmed it. She first responded on the board about what a lying, obsessive "dyke" I was. When I posted the link to the high school yearbook pages, she broke down and confessed everything: "Julie Lindberg" was, in fact, a pre-op transgendered male who'd always lived in Norway and who lived with his parents. ("Ivar B." was her real father; her mother was quite alive. "Geir" was her own male birth name. She, of course, hadn't had miscarriages or been raped. Her age was real; she'd, luckily for my research, also actually been an exchange student at that Patsy Cline high school.)

I didn't have a computer or regular online access 'til Christmas of 2000. When I met Julie in early 2001 online, my feelings for her were so intense... To me the Internet was still new and intense. I was a complete naif. And I thought I was completely crazy and alone for being so "into" someone I'd met on the 'Net, and for being so utterly heartbroken and upset when I fought out the truth. Everyone I knew thought I was pretty crazy, too.

But now here's a documentary AND a show about what exactly I went through!! THANK YOU, Nev Schulman, for making me feel not so crazy, 10 years later! :)


p.s. A "catfish," as explained by Angela's husband Vince in Schulman's documentary: Cod shipped to markets overseas were sluggish and their flesh thus "mushy" and not so edible/sellable. Sellers discovered that a way to keep the cod active and alert was to place catfish in their tanks with them. People like "Angela" and "Julie" are the "catfish" among us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mean Streets

Waiting for the bus downtown and having my after-lunch cig break on downtown benches leads me into many unwanted conversations with street people. Once you're around 'em enough, you stop feeling sorry for them and start to simply get ANNOYED. Annoyed with the religious nuts railing at you about Jesus, with the aggressive cigarette-beggars practically grabbing a cigarette out of your hand after they've asked for one without giving you a chance to give it to them, with the "I'll bet you think you're better than me" attitude, with the sheer bullshittery that usually goes on when street folk are in conversations amongst themselves. It's just mentally draining to listen to.

Today after lunch I was having my cig when a 20-something street kid screeches his bike to a halt right in front of my bench for no reason, then asks me if I mind if he sits there. I shook my head "No, I don't mind" then internally clenched up, waiting for the inevitable stupid conversation. Fortunately, he had his own cigarette so didn't ask me for one, which was one positive thing. And he was silent for a minute or two, which was also nice. Then he was on his phone, so that also kept him from pestering me. Although I overheard him ask one caller if he could crash at his/her place because he hadn't slept in 5 days. ("Oh great. He's on meth and is going to go nuts at any second.")

Then a couple of 20-something office girls walked by behind us, and he had to yell out to one of them,"I hope you don't mind if tell you you're one good-looking lady!" Good lord. They ignored him, of course. So then he had to turn to me and ask, "Now, would you be offended if someone told you you were good-looking?"

Now, this could go either way. Sometimes if you engage, things quickly descend into gibberish and/or weirdness. But he was young enough not to be too scary (despite his 5-day binge), so I decided to take a chance and answer honestly:

"Yes, if it's some random guy hollering at me on the street!"
"How is that offensive?"
"It's the same as walking by a construction site and having guys going 'Wooooo! Hey Baby!' It makes you feel uncomfortable."
"Well, girls in Detroit don't mind it. I think girls here are just different."
"Really. Girls in Detroit like being hollered at on the street."
"It's not like I'm doing what some guys do: 'Hey, yo, bitch! Come over here!'"
"True, but still. Most girls don't like being hollered at."

Then another call came in. Somebody had some money ready for him.

When he got off the phone, now I was the one striking up a conversation: "You're from Detroit? They're having a hard time! What made you come down here?"

Sounded like he was just bumping around everywhere; he'd also been in Seattle and Atlanta and New Jersey in the past year. In Austin for just the past few months. The police were meaner here.

"The police in AUSTIN are mean? Meaner than Detroit or Jersey? Really? How so?"
"Just because I have some investments and they see the money coming in, they assume I'm a drug dealer and give me a hard time."

OK, I'm sure it wasn't a "shareholder" who had called and offered him some money, but I went on anyway.

"I mean, are they just bugging you when you're on the street? Are you living someplace while you're here or just hanging out?"

So then he says he's renting both a house AND an apartment. The apartment he shares with his currently off-again girlfriend and her nephew and sister. He pays for everything there, but since they're currently broken up, he's being a gentleman and letting her stay there while he stays in the house with some roommates. I asked if the girlfriend had a job and could she pitch in with the rent; apparently, she's a full-time grade-school teacher, but no, can't pay anything: "I don't know what she does with her money!"

And he's going to be attending Austin Community College in the Spring Semester, taking psychology courses. He had thought about going to UT, but the program wasn't for him. When I said, "Well, UT's also a lot harder to get into," he said that, no, he had credits from a Detroit-area college that would let him transfer, but that when he sat in on one UT course recently, it was all stuff that he already knew and that "I want to take classes that will blow my mind, ya know?"

That I actually did know.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Alright to Fail (Cat Power)

Her version here is sincere--I think--but when I first listened to it, I could also see a smirking, slithery Joel Gray/Cabaret-type character singing it on a tiny underground stage in Weimar Berlin, with the underlying "(Give up, give up...) Go on with EXACTLY what stuff you've been doing, you're just FINE..."

Almost Saved

The Cat Power story that I wrote about below reminded me of 2 anecdotes that I just read last week in Tennessee Williams's 1975 "Memoirs."

When Williams was 17, his kindly grandfather took him, along with others, on a tour of Europe. While walking alone in Paris, Williams began obsessing on this thought: "Abruptly, it occurred to me that the process of thought was a terrifyingly complex mystery of life." OK. (He doesn't elaborate.) But then this idea begins to take him over for the next month, to the point where he says he feels he's going insane: "My phobia about thought processes had reached its climax." When his group gets to Cologne, he enters a cathedral and...

Breathless with panic, I knelt down to pray....
Then a truly phenomenal thing happened.
Let me say that I am not predisposed to believe in miracles or in superstitions. But what happened was a miracle and one of a religious nature and I assure you I am not bucking for sainthood when I tell you about it. It was if an impalpable hand were placed upon my head, and at the instant of that touch, the phobia was lifted away as lightly as a snowflake though it had weighed on my head like a skull-breaking block of iron.
At seventeen, I had no doubt at all that the hand of our Lord Jesus had touched my head with mercy and had exorcised from it the phobia that was driving me into madness.

Thinking himself "cured" of the panic, he nonetheless encounters the same feeling again a couple of weeks later, this time while his group is in Amsterdam:

That night I went out alone on the streets of Amsterdam and this time a second "miracle" occurred to lift the terror away. It occurred through my composition of a little poem...

Strangers pass me on the street
in endless throngs: their marching feet,
sound with a sameness in my ears
that dulls my senses, soothes my fears,
I hear their laughter and their sighs,
I look into their myriad eyes:
then all at once my hot woe
cools like a cinder dropped on snow.

...The moment of recognition that my existence and my fate could dissolve as lightly as the cinder dropped in a great fall of snow restored to me, in quite a different fashion, the experience in the cathedral of Cologne. And I wonder if it was not a sequel to that experience, an advancement of it: first, the touch of the mystic hand upon the solitary anguished head, and then the gentle lesson or demonstration that the head, despite the climactic crisis which it contained, was still a single head on a street thronged with many.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cat Power '98/'12: You have seen some unbelievable things.

I've been on a Cat Power (Chan Marshall) kick for the past couple of days, reading every interview I could find online. Previously, I only knew her from the song "Lived in Bars," when I caught the video a couple of years ago on a local station. I liked the song a lot, but thought that she was just some "bluesy hippie chick"... But from the stuff I've been reading, she's extremely haunted and also frighteningly visionary, a shaman. (A Capricorn, though, not a Scorp!) :) When I read that her 1998 album "Moon Pix" (including the song "Cross Bones Style") was written (according to her biographer):

"in one deranged night," following a hallucinatory nightmare Marshall had in the fall of 1997, while alone in the South Carolina farmhouse she shared with then-boyfriend, Bill Callahan. "I got woken up by someone in the field behind my house in South Carolina," she explained, "The earth started shaking, and dark spirits were smashing up against every window of my house. I woke up and I had my kitten next to me...and I started praying to God to help me...So I just ran and got my guitar because I was trying to distract myself. I had to turn on the lights and sing to God. I got a tape recorder and recorded the next sixty minutes.

The hair on my arms stood straight up when I read that. A similar thing happened to me in '91 or so. Deeply unhappy in my waking hours, I had just fallen into a fitful sleep when all of a sudden I sat straight up in bed and felt some terrible, heavy spirit in the room that "wanted to get inside me" if I didn't do something, anything... I didn't know what to do. Like Marshall, I ran around turning on all the lights in the house and praying frantically to God to help me. (Unfortunately, in my case, no work of art came of all of this. I remember merely calling in sick to work the next day after staying awake all night waiting for the sun to come up, and then staying in bed the next day reading Pat Conroy's "Prince of Tides," which, though terribly sad, was also spiritually uplifting.)

Today I went immediately to Amazon to order "Moon Pix," "The Greatest" (2006, which has "Lived in Bars" on it and is considered her most popular and accessible album), and her just-released "Sun."

"Cherokee" from "Sun":

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fly in the Ointment/Spanner in the Works

And there always has to be one.

I've been temping since late September in a tech/info security environment, mainly male bosses, but one woman. The men have been super-nice. The woman has been...a stereotypical bitch.

A few days after I started temping, she came up to my secretary desk and said, "So, what's your story?" (An odd introduction, but I gave her a brief summary: Master's in English; copy editor; Austinite since '83, except for my 2 years in San Fran for grad school and my recent 3-year NYC sojourn; currently poor, one-room apartment while seeking full-time work...)

The very next day, she came up to me and asked if I'd contacted her through "LinkedIn"---under a different name!! I was completely puzzled: "HUH?" Turned out that someone from San Francisco--who looked nothing like me and had a completely different name--had contacted her... Why she thought that person was me, other than my brief mention that I'd gone to grad school in SF back in the '90s, was utterly beyond my comprehension.

A few days after that, she came up and asked me if I'd had a "security check" done before I started working there. ME: "Uh... I dunno." She got agitated about that answer, actually asking me if I had something to hide! I, after some minor research (looking through my temp agency paperwork), finally figured out that, yeah, when you apply through my temp agency, they do a background check.

During the same time frame, she glanced at my computer screen one day. There's blatantly nothing for me to do for 75% of the day, and the rest of the time I either read New Yorkers or browse online (with permission to do so from my boss). In this instance, I was picking out shoes on Amazon. When she saw that, she said, "No wonder you don't have any money!"

When I hurt my ankle weeks ago and couldn't come in to work for 2 days: On my first day back, random people were nice and asking how my ankle was. She, on the other hand, said to me, only semi-facetiously: "You like the attention, don't you?" A few days after that, when I still limping about, she asked how I, an "obviously intelligent woman," didn't have any health care so I could go get the foot checked out. (When I explained that I'd only made $17,000 each of the past 2 years while freelancing and thus didn't have the $200 per month for any health care, she briefly shut up.) And then just today, she said to me: "How do you live like you do, without a car?"

Yesterday, she took it upon herself to give me some "advice" about keeping my temp job: Suck up to the big boss. (Not my immediate boss, but HIS boss, whom I have had little contact with.) I then had to tell her my meager "philosophy o' life": "I can't suck up to anyone. Sorry."

Which led to a very odd conversation about the old secretary that I've replaced. ME: "What was wrong with her, exactly?" The woman exec said to me: "She didn't know her job very well, didn't do much. I once asked her about getting creamer for my coffee. And you know what she said? 'I don't know anything about coffee.'"

Whoa. This woman exec had had this EXACT creamer conversation with ME -- not the old secretary -- a couple of weeks ago. I honestly didn't know where the fuck to get creamer, and I did tell her that I didn't know anything about coffee. But I found out, and that very day, I made sure there was fucking creamer in the fridge. It creeped me out, though, that when she and I were talking and I asked what was so horrible about the old secretary, that she somehow told ME the "creamer story" as if it were about the other person and not about me...

Luckily, she's only a very small part of my current work-picture. And luckily, this temp job only pays $12 an hour---I can find something else like it in a second. But... DAMN, this kind of weird thing freaks me out. I consistently mind my business, do my work, etc. WHAT THE FUCK is this woman's deal?

She's in her mid-50s, married but kinda butch, so the thought crossed my mind that maybe my male boss had passed along to her the link to my Joan website that I shared with him, and that he'd said he'd looked at. In the "About" section of the Joan site, I clearly state that I'm gay. My male boss didn't think anything of it. But maybe this woman saw that and DID think something of it. There is indeed something a bit odd about all of the negative attention she's been showering upon me!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Education of General David Petraeus

Guess what sign Paula Broadwell is? Hint: Let me just say that when I saw this picture of her, I thought, "Oh my god, she's REALLY attractive!" And then, "She looks just like..." So I had to run to Wikipedia, where I learned, as I almost certainly knew I would, that she's yet another damn Scorpio (this one November 9th, like Anne Sexton). Dammit, I can spot 'em! :)

p.s. And WHY is all of this even in the news??? Ohhhhh, sorry... No one, especially no one in the upper echelons of military or political power, has ever had an affair before! Silly me!

But beyond the officially dumb newscasts:

Knowing a bit about Scorpio women... this all came to the attention of the FBI because a jealous Broadwell sent another similarly dark, good-looking woman (socialite Jill Kelley, a dead-eyed, shallow hair-flipper and nose-job recipient, completely unlike Broadwell except for general dark appearance) threatening e-mails telling her to stay away from Petraeus...(The second picture here is of so-called "Petraeus family friend" Kelley with Petraeus's wife.)

Lesson: Don't ever let a Scorpio woman know that she's just a "type" and not a soul-mate by sleeping with a much, much cruder version of herself. Plays have been written upon less wrath. And, in the really olden days, even some wars fought.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

King of Night Vision, King of Insight

Galileo's head was on the block
The crime was looking up for truth
And as the bombshells of my daily fears explode
I try to trace them to my youth

And then you had to bring up reincarnation
Over a couple of beers the other night
And now I'm serving time for mistakes
Made by another in another lifetime

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision, king of insight

And then I think about my fear of motion
Which I never could explain
Some other fool across the ocean years ago
Must have crashed his little airplane

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision, king of insight

I'm not making a joke, you know me
I take everything so seriously
If we wait for the time till all souls get it right
Then at least I know there'll be no nuclear annihilation
In my lifetime I'm still not right

I offer thanks to those before me
That's all I've got to say
'Cause maybe you squandered big bucks in your lifetime
Now I have to pay
But then again it feels like some sort of inspiration
To let the next life off the hook
But she'll say "look what I had to overcome from my last life
I think I'll write a book"

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach the highest light
Except for Galileo God rest his soul
(Except for the resting soul of Galileo)
King of night vision, king of insight

Galileo information

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"The Best of Everything"

I just won this vintage "Best of Everything" tote bag on eBay for only $31 (plus $11 s/h)! (I had put in a maximum bid of $85, but people only bid it up to the $31!)

Cannot wait to strut around downtown with this over my shoulder!!!! :) (Meaning that I will NOT wear this 'til my ankle is 100% healed, so I can, indeed, STRUT! Hobbling around with this gorgeous thing certainly wouldn't do it justice!) :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Congrats, Obama and ladies! :)

I made it to the polling place, my supermarket, where I stood for over an hour on my bum ankle and was forced to listen to idiotic conversations...but I made it through! :)

RE the "idiotic conversations":

Notably from the college girls behind me, who felt the need to comment on every single pinata and/or grocery item around us, punctuated by "Omigod"s, as in: "Omigod, I would totally pick THAT pinata! It's a racecar! And you KNOW how into cars I am!" And: "Omigod, look at those sodas!"

But also from the 2 60-something black "helpers" traveling up and down the line, loudly "listening" to people's myriad of potential voting problems and bullshitting with them, but offering no answers, that I heard, whatsoever. (What in the world were they there for, just to reassure fellow minorities that "whitey" wasn't in charge?) Sample: The white college kid in front of me had moved, he never got his new voter card, could he still vote? ME, silently: Yes you can. Just show your damn driver's license. The "helping lady" didn't know that, just stared at him blankly. Then she moved on to me and stared at me. I smiled at her, not needing any help with voting.

HER: "Well? What's your story?"
ME: [????]
HER: What do you need?
ME: Got my card, got my ID. I'm good. Thank you!

(Unlike some who apparently find procuring an ID difficult, I got an updated driver's license and voter's card within weeks of moving back to Austin in 2010. Not sure what the Democrats have been bitchin' about pre-election re so-called "evil Republicans" allegedly trying to disenfranchise people. IDs are cheap--and voter cards are free--people. It's not the Republicans' fault if you're too stupid or lazy to go get one.)

I was also annoyed at some of the workers at the table up front: Once I finally showed my voting creds and moved on to signing in, the woman in charge of that was just staring off into space. I stood there silently for a few seconds and then had to finally say, "HELLOOOO! Where do I sign??" I felt like snapping my fingers at her to wake her up. No wonder the line had been moving so slowly! (Also, this was a major voting hub, and there were only 7 voting stations. At the precinct I voted in in Weehawken, NJ, in 2008, for instance, there were at least 20 voting stations, two-thirds unused when I voted then.)

I arrived at the supermarket polling station at 4:26pm. Waited over an hour to vote. Got home--after shopping for a carton o' cigs and TP and beer and waiting for a couple of buses--by 7:15pm. By then, I was too tired to even stay awake and enjoy the election-night result coverage that I'd been looking forward to watching! I just collapsed into bed immediately and was asleep by 8:30. Luckily, I woke up right after midnight and got to watch Obama's speech! Good for him. Enough of the crappy Republican hate spewed at him for the past 2 years. (Health care's a GOOD thing, you idiots. As is "European-style Socialism"---check out Germany's economy, for instance. Germany is a European Socialist country whose care for its citizens AND its thriving economy BOTH FAR OUTPACE the US's.)


And other things I was happy about on election night:

Way to go, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin---for defeating Republican hack Tommy Thompson for Senate, and for being the first female Wisconsin Senator AND the first OUT GAY US Senator! (p.s. Weird trivia: Baldwin went to Plath's alma mater, Smith, and her birthday is February 11, the day Plath killed herself. And... February 11 is also Sarah Palin's birthday!)

Congrats also to Democrat Claire McCaskill for defeating the creep Todd "legitimate rape" Akin for the Missouri Senate seat.

And to New Hampshire, where every leadership position--governor, both Senators, both Representatives--is now held by a woman!



The area where I live is a "hipster hood," with my 400-sq-ft studio about to jump up from $600 to $725 once my lease is up. (It was $525 when I first moved in, the summer of 2010.) My lease is up at the end of January, but I have to give them a 2-month notice if I choose to leave--by the end of November. Very soon. And no movement at work on if/when they're going to make my position permanent. If they do decide to hire me, I'll be making about $3000 a month, meaning I can spend $900-$1000 (the old "one-third of income" rule about rent) on a place... Trouble is, prices in this hood, which I like despite the hipsters, are now ridiculous.

The 850-sq-ft house that I rented for 7 years (2000-2007) a few blocks away was $825 a month. It just PAINS me to know that I'd have to pay at least that for a mere one-bedroom apartment in my hood now.

One glimmer of hope, though, came from randomly browsing around Craigslist today. In a neighborhood not hip and a little run down, but also not that far from where I live now, and also close to shops and bus-lines, I saw the house pictured here for only $895 a month! 3 bedrooms! Wooden floors! 972 square feet! A fenced back yard! The timing's all wrong, since I'll be paying rent at my current place through the end of January, still gave me great hope that finding something else similar would be possible come January.

(In the meantime, I can still fantasize about THIS house: 3 bedrooms?? Can you imagine?! Sleep in one, of course; the other for a study; no idea what the last one would be for since I never have any "guests"... And that back yard is perfect for a kitty! And for me to sit in privately...Oh my god, I really CAN'T imagine having some breathing space again! I feel so suffocated in my tiny space now... This particular place or not, all rides on knowing--quickly, by the end of November!--if I get the at-least $36K salary that will enable me to move on to new, better living quarters. Otherwise, I'm stuck.)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Undecided Voter Nell

Election Days '08/'12

The past 4 years have pretty much SUCKED for me! On Election Day 2008, I had a brand-new 6-month copy-editing gig that started the next week; I'd just heard the week before from Sandra, a college crush from poetry class, after 22 years; Gracie was still alive... The crisp, cool air of Weehawken seemed full of possibilities. I voted for McCain, but I didn't care at all that Obama won; I got goosebumps when his victory was announced, hoping for the best for the future.

4 years later at Election Day 2012: Eh. Doing secretarial temp work (a big step up from last year's poverty, esp. after the money garnered from this year's spring/summer of copy-editing work, but...I'm NOW doing secretarial work); the whole Sandra-thing a complete fiasco from almost Day One (four years of that game-playing, soul-deadening bullshit: Yuck). The struggles of the past 2 years just to get to this basic head-above-water financial stage. Yuck.

I'm voting for Obama tomorrow for civil rights reasons: I'm gay, and gay people should have all the civil rights that straight people have. I'm a woman, and no one (especially old, rich, right-wing male politicians) has the right to tell any woman what to do with her body (and the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, which provides birth control and health care to poor women---like I've been for the past 5 years---is disgusting).

Economically, Romney would actually be a better manager of the economy. (But neither he nor Obama have any plan for stopping the bleeding of American jobs overseas. Both are beholden to Big Business interests who fund their campaigns---and those folks want to pay workers as little as possible in order to make their rich shareholders as much as possible.)

So...Regardless of who wins the Presidency, the future looks "Eh" right now, for me, at least.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Election Day Trivia

I'd meant to early-vote this past week but, since I couldn't WALK, had to give up on that. I'm worried about this coming Tuesday, though, the actual date of real voting: Early voting (which ended Friday) was at my nearby grocery store, which a bus took me directly to. The real-day voting site, though, is not directly on a bus path for me and involves walking a half-mile or more... Which WAS fine when I could walk normally! But not so fine this coming Tuesday, when I know I'm not going to be healed yet...

I thought about calling my mom and asking her to drive me to the polling place on Tuesday. Nah. Never contact her or ask for anything unless absolutely necessary.

Sad, that! (I could have also used some help with grocery shopping and laundry in the past week while laid up. But hey---If you don't trust a person in your life while healthy, it's kind of hypocritical to expect them to help you when you're crippled, huh?)


p.s. I've been interested in presidential politics/elections since I was 3. (According to said Mom's scrapbook for me, I would stop what I was doing as a 3-year-old whenever Nixon came on the television and sit and watch him. In 1974, when I was about to be 9, I wrote Nixon a letter after he resigned 2 days before my birthday. In 1976 in 6th grade, I wore a "President Ford" button to school. In 1980, I created a Reagan bulletin board for my Sophomore English class. In 1984, the first year I could vote, I was Vice-President of "Students With Hart" on the UT-Austin college campus and drove pollster Pat Caddell in the motorcade that accompanied Hart to the UT campus.)

Below is my Presidential Preference record. The cut-off point below indicates where I was finally able to legally vote after turning 18.

(age 3) 1968: Nixon
(age 7) 1972: Nixon
(age 11) 1976: Ford
(age 15) 1980: Reagan
1984: (Hart in primary) Mondale
1988: Dukakis
1992: Clinton
1996: Perot
2000: Gore
2004: Kerry
2008: (Hillary in primary) McCain
2012: Obama (if I can hobble on over the half-mile to the polling place!) :)

p.s.s. Just found out Monday that I don't have to go to my EXACT polling place to vote--I can go to ANY polling place in all of Austin. Some of which buses go DIRECTLY to! Yay!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Seaside Heights 1960/post-Sandy

I'm so sorry, Jersey. (Haven't been able to find out anything about Weehawken, despite Internet searches. It's situated on the top of cliffs, with Edgewater, NJ, below; Hoboken directly to the south. I saw that Hoboken was devastated; I'm sure that Edgewater was. What happened to my old home, I wonder? No flooding, since atop cliffs, but what about the winds? The power? My landlords--who lived below me--were a couple in their 70s; did they have to evacuate?)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Go Johnny!

Fittin' in just fine with the other shuffleuffagusses on the city bus now that my ligaments (or whatever) are torn (or whatever---people without health care don't know such things!) After whatever giving out Saturday, I was bed-ridden Sunday, Monday, Tuesday... Was kind of scared that work would tell me not to come back, as the temp job in NYC did back in '07 after the cat bit me and I couldn't walk/come in to work for 2 days, but I now have a govt. temp job, not a job with a worldwide financier, the former a little more understanding toward the decrepit and infirm! ;p

Wednesday, I could finally move, but not really well enough to hop on/off buses and walk a few blocks. So I sprang for a cab into work...$14 for about 5 miles! Given that rate, I took the bus home...Aargh! I wasn't in constant pain while moving, it's just that there was no pain ONLY if I shuffled along like the Hunchback of Notre Dame! Luckily, it was Halloween, so maybe no one noticed...

One thing about physical infirmity: People really relate to it! At work, people were full of advice and/or stories:

"Put ice on it and elevate it."

"You haven't been to a doctor? What? You don't have health care? You're a grown, intelligent woman..." (ME: "Um, I made $17,000--TOTAL--last year freelancing. I couldn't exactly spare $200 a month for health care.")

And then: Someone on my floor knows a lady on the 4th floor who tore a ligament years ago; it never healed properly, and now all she can wear is tennis shoes... Great! Thanks for sharing! :) I was already feeling dowdy after having to wear my one pair of Naturalizer shoes for the past couple of days; nice to know that I have a future of only sneakers (maybe nurse shoes on holidays, if I'm lucky) ahead of me!

Another lady asked me how my foot was doing:
"Not really painful, just frustrating not being able to MOVE!"
"I know how that is; I have arthritis in both hips..."

I've officially joined the ranks of the middle-aged when I'm bonding with peers by sharing "physical ailment stories"! Teens/Twenties: bands and boy/girlfriends; Thirties/Forties: husbands and kids and work; Fifties on: Grandkids and sickliness! I PROTEST this stereotypical Progression o' Conversation Topics Among Women! :) In fact, one of the most horrifying things Sandra--someone artistically brilliant--ever said to me was during one of our last phone conversations, when I asked what was going on and she replied chirpily, "Just busy bein' a mom!" (And her "kids" are in their 20s and live 3 hours from her! And she's a serious artist! See the "Woman is the Nigger of the World" video I posted below for brainwashing techniques.)

One of my favorite movies is 1993's "Naked" by Mike Leigh. And one of my favorite movie characters is David Thewlis's "Johnny." At the end of "Naked," after a couple of days of extreme chaos and (mental and physical) pain, Johnny and his on/off girlfriend (whom he's looked up in London while trying to avoid some thugs from their hometown of Manchester; she's now a shopgirl with flat-mates) seem to come to an understanding: After everything they've just been through together, they'll return home to Manchester. She's an emotionally aware, decent person who loves him. The idea seems a safe haven, a relief from everything they (and we viewers) have just witnessed...

Here's the very last scene/shot of the movie: what the injured/gimpy Johnny--who has just been offered what we think of as salvation and who has absolutely no other prospects--decides to do...I was completely horrified/knocked out/exhilarated, in '93 and now.