Monday, December 31, 2012

I was so much more passionate last year!

With the end of the year comes nostalgia, and comparison, so I just now checked back with what I was doing in late 2011:

#1: On December 30, 2011, I was getting mildly chided by a below-stairs neighbor with a British accent for playing my KT Tunstall CD too loudly! When's the last time I felt joy-filled enough to play my music loudly?! :)

#2: Something from October 17, 2011: "I have counted every day..."

Over a year later, I don't care nearly as much about Sandra's emotional withholding (first, you bemoan it; then you grow numb to it; then you get mightily bored with and overtly dismissive of the nonsensical repetition of it; at the very end, the tragic realization: "She both thinks I'm her drunken mother AND believes what her 60s-trained psychiatrist says..."). There's no countering that idiocy. Sometimes other people's stuff gets so stupid that your own innate intelligent self starts to slough it off and you become free of it.

I still love the song itself, though.

In search of leather (or something)

Well, only 2 more days of my 11-day vacation left... Some of the stuff that I wanted to get done I didn't: no pedi, no new computer (though I did go to Best Buy and browse and browse and browse for 2 hours, probably driving the poor, nice salesguy nuts; I'd planned on getting it right then, but just could not make up my mind. The salesguy was recommending "Asus" and "Acer," while I've had pretty good luck with my used Dell--that a Joan fan sent me--for the past 4 years...I finally just gave up and went home to look up ratings online, but even after doing so, STILL couldn't make up my mind. At least I got the process percolating. I'd hoped to symbolically start the New Year with a fresh new computer--the first I'd ever purchased myself--but will now aim for getting it by the end of January, still a Newish part of the Year).

One thing I DID get done this past week was a mall trip (1 hour each way by bus) that resulted in a new leather jacket and new boots to wear to work! This sounds extremely silly, but during the chilly weather over the past month, I've felt a bit self-conscious about not having the right coat. I have 3 good-to-great coats (bought while I lived in NYC) for 40-and-below weather. But all too heavy for 50-ish winter days here in Austin. (Winters of 2010 and 2011 once I'd moved back to Austin, I was freelancing most of the time at home and didn't have to make public appearances outdoors 5 days a week. This year, though, putting on my 7-year-old cheapo Wilson leather jacket--which never looked that good to begin with--almost every day was depressing.)

I hit every major department store, and 3 or 4 specialty stores like Guess--which just had FAKE leather for a ridiculously overpriced $200--looking for my new jacket. Was initially horrified to see that just about everybody was sold out of black leather coats after Christmas/post-Christmas sales! ("But, but..." I frantically asked one saleslady, "WHERE do people get leather coats after Christmas?!")

Thanks, finally, to Dillard's for having ONE coat left--and it fit nicely and looked just like what I wanted. AND it was on sale for 40% off! Also ended up getting some work (office)/weekend boots at Dillard's, also 40% off! I'd been depressed about the pair of very similar Nine West boots that I'd ordered online for $100 just a month or so ago...those turned out to be a very cheap grade of leather and bulky and pretty stupid looking--such a big waste of money (and I could no longer return the things since I'd worn them out twice), and I'd told myself just to suck it up, I was NOT buying any other such boots this winter... These Dillard's boots were a much finer grade of leather; they fit much better; they were, with the sale, just $60-something. "Splurge"! (In the picture I have up here, the crappy, bulky $100 online boots are in the back, the much better new boots in front. I guess I'll try to sell the crappy ones on eBay for $25 or something.)

Oh yeah: a day before the leather trip, also stopped by Old Navy for the hell of it. I'd been meaning to buy a good old-fashioned pair of dark blue, heavy, super-long Levi's at the mall the next day, but Old Navy had a brand with similar qualities (and long enough to cuff up) on sale for $20!!! $20 is insane! And the style runs super large--meaning that, according to them, I'm a size 8 (instead of a 12)! Smart marketing ploy, Old Navy! :)

Now, all of this clothing "information," trivial as it might sound, is actually quite important for my tender psyche in general, but also for one major reason: The Cat Power show coming up January 26! I'm sure everyone there is going to be dressed in whatever, probably mainly hippie-stuff, with some trendy people milling about. All I wanted was a pair of jeans, a pair of boots, and a leather jacket that I liked and felt comfortable in: Got 'em! :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012 (The Road Not Taken)

Well, Christmas was kind of flat, as the usual for the past several years. Not bad or anything, just...flat. Me feeling pretty much unwanted, unnecessary.

Christmas breakfast at my mom's with my brother and his wife, her dad and her sister in from NYC and the sister's boy (my nephews' cousin), plus the nephews... The nephews had already gotten their presents from their parents at their own home earlier in the morning, so at my mom's, there was just my mom (their grandma) giving them their gifts, plus hers to me (the frame that she and I had disastrously shopped for together a couple of weeks ago) and my brother. Then the boys pretty much ran off with their older cool cousin to go play football at the nearby park.

The entire thing lasted only about 2 hours, then my brother/family wanted to go back home, a half-mile away, to help pack up for the NYC sister/son's 3-hour road trip that afternoon to Houston to go visit his dad. (I wondered why my brother and the nephews had to leave just to HELP PACK. They didn't HAVE TO. They just WANTED TO leave. While I wanted to hang around more with them. And I missed my older nephew -- now age 10 -- wanting to hang around ME instead of his cousin!)

Feeling extremely superfluous, I was dropped off back at my apartment... I laid on the bed and stared at the TV for an hour (too early to drink--it's only 1pm, it's Christmas!). Then. Hmmm. Well, I SAID I wanted to get cleaning done during my time off... So I cleaned out more piles of paper. Scrubbed more counter- and table-tops. Put the Joan Crawford print into the frame my mom and I had shopped for earlier. (Due to earlier-in-the-month disastrous shopping relations, there was no nice matte-ing or anything. So I just turned the front of the advertising over to the white side and used THAT for the "matte-ing"/background. Looks decent! See below photo.)

By then it was 4pm on Christmas, edging closer to allowable drinking time. Not quite, so I just laid down again and went to sleep. 7pm, when I woke up: OK, now OK to get on Internet and drink! :) Here I am. Did do some useful stuff, though, before coming to my blog/starting to post Joan Crawford website stuff: Laid out about 7 of the crappy necklaces I'd bought from eBay during my buying spree last spring and took photos, then re-listed on eBay for sale. (They've been bugging me for months being around the house, since I don't wear or want them...) Did the same with some unwanted CDs. So that was SOMETHING "useful"! :)

And another mildly hopeful thing: When I was getting online, I happened upon the 2000 movie "The Family Man" on Bravo to have on in the background. Usually Bravo movies suck. (Love their reality shows, but HATE their crappy movies that they run in off-hours!) But this one EXACTLY hit the spot at this semi-drab Christmas moment in my life. Plot:

1) A young woman seeing a young man off at the airport as they're both embarking on potentially lucrative opportunities. She begs him to stay with her, he says one year apart won't hurt their love.
2) Cut to 13 years later, same man waking up in an apartment to a sexy woman he's picked up the night before who's getting dressed and saying "I had a good time." He asks her to stay with him, but she points out that it's Christmas Eve and she's going to visit her parents. Scenes of him then swaggeringly going to his high-powered Wall Street job, interacting with the other rich residents of his apartment building, laughing about a phone message he's just gotten from his old college sweetheart (the same one he left at the airport years ago).
3) Walking home after work that Christmas Eve, he stops at a convenience store and "interacts" with a store robber...
4) Wakes up the next day...Everything has completely changed. He's now waking up on Christmas morning to a wife and kids in New Jersey, where he's a tire salesman...

And all this is NOT hokey! It's kinda like "It's a Wonderful Life" but...nothing's a given. While it was on in the background, I kept wondering, "Now, HOW are they [the filmmakers] going to work this all out exactly? God, I hope they don't just promote the in-reality-dull but feel-good-for-the-audience family life... But, the corporate life was also somewhat empty, despite the way-better perks." In the end, the filmmakers showed the highlights of both the family AND the corporate life... AND DIDN'T PICK A SIDE! The ending was perfect and subtle.

While I was watching, I kept thinking of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" (the only poem I know by heart) -- and that very poem was later quoted by a character in the film!


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


To me, the key line being: "Though as for that the passing there/Had worn them really about the same." In "The Family Man," there wasn't a "better or worse," just an intelligent "there are good and bad about each and here they are."

Odd as it sounds, watching this movie really brightened up my previously melancholy Christmas. Oh, as did looking at my haphazardly-framed Joan print! :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

11 days off

I haven't had this much time off since I was last unemployed back in January! I'm looking forward to it (and to sleeping whenever I feel like it), but still in the back of my mind is the niggling warning/reminder: Don't drink so much at night that you can't get out of bed the next day, thus wasting the whole damn day! Do at least SOMETHING productive every day. So far, so good:

Sat. Dec. 22 -- Did laundry, grocery shopping.
Sun. Dec. 23 -- Went for haircut.
Mon. Dec. 24 -- Did dishes, cleared out 3 of the 6 piles o' paper lying around my apartment (including New Yorkers from back in 2011 and receipts from 8 months ago), wrapped Christmas gifts, went to Christmas Eve dinner at bro's.

To do:

Tues. Dec. 25 -- Christmas brunch at Mom's. (Then probably, since nothing's open, just working on Joan website at night, which usually involves beers while I do it.)

The rest of the time through Jan. 1 involves getting a pedi, getting a new computer, going to the mall for a new leather jacket and Levi's and sweaters, maybe downtown one day for a movie/library visit. The only bummer's going to be New Year's Eve. I don't mind spending it alone, it's just that I get uptight when everyone around me's being loud, as last year, when the neighbors were shooting off fireworks right outside my window 'til 4 in the morning...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I just got my Cat Power tickets!

Austin City Limits, January 26!!!

They went on sale at 10am this morning, but I didn't see the ad in the weekly paper until 1pm... I got goosebumps!

And this show is especially rare 'cause she's only playing 6 places in the US before heading off to Australia:

January 22 Santa Ana, CA—The Observatory
January 24 Englewood, CO—Gothic Theatre
January 25 Dallas, TX—South Side Music Hall
January 26 Austin, TX—Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater
January 29 New York, NY—Terminal 5
January 30 Philadelphia, PA—Electric Factory

Well-written review from a recent Toronto show.

From "Spin" (2006):
You enjoy playing live? You don't always seem to enjoy it.
That's the thing about me. People think, Oh she's crazy -- she doesn't like to play. But that's not it. It's like tapping into some communal vein. There's always one person who talks to you after you go through this physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological experience. It's a dualship, a communication between the listener and me, even though you're not talking to each other or looking at each other, there's this space that starts living. This space in the universe that we all share, and it opens up, and then we forget we're in a bar. It's like looking at a painting or watching a horse run. It's that thing that keeps us liking life.

Below: From her 2006 ACL show:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

No, she's NOT Adam Lanza's mother.

By now, the blog entry "I am Adam Lanza's Mother" has been widely read and discussed. The author, Liza Long, empathizes with the 20-year-old Newtown mass murderer's dead mother and talks about her own problems trying to find treatment for her emotionally disturbed, occasionally violent 13-year-old son. She ends with:

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.

God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.

And with this, I've noticed that the national media focus has seemingly way-too-easily shifted to problems with the mental health-care system rather than on gun violence in our country. True, available mental health care is indeed horribly deficient in the US. For the poor and lower middle class, that is. That distinction is an important one.

Reading Ms. Long's story, I feel terrible for her. But, in truth, her own dilemma has NOTHING TO DO WITH the situation that the murdered Nancy Lanza and her murdering son Adam Lanza were involved in. Why? Because Nancy Lanza, divorced from her financier husband in 2009, got $289,800 in alimony this year. This alimony was scheduled to continue through 2023 (when Adam would have been 31).

With $289,800 per year--and a millionaire father of the child who would almost certainly pitch in more for his son's treatment, at the very least if forced to do so legally--you can afford all the mental health care and private facilities you could ever hope for. Nancy Lanza had every available opportunity for getting her son treatment. Which differs VASTLY from the extremely meager options available to the lower-middle-class blogger Liza Long (who took a job at a local college because of their health care, which nonetheless--like most city/state jobs--doesn't offer long-term treatment for the seriously mentally ill).

So Ms. Long's now-famous blog post is actually a huge red herring in this particular case.

In the Lanzas' case:

1) As I mentioned above, Nancy Lanza could afford the most extensive, sensitive psychiatric treatment for her son. For whatever reason, she chose not to take advantage of such treatment.

2) After the 2009 divorce, Nancy Lanza was ordered by the court to attend a "parenting education program." From what I've read (see above "alimony" link), it was an amicable, generous divorce settlement; it doesn't sound as if the husband stipulated that she attend such a program out of spite.

3) Nancy Lanza was a known gun enthusiast, who on at least one occasion took her mentally disturbed son to the shooting range with her. The latter is unwise in itself. But then there's more...

Her former sister-in-law said: "She was stockpiling food. We talked about prepping a lot. She was getting ready for the economic collapse."

Stockpiling food? "Prepping" (a term common in the "survivalist" community) for "the economic collapse"?


Who might have REALLY needed mental health care in this case?

Blogger Liza Long's heartfelt but, ultimately, simple-minded argument is that since she's been unable to get adequate care for her own son, she feels Nancy Lanza's pain. But Nancy Lanza had her own set of mental issues going on.

There is no health-care system in the world that could have gotten the wealthy, on-the-surface-normal Nancy Lanza to treatment. Or forced her to get treatment for her son, Adam. She refused both, when she could have easily afforded it. She apparently felt completely comfortable in her "survivalist" world (her basement, where son Adam hung out, allegedly covered, according to a visiting plumber, in corresponding weapons posters).

(Addendum: It was reported earlier today that Adam Lanza's computers/hard drives were completely smashed, thus hindering authorities' attempts at tracing what he'd been doing online. Reported that HE most likely did the smashing.

#1: Your Internet trail isn't determined by your hard drive. Please. There are IP paths all over the place for authorities to look up.

#2: Why so sure that the son did the smashing? Maybe the mom caught the son looking at something inappropriate and destroyed everything herself in a rage? For a kid whose only connection to the world was through his computer, maybe that -- combined with end-of-the-world rhetoric -- was the tipping point. Just guessing.)

It's EASY to say: "Oh, we need a better mental health-care system in this country!" True, we do. But in THIS particular case, it was the easy availability of semi-automatic weapons to a mentally unstable mother, and subsequently to her son, that caused the tragic mass murder of babies at school.

I hope no one forgets that.


A rather mean (but logical) "p.s." to blogger Liza Long: On the front page of her "Anarchist Soccer Mom" website is the slogan: "I'm a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, with a whole lot of Sacco and Vanzetti thrown in."

Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were famously executed, probably unjustly, for a particular 1919 bombing incident that they were not necessarily involved with. Despite their probable innocence in this particular case, they had, however, long been associated with violent anarchists:

From the Wikipedia "Sacco and Vanzetti" entry:
...The men were believed to be followers of Luigi Galleani, an Italian anarchist who advocated revolutionary violence, including bombing and assassination. Galleani published Cronaca Sovversiva (Subversive Chronicle), a periodical that advocated violent revolution, and an explicit bomb-making manual called La Salute รจ in voi! (Health is in you!). At the time, Italian anarchists – in particular the Galleanist group – ranked at the top of the United States government's list of dangerous enemies.[7] Since 1914, they had been identified as suspects in several violent bombings and assassination attempts, including an attempted mass poisoning.[8][9][10] Publication of Cronaca Sovversiva was suppressed in July 1918, and the government deported Galleani and eight of his closest associates on June 24, 1919.[11]...

Can I point out to mom blogger Long: If you're proudly proclaiming how in tune with violent anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti you are... Then why are you now decrying your own son's violent anarchist behavior? Violence is OK for others, but not for your own family? Think about that. Maybe you really ARE Adam Lanza's mother. In a BAD way. (After all, isn't deciding to wear the "wrong"-colored pants to school and then violently fighting over the personal right to wear whatever he wants a PERFECT example of anarchist philosophy?)

Maybe some of you folks out there need to think twice about what thought systems you're passing on to your children. They just might take you literally. SURPRISE!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Update on Walmart's recent mass murders

Funny, on 12/12, I was complaining here about the Portland mall shooting, where "only" 1 person died as a result of readily available semi-automatic weapons that you can buy at Walmart.

Then came the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school murders, just 2 days later! 26 people this time! And 20 of them were 5-year-olds!

With -- surprise! -- the same type of semi-automatic weapons used!

If you want to murder elementary-school kids, you can buy your Sig-Sauer or your Bushmaster AR-15 at Walmart.

Click the links above to read reviews by Walmart's satisfied customers.

A p.s. to moms who collect guns and encourage their disturbed sons to go shoot with them after The Divorce: Oh, the irony.

A p.s.s. to President Obama: Tonight you gave a bullshit speech about praying for the victims. The same kind of speech that you gave back in January 2011 after the Gabriel Gifford shooting spree (that also killed a 9-year-old) when you said exactly the same. Enough with the bullshit "prayers." DO something instead of PRAY, you fucking coward. You're the President of the United States.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Get yer semi-automatic weapons at Walmart!

After the mall shooting in Portland yesterday, one frightened person there was quoted as saying: "This isn't supposed to happen!"

Oh, but it IS supposed to happen! Our country ENCOURAGES this kind of thing to happen by allowing sales of semi-automatic weapons at huge retail stores like Walmart!

Semi-automatic weapons have been involved in most of the recent mass murders:

The Portland shooter used an AR-15.
The Aurora, CO, shooter at the Batman showing used a Remington 870 and a Smith&Wesson MP 15.
And both the 2011 Gabby Gifford shooter in Tucson and the Virginia Tech shooter in 2007 used a Glock 19.

Walmart sells the AR-15. Buy 'em whenever!

And you can
buy Smith & Wesson MP 15's at Walmart, too! That's the kind of semi-automatic the "Batman" shooter used in Aurora, Colorado. The Aurora shooter also used a Remington 870... surprise! Also sold at Walmart!

And then there's the Glock 19, used by Jared Loughner in Tucson last year, and by the Virginia Tech shooter in 2007. While it doesn't appear that Walmart sells the Glock 19, you sure can buy ammo for it there!

On various online messages boards after each of the above mass murders, there were always those saying, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people."

My counter-argument is: If there's a nut out there who wants to kill a bunch of people, said nut isn't going to be able to murder multitudes with, say, just a knife in his hand. But, on the other hand, give said nut an easily available semi-automatic weapon, and he's going to be able to kill DOZENS of people, if the gun doesn't jam: at malls, at movie theaters, on college campuses, at political meet-ups, at fast-food joints, WHEREVER the nut feels like taking his gun.

Such mass killing IS supposed to happen according to our country's lackadaisical attitude toward the sales of semi-automatic weapons. There is no reason on earth for people to be able to get such murder-machines so easily. Not a hunting reason, not a self-protection reason. WHY are semi-automatic weapons available at places like Walmart?

When will our lawmakers decide to put a stop to this constant insanity, the month-after-month, year-after-year reports of lunatics with semi-automatics cutting loose in public places? And the aftermath of naifs saying, "This isn't supposed to happen!" or "How did this happen?" At this point, there's no more naivete. Come on. It's pretty clear how this keeps happening.

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi...

Speaking of Tennessee Williams (see below several posts):

This past week, I've been working my way through the first volume of his collected plays. So far, I've read "The Glass Menagerie" (his first hit, in 1945), "Spring Storm" (his first play, written in college, never performed), and just now halfway through "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947, his first play after "Menagerie").

In "Streetcar," while Mitch is courting Blanche and they've had a couple of drinks, she starts flirtatiously speaking to him in French. He looks befuddled, and when she determines that he definitely does NOT speak the language, she goes on, amusing herself: "Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?..." (This doesn't appear in the movie.)

Now, I of course know the phrase from the '70s "Lady Marmalade" song by Patti LaBelle, so it was hilarious to read what I thought might be the origin of the phrase for the '75 songwriters Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan! (Don't know if those guys are gay, but if they are...then I KNOW gay icon Blanche saying this is the source!) :)

According to the website, here's the story of the phrase in modern American vernacular:

"Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" made its American debut without "ce soir" in John Dos Passos' novel Three Soldiers (1921) when one of the characters jokes that the only French he knows is "Voulay vous couchay aveck moy?" E.E. Cummings was the first to use those five words correctly spelled, in his poem "La Guerre, IV," known as "little ladies more" (1922). The full expression didn't appear until 1947, in Tennessee Williams's "A Streetcar Named Desire," though it was written "Voulez-vous couchez [sic] avec moi ce soir?"

But "voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)" really came into English vernacular with music, as the chorus in the 1975 hit "Lady Marmalade" by Labelle....


Oh dear lord, I broke down and CRIED in front of my boss today. :(

The official posting of the temp job I've been doing since October is going to happen right after the holidays, and in the meantime my boss and the head of HR have been going back and forth in e-mails niggling over details of the job description, including the pay. I know this because I'm in charge of opening ALL of my boss's mail and deleting stuff that's junk/spam. (Not because I'm nosy or anything! Ha!) One thing that he managed was getting the job title itself bumped up from "Admin ASSISTANT" to "Admin ASSOCIATE," which has a higher pay range. I thought this was very nice of him, I think on my behalf.

So today, the HR person sends my boss her final version of the description for his approval. Her suggested pay per month... "$2600+". Thud. OK, so there was the "+." And it did say "negotiable." And it's more than I'm making now as a $12-an-hour temp. But still. After all the health care and SS and other taxes taken out, I'd be bringing home maybe $2200 a month. I can survive on @$1500 a month. But I've been merely "surviving" for the past several years. I was ready to move FORWARD financially. To save $1000 a month (for a house in 10 years, to pay off student loans). AND to be able to buy things and go places, like a normal person.

I printed out the job description and just stared at it and thought about it for a few minutes with a really heavy heart, tearing up a little but finally getting myself under control. Then I decided to go talk to my boss about it immediately instead of brooding.

After apologizing for reading his mail (which he kindly told me I was SUPPOSED to be reading!), I blurted out: "I thought I was doing a good job here. And I like it here so much, I like everybody here. But, but..." Here's where the tears started: "I just can't work for $2600 a month. I know it's more than I'm making now, but I have a Master's Degree and I'm in my 40s and a kid out of high school could be making this salary... I don't want to be a temp any more. But I just can't stay here for $2600 a month. I really thought you guys liked me, and I really wanted to stay, but I just can't..." [waaaaaaaaaah!]

I mean, I wasn't yelling or BAWLING or anything, but the tears were certainly, embarrassingly flowing copiously.

My boss looked bemused:
"Stephanie, do you know what I was doing right now when you asked to talk to me?"
[sniff-sniff] "No."
"I just replied to that e-mail, saying that we needed to START the pay range at $3100 and negotiate up from there. Did you read that sent mail?"
[sniff] "No. I mean, I'm not THAT nosy. I don't read your SENT mail...Really? Not $2600?" [sniff]

Oh my god, how nice he was. We chatted a bit more about the posting, etc., while I dried my tears. And then at the end he added:

"You know what's interesting, I've been reading a book about this very thing: How people can often, and shouldn't, ASSUME that they're not wanted, that something is intended personally against them, when there are usually many other factors involved."
ME: "Maybe I should read more things like that instead of Tennessee Williams."
HIM: [laughing] "I can lend you this one."

Oh, the kindness of strangers! :)

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Saturday was tedious. To begin with, my closest bus-stop to the grocery store was closed for road repairs, so I had to limp around trying to find the next-closest stop. (Yes, still limping after the initial early-November injury.) Stood at the new-found stop for over half-an-hour, not even sure if this bus was heading in the right direction. It was the right bus, thank goodness.

After grocery shopping, my 2 bags were too heavy, as usual. (I always tell myself to go for groceries ONCE a week so I won't be TORMENTED by the heavy bags; but, as usual, put off the shopping for 2 weeks. So my bags were too heavy.) And at the beginning of the 1/3-mile trudge just from the store to the bus-stop, one swinging grocery bag with cans in it hit me RIGHT on my hurt lower shin, sending spikes of pain...I yelled "OWWWW!" out loud, then kept on my trudge, grimacing noticeably. On the way, I spotted a mongoloid-ish man approaching me in a fluorescent yellow T-shirt. At that point I was fed up with my life, and pretended to ignore him. Instead of bothering me, though, he said to me with my grimacing, pained expression: "You're almost there! You're going to make it! God bless."

What a relief to hear "You're almost there! You're going to make it!" instead of "Hey, Baby!" :) I feel bad for having pre-judged the man as being a potential pest instead of a help-meet! He DID make me feel better and lighten up.

The second stop on my ongoing route home from the grocery store (normally, the half-mile home I could/would walk, but not with 2 heavy bags of groceries and a hurt leg): I had been sitting on the bus-stop bench for 10 or 15 minutes, and then... SPLAT! A big dump of bird poop on my thigh. Sigh. Looking up, plenty o' pigeons on the wires above, which I'd never thought to look up for before.

"GODDAMMIT birds, I HATE you!" I screamed out loud, regardless of the lounging hipsters at their trendy taco-place on this same corner who might be disturbed by my VERY UN-COOL outburst.

I wiped most of the poop off my jeans with my grocery receipt and then got up and stood a few feet away from the bench for the next half-hour that the bus took to get there. At least the poop wasn't on my head. At least it wasn't directly into my bag of groceries.

But, damn! Tedious!

Fear of Flying

Joan Crawford and poodles, July 1963 en route to NYC.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

En avant!

Tom (Tennessee) Williams didn't have sex until he was 28 (I was 23). His first love left him because the boy was disturbed by his own gay feelings (as my first love left me, also). Tom's earliest love later died at 26; mine died at 25.

The early emotional sadness has flattened me to this point, but certainly didn't destroy him completely.

The first stanza of a Tennessee Williams ditty penned in 1941:

I think the strange, the crazed, the queer
will have their holiday this year,
I think for just a little while
there will be pity for the wild...

And then a diary entry of Williams, also from 1941, after being punched by a pick-up that night:

Why do they strike us? What is our offense? We offer them a truth which they cannot bear to confess except in privacy and the dark -- a truth which is inherently as bright as the morning sun. He struck me because he did what I did and his friends discovered it. Yes, it hurt -- inside. I do not know if I will be able to sleep. But tomorrow I suppose the swollen face will be normal again and I will pick up the usual thread of life.

I was smacked in the face psychologically by officially-straight Sandra a couple of nights ago. "I suppose the swollen face will be normal again and I will pick up the usual thread of life."

Of course it will, and I will, as I always have.

"En Avant!" ("Forward!")---Tennessee Williams's credo.

Monday, December 03, 2012


After my idiotic brief e-mail conversation with Sandra tonight, I was glad to cut up the stupid shirt of hers and throw it in the trash. There is nothing between us.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


My mother and I don't get along.

Back when I was a teenager living at home with her in Azle, Texas, I recorded a diary entry of wanting to punch through the newspaper she was holding up in front of her face. I also recorded wanting to actually punch HER in the face, which was especially disturbing to me because my father was physically abusive to both my mother and me, and I hated/hate him profoundly. And yet I also wanted to punch my mother.

I escaped in 1983 when I was 18, to go to college. The next time I was forced to live with my mother was in 2010, for 3 months, after I couldn't find a job in NYC and had to come home to Texas. She was as nasty to me for those 3 months in 2010 as she was when I was a kid. Nothing at all had changed.

What happened this last weekend was just a mirror image of the past 30 years.

For Christmas this year, I'd asked that she have a Joan Crawford art print of mine framed at an art store. Which involved me and her going to the store, and choosing the frame/matte, etc. Then she'd take it home and wrap it up and give to me on Christmas.

First, we had a huge problem getting to the art store. Shades of her being unable to drive to my birthday dinner back in August, when I nastily YELLED AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS at her because she repeatedly made wrong turn after wrong turn, despite my telling her WAY ahead of time EXACTLY where to turn...

This weekend was the first time I'd been in a car with her since August. With that August horror in mind, this time, I told her, "I'm just along for the ride! I'm so sorry for how I acted on my birthday. You get there your way. I'll just sit here and be quiet..."

My mom couldn't find the art store, though she said she knew exactly where it was. Since the store was a place where my sister-in-law had been several times, I finally suggested that my mom pull over and call my sister-in-law for directions. Nah. So we drove and drove and drove. We finally found the store. But my mom then couldn't figure out how to park her car. There was an empty space right in front of her, but... no. I bit my tongue this whole time. Didn't at all want to be the nasty person that I proved myself to be back in August. (RE her horrible driving: While we were trying to park in the art store parking lot, someone else had to HONK at her because she pulled out in front of them, almost causing a wreck.)

Once we got in the art store: We, after searching, found a ready-made 24 x 24 black frame that would fit the Joan poster that I had. But the poster still needed to be held in place by a matte or whatever (backing tape?). There was no one in the framing area to help us, so I led us to the main counter, my mom yammering all the way: "Why are we going up here? This isn't where the framing is done..." ME: "Mom! There wasn't anyone at framing; this guy up here can call someone." After the guy at the front told us to go to the framing area and that he'd call someone to help us, my mom said, "See? I told you so! This wasn't the right place." ME: "But this guy is CALLING SOMEONE to help us!"

Once in the framing area with the helper: I discussed with the guy how best to keep the poster from slipping-and-sliding within the 24 x 24 frame. My mom had earlier suggested double-sided tape. But I didn't want to ruin the poster with that. So when the store-guy suggested double-sided tape, I said "No."

My mom shut off then. Walked 10 feet away from where me and the store-guy were standing, made a creepy sour face. I asked her a couple of chit-chat questions from afar, trying to involve her, but nothing.

Me and the store-guy went off and looked at matte-ing. Which he said would cost $35. I told him I didn't want to spend $35 just on that, the double-sided tape would have to do, I suppose. MOM: "I SAID I would pay for it." ME: "But I don't think it's worth $35; I think I'll just do the double-sided tape." MOM: "I SAID I would pay for it." [BIG SIGH, SOUR FACE, DRAMATIC TURNING AWAY.]

At this point, I'd had enough. I'd dealt with her shittiness for all of my youth. I'd dealt with it again for 3 months in 2010. And I was goddamned if I had to deal with it again at this point. I snatched my Joan Crawford poster off the counter and told her, "I'm catching a bus."

I walked the near-mile to the nearest bus-stop. My hurt ankle hurt, but I didn't give a shit: "I'm done, I'm done, I'm done" is all I kept saying to myself the whole time: "She always turns everything to shit. Even a Saturday outing. I'm done with this shit."

I'd hoped for a "normal" mom-n-daughter Saturday shopping excursion, maybe a lunch after... I'd always hoped for this. I have NEVER, EVER gotten such a pleasant thing. NEVER. I'm 47 years old. I have NEVER, ever had a pleasant mom-n-daughter excursion.

I hobbled the mile to the bus-stop and sat there for a while waiting for the 320 bus that would take me back near my apartment. Mom, surprisingly, drove up after about a half-hour...How she figured out the bus-stop, no idea. I got in her car, not wanting to yell "Fuck you" to her at the bus stop.

Oddly, or not-so-oddly, the dream I had the very night before: 3 young women threw me into a room and locked me in. I was fed up at that point, yelled at them: "I never had a relationship with my mother. We never did anything together." The 3 took pity on me and let me out, but started crying in the meantime.

Oh, the irony.

On Saturday, KC Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins (the mother of their 3-month-old daughter) and then drove to the Chiefs' stadium, where he shot himself to death. The Internet was subsequently full of his teammates tweeting and facebooking about what a great guy he was.

According to the Sporting News: "Belcher graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in child development and family relations."

Sporting News story.