Tuesday, December 31, 2013


George Jones, John Lennon, Ted Hughes: Three puzzled, honest men who make me cry.


New Year's Eve, 2013

New Year's Eve should be a good time, I suppose. I always remember a Bill Clinton radio interview years after he was out of office where he talked about how he, as a teen, actually used to spend New Year's Eve alone thinking about what had happened in the year that had gone by... "How nerdy was that," he said in the interview.

As a solitary small-town Southern teen who, once I got my car, visited graveyards and movie theaters in my spare time to find peace, I don't think Clinton's New Year's thoughtfulness was so far-fetched.

Tomorrow night, I'm anticipating no such peacefulness or contemplation of the year past, just a clenching of teeth against the fireworks outside my window lasting 'til 4am.

It's a shame.

On Cowboys football, Christmas, et al.

Way back in '89 or so, when my first girlfriend and I had been dating for about 6 months, we were lazing around on a Sunday afternoon, flipping through TV channels. I stopped on a Cowboys game, which I really wanted to watch. She became agitated, insisting I change the channel (which I didn't want to do), finally blurting out: "When I was growing up, I HAD to watch that every Sunday." Funny, but as a small-town Texas girl, that's all I grew up watching every Sunday, too. Only, it was a FOND memory for me, not an element of torture. It was a FUN thing to root for the Cowboys with my dad and the whole family.

This same first girlfriend also never wanted to go see Rick Broussard/Two Hoots and Holler with me, a band I found tremendously personal and inspiring. I managed to drag her to exactly ONE show; her sole sullen response: "No one here is into vampires." This same person owned exactly TWO books: a Scientology tome by L. Ron Hubbard and "Lolita." This same 36-year-old person (I was 23) also took me to an alleged "Christmas" party where there were nothing but drug-addled 19-year-olds sitting on the floor around a small, shitty tree decorated with spiders and skulls playing "The Alphabet Game" -- which involved sing-songing "A is for Asshole, B is for Butthole, C is for Cunt..."

I think I'd failed to explain myself to this woman: I liked Cowboys football. My favorite local band was Two Hoots and a Holler, which is why I wanted to share the experience of seeing them with her. I thought those who liked vampires and L. Ron Hubbard and "Lolita" were immature fetishists. I liked my Christmas bright and shiny and tinselly and full of food and family fun --- as low-rent as I got on Christmas was liking and wanting to hear the Rat Pack Christmas album among the other traditional Christmas songs.

A "hip" co-worker, trying to be hip, once said to me that she loved going to get a greasy burger on Christmas; my response was that I could get a greasy burger every day of the year; on Christmas, I liked having a home-cooked turkey meal. Same with Cowboys football: I can get shitty "A is for Asshole" sing-songing by random idiotic people every day of the year; when it comes to communally watching a Cowboys game, though, you get a group mutually emotionally invested in something and not (for heaven's boring sake) being ironic about it.

Monday, December 30, 2013

I Love My Books

I mean I LOOOOOOOOOVE them; not just reading or anticipating reading the few I haven't yet, but also just sitting around and looooooking at them.

As his Christmas gift to me this year, my brother bought me a bookshelf at my favorite consignment store --- I think this is the fourth time I've asked for exactly this from him for either Christmas or my birthday.

Once I got the new one home yesterday (the previously-lonely twin for the one I'd bought at the same place last year), I spent a crazy 6 HOURS (from 11pm to 5am -- I was worn out by 2, but I couldn't quit) unloading all of my books to the center of my floor and then rearranging them to where I thought/felt they "belonged" now that I had the extra space. For instance, all the fiction together, all the poetry together, the nonfiction, the philosophy, the entertainment, etc. What freak does that? (Not my brother. He and his wife also have a billion books; when I asked if he groups them in any particular way... "Uh...no.")

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rick Broussard, last summer

He's still fucking cool (in a real, non-hipster way), still feeling the music. (And, as he says here, playing music in Austin "since Jimmy Carter was president" -- good lord, we're old!) ;p

More Rick Broussard, Black Cat/Austin '91

Sorry to keep going on about this, but I was there at the Black Cat to see Rick nearly every Monday for 2 or more years. Looks like a lot of footage just got posted to YouTube... (I wasn't one of the girls right up front in this video, but I'm sure I'm one of the ones hollering in the background.) His shows were absolutely fantastic. His original music was great, the covers he chose were great, the vibe was sexy and exciting. And then there were the $1 Pabst Blue Ribbons, the $1 roasted weiners (over an open bonfire out back), and the adventure of traipsing to an actual outhouse (just past the weiner roast) whenever you had to pee. I greatly looked forward to every Monday night.

New Shower Curtain


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Have yourself an Elfy little Christmas



After I wrote on 12/15 about finding Eleanor Parker sexy in "Sound of Music" when I was a kid, the film came on network TV this past Sunday night, and I rewatched for the first time in at least 30 years... How beautiful it was. Christopher Plummer's Captain reminded me of Ashley Wilkes in "Gone With the Wind" -- mourning a world not yet, but soon to be, lost.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Here's all the crap I ordered (see the 12/17 entry), finally unwrapped. Took me over an hour just to open all the packages. Two of the sweaters (black ones, which I most needed) didn't fit at all (and so now to go through the eBay hassle of trying to re-sell); the "Hollywood backlot" and "Long Tail" books I wouldn't have ordered again. The two sweaters in the top row, far left, I really liked; I also really liked "The Story of Hollywood" and "Pronoia" books. I'd been debating whether to wait to Christmas to open everything -- glad I just went ahead and did it now; nothing was grand enough to make for joy on Christmas, and the packages were junking up my living room.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A move for the Bastet cat

My Bastet cat, shown at the right of the photo, was an inheritance from my German aunt who had actually visited the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and purchased it there.
Originally, I had Bastet sitting by the ashes of my cat Gracie, for companionship. Then I moved her to my bookshelf, kind of a bookend for my antiquities histories. Upon reading today that she was regarded as the "goddess of ointments and perfumes," I moved her to my perfumes. But then, after reading more, I realized that her "perfume goddess" designation -- after being such a fierce warrior goddess for so long -- was a real come-down only in latter-day Egyptian mythology! Ooops. Still, she looks kinda good with my perfumes so she's gonna sit there for a while. Be cool for a millisec, Bastet! Guarding briefly, not a whole civilization, but rather the history of one girl's emotional life since age 14! (Seriously -- that bottle of Wild Musk Oil at the front is the actual bottle that I got when I was 14 -- still 1/3 full; my first "womanly" perfume after a bottle of Love's Rain Soft lasted me my two years of junior high.)


From Wikipedia:

From the 3rd millennium BC, when Bast begins to appear in our records, she is depicted as either a fierce lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness. ...

Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was also a solar deity, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra.

Her role in the Egyptian pantheon became diminished as Sekhmet, a similar lioness war deity, became more dominant in the unified culture of Lower and Upper Egypt known as the Two Lands.

Later scribes sometimes renamed her Bastet, a variation on Bast consisting of an additional feminine suffix to the one already present (the "t" of Bast), thought to have been added to emphasize pronunciation; perhaps it is a diminutive name applied as she receded in the ascendancy of Sekhmet in the Egyptian pantheon. Since Bast literally meant, (female) of the ointment jar, Her name was related with the lavish jars in which Egyptians stored their perfume.

Bast thus gradually became regarded as the goddess of perfumes, earning the title, perfumed protector. In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife....
Lower Egypt's loss in the wars between Upper and Lower Egypt led to a decrease in the ferocity of Bast. Thus, by the Middle Kingdom she came to be regarded as a domestic cat rather than a lioness. Occasionally, however, she was depicted holding a lioness mask, hinting at her potential ferocity and perhaps, a reminder of her origin.

Oh, Vienna!

I just ordered these, used, for about $4 apiece (!) I can't wait! I've always been interested in the city because of its associations with Klimt (and Schiele) and Freud (and my grand-uncle) and Hitler's poverty as an artist/unsuccessful application to art school there... And author Morton's idea of a confluence of forces in a particular time/place reminded me of the odd feeling I got days ago when I figured out that Plath killed herself in London just 4 hours before the Beatles began recording their debut album, under 2 miles away. (I'm sure there is much more to the London "coincidence"-- perhaps these two Vienna books by Morton will help me figure out how to go about unraveling what made me feel so eerie...)

"On January 30, 1889, at the champagne-splashed hight of the Viennese Carnival, the handsome and charming Crown Prince Rudolf fired a revolver at his teenaged mistress and then himself. The two shots that rang out at Mayerling in the Vienna Woods echo still.

Frederic Morton...deftly tells the haunting story of the Prince and his city, where, in the span of only ten months, "the Western dream started to go wrong." In Rudolf's Vienna moved other young men with striking intellectual and artistic talents—and all as frustrated as the Prince. Among them were: young Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Theodor Herzl, Gustav Klimt, and the playwright Arthur Schnitzler, whose La Ronde was the great erotic drama of the fin de siecle. Morton studies these and other gifted young men, interweaving their fates with that of the doomed Prince and the entire city through to the eve of Easter, just after Rudolf's body is lowered into its permanent sarcophagus and a son named Adolf Hitler is born to Frau Klara Hitler."


"Thunder at Twilight is a landmark of historical vision, drawing on hitherto untapped sources to illuminate two crucial years in the life of the extraordinary city of Vienna—and in the life of the twentieth century. It was during the carnival of 1913 that a young Stalin arrived on a mission that would launch him into the upper echelon of Russian revolutionaries, and it was here that he first collided with Trotsky. It was in Vienna that the failed artist Adolf Hitler kept daubing watercolors and spouting tirades at fellow drifters in a flophouse. Here Archduke Franz Ferdinand had a troubled audience with Emperor Franz Joseph—and soon the bullet that killed the archduke would set off the Great War that would kill ten million more. With luminous prose that has twice made him a finalist for the National Book Award, Frederic Morton evokes the opulent, elegant, incomparable sunset metropolis—Vienna on the brink of cataclysm."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas to ME!

One of the hazards of a lot of dead time at work is...desperate to amuse yourself, you might tend to turn to ONLINE SHOPPING (once you've gotten over any initial paranoia and figured out that no one cares what sites you visit on your computer).

Pictured here are piles of stuff that have been arriving at my doorstep for the past 2 weeks or so. Why unopened? Because I just don't actually care about what it was that I ordered. I mean, it's nothing crazily expensive or overly exciting: mainly used $20 black wool sweaters from eBay (to replace the crappy $20 black cotton sweaters I ordered last year) and used $5 books from Amazon and a few more CDs and some red socks in there somewhere, I think; oh, and maybe a lipstick or hair product or two... Shopping IS a time-passer, but I'm kind of peeved at myself for not comprehending that all these $20/$5 purchases ADD UP! This is about a $300 pile here. And, honestly, about a third of the clothing items I buy online end up not fitting properly and thus is money completely wasted.

Though I tell myself brightly: "I'll just re-sell it!" Somehow that never works out properly! For instance: I bought a sweater I really liked for $24.99 (manufacturer's price $63 or something) despite the fact that it was listed outright as a size smaller than I normally wear. But I suppose I thought my "magical thinking" would make it magically fit by the time it arrived... NOPE. I did re-sell on eBay with a starting bid of $9.99 --- it sold on about the 7th time I listed it...for $12.99. Similarly, I sold a pair of ankle boots that I bought new online only last year (for $80 or so) -- and that never fit properly -- for a mere $9.99 this year, despite having only worn them twice. That's how that usually works out.

(Books and CDs, on the other hand, I've had much better luck with when ordering online -- only about 5% or so have turned out to be in much worse shape than the seller initially indicated.)

In short... I've gotta quit the Boredom Shopping! I suppose I'll keep this pile sitting here until Christmas and then open as presents to myself. (I asked my mom to get me a dental cleaning for Christmas, so these will probably be the most exciting gifts I get!)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eleanor Parker (6/26/22 - 12/9/13)


Back when I first saw 1965's "Sound of Music" on TV in the '70s, I liked it a lot. But, in the back of my little mind... WHO was THAT playing the Baroness? And would it have been so bad at all if the Captain had married HER instead of Maria? (The Baroness was oh-so-glamorous, and who CARED if she couldn't play that stupid ball game with the kids and kept getting hit...though her constant sideways glances WERE annoying...And she DID convince Simple Maria to go back to the convent... I suppose this kind of thing has already been explored with "The Madwoman in the Attic" and "Wicked," though! Ah, but the Baroness, you knew, was going to survive... She didn't love the Captain "like that." And certainly wasn't ever about to traipse around the world as a political refugee.)


Turns out she -- Eleanor Parker -- was an accomplished actress, not just a schoolgirl crush or a fashion-plate. Nominated for an Oscar three times: for 1950's "Caged"; 1951's "Detective Story"; and 1955's "Interrupted Melody."

1990 - Two Hoots and a Holler, Austin

The boy in the middle, the leader of the band, was the one I was in love with. Saw these guys almost every Monday at the Black Cat Lounge on 6th Street in Austin in '90-'91.

Carnal Knowledge ("The Sky's the Limit")

I first saw this '71 film in 1987 when I was 22, a year before I'd ever had sex. Watching it was like doing drugs --- as-yet forbidden, unearned insights for the uninitiated. (Sandy and Jonathan both equally lost and clueless, though -- I recognized it then and also just now, after re-viewing on TCM last night. The most illuminating moment, then as now: Jonathan's slideshow (woops! an "accidental" photo of his prepubescent daughter slipped in with all of the "ball-busters" --- the same reason I think D.H. Lawrence is a dick, and ALL of his writing suspect, to this day: his calling an 8-year-old girl a "bitch").

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Your horoscope - Week of December 16, 2013 
 An unhealthy friendship may end on Tuesday. Strive to form relationships with folks who are worthy of your time.


Just about there, Horoscope.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

London: February 11, 1963

I just discovered today that on Monday, February 11, 1963, the Beatles -- my favorite band -- entered the EMI Studios on 3 Abbey Road in London at 10 am to record their very first album, "Please Please Me."

About 5 hours earlier that same Monday morning, at 23 Fitzroy Road -- only 2 miles away from where the Beatles were about to record -- my favorite poet, the 30-year-old Sylvia Plath, had just put her head in her gas oven. (Her body was discovered around 9 am.)

The boys in their early 20s, still just scruffy guys playing clubs and touring locally as backups to 2nd-rate openers, only months away from their Universal Big Bang... And Plath at only 30, with every brilliant thing already written (yet unknown) and now completely imploding, sucked into the Black Hole of Self.


p.s. This reminds me in a lesser way of the 4/18/60 "Ban the Bomb" march on Trafalgar Square in London. I only initially knew about the event because Plath had written about it in her letters (she was pissed off because husband Ted had gone without her, so she found another friend to go with -- and dragged along her 2-week-old baby). As I found out only last year when looking at my mother's old scrapbooks: My mother was at the same march, as a 19-year-old German au pair girl in London for the year... Funny (in a great, human way) how neither Plath nor my mother were there precisely for the intended function! :)  Plath, to spite her husband; my 19-year-old mom, just for the event-of-it! :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

No Smoking

In my local government's ridiculous attempt at assuaging the idiotic miasma of the PC police: There's no smoking allowed where I work.

And so, before my half-hour bus-ride home every day after work, I've been scuttling around corners like Gregor in my attempts to sneak a cigarette.

Thought I'd found a daily haven behind one huge oak, but, as of a couple of days ago, nah: The kids passing by don't give a shit, but there's one genre of person who does care mightily: The circa-65-year-old-woman-with-a-walker on her way to her car after work. As she informed me: "This is a smoke-free area. Now, PUT IT UP!"


I didn't "put it up," just walked past her a few feet and turned a corner to where I could finish my smoke in peace without her seeing me. (She was old and sad and had I spouted at her "You're aging and sick and you have no control over anything in your personal world, and so you're picking these extremely petty battles to make yourself feel better!" -- well, that obviously wouldn't have done either of us any good.)

The "rule" is sad. Her having-nothing-better-to-do-than-tell-random-others-what-to-do is sad. My having to skulk around corners to have my cig before the bus-ride home is sad.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Books That Have Touched You

Just got the following "instruction" from a Facebook friend:

"Rules: In your status line, list ten books that have stayed with you. Don't take more than a few minutes; don't think too hard. They don't have to be great works, just the ones that have touched you."

Here were eleven of mine (ordered from the time I read them onward, starting with GWTW at age 12):

Gone With the Wind
In Cold Blood
Nicholas and Alexandra
The Beatles Forever (Nicholas Schaffner)
The Bell Jar
Catcher in the Rye
The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath
Conversations with Joan Crawford
Two Girls, Fat and Thin (Mary Gaitskill)
Birthday Letters (Ted Hughes)


Let me share lists from three others who shared:

1. J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings.
2. Walter Pater. The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry.
3. Robert Graves. The White Goddess.
4. Carl Sagan. Cosmos.
5. William Morris. The Well at the End of the World.
6. Guest, Lady Charlotte (ed.). The Mabinogion.
7. Luigi Serafini. Codex Seraphinianus.
8. J.-K. Huysmans. Against the Grain.
9. Robert Bootzin. Bare Feet and Good Things to Eat.
10. Beowulf.

1. Complete Works of Shakespeare
2. Lord of the Rings
3. Aleister Crowley, Magick Book 4/Book of Thoth
4. Gogol, Dead Souls
5. Anthony Burgess Enderby Novels
6. Martin Amis, London Trilogy
7. JM Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians
8. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince & Discourses On Livy
9. Peter Kingsley, Works
10. Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

The Secret of Scent by Luca Turin
100 Years Of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Florence King Reader

The Roald Dahl Omnibus
Dune Frank Herbert
A Guide To The Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, William B Irvine
Candide, Voltaire
Little Dorrit, Dickens
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
The Downtown Diaries, Jim Carroll
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett


I 100% refuse to believe that 75% of what these people wrote actually "touched" them. Seems like they had an IDEA of what they were SUPPOSED TO like and be "touched by" and list in order to seem cool/intellectual for the public. (Seriously: "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" -- If you really love Shakespeare and pay attention to his works and are intellectually honest, then of course you don't love EVERYTHING he wrote and can recognize the lesser plays/poems.)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Let's Spend the Night Together



My Rape Story

Jameis Winston, Florida State QB and Heisman candidate, was exonerated yesterday of charges that he'd raped a co-ed:

The alleged victim first went to Florida State Police on December 7, 2012, saying that she had been raped early that morning, but did not know the identity of her alleged attacker. Initially, according to the case file, she described the suspect as a black male with a "'short afro' that looked like it needed to be cut." Then, on January 10, 2013, she left a voicemail for the investigating detective saying that she believed her alleged attacker was Jameis Winston, and that he was in one of her classes.

As it turned out, DNA proved that Jameis Winston was indeed the rapist. (Other DNA -- aka "semen" -- found on the victim was from her boyfriend.)

I found myself in similar circumstances in May of 2000. I'd gone out by myself to one gay club, looking for my ex-girlfriend. Didn't find her, but did run into a couple of her gay guy friends (guys that I also knew from clubbing). They said they were headed to another club, and I should meet them there. I drove on over... Didn't immediately see the two guys, but, being a warm night, just sat on the hood of my car waiting for them, soaking up the ambience of people coming and going from the club. A male stranger approached me and said "hi" and how/what was I doing... ME: "Just hangin' out." He said he was a "dick dancer" at the club we were sitting outside of --- meaning a gay stripper. I told him that I was gay, and was waiting for some guy friends to show up. We sat on the hood of my car and chatted in a friendly way for nearly a half-hour. As it became clear that my gay-guy acquaintances weren't showing up, the "dick dancer" mentioned that he had some cocaine and did I want to do some with him? I did. What the hell. But I didn't want to do it right there on the street, being afraid of cops and all (!). So I asked the guy to come on over to my apartment.

I drove him to my home, 10 minutes away. As soon as he entered, he asked, "Do you have a dog?" No. And he asked if my neighbors were nosy. And then he asked that I close my balcony shades, which I always kept open. We then sat on my futon, at least 3 feet between us, and watched MTV for a bit --- I remember Christina Aguilera was one of the videos, and that he said he liked her. I served us beers and we snorted some coke while we watched TV. What we talked about mainly, I don't remember, other than the now-significant question that he asked me straight out: "Do you think you would ever date me?" I told him, no, I was gay, I liked women. (I'd said the same while sitting on the hood of the car outside the gay club; and, since he was a "dick dancer" from said club, I assumed that he wasn't that interested in women himself.)

After maybe an hour of chatting and drinking and doing 2 lines of coke, I had to go to the bathroom. While I was sitting on the toilet seat peeing, he pushed open the closed bathroom door and dragged me off the toilet and into the bedroom right outside. That's when the rape began. I was raped first on my bed. I remember being coherent and asking stupid questions like, "Why are you doing this?" And saying stupid things like, "No, I don't want this." As if those "affirmations" would make any difference. He stuck his dick into me multiple times, then, when finished coming, said to me: "Go clean yourself up." He watched while I washed out my vagina in the bathroom.

Post-vagina-cleaning, he and I sat in my living room while we both got our clothes back on. He actually said at this point, "I don't know what happened." And then, "I need a ride home."

I was a bit relieved that he wasn't a psychopathic rapist/murderer and that I wouldn't be dying this evening, but also shocked at his audacity: This guy had just raped me, and now he was asking me to take him home??? Which is exactly what I said to him. Which is when his eyes (literally) turned black and he lunged at me again.

(Another dumb thing: As he was on top of me, I was worried about my burning cigarette and told him so. He grabbed it out of my hand and snuffed it out on my nearby "Webster's New World College Dictionary." Still have that dictionary and that cigarette burn.)

As he raped me the second time, he said, "We're going to do this 10 times tonight." When I heard that, something inside of me turned utterly cold --- I'd been relatively passive up 'til this point: not physically violent toward him (because I didn't want to get killed), just saying "no," etc. After he watched me wash up the second time, I told him I needed to let my cat out for the evening...  I was naked, with just a towel around me... As I opened the front door of my apartment to let my cat out, I also ran out to my nearest neighbor, banging on their door to help me...

That evening/early morning I called the police and told them I'd been raped. I spent the next 6 hours sitting in the lobby of a local hospital waiting for the local "rape specialist" to become available and administer the "rape kit" testing.

The very next day, I pressed charges, and the case went to a Grand Jury. (Which, I found out, consisted primarily of retired people.) Weeks later, after my testimony, the Grand Jury verdict came back: The guy that raped me would not be prosecuted, would not even be brought to trial.


The worst parts about this for me are many and not all involving the rapist himself:

One, that I was raped at about 1am and had to sit in a hospital awaiting rape-kit testing until 7am.

Two, that the Grand Jury didn't even see fit to bring the case to trial.

Three, that, when I told my mother months later that I'd been raped, her first reaction was, "Had you been drinking?"

Four, my own real-life father would probably say, "You deserved it." (My father's actual take on the OJ Simpson trial: Nicole Simpson was "bought and paid for.")

Five: People I've told about this have been ridiculous. The ex-girlfriend I initially set out to meet that night:  I did turn to her for comfort after that night. She came to the hospital, for which I was grateful, but then thought we should spend the next night "doing each other's makeup and hair." (Really, YOU FUCKING IDIOT? I was just RAPED.)  Later, another woman I was in love with ignored my mention of the rape altogether. (Seriously -- how can one ignore it when someone mentions that they were raped?)

Where was/is my protector? Anyone?

Friday, December 06, 2013

Your Fucking Horoscope

Oddly, broadly TRUE! :)  The only listing I might personally disagree with is the one for Capricorns: I've known several over the years, and they've been almost uniformly solid and decent (as opposed to the "money-grubbing" and "poseur-ness" implied here). I also wouldn't call ANY of the many Leo men I've known "Egotistical Douchebags" --- I've liked every one of them!
Love, your Egotistical Douchebag blogger

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Continuum (New Yorker, 11/18/13)

"The human mind has changed very little in thousands of years, and basic desires and instincts remain the same, with certain societal patterns repeated endlessly. 'We're just a component of a much longer trajectory than we realize,' Adams said. 'We think that this moment is special, that everything has led to this point. But our here and now is just a blip along the continuum.'"

My note: This New Yorker article was about recent archaeological expeditions in Egypt, about looters over the millennia, the current state of Egyptian politics, etc. The quote above reminded me of viewing the extensive permanent Egyptian collection at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC in 2008 or so for the first time: As a younger person, with only surface knowledge of the (I youngly thought) dramatic, glamorous pharaohs, I'd always thought that the Egyptian civilization as a whole was magical, mystical... But upon viewing said exhibit: There was so much shitty, everyday detritus there! 2000-year-old shopping lists and graffiti and cheap trinkets... just like today!

A sad story (from "Find the Bad Guy" by Jeffrey Eugenides in the 11/18 New Yorker)

"...In addition to finding the bad guy in every argument, couples do this thing called the Protest Polka. That's a dance where one partner seeks reassurance about the relationship and approaches the other, but because that person usually does this by complaining or being angry, the other partner wants to get the hell away, and so retreats."

"Back then, we weren't fleeing or chasing each other. We were just seeking, and, every time one of us went looking, there the other was, waiting to be found."

Folks, HERE is how you get off a mf'ing train!

Friday, November 29, 2013


Always feel re-charged after being around the nephews (ages 8 and 11). Learned to play washers yesterday, and, more importantly, listened to/really liked a couple of new songs that I probably wouldn't have otherwise heard. (The two were incredulous: "How have you not heard _____ ?" "Well, how do YOU hear them?" "On the car radio." "And... do you see your aunt with a car??!" "Oh.")

Was worn out after dancing with the boys to these:

And a neat thing, aside from dancing, was: The boys knew all of the lyrics! For instance, after listening to Lorde's song for maybe 30 seconds (and hearing from them that she was 16 or so), I ignorantly asked, "Well, what does SHE know about trashing hotel rooms?! She's only a kid!" The 11-year-old then had to patiently explain to me that I wasn't paying attention: the song was about people's REAL LIVES, not the lives of the rock stars and royals that they saw on TV and read about! Wow! I thought that was really cool (both of him and of the artist)...

Another Thanksgiving conversation: My mom (the boys' Oma) humorously reported that SOMEONE had been searching for "Miley Cyrus" on her computer! (She keeps the boys after school for 3 days a week and lets them take turns on her computer. And she apparently just figured out how to access the "History" function!) :)  Nothing wrong with Miley Cyrus, but both boys funnily vehemently denied that they'd ever done any such search! :)  I personally said to the older nephew that I had my STRONG SUSPICIONS that it was him, but after initial teasing, I let it go, "OK, OK, whatever..." About an hour later, though, while he was in another room, he inadvertently burst out with some song: "I came in like a wrecking ball..." MYSTERY SOLVED! :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Food Coma Day

I was in my apartment's leasing office today and, seeing dozens of these bags sitting there, asked who they were for and if I could have one. (They were for... ME! Whom they're Thankful For!) The bag felt a little weighty and I was mildly curious/happy about what might be in there. Until I got home and opened it, with its accompanying Thanksgiving message: "...In order to ease your feast hangover the next day, here is a sprite and some crackers to chase away the food coma."

I officially became an Adult today.

For the first time EVER, I had an item of clothing dry-cleaned!

Austin, where I've lived and worked the majority of my adult life, is a pretty jeans-y kind of town, even in many workplaces. When I was in New York for 3 years, I did buy one complete business suit and a business blazer, but ended up wearing each maybe 3 times at the most... (the publishing places and midnight-shift law firms where I worked most while there turned out to be pretty casual, as well).

But now I'm (temporarily) in a place that REALLY wants me to look a little better than I'm used to looking at work! :)  For instance, when I started a few weeks ago, the weather was in the 80s and so I wore a what-I-thought-was-nice linen shirt to work. Well, by noon, the linen had wrinkled horribly (as linen is wont to do) and... my new boss actually called me into her office to have a chat about the dress code there! I was mortified! And subsequently made a vow: "As god is my witness, I'll never look sloppy again!"

Luckily for me, the weather's since turned cooler and I can now rotate out my THREE Official Office Blazers during the week without sweating like a pig before I've ever arrived at the office. (Remember -- I take the bus and have to walk outdoors for at least a mile every day; no luxury of a nice, air-conditioned car to step into and out of!) And there's a one-day-a-week reprieve of a "Jeans Friday," thank god.

So, I've finally had to wear "business attire" enough times (after 2 weeks) to warrant a dry-cleaning. I'm a big girl now! ;p

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Austin's been trendy now for a few years, leading to a constant increase in prices all the way around, ranging from food carts ($8 for crappy food from a cart? the original point was CHEAP crappy food) to rents.

I won't go too much into my paying $250 for a garage apartment in Hyde Park in the late '80s, or $310 for a Rainey Street duplex in the early '90s, or $825 for an 800-square-foot house on Poquito from 2000 to 2007.

Since I've been back from NYC (2010), I've lived in the same 375-sq-ft one-room apartment on the East Side (near Poquito). Started out in 2010 at $545. Just got a renewal notice today for $700. I've got until December 1 to decide whether I'm moving out by the end of my lease (January 30).

The thing is... I don't KNOW! I'm a temp. I have no steady ongoing source of income to show to any potential new landlord (who, in Texas, usually ask that you make 3 times your rent). And so I'm stuck where I am.

Years ago in Austin, prices weren't so prohibitive, and so people had more freedom of choice. You could always find a decent funky place to live on a low, random salary. Today, though, you're getting more and more strait-jacketed. If I take the soul-less executive-office job that pays decently, then I can afford a funky, formerly cheap place. If I decline the soul-less job, then all I can afford is a soul-less generic place on the outskirts of town.

I'm stuck.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Working in an important person's office: pros and cons

It pays well.
You feel kind of important being there.
The décor is grand.
You get to see semi-famous people in person every few days.

Many lifer-secretaries there have a highly inflated sense of self-importance and are rude to "newbies" as a result, placing far too much importance on, say, a (not incorrect) middle initial added to a name in a letter. (See "You feel kind of important being there" above.) 
Just about everyone who visits is highly pumped up and hyper-perky, forcing you, who are there day-in and day-out, to constantly meet their levels of way-inflated exuberance -- which is tiring.
The dress-code is tiring to meet every day, especially when you have only 2 business blazers (and maybe 3-1/2 business-appropriate shirts) to your name.
The daily business conducted there is beyond inane. Almost entirely Form, hardly any Substance. (An example: A lengthy recommendation letter from an Important Man that I typed up in response to a low-level young, black employee's leaving after only a year: "In my 43 years of  [blah-blah-blah] I have only met a few colleagues worthy of [blah-blah-blah].  _________ is one such colleague." (Really? In all of your 43 years? Another, older white employee is also leaving around this time; the same man's farewell letter wasn't nearly as effusive.)

I can hold out at least 'til past Thanksgiving. MAYBE 'til past Christmas.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Me and the Farmer

Back on May 12, 2012, I posted here about the "Farmers Only" dating website (is it real? would I qualify? who wants just that?) -- For the past year and a half, I STILL get hits on this blog EVERY DAY from people led here by searches for "Farmers Only"!

Here's "Me and the Farmer" by the Housemartins, 1987:

Me and the farmer get on fine
Through stormy weather and bottles of wine
If I pull my weight he'll treat me well
But if I'm late he'll give me hell
And though it's all hard work, no play
Farmer is a happy crook
Jesus hates him everyday
Cause Jesus gave and farmer took, took

Won't he let you go?
(Probably no)
Won't he let you go?
(Probably no)
Why does he treat you so?
(I just don't know)
Why does he treat you so?
(I just don't know)
Me and the farmer like brother, like sister
Getting on like hand and blister
Me and the farmer...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Illusion never changed...

...into something real...


I first loved this song in '97 when it came out. Didn't really think of it again 'til I heard it blaring from a storefront in 2009 while I was walking aimlessly on Union City's Bergenline, feeling utterly cold and lonely... It's technically a sad song, but it made me feel so good when I heard it then.

After Bergenline, I forgot about it again...until I just heard it playing in a hamburger joint in Austin last week; again, despite the loss in the lyrics, such a simultaneous surge of exhilaration and hopefulness I felt! For no reason at all! :)

(Listening to it again and again tonight... it's probably more of a Sandra-to-Jim song, lyrics-wise. It still means something to me alone, though.)

A book, a smoke, and her scars...

What more does a girl need?

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like KRAMPUS!


For Christmas and birthdays this past year, I've felt sluggish and unimaginative, just giving gift certificates to everyone. Not THIS Christmas!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Thought-Fox

Ted Hughes wrote this while at Cambridge studying Literature, after dreaming that a human-sized fox, with a human hand, placed a bloody print on his blank page, saying, "Stop this -- you are destroying us."

Hughes in a subsequent letter:  "I connected the fox's commands to my own ideas about Eng. Lit. and the effect of the Cambridge blend of pseudo-critical terminology and social rancor on creative spirits and from that moment abandoned my efforts to adapt myself ... it seemed to me not only a foolish game, but deeply destructive of myself."

I've spent this weekend mentally grateful for surviving my new temp job this past week, which involved kowtowing to high-powered executives. I actually beamed with pleasure when one guy praised me for fetching him the right-sized binder-clips from the supply room.

"Stop this -- you are destroying us."

And yet: I can't live in a shed; nor do I have a Sylvia Plath to get me published, introduce me to her literarily/academically well-connected friends, and support me financially.

I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

Gin, I appreciate 'em now (pre-'81)

Glad you didn't live to see the below travesty (but then you still liked their later "These Dreams" and "What About Love," etc., which also sucked as badly as the below video...):


It kinda just now occurred to me that, since I was so attracted to her, I probably should have let Ginny pick the soundtrack to our evenings rather than subjecting her to terrible John/Yoko albums that I was so oddly intellectually excited about... Ya think?...

To Spirit Ginny: I haven't changed at all.

In the summer of '83, I discovered John Lennon's "Some Time in New York City" album at a Fort Worth mall record store. So impressed with my find, I could not let it go. Made Ginny listen to it with me at least 5 times one Friday night. "Fweedom O fweedom" she'd later sing-song to me at random moments.

Here's to you, honey! :)  Yes, I'm still obnoxious! :)

Ginny Visitation

I was in love with Ginny my Senior year of high school. Between '83 and '87, after I'd come to UT for college, lots of random stuff happened (which I've written about on this blog many times before). In '88, I called her number; her father answered and told me she'd died.

Since that time, her spirit has come to me in dreams a few times. Nothing major, just to say "hi." Not recently at all. My general theory has always been that departed spirits had their own places to go to. When they're recently gone, they visit people on earth more; but as they acclimate to their new world (and as their earth friends get used to them being gone), they move on...

I can't remember the last time Ginny visited me --- it's been years. But last night, she appeared to me in a long, shiny grey satin dress with a black velvet collar. We stared at each other, and I gasped: "What are you doing?" She said she was dressed up for a world-wide singing tour with her choir; one of her next stops was Dortmund, Germany.

She pulled aside her dress, revealing a nipple --- it was small and undeveloped, like a child's. I licked it, then we kissed and made out a little. I, annoyingly, stopped the physical closeness to ask her what had happened since we'd parted: In a dream or two, she'd reappeared in my life then disappeared without notice --- I was asking her about what had happened in those dreams. (I knew about real life already.) No real answer. We then got in a car, her driving, and she bumped into a car ahead of us and I was agitated. End of dream.

Here's some kid poetry I wrote for her 30 years ago.

GINNY Q  (July 29, 1983)

I see you, my funny friend
And my heart laughs
Glad to be close again
A soul-mate comes once in a lifetime
So I'll run with the chance
To smoke and dance and sing
And let you know
That nine out of ten are always there for the breaking!


RUNAWAY (March 15, 1985)

I was the bad one
And you, Mr. Suitcase-god-and-baggage
the ever-so addled
Hatless in Austin rain,
wondering how five dollars worth of tokens
could have bought so much goddamn trouble.

Yes, she's here
with excuses and a 6am taxi
The stain on her should where the
fat man slept, and a whole
lifetime of indecision still
unaccounted for

And you stand--
Sane Baptist eyes figuring (rightly)
that she is yours
with me too stupid
to see the lure of the middle class
the religion, sex, and TV
that will be hers for the asking

and home she goes (did you ever doubt?)
stoneage guilt riding low
and your hand on her arm
she is SAFE, by god, so safe...
With so much to offer
We should have all married
Men like you.


GOODBYE (April 8, 1985)

Sitting still on your wind-rattled plank balcony
Cigarette in your hand, cloth-laid thigh warming me
Ever subtle we stretch, turning months into years
I could love you or leave you, provoke fractured fears

(In the smoke swirling 'round with the mist from her lips
We traced our initials with numbed fingertips
And laughed 'til our ice-faces threatened to crack
The wall etching lines in the small of our backs

And Daddy knock-knocking, an endless tattoo
Just what was it your Daddy wanted of you?
Our thoughts? Wedded secrets, more guarded by far
Than the battered wood door, kept unlocked, left ajar)

But I don't want to go with your face shadowed doubt
I could stay, pleading faith, heavy voice wearing out
Saying things far too desperate, too tangled to claim --
So I run from confusion, the taste of your name.


MY DANGER (May 21, 1985)

What could I do?
There is no one to dress for
and I am saving water for the cause --
practice for the staunch defender
that I may well be...
And pride plays no part of your features, I fear
the neighbors near
on gauzy tiptoe, tripping when I stir
This caution -- for what?
Will I kill, with no gun?
Condemn, with no words to speak of?
What is my danger, cried the innocent
and what pity can collect
on shadowed doorstep, the shuttered window
so free of doubt?
Casual ties and the whimsy of faith --
A Sunday when you feel like
and conscience settles in fine easy slots
the finger faith we so often dream
in return for surrender, the oft-mentioned
difference in fortune.


(July 22, 1985)

Oh! to have you
on my doorstep
in the cloud
and through my hair

What fun
with you here!
the roaches for laughing
orange and green
the height of art décor

Come! and make me Picasso
these walls I tame
and will paint for no one else.


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Happy Birthday, Scorps

Watching Vivien Leigh yesterday on TCM during their 24-hour birthday tribute to her reminded me that Leigh was my first movie-star love (when I was 12 and GWTW was shown on TV for the first time) and that, subsequently, most of the women I find sexiest have been Scorpios:

Vivien Leigh = November 5
Ongoing "obsession" = November 6
My first girlfriend = November 8
Anne Sexton and Hedy Lamarr = November 9
Grace Kelly = November 12

And, while I don't particularly find Hillary Clinton (Oct. 26) or Sylvia Plath (Oct. 27) "sexy," I do find them very interesting and intense. Plath, especially -- she was a major artistic influence (as was Sexton); I kept her Collected Poems by my bed for nearly 10 years after first discovering her work when I was 17.

I also find Fox news anchor Megyn Kelly attractive and TV-intense (November 18). And let's put the male Charles Manson (November 12) in the "interesting/intense" category for me, as well--though for quite different reasons than Hillary or Plath! No, I have no sexual interest in Manson (!) and I find his murderous impulses horrifying and psychotic, BUT... his thinking/philosophy is nonetheless psychologically interesting. [NOTE HERE: I've had a few readers of this blog over the years severely misinterpret some things they've read here: One famous instance is a blog post years ago where I wrote about yelling at my mother (which I'd never done before), then being horrified at myself afterwards -- the whole post was about my sadness at being unable to get along with my mother. One simple reader interpreted the post as me being an "elder abuser" (!). So here's a caveat for The Simple who might be reading now: "I don't condone the behavior of Charles Manson. I am merely intellectually interested in the man's psychology." 'kay?]

Speaking of "November 6" birthdays: I woke up today very aware of the birthday of someone I care about but simply cannot get along with. Felt mildly bummed that since we were not, as usual, speaking, I couldn't say "Happy Birthday" to her. (The "as usual" part has after 5 years turned the one-time "depression" over ongoing communication barriers into a more resigned sort of, "What else is new?")  So while birthday awareness was atmospherically hovering this morning at my new temp job, my new boss walks in and pauses at the door to his office then turns around and bursts into a loud, zesty round of "Happy Birthday to ME, Happy Birthday to ME!..." :)  He's a very high-powered, nattily besuited executive, and also a small, usually quiet intellectual man (PhD in music -- the classical kind) -- but here was the overt Scorp side of him saying to the world (or at least to we giggling pool of secretaries): "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, y'all!!" :) It was cute. It made me feel happy about today's birthday -- maybe somewhere today the one that I love but can't get along with was belting out her own ode to herself! :)

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Jonathan Martin = Sissy?

Here's the voice-mail that rookie Martin received from Miami Dolphins' teammate Richie Incognito that led to Martin's leaving the team (in tears?) and Incognito's subsequent suspension:

"Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

Incognito's a cretin, for sure, but, hey, I've been called/done worse -- and I'm a girl who's travelled mostly in liberal, college-town circles. While a grad student at San Francisco State University, I saw "White trash" markered across George Strait's face in a record store; I got called a "frizzy-haired white bitch" at a movie theater where I worked because I busted some black girls for trying to get in without paying; a woman approached me at the same movie theater and, saying she could tell from my accent that I was from the South, proceeded to tell me that she loved the South but [wink, wink, nudge, nudge] -- "There are too many Mexicans"; my own graduate advisor at SF State called me and my family "Nazis" --- because I mentioned to her that my mother was German.

All of this in the supposedly "genteel" and "advanced" San Francisco. And the "Nazi" bit at a college by an intellectual mentor, no less (not just on the street in the heat of the moment).

Growing up in a small town in Texas and going to undergrad school at UT-Austin, I'd never heard such creepiness until I lived in San Francisco and went to grad school there for two years. I was horrified by the writing across Strait's face, by the scofflaws trying to break into the theater and calling ME names, by the smug woman knocking Mexicans, by my graduate advisor. I literally escaped that town the second after I turned in my graduate thesis.

Now... did I, after all of that shit, go 'round claiming "bullying"? I did not. San Francisco was supposed to be so cool. That it turned out so creepy I blamed on me -- why, I don't know. (I was new there, I didn't know.)

As for Jonathan Martin: What did you expect from being a rookie in the NFL? A much rougher crew than San Franciscan academics. If I got called a "Nazi" and a "white bitch" and didn't complain, why are you now whining about being called a "half nigger piece of shit"? That's what crude people do, call names. The slight difference being: I got called these names while in a supposedly safe environment of a liberal town and a university setting. You got called these names while a rookie in the NFL, where hazing of a much rougher order is pretty much a given.

I don't really feel sorry for you. (Learning from Wikipedia that you'd played high school football in North Hollywood and college ball at Stanford made me even less sorry for you -- toughen up, Dude.)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

We believe that we can't be wrong


I've spent the past 2 months sharing a very small office with an office-lady who's been with the department for 34 years. Only 64, looking 79. (Not an exaggeration -- she's prematurely withered because of various illnesses.) Retiring unexpectedly because of health reasons on the very day that I left. She'll probably die within the next 6 months.

What's the point?

What's the point of ME at 48? Leeching onto my nephews at 8 and 11 because they're so full of hope at that age? (I called my brother to ask if he could please bring the nephews over on Halloween so I could see their costumes. He didn't even know, on Halloween day itself, what the boys were going as that evening.)

Fuck. Even people who have something don't seem to give a shit about it.


My neighbors' loud outdoor-party-with-band has been going on for 6 hours now. I called the police at 10:22pm, 10:55, 11:30, 11:47, 12:21 and 1:02. (The official Austin noise ordinance starts at 10pm.) During one of the phone calls when I was complaining, the young phone operator, supposed to be neutral, couldn't help herself when she heard the noise in the background of our phone-call: "Oh, that really IS loud!"

This kind of crap is exactly why some people go vigilante: You try to be a good citizen and go to an authority figure first to get the situation under control. (My "situation": I'd like to be able to hear my own TV or music. Not the music of someone 3 houses down for 6 hours straight. I've been listening to their shit since 7pm, didn't complain 'til after 10.) Sans help from an outside authority, what is someone to do? I myself am not going to go out there and say/do anything because I'm too wimpy to go fight with a crowd of 100. But would I begrudge any rougher personage than me who took it upon himself to go out and punch someone and/or shoot out a guitar amp? I would not. In fact, I'd laud the person. America's only a "Wild, Wild West" when there's no neutral authority figure to maintain control.


My last temp job ended Thursday the 31st. Having 3 months of living-money saved up, I was hoping for a long respite, like until December or so, or even after the New Year. I had liked the income, but I did not like the utter inanity/mundanity. As fate has it, I was assigned to a new temp gig immediately, starting Monday. Again, thanks for the basic sustenance, but no thanks for what I suspect will be the same inanity -- i.e., no future at all, just the same constant keeping-head-above-water round-a-bout.

Also: Just read in the 10/28 issue of the New Yorker an essay by David Sedaris mentioning how his sister Tiffany had just killed herself this past May. The essay was primarily about David Sedaris's cute ideas for names for vacation homes. Oh, and how Tiffany's whole life fit into two boxes. (Me, glad to note that all of my stuff would fit into at least 50 boxes. Ha, motherfuckers!)

Here's a much more loving "In Memoriam" for Tiffany Sedaris from her hometown paper: