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:

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Joan Crawford, 1950

Some dream of tits and/or ass. I, though, long to run my hands all over 
Joan Crawford's back and shoulders...

Friday, November 01, 2013

Joan Crawford, 1959

coup de foudre ("Blue is the Warmest Color")

I can't explain adequately, but let me just say that I've had NO emotional support for the past 13 years, despite being in love with a couple of people. I've gone about my business, but it's been a relatively grim business: "Running on the rims."

In my current state of mind, I haven't seen a movie at a theater in over a year (the last, "The Artist" back in late 2011).

I used to love movies. As soon as I got my car at 16, I'd drive 45 minutes on Sundays into Fort Worth to see things I'd read about in the "Star-Telegram":  "The Year of Living Dangerously," "Videodrome," "Frances." Once I was a college kid at UT-Austin, I'd see films every week at the 4 theaters around campus: the Jester Center theater, the Dobie Theater, the Union Theater, the Varsity... My first film at college was re-watching "Frances" at the Dobie. My second was "The Graduate" at Jester. I also saw "Clockwork Orange" and "Brazil" and "Betty Blue" and "8-1/2" and also my first Joan Crawford film on the big screen, "Grand Hotel," with Rex Reed a visiting host. (In response to my question of who was REALLY better in the film, Reed gave the traditional: "They were both good in different ways." Nah. Garbo was awful.)

All of this a preface to my reading a review of "Blue is the Warmest Color" by Anthony Lane in the 10/28/13 edition of the New Yorker.

I'd been feeling personally shitty and unattractive. Unable to conjure up any magic whatsoever. Unattracted to any movie whatsoever. Until I read this part of the review:

How does the wish to be utterly alone with the loved one, and the dread of being alone when the loved one leaves, fit into that wider, more sociable vision? It takes two to tango, but many more to make a dance of life. Hence the unforgettable image of Adele in the sunshine, at a school gala, leading her pupils in a kind of shuffling conga. Dressed in bright ethnic costume, they are all smiles. but her smile is barely skin-deep; in the previous scene, we saw her in a blazing brawl with Emma -- a conflagration that left Adele stumbling along a nighttime street in feral moans of distress. Right now, a single closeup shows that, though encircled by young spirits, she wants to die.
I've had many a morning-after, utterly sick but trying to function appropriately... But I've never read anyone talking about it. Much less talking about it in relation to two women. Writer Anthony Lane ends his review with: "From the moment when Adele first catches sight of Emma, on a busy crosswalk, the movie restores your faith in the power of the 'coup de foudre' [love at first sight] and yet redoubles your fear of its effect; love, like lightning, can both illuminate and scorch."

OK, I thought with a big sigh: You talked me into seeing a movie again. (Gee, how big of me!) What really got me, though: "There's a fabulous, half-second shot of Adele glancing aside, at a party, where people are droning on about the distinction between Schiele and Klimt..." --- GODDAMMIT! I EXACTLY want to throw in my two cents at a party where people are discussing Schiele and Klimt!! I LOVE Klimt, and I KNOW Schiele... I never get to talk about such things!

Long story short: My present to myself after the end of my 4-month temp assignment is a ticket to "Blue is the Warmest Color" at 1:30 tomorrow. I want to feel something again.