Tuesday, September 30, 2014

From "Ron Paul -- Changing My Mind" by Julie Newmar (1/2012)

OK, so Ron Paul's running for president back in 2012 is hardly current news, but right this sec I'm busy browsing around Julie Newmar's website and came across this "editorial":

http://www.julienewmarwrites.com/story.php?idStory=103

I personally don't at ALL "trust our youth"! But I absolutely agree with her re Romney and Obama. And about Ron Paul, when she says that he makes her think in ways she hasn't before, specifically about abortion. I, for instance, had/have long been a supporter of women's rights when it came to choosing what to do with our own bodies. And I always utterly disdained any rich, fat, old, idiotically religious white (or any other color) male's opinions on the subject. BUT: Back in 2012, I happened to hear Paul tell a story about his early years as a doctor when he was interning as an obstetrician/gynecologist and was an observer for various abortions performed at his hospital. He was noncommittal about what he was seeing UNTIL he saw a baby aborted at 6 months placed into a bucket for disposal --- and it was STILL ALIVE AND BREATHING while it was being carted away. He said he changed his mind about abortion at that instant. I was seriously disturbed and moved by his story. And I, like Newmar, also began to re-think my position on abortion after hearing it. When I hear a dumb-ass, fake politician mouth off about abortion, I don't want to hear ANY of it because it's supremely fake and poll-driven (witness Romney being pro-choice while governor of the liberal Massachusetts, then miraculously re-thinking his position when running nationally). When Paul, a former gynecologist, talked about it, though, I did listen and pay attention to his authentic viewpoint.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

from Newmar's site:

I trust our youth. I also I find Ron Paul the youngest thinking of all the candidates. Young people don’t carry the baggage of years of careless decision making. Many of us didn’t like Romney’s rise to power and prestige on the backs of workers, all the time further disenfranchising the powerless, the underdog. Nor are we happy with Obama who saved his skin at the expense of the entire middle class by not standing firm and tough against the avaricious gamblers in our financial markets. Would that have been too big a maneuver to correct? Would something worse have happened? It’s still not right.

I like Ron Paul because he changes my mind about things, makes me think in ways I haven’t before. I confess he’s even able to change my long-ago made-up mind about abortion. Now that’s moving a mountain. He shows me there’s perhaps a better way to think about the unthinkable.
Even though Ron Paul is from Texas and I have sworn, in print, to never ever vote for a Texan for president, I could change my mind.

 

From "On Being 80" by Julie Newmar

http://www.julienewmarwrites.com/story.php?idStory=110

Just discovered the "Julie Newmar Writes" website via a recommendation from a film blogger I occasionally visit. (Newmar played "Catwoman" on the '60s TV show "Batman" and was my first crush as a little girl when I saw the show in re-runs in the early '70s.)

The site is actually rather amazing! Before I clicked on the link, I thought it would be something silly, self-indulgent, perhaps semi-senile... Instead, it's very thoughtful and interestingly eclectic.

Below is from her essay "On Being 80":

It's curious sometimes how life seems to reverse itself, when what was the strongest virtue in our lifetime becomes our weakest trait. Those dancers who can't walk, singers whose voices croak, a seamstress who can't see.
In this fall from grace, from our former powers, we think that nature or God has damned us; this is not so. It is more like a peeling away of consumed fruit revealing our infinite but not yet explored core. There waiting is the next discovery, a new platform or stage to revel in.

What's so great about “agefying”? It is the power that having distance gives us. It's the view from the top.
At 80, you have patience. Patience is like a magical chess game; the magic part is being able to see six, seven steps ahead. Been there, done that stupid thing. ...

Ask and it will be given. This is easier than you may think.
Food, things, the good stuff flow to me.
True, I don't any longer race out to the post office and markets. In place I've created a remarkable delivery system. I call it: You do this for me.
I am kinder, decidedly, but a lot less tolerant of those who practice life as a soap opera.
Maybe it is a safety valve but I chose to live on top of my discomforts as well as diseases. I don't discuss, indulge in, support causes for, join chat groups, war against that which ails and annoys me. It's simply wastes energy.
I can discuss unpleasant subjects, but in a less passionate and more general way....

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Need You



I need you to pin me down just for one frozen moment
I need someone to pin me down so I can live in torment
I need you to really feel the twist of my back breaking
I need someone to listen to the ecstasy I'm faking
I need you, you, you
I need you, you, you
I need you to catch each breath that issues from my lips
I need someone to crack my skull, I need someone to kiss
So hold me now and make pretend that I won't ever fall
Oh, hold me down I'm gonna be your baby doll, yeah yeah
I need you, I need you
I need you, you, you
I need you, you, you
I need you
I need you to pin me down just for one frozen moment
I need someone to pin me down so I can live in torment
I need you to really feel the twist of my back breaking
I need someone to listen to the ecstasy I'm faking
Faking, I'm faking, I'm faking, yeah
You, you, you, you
I need you
I need you, you, you
Is it you I really need?
Do I, I do, I do, I do, I do
I really do
I need you

Saturday, September 27, 2014

"School" (September 2014)

It wasn't that the world was wasted on me, as I was.
I first felt superior, then shocked.
The teacher mocked that boy for wanting
to ride his horses on a school-day.

When the preacher's girl in panties skidded
past the bathroom door, we were all caught --
a bad girl took the blame.

Another bad girl once hit me in the face during dodge-ball.
We all rushed and buried Hughie even after he'd hollered "Red!"

What could I have said?
"Things are scary out there, Mama! Help me!"?

"Alexis" (February 1982)

After the first "Fortitude" poem in March 1981 when I was 15, there was a gap of nearly a year before my angst-ridden teen self started to churn out things more regularly. Here's my ode to Joan Collins, written when I was 16 after seeing her in "Dynasty" for the first time--my first poem generated organically ("Fortitude" had been for a sophomore English class assignment):


Deep purple Alexis
Aloft as the glittering dynasty crumbles
Glowing amber eyes amused by man's folly
Yet saddened by the loss

But, as always, coveted barriers remain
For once you know the static dreams
What is there to fear?

The sleek body laughs
And moves past the ruins to forge another kingdom

Azure and slate lie fallow in the radiance
To be forgotten soon
While the ending is written for them.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank god that there was no Internet (and accompanying fan-fiction sites) available in 1982 for me to post this to in all my earnest initial burgeoning sexuality! Who knows, though --- the poem would have been mocked by many, maybe lauded by others. Actually, I probably would have found a "Dynasty"/Joan Collins fan-community had I been a kid online in 1982.

Everything I wrote pre-Wevill's writing class at UT in college, I felt weird and crazy for writing.

This "Alexis" poem isn't very good, but I like it because it was my very first attempt at trying to explain how aroused I was by an image, and how an image affected, or revealed, my inner self... Jung's archetype.

"Fortitude" (March 1981)

I wrote this when I was 15 years old for a sophomore English class. A year or so later, I bought a blank book to start compiling my poems in. Went back and filled this one in first. Poem 1.

Take a trip to nowhere
Now will you be free?
It seems very doubtful
They follow all, you see

Enter your mind's time warp
Do you think you are secure?
Do not depend much on it
The safety is the lure

A trance cannot gain anything
A revolution will
How else are we to win our peace
Than to rape and loot and kill?

Yes, our rebellion was successful
But still they are not free
For now, in their hypnosis
It is from us that they must flee.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Loyalty

Now that I've been in middle age for the past 3 or so years, I'm pretty sure that my loyalty in the years left to me must be to my body.

In the past? I was primarily all a-flutter about whatever my flighty Head told me, with my figurative Heart chiming in occasionally. As in (head), "This person is so creative and original, so different! I LOVE her!" and (heart, overriding head) "Well, this person is absolutely shitty to ME personally, but look... She once collected money for a friend's abortion! She once comforted a gay boy whose high school friends and parents were being unappreciative of his soul! She once cried upon learning that her sister's GoodWill coworkers were mean to her! What a great person! I LOVE her!"

When I say loyalty to my body, I mean it literally. An example: My very first lover back in '87 gave me a sexually transmitted disease. And then DENIED that she had given it to me! I'd never had sex before, and she'd had sex with probably 300 people; but she would never admit that she had given me the STD. We were together for over 2 years, and I brought it up maybe twice during that time... she would never admit it. Hey, as a virgin, I had a RIGHT to be pissed off about getting an STD on my first outing! Jesus. The vast majority of newbies get SOME sort of "fun trial period," don't they?? And, more importantly, the fact that even after we became more intimate over time, she never admitted that I now had an STD solely because of her. (If both parties had been sexually active for years, there's of course a gray area... In our case, though... Nah.)

That hard-core STD fact, and her psychological game-playing, probably kept me with her much longer than necessary -- "Who will want me now?" and all that. My head and my heart initially liking her, being fascinated, wanting to discover more, but my BODY, the realist, being utterly repulsed.

Being true to my body also involves paying attention to its responses. Who floods it with feel-good endorphins? Who makes it tense up? The girl I was in love with my senior year of high school, for instance... One Sunday, I was in my bedroom wracked with cramps to the point of throwing up from the pain. Ginny showed up at my house unexpectedly --- when she walked into my room, what I now know were endorphins kicked in; the pain immediately disappeared.

Conversely, with my first lover Mollie, the STD expert, I was almost immediately, constantly paranoid. Same paranoia with Sandra, much later, 2008, via the Internet and then once we met in person. With the one male lover that I've had, in the 1990s, there was no paranoia at all. He was married, which created a barrier that made me MENTALLY angry, but there wasn't any sort of "neurological" repulsion that made me immediately tense up around him.

Gotta start paying attention to that sort of pure bodily reaction. The inexplicable. The key to an innate sort of physical/chemical happiness that leads to longer-term emotional/mental ties. Going purely mentally on and on and on with those who simply don't make me feel good has been ridiculous.

Nice

A couple of months after I started working at my new job, the lady at the front desk stopped me one day as I strode in the front door and mentioned how she liked how I walked--like I was really going somewhere. At that time, she told me a back-story about what made her think of my walk, but I was a bit flustered at the compliment and now self-conscious about how I'd been walking and couldn't really remember the story later!

This week, at the end of one day as we passed each other heading out, she stopped me and said, "I have something for you at the desk when you have the chance to come down." I nodded and smiled, thinking that it was probably a company shirt or something.

When I went a couple of days later to see what she had for me, she handed me this: "Remember when I told you about the calendar page I saw in my friend's office that made me think of your walk?"

 
Embarrassingly, I HADN'T remembered the gist of the story she had told me (I didn't tell her that). But now I was amazed that this relaxed, flower/kitty-accompanied lady on a calendar saying with determination, "The question isn't who is going to let me: It's who is going to stop me?" reminded this woman of me! :)  What a nice thing for her to both think of and share with me! :) In recent years, some people have given me negative "feedback" making me think of myself as awkward and harsh... but here's someone with a different read on my "aura." Someone recognizing my good qualities is a wondrous thing.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Coincidence?

Is it a coincidence that when Sandra entered my life in October 2008 while I was in NYC, my luck started to go bad? And when she left my life a couple of months ago, things started to look up again? It is utterly simplistic and archaic to say such a thing, but I'm also prone to pay attention to patterns. I hardly cried at all during my first year-and-a-half in New York City, alone as I was, and under the stress that I was under. From late 2008 on, I cried constantly.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Art of Dying



There'll come a time when all of us must leave here
Then nothing Sister Mary can do
Will keep me here with you
As nothing in this life that I've been trying
Could equal or surpass the art of dying
Do you believe me?

There'll come a time when all your hopes are fading
When things that seemed so very plain
Become an awful pain
Searching for the truth among the lying
And answered when you've learned the art of dying

But you're still with me
But if you want it
Then you must find it
But when you have it
There'll be no need for it

There'll come a time when most of us return here
Brought back by our desire to be
A perfect entity
Living through a million years of crying
Until you've realized the art of dying
Do you believe me?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Whatever happened to...

 
 A "Baby Jane" screen shot with an expression that reminds me of Joan in her younger days. (I am only a 2nd-generation Joan fan, from 1987 on... knowing her only through video/photos. The live screenings of Joan films I've seen in the years since '87, I've only witnessed via a post-Joan sensibility---with a gay camp crowd or a "respectful classic-film-viewing" audience... i.e., not an actual Joan Crawford audience... I suppose that watching all of her stuff later on gets you close to what the actual audience of the day experienced or felt about her... but anything so condensed can only approximate what Joan Crawford meant to people in real time... In the case of this photo --- as soon as I saw it, it reminded me of Joan's kid smile, her smile in so many '30s publicity photos. And then it reminded me of what it must have been like to have first seen Joan onscreen in the late '20s/'30s and to have actually GROWN UP WITH her, Joan aging along with her viewers... While some (much?) of the audience for 1962's "Baby Jane" was in the theater just for something to do on a Friday night because of that month's media hype of the "aging divas in a shocker," I'm sure that there were also many attending out of true fondness for Joan who recognized this look on her face from all of the preceding 30 years--an old friend, a touchstone throughout their lives. Whatever happened to Joan Crawford is, perhaps, a magnified example of whatever happened to us all, of what we want to be both remembered and forgiven for.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Progress

Marching slowly toward normalcy. (Well, if "normalcy" means being wanted and appreciated, that is! For me, that's been an ABNORMAL state for years!)

Work: Today, the only other editor gave his two weeks' notice. Making me the SENIOR EDITOR after only 6 months! Kind of scary, because we've been super-busy almost constantly the whole time I've been here, but exciting, too. All eyes will be on me to see how I can handle the new load, and... I know for a fact that I CAN handle it. I'm a really good editor and writer; I'm also fast and efficient and organized. I look forward to the challenge. My boss says she's going to hire a temp editor to help me out; I also look forward to training this person. Though I've been at this job only 6 months, I have a good feel for it and know what needs to be emphasized. (Unlike when I started, when my co-editor, who had been there for 2 years, kind of left me to my own devices. I'm a big believer in house style, for instance, as was the long-time editor before the one who's quitting now--the latter, though, was pretty laissez-faire about that!) Another thing: The guy who's leaving has an office with a coveted WINDOW! I WANT IT! :)

My boss said laughingly this afternoon, "You better not go anywhere!" No way! :)


"And I looked at this face with the sun in the west..."

In honor of Greta Garbo's September 18 birthday, here's Joan Crawford on her Garbo crush. Recorded April 1973 at NYC's Town Hall. Crawford's Garbo story starts at 5:34. (I used to put this clip on many a mix tape...)


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lohan Halloween 2013

I haven't really thought about Lindsay Lohan for YEARS now, other than thinking the collagen injections looked terrible and that the light had gone out of her eyes (thanks a lot, Sam Ronson).
 
I came across these by accident on the web today, which flashed me back to when she was constantly doing interesting, often rough-edged and mildly disturbing, photo shoots. 2006-2008 or so? I had SUCH the crush on her then! :)  I don't any more, but, still, these "Carrie" Halloween photos from last year kind of made me smile --- nice to see that she hasn't lost her dark sense of humor.

 
 

Proclaimers say YES!

"We beg for a piece of what's already ours..." I'm such a nerd--I'm extremely interested in seeing what's going to happen Thursday when Scotland goes to the polls to vote on its independence.

The potential "YES" voters are purists/Romantics --- of COURSE Scotland should vote for its independence after all of these centuries of struggling for self-representation! On the other hand, the "NO" supporters logically argue that separating from England and the UK would mean a downturn in economic/political power for Scotland globally. Which it decidedly will.

I'm with the Romantics on this one. Rule yourselves, folks. Your soul is all you have.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Adrian Peterson Reinstated. Why?

The Minnesota Vikings decided today to reinstate running back Adrian Peterson, who had been suspended for 1 game after facing child-abuse charges in Texas for "spanking" his 4-year-old son with a "switch" this summer

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/adrian-peterson-reinstated-by-vikings/

When I first heard that Peterson had "spanked" his son and was facing legal charges for it and had been suspended from the Vikings, I didn't quite know what to think: Had he indeed just swatted the little boy a couple of times on his bottom? Was today's PC culture now up in arms for THAT? Was there just a witch hunt going on in the wake of Ray Rice's knocking his wife out?

Then I heard on the "Mike & Mike" ESPN2 show this morning that there were photos out there that many outlets weren't releasing. I found a couple of them online.


 
 
These aren't "swats" on the butt, or a "spanking." These are the work of a sadist DRAWING BLOOD from a 4-year-old child. Again and again and again. This makes me sick in a way that the Ray Rice video did not.
 
My own father hit my mother and threatened her with a gun on more than several occasions. There was also ongoing humiliation like dumping a serving of mashed potatoes on her head, belittling her for her clothing or for coming home late from THE DENTIST, etc. There was a constant state of tension and eggshell-walking at our house when I was growing up. What was going to set Daddy off? The abuse was psychological as well as physical.
 
When I saw the video of Ray Rice and his now-wife Janae in the hotel, before/during/after the elevator, I saw her cuff him before they entered the elevator, I saw him cuff her inside the elevator, I saw her lunge at him, I saw him punch her, I saw her fall and hit her head on the elevator railing, which knocked her out. Rice was far bigger and stronger and of course he crossed the line when he PUNCHED her. (For the same reason that boxers' fists are classified as lethal weapons and thus those guys can't go around getting in bar fights, however provoked, muscled pro athletes obviously can't be allowed to go around hitting anyone, much less women... however provoked.) 
 
I wish my own mother had been a feisty fireball with my father and hit him over the head a few times with a frying pan. Or something. Anything. Instead, she just sat there and took it for years. It was never a fair fight. My mother is 5'1'' tall and passive. Janae Rice, not so much. From the video, it looked as if the two were GOING AT EACH OTHER, not that she was merely the humiliated, passive victim of his "systematic" violence. It seemed a fairER fight.

Ray Rice's initial penalty was 2 games. Weeks later, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced new penalties for domestic violence: First offense, 6 games' suspension; second offense, lifetime ban. (OK. So the NFL ridiculously thinks smoking pot is the greater of evils, handing out entire-year suspensions to some players for a decidedly NON-performance-enhancing, NON-violent recreational drug.) Then the Rice inside-the-elevator video is released and Goodell and the Ravens freak out at public reaction and all of a sudden Rice is "indefinitely" banned. (1) What happened to the new 6 games' suspension rule? (2) As many have pointed out, exactly WHAT did Goodell and the Ravens think had happened in the elevator to begin with, even before seeing the video?

Roger Goodell seems like a completely clueless idiot. After seeing his series of utterly inept decisions, I looked him up on Wikipedia... Sure 'nuff: Son of a Senator, son of privilege, etc. etc. Completely clueless about the "real world," incapable of reaching intelligent decisions on his own, instead relying solely on public opinion. Pot-smoking is the worst of "Evils" if people tell you it is. Punching your wife, eh. 2 games, since no one's that upset about it. Oh wait, they're a little upset. Let's make it 6 games. Oh, unless there's a video of it... then FREAK OUT! The 6-game rule, not good enough! What about beating your 4-year-old child bloody? Oh, one game should do.
 
Goodell, completely devoid of a moral compass, needs to go.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

February 11, 1963, London

I've mentioned this before, but... it's a wildly important date and place: Sylvia Plath killed herself around 4 a.m. at 23 Fitzroy Road in London merely hours before the Beatles started recording their very first album at 10 a.m. at 3 Abbey Road, about a mile away. I do believe in karma, kismet, whatever it's called. There was some force there at that time.



89-1/2 B Rainey St. (Austin, Texas)

When I lived in this 1930s duplex from 1991 to 1994, I was able to finally finish my Bachelor's degree in English, but I also lost 4 cats in only 3 years. Frances, my very first cat ever, that my friend and I had rescued from a shelter 2 years earlier, disappeared. Daughter-o-Frances, Toonces, got run over in front of me while I watched. Katie Scarlett, a Christmas present from my best friend... I found her dead body in my front yard when I got home from work, run over. A last, nameless kitty had feline leukemia and died only a few weeks after a friend gave her to me.

Every cat I had there was cursed.

And I was cursed, too. Every love failing as quickly as the cats.

There's "bad luck" and then there's a ridiculous amount of bad things happening.

I'm watching "Dead Files" on the Travel Channel right now, and learning about so-called "dead zones." I wonder if I was living in one at that time.

In my entire life, I have only had one spirit visitation, and it took place at this house. I had gone to sleep, drunk, after hours of mentally bemoaning the loss of my first lover. I was awakened at maybe 3 or 4 in the morning by something that made me sit straight up in bed. Something wanted to "get inside me." This wasn't leftover drunkenness, nothing like it. I sat up, horrified, and turned on every light in my place. I kept the lights on, and stayed awake until the daylight.

I know that Rainey Street since the early 1990s has been developed into bars and high-rises. Is there still some sort of bad spirit, there, I wonder? I post this exact address in case anyone out there ever searches for it and wonders if there was a particularly bad vibe there.

Friday, September 12, 2014

9/11

On September 11, 2001, I was newly a freelance editor, working from home for the first time, and also new to Internet love/feuds. When I woke up late-morning that Tuesday, my first impulse was to immediately get online to see what the then-object of my love/hate had written about me on our mutual Joan Crawford message boards.

Instead, online I discovered this (and immediately got off the computer and stayed in front of the TV for the rest of the day):



Tonight I've been watching the History Channel's and MSNBC's hours-long recaps of coverage. 13 years later, I still get goosebumps just from seeing the faces of the people gathered around Times Square watching the scroll bearing the news... not to mention seeing the people jumping out of the buildings themselves, seeing the people running down the streets while the soot and detritus from the buildings chased them. Eerie and frightening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Death by a Thousand Cuts (or not)

"Death by a thousand cuts," "creeping normality," plus the apocryphal anecdote about the frog placed in a pot of lukewarm water that just sits there as the temperature is raised until it is boiled to death (whereas, if its INITIALLY placed in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out)...

I like my job so much at the moment. It is, truly, the best job I've ever had. I'm intellectually challenged by both the work that I'm doing and the very smart, rational people I'm around. The 2-1/2 hours of bus-commuting each day are draining as heck (not quite "hell"), but, after 6 months, I still wake up each morning excited about going to work.

Aside from being innately satisfied by the work I'm doing and the people I'm around, there's also the more shallow case of... After 7 years in what I had perceived as "the wilderness," I'm right now RIGHT BACK UP to the career point where I would have been had I simply stayed the course with the publishing company that I worked for from 1998 to 2006. That company was doing multiple rounds of layoffs at that time; I had been laid off, then brought back, twice. I finally left in late '06 of my own accord, thinking it quite the right time to Try New Things, given the utter instability of my then-current workplace. Despite my subsequent years of struggle, my decision to leave the company at that time was actually a good one: Within months of my own leaving out of pique, more than three-quarters of my co-workers were also laid off. I was a frog who jumped out of the pot.

In the 7 years that followed, though, I was not at all sure that I'd done the right thing. The utter randomness of employment in NYC was unnerving: Yes, the market crashed in September '08, a year-and-a-half after I'd arrived. I was taking legal proofing jobs (not the most desired) at shifts (midnight to 8am) that were also not the most desired... yet even these weren't enough for sustenance. In NYC, law firms would send cars to pick you up or take you home, if it was an odd hour. One of the drivers that I had told me that, years earlier, he'd be picking up over a dozen people a night. But as of '08-09, there were maybe 2 total. I heard the same thing from co-workers on the midnight shift at the law firms where I worked -- how just a couple of years earlier, there'd be 10 other people with them called in to edit, but now, just 1 or 2...

NYC was rough, and then, unexpectedly, Austin, upon my return, was rough. There just weren't editing jobs available. I was forced to secretarial-temp, which is not at all the same thing as temping as a proofreader. The former are psychologically treated like shit; the latter are pretty much left alone.

Once I was secretarial-temping in Austin, I was exposed to weird, often mildly sadistic, behavior from bosses. One job, entering subscription information for a newspaper, I was fired from after one day because I took too many notes during my training (which indicated to the supervisor that I just wasn't "getting it"). At another job, as a receptionist, which I held for a month, both my boss and her assistant constantly belittled me for things like (a) not finding a file in the cabinet fast enough (though I'd just been there a week and didn't know how things were filed), (b) not answering a shout from down the hall fast enough (though I RAN), (c) asking the best way to exit the building when there was an actual bomb threat ("I don't KNOW! I'm NOT your supervisor!"). At another temp job, I privately told the temp agency that I requested to leave after the end of the month because of the utter disorganization of the entire group; within a day, someone in said group complained that I wasn't answering the phones quickly enough and so wanted me gone that day. (I did not argue.)

At yet another temp job, my secretarial boss wanted me to lunch precisely from 12 to 1pm, and requested that I notify her when I left and came back. One day, our mutual boss, a professor, asked me to do something for him at, oh, 11:50am. I did it, and finished at 12:30 or so. When I told my secretarial boss at 12:30 that I was now going to lunch because I'd been working on a project for our mutual boss, she expressed her disapproval of my not leaving for lunch at precisely noon. That I'd been doing something for our mutual boss didn't matter to her.

All of this irrationality was nutty and disheartening, to say the least, especially knowing how organized and efficient and REALISTIC I am. I wasn't just a goofball unable to enter subscription info into a database or locate files or figure out the best exit strategy from a building or follow lunch directions... No, some bosses just either didn't like me and/or wanted to act like sadistic assholes because that's just how they were. And because I was poor and needed the money, I had to grin and bear it. The frog in the pot as it is slowly boiled to death.

I am REALLY lucky right now with the boss I have. ONE, for a stupidly simple thing like being "allowed" to go to lunch at whatever time I choose without having to inform anyone. And, more importantly, for her recognition and support of my editing work. The editor before me at this company had been there for over 20 years, so there were some shoes to fill... When people that I've worked with have complimented my editing skills, my boss has compiled their words and passed them on to the heads of the company. I appreciate that greatly. My boss makes me feel good about myself --- not in a phony way, but in a "recognition for ACTUAL accomplishments" way.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_a_thousand_cuts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creeping_normality

Almost Like the Blues

This is a poem by Leonard Cohen published in The New Yorker (9/8/14). Often when I see that the magazine has published lyrics by a singer/songwriter as a "poem," I roll my eyes a bit, my first thoughts almost always, "Oh come on. Stop being lazy. And stop trying to curry favor with lazy hipsters." Etc.

But THIS! I didn't quite get goosebumps, but I did, by "I couldn't meet their glances/I was staring at my shoes," feel the big rush of exhilaration that accompanies the discovery of something surprising and revelatory.


I saw some people starving
There was murder, there was rape
Their villages were burning
They were trying to escape
I couldn't meet their glances
I was staring at my shoes
It was acid, it was tragic
It was almost like the blues

I have to die a little
Between each murderous thought
And when I'm finished thinking
I have to die a lot
There's torture and there's killing
There's all my bad reviews
The war, the children missing
Lord, it's almost like the blues

I let my heart get frozen
To keep away the rot
My father said I'm chosen
My mother said I'm not
I listened to their story
Of the Gypsies and the Jews
It was good, it wasn't boring
It was almost like the blues

There is no G-d in heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I've had the invitation
That a sinner can't refuse
And it's almost like salvation
It's almost like the blues


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Dream Cottage

Depending on the day, I get either depressed or exhilarated checking out the Craig's List housing listings for Austin.

Knowing that I have to give notice at my one-room apartment at the end of November (and then be out by the end of January), I'm excited about being able to window-shop... yet horrified by some of the prices in areas where I want to live. For instance, my own tiny (380 sq ft) apartment, rented for $545 in June of 2010, is now listed on Craig's List for $910 (I'm currently paying $700). White college kids finally figured out a couple of years ago that "The East Side," especially this close to the UT campus, isn't "scary." Alas.

One thing that I noticed when searching online in areas that I'm interested in: Because of the extreme influx of out-of-staters to Austin in the past couple of years who have double the money to spend on rent, many of the formerly "funky" Austin places are now being upgraded --- meaning "stainless steel appliances and granite countertops," as highlighted on every generic "house-hunting show" on basic cable. Oh yeah, plus the "open-concept floor plans." Everything that techies from California like. With that defunkification comes the doubling/tripling in prices.

I personally prefer a turquoise or pink 1950s bathroom or kitchen. Or a 1930s clawfoot tub. And I could give a shit about "granite countertops." (What's that sparkly stuff embedded in the '50s counters? I think it's prettier.) Appliances? Please. I want a stove and a refrigerator and some cabinets. That's the extent of my kitchen requirements.

But in the midst of all of the dismaying stainless-steel depressing shit, I did find something today on Craig's List to give me some hope a few months from now... In the area where I wanted to live. A "1930s duplex" with a backyard. 2 bedrooms, $900, 800 sq ft... If there's something like this out there now, perhaps there will also be something like this at the end of November. This is exactly the type of place where I'd like to be living next year.






Sunday, September 07, 2014

Rah-Rah (Ras)Putin (Boney M, 1978)




There lived a certain man in Russia long ago
He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow
Most people looked at him with terror and with fear
But to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear
He could preach the bible like a preacher
Full of ecstacy and fire
But he also was the kind of teacher
Women would desire

RA RA RASPUTIN
Lover of the Russian queen
There was a cat that really was gone
RA RA RASPUTIN
Russia's greatest love machine
It was a shame how he carried on

He ruled the Russian land and never mind the czar
But the kasachok he danced really wunderbar
In all affairs of state he was the man to please
But he was real great when he had a girl to squeeze
For the queen he was no wheeler dealer
Though she'd heard the things he'd done
She believed he was a holy healer
Who would heal her son

(Spoken:)
But when his drinking and lusting and his hunger
for power became known to more and more people,
the demands to do something about this outrageous
man became louder and louder.

"This man's just got to go!" declared his enemies
But the ladies begged "Don't you try to do it, please"
No doubt this Rasputin had lots of hidden charms
Though he was a brute they just fell into his arms
Then one night some men of higher standing
Set a trap, they're not to blame
"Come to visit us" they kept demanding
And he really came

RA RA RASPUTIN
Lover of the Russian queen
They put some poison into his wine
RA RA RASPUTIN
Russia's greatest love machine
He drank it all and he said "I feel fine"

RA RA RASPUTIN
Lover of the Russian queen
They didn't quit, they wanted his head
RA RA RASPUTIN
Russia's greatest love machine
And so they shot him till he was dead

(Spoken:) Oh, those Russians...

 
 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Due Diligence

"They've said I worked with the diligence of a ditch-digger being the great star. They're right. I've worked with the diligence of a ditch-digger, period."  -- Joan Crawford (1962)
 
 

 
 

RIP Joan Rivers.

Long before you left, there was no one there to miss or protest the eyes you'd deleted.
 







Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Throwback Journal Entries

Back in the Olden Days, pre-Internet, those of us who were thoughtful and literary-minded often kept -- gasp! -- HANDWRITTEN JOURNALS! Can you imagine: Writing your thoughts down on paper, just for the sake of writing, without the thought of anyone else seeing what you'd written?

Since my life has recently taken a turn for the better, where I'll be able to afford a better place in a few months, I thought about a time over 20 years ago where I was also able to finally afford a move from a generic apartment to a duplex. And then dug out several journal entries from 1991, when I was 25. Nothing changes, really; all is cyclical. The below are typed verbatim from my journal of the time. (Of minor interest to Austinites: My "new place" was 89-1/2 B Rainey Street. I initially paid $290 per month in rent for a one-bedroom duplex, and grumbled when the rent went up to $310 a year later. I buried two cats in my backyard. Today, most of the street has been razed in favor of trendy bars and high-rise hotels.)

March 10, 1991--Sunday

I signed a lease for my new place today; I was so excited after seeing it last week -- very near downtown and I-35, a small residential area amid warehouses, several clubs very close by and a "nudist massage parlor" behind my back yard! The new Austin convention center will also be only a few blocks away -- very much the center of things! The neighborhood seems peaceful though; there's also a hike/bike trail at the end of the street, where the river is.

The place is a duplex: high ceilings w' fans, hardwood floors, old stand-up bathtub, a fenced-in, oops--screened-in back porch, and a backyard -- lots of windows, lots of sunlight. The down side is the $290.00 deposit, plus the $74 I have to pay for the last week of March -- I felt bad having to set up a payment plan; the landlady is probably having doubts already as to my reliability. It would have been nice to get things off to a smooth start -- I had to call and tell her I couldn't afford the $74, like I said I could. A few other problems: I have to pay wastewater and garbage, too, now, plus I'm responsible for mowing the lawn! So, my original elation is tempered by the added fiscal responsibilities -- I'm also unable to pay back Mom and Mollie what I owe them this month due to all the other expenses. And this after I just got back my tax money, too. This never-ending hole of debt constantly depresses me. I did manage to get a Supercuts visit yesterday! Plus, Mollie and I got along well this weekend -- we did some cocaine on Friday night, which is always fun, and we spent both Friday and Saturday nights together for the first time in ages. We talked a lot about our pasts Friday, both of us open and talkative, thanks to the coke, I suppose, but even drugs can't totally fabricate feelings of closeness if they don't exist. I love Mollie, and with time and patience on both of our hot-headed sides, the walls between us will crumble somewhat. I think one key is to maintain my own sense of self-confidence, to find things that occupy me -- friends, interests -- so that I do not become as dependent on Mollie's love and company as I have been in the past. Too much love is suicidal -- giving up the self doesn't result in the dream-state at all!


Wednesday, March 13, 1991

My initial doubts as to the financial feasibility of my new place have subsided somewhat. I've been picturing myself sitting in peacefulness, with sunlight pouring in, surrounded by books and plants and cats, going for walks along the river, sitting on my front porch saying "hi" to neighbors passing by. I've been sick in bed the past 2 days and my neighbor was loud last night -- so I drove by the new place around 9pm and just sat in the driveway, enjoying the quiet. It's going to be so fun to fix up, getting rugs and knick-knacks, eventually "new" used pieces of furniture, tables and such. With money problems now, I've no choice but to look to the future, knowing that things will improve as I learn to manage my money better. As always, the key to maintain my own sense of balance -- not to depend on anything for happiness -- "I do not want what I haven't got" says Sinead. Getting rid of that craving for things, as well as for the love and affection of others. Of course, the latter is very desirable, but not absolutely necessary to survival. No one can satisfy all of my innermost needs -- the best way seems to be relying on different people for different needs, having other people to turn to when one person has let me down in some way. I was thinking last night about how rudely I'd treated various people in the past because they'd disappointed me in some obscure way or failed to read my mind -- such stupidity, such self-creation of loneliness.

Anyway: 9 DAYS TIL I'M OUT OF THIS GROSS PLACE!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

End of November notice

As I just dug through papers to find out: My one-room apt. lease expires officially on Feb. 2, 2015 (the leasing company insists on sucking every last dollar out of you! thus, not end-of-the-month January 31, per usual, but an extra 2 days of money for them -- and they want 60 days notice, not the regular 30 days. At this point in my life, 60 days is not annoying but, rather, exciting. As of November 30 (or, rather, December 2), 3 months from now, I really do FINALLY get to start thinking about, and actively looking for, a future outside of 400 square feet.

In the past couple of months of summer, I was already thinking about where I might like to live in the New Year. Was shocked to see my own apartment units on Craig's List for $915! (I'm currently paying $700.) And various nothing-special 600-sq-ft duplexes and garage apartments for $1300 or more. Luckily, post-September 1, things have calmed down a bit real-estate-ically since all the students have arrived in this college town. Duplexes/garage apartments in areas I'm interested in are currently back down to around $1000 on Craig's List.

There's a big life change in the next 5 months before my move-out date. For one thing, I've lived on the East Side from 2000 to 2007, then the NYC break, then again since 2010 until now. I like it here. My work is way up north, not a handy bus-ride at all. At first, once I got the new job, I automatically assumed to myself that I needed to move up north. But I hate that area. But East-Central, where I've been for a while, is also getting insanely gentrified, and I'll be goddamned if I pay $915 for a 400-sq-ft apartment! This isn't fucking Manhattan, nowhere even CLOSE. So the upcoming apartment search is going to be something.

And the new "Rapid" bus route that I touted a few days ago: It's ridiculous. Fewer stops, yes, but ultimately nearly double the time of what it once took me to get to work up north. The buses troll along at about 20 miles per hour (on roads marked either 35 or 45 mph) just to keep on schedule. There are vast spaces in front of the bus, and cars, annoyed, zipping in front. These buses are not moving along with the natural flow of traffic. They're as bad as the #3, with those writhing masses of humanity (which nonetheless get places quicker).

I get it. I need a car. Over the past 4 years, I have tried every aspect of Austin public transportation and my choices to work are now narrowed down to: (1) The #3 bus with its loud, stinky, obnoxious creeps, or (2) the new Rapid, half-empty but double the transit time. I despise and reject both annoying options. Up 'til now, carless, I haven't had a choice. But now going forward, I DO have a choice since I can now afford to buy a car. I don't particularly like driving, but I'll be damned if I have to put up with Austin's shitty bus system, and/or the shitty people on it, any longer.