Monday, March 30, 2015

The Housemartins - Happy Hour (1986)

It's happy hour again
I think I might be happy if I wasn't out with them
And they're happy it's a lovely place to be
Happy that the fire is real the barman is a she

Where the haircuts smile
And the meaning of style
Is a night out with the boss
Where you win or you lose
And its them who choose
And if you don't win then you've lost

What a good place to be
Don't believe it
'Cause they speak a different language
And it's never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}
Don't believe it
'Cause they speak a different language
And it's never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}

It's another night out with the boss
Following in footsteps overgrown with moss
And they tell me that women grow on trees
And if you catch them right they will land upon their knees

Where they open all their wallets
And they close all their minds
And they love to buy you all a drink
And then we ask all the questions
And you take all your clothes off
And go back to the kitchen sink

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Saturday I woke up with menstrual cramps that turned out to be among the Top Ten worst I've ever had in my life. To achieve placement on this list, gotta cause pain enough to make me first break into a cold sweat (check), then gray out (check), and then throw up (check).

I hadn't had a period for 2 months, since late January, so I was kind of hoping that menopause was kicking in. Over the past 2 or so years, the blood flow has thinned out, the regularity has become mixed. In my teens and early 20s, I had an odd schedule -- regularly, but every 2 months rather than every month; late 20s, 30s, and 40s, up 'til the last couple of years, regularly every month. The Top Ten super-severe cramps, until yesterday, occurred almost exclusively in my teens/early 20s. There were a few bad months in the decades since then, but nothing that maybe four 200-mg Ibuprofen wouldn't fix, and certainly no graying out or throwing up.

Yesterday, The pain lasted from 5:55am through about 12:30pm. At least the cramps started when I was home, and on a day off. The VERY WORST happened during the summer in '86 or so, when I was waiting for a college shuttle bus to take me home from class. Almost passing out from the sudden onslaught of pain, I somehow made it to a bathroom stall in the nearby Art School building, where I huddled/crouched for over an hour, alternately shitting and vomiting, until I eventually willed myself back to the bus stop to get home.

So, Saturday was very nasty. I'm hoping that it's a Farewell Tour from my period, a flashback saying, "Hey, remember how things used to be?" before fading out forever. Unlike many women, I'm not going to miss my period and what it psychologically represents--the ability to have kids--at all. I never had many maternal urges. I thought a few times about how fun it would be to share certain movies or music with a kid, and I've enjoyed hanging out with kids (including my nephews) from about age 2 to age 10, listening to their thoughts, going to the pool, or, at the older end of that spectrum, watching their sports efforts, but... other than that, I'm certain that I've never felt any deep-seated desire to have kids whatsoever.

Believe it or not, the above was all a preface to what I really meant to say in the beginning! Because I was bedridden most of Saturday, I had no choice but to lie there all day and listen to the kids from the apartment 2 doors down. Off and on from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the 3- and 4-year-olds of the neighbors were riding their trikes and running back and forth in front of my apartment landing, playing/banging in the stairwell that adjoins my apartment wall, shrieking at the top of their lungs.

In the few weeks since I've lived here, I've usually been at work, and so I've noticed the running-amok only from maybe 5pm to 7pm. Yesterday, though, when I was trapped at home: The craziness went on ALL DAY LONG. I still didn't want to say anything to the apartment manager -- still felt too new after only 2 months, didn't want to feel like I was being "mean to a poor family with kids who didn't have anywhere else to live." Yeah, well, when I woke up fresh Sunday morning from my previous day of suffering, the very first thought that came to me was: Take a moment to report those obnoxious bangers and shriekers who helped to make your day so miserable yesterday, and who have been obnoxious for the past month once warm weather arrived. I did report it, slipping a handwritten note through the office mail-slot since it was a Sunday.

Sunday, after waking up early pain-free and after writing the complaining note, I went into work for 5 hours, getting a ton of work done in the quiet... Got home around 5pm. Again, the kids were running up and down the landing, shrieking at the top of their lungs. I enter my apartment and, after about 10 minutes, hear a little kid screaming right outside my door. I open the door to see what's going on: The kid is PEEING right there in front of me! I try to say something nice, "Do you have to go to the bathroom?" (this as the puddle is forming at her feet), and then she runs off to her parents' apartment two doors down.

I immediately e-mailed my apartment manager with the latest pee-news: I dropped you a handwritten note this morning, but, wait, there's MORE!

I've lived in my new apartment for 2 months now. #1 noise problem is the 50-something black guy downstairs who's constantly yelling at his wife or yelling on the phone (I can't tell which, but the volume of his voice sounds like he's in my own apartment). #2 problem is the above-mentioned Hispanic family with 3 kids under the age of 4 who are running amok around the complex, but especially in front of my apartment. #3 is the loud (Anglo) biker whose comings and goings his motor announces.

I've rarely had to deal with any of these things before. In my over-30 years of living in apartments in Austin, I've only once lived next door to a black family (who were loud, but my lease was up only a month later and I'd already given notice), only once lived next door to a Hispanic family (single mother, drug-doing son; when she was at work, he'd have his friends over -- at one point, he and his friends got fucked up and started climbing on top of their duplex roof, which I called the police about). And I've never certainly never been around a biker who revs up obnoxiously loudly at 7:20 each morning and whose subsequent comings and goings we all get to revel in.

These aren't high-end apartments. Yet they're decent apartments. But why does the one black guy in the whole place have to be a stereotypically loud, angry black guy that I get stuck living above? Why does the one Hispanic family in the place have to be stereotypically stuffing 2 adults and 3 kids into one apartment, with the kids running around banging on MY walls (not anywhere near their own apartment)? And why the fuck is this biker revving his bike up 5 times a day?

As if I needed one second more of "a little wacky"!

Your horoscope for March 29, 2015
 If you're single, STEPHANIE, you may find yourself feeling a very powerful attraction to someone who is unusual and perhaps a little wacky. If you're already romantically involved, you could well catch a glimpse of a silly and rather insane side of your beloved that you've never seen before. This could be a bit disconcerting, but it should also make you laugh. That's part of the appeal of love - continuously learning about that special one. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Where I Live

I no longer have "Tree Friends Through Screen" because... well, it's hard to relate to a palm tree. They just don't have much character.

That said, though, Austin's hardly ever ugly. (Only one time in my over-30-years here did I ever have no view at all: At a huge, generic apartment complex off Riverside Drive for 6 months back in the '90s. I moved in because it was a, woooo!, townhouse. And it did have an upstairs that I was initially impressed with. But in the front, both up and downstairs, it looked over a huge parking lot. There was no view from the back, except for a small fenced-off patio area. This was probably the worst place I've ever lived in my life. It reminded me very much of the Fort Worth apartment my dad moved into after my parents' divorce in the '70s, and the Fort Worth apartment I moved into after I divorced myself from my friends in 1988.)

Where I live now, at a small, funky complex in North Austin, does still look over parking lots... But they're small ones, and there are bikers, walkers, skaters, and greenery all around. It's not just a dead concrete hull. I'm not happy quite yet, but... I'm not depressed.

Front view through screen, to the Wellness Center and west.

Back view through screen, to the east.

Side view through glass, to the north. Forward!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Meet Marlon Brando"

I just watched the full 27-minute film from 1964 by the Maysles on TCM last night. Brando came off like a charming dick rather than some sort of "media-savvy guru."

The "official" take, both in the clip below and in TCM's introduction, seems to be that Brando was showing a "savvy understanding of the mass-media machine." But... please. Said "machine" linking show business and media had been around for nearly 40 years since the silent-movie days and the accompanying fan magazines, when stars had been revealing their so-called REAL personalities to reporters. This '64 short film reveals nothing other than Brando's ongoing playing of a game that had been going on long before he ever reached Hollywood.

The voiceover intones of Brando: "You see him pushing the boundaries of the junket format." Really? I see a charismatic celebrity trying to push around reporters, who, to their professional credit, don't seem at all disturbed. For instance, Brando, while being asked a question by a male reporter, comments (apropos of nothing) on how long the reporter's fingernails are. Brando's obviously trying to be a jerk, trying to throw the reporter off by implying what? The reporter's response: He plays classical guitar and so it's necessary to have nails on the right hand that are long. Take that, Mr. Celebrity!

Same with the female reporters: Brando singles out two that are especially pretty and starts going on about their physical characteristics: One, a former Miss USA, he feels talks out of the side of her mouth (which he condescendingly finds "idiosyncratic but charming") and wears her hair falling down over one eye--why does she do that? This young woman resolutely pushes her hair back and reminds him of "subjective opinions." When Brando goes on about "You're one of the prettiest interviewers I've ever seen," the 22-year-old responds, unflustered: "Thank you. You're one of the most gracious hosts I've ever met."

The voiceover for this clip sanctimoniously intones, "The one moment when Brando seems most genuinely engaged is when he spots a beautiful woman on the street and interviews her on civil rights issues..." We then see a perfectly made up and dressed young black woman who just happens (!) to be walking by. Brando's "profound interview" consists of him asking her if the government is doing enough for race relations. "No, it's not," is the answer. 

Wow, you're deep, Mr. Brando.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy Birthday, Joan Crawford!


George Jones - I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair

Note the jig at 1:25 (and the crowd reaction). Unlike his fellow legend Johnny Cash, George Jones was a showman who didn't take himself so seriously, although his work was equally meaningful.

Gettin' Situated

Amazing how much you get accomplished when you don't drink the night before!

This Sunday:

Three loads of laundry.

Grocery shopping for the first time in 7 weeks. (I haven't been grocery shopping since I moved up north to my new apt. February 1; the parking lot always looked crowded, and I haven't felt like being frazzled any more than necessary. Today, though, ventured in around noon and was pleasantly surprised to find it relatively peaceful. Meaning, primarily single-lady shoppers and a few couples --- no Hispanic families with their hordes of screaming kids. No offense to Hispanic families, and it's nice that you like to do activities together, but... you guys are seriously annoying to be around at grocery stores. In further happy shopping news: This HEB, unlike my old Fiesta, had some staples of my diet, which I'd gone without for the past few years: Campbell's Bean Bacon and Split Pea soups, plus Sociables crackers. I almost gave an audible "Wooo-hooo!" upon spotting them. I felt like I was in middle-aged-white-lady heaven.)

Dishwasher load of dishes stacked up for the past 2 weeks. (This is the first time I've had a dishwasher since 2000. I hate to run it just with a few things, so I let them stack up, then start to think how crappy all the sitting-around dirty dishes relieved when my self-imposed 2-week waiting period is over.)

Assembly of a chair that I'd had sitting around in a box since I ordered it over a month ago. (I'd been using a white kitchen chair for my desk chair, which of course didn't move and didn't at all look right... After ordering my new desk chair from Walmart, though, I'd read a couple of reviews from women on the Walmart site that they couldn't get it put together by themselves. And so I'd been putting it off and putting it off, not wanting to get more bummed out than I already was. As it turned out, it was only mildly strenuous, taking about a half-hour, and I could and did do it by myself. See first picture below.)

Assembly of a lamp that I'd had sitting around in a box since I ordered it over a month ago. (I'd had, so I thought, bad luck with ordering lamps online. Two that I'd ordered from eBay turned out not to look good in any room and were thus a complete waste of over $100. And the Tiffany-style lamps that I'd intended for my bedroom ended up looking terrible there, way too busy. They ended up working out in my study -- see also the first picture below of the desk lamp -- but the bedroom failure also bummed me out. I've been TRYING to go to BED at night instead of sleeping on my couch in front of the TV, and so I needed a reading lamp bright enough to read by, instead of my current dim light... See the second picture below of what I put together today--- this lamp not only looks right, but is also bright enough to read by.)

Slowly making progress toward getting my surroundings how I want them.

Friday, March 20, 2015

I Am All

I woke up this morning absolutely clear-headed (no, you absolutist AA-ers, not because I hadn't had anything to drink; in fact, I had about 7 beers the night before). My very first FEELING upon awaking was of being aware of the earth rotating, and then that flashed to Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage" from "As You Like It":

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts...

Which reminded me of ant lives and dog lives and people lives that I've been thinking about lately, how all are (obviously) finite. Which would seem to tie in with the Shakespeare --- we're all just here briefly against a much bigger backdrop; yes, I get it.

Then I started thinking about a line from Plath's "Purdah": "I revolve in my sheath of impossibles."

Then I started questioning whether or not I actually revolve around the earth or whether it revolves around me. Of course I am aware of a larger scheme of things, but in reality, every single thing that I do does in fact revolve around me. I am the center of my universe. As everyone else is in theirs.

I am not at all primarily concerned with the other "players" upon The Stage, and their comings and goings. I have no control over those things whatsoever. Rather, I'm most focused on what role I'm playing. What else is one supposed to be concerned with?

Which led me back to Plath and her "Soliloquy of the Solipsist":

Know you appear
Vivid at my side,
Denying you sprang out of my head,
Claiming you feel
Love fiery enough to prove flesh real,
Though it's quite clear
All your beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear,
From me.

And then this online take on solipsism, in relation to Plath's poem:

Solipsism is the philosophical position that contends that a given individual’s mind is the only knowable reality there is (a concept that’s intimately connected to idealism). Some have gone as far as to state that there is in fact no independent, external reality; that that which we perceive to be ‘the external world’ is really nothing more than the conjecturing of ideas that exist with the individual’s mind alone … in its extreme from it asserts that the individual (whoever that may be) is not only the basis of reality, but the creator and destroyer of it.

And then it was nearly time for my alarm to go off and my mind started drifting to the scientific paper I was editing at the moment, but before that quite clicked into place, I made myself get up and write down:

I continue to revolve
Not in my impossibles
But in my "I Am All."


And a p.s.: All of the above ties in to a youthful belief that I held so firmly for so long: That if a tree falls in a forest and there's no one there to hear it, it DOES make a sound.  It DOES, it DOES! It HAPPENED!

As I grow older, though, I'm more cognizant of the fact that... 100 trillion-trillion-trillion things "happen" all of the time. What gives any particular thing its significance is the recording of it and, then, the interpretation of it. In and of themselves, "things happening" are anonymous and, thus, meaningless. As an aside, I suspect that might be one reason why people get married: their mate and kids and pictures of mate and kids prove that they were once there.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It's taking a ridiculously long time... get things situated in my new apartment. But then, I've only been here nearly 7 weeks... is it ridiculous yet? Given that I've been doing all this by myself? By "all this" I mean all the moving, all the furniture-shopping/supervising/ordering that going from a one-room efficiency to a 2-bedroom apartment entails. It's been an interesting, hopeful project, but also an extremely draining one: Sure, I can order a lot of stuff (which is immediately satisfying) but that doesn't mean it's going to look right when it gets here. And it also means that I've been surrounded by a lot of boxes and crap: new arrivals, unpacked stuff, some stuff that requires assembly that I'm not confident in being able to do correctly (desk chair, patio furniture) --- all stuff I haven't particularly felt like dealing with, except in very small doses, maybe twice a week.

No room is all set up yet. My bedroom is close, but then there are all the bins of clothes that my mom had my brother bring over weeks ago --- I had no place to put them, so there they are at the foot of my bed, mucking up the look of my wannabe-restful bedroom (which also still doesn't have the Klimt "Girlfriends" print up that I ordered -- I want the area pristine before I deal with that huge wall-hanging). I also don't have a good reading lamp for bedside. The one table lamp I have there looks very good (corresponding both pattern and color-wise with the Toulouse-Lautrec "Chat Noir" print above my chest of drawers) --- but it's way too dim to read by. I'm keeping it right there because it looks so perfect, but... I need a standing lamp.

Living room: Yay for new couch and pillows and leather chair, and for the new record player, but... My attempts at getting side-tables/coffee table and lamps have been a bust so far, and until I can sit there and read a damn book, it's not going to be completely ready. (Art-wise, same as with the Klimt-print for the bedroom--I've got  2 Joan prints to hang, but until the furniture is right, I don't want to hang the art just yet.)

Study has been the most hodge-podge: The 2 fake-Tiffany lamps you see below were originally ordered for the living room...where they looked completely out of place. While there's some red and black in the lamps, they overall looked way too earth-toney. I really want the living room to have a "colder," cleaner black/white/red/gray/maybe pink color scheme, and putting these lamps in there threw the entire schematic off. Plus the stand-up lamp doesn't at all "fill" its space; it looked spindly both in the living room and in the bedroom, where I tried it at the side of the bed for a reading lamp: The heavy bed completely overwhelmed it. In the study, though, they DO fit in. Trouble is, most of the rest of the stuff looks like a bunch of crap.

The first picture below, I like: I like the bookshelf, the chair, the lamp, the "Thought Fox" and "Scream" cushions. (I don't like the Weehawken 1890s-1900s prints still sitting there, but, as above, I'm not hanging the art until it's a finishing touch.)

The second and third pictures below are the indication of all the crap. That table with the printer on it, I found in the alley behind my former apartment; it's nice, solid wood, and I hate to throw it away, but it's just clogging up space here. The "rolling file drawers" to the right are a good storage space for my electronics (iPod, camera, various cords) and office supplies (post-its, pens), but the piece looks stupid turned sideways like that. The ottoman, which I just bought weeks ago, turned out too huge to be a good companion-piece for the chair in the room (but I still will keep it). The white desk chair is a spare from the kitchen set; I have a big box sitting in my entryway full of the pieces of a wine-colored modern office chair that I must put together -- but I'm not excited about putting it together because it's just going to look like a crappy modern-day office chair. I think the room needs something leathery/butternut-colored/wooden rather than wine/plastic black on wheels. I was so anxious to get SOMETHING not a kitchen chair, though, that I just picked the first semi-decent Walmart thing. (I must thank Walmart, though, for that $100 wine-colored shag rug for the living room--perfect.)

While partially fun and interesting, all of this recent moving and setting-up-of-household has also made me feel extremely lonely. First: Wouldn't it have been fun to pick out stuff with someone? Then: You can only appreciate the aesthetic qualities of a beautiful bed or couch for so long; eventually the thought arises: Wouldn't it be really nice to wake up in this cozy bed with someone? Or watch a movie via that big-screen TV snuggled on that couch?

I didn't feel particularly lonely at my old tiny apartment because the set-up made me think of my first years in college, making do. Or I fantasized that it was a really cool bedroom in the house of parents (not MY parents, but upper-middle-class parents). Now, though, I have an actual SPREAD of sorts. That I'm responsible for filling. I ain't a kid in a treehouse-clubhouse any more.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Love My Bathroom

I take that back. It's a ridiculously small bathroom, even smaller than that of my old 400-sq-ft apartment, and laid out even worse. (For instance, to turn the shower faucets on, you have to stand in front of the toilet and stretch over it to get to the faucets on the right wall. And the door jams on the throw rug every time you open or shut it. Whatever  "multi-residence planner" planned this place wasn't really thinking, whereas, the old place made much better use of its much smaller space.)

So let me rephrase: I Love My "Big Eyes" Bathroom Décor!!

Right Before Your Skies - Shaun Cassidy (1978)

Holding on to all we know
Surrounded by the protocol
I hear the place was packed last night
But last night's group played basketball...

(Cassidy wrote this song himself; at 12, I thought these lyrics were profound -- and I still think they're good!)


Taxi Dancer - Shaun Cassidy (vinyl) 1978

Sheila was a girl misunderstood...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shaun Cassidy "Hey Deanie" on my new turntable

As first heard in 1977!
"I stand accused
I'm in league with the forces of darkness
An incurable believer in the magic of the midnight sky..."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bay City Rollers - Rock & Roll love letter: STEREO

Long story short: My mother and I had a falling out at the turn of the New Year and so she had my brother deliver all of my LPs that had been stored at her house since, oh, 1983 or so, to my new apartment.

Woooo. The gesture, while intentionally symbolic on her part, was more annoying to me than anything: I haven't had a turntable since 1983 (when I went to college); I've long since replaced the albums I liked with CDs, etc. She was just holding onto my LPs because she had the space, and I had been moving around a lot, etc.

The delivery of the LPs was a pain in the ass not only psychologically, but because of all the other boxes of crap I still had lying around the new apartment. And now LPs of all extraneous things?

Yeah, well... turns out Lord Internet sells all types of things. Including a combination turntable/iPod dock/CD player/cassette player (!). Which the delivery of albums made me buy. I'd thought that any sort of turntable these days would involve great cost, but not at all.

Oddly, the albums my mother had delivered to my apt. did not include the first albums I ever got (the Bay City Rollers' debut + "Dedication"). Nor did the delivery include any of my original KISS albums. Where the fuck are these, Mom?

Had an interesting time tonight playing albums for the first time in decades on my new player. (It was an odd flashback sensation to place the needle on the record!) First up, BCR's "Rock 'n' Roll Love Letter," since I couldn't find the debut, "Dedication," or "It's a Game" in the boxes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"The Difference"

When she collapsed to the floor of the kitchen
And threshed there, eyes epileptic,
Screaming her curse at 'Dickie' (not his name),
He knew he was out of his depth,
Not only as a doctor. Shaken
By the exhaustion, the past wrenched open
Like a dress ripped off, by that choking
revelation as of knotted lovers
Lifted from Pompeii's ashes,
He watched her recovering, sobbing, her hair over her hands,
The blame stunned out of her, as after a car-crash
Skin-of-the-teeth survival.

But it was nothing
To seeing the floor actually yawn open
And the screaming one fall through -- and beneath her
The stranger, huge-eyed, his arms wide,
Grasp her as she landed on top of him,
And the floor close forever over both.


This poem by Ted Hughes released in a small collection called "Howls and Whispers" in 1998, the detritus of the more famous "Birthday Letters," released earlier that year.

I dunno: "Dickie (not his name)" --- Richard Sassoon? Plath, in her journals, was still howling after him mere days before she met Hughes. In one of her last poems, "The Jailer," she says, in the midst of all of the Hughes turmoil: "All day, gluing my church of burnt matchsticks, / I dream of someone else entirely. / And he, for this subversion, / Hurts me, he / With his armor of fakery... "

But it was nothing
To seeing the floor actually yawn open
And the screaming one fall through -- and beneath her
The stranger, huge-eyed, his arms wide,
Grasp her as she landed on top of him,
And the floor close forever over both.

"The stranger, huge-eyed" is Hughes. Throughout his work in reference to Plath, he repeatedly refers to himself as a naif, caught up in, first, the glamour (to his post-war British self) of her American-ness, and later in his fascination with her destructiveness, which he felt both unable and unwilling to completely escape, since he simultaneously saw himself as her protector.

I've never thought that the psychological difficulties between Plath and Hughes were as simple as his fooling around.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Thought Fox in Progress

I ordered the "Thought Fox" pillow cover weeks ago, not knowing it was JUST the cover, not including the cushioning inside, too. Was momentarily bummed out, then realized: Oh. Not a tragedy. You can order pillow stuffing online, too. I did. So here's more of "The Study" in progress, with Thought Fox finally stuffed.
The framed photo at the foot of the chair is a circa-1900 print of a painting done of the Weehawken shore, looking toward Manhattan. (The other of the set of two is wrapped at the side of the chair, also of Weehawken, done 10 or so years later.) I've stood EXACTLY where those paintings were composed (and lived only a few blocks away). Once I've finally hung those two prints, my study will be just about finished.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox) - John Lennon

Sweet as the smell of success
Her body's warm and wet
She gets me through this god-awful loneliness...

Stevie Wonder: For Once in My Life

I like this song a lot, and I like watching performances before they started uber-choreographing the back-up dancers. (Pop music wasn't ever supposed to be like Broadway.)

Halfway there

Thanks to Walmart for that huge, sexy $125 red shag carpet, delivered right to my doorstep. Makes my room and my day. I've already literally rolled around on it in gratitude. (Thanks also to Craigslist-Guy for the used "mid-century" black leather chair in the corner, just delivered today.)

In the past 2 days on the bus...

...I've seen 3 girls running their fingers lovingly through their boys' hair! Spring must be in the air!

The Housemartins - Build

Two of my cats' graves and their crosses on Rainey Street, Austin, have now been paved over for bars and condos.
Clambering men in big bad boots
Dug up my den, dug up my roots
Treated us like plasticine town
They build us up and knocked us down
From Meccano to Legoland
Here they come with a brick in their hand
Men with heads filled up with sand
It's build
It's build a house where we can stay
Add a new bit everyday
It's build a road for us to cross
Build us lots and lots and lots and lots and lots
Whistling men in yellow vans
They came and drew us diagrams
Showed us how it all worked out
And wrote it down in case of doubt
Slow, slow and quick, quick, quick
It's wall to wall and brick to brick
They work so fast, it makes you sick
It's build
It's build a house where we can stay
Add a new bit everyday
It's build a road for us to cross
Build us lots and lots and lots and lots and lots
Oh, it's build
It's build
It's build
Down with sticks and up with bricks
In with boots and up with roots
It's in with suits and new recruits
It's build
It's build a house where we can stay
Add a new bit everyday
It's build a road for us to cross
Build us lots and lots and lots and lots


Friday, March 06, 2015

Chicago Finale


Chicago - We Both Reached For the Gun

This and George Bernard Shaw's "St. Joan" both helped enlighten me re the simultaneous falsity and utter-seriousness-of-consequences of the ability (or lack of) to manipulate public (and private) opinion. I'd already as a kid begun to have horrified suspicions that the world might be run by such manipulation; the art helped me realize that I wasn't crazy for thinking so.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

When you're good to Mama - Chicago (LETRA ESPAÑOL)

Coming Together

Not there yet, by any means, but... getting there. My new fambly members--the tall shelf in the corner and the gray couch--were delivered today. I've been here a month and only now am able to sit down in my living room. I have now been utterly frazzled since December, and this scene, despite the boxes in the center, relaxes me somewhat: SOME progress toward normalcy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Jodi Arias Theme Song

"It was a murder, but not a crime."

(The whole thing is interesting, but see especially Catherine Zeta-Jones starting at 4:16...goosebumps.)

Monday, March 02, 2015

A Belated Valentine

While shopping online today for throw pillows for my new couch, I was figuratively throwing everything that even minorly struck my fancy into my Amazon cart, kind of waiting for a "unifying motif" to develop, after which I could edit the selections down to about 4. I initially had just done a search for "throw pillows red black gray" to at least narrow down the color scheme I wanted for my upcoming gray couch. I liked all sorts of things with the requisite red/black/gray: plain, stripes, geometric, elephants from India. But then a theme did emerge: umbrellas, of all unexpected-to-me things. I'll wait 'til the couch and all cushions get here and take a picture to show you exactly what I came up with. Here, though, is a pillow I was initially on the fence about. I LOVED how it looked overall. But... were the heart balloons too much? How did it fit in with the other "umbrella"-related pillows? The latter, I justified with, "OK, looks like stormy weather here; and the circular object could be considered open-umbrella-like as seen from above..." But the damn heart balloons floating around?!

Well, as it happens: On Valentine's Day this year, I was waiting for a bus across from a Dollar Store, where a group of people were trying, mainly successfully, to herd a mass of helium-filled red heart-shaped mylar balloons into the back of their SUV. One balloon, though, escaped unnoticed. (I kept waiting for one of the little kids in the bunch to express dismay, but it was a clean getaway.) The balloon initially hovered only about 12 feet above the store and parking lot, then got its wind and rose and rose and rose, eventually crossing above me and going so high up that it disappeared into the gray clouds completely.

The whole process, and progress, was interesting to me! Yes, yes, I was aware of the rather cheesy symbolism of me alone on a street corner on Valentine's Day watching the lone heart-shaped balloon making its way bravely into the ether. A bit too much, perhaps. But interesting, nonetheless. (I similarly often get a minor thrill out of seeing weeds sprouting up from cracks in city sidewalks. And I actually teared up when seeing the floating plastic bag in "American Beauty.")

OK, so this pillow was in. I ordered it.

But wait, there's MORE! :) 

Later today, post-pillow-ordering, I found myself once again across the street from the same Dollar Store, this time having a cigarette while waiting to carry out my $6.99 Papa John's pizza Monday special. As I'm standing at the side of Papa John's, puffing away and staring blankly into space, I peripherally notice something low-to-the-ground turning the corner from the back of the building toward where I'm standing. It was a red heart-shaped mylar balloon with "Happy Valentine's Day" written on it. Still with helium enough to keep it barely aloft. Only inches off the ground, it passed in front of me and lodged in the legs of a wrought-iron patio seat outside of the vintage store next door. By this time I was grinning crazily: My balloon! Should I grab it and take it home as a memento of my Valentine's Day, 2015?! Within seconds, though, it had disentangled itself. Now only about 2 feet off the ground, it started to cross the heavily trafficked Burnet Road.

Great, I thought. Here's a REALLY symbolic end to my Valentine's Balloon memory---Heart-Shaped Balloon Carelessly Smushed by Car. (Shades also of my cat getting run over by a car in 1991 as I watched her trying to cross the street.) One car blows by it. Another forces it briefly onto and up its windshield. It hovers in the middle of the two lanes as numerous cars pass on either side. It doesn't stand a chance. After all, it was obviously helium-challenged to begin with a minute earlier, barely inches off the ground. Which car will be the one?

No car. Some second or third or fourth wind took hold of the balloon. It rose. Above all of the cars, past the balconies of the apartments across the street, toward the Dollar Store from whence it came, and into the ether, until I again lost sight.

True story.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Chicago Soundtrack 2002: 14. I Move On


While truckin' down the road of life, although all hope seems gone,
I just move on.

When I can't find a single star to hang my wish upon, I just move on,
I move on.

I run so fast, a shotgun blast can hurt me not one bit.

I'm on my toes cause heaven knows a moving target's hard to hit.

So as we play in life's ballet, we're not the dying swans, we just move on,
we move on.

Just when it seems we're out of dreams, and things have got us down.

We don't despair, we don't go there, we hang our bonnets out of town.

So there's no doubt we're well cut out to run life's marathon, we just move on,
we just move on.

So fleet of foot, we can't stay put, we just move on.
Yes, we move on!

Really fun to watch on a 42-in TV...

Chicago! (Thanks, TCM!) I wasn't so sure about my purchase earlier today--who cares about local news and "Bar Rescue" writ larger--but... "Chicago" looked really special.
Flashback to 2002 when "Chicago" first came out: My friend Kathy and I went to see it at a theater and loved it so much that afterward we immediately drove to a Walmart to find the soundtrack. We then went back to her place to listen (and rather drunkenly dance to) over and over again, driving her husband, who by this time was trying to sleep, nuts. A scene that was later repeated almost exactly on Oscar night, except that time the incredibly patient man had been forewarned and had thus steeled himself.

In "Study" news...

As you can see: Here's a case of me now HAVING a separate study for nothing but books and desk, but... some of the stuff I have in it aren't working at all. The little desk is fine, the size I wanted (after the 2-ft-wide rolling cart for my computer I had at the old place, it's grand.)
What bugs me most blatantly (aside from all the cords) is the chair I'm using for a desk chair--back when I had one room to live in, this chair was just fine. As it is, though, it's a white kitchen chair in the middle of a wannabe earth-toned study! See? The money going out is never-ending, since there's no way I'm aesthetically going to allow this to continue.
A more minor point is the beige chair and ottoman: I bought the chair, used, when I lived at the old small place. Paid under $100 for it, a good Crate and Barrel chair. Seemed huge and comfy at the time. (Not that I ever sat in it--I was always on my computer or lying in bed channel-surfing.) Weeks ago, in the same trip to the same store where I picked out my bedroom set, they charged a flat $80 fee for however much you wanted delivered. So I thought that this ottoman would be nice to toss in with the rest of the stuff... Once it got delivered, though: It's HUGE! It nearly completely dwarfs the chair. So now, in the back of my to get a new chair to fit the ottoman. (First-World Problems: Glad to participate in them for the first time in 8 years.)

More on Emerging from Chaos

For one thing, I can now download pictures again! I felt stymied not being able to, because of some glitch in somewhere that I wasn't able to figure out a way to work around until tonight. For instance, I wanted to document what my old place looked like all cleared out, as I made my last farewell (to 4 years of utter STRESS and sleeping many a day away while also, honestly, being a bit comforted by pretending it was a little treehouse club or that I was a teen with a really good bedroom), and I wanted to show what my brand new place looked like empty... But knowing that, while able to TAKE the photos, I was unable to download and share them made me feel so defeated, I didn't even bother taking them to begin with.

It's interesting how addicted one becomes to one's "electronic life." My 2-month-long lack of digital camera use bummed me out; my 2 DAYS without Internet/TV during the transfer from one place to another FREAKED me out; my new flatscreen not being delivered on time bummed me out (and I was nervous the whole time my brother was hooking the thing up for me, dreading that something was going to go wrong)...

New Place

After a full month at my new place, I'm only now starting to settle in properly. There are still some boxes and bins of CRAP sitting around in every room, but there are at least STARTING to be pockets of calm and order.

I am absolutely in love with the bedroom furniture that I had delivered less than 2 weeks ago. Prior to its delivery, I had the cheap full-size mattress with springs poking me, its unoffensive box springs that weren't really springs, and a metal frame. And that's ALL I had in the bedroom. My old place had 8 built-in drawers, so that's where all my undies/socks/T's were housed; at the new place, they all sat around in cardboard boxes or on the floor -- depressing! But not any more! Below are some shots of my bedroom as I've just started organizing it. There's still some junk lying around, all the art isn't hung, my new bedding still hasn't arrived, my new lamps haven't arrived, but... it's a beginning! (My absolute favorite thing is that sexy dresser, and being able to put my deco tray of perfumes upon it! Also love having a queen-size bed, which makes me feel like a real adult--dammit that I only have my old comforter to put on it.)

Some other major headway being made in the last few days: I FINALLY got my new TV!!! Below is what I used to have (pictured amid the chaos of the last couple of weeks at my old place while I packed)-- a 1999 Panasonic, bought from Craigslist for $20 when I first got back from New York.
And below is my new 42-in flatscreen TV, which was paid for a week ago but only shipped in Saturday. (My brother was kind enough to pick it up and hook it up for me... I tried lifting it in the store, and could not.) Still a TV amid chaos, but... not as much chaos. And a much bigger space to be chaotic in! (I especially can't wait to roll out that red carpet!) :)
The next step in this whole process: A couch! To come this Thursday. (It's dark gray, and I want to do my living room in gray, black, red, and pink... which means ultimately getting rid of the current TV stand and the CD shelf, plus getting a black coffee table/side tables, plus window treatments... More money being sucked away. :(   (I put a "frowney-face" and it is scary, but... I know exactly how deprived I've been for the past 8 years, since I sold EVERYTHING and moved to NYC back in early 2007. I have a LITTLE guilt about all the spending going on now, but... only a little. I feel like I've paid plenty of dues. "To everything there is a season...")


I hope I haven't been too influenced by reading Zelda Fitzgerald bios recently (one of the reasons doctors diagnosed her as "schizophrenic" was that she mentioned that people seemed like ants to her...). Uh-oh. This past week, while walking from the bus along the sidewalk to work and then into the building/up the elevator/down the hall to my office, I couldn't help but notice the "friendly face of acknowledgement" that I felt I had to make each time I passed someone. This is pretty much the same as ants touching their antennae as they pass each other. (Or like dogs sniffing butts. Each species has its own ways of determining vibes from its other members.)