Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Ashtray for Every Room

Sans any sort of meaningful human interaction for years now, I do nonetheless, as I always have been forced to do, take pleasure in things like, oh... AN ASHTRAY FOR EVERY ROOM! Having carted one ashtray around with me from room to room (or, for a while, from corner to corner of the same room) for the past 8 years or so, these 3, representative of expansiveness, do give me pleasure and a feeling of well-being. I shall aspire to what I can aspire to.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bonding Gone Wrong

Circa 1976 or so, my father, via his work, got tickets to a Cowboys-Steelers football game.

The first thing to go wrong, on the drive out to the game... It was a cold day, but no one had thought to give me a coat to wear. My mother later said she'd followed us on the highway (with my coat), to no avail.

After the game:  The sponsored bus to and from the game was fine. What was NOT fine was my father driving me home (we lived out in Briar, Texas, which was 15 minutes outside of Azle, which was 40 minutes outside of Fort Worth).

My father was so drunk after the game that he couldn't steer straight. I was about 12, and had to keep nudging him to stay awake and had to keep grabbing the steering wheel. I remember the car swerving off into the other lane on many occasions... but we survived.

This is an example of nearly everything that I experienced as a kid. There was always something at least mildly creepy and scary going on (and sometimes actually life-threatening, as I only realized later).

It was only as I grew up and went to college (where I was finally around other people with whom I shared "intense, intimate thoughts," per either late-night sharing or tipsy cafĂ© sharing, back when English majors used to drink for hours at cafes) that I realized: Wow... most people came from backgrounds where the father didn't punch the mother in the face because she came home late from a dental appointment, and where the mother didn't intentionally stop the kid from any social interaction, even on graduation night... Wow!

Wrangling Three Months of Chaos

I moved into my current apartment (double the size of my last one-roomer) on February 1. You'd think that whatever I had in my old 375-sq-ft apartment would readily fit into my 750-sq-ft apartment. Well, no. For one thing, I've had to order a whole lot of stuff to get my new apartment populated; for instance, the patio set (2 chairs and a table) is still sitting in its box, right next to my dining table.

I'm still not yet situated, even after 3 months. Tonight, though, I made some progress. After 4 hours of arranging, re-arranging, getting stuff at least out of the room itself and into a closet.

The top picture below shows the lamp and the suitcase that I'm putting out by the dumpster tomorrow morning. I feel bad about both.

The lamp, for instance, was an eBay purchase in my 2010-2014 one-room apt "phase." I think I paid about $75 for it. It was symbolic, since all I'd had in that room previously was an ugly lamp that my mother'd given me. This lamp, though, was ME... Yeah, well, the wiring of the top light stopped working long ago, and all of the cups were constantly tilting over, not perkily uplifted, as they were initially. With the top light not working at all, I didn't even want to bother putting it up for sale anywhere.

[p.s. About my insane, ongoing Guilt Complex: There's a note that I wrote attached to the lamp that I'm putting out by the dumpster tomorrow morning: "The top lamp doesn't work but the other 2 do." I need to explain myself and apologize to DUMPSTER DIVERS??  Flashes me back to my youth in 1980, when I was 14 and 15 or so... pre-driver's license. I lived out in the country, no way to get anywhere or do anything. In the summers, I was completely trapped. Yet one summer's day, my neighbor Marla, age 14, asked if I wanted to go driving around with her and her friend Bobby (who was 16 and had his license). You bet! I knew I had to get home by 5pm, when my mother would be home from work... As it turned out, Bobby got me home 20 minutes after 5pm. After 4:30pm, knowing that Bobby was going to get me home late (and knowing what emotional idiocy my mother was about to subject me to), I started bitching at Bobby; he calmly replied, "You just can't please some people." Sure enough, when I arrived home at 5:20pm, my mom was home, and I got so much hateful tension and stupidity. I could NEVER RELAX at home, could never do anything. I shut down. I read books. I watched the movies that came on TV. That's all I was allowed to do. I was not allowed to interact with anyone. If I did, I was punished for it. For instance, after this, I was forbidden from hanging out with neighbor-Marla. All she and I had ever done was prank-call people, lay out topless on her trampoline, and put on "Grease"-inspired shows on her front porch. On the other hand, my little brother, who participated in penis-comparing sessions with neighbor boys, slurped Robotussin for fun, came home high on LSD, and held parties at my mother's house in her absence... He could do what he wanted. My mother even paid for programs for him during summers, such as at the Fort Worth Nature Center. (Maybe I would have liked a young persons' writing or film program?) How she treated him versus how she treated me is sick.

Great example of my mother's mental illness toward me: She wanted me to come home immediately after my high-school graduation ceremony. ON THE NIGHT OF MY HIGH-SCHOOL GRADUATION! What a fucking idiot. (To my father's credit, he, visiting post-divorce, suggested that my going out after graduation was OK. At age 13, when I wanted to go to the skating rink, he made me put my hair in a pony-tail and made me keep my coat on (with threats if I took it off) -- to my humiliation, to my sitting alone all night...but at least he'd figured out how young people felt by High School Graduation Night. Why I give him "credit" for this, I don't know --- Graduation Night should be a given "nice moment" --- why I should be grateful for a moment of sanity, I'm not sure.


Oh, yeah, The Suitcase: One of the zippers is messed up. Yes, this is the suitcase that took me to and from NYC, and it's a big ol' thing that's taken up plenty of room wherever I go. If that one zipper still worked, I'd keep it. As is: I tried to fix it over and over again tonight, and the zipper STILL would not work. I don't know where I'll ever be going again that requires that big a suitcase. And if, indeed, I'm going to Morocco or someplace for a month... I can buy a new suitcase with a working zipper.

Picture 2: When I ordered my bedroom set (bed/dresser/chest/2 night tables) months ago, turned out that one of the night tables wouldn't fit in the bedroom. I shoved it out into the hallway, where it's been sitting for months, completely out of place. As it turned out, it fits just fine into the study closet (along with the seldom-used printer that had previous been sitting on the floor, but that also needs to be available).


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Clouds of Sils Maria


In high school and my 20s, I used to go to movies constantly, at least every week. (When I first came to college at the University of Texas at Austin in 1983, there were 5 theaters showing classic and art films within a half-mile of where I lived.) Nowadays, though, theaters are more rare, there's nothing that interesting for me, or else I just don't want to be around a bunch of obnoxious assholes who don't know how to be quiet in a movie theater.

THIS film, though! How EXACTLY what I'm interested in! (Not yet showing in Austin, though there was a sneak preview a couple of nights ago.)

From the IMDb:

At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant to rehearse in Sils Maria; a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself.

Bruce Jenner Transgender?

When I first started hearing these rumors last year, I assumed they were intentional Big Trash Media stimulation for the masses that didn't actually mean anything. If Jenner was growing his hair long, had his nails buffed or even polished, had his Adam's apple shaved... Well, so what. He was having a mid/old-age crisis; he was a metrosexual LA guy; minor surgical procedures were de rigueur for  himself (a couple of nose jobs over the decades), as well as for the women in his family, and for LA...
Then online sources started reporting that he'd had a fetish for dressing in women's clothing for decades... OK. Some guys do.
I guess I'll, along with the rest of the world, find out what exactly is going on with Jenner tomorrow night when the Jenner/Sawyer interview is aired on ABC. But so many things don't add up: On "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" for the past 7 years, Jenner has seemed like a stereotypical disinterested and superfluous GUY. He's liked his golfing, and playing with toy helicopters and real planes and cars. He's been a bit henpecked by his wife, who hasn't liked his "toys" around the house, and who sometimes hasn't noticed when he's not there. On one show years ago, his hipster sons tried to get him out of the house to a club, get his ear pierced, get his hair cut and jelled... In short, he's seemed like an old-fashioned, vain ex-athlete, a 60-year-old GUY set in his ways but still willing to go along with things to prove he's not an old fuddy-duddy...
But now all of a sudden, he's going to have a sex change? After 3 wives and 6 kids (plus the 4 additional Kardashian step-kids)? If he'd felt that he was a female for years, why all the wives and babies? He married Kris Jenner in 1991 and was married to her until last year: Why was he involved in a 24-year relationship with a straight woman?
Online, most (maybe 80%) of the non-prejudiced rabble seem to wish Bruce well. As they constantly disparage Kris and Kim. Kris for allegedly "emasculating" Bruce to the extent that he felt the need to become a woman. Kim, still for the sex tape that her asshole lover Ray J released, without her permission, years ago.
I think that "The Sex Tape" was turned around to great effect --- Initially an intended humiliation, Kris Jenner, and her business sense, relayed the prurient interest in her daughter into a weekly television show. And good for her for transforming the shitty, self-promoting Ray J move into something positive.
What's happened in the 7 years since, though, is a spiraling out of control: Kris's husband of 24 years "suddenly" transgender (cool as Kris appears on TV, this is a disturbing psychological blow); daughter Khloe's husband Lamar Odom, once an NBA star, "suddenly" a drug addict incapable of functioning with any basketball team; daughter Kourtney's common-law husband Scott Disick constantly doing nothing but getting drunk in public. And the one son, Robert Kardashian, Jr., admittedly 100 lbs overweight and unwilling to be seen in public for over a year, holed up in a spare room in sister Khloe's apartment sending out for drugs.
I've been constantly watching the show since its inception for entertainment, but about now it seems to have reached a tipping point from silly entertainment to an actual American Tragedy. It's not cute or funny any more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


My 9-year-old nephew was over a few months ago, and saw a postcard propped up on my bookshelf that he didn't approve of, because of a naked lady. He actually said (via the PC terminology of his educator mother), "That's inappropriate."

I had to be polite: "It's not appropriate for you 'cause you're 9, but when you're 49, like me, it's appropriate."

And now look at how fucking great and sexy the huge print of said inappropriate naked lady looks above my bed!! :)  If I went over to anyone's house and they had a huge Klimt print up, I'd probably sleep with them in a second. Klimt's appropriately sexy like that.

Full disclosure: Back in '89, when I went to my first not-yet-girlfriend's apartment the day after I had met her and made out with her, I had kind of forgotten what she looked like the night before, and I seemed to remember that she was a little weird. But when I saw her the day after, her living room furniture was circa-'60 turquoise-and-black leather, and her bedroom had a king-size bed with a red-velvet bedspread (which I found out later her mother had given her on her 16th birthday!! How cool was that! I, on the other hand, had, until I went off to college, slept in a single white/gold princess bed bought for me at age 5). I had been on the fence about sleeping with her, but her choices in furniture pushed me over in her favor.

Monday, April 13, 2015

In Passing

Crossing a very busy intersection today while walking to a fast-food restaurant for lunch, a man in a blazer passed me in the intersection and said, "You're looking very attractive today."


I haven't felt for years now that anyone has noticed how I looked!

Back when I briefly lived in New Jersey 'til 2010, on a Sunday game day hours before my Cowboys were playing the Jets, a teen-aged boy in a Jets jersey passed me, wearing a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt, on the sidewalk, then turned back: "Your eyes are so green, I know you're really for the Jets."

The kid could not have been more than 16! (And how the hell did he see the color of my eyes??) But... what an utterly charming thing to say! :)

Some guys just have it.


Of the presidential candidates announced so far, here're my current preferences, in order:

(1) Rand Paul
(2) Hillary Clinton
(3) Marco Rubio
(4) Ted Cruz (prejudiced, pseudo-"Constitutionalist," uber-religious asshole / NEVER)

When Jeb Bush enters, he's going to be tied with Rubio (and I'm sure, many others) in the "generic nothingness" category.

What I hope for Rand Paul is that he maintains his principled anti-interventionist stance and his principled libertarian, laissez-faire stance on social issues. If he swerves hard right, then there's no point to him.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Comfort Music: McCartney

Paul McCartney is Comfort Music. Kind of like the filling chowder I ate today at my work cafeteria: Perhaps doubted beforehand, but ultimately VERY GOOD.  I listened to McCartney's 1971 album "Ram" twice tonight, and then 1997's "Flaming Pie." The below song, "Souvenir," is from "Flaming Pie."

Thursday, April 09, 2015

I wish I could say that I spent the evening...

... reading the biography of Thomas Hardy that I just bought for $2 from the library re-sale store a few weeks ago, but, alas, I did not.

I also wish I could say that I spent the evening fucking someone wildly in defiance of all the hatred I've been feeling in the past few weeks for my parents and for Sandra.

Nah. Just came home from work today and worked on my Joan Crawford website, which 90% of the time brings me great peace of mind. I consider this a good day.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Here's what I think it is.

(1) I was not exposed to any loving relationships at all while I was a kid. (My parents' dislike for each other, and dislike for me, permeated the various houses we lived in up until I was 12, when they divorced.)

(2) Deprived of any positive (or even kindly neutral) emotional interactions with my parents, I turned to books and movies and pop music for some/any kind of sustenance.

(3) Having the dichotomy of witnessing, on the one hand, a real-life almost-always-hate-filled relationship between my parents and, on the other hand, a falsely "pure" love/hate reconstruction in art and literature, I didn't get any sense of the "everyday" flow of energy, of mild irritation, of mild affection, of casual conversations about things. My real life at home was almost always dark, and my fantasy life via art was almost always swinging between extremes of agony and ecstasy.

Thus, chaos feels natural. And an even keel feels strange, dull, lifeless. That, I've since read, is a typical feeling among adults raised in abusive, emotionally or otherwise, households. I've also read from psychiatric (and animal) studies that a child/adolescent exposed to constant stress in formative years develops an ingrained physiological "flight or fight" response.

On a note that I haven't read about before, but that I'm sure is/will be later proven true: The utter lack of human kindness as a youth has led me to later accept any kind crumb thrown my way and latch onto it, despite all of the subsequent rejection. I'm a human, after all: I fall for that initial crumb. Only, most healthy (straight) people expressing interest in another perhaps MEAN it: They want to get to know the other, they want to spend time with them.

I have a different experience. When, for the sake of honesty, I've told some women that I'm gay, they have then inexplicably gone into "seductress" mode with me, claiming to be bisexual, claiming to be unhappy with their current male lover, even going so far as to say they "love" me, etc. When I've responded (as I think anyone would), they have completely backed off, suddenly declaring their utter heterosexuality, their distaste for women, their wonderment on why I was now calling...


I think my "sickness" is that I keep trying to go back to a well that is now dry. I may be a naif in that I don't comprehend why the well is suddenly dry when it was flowing before... I should not be such a purist. (The same thing happens in straight relationships, of course. But a break-up is harder when one of the two is gay --- the straight person faking bisexuality can easily meld back into the 90% straight world, meeting people at grocery stores, etc., but the gay person is suddenly tossed back into the 10% pool wondering what the hell just happened and forced to go back to gay hang-outs to meet potential mates that she's already figured out she doesn't have anything in common with other than the fact she's gay.)

Right-wing Republicans go on about the "gay lifestyle": There's no "lifestyle." If Ginny had wanted me when I was 18 and she was 17, I'd probably have never had a sad club story or sad lover story or sad parent story to tell here. At nearly 50, I would have been bitching about Georgia property taxes and not giving a fuck what my non-caring blood relations and old school-mates were doing back in Texas.

But then that's "fantasy" acting up again.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - Circle (1988)

Everything is temporary anyway
When the streets are wet
The colors slip into the sky
I don't know why, that means you and I are...

Joan Crawford, 1938

Some people have their Jim. I have my Joan.