Saturday, May 30, 2015

Joan Crawford, 1968, in a circus picture

(By "circus picture," I mean specifically, "Berserk." And non-specifically, I mean that she didn't have to do a lick of acting to pick up her paycheck in this cheesy latter-day film of hers; she was being paid for her name only. Yet, despite the less-than-MGM surroundings... she ACTED in it.)

Good Vibes

Buried in the earlier juvenile post about "What I Did Over Memorial Day Weekend," I mentioned feeling good about going to my new post office to return something to an eBay seller that was sent to me by mistake. The seller had sent me the wrong item, but didn't ask for the original item back after correcting the error. I knew I should indeed send it back, but was put off by my new neighborhood --- my new post office only open 9-5 (my work hours), and the bus to the post office closest to work (for lunch-hour visits) only running every 40 minutes, which would make me an hour late after lunch... Anyway... it took me a month or so, but I figured out how to mail the item back. Glad I did. Below is the mail that I received from the seller yesterday:

"Thank you so much for returning the little Zodiac Bowl that was sent to you by mistake. I really didn’t expect to see it and it was not necessary for you to send it back. I was, however, delighted that you returned it. It’s kind of a cutie and even though nobody had bought it, I decided to make it special since it came from a special buyer. It’s going on my desktop for paperclips and such and I shall think of you when I use it....

Thanks again for sending me back the little bowl, you have restored my faith in buyers."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

What a beautiful face I have found in this place
That is circling all 'round the sun
What a beautiful dream that could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

And one day we will die and our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be in the arms of all
I'm keepin' here with me

What a curious life we have found here tonight
There is music that sounds from the street
There are lights in the clouds, Anna's ghost all around
Hear her voice as it's rolling and ringing through me
Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees

Now how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through
Your mouth to make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet
But now we keep where we don't know
All secrets sleep in winter clothes
With one you loved so long ago
Now we don't even know his name

What a beautiful face I have found in this place
That is circling all 'round the sun
And when we meet on a cloud I'll be laughing out loud
I'll be laughing with everyone I see
Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all

Live and Let Die (1973)

When you were young and your heart was an open book...


The fetish is You moved on, the wishing for what's not now, though you once had your chance, or at least worshipped from afar.

The sickness in pressing this upon others, insisting that it, long since lost to you in particular, must still be true for The Universe.

Despite my yelling (to myself here) at my neighbor...

...over the weekend, I actually had a VERY productive 4 days off.

Thursday night: Cleaned the toilet and sink and bathroom floor. Which I'd been waiting to do before I'd allow myself to put down the new rug and toilet-seat cover I'd bought over a month ago.

Friday: Went to the post office for the first time since moving to my new place in February so I could return an incorrect item that someone on eBay sent me. Figuring out my new post office was another thing I'd been putting off this whole time; the one online info said was closest to my new apt was only open 9-5 M-F, and I didn't want to take time off work. Plus, according to my bus schedule, it would have taken over a half hour to get there. Instead, found a different one -- not in my ZIP code, but only 10 minutes by bus from my apt. And in a wealthy Old Austin neighborhood, meaning... counters fully staffed, very short wait. (Unlike, say, the nightmare of a PO in my old Eastside neighborhood that was always a writhing, chaotic mess, from customers to staff.) This little excursion also made me feel good because the eBay person I was returning the item to had made the error and hadn't asked for the item back...but it felt good to do the right thing!

Afterwards, having nothing else to do, I decided to ride the bus to the end of the line just to see where it went. NOT FUN. UGLY places. Didn't learn about anything interesting. 2 hours wasted.

Once the bus swung back to my area, went and tried out a Dairy Queen I'd been seeing on my way to work. Had a Country Basket for the first time in probably 10 years. (That used to be my favorite meal back in my hometown.) The times, though, they have a-changed: A 4-piece steak-finger basket with fries, toast, and gravy plus a small Coke is now... $8.64! And it wasn't even that good. So I won't ever be eating that again! (For $5.99, maybe. But not $8.64!)

On the way home from the DQ, did my grocery shopping for 2 weeks.

Saturday: As I posted earlier, went and checked out a consignment store that I'd been curious about. Not only did I find some bargains, I also found a place to take a couple of lamps I'd bought on eBay but don't need, to sell on consignment. Afterwards, went to Walmart to buy some DIRT and a clay pot (my front porch area needs plants), then had a GOOD meal at McAllister's on the way home. (For under $8, a really DELICIOUS half-French Dip sandwich and DELICIOUS, big Italian salad. I WILL be eating that again!)

Sunday: Wasted hangover day, lying on couch and watching TV. :( :(

Monday: Got up bright-n-early, did 3 loads of my regular clothes, plus my winter comforter and other blanket so I could pack them away and put on my new summer sheets/bedspread that I'd bought months ago. (Despite my excitement at the new bedding, I don't really like how it looks --- the "winter bedding" is wine-colored and rich, the new stuff too beige; the room doesn't really pop like it used to. : (  Even so, gonna keep the new stuff there for the season; maybe I'll get to like it better. Next spring, maybe I'll buy a similar wine-colored spread, just thinner.)

Noon-ish, after 3-1/2 hours of laundry-doin', went and had a pedicure for the first time since November or so. After moving to my new 'hood in February, I just had no idea about where to go and so kept putting it off, in the meantime feeling shabby since all my toenail polish was peeling off. There are two places within walking distance, so I picked one. It was fine. Asian ladies, like at the old Eastside 'hood. Better chairs. Slightly more expensive, but also longer calf and foot massage.

When I was finished and walking home, it was starting to sprinkle. An hour or so later, all sky-ish hell broke loose for the next 4 hours! Massive flooding all over town, including the creek I walk across to get to the bus-stop, which completely overflowed the bridge. After the rain slowed, I went to take a look at the raging creek---completely forgetting my camera! I'm so mad at myself --- I could have had a REAL event to show here, instead of just recounting my boring moods.

Oh well. No crick-crossin's here. Instead: Here's how I finished up my Monday evening: Finally hanging my Guatemalan festival masks that had been sitting around, along with my bath mats and comforters, et al., all waiting for me to clean stuff up before decorating!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Paul McCartney & Wings "Jet" 1976

To the constantly, obnoxiously loud, yelling black man who lives below me: Here's some loud White-Girl Payback Shit blasted at 1 a.m. via my stereo, now YouTubed just for you, you constantly aggrieved, yelling-at-your-wife/yelling-at-the-world obnoxious "muthafucka." (How's YOUR potential complaint gonna work out, I wonder: "I heard Paul McCartney at 1 a.m." No one in 2015 is gonna BELIEVE that, you fucking idiot.)

p.s. In 2015, your kid most likely didn't get into college because he was stupid, not because he was black. As you were yelling outside my window last week to some unknown phone recipient, do you REALLY think there's a "conspiracy" to keep your kid out of college? Really? There aren't government grants for minorities? Your kid must be REALLY stupid to not have gotten ANYTHING.

Fuck you and your loud-ass voice that I have to listen to all week long. I have a Master's degree and I work as an Editor, but you make me feel as if I live in Section 8 housing. In that regard: Wish I had a man in my life who would go downstairs and punch you in your loud face.

In the meantime, enjoy Paul at 1 a.m., and we can take it up with the landlady tomorrow re which has been worse.

Paul McCartney - Tomorrow (1971)

Honey, pray for sunny skies
So I can speak to rainbows in your eyes 

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Since I first came to Austin in the mid-'80s, I've been fascinated by girls who dressed via vintage shopping. I thought they looked good, but I never knew how to achieve the look myself. I saw ads for such places in the weekly alternative paper, and I went to those shops every now and then, but never found anything that excited me enough to make shopping in such places a habit.

In my new location in North Austin, there are multitudes of vintage clothing and furniture shops around me, and I've only now started exploring them. Most, on first look, have carried things that were extravagantly overpriced. There's a retro furniture shop right next door, for instance, that places various items in the parking lot that I see every day when coming home from work --- the smallest and flimsiest of plastic mid-century end tables, they mark up to $175. No. Clothing shops in the area have been the same.

Aside from "retro" shops, which you might expect to mark up, I've also been annoyed by Goodwill and Savers shops -- which you would NOT expect to mark up, though they do. Both of these chains in my area feature dingy, overpriced items.

Long story short: Finally found a good place to buy stuff. Run by a local Episcopal church. I bought the 4 items pictured below for a total of $19.63.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ms. Clean

In the olden days (i.e., last year), I used to have exactly 3 cleaning products in my home: Ajax, Drano, and a window cleaner.

With a bigger place and more money come... specialization!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke Commercial - 1971

The best ending in the history of a television series. I couldn't stop alternately crying and laughing for 20 minutes afterward. Two hours later, I'm still both smiling and teary (as I watch the episode for the third time in a row).
I was so nervous about Don Draper the whole episode. I wept during his early phone-call to Betty, then calmed down until his later phone-call to Peggy ("Please, Peggy, don't let him hang up without telling you exactly where he is! Go and get him!"), which is when I started crying again (especially when Don was enlightened by and then hugging Leonard, his fellow seminar-goer) until the ending and after.
Wow. Way to rise (yet again) from the ashes, and be true to yourself, Don Draper! :) 

Addendum: Wednesday, May 19. From the NYTimes blog re the finale:
RDB, Piedmont, CA
I don't view Don's return to NY to make the historic Hilltop ad as a cynical ending, but as a sign of self-acceptance. I've always believed the story of Don Draper is the story of talent, and what an artist must do to feed it. Don's personal story is so full of pain and heartbreak. It is his talent that sustains him, and gives purpose to his marginalized, peripatetic existence. By living at a distance from others (even those he loves), he is able to extract an essential truth and transform it into an idea and an advertisement that moves people (and product!) Without his talent, he would be another sad guy in a cubicle. His epiphany at Esalen is that he is NOT the sad guy across the circle, that people DO notice him and look for him (as Peggy says, "come home, Don!"). I think he finally learned and accepted that he should love only from a distance, so that he is free to embrace his gift without causing such pain to others. I imagine this is a struggle for many creative people and those who love them. Jon Hamm's gift is bringing empathy to Don's struggle, in spite of all the pain it caused everyone around him. Bravo, Jon. I can't wait to see what you do next!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

My mother and I haven't spoken since January 1. The not-speaking for months is almost usual. Even when our "relationship" has been on a "normal" track (for us), and since my mother moved to Austin in 2010, we'd see each other/speak about 10 or 11 times a year. In chronological order: Easter, Mother's Day, Nephew 1 b'day, Mom's b'day, Nephew 2 b'day, my b'day, my brother's b'day, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Plus maybe one or so other odd events that turned up, maybe a nephew play or soccer game or something.

Since the beginning of 2015, though, we are really Not Speaking. AT ALL. So far, Easter and Mother's Day have gone by. I'm curious about what's going to happen for my older nephew's upcoming 13th birthday in a couple of weeks, though. I've always gotten him a gift, we've always gone out as a family to his restaurant of choice, come back to someone's home for cake, etc. Either my brother's going to call me to come over separately, or he's not going to call me at all. That'll be a shame. Easter dinner, Mother's Day, I don't miss too much, but the birthdays and Thanksgiving and Christmas will be odd and sad.

At first. Then I'll get used to it. And then, honestly, it won't be such a big deal. I've gotten used to lots of stuff. At first you think how horrible something's going to be, and it is. For a while. Then after a while, the horrible feeling fades into... "Eh. I can live with this."

Not to go on about it, but in the case of me and my mother not speaking: If we were only speaking 10 times a year, on holidays, to begin with, then not speaking at all isn't actually THAT life-changing. Psychologically, there's the unsettling feeling: "Wow. I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't speak to her parents." But in actuality, there are many not-particularly-weird people out there who don't speak to one or both of their parents for whatever unresolved-family-dynamic reason. It isn't like my mother and I were emotionally close and, thus, the falling out is tragic in some way. I don't think I've felt emotionally close to her since 1976 or so, when I was 11.

Yet I've still enjoyed the rituals and pleasantries of the holidays and birthdays since then. My mother and I didn't love each other, but we maintained the dutifulness of the relationship. That was something, at least. Not love, but nonetheless a deeper tie than simply an act or fa├žade. Four-and-a-half months into the Nothingness does feel odd and empty, but, as I mentioned above, I've felt "odd and empty" plenty of times before. "I ain't skeered."

A sidenote:  On Mother's Day Sunday, on my way to work to put in some extra hours, I stopped at a sandwich shop. There was a 30-ish tattooed chick behind the counter who, though it was 5 minutes after their 11am opening time, had me wait because they weren't open yet. When I was finally allowed to place my order, she said bright-n-shinily, "So, are you a Mommie?" Oh, Jesus, I thought. Not only have I not had any kids, but I don't even have a lunch-date with my own mother to go to today. And now I'm supposed to explain all of my life choices (or rather, how-things-just-turned-out) to a sandwich chick!

Me, out loud: "Nope."
Sandwich chick: [silent for a few seconds, then reaches for an empty cup and slaps it on the counter in front of me] "Here. On the house." And then she actually says, "For all of us who've chosen not to bring life into this world."

Oh, Jesus. Really? She was about 30 years old. Her current public stance of "not choosing to bring life into this world" was just silly to me. She most likely will meet a fellow-tatted kid on the street within the next year and they'll go at it like rabbits and have a kid or two out of accident and wedlock (or else out of marriage via some vegan guru or something).

Of course, I didn't say any of that. Just said thanks and took the cup and helped myself to some Mountain Dew out of the fountain. And felt, against my will, a bit of solidarity with both the universe and the young woman kindly trying to make me feel like I was a part of it.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Intellectually Challenged

My dad didn't care anything for me, OR do anything to help his child advance in the world! A right-winger, he once said he'd pay for his child NOT to attend college.

Pay for your child NOT to attend college --- What's the point of that? You want your child to work at a WalMart or at a state job?

Woops! I have a state job now!

What was your thought-process there, Dad? What exactly were you THINKING? Probably, you weren't thinking at all, just mouthing the back-burner "insider" idiocy you'd been hearing pre-Internet, thinking you were getting the "inside scoop on reality."

In fact, what you gave ME was utter fearfulness: No one loved me. No one was going to listen to me. Whatever I picked for a 12-year-old birthday dinner, for instance, was utterly stupid. (What did I have to choose from at 12? I'd seen nothing else but fast-food places.)

I knew innately that I was smart, but when I entered the University of Texas as a freshman, I was petrified. I'd never had an intellectual conversation (except with myself). It took me years before I could argue intellectually with any professor.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

An engineer, a priest, and a doctor on the golf course...

Ahead of them is a group playing so slowly and inexpertly that in frustration the three ask the greenkeeper for an explanation.

"That's a group of blind firefighters," they are told. "They lost their sight saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play for free."

The priest says, "I will say a prayer for them tonight."

The doctor says, "Let me ask my ophthalmologist if anything can be done for them."

The engineer says, "Why can't they play at night?"

From a story in the 5/4/15 New Yorker (partially about exploding Pintos of the '70s -- my first car!). I think the engineer is 100% right! Well, not 100% RIGHT, but that thought process would be MY thought process, in that case, at least. Everybody always makes me feel like I'm so "mean," but if you look at it another way, I'm just...LOGICAL! :)

A Little Bit Grateful Right Now!

#1:  My job right now is the best job I've ever had. Intellectually challenging, and pays every bill, with plenty left over every month.

From 1998 to 2007 (pre-NYC), I worked for a publishing company, which is what I initially wanted to work for... It was mind-numbingly dull work. It paid the bills, but I was going nuts from the boredom. No wonder I wildly broke loose.

#2:  I'm not, out of desperation, engaged to a schlub who's moved me out to the country, and I'm not, equally desperately, trying to find a sugar-daddy before my lease is up in July.

Those are really sad things to be "thankful" for! :) But two intelligent, beautiful women I've been in love with in the past decade are in exactly those #2 positions today. I find them, and their situations, EXTREMELY depressing. (The dream I had Sunday about the first woman was actually a positive dream in and of itself -- a feeling of closeness with someone. But then I had to go and look up online what she was actually doing...yuck; stirred up old feelings of hanging around and hanging around those stupid karaoke bars then being upset when she ran off to Houston to get married to the first guy, saying "I told you so" to myself when she came back to Austin a mere few months later, then being depressed/annoyed again when I saw the next schlub she was with. A bunch of dumbness that I'm LONG SINCE no longer an emotional part of. In the future, I'll try to just leave a pleasant dream at that!)

Monday, May 04, 2015

Dumb Person

Sunday night, I had a dream about a woman I was in love with back in '05 or so. In real life, she hosted karaoke at the gay clubs that I went to back then.

On one night at a club when I was particularly "on," I went home with her. We listened to Loretta Lynn on the way home in her car -- exactly what I wanted to hear.

Her apartment was generic, in a generic part of town, except for framed photos of herself that she'd posted around the house, which I'd found weird but sexy. Her cats' litter-boxes were overflowing, to the point where I had to say something. She, at 40-something, then told me about the 19-year-old that had recently been living with her who had once, in a fit of ADD pique, thrown one of her cats against the wall.

I listened to her, as she reconstructed her nails, talk about how she felt she was the reincarnation of the Black Dahlia, then later went upstairs and laid down with her on a mattress on the floor with used condoms scattered around it. We didn't do anything. In the morning, I woke up first, and looked at her for a few minutes before she, too, woke up. Then we took turns in the bathroom getting our faces together, making jokes about my soon-to-be "walk of shame."

I attended her karaoke nights for a couple of more weeks. That June, she ran off to Houston to get married to a guy she'd met at her high-school reunion. Temporarily broke my heart. They got divorced a year later.

She quickly moved back to Austin with a guy she'd met at a furniture store in Houston.

In the dream I had last night, she and I were lounging around a bed, and she was telling me about an acting gig that she had coming up, where she was supposed to portray a "lesbian lover." I helpfully told her that I could help her with that! We were lounging around, touching each other, kinda lovers but not really lovers.

End of dream. I hadn't thought of this woman in 10 years, but when I woke up today, I sure did think of her again! Went to the Internet (Twitter, Facebook) to see what she had been doing... She's been engaged to the Houston/Furniture-Store-Guy since 2012, and they recently bought a crappy little home 20 miles outside of Austin. Here's what The Guy recently posted on Facebook -- Houston Texans logos get 99% of his sporadic posts, but he did feel the urge for the below:

"Watering M and my OWN yard! It is a fantastic feeling!"

Thank god for some smart-ass who responded: "How often does M need to be watered?" (No reply.)

M, though distraught when I knew her, was glamorous and interesting and intelligent. And, according to her own Facebook page, she continues to host karaoke at gay clubs in Austin. While living at the below.

My intellectual problem... It's basically a trailer. With a sprinkler. With your guy super-proud of this (and not seeing anything to move beyond). That's what you ended up with: In a crappy place with puddles and a dumb person!

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - He Said

This has nothing to do with me. I think it's about Sandra.

Just before the lights went out
We sat up and talked about
All the things that we would be
I just wanted him to be with me

But he had a mind of his own
And he did not mind being alone
Left me there in our little world
Left me there like a little girl

He said don't get hung up
Hang ups will get you down
He said don't look back
Look up and then look around

That time I was feeling high
Like I never had to try
To kick myself up out of bed
Kick these worries out of my head

He said it's better this way, yeah
One day you'll understand
He said I'm leavin' today and
He let go of my hand

I know that I'll never see him again
I feel the same way that I saw him then
I know that when I get back on my feet
I will walk away from misery

What do you say when it's all been said
How do you feel when it's all been felt
Where do you go when it's all gone
And you don't care enough to carry on

Well, I say close your eyes
Look down deep inside
Someone is there for you
Someone who cares for you

Well, I know it's easier to say than do
Easier to look away than see it through
I know it's easier to think than feel
Easier to make it up than make it real

Oh it's hard to love
Oh it's hard not to love

Oh it's hard to love
Oh it's hard not to love

Oh now take me there don't leave me here

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Back on a Plebe Bus

In September of 2014, Austin initiated a parallel "Rapid" bus system, with fewer stops and a 50-cents-higher fare than the regular buses. The higher fare doing a good job of weeding out the crazies that I'd before encountered on the regular city buses. On the Rapid, there were almost always just students and professionals.

My employer paid for all bus transport. Whatever Austin decided, I got to travel on for free. In late 2014, I still lived on the East Side of town, had to travel 20 mins to reach the new "Rapid," then another 10-20 minutes of standing around at the bus-stop, then 20 minutes to get to work.

By February 1, 2015, I'd intentionally moved north so I could walk straight to the "Rapid" and get straight to work, avoiding the changing of buses that added nearly an hour to my commute.

Today, a Saturday, I wanted to go back to my old hood, where a Marshall's was, so I could buy a specific type of face lotion that they always carried. And also get some shorts at the Old Navy at the same location. No Rapid, just a regular bus...

It was fucking ridiculous. On the way to Marshall's, a black toothless woman got on halfway there and proceeded to call out to every other person on the bus at the top of her lungs. If they answered, great, if they didn't, great. She, regardless, yelled out what was going on.

On the way back from Marshall's, a balding white homeless guy got on the bus and sat near me and, for some reason, immediately tried to engage me in Saturday's Mayweather/Pacquiao fight... Thinking that he was going to intimidate me, since I was a middle-aged white woman? He started by going on about how Mayweather was going to win the fight.

Me: I hope not. Mayweather's an asshole. I'm for Pacquiao.
Bus-guy, nonsensically (since I'd already mentioned Pacquiao): He's fighting some guy from the Philippines. There's a fight tonight.
Me: Yeah, Pacquiao. I hope Pacquiao kicks his ass. Mayweather's an asshole.
Bus-guy: He's fighting some guy from the Philippines.
Bus-guy: Do you even know anything about boxing?
Me: I know about THIS match. I can't stand Mayweather. I hope Pacquiao wins.
Bus-guy: It's on ESPN.
Me: No, it's not. It's pay-per-view only.
Bus-guy: Not it's not. It's on ESPN.
Me: You've got to PAY for this thing! It's NOT on ESPN.

After this, the crazy-ass went on and on and on, commenting on every single landmark we passed along the bus route. After I'd expressed a distinct opinion on Pacquiao, he'd left me alone, but soon meandered into what restaurants he'd been to, etc., and asked me about my opinion on one restaurant and owner:

Me: I have never been there. I don't give a shit about either this place or the owner.

Now, he really left me alone, and instead rambled out loud to the bus passengers in general.

I don't feel any guilt about being this hard, after listening to this asshole go on and on and on for miles. I've sometimes felt that maybe homeless people are simply neurotic because they don't ever have anyone rational to talk to. However, in the last few years that I've been around homeless people taking buses, I've learned that they're usually loud and fucked up and asshole-ish, incapable of carrying on a normal conversation, though they're obviously seeking to do so. I've also learned that they often seek to bully young people and white middle-aged women, like me.

Yeah, well... I will always get back in your face, idiot. I can't stand idiocy being spewed on me.