Thursday, June 30, 2016

My 10 Favorite "Trailer Park Boys" Moments

Not at all MY favorites, since I've never seen the show, but in honor of the kid I met today who really loves the show.

Was introduced to the show today at my bus-stop by a 20-year-old stoner not quite sure where he was. He first asked me if he could "buy a water off of me." When I told him, no, I just had my one water bottle that I was drinking out of, he looked dismayed. But, hey, there was a building right there that had a water fountain... Was he allowed in there? Sure. How exactly could he get in there? Um, see that sidewalk? Just go up it and go into that building and then take a left --- there's the water fountain. Really? Yes, really --- just, just go up that sidewalk. No one's going to kick me out? No, man. You might miss the bus while you're gone, but... just right up that sidewalk into the building.
 
The kid finally attempted it and managed to come back. "That water sure tasted good!" He had just gotten off work at a nearby Subway, was on his way to work at another Subway. Where was he? What was that place he just went into? Part of a college campus. Could he smoke dope here? Well, no, not if he saw a policeman driving by; then he should probably put his joint away.
 
My standing-around-the-bus-stop companion, a 60-year-old long-hair from Boston enmeshed in local politics, then mentioned the show "Trailer Park Boys" and the kid lit up: He LOVED that show! He'd seen every episode! He'd smoked pot with 4 teachers before... The two started naming favorite characters and episodes. At this point, another bus-stop friend walked up and I started talking to him, leaving the kid to my Boston friend: As I found out from Boston later (when he sat next to me on the bus to avoid talking to the kid any more), the kid was a high-school dropout, currently working at 3 Subways and 1 other place (which I didn't catch the name of), for a total of 75 hours per week. His goal was to become a salesman.
 
I'd never heard of "Trailer Park Boys" before, which has apparently been around for 10 years! "Can you read, my son?" "Well, that depends..."
 
I'll partially miss this type of interaction in the future; that is, when I have a car and don't have to be around this street rawness firsthand. I'm 50. I've been seeing this for 30 years, not to mention the constant low-class angst around my home while growing up. (My dad married up; my mother's family was calm and respectable, never the ridiculous drama-factory that my father came out of and then perpetuated in our home---My father would get mad over any tiny thing, and blow it up to gigantic, ultimately painful proportions. He always had to create a scene about something. He had a talent for turning seemingly positive things into ugly things (a Dallas Cowboys game, a visit to South Dakota, my driving test --- They should have all been special...He turned all of these into shitty, hate-filled memories for me).

I now want a well-deserved break from the supposedly never-ending stupidity.
 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Seven" by Prince

I considered Prince a muse when I was young.
As it turned out, he was way more fucked up and clueless than I EVER was.
As it turned out, he spent most of his time posing A Way and yet never having one.
It's confusing: He, on the surface, was very decadent. Yet he alleged in interviews that he was actually very religious and "pure," at least as far as his diet (vegetarian) and drugs (none) were concerned. And even his sex/love life: He couldn't sustain a relationship, but presented himself as being "honest" and/or a "player"---way beyond his 20s and 30s and even 40s, when being a "player" might still be considered credible. (At some point, even the Player has to get real: You might just be incapable of forming a real bond with another human being. There's nothing "cool" about that deficiency. It's sad, in fact.)
 
As an onlooker, I bought into it: "Oh, he portrays the power of sex and religion..." Yes, he PORTRAYED the power of it, but in ACTUALITY he desecrated it. There's nothing wrong with being unable to achieve Nirvana. It's hard. But don't pretend that you have, when you haven't. That's sick.
 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dillinger is Dead (1969)

Trying to go to sleep Sunday night; instead came upon this on TCM. Since I discovered it halfway through, I missed the opening premise: Ennui-filled designer of gas-masks is openly alienated by society.
 
Where I came in by accident: Late-night (what I thought was an artistic) man attempting to amuse himself after-hours when everyone else is asleep. He's been influenced by 1969 pop-media gun ads (including a current cover of "Time" magazine). He finds a hidden gun (wrapped in newspaper with a "Dillinger is Dead" headline). He paints it red, and then adds polka-dots. Initially leaves it hanging to let the paint dry while he goes off to snack in the kitchen. Later, he plays with his polka-dot gun. He wanders around his house with gun, wondering what he can do with it. He aims it at himself in mirrors. He aims it at sleeping women (his wife and his live-in maid). Horribly derivative pop music (early Beatles knock-offs in this later year of 1969, plus current Italian pop hits) plays on various radios in the various rooms he's in.
 
I had no idea what to expect as he went about his late-night prowls. I've been on late-night escapades myself (albeit usually sans any people inside my own home).
 
Needless to say, this movie didn't make me fall asleep.  
 
 



Fulcrum

Fulcrum, a word that means "bedpost" in Latin, derives from the verb "fulcire," which means "to prop." When the word first appeared in English in the middle of the 17th century, "fulcrum" referred to the point on which a lever or similar device (such as the oar of a boat) is supported. It did not take long for the word to develop a figurative sense, referring to something used as a spur or justification to support a certain action. In zoology, "fulcrum" can also refer to a part of an animal that serves as a hinge or support, such as the joint supporting a bird's wing.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fulcrum

I'm antsy. There come times when "Is that all there is?" kicks in. I've lost everything and built back everything several times now. I'm now in the "Built back, now what?" stage. Don't want to repeat past mistakes, of course. But also am not ready to die right here where I was forced back for lack of any place else to go. If I'd always loved Austin, I'd be grateful. I first came here in 1983. I don't "love" the town. I like it. Thank you, Austin, for taking me back on numerous occasions. But I don't particularly want or need to be here.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

O say can you see


I'm drinking this right now, just saw the label. (That Budweiser was about to label its beer "America" had been publicized weeks ago, but I thought it was a joke. Here it is in front of me.) A lengthy quote from the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the top. A quote from "America, the Beautiful" below the "America" (once "Budweiser") label. A quote from the Pledge of Allegiance at the bottom of the label. "Land of the Free" and "Home of the Brave" hanging out on the wings.

This is a BEER BOTTLE.

This is why the Left has been dismissing what this country stands for. Because of stupid corporate shit like this.

Angst

"Aaaaaarrrrgh!!! Just because I yell at you doesn't make you ME!"

--Shrieking young woman walking alone on the other side of the street from me today. [She wasn't yelling at me, and I didn't see a phone in her hand.]

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit

Winston Churchill (May 11, 1953):

"We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed. If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea."

Congratulations, Great Britain, for standing up for your sovereignty.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Old Loves in the News




http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/will-the-real-smithville-bank-robber-please-stand-up/

My very first lover (1989 to 1991; I was 23, she was 36.). Recently profiled in a March 2016 "Texas Monthly" article.

I knew her story from what she'd told me, but what stood out from the article to me: that I hated sleeping in complete darkness with her; that the "This Week in Texas" cover appeared the very week we moved in together in 1989; that I hated her teen-asshole goth friends (the ones accused of the Yoghurt Shop murders in Austin in '91); that her "problem with authority" extended to my request (!) that she not sleep around. I also found it interesting that, in the article, she blamed her parents and her cohorts for getting jail time --- rather than blaming herself for robbing a bank!

Back when I first knew her beginning in 1989 when she was 36, I had a clue that, because she'd been imprisoned at age 18, she was stuck mentally at age 18 and seeking out age-18 experiences and kids... True. I came from a traditional home, where Christmases and birthdays were celebrated. On my first Christmas with M., she took me to a party at an apartment occupied by a group of punk-kids who couldn't afford an apartment on their own. We sat around a tree playing some sort of "alphabet" game: "A is for Asshole, B is for Butthole, C is for Cunt..." Not my idea of Christmas.

Someone today asked me if I were interested in re-connecting with her... Ugh, no. She was awful, not bright at all, despite her cloaking herself in an "artistic" veil. She painted and claimed to "write," but... She couldn't paint, and she couldn't write. And she was pretty sleazy; sleeping around constantly. It's interesting that "Texas Monthly" is covering her, and I still think she's an interesting person. And I'm actually kind of weirdly proud that my first lover was someone rather extreme. But would I ever want to be with someone like that again? No. I was only with someone like that to begin with because I was lost and didn't know any better. The clubbing, the weirdness was exciting at 23. I still hadn't completed my Bachelor's degree, I was floundering, I thought the decadent nightlife was cool and impressive.

My attempts at relations with her messed me up for quite a few years. We broke up in '91. Since then, I've gotten a BA and an MA. I've lived in San Francisco and New York City. I've created a Joan Crawford website from scratch. I'm now an academic editor. She, in 2016, at age 63, is still talking about her heyday of 1989 thru 1991, and her '72 bank robbery. I couldn't glean from the article that she'd done anything with herself since 1991.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shovels & Rope // Gasoline

Seeing this for the first time recently didn't make me cry or anything, but it did give me chills and a sense of hope for humanity (in the sense that perhaps someday non-bullshit will once again prevail, in both music and in life). I don't particularly desire this as my "soundtrack-for-life" or anything, but... I do appreciate it being out there. It means way more to me than any idiotic stylized video with group dancers, as has been the wont for the past 20 years.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Kris Kardashian, 1985: I Love My Friends

 
 

Mary Gauthier: How You Learn To Live Alone

You sit there in the rubble, 'til the rubble feels like home...
 

Mary Gauthier: I Drink

A week or so ago, I woke up on the couch in front of the TV at 4am to hear this playing.
Austin City Limits or Artists Den, I dunno -- something on PBS after-hours. I'd never heard of "Mary Gauthier" before, and I initially didn't like her stereotypical "butchiness," but by the end of the song, I was crying --- the gently stated utterly brutal honesty/horror.
 

1950: The Damned Don't Cry


Sunday, June 19, 2016

OJ Simpson: Made in America

I've been watching ESPN's "OJ Simpson: Made in America" program all week. Very, very heavy and sad. I understand (as I did at the time) that black Americans were disgruntled by long-term and more recent abuses at the hands of the LAPD (e.g., Rodney King in 1991). But I also could not fathom the cheering by blacks at Simpson's "Not Guilty" verdict. To me, that reaction was sick.

The murder/Bronco chase/verdict were all tied up for me with my own personal plans to go to San Francisco for grad school in a writing program in the fall of 1994. The murder happened on June 13, 1994; the Bronco "low-speed chase" happened four days later on-air during the NBA playoffs (with the Rockets) that I was watching while still in Austin.

The verdict came down a year later, at 10am on October 3, 1995, while I was waiting at a bus-stop on Geary Street in San Francisco to take me to the San Francisco State University campus and my job there. I'd been watching the trial coverage on the news that morning, finally had to leave home for my job. Learned of the verdict at the stop when a carload of black guys drove by whooping and shouting out some version of "Go, OJ!"

I felt sick to my stomach.When I arrived at my library job, my older white female boss (who had heard the news) and I just looked at each other. A little bit later in the morning, a black student came in to the library office for some mundane matter... My boss and I looked at each other again. My boss was the most liberal of San Franciscans, and I was a liberal Democrat at the time. But we both at that moment were silently, angrily ANTI any black person that happened to walk into the office at that moment.

This week's ESPN program made it clear that previous abuses of blacks at the hands of the LAPD contributed greatly to the sense of triumph that some black people might have felt at the announcement of OJ Simpson's "Not Guilty" verdict. As interviewees from the program stated: "Now you [white people] know how it feels." And "This is payback for Rodney King and for 400 years." And then there was the statement by one black commentator that the OJ verdict was "like the day Jackie Robinson opened the door for black players." (Really?? You sick fuck.)

I understand blacks' anger at past treatment. But I don't, however, give any credence whatsoever to their nearly uniform approval of OJ Simpson's murder of his ex-wife. Such approval seems both sick and unintelligent and irrational. I'll never support any group of people who agreed (77%) that OJ was innocent of the murder of his ex-wife.

See the murder "pics" below. You happy with this, "Black Community"?

A p.s. One of the last times that I spoke to my father was while I was in San Francisco during the OJ trial. At that time, while we were discussing the case on the phone, he actually said to me, his daughter, re Nicole Simpson, "She was bought and paid for." See the murder "pics" below, Daddy. That's what happens when men like you think your girlfriend/wife/daughter is "bought and paid for."



 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Joan Crawford on the set of "The Bride Wore Red" (1937)

I think the middle finger was an accident of pose (in 1937, I don't know that MGM stars were so brazen). But I kinda like the idea of Joan "accidentally on purpose" flipping viewers off. I also like her unstudied intent gaze, which is common among her actual (rare) candids.
 

Monday, June 13, 2016

My Mom in NYC

She's only been in NYC for 2 days, but already 4 people have asked to borrow her subway card to swipe themselves in. I don't get it. I lived there for 3 years, and not once did anyone ask me for a borrowed swipe!

Is it a "thing" nowadays? A DeBlasio thing? Does she just look kind because she's a small older woman?

As I write this, it's 11pm Central, midnight Eastern: Hope she made it back to her hotel OK from the Broadway play that I insisted she see (after hours)! :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Janis Joplin Piece Of My Heart (1969)

 

Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep

Yes, I understand the concept of "Sleep when you're dead," but... sometimes extra sleep is quite appropriately appreciated in your living years.

I woke up at 8:15am today (Saturday), not having done laundry for 3 weeks. In my complex, I've tried to be the early-bird on either Saturday or Sunday morning, but have usually been flummoxed by one guy (a fat-ass schlemiel who also used to live on the east-side with me) who obviously gets up earlier than me and doesn't have any qualms about disturbing the neighbor next door pre 8am...

Today, got to the laundry first. Did 3 loads' worth. Took until 10:30am to get everything done.

I'd planned to go into work today to do overtime, but... When I was done with laundry, I was worn out. Went to sleep again on my couch. When I woke up at 2, I was again too groggy to start a day; went back to sleep. Finally woke up for real at 6pm... Now here I am at 1am, still writing on my blog because I can't/don't want to go to sleep...

Moving On

In 1991 or so, after having dropped out of college for a couple of years, I finally realized: "College" doesn't equal "Enlightenment." All of your friends have graduated or are graduating. You must, too, or you're going to be seen as a "loser." I got my degree in 1993.

Seriously, at 18 I went into college thinking/expecting that I was going to be "enlightened" intellectually, thinking that that was what college was for.

Along the way, I realized that it was a shill. No professor really cared about my enlightenment. They were just there.

I first entered UT-Austin in 1983 after graduating from Azle High that spring. Attended full-time for 3 years, then drifted in and out. Finally perceived realism in '91 and took the classes necessary to finish up. Sans any Romanticism about "college life."

At 50, and never married, I'm pretty sure that "marriage" was (and is) such a thing: If you're not feeling it for so long, better just go ahead and get married and have the babies. Just to do it.

With college, I never "felt it." But I finally just "did it" because I knew it would help me career-wise in the future.

With marriage/child-bearing: Was it the same thing? Women, if they didn't FEEL it, finally just doing it for the sake of doing it.

What I personally always wanted was a mate to talk to and travel/discover things with. At age 50, I haven't found such a person. But I'm currently mightily lonely and bereft. I wonder if, in the future, I'll find someone just to find someone. I hope not. But... "just making do" happened with college. I suppose it could happen with a companion.

When I "settled" re my college degrees (BA at UT and later my MA at SF State, where I also felt nothing but disdain), I also ultimately got some cold satisfaction out of it: the degrees and the subsequent "respect." The Something being better than the absolute Nothing I would have received from the Universe before.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Car-Loan Reality Check

While I've been schlepping around on buses for the past 9 years (after selling off my car to move to NYC in 2007, then coming back home in 2010 and trying to put a brave face on not having a car for the past 6 years after being back), there's been something more serious going on: I've lost my actual ability to get a car loan! I'd thought that my not having a car since 2007 was all of my own volition, but no! My bank of 30 years just rejected my very reasonable/low-class request for a car loan (for $6000, $2000 down, $200 a month) because I have no credit score. (I cut up all of my credit cards over 10 years ago; since then have paid everything as I go.) Fuck.

I'm 50 years old. My car history: In '81, at 16, received my dad's old Ford Pinto for free. I later got my mom's hand-me-down Mazda 323 for free. And then my mom bought a Dodge Shadow for me from a dealer in San Antonio. In '05, my mom charged a '99 Ford Contour on her credit card (for me to pay back) --- I loved that car, but I only paid my mom back for a few months, then sold it off in '07 when I moved to NYC. I haven't had a car since.

This time around, I vowed to get a car on my own: "I'm 50 years old. It's fucking ridiculous to continue to rely on hand-me-downs, etc."

Whoops! Cars were easy when I relied on my parents! And I just got rejected by my bank... I've asked around, and the alternative is pretty much: going to small dealers who charge big interest rates (18% as opposed to 3%).

OK. A Real World that doesn't exactly correspond with my own timeline. (In my mind, 9 years without a car was quite enough. But I was thinking philosophically instead of financially.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

My apartment complex is messing with my head!

It's been quiet for the past few days --- and when it's quiet, I get to thinking, "Well, why not just stay here? It's perfectly OK!" Which is what I WANT to believe, since I don't quite have enough money to both get a used car in the next month AND move (deposit + moving company) by August...

But I know it's a trick! Any second now, that loud dick downstairs is going to start yelling, as he has constantly for the past year. The screaming kids have also been silent for the past few weeks... But I know that family's car -- they're still here -- and I know that they're also going to kick in at any time!

I do not want to move --- it's a huge hassle, and it's $1000 down the drain for nothing if you can help it. But, gawd, I want some "protection"! A garage apartment or a duplex, where my chances of disturbance are greatly minimized.

That said: A duplex is no guarantee of peacefulness! Back in the late '90s, I had a duplex in a semi-bad part of town. The next-door neighbor was a working Hispanic woman with a teenaged kid; she was apparently often out of town, or else asleep, because on several occasions, her kid and his friends were whooping it up around their "house" --- at one point, actually climbing on and running around the ROOF of the house, to the point where I had to call the cops. Not that the police then did anything... I only lived in that place for about 8 months; during that time, my duplex was burgled --- I'm pretty sure by the kid next door, only... he thought it was MY place he was burgling after I'd left for Christmas vacation... Because of the way the duplex was laid out, though, he was actually trying to break into my duplex-mate's portion of the dwelling --- and THAT guy had a big-ass dog that scared the would-be burglar away -- only after a broken window, etc.

In short, that duplex was a constant bunch of shit, in more ways than one. Aside from the juvenile delinquent kid next door, there was also a scourge of lizards that gathered on the side of the building whenever I'd go out and leave the porch-light on. Also the location where a random driver crashed his car into my bedroom wall and then left his car there after he ran off --- the police didn't arrive for 6 hours after I called them! (The idiot left a job application to a gay bar on the passenger seat. He was ultimately easily tracked down.) And, to top it off: When workers were later in my home to repair the wall that the driver had crashed into, one of them took a royal shit in my toilet --- spewing shit all over and under the toilet bowl; when I called the management company to complain, they didn't seem to comprehend what I was telling them: "Seriously: One of your workers literally left SHIT all over my toilet!" Since they played dumb, I had to clean that nastiness up myself.

I would say that THAT place was most likely the worst I'd ever lived in. They were shady up until the very end: The deposit was low to begin with, and one of the caveats was that I, the tenant, was responsible for mowing the lawn of the backyard. Now, a week before I moved out, I had specifically asked my brother, as a birthday gift, for a lawn-mowing, which he did for me. Yet, the leasing company STILL tried to charge me at the end for NOT having mowed the lawn... I think they were used to tenants not bothering; when they found out that I'd indeed bothered, they backed down. At the end of it all, I got maybe $50 back out of an initial $300 or so.