Sunday, July 23, 2017

One thing that's making me feel a bit content right now...

My apartment manager has cracked down on the assholes living in the building overlooking my small backyard (which I have yet to be able to sit out in).

I've been here for 3 months now. And until recently, I was already counting down the percentage of time until my lease was up (i.e., "I've been here almost 3 months...25% of my time served").

The "dudes" in the aforementioned apartment have been a chaotic mess since I arrived:

(1) There was a gang of 5 to 6 guys hanging out in front of that apartment at least 3 times a week. (Although, as I later found out, only 2 people were on the lease.)
(2) The "dudes" often brought a boom-box out with them when they were hanging out.
(3) The "dudes" would sit upstairs on the 2nd floor and let their dogs run loose and poop on the grounds down below.
(4) Three times since I've lived here, the "dudes" would invite a dozen friends over to swim all day and night at the apartment pool. The boom-box and dogs would join them out there for 12 hours.
(5) Friends o' the "dudes" would hang out in the parking lot, blasting their car stereos loud enough to literally vibrate my apartment walls (and my apartment doesn't even overlook the parking lot).
(6) A day or so before the 4th o' July, the "dudes" set off fireworks by the pool WITHIN the apartment complex, by the pool (not even the parking lot). When I BURST out of my apartment to find out what jerk was setting off fireworks, one of the scumbags was coming toward me on the sidewalk. When he saw me, he yelled back to his cohorts sitting by the pool: "You've got another complaint coming your way! You've got another complaint coming your way! You've got another complaint coming your way! You've got another complaint coming your way! Right? Right? Right? Right?" (I didn't say anything, just acted like I was going to get my mail.)

I reported ALL of the above, thinking to no avail. My apartment manager was always very polite when I talked to her, but she only indicated vaguely that she'd "talk to them." After the fireworks/yelling-at-me incident, though, she really cracked down: I got an e-mail saying that while there was not yet enough to kick these dicks [my phrasing] out of the apartment, they were, however, given a "non-renewal notice" ---  When their lease is up, they have to leave. And they were also sent a certified letter that if management gets any other complaints about them, they will be kicked out immediately. (It turns out that I wasn't the only one complaining about them.)


Since July 4, that apartment has been quiet.

I wasn't expecting any respite. (As I said above, I was simply counting down the days...) It feels good to know that someone is at least somewhat monitoring the chaos, and perhaps limiting it.

1931. Joan Crawford in "Laughing Sinners."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Best Of Everything (1959) Johnny Mathis

Why people kill themselves

Neither Soundgarden nor Linkin Park meant anything to me, so I was left cold by the recent suicides of both Chris Cornell and the improbably named Chester Bennington.

In the aftermath, vox populi on the Internet kept stressing over and over: "Why didn't he reach out?" "You've got to reach out!"

I'm no rich, semi-famous 90s has-been, but I can say from experience: Nobody loves you when you're down and out. When I've been at my lowest, I've communicated exactly how bad I was feeling, how I needed emotional help, how even little things (like a ride home from the grocery store back when I didn't have a car, or a weekend away from my mother when I was forced to live with her) would be much appreciated.

And people were revolted by it.

People are afraid "it" might be contagious. They want nothing to do with "it." My depression was annoying to them. I was negative and unhappy. No fun to be around. A real downer. I gave off a "bad vibe."

I'm a Nothing who survived the lack of attention in later years by hearkening back to my childhood, when I got no emotional attention at home, but got kudos for being smart in school. Reading made me feel better. Listening to music made me feel better. Watching movies, too. Yet I was always indoctrinated that I must have a human support network. (I would LIKE to have one, as I was told was beneficial, and that I feel might be beneficial, but since I don't? And when I've reached out and was ignored/rejected over and over again? Once you've hit a certain age, it's silly to keep on trying, to keep on going to a dry well, trying to get blood from a stone...however you want to put it.)

I'll be fine at a low level with my books/music/movies/Internet. But then I never had a "great love" or great fame or a great outlet for my creativity, as Cornell and Bennington had. Never having gotten what I wanted is, I suppose, a bit better than getting exactly what you wanted and then discovering that there's nothing there.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billie Joe (1967)

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door "Y'all remember to wipe your feet"
And then she said "I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge"
"Today Billie Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

And Papa said to Mama as he passed around the blackeyed peas
"Well, Billie Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please"
"There's five more acres in the lower forty I've got to plow"
And Mama said it was shame about Billie Joe, anyhow
Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge
And now Billie Joe MacAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

And Brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billie Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show
And wasn't I talkin' to him after church last Sunday night?
"I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know it don't seem right"
"I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge"
"And now you tell me Billie Joe's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

And Mama said to me "Child, what's happened to your appetite?"
"I've been cookin' all morning and you haven't touched a single bite"
"That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today"
"Said he'd be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way"
"He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge"
"And she and Billie Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

A year has come 'n' gone since we heard the news 'bout Billie Joe
And Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going 'round, Papa caught it and he died last Spring
And now Mama doesn't seem to wanna do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin' flowers up on Choctaw Ridge
And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Ode to Billy Joe and Robby Benson

"Ode to Billy Joe," the 1976 film based on the 1967 song by Bobbie Gentry, was shown on Turner earlier this week; I caught it around 2am while channel-flipping trying to find something to go to sleep to. I was 11 in 1976, but the film was still being shown in Fort Worth when my family moved there in 1977. I was at the time madly in love with Robby Benson, the star of the film, via teen magazines like "Tiger Beat." I BEGGED my mother to let me see the film. She eventually succumbed and dropped me off at some theater (I can't remember which) by myself to see my beloved Robby Benson.

I enjoyed watching Benson, but I didn't at all get the whole point of the film -- that Billy Joe had jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge because he'd had sex with a man. (Gentry, the songwriter and singer of the original song suggested that Billy Joe was more upset by a breakup with his girlfriend.) I remember coming home still not having figured out why he jumped off the bridge. In 2017, my foggy memory remained that the film didn't spell it out... But upon watching on TCM this week, the film EXACTLY spelled it out! :)  Benson has a big scene with his love interest Glynnis O'Connor where he shouts out, "I was with a man!" (I guess at age 12 I didn't know what "I was with a man!" meant!)

Anyway, seeing "Ode" reignited my curiosity about Benson... What the hell happened to him? Surely, with his soft looks and breathy voice, he had come to a bad end in the acting world... (Post "Ode," I saw him in "Ice Castles" and "One on One" and TV's "The Death of Ritchie," but after that lost track of him, other than reading that in 1982, he'd married Karla DeVito, the rough-looking chick who sang "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" with MeatLoaf!)

In reality, he went on to a respectable workmanlike career in the entertainment industry, lately doing voice-overs (and still married to DeVito), and he's currently a professor of the arts at NYU.

Tiger Beat, January 1977

Robby Benson, 2012

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I'll be as high as that ivory tower that you're living in

Heard this 1990 song coming home from work today (on Bob 103.5 in Austin), for the first time since, oh, 1994 or so, when I was attending grad school in San Francisco and hating everything about the PC people at the university. I tried "getting into" rap at the time. Hated it. Went the opposite way with country --- ended up loving it. San Francisco is when I discovered George Jones for the first time, and a whole lot of other country artists: Hank Williams, Buck Owens, early Strait. This famous Garth Brooks song, I liked a lot at the time. It didn't make me a Garth Brooks fan, but it helped to make me a Country fan.

Anyway: This is the first time I've ever heard this song on the radio. Though it was 100 degrees outside, I turned the AC off and rolled down the windows and cranked the stereo up. I wanted everyone around me to hear how great this was!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Every generation needs a Rod McKuen

When I was a teen in the early '80s and seeking out books of poetry in mall bookstores after being introduced to Plath in sophomore English, what I found on the mall shelves were multiple copies of Rod McKuen:

At the time, I mocked him. I wanted INTELLECT. Hard, cold KNOWLEDGE.

Spent the next 30 years with "intellect" and "hard, cold knowledge."

Today, specifically, visited the Twitter feed of Kathryn Dennis, a 20-something young woman appearing in the Bravo reality show "Southern Charm" featuring residents of Charleston, South Carolina. She'd hooked up with a 50-something denizen of the town, Thomas Ravenel, and had not one but two children with him. (They're currently involved in a nasty custody battle, although, according to what I've seen on the show, they continue to sleep together every few months.)

I feel for both of them. The man has my exact birthday (I've always liked Leo men) and quotes lines from Jane Austen and "Gone With the Wind." I find him very attractive. The girl is outraged by the man's constant infidelities (even if just emotional), as she should be.

Anyway, the Bravo season of the show just ended, with the Reunion show on yesterday. Kathryn and Thomas were nasty to each other on air, so I went to Twitter to see if there was anything more current. Saw this on Dennis's feed:

Wow. Although I immediately recognized it as "modern-day school-o-McKuen," it also was moving to me. I'd never heard of "r.m. drake" but soon discovered that his philosophies are all over the Internet:

I've been so immersed in "adult" and "academia" for the past 30 years that I'd forgotten it was possible that someone would try to say, simply, what people were feeling deep inside. Sans phony intellectual surface word-tricks with historical references.

Radiohead - Anyone Can Play Guitar (1992)

And if the world does turn
And if London burns
I'll be standing on the beach with my guitar 

Sunday, July 09, 2017

When you were here before...

When you were here before,
Couldn't look you in the eye,
You're just like an angel,
Your skin makes me cry,
You float like a feather,
In a beautiful world,
I wish I was special,
You're so fucking special.

But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here.

I don't care if it hurts,
I want to have control,
I want a perfect body,
I want a perfect soul,
I want you to notice,
When I'm not around,
You're so fucking special,
I wish I was special.

But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo,
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here.

Oh, oh

She's running out again,
She's running out...
She run run run run...

Whatever makes you happy,
Whatever you want,
You're so fucking special,
I wish I was special...

Joan Crawford in "Johnny Guitar" (1954)

Joan Crawford in Madrid (1962)

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

"You had to be there."

I said a few weeks ago that I was planning on weeding out about 1/10th of my 640-or-so books (i.e., about 64). So far, I've sold exactly ONE on eBay (Roger Stone on Trump election --- though I ultimately want a collection covering the historic occasion, this one was very poorly written). And I've acquired about a dozen more.

Here's how this happens: The Warhol book at the upper left of the picture was left out by the trash at my apartment complex, so I had to rescue it. I hadn't thought about Warhol in years, but this book made me think about Warhol again. Was he a visionary? An opportunistic exploiter of weaknesses of others? (I guess the safe answer would be "Oh, a combination of both." But actually, not the latter at all, I think. I think he was a dispassionate sociologist, curious about people's innate behavior.) So I just HAD TO order a whole bunch of Warhol books (plus Basquiat for the era and racial interpretations of the era plus voyeuristic early-death tale of someone I didn't care about, kind of like with the Edie Sedgwick book that I've had for 20 years) to try to get/re-get a grasp of what he was all about. I ordered "Diaries" first (am now on my 2nd read), but am currently most enamored of the slyly earnest voice of "Popism" and "Philosophy." From the latter's "Love (Senility)" section:
It's the long life spans that are throwing all the old values and their applications out of whack. When people used to learn about sex at 15 and die at 35, they obviously were going to have fewer problems than people today who learn about sex at 8 or so, I guess, and live to be 80. That's a long time to play around with the same concept. ...

I love every "lib" movement there is, because after the "lib" the things that were always a mystique become understandable and boring, and then nobody has to feel left out if they're not part of what is happening [I think this might be the key to Warhol]...

Being married [according to movie images] looked so wonderful that life didn't seem livable if you weren't lucky enough to have a husband or wife. To the singles, marriage seemed beautiful, the trappings seemed wonderful, and the sex was always implied to be automatically great---no one could ever seem to find words to describe it because "you had to be there" to know how good it was. It was almost like a conspiracy on the part of the married people not to let it out how it wasn't necessarily completely wonderful to be married and having sex; they could have taken a load off the single people's minds if they'd just been candid. But it was always a fairly well-kept secret that if you were married to somebody you didn't have enough room in bed and might have to face bad breath in the morning....

There are so many songs about love. But I was thrilled the other day when somebody mailed me the lyrics to a song that was about how he didn't care about anything, and how he didn't care about me. It was very good. He managed to really convey the idea that he really didn't care....

I wonder if it's possible to have a love affair that lasts forever. If you're married for 30 years and you're "cooking breakfast for the one you love" and he walks in, does his heart really skip a beat? I mean if it's just a regular morning. I guess it skips a beat over that breakfast and that's nice, too. It's nice to have a little breakfast made for you....

My ideal wife would have a lot of bacon, bring it all home, and have a TV station besides....

Saturday, July 01, 2017


7 Up used to contain lithium; Coca-Cola used to contain cocaine. Were Americans happier at one point?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Happy Birthday, Baby!

In the spring of 2016, I was debating whether or not to get a car. I could afford it (barely). But then I also was getting free bus transportation to work via my job. I hated the vagaries of the bus, and its drivers. (But it's free...)

I couldn't make up my mind. Finally, I told myself: If Donald Trump wins the nomination this summer, I will buy a car just so I can put a Trump sticker on it. (I was, and am, THAT into Trump.)

He won. I made the leap into buying my first car on my own (which took a lot of financing that I had no idea about). July of 2016.

Now, nearly July of 2017, my little Mazda 2 is 1 year old in my possession. Has not given me a second's worth of trouble. Just got my first inspection, went through my first registration process.

I'm so thankful that I chose to get this car rather than continuing to ride the bus, which was an ongoing series of annoyances: Asshole drivers and passengers, plus non-existent schedules.

And then there was having to ask people to give me rides, which shouldn't have been personally degrading, but was --- family, friends, acquaintances... all got very weird when it came to asking them for a ride, even if just a mile away.

An example: Two years ago, my nephew was having his birthday at a pizza place just 1 mile up the road. Not one of my family members asked if I needed a ride. Prideful, I didn't ask for a ride, instead walking the mile in the 100-degree heat; I showed up sopping wet, spent the majority of the time mopping up my sweat with pizza-parlor napkins. Another example: Two years ago, a friend invited me out to her place, but had to pick me up and take me there. She promised to take me to work the next day... but the next morning, she felt "dizzy" and couldn't drive me, so I had to take a cab...

NEVER rely on other people.

I was scared about driving again. I hadn't driven since 2007, when I sold my old Ford Contour to move to New York City... But after 9 years, I did it --- I DID drive again.

Happy 1-year anniversary to my trusty Mazda 2, and thanks to Donald Trump for the inspiration.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The New York Times' Effect on Man

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I'm a woman's man: no time to talk
Music loud and women warm, I've been kicked around
Since I was born
And now it's all right, I don't care
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times' effect on man

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother
You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin'
And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive

Well now, I get low and I get high
And if I can't get either, I really try
Got the wings of heaven on my shoes
I'm a dancin' man and I just can't lose
You know it's all right, it's ok
I'll live to see another day
We can try to understand
The New York Times' effect on man

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother
You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin'
And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive

Life goin' nowhere, somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah
Life goin' nowhere, somebody help me, yeah

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I'm a woman's man: no time to talk
Music loud and women warm
I've been kicked around since I was born
And now it's all right, it's ok
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times' effect on man

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother
You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin'
And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive

Machete al Machote!

"Machete al Machote!" ("Machete to the Machos!") Thanks to Gustavo for pointing out a feminist street/university campaign featuring Joan Crawford's "Strait-Jacket" image that's been going around Spanish-speaking countries (such as Spain, Mexico, Chile) since 2013 or so.

Says Joan in "Conversations" (interviewed in '75-76 by Roy Newquist):

(1) Actually, to [Women's Libbers] I should be some sort of heroine; I brought more men to their knees, or actually ruined them, than any other actress in Hollywood history. They should order their membership to see old Joan Crawford movies; if anyone could handle those mean male bastards, Joan could.

But then there's:

(2) I don't think Women's Lib came on very attractively. The leaders not only weren't feminine, they looked as though they'd parked their semi's outside when they came in to go on TV. Men didn't like them, naturally, and a lot of women didn't associate and didn't want to. I wasn't exactly what you'd call a housewife, but I wonder how many housewives wanted to be told they were leading useless lives and working as unpaid slaves. Later on they toned down a bit and issues like, oh, equal pay for equal work began to mean something. But at first -- well, the wrong people led the parade.
As far as the film industry is concerned, Women's Lib is a laugh. The strong parts are still being written for men. The casting couches have moved from movie studios to TV studios, and from what I hear they've moved in dozens more. Are any more women producing, directing, editing, or whatever, than in my day? I'm not anti-feminist, but I'm inclined to agree with Adela Rogers St. John, when she said that Women's Lib is a lot of hogwash, that women have always had their rights, but they were too dumb to use them. She says that any woman with intelligence and ambition has always been able to make it in the so-called man's world. I think she's right.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Andy Warhol on Evil

From 1980's "Popism" by Andy Warhol:

Now and then someone would accuse me of being evil --- of letting people destroy themselves while I watched, just so I could film them and tape record them. But I don't think of myself as evil --- just realistic. I learned when I was little that whenever I got aggressive and tried to tell someone what to do, nothing happened --- I just couldn't carry it off. I learned that you actually have more power when you shut up, because at least that way people will start to maybe doubt themselves. When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can't make them change if they don't want to, just like when they do want to, you can't stop them.

Against pretentious San Francisco

A 1966 quote from Paul Morrissey in 1980's "Popism":

You know, there's a lot to be said against San Francisco and its love children. People are always so boring when they band together. You have to be alone to develop all the idiosyncrasies that make a person interesting. In San Francisco, instead of becoming outcasts like you're supposed to when you take drugs, they organize communities around it! Then they get pretentious and call it a religion --- then they get hypocritical and say some drugs are good, others are bad... I don't know where hippies are getting these ideas to "retribalize" in the middle of the twentieth century. I mean, in New York and LA, people take drugs purely to feel good and they admit it. In San Francisco they turn it into "causes" and it's so tedious.... There's a lot to be said for the hardcore New York degenerates. After one day in San Francisco you realize how refreshing and unpretentious they are...But what I'm really praying for is a great resurgence of good old alcoholism...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Visibly Queer" at the Trump White House

The Washington Post ran this June 17, with the head "A teacher's decision to be 'visibly queer' in his photo with President Trump."…/a-teachers-decision-to-b…/…

Rhode Island's Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos had been invited to the White House to pose for a photo with the President. He wanted his fancy black fan--denoting his "visible queerness"--to be in the picture.

What terrible indignation was Trump about to inflict on both the nation and the LGBTQRFDABC community????

Exact excerpts from the Post:

“I was definitely nervous,” Giannopoulos said. “I didn’t know what the reaction would be.”

No one seemed to notice as he passed through security, he recalled. But Trump spotted the fan shortly after the teachers were led into the Oval Office.

“He said I had good style.”

Giannopoulos grew more confident then — enough that when an aide asked him to put the fan away for his private photo, he raised a small protest.

“I said, ‘I was hoping to pose with this,’ ” he said. “They said, ‘No — just put it away.’ ”

He did, for a minute. But before the shutter snapped, Giannopoulos asked the president if he minded.

“He said, sure.” So the fan came out, the ensemble was complete, “and the rest is history,” Giannopoulos said.

Monday, June 19, 2017

4513-1/2 Avenue B

Saw this ad on Craigslist/Austin today. I lived here for 9 months in 1989. When the rent was $310 per month. Today, it's $1295!

I visited the US Inflation Calculator:
At 97.5% inflation, that apartment should rent for $611 today.

RE the apartment: The bottom part is boarded over today, but back in 1989, it was an open garage area, and kittens were born there! (Nine little black, glossy kittens, to a stray that Hannah had found at the animal shelter. Hannah named the stray "Lilith." And within a few weeks after her kittens were born, she disappeared. After 6 weeks, we put up signs in the Hyde Park neighborhood: "Free black kittens!" We gave all of them away in a day, except for one, "Mr. Crusty," the runt of the litter. Who turned out to be a girl, and my beloved "Frances," my first cat.)

Looking at the Craigslist pics: The owners have barely done anything to it. I still see the same one AC window unit! As for the claim that this is a "2-bedroom" apartment... No... There's a tiny front room that the one AC unit never reached. You couldn't go in there in the summer because it was stifling. And the "bathroom" was a 5 X 5 room with only a stand-up shower. It was cute for $310 back when I was 23. It might be cute today for $611. But for $1295??? What sucker would ever pay that??? Oh... Californians. 25-year-old techies from wherever, trying to "experience Austin." News for ya: Austin, and its charmingly "weird" funkiness, was something to experience circa 1974 to 1994. Today, it's merely trendy and generic and expensive, its past reputation available to the highest bidder. No soul.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Who the hell are you?

A Facebook friend of mine posted this earlier. I usually kind of mock these things, also kind of interested. I'm pretty barren, people-wise, but pretty good about quitting jobs, flying, karaoke, ice-skating, horse-riding, being punched (though the latter is person-related, I suppose)...

🍼Children.......................... 0
🐱Pets right now................0
🚑Surgeries....................... 0
Tattoos........................... 1 (Leo symbol on right shoulder; San Francisco, 28th birthday, 1993)
💎Piercings........................2 (ears; Fort Worth Ridgmar Mall pagoda, 1983)
🏹Shot a
Quit a job........................yes (all the time, prior to 2008 market crash; now I'm uber-cautious. Never been fired, though.)
📺Ever been on TV............yes (Austin local in '90s re my opinion on smoking on campus: PRO)
🌅Been to an island...........Manhattan! Oh, and Galveston.
Flown on a plane............ yes (to Germany, NYC, San Fran)
Furthest destination.........Germany
🚙Driven across country......yes (TX to GA, TX to CA)
🦄Hit a unicorn...................???? Never!
😢Someone cried over you....I don't think so
Fallen in love................... too many times sans reciprocation (boo-hoo)
🚑Rode in an ambulance...... no
💰Visited Las
🎤Sang karaoke....................yes
🎿Been water
Ice skating......................... yes
🚲Rode on a motorcycle?.....yes
🐴Rode a horse.....................yes
💪Been punched?.................yes (a crappy kid in 4th grade, in my stomach)
🥕Nude gardening?..............hell no (fear of bugs, plus just too fey)
🏨Stayed in a hospital..........once, aged 5 (false appendix alert)
🚔Rode in the back of a police car....yes, once
🍕 Pineapple on your pizza .....hell no

Copy and paste. Change with your answers, or just use mine. Have fun!

Andy Warhol Diaries Excerpt

Before I was shot [June 1968], I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there---I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it's the way things happen to you in life that's unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it's like watching television---you don't feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it's all television.

Jailhouse Rock/Saturday Night Fever

I had a GREAT day Saturday!!

#1: Though one of my reasons for getting this new apartment was its pool, I'd been wary of going to it primarily because of the gang of skanky guys that like to hang out there and party sometimes. (The same bunch that live in the 2nd-floor apartment overlooking my small backyard---also preventing me from ever sitting out there.) So, even though I've been here for 2 months, I'd still never been swimming. But Saturday, I woke up about 10am, just CRAVING some pool and sun...The mailroom's next to the pool, so I did a test run outside to get the mail and peek at who was out at the pool... Nobody!! I changed into my swimsuit as fast as I could (before any "gang o' skanks" could ruin anything) and got out there...

Nobody but me at first! I got to splash around and get some sun while I caught up on a New Yorker I'd saved from August 2015: "....The longer I stayed, the more I sensed that my fellow attendees [at a League of the South meeting] occupied a parallel universe in which [they think] Donald Trump is going to be President." HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! So that was Simple Pleasure #1! :)

I was out there for 2 hours, and the only other people who showed up were one very pale red-haired, bearded hipster guy who covered his face the whole time he was lying there (only about 1/2-hr); a grandma showing her 8-yr-old around the pool (they circled the pool once, then sat on the edge splashing their feet only for about 15 mins, then went back upstairs); and a 30-ish black woman who sat in the shallow end looking at her phone--- and who brought a single wine-glass and a small bottle of wine with her! (That seemed like a nice, interestingly classy thing to do; I personally would not have risked bringing a nice glass out to the pool, but the fact that she had brought it made me think she might be an interesting person.)

Not a single thing at the pool for 2 whole hours got on my nerves! A miracle! :)

#2: Austin's Paramount Theater has a "Summer Classic Film Series" every year. In the "olden days" (pre-10 years ago, I suppose), I used to eagerly mark up the theater's supplement of their summer films, highlighting which 10 or so I planned on seeing. In a REALLY good year, I'd go twice or three times all summer. In a regular good year, I'd go see at least SOMETHING. And always appreciated the experience --- it's the one nice theater left in Austin, built in 1917; an evocative place for film-seeing.

Well, this year, I sought out a supplement for the first time in years, while at work. For an "activity," I marked up what I'd feel like seeing, while negatively thinking "Oh, I'll probably never go."

Then Saturday morning, I woke up thinking---gasp!--- "What the hell? The theater is right on the busline to downtown... no worries about parking... this time you don't HAVE TO take the bus; you're doing it out of nostalgia... You are completely FREE and can do whatever you want today...TREAT YOURSELF TO SOMETHING FUN!"

So I did: A double feature of "Jailhouse Rock" (60th anniversary, 1957) and "Saturday Night Fever" (40th anniversary, 1977). I had goosebumps much of the time at how extraordinarily talented and beautiful Elvis and Travolta were.(AND: Not a single person in the audience at the movies got on my nerves! Another miracle!)

"Jailhouse" wasn't much of a movie, but seeing Elvis perform the title song and "You're So Square" (and watching his early acting efforts) was exciting. I kept imagining what a teen Elvis fan going to see the film in 1957 with her friends must have been like. I felt like applauding after the title-song performance (see video below), but the audience, while friendly, was rather subdued and didn't clap much, so I held back.

As for "Saturday Night Fever": The audience was slightly bigger than for the earlier part of the double feature, and much more into it: Applauding especially at the opening sequence (to "Stayin' Alive"), Travolta's solo dance at the disco (to "You Should Be Dancing"), and the closing credits. The movie itself was fantastic! I'd seen it many times on TV, but never at the theater... The acting and characters were great; the writing (Norman Wexler) was especially great --- every single scene was tight and memorable and emotionally evocative, even the minor scenes like Tony and Stephanie going for coffee and trying to talk about "Romeo and Juliet," or Tony telling her about the Verrazano Bridge... And Travolta's acting was, upon this millionth view, one of the best performances I've ever seen. Seriously. His eyes are so expressive: Steely when belligerent, sparkly when teasing, soft and dumb when embarrassed or tender. Aside from his physical attributes, it was amazing to watch his eyes and face.

So yeah: Definitely a Great Day! See below videos for a taste (suggest full-screen).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

1953. Joan Crawford on the set of "Torch Song."

'Night, Andy

Andy Warhol's grave, live-streamed 24/7.

Below: 10:58pm 6/16/17. (As Warhol might have written: "Some regular people came by to see me.")

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bay City Rollers - Maybe I'm a Fool to Love You

1975; performed below in '77.

What an Adult Does on a Saturday

Normally, I just lie around on a Saturday or Sunday. Whether from a hangover the night before or just a general desire to slouch around.

This past Saturday, though, I woke up at 8:30am, and immediately thought of the mysteries of the credit union that I joined last summer when they gave me the loan for a car that I hadn't had for the past 10 years. (They were very kind to do so.)

At the time I got the car loan, I also received a debit card and (secured) credit card to the bank. I've belonged to another generic big-name bank since I was a kid (1983), where I have all of my work checks deposited. (The same corporate motherfuckers who declined my request for a car loan within 20 seconds online.)

So I didn't quite know what to do with the new gifts that the new credit union had given me. I tried using the debit card once, months ago, and it didn't work, so I just gave up.

Recently, though, I've been remembering that charging even minor things on a credit card will build up your credit rating. I need a credit rating. The credit union had given me a credit card, but after a year, I'd forgotten how to activate it, forgotten any pin they'd given me, etc.

Anyway, I woke up relatively early on Saturday and suddenly had a desire to get EVERYTHING STRAIGHTENED OUT. (There are many Mysteries of Life: Love, you can't figure out. But banking, there are rules in place for, and people in place whose job is to help you... This is true of the majority of things in life.)

Sat politely in the waiting area for 45 minutes. Got it all straightened out. Charged a sandwich on my newly functional credit card on the way out.

Went in to work for a few hours after, earned some overtime.

When I got home, I also did something I'm proud of: Made a big ol' salad! Every few months, I'll buy some lettuce-accoutrements from the grocery store; then they usually rot in the fridge. One week ago, I'd bought a packaged Hearts-of-Romaine lettuce, plus some radishes. Hopeful, as always. Except this time I actually made a damn salad and ate it!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

None of these turned out how I wanted them to...

The exposures were all by accident, none reflecting exactly how cool my new lava lamp looks in my fireplace. I love my new lava lamp.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Mending Wall by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

Lava Lamp

As a kid, I rarely saw lava lamps --- maybe a couple of times at Spencer's at the mall, or when I spent the night at the house of a friend who had cool parents. A couple of years ago, trying to relive my youth, I bought a lava lamp from eBay; it turned out to be a mere 12 inches tall, made in China, and within 6 months, I couldn't distinguish the liquid from the wax. Just recently, though, figured out that eBay has the OLD-SCHOOL lava lamps, 17 inches tall... Many are going for $75 or more, but I found one for $40-something. Pictured below, the good vintage one (right) next to the chintzy one. My camera takes terrible pictures, but my new "real" vintage lava lamp is the interesting thing that I remembered.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Bay City Rollers: Don't Worry Baby (1976 remake of Beach Boys)

For others

The eyes of others have surprised
me with their concern

Not personal, but I learn
what hope can be, seeing

looks meant for others

There are eyes like my mother's
but with love.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


After liberal professor Bret Weinstein had the nerve to object to a call for a "No Whites Day" on the Evergreen State College campus in Washington, here's what happened on campus. I'm embarrassed for the white administrators in this video, who are too cowardly to stand up for intellectual honesty, and too cowardly to put these proto-fascists in their place. ENOUGH.…/no-campus-for-professors-opposed-…/

What's happening right now in America reminds me of the chaotic idiocy that I experienced firsthand while attending grad school in San Francisco in 1994-95. One example of many: One day while riding the bus, a young black guy got on. The bus fare was $1, but the guy either didn't have the money or didn't feel like paying it. So he made a big scene with the driver. We riders all sat there for minutes while the guy went blah-blah-blah with the driver. Finally, an old white woman sitting next to me stood up and tried to hand the young man a dollar bill. Nope, didn't want it. Just wanted to argue with the driver. We sat there for more minutes. Finally, the driver gave up and let the guy ride for free.

At the time, I thought, "No fucking way this would ever happen in Texas (my home state)." I gratefully escaped back to Austin the second I was awarded my degree.

Now, in 2017, it appears there is no escape. The San Francisco insanity has followed me home and spread, like a cancer, over the whole country.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

I'm so bored and desperate...

...I've been checking out Craig's List apartments in Weehawken, New Jersey, and figuring how much money I can get from separating from my current job (@ $6000) and from selling my car (@$3000) in order to move back there and put down first/last/deposit.

I want that exact apartment and neighborhood and sunlight and winter and fall back, and I want that exact cat, Gracie, back. And I never want to have heard from Sandra. I was happy for about 6 months.

Some rescue pets; some, kids...

BOOK RESCUE! Carried some beer bottles out to the trash today, and saw a stack of books sitting there! Though my goal has been to get rid of 100 of my books in the next year, I had to take these orphans home! (Wish me luck on ever reading "Jude the Obscure." Though I did take a class on 19th-century British lit and did appreciate Hardy's "Tess of the d'Urbervilles." Reading "Ulysses" is never going to happen. I've tried multiple times. But, hey, at least I have it there in case I feel like fulfilling some intellectual ambitions in the next 20 years...)

Saturday, May 20, 2017


RE: The dicks in the apartment overlooking mine:

(1) The dicks partied from 9am to midnight last Mother's Day. Yeah, a solid 15 hours.
(2) I complained to management the next day re the 15-hr partying. As it turned out, it's the dicks' 3 chairs on the walk that aren't allowed on the premises. (And further, as it turned out: Only 2 people are on the lease, whereas 4 to 6 other people are constantly hanging out there.)

The HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA part comes from my looking out the window at 7pm tonight and seeing that their 3 chairs had been removed. One of the dicks was out there actually sweeping post chair-removal. Then later that eve, saw him propping his butt on the window-sill while texting.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fighting Words

[Austin, Texas] Today at my hairdresser's, I was being shampooed next to a stylist/customer who were having a loud discussion, fully in agreement, about why Trump should be impeached. As I was being finished off, my own stylist, referring to the conversation next to us, mentioned, "I heard there was a march downtown today to impeach Trump."

ME: "Well, good thing I wasn't there, because I voted for Trump."

The majority of hair-stylists are genial people, and mine recovered politely: "Why did you vote for him?"

ME:  "There were only two people who ever mentioned that American workers' jobs were being shipped overseas: Bernie Sanders and Trump. And these were the only two candidates who mentioned the terrible trade deals that the US has been making, to the detriment of US workers. And who would be better to handle trade deals? Sanders, who knew nothing about business, or Trump, who'd been making business deals all of his life? Oh, and I also don't think illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in our country."

[The above sounds made up after-the-fact, but I actually said most of it at the time, even the word "detriment."]

As my shampoo was finished and I was told to go back to my chair, I turned to the two "impeachment" gals and said loudly: "I can't stand this anti-Trump shit." Unfortunately, the water was running and these two didn't hear me.

Back at my hair-cutting station, my ever-congenial stylist told me that her own family voted for "4 different candidates." (I know Sanders/Clinton/Trump, but... who was the 4th?) And then things simmered down until I told her that I was going to get into a fight with the two back at the shampoo area if they happened to be sitting next to me... "They're across the room," she reassured me."

Nonetheless, I kept glaring at various duos of stylists/customers as they crossed my sites. Unfortunately, many women look alike with their hair wet, so I couldn't quite pinpoint who exactly to be pissed off at or yell "Viva Trump!" at as I exited the place.

Trump (January 2016): "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." I'm one of those voters. Not because I'm mindless but because I recognize that Trump is the only politician in America who has balls enough to identify the utterly corrupt corporate-run system (both domestically and internationally) AND to attempt to fight it. Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation were completely corporate-bought and sick --- talk about "Russian influence"! How hypocritical that the Democrats are now decrying the Russians.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Why don't I...

On Mother's Day, my mom said to me (as she sat in my apartment post-Mother's Day lunch): "I read the books on the best-seller lists. You can write as well as they can. Why don't you write something so you can get rich and buy a house?"

"Oh, Mom," I said. "I'm not that smart, not on THAT level. And I don't have the free time or the money. I spend all of my energy making a living."

Later that day, after she'd gone, I thought: "I also have nothing to write about: No great love, no interesting travels. Plus: You've got to be able to relax and THINK and let thoughts percolate and coalesce. At 51, after years of living hand to mouth, I now spend all of my energy making a living for fear of having to again temp and live in a one-room apartment." First things first.

La Belle Jeane - Bay City Rollers (1976)

Bay City Rollers - It's a Game (1977)

There's snakes upon your ladder
And there's dice upon your skirt...

Bay City Rollers - Don't Let the Music Die (1977)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Don't Stop the Music/Maybe I'm a Fool (Bay City Rollers '75)

Les McKeown gives me goosebumps here. He used to be my 2nd favorite Roller, after Eric, but I love watching him here, and I especially love his distinct voice. "My heart will shine" --- I used to sing that to myself, hearing his voice.

I only wanna be with you / Bay City Rollers (1976)

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

My beloved books become annoying

I moved into my new apartment 2 weeks ago. My books have, until tonight, remained unpacked --- too damn tedious to mess with until now. (As the movers in 2014 asked me: "Ma'am, have you considered investing in a Kindle?")

I spent 4 hours tonight simply unpacking all the books; getting only about half in place. (The rest are still sitting around on the floor --- but at least they're unpacked.)

I used to go around claiming I had "1000 books." Well, I'm anal, so while all the books were sitting around tonight, I counted them just so I'd know: 642.

After the physical hardship of moving stuff 2 weeks ago, I vowed to get rid of 100 books. Now that I know my total is only 642, I just vow to get rid of 64 of them. I don't need "Paris 1919," for instance. Or a bio of Hart Crane. Or the story of the Kennedy patriarch. I can go to the library if I'm so curious. (Of course, I'm keeping every single Joan Crawford, Plath, Sexton, Ted Hughes, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Tennessee Williams...)

I'm not a matriarch settled in a homestead, building a library. Rather, I'm a renter who has a bunch of shit that I have to move around every year or two or three. I need to thus plan accordingly.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Well made

Recently I've been transitioning my kitchen to red accessories: new trashcan, towels, potholders, broom, etc. Was about to get rid of the dumpy old Panasonic microwave, a hand-me-down years ago from my mom, in favor of a snazzy new red one...until I came across the booklet that came with it. My mom had stapled the receipt in there --- she bought it at Christmas 1985! The thing is 32 years old! In honor of that amazing longevity (what appliance lasts for 32 years these days??), I'm gonna keep it until it gives out on its own.