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.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Ooh-la-la: Le Pen vs. Macron

The French are a bit more mature and philosophical when it comes to their candidates' private lives.

I'm hoping for a Le Pen win on May 7, based on her anti-EU/anti-corporate/pro-nationalist policies. Marine Le Pen's father Jean-Marie Le Pen is a real racist; the daughter took over his National Front party in 2011 and has since liberalized it socially --- it's now pro-gay/pro-reproductive rights, while retaining adamantly pro-nationalist France and anti-globalist immigration and trade policies. Macron, on the other hand, is an investment banker, a supporter of the EU and its pro-immigration/pro-free trade policies...and a protege of the current milquetoast internationalist president Hollande.

Positions aside, the personal lives of the two candidates are fascinating to me. They're so much sloppier (and so much more interesting) than, say, would be "allowed" on the American political stage. 

Le Pen has had two 5-year marriages and is currently shacking up with a guy from her political party. She publicly broke with her father in 2014 after his Doberman killed her cat on the estate they shared. 

Macron met his current wife when he was a 15-year-old schoolkid and she his 39-year-old teacher; they finally married in 2007, when he was 30.

It's all very shaggy and real and oh-so-French.

In the meantime: Brigitte Bardot on the French election (in her Le Figaro interview this week):

“The contempt [Macron] gives to animal suffering can be seen in the total lack of empathy reflected in the coldness of his steel eyes. Whilst the scandals are increasing, he takes the side of the animal breeders and the hunters against animal rights associations that are fighting with the lobbies that seem to have power over this candidate.”

“We live in a period when everything is vulgar, ordinary, and mediocre. France no longer has the radiance, the majesty it had. I am very patriotic. I was raised by a father and a grandfather who fought for France and instilled in me a love of my homeland. I am not proud of what France is today… I’m not a ‘facho’ [fascist], any more than Marine Le Pen is. Marine Le Pen has the will to take France in hand, to restore borders and give priority to the French.”

I do agree that Marine Le Pen has the more soulful eyes. Jean d'Arc vs. Ted Bundy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

shallow reign - paint the flowers all black

Late summer/fall of 1988. Living briefly in Hurst-Euless-Bedford with K/K, travelling weekly to Deep Ellum in Dallas to see Shallow Reign, New Bohemians, Course of Empire.

"The EU is shining with the light of a dead star."

"The EU is shining with the light of a dead star." -- Marine Le Pen

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bay City Rollers It's a game & Rock'n roll love letter

I actually saw this exact performance on German TV in the summer of 1977.
My father was being violent so my mother had to take us kids to Germany (her homeland) for 6 weeks to get away from him. The tactic didn't work; by October, he'd pulled a gun on us and she filed for divorce. That summer, though, I didn't know and didn't care. All I cared about was the Rollers.

Bay City Rollers - Bye Bye Baby (1975)

The song that made the BCR famous in Europe.

Bay City Rollers Be My Baby

40 years later, I still get excited watching my first favorite band.

Saturday Night / Bay City Rollers - Midnight Special 1976

Friday, April 28, 2017

En suite

I've never had an en suite bathroom before! 

AND, I've never had a whisper-soft dishwasher! At the house I lived in from 6th grade through 12th grade, we had a dishwasher, but my mother never used it (didn't believe in it). I have no idea what it sounded like. I've usually not had dishwashers in the apartments/houses/duplexes where I've lived. My place just before this one did have a dishwasher, which I used once a week --- but it was LOUD! Whenever I was ready to use it, I had to make sure I didn't want to watch a particular show, for instance. Tonight, however, I tested out my new dishwasher for the first time. I was sitting only a couple of feet away, and it was very subtle in its churnings. I didn't even notice when it had finished.

I'm finally starting to get settled in my new place. The fireplace and shelves are my favorite things.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"It's Easy" - Mia Sable -- Bravo's Southern Charm Theme Song

Thomas Ravenel -- my birthday boy.
(In general, I've never known a bad Leo man. And have never known another Leo woman.)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dear God: No cable, thus... NPR all night!

Time-Warner/Spectrum fucked up, as usual. (Yes, "as usual." I just moved 2 years ago. They fucked up then by being 4 hours late and then having a non-English speaker who could not figure out how to hook up my cable box and was asking ME for instructions! Today, they fucked up with Angel insisting that I'd only ordered Internet service, not TV. I showed him the receipt from April 10, when I'd placed the order: Cable TV, Internet. Nope, Angel couldn't do anything... but take my modem because he said I wasn't get cable! Just curious: Why can't the service-people call in to "headquarters" to get things straightened out? Angel thought I just ordered Internet. Although I showed him my receipt showing otherwise, he refused to fix the problem. People make mistakes, but refusing to see logic and try to fix them??? My definition of insanity.)

In short: I am for the night without the cable TV that I'm addicted to. Mainly Bravo and Fox (in the evening hours) and C-SPAN, PBS, and/or TCM for going to sleep.

In lieu of my visual nighttime entertainment, I worked on my Joan website while listening to NPR. Which I often listen to while driving to work just because of no commercials, although the outright irrational leftist views are amazing to me... (I was about to bitch about why the federal government is funding such, but... apparently, only 16% of NPR funding comes from govt sources.)

Tonight on NPR, on the "HumaNature" program (I went to their website to learn the correct lower/uppercasing): Debbie was a ballroom dancer whose foot was bitten by a shark. (Not bitten OFF, just bitten.) She was swimming in an area where sharks also swam. Now, normally, someone who'd been bitten by a shark might think, "Oh, fuck! Ow! I knew I shouldn't have been swimming here because of the sharks!" But Debbie is more spiritual than the rest of us: "There must have been a reason why I was bitten." And she gave it: "To prove my commitment to environmental conservation. [Being bitten] proved that I could be an environmental advocate... that I could have that relationship again with nature." She went from "anger to advocacy." And she's even dancing again!

(Dear Debbie: Why the anger and drama and yadda-yadda-yadda over being bitten by a shark? It was a dumb act of nature. Sharks bite stuff. There's no hidden meaning in it.) 

Following Debbie on the same program was Amy. Amy was depressed about Trump being elected and concerned about the diversity of all of us. The past 8 years had been so good. (This segment was accompanied by a dirge-like piano, similar to that in John Lennon's "God.") Despite her depression, Amy went in to work the next day. She studies prairie dogs. When she went out in the field the day after Trump's election, she felt that the prairie dogs had a "special call" for her. While watching them, she saw a chickadee: "I could hear its little toe-nails on my hat." The chickadee then flew from her hat to her co-workers shoes. And then followed them. And then there was a badger! The animals "sensed my sorrow. It had to mean something. It'll be OK. You're doing good things. Don't give up." Amy now plans to start a compost pile.

(Dear Amy: The prairie dogs, chickadees, and badgers don't give a fuck who just won the U.S. presidential election. And, say, The Universe really was sending you a "special message"---your only response to such a glorious communication was to pledge to start a compost pile??)

Having been in Austin off and on for the past 30+ years, and in San Francisco for a couple of years in the '90s, I was aware that some random people thought like this. Today, though, seems that this is supposed to be how we're ALL supposed to think (or else we're redneck racists). I PROTEST.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Room with No View

More hours of transporting stuff to the new place today. Then, when I got home... Appreciated the sunset from my kitchen window, and from the study that I never got to use. The view really is pretty here from the second floor. My new place has no view whatsoever. NONE.

It's depressing to move. While I've been packing and driving over random boxes to the new place for the past 4 days, I've also been thinking about how hopeful I felt when I first moved in to my current 2-bedroom place. I'd been living in a one-room apartment from 2010 to early 2015, in the only apartment I could afford after coming back from NYC. After I got hired full-time, I could afford this 800-sq-ft place, and afford to buy a bedroom set, a real couch, a patio set, etc.

The patio set never came out of the box. I never felt comfortable enough here to sit outside.

My study, I also never got to use; within a couple of months of living here, the constant yelling of the guy downstairs apparently parked directly under my study made me move my computer to the dining table up front. Which overlooked the parking lot, where I had to constantly hear everyone coming and going, which I didn't want to hear. I hate that asshole.

My new place is 1200 square feet. Completely renovated. I should be excited about moving into a really nice place. I might be soon, but I'm not right now. Right now, I'm just tired. And depressed. Moving was interesting and somewhat "fun" in my 20s and early 30s. ("What new setting will I find myself in?!") At over 50, though, there's nothing new about any part of Austin that's interesting. And it's depressing to finally be making a decent salary but still have to live around weirdos. Without a view. Most of all, it's a huge pain in the ass (and back and ankles) to have to haul all of my shit around yet again.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dudes et al.

Ironic that one of the main reasons I'm moving out of my current place is because of the constant yelling of the black guy downstairs... and the first thing I hear upon carting a few boxes into my new place earlier this week: a black maintenance-guy yelling on the phone in the work-room next door to my new apartment. I only had a few things to transport on the day that I picked up my key; the whole 20 minutes, though, the guy was yelling and I could hear him all through my apartment.

I've  been moving a few boxes at a time since last Friday. The real movers will come this Thursday to do the heavy furniture; in the meantime, my goal is to transport odds-n-ends from a room a day through Wednesday.

Although my new apartment is huge (you could actually roller-skate in my living room), the down-side is: While I'm paying a lot for my apartment, there are many other lesser-priced apartments surrounding it. The complex ranges from efficiencies to 3-bedrooms. (I've got a 2/2.) I didn't think that much of it when the apartment manager first took me on a tour weeks ago: The place looked well-tended and seemed quiet during our tour. One thing I noticed, though, on the day that I took the tour and signed my lease: In the building overlooking my small backyard-to-be: Three chairs and a grill outside one apartment. Now, TWO chairs might indicate a couple who liked to sit outside and chat quietly amongst themselves. But THREE chairs?

While I was moving in this weekend, I unfortunately proved my instincts right: During both Saturday and Sunday while moving, a trio of raggedy-looking "Dudes" were hanging out and smoking there. Two were raggedy 20-somethings; the third was a raggedy late-40-something. I said "hello" the first time I passed them carrying a box. As I marched on back and forth with my boxes, the Dudes would stop their conversation and stare. I nodded the first few times, then got annoyed. (Mind your business, Dudes!) Caught a bit of their conversation as I passed: One guy had had his driver's license revoked but hoped to have it reinstated soon.

Over 2 days of my hauling boxes with these guys staring: Their apartment building overlooking mine housed smaller 1-bedroom units. What were two 20-somethings and a 40-something doing living together? Their collective haggard look (and collective dog-walking -- all 3 of the same guys -- which I noticed on one of my later delivery trips) indicated not that they were gay, but that they were sharing something of a halfway house, recuperating and smoking-rather-than-drinking together for $945 per month.

Good for them. But bad for me, since their 3-seat stoop directly overlooks what I'd thought was a bonus of my new place: a backyard. It ain't no backyard for me with 3 Dudes hanging out just above it.

In other Moving-In News: The parking lot where I parked while hauling boxes abutted a small backyard of a tenant's apartment. At 9am Sunday when I arrived, a rough-looking white guy and a couple of Hispanic women were out at their backyard table smoking. I said "Good morning" the first time I passed, but not one of them replied. (I always find that odd: Not responding to a direct greeting!) I had several loads to pick up from my car, and so passed their area several times. I always looked over at them to potentially greet, but not once did they acknowledge me, even though I was a mere 3 feet away from them.

I think my take-away is: If you get a raise and have more money to spend on a place... Get a place where your fellow tenants' income is similar to yours. Not some apparent "mixed-income" refuge that you must share with the Shitty Poor. (As opposed to "The Poor Who Are Trying," as I once was.)

I wonder where/when/with whom I'll begin to live my life.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I saw this ad on Fox tonight...

Agreed with it for the most part. This is EXACTLY what I've been seeing on what I used to call "the news" for the past 6 months or so. Nothing but anti-Trump, pro-leftist violence.

The NRA, though? I'm still a doubter. Those guys need to support the banning of semi-automatic weapons. And they need to support the banning of households with ex-cons and domestic abusers and crazy kids from having guns. Sandy Hook mom, for instance. She thought her little autistic darling was more normal when she took him to the shooting range.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Put It Together (Langhorne Slim)

A really good song that's been playing on Coke commercials.

I saw my reflection
I fell to my knees
I threw my possessions onto the street
Now they're asking us questions
To things we don't know
Shouldn't hold on any longer if we're gonna let go
This heart of mine, it hurts sometimes
It was broken, now it's better
Since you left, put it together
I lost my direction
On the day I was born
But I felt disconnected since they cut the cord

If I learn my lesson
And find me some peace
'Cause I need protection from this heart on my sleeve
This heart of mine, it hurts sometimes
It's been broken, now it's better
Since you left, put it together
This heart of mine, it hurts sometimes
It's been broken, now it's better
Since you left, put it together

Monday, April 10, 2017

Like Family

When I first started my current job 3 years ago, one of the first events that I experienced at the workplace was a day-long retreat at a nearby recreational facility where we first heard lectures about how the company was like a family, then got to hit balls on a mini golf range. At the time, I rolled my eyes at the corny, overt "team-building" phoniness of it.

Last week, though, my boss actually made me cry with her innate kindness and true "family" feeling.

I'd worked a lot of overtime in March, saving up for my upcoming move. The Payroll department had been having problems with incompetent employees in the past months, not getting the overtime paychecks out, etc. Knowing this, I was super-careful in March to document every single overtime hour and e-mail the Payroll department upon completion of the hours. I even specifically told them, "I'm moving next month, so it's really important to me that I get this money on time."

Long story short: I should have received over $600 in an April 7 check. I did not. Payroll had fucked up yet again. I actually wept at work when I saw that I hadn't received the money when I should've. My boss went and talked to the Payroll people. When it was determined that the check wouldn't arrive until April 21 (too late to pay for my current moving expenses) because of their fuck-ups, my boss came to my office:

Boss: "What are you doing Monday?"
Me: [sniffling and baffled] "I don't know."
Boss: "On Monday, we're going across the street to my bank. I'm going to take out $600, and then you're going to take me to lunch."

After initially crying because I didn't get the check that I'd expected/needed, I then wept even more because of this incredible act of kindness by a virtual stranger, a business associate.

I contrast this to the time in 2010 when I'd been forced back to Austin, forced to live with my mother, after being unable to find steady work in NYC. I had freelance editing work while living with her, but no full-time job. Apartments that I looked at in Austin required a full-time job, or else a co-signer for the lease. My mother, who had willingly co-signed a couple of years earlier for my brother's HOUSE, refused to co-sign for a $575-per-month one-room apartment for me, instead asking me: "What are you going to do, Steph?"

I ended up wrangling with the cheap-o apartment complex to let me live there if my freelance employer provided a letter saying that their work was relatively steady, which they did.

I will never forget either the ice-cold "What are you going to do, Steph?" in my time of need, or the warm kindness of the boss ready to take out her own money to help me.

The Avett Brothers / Austin City Limits / "Kick Drum Heart"

The footprints over the snow
the fabric of all the lonely
C-Covering only
the fables and hands
the rest is out in the cold
holding the last of the season
F-F-F freezin' Yeah

My my my heart like a kick drum
My my heart like a kick drum
My my heart like a kick drum
My love like a voice.

We're walkin' in to the fields.
We're walkin in to the forest.
The moon is before us.
Up above
We're holdin' hands in the rain
S-sayin' words like I love you
D-d-d'you love me? Yeah

My my heart like a kick drum
My my heart like a kick drum
My my heart like a kick drum
My my love like a voice

Mother Mary heard us approaching her door
Although we didn't make a sound.

There's nothing like finding gold
within the rocks hard and cold
I'm so surprised to find more
Always surprised to find more

I won't look back anymore
I left the people that do
Its not the chase that I love
Its me following you.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Solid Gold (1981) Split Enz - "Hard Act To Follow"

In '81, I was 16, and hoping that the entertainment world would turn out more like Split Enz and less like the Solid Gold Dancers. Today: Nothing but Solid Gold Dancers.

Split Enz - Poor Boy (1980)

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Beatles - A Day In The Life (1967)

Found my way upstairs and had a smoke, and somebody spoke and I went into a dream.

1966: Strawberry Fields Forever

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone, but it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What 50K per year gets you in Austin

I'm about to move out of my 800-sq-ft loud, roof-leaky apartment that I'm paying $1000 per month for; am seeking a duplex or small house around the same size. There's nothing out there! Today I drove by the above, offered for $1100 --- it was a shithole; in a crappy neighborhood on a crappy street.

But... but... I just got a raise! I make 50K per year! And this is all I can afford in Austin! A place where, as the tracks indicate, people feel the need to park on the front lawn.

Back in the '80s and '90s when I brought home $1234 per month, I lived in better places in Austin ($250 for a garage apartment in Hyde Park, $310 for a duplex on Rainey). And from 2000 to 2007, when I made about 36K per year, I lived in a neat house in a neat neighborhood that I paid $825 a month for.

I can't seem to get ahead. I now make 50K per year and I can't find a decent place to live.

Monday, March 27, 2017

SNL with Kristen Stewart: Totinos!

Kinda funny, kinda my real lesbian fantasy -- including the French-speaking part. :)

Torment (1944)

Wow! Thank you, Universe, for the meaningful-to-me film that I caught by accident because I couldn't sleep at 3am on Monday morning.

I came upon this film on TCM about halfway through, not having any clue what I was watching. In the first scene that I happened upon, The Lovers were beautiful and embracing. The Girl was scared. Ominous shadows on the walls. The Girl begged the Boy not to leave. More shadows (as dramatic as "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari") as he left; he had to study for his graduation exams (really!). 

I thought: It's a murder mystery. The Girl is about to be killed. Indeed, once her lover had left, she went about her shadowy apartment turning the light off and on. Once she'd gotten into bed, a shadowy figure appeared and she shrieked...

Now, I thought that the college boy would be blamed for a murder, etc. etc. Nope. She wasn't murdered. The Boy came back a day or so later... And so much more happened!

This film was surprising and, yes, wondrous, in its honesty. While watching to the end, I kept thinking, "I really love this film, but how in the world am I ever going to figure out who made this and who these people are?" Usually TCM films on so late have no summing up at the end, unlike their prime-time movies. This one did, though: Directed by Alf Sjoberg (whom I hadn't heard of), and... the very first screenplay by Ingmar Bergman! There's a tipping point of trust with artists, as there is with people you actually know... I'd seen "Wild Strawberries" and "Fanny and Alexander" and "The Seventh Seal" and I admired the man's work, etc. But with "Torment," I found I could trust him.

What I thought was going to be a simplistic (and lauded) noir-type thing (based, obviously, on all of the shadows and staircases that I was seeing) turned out to be a psychologically nuanced and interesting slice of reality. There was extreme darkness, but not just for darkness' sake. And there was banal darkness, of the type that I recognized. But also, in the midst of all of the pain, was everyday human kindness and decency, and a real, unphony sense of actual hope.

After watching this, I felt I could breathe again. Sanity!

Read more:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I want surprises

Your sweet nature, darling
Was too hard to swallow
I've got the solution
I'm leaving tomorrow
And now as I stand
And stare into your eyes
I see safety there
I want surprises

What I really need to do
Is find myself a brand new lover
Somebody with eyes for me
Who doesn't notice all the others
What I really need to do
Is find a brand new lover

When you wake up tomorrow
You'll be all alone
All the love that we had
I have quickly outgrown
I wanted to stay, but I just couldn't do it
Couldn't stand there and put you through it

What I really need to do
Is find myself a brand new lover
Somebody with eyes for me
Who doesn't notice all the others
What I really need to do
Is find myself a brand new lover
Somebody with eyes for me
Who doesn't notice all the others

My other loves will tell you that
I'm nothing but a pleasure-seeker
And for once I really must agree
I need to leave you by yourself
And go in search of someone else
To satisfy my curiosity

Your sweet nature, darling
Was too hard to swallow
I've made my decision
I'm leaving tomorrow

What I really need to do
Is find myself a brand new lover
Somebody with eyes for me
Who doesn't notice all the others
What I really need to do
Is find a brand new lover


In this period of nothingness, have expected nothingness. Only, I got a treat last night. Ginny. A very long dream that I remembered almost nothing of when I woke up other than a good feeling.

I've been thinking cynically recently that, now that I'm over 50, it didn't matter that Ginny had died in '88. I'd wanted her to be young with. I'd wanted to explore Austin with her. To see bands, to get a first apartment with. Now that I'm over 50, I don't need her any more. I've done all of that "young" stuff by myself.

What I've been missing for the past decade or more, though, is the feeling of being loved. I've learned to live without it. What Ginny did when appearing in the dream last night was remind me: I was once loved. She left me emotionally years before she actually died, but for a few months in 1983, she loved me. I felt it. It was special, and that feeling has come back to sustain me over the decades, here and there. Not necessarily during my worst of times, but at surprising, unexpected times. Like last night.

During such long stretches of barren times, I've grasped on to anything --- TV shows like "Long Island Medium" or "Dead Files," for instance, which show how the dead attempt to contact the living. The former in a positive way; the latter, negative. I've not been attracted to the negative -- have usually been repulsed by it -- so don't fear that... But I've always wondered if some kind of spirit has been watching over me. My Me-Ma, for instance. Or Ginny. Or Joan. I wasn't loved at all by my family or by lovers, so wonder what has sustained me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Kind of makes me sick.

89-1/2 B Rainey Street, 2007.
89-1/2 B Rainey Street, 2016.

I lived at the white duplex at the end of this road from 1991 to 1994. Two of my cats were buried in the backyard. (One, Toonces, was run over in front of me as I called her one morning before work; the other, Katie Scarlett, I found dead, run over, in my front yard when I got home from work.)

Rainey Street is now a hipster bar district. My cats' graves have long been bulldozed.

This period of time was very unhappy for me, despite how much I loved the place itself. Bad/very sad breakup. I was desolate nearly the whole time. I would walk down to the river (a short walk to the right) whenever I was upset. Got stopped by the police once at Thanksgiving when I was stalking around grimly ("I'm just in a bad mood, officer.") Also got stopped once by a couple of guys looking for a good time ("No thanks. I'm just in a bad mood.").

It all could have been much worse.

I miss my cats. I miss the hope I felt when I first moved into this place. What the place turned into is worse than my own specific sad memories.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

River Phoenix: Aleka's Attic - Across the Way 1991

Woke up Friday...

... to see the Trump sticker on my car tagged with a big ol' "Fuck."

I bought the sticker months before I bought my car back in July 2016, purely to inspire me to get out of a rut: I couldn't decide whether to keep riding buses or to invest in a car after 9 years of being without one (after moving to NYC in 2007). I told myself: If Trump wins the nomination (which wasn't at all a given), I'll get a car to put this sticker on. He did, and I did.

Friends/family/co-workers then warned me about the dangers of having a Trump sticker on my car: My car would be vandalized, etc. But I had the courage of my convictions. It's been 8 months since I first put the sticker on my new car. 4 months since the election. 2 months since Trump actually took office.

Friends told me they were surprised I hadn't been vandalized sooner. Sad.

In the next month that I'm at this apartment, I'll make sure I park my car where it can be seen from my window. And today, I ordered a pack of 10 Trump stickers online. If I catch anyone touching my car again, I'll recognize the person and then slap a Trump sticker on THEIR car.