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.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Nostalgia: 2nd Presidential Debate 2016: Trump: "You'd Be in Jail"

Exclusive Look At President Trump's 2005 Tax Return | Rachel Maddow

Maddow was hoping for a scoop. But at the end of her spiel, turns out that Trump actually paid more in percentage of taxes than liberal darlings Obama and Sanders.

Can't stand this stilted, ignorant school-marm. I have a friend in Houston who loves her. No greater turn-off than Dumb.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

"Dark Blood" trailer (1993)

Phoenix died days after shooting his last scenes. 
He was viewed in coffin and cremated with that horrible latter-day John Travolta skullcap hair (and bad acting to match).
Judy Davis's chopped bangs (and her acting) were equally bad.

Friday, March 10, 2017

River Phoenix Interview 1988 (age 17)

After catching the pseudo-deep (but acclaimed at the time) "Running on Empty" (1988) a few weeks ago on late-night TCM, I hated the movie's smarmy fakeness ("we radicals may have maimed someone and we may uproot our kids every 6 months, but aren't we warm and friendly on birthdays") but was struck by Phoenix's performance. 

Phoenix died, age 23, at Hollywood's Viper Room on Halloween in 1993 an hour after a "friend" (allegedly John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) gave him a bad speedball in the club's bathroom. No moral to that story, right? Phoenix was doing drugs. Accidents happen. (Though I believe in accountability, whether in the mainstream or in the underground: Frusciante and/or his dealer should not have been prosecuted by The Law, but they should have been taken out by their own culture. But... said "culture" was so disgustingly passive and "nonjudgmental.")

The movie I remembered most of River Phoenix's was "Dogfight" (1991) with Lili Taylor, which I paid to see at the theater. "My Own Private Idaho" (1991) seems to have made the biggest impression in the alternative world. (I saw it at the theater when it came out, but it didn't resonate personally at all.) "Stand By Me" (1986), of course, made the biggest impression on mainstream culture; I also saw this at the theater but, again, thought the over-fishing for emotion was smarmy.

After seeing "Running on Empty" and wondering why I was so struck by Phoenix's performance, I bought a used bio online: "In Search of River Phoenix" (2004) by Barry Lawrence. One thing he pointed out, which I'd been aware of via brief Internet searches, was the fact that Phoenix's parents had been involved in "The Family of God" when he was growing up; the group was a cult espousing sexual relations not only between children, but between children and adults. River Phoenix later said that he'd had sex from the ages of 4 through 10, then deliberately decided to refrain from sex until he was 14 (when he sought his parents' permission before having sex with an 18-year-old girl).

In the below 1988 video, Phoenix (at 17) is asked by the interviewer about his relations with his parents. RE their dynamic he says: "We replace the guilt that most give each other when they're upset with real, honest feelings."

I wonder: WAS River Phoenix actually able to talk to his parents about his anger and guilt at the life that they'd brought him up in? WAS he able to express "real, honest feelings" or did he instead do drugs? (An addendum: His able-bodied parents had a hard time finding work in real life. Once River Phoenix got work in movies, he was the primary bread-winner for the whole family. His parents claimed that once he earned enough to free the family from society, that was when they'd all withdraw to live a life among nature, and when River wouldn't have to work any more. Scumbags.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Volvo S90 Luxury Sedan | "Song of the Open Road"

The first clue that something might be amiss: The car ad beginning with "Afoot..."

Song of the Open Road (1856)

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor denial,
The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas’d, the illiterate person, are not denied;
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar’s tramp, the drunkard’s stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,
The escaped youth, the rich person’s carriage, the fop, the eloping couple,

The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the town, the return back from the town,
They pass, I also pass, any thing passes, none can be interdicted,
None but are accepted, none but shall be dear to me.

You air that serves me with breath to speak!
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape!
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!
You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!
I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.

You flagg’d walks of the cities! you strong curbs at the edges!
You ferries! you planks and posts of wharves! you timber-lined sides! you distant ships!

You rows of houses! you window-pierc’d façades! you roofs!
You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards!
You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much!
You doors and ascending steps! you arches!
You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden crossings!
From all that has touch’d you I believe you have imparted to yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me,
From the living and the dead you have peopled your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of the road.

O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not—if you leave me you are lost?
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and undenied, adhere to me?

O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem.

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever beholds me shall like me,
I think whoever I see must be happy.

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently,but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me,
I can repeat over to men and women You have done such good to me I would do the same to you,
I will recruit for myself and you as I go,
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,
I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,
Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,
Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.

Now if a thousand perfect men were to appear it would not amaze me,
Now if a thousand beautiful forms of women appear’d it would not astonish me.

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.

Here a great personal deed has room,
(Such a deed seizes upon the hearts of the whole race of men,
Its effusion of strength and will overwhelms law and mocks all authority and all argument against it.)

Here is the test of wisdom,
Wisdom is not finally tested in schools,
Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it,
Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content,
Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things;
Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul.

Now I re-examine philosophies and religions,
They may prove well in lecture-rooms, yet not prove at all under the spacious clouds and along the landscape and flowing currents.

Here is realization,
Here is a man tallied—he realizes here what he has in him,
The past, the future, majesty, love—if they are vacant of you, you are vacant of them.

Only the kernel of every object nourishes;
Where is he who tears off the husks for you and me?
Where is he that undoes stratagems and envelopes for you and me?

Here is adhesiveness, it is not previously fashion’d, it is apropos;
Do you know what it is as you pass to be loved by strangers?
Do you know the talk of those turning eye-balls?

Here is the efflux of the soul,
The efflux of the soul comes from within through embower’d gates, ever provoking questions,
These yearnings why are they? these thoughts in the darkness why are they?
Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me the sunlight expands my blood?
Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?
Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
(I think they hang there winter and summer on those trees and always drop fruit as I pass;)
What is it I interchange so suddenly with strangers?
What with some driver as I ride on the seat by his side?
What with some fisherman drawing his seine by the shore as I walk by and pause?
What gives me to be free to a woman’s and man’s good-will? what gives them to be free to mine?

The efflux of the soul is happiness, here is happiness,
I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times,
Now it flows unto us, we are rightly charged.

Here rises the fluid and attaching character,
The fluid and attaching character is the freshness and sweetness of man and woman,
(The herbs of the morning sprout no fresher and sweeter every day out of the roots of themselves, than it sprouts fresh and sweet continually out of itself.)

Toward the fluid and attaching character exudes the sweat of the love of young and old,
From it falls distill’d the charm that mocks beauty and attainments,
Toward it heaves the shuddering longing ache of contact.

Allons! whoever you are come travel with me!
Traveling with me you find what never tires.

The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop’d,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.

Allons! we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling we cannot remain here,
However shelter’d this port and however calm these waters we must not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted to receive it but a little while.

Allons! the inducements shall be greater,
We will sail pathless and wild seas,
We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.

Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements,
Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity;
Allons! from all formules!
From your formules, O bat-eyed and materialistic priests.

The stale cadaver blocks up the passage—the burial waits no longer.

Allons! yet take warning!
He traveling with me needs the best blood, thews, endurance,
None may come to the trial till he or she bring courage and health,
Come not here if you have already spent the best of yourself,
Only those may come who come in sweet and determin’d bodies,
No diseas’d person, no rum-drinker or venereal taint is permitted here.

(I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes,
We convince by our presence.)

Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is call’d riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve,
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin’d, you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction before you are call’d by an irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remain behind you,
What beckonings of love you receive you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach’d hands toward you.

Allons! after the great Companions, and to belong to them!
They too are on the road—they are the swift and majestic men—they are the greatest women,
Enjoyers of calms of seas and storms of seas,
Sailors of many a ship, walkers of many a mile of land,
Habituès of many distant countries, habituès of far-distant dwellings,
Trusters of men and women, observers of cities, solitary toilers,
Pausers and contemplators of tufts, blossoms, shells of the shore,
Dancers at wedding-dances, kissers of brides, tender helpers of children, bearers of children,
Soldiers of revolts, standers by gaping graves, lowerers-down of coffins,
Journeyers over consecutive seasons, over the years, the curious years each emerging from that which preceded it,
Journeyers as with companions, namely their own diverse phases,
Forth-steppers from the latent unrealized baby-days,
Journeyers gayly with their own youth, journeyers with their bearded and well-grain’d manhood,
Journeyers with their womanhood, ample, unsurpass’d, content,
Journeyers with their own sublime old age of manhood or womanhood,
Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty breadth of the universe,
Old age, flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom of death.

Allons! to that which is endless as it was beginningless,
To undergo much, tramps of days, rests of nights,
To merge all in the travel they tend to, and the days and nights they tend to,
Again to merge them in the start of superior journeys,
To see nothing anywhere but what you may reach it and pass it,
To conceive no time, however distant, but what you may reach it and pass it,
To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits for you, however long but it stretches and waits for you,
To see no being, not God’s or any, but you also go thither,
To see no possession but you may possess it, enjoying all without labor or purchase, abstracting the feast yet not abstracting one particle of it,
To take the best of the farmer’s farm and the rich man’s elegant villa, and the chaste blessings of the well-married couple, and the fruits of orchards and flowers of gardens,
To take to your use out of the compact cities as you pass through,
To carry buildings and streets with you afterward wherever you go,
To gather the minds of men out of their brains as you encounter them, to gather the love out of their hearts,
To take your lovers on the road with you, for all that you leave them behind you,
To know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for traveling souls.

All parts away for the progress of souls,
All religion, all solid things, arts, governments—all that was or is apparent upon this globe or any globe, falls into niches and corners before the procession of souls along the grand roads of the universe.

Of the progress of the souls of men and women along the grand roads of the universe, all other progress is the needed emblem and sustenance.

Forever alive, forever forward,
Stately, solemn, sad, withdrawn, baffled, mad, turbulent, feeble, dissatisfied,
Desperate, proud, fond, sick, accepted by men, rejected by men,
They go! they go! I know that they go, but I know not where they go,
But I know that they go toward the best—toward something great.

Whoever you are, come forth! or man or woman come forth!
You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house, though you built it, or though it has been built for you.

Out of the dark confinement! out from behind the screen!
It is useless to protest, I know all and expose it.

Behold through you as bad as the rest,
Through the laughter, dancing, dining, supping, of people,
Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash’d and trimm’d faces,
Behold a secret silent loathing and despair.

No husband, no wife, no friend, trusted to hear the confession,
Another self, a duplicate of every one, skulking and hiding it goes,
Formless and wordless through the streets of the cities, polite and bland in the parlors,
In the cars of railroads, in steamboats, in the public assembly,
Home to the houses of men and women, at the table, in the bedroom, everywhere,
Smartly attired, countenance smiling, form upright, death under the breast-bones, hell under the skull-bones,
Under the broadcloth and gloves, under the ribbons and artificial flowers,
Keeping fair with the customs, speaking not a syllable of itself,
Speaking of any thing else but never of itself.

Allons! through struggles and wars!
The goal that was named cannot be countermanded.

Have the past struggles succeeded?
What has succeeded? yourself? your nation? Nature?
Now understand me well—it is provided in the essence of things that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary.

My call is the call of battle, I nourish active rebellion,
He going with me must go well arm’d,
He going with me goes often with spare diet, poverty, angry enemies, desertions.

Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d!

Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Joan Crawford, 1934

1934 publicity by Hurrell. I first saw this photo in 1986 or so from Walker's "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Star" at my college library. I confess my transgression today: I sliced this photo out of the library book. I took it home with me. I taped it up to my wall. I looked at it constantly for inspiration in the midst of my 21-year-old angst.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017


I'd subscribed to "The New Yorker" since some time in the '90s. For at least over 20 years. The vast array of subjects. The usually impartial viewpoint of the author. I was always tearing out pages or poems for remembrance.

During the past Trump election cycle, however, the anti-Trump bias of the magazine became ludicrous. And intolerable to me. I'd never seen such a heavy-handedly biased consortia of articles. They tucked an anti-Trump reference into almost every corner. I'd formerly, for decades, trusted the magazine's viewpoint and artistic integrity. Now I wonder: If they could go so wrong about Trump, where were they going wrong earlier that I just didn't catch?

The last week of January was my last issue. I quit solely because of their intellectually dishonest biased treatment of Trump.

There's a bit of withdrawal. I miss the bursts of enlightenment that some of the articles contained. (As I said above, I'd often tear out pages and mark segments of them to remember as something profound to me.)

Today, I got an e-mail from the company, offering a renewed subscription for an extremely low price, less than half of what I'd been paying before ($50 per year as opposed to nearly $100). I was very tempted. But, no.

I like Trump, sure. And criticism of him is fine with me. But not "criticism" that degrades him and calls him "Hitler" and "fascist," and predicts the end of Western Civilization as a result of his presidency. Ridiculous. Especially in light of the fact that his most controversial policy statement has been the desire to strengthen US borders and not allow illegals in (and to kick criminal illegals out). That such a very mild declaration of what was once mainstream policy (and is the policy of almost every other country on earth, aside from EU members) has inspired such antipathy is disturbing to me.

After the reception of the New Yorker renewal offer, I almost accepted. And then I almost replied: "Maybe in 4 or 8 years, after you've perhaps rediscovered your integrity, your intelligence, and/or your soul."