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...