Thursday, June 29, 2017

Happy Birthday, Baby!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEVER rely on other people.

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

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The New York Times' Effect on Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Machete al Machote!

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

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

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

But then there's:

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Andy Warhol on Evil

From 1980's "Popism" by Andy Warhol:

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

Against pretentious San Francisco

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Visibly Queer" at the Trump White House

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

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

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

Exact excerpts from the Post:

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

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

“He said I had good style.”

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

4513-1/2 Avenue B

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Who the hell are you?

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

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

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

Andy Warhol Diaries Excerpt

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

Jailhouse Rock/Saturday Night Fever

I had a GREAT day Saturday!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

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

'Night, Andy

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

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

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

1975; performed below in '77.

What an Adult Does on a Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

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

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

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Mending Wall by Robert Frost

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

Lava Lamp

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

Friday, June 02, 2017

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

For others

The eyes of others have surprised
me with their concern

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

looks meant for others

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