Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hunkered down for New Year's Eve in Austin

45 minutes until the New Year (Central time). Stocked the fridge earlier today. Am steeled against whatever jerks set off fireworks within my apartment complex (as they did on July 4). Old (like me) = worried about loud noises rather than planning where you're going on New Year's Eve.

p.s. The Trump socks: I bought them pre-election 2016 and have never gotten to wear them. What better time than... ALONE FOR NEW YEAR'S! :)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Shape of Water

My adventure for this Friday was taking the bus to downtown Austin to see "The Shape of Water" at Violet Crown on 2nd St.

I arrived early and was walking around with time to kill when a young man approached me at an intersection: "Sorry to bother you, but do you know where the new library is?"

While wandering around aimlessly, I had been wondering the same thing: The newly opened big-deal-of-a-library was somewhere in the area, but I hadn't seen it. I apologized for not knowing, explaining that I was just killing time before a movie. What movie? I told him. His girlfriend had just "made him" see "The Shape of Water," but he didn't like it. Why not? He didn't know --- just wasn't his thing. What about (my second and third choices for holiday films) the Churchill movie and "Three Billboards"? He liked Churchill... I wished him luck as we crossed separate streets.

After briefly contemplating changing my movie plans after talking to a complete stranger (!), I went on see "The Shape of Water."

It was, in many ways, an intensely beautiful movie. It was shot beautifully. And I am so utterly alone that I, of course, related completely to the mute main character, to her ageing gay neighbor, to the "monster." To the sympatico, delicate connections. THAT was the beautiful part of the movie: "We are not alone."

Plot-wise, the film was also intense: The Evil Villain versus the Good Guys. I cringed and got angry where appropriate; I cried.

The acting was great: Michael Shannon as the Bad Guy (whom I'd just recently seen in a funnily evil bit on the Amy Sedaris show) was the best; Sally Hawkins as the The Mute was very good (especially her "FUCK YOU" signing scene).

The film was based on "The Creature of the Black Lagoon" --- director Guillermo del Toro has said in interviews that he had a fantasy about the Gill-man ending up with the Girl. That's a thing unto itself. (I had my own fantasy about "Sunset Boulevard.) And that fantasy of "the Beast" winding up with its object of desire is a long-standing thing (realized here). As is the non-sexual fantasy of "the Beast" potentially being rescued: Frankenstein, King Kong, ET, Trog...

My problem with this movie, though, was that the "other" wasn't explored very intelligently or subtly. There was a lot of heavy-handed social critiquing going on. For instance, the main character and her gay neighbor like to go to a "Southern" diner where the studly young counter-man calls out to customers "Y'all come back now, y'hear!" The gay neighbor  has a crush on the young man. At one point, the two start to have a personal conversation about being alone in the city; as soon as the older gay man takes the young man's hand, the latter pulls back ---- then a black couple comes into the diner and the young man tells them to get out... Point taken: "Southern" and "white" is "Evil."

Same goes for the main "Bad Guy": He's a Fed; he reads "The Power of Positive Thinking" in his spare time; he fucks his wife with his shirt on; he crudely comes on to the saintly Eliza; he mocks black people; he sucks up to a general; he adheres to protocol. In an A-movie, I've never seen such a blatantly negative portrayal. Shannon was riveting in the role, but his role was cartoonishly one-sided.

(In other blatant ridiculousness from the director: "Movie-watching = Good; TV-watching = Bad.)

In other, more intelligently done, movies where an "alien" was involved, directors were more subtle. Think of "ET." Often, there's a scientific argument about what is to be done with the alien creature... This movie, though, takes a completely simplistic ham-handed approach. I got over that to enjoy the ride, but I was still obviously aware of the ham-handedness.

"The Shape of Water" was a very good, simplistic B-movie. In the "olden days," not Oscar-worthy (but just watch --- it'll get a bunch this year.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Say Ginny had not left me...

We knew each other in high school in the spring and summer of 1983.

She died in 1988.

1983 to 1988, she came and went in and out of my life. I was in college in Austin, but I was also conscious of what she was doing.

She called me in 1987, asking if I'd graduated yet. (Since I'd gone off to college in '83, I should have graduated by 1987 -- I hadn't.) She then got her "other" friend to come stay with her while she died in Georgia.

But what if I'd been with Ginny when she died? What if I'd stayed in Azle after I graduated in '83 just to be with her? I think I would have done so if she'd wanted me. [Edit a few days later: I was winning all sorts of minor awards in high school and clearly going off to college in Austin. Ginny wanted me during my senior year of high school, but it was clear that I was going off to college. She could have joined me in Austin a year later, when she graduated; but by then she'd chosen someone else. I would NEVER have stayed in Azle in 1983. I had too much of life before me to investigate.]

And after she died in Georgia? I would have been a lost soul. I'd probably be working as an Admin Assistant today.

When I came to college in Austin in '83, I used to constantly bemoan why she wasn't with me. Every experience that I had, every club I went to, every apartment I lived in wasn't as good because she wasn't there. Such an ugly, creepy feeling. She didn't want me, but I didn't like what I was living because she wasn't there. I went on with living, but it wasn't as good.

Say she'd wanted me...  I used to think that I would bring her into my college world because I was so serious about it; but she could just as easily have dragged me into her world --- her nothing-world, where she worked at a record store at a mall, and stole from them... And then blamed me, in Austin, where she brought her stolen tapes to sell.

All of this is nothing. She was an idiot. But she was more memories than I've ever had with anyone else.

Making my choice for me

Ever since I moved into my current apartment last April, I've been undecided about whether I'll stay here. A huge stack of boxes in my living room (saved in case I need them for books) is testament to my indecision.

Today, I did a search for my apartment complex on Craigslist. I pay $1275. The ad for the same exact apartment was for $1375.

No way. I have a front-view of air-conditioners. I have a small backyard, but with layers of other apartment dwellers looking down on that backyard. I never go out there.

I've been arguing with myself: It's quiet, except for when I'm home between 8 and 5 and have to listen to the maintenance guys banging around next door.

I've been 50/50. If rent is going up to $1375, I'm for sure leaving. This is a generic place. For $1375, I could at least get an apartment downtown or a duplex or something somewhere.

February 15, I must make up my mind.

Praying for Rain

On Christmas Eve, some assholes were actually shooting off fireworks in my neighborhood!

I'd never (literally) heard such a thing before. I knew that July 4 and New Year's Eve were holidays for fireworks... but on CHRISTMAS EVE??? It went on from about 10:45pm to 1:45am.

Can't wait for this coming Sunday... My only hope is the weather on Sunday night (New Year's Eve): There is a possibility of rain and sleet. Dear god, let it rain and sleet and snow and drive these creeps back into their hovels.

I think it's fair for fireworks on New Year's Eve being shot off from, say, midnight until 1am... But in my experience in Austin, fuckers keep shooting off stuff until 3am. I'm tensed up ahead of time.

Cyndi Lauper - I Drove All Night (1989)

I had to escape, the city was sticky and cruel
Maybe I should have called you first
But I was dying to get to you
I was dreaming while I drove
The long straight road ahead
Uh-huh, Yeah
Could taste your sweet kisses, your arms open wide
This fever for you was just burning me up inside
I drove all night to get to you
Is that all right?
I drove all night crept in your room
Woke you from your sleep to make love to you
Is that all right?
I drove all night
What in this world keeps us from falling apart?
No matter where I go
I hear the beating of our one heart
I think about you when the night is cold and dark
Uh-huh, yeah
No one can move me the way that you do
Nothing erases this feeling between me and you
I drove all night to get to you
Is that all right?
I drove
I taste your sweet kisses, your arms open wide
This fever for you was just burning me up inside
I drove all night to get to you
Is that all right?
I drove all night crept in your room
Is that all right?
I drove all night


I did, in 1994. After doing some detective-work, and drinking quite a bit, I made a 200-mile trek to West Texas, chasing after my boss, where'd he'd gone to cover a football game. Exciting momentarily when I got fucked immediately... but ultimately meaningless and odd: We kind of didn't know what to do with each other in the hotel room after we'd fucked so monumentally. We ordered food; "Tom Jones" happened to be on the hotel cable, so we --- since we were meeting surreptitiously --- awkwardly felt that we had to eat our takeout in a "sexy" fashion a la the "Tom Jones" scene... He was worried about the next morning---he was there with other work friends who might come to his door... And what about the hotel maids?

The next morning, no friends or maids came by, but his wife did call the hotel room; he was in the shower, and I was not a bitch --- I let the phone ring without answering it in a breathless voice. When it was time for checkout, he offered to drive behind me to help me find my way back to Austin... I said thanks, but I could do it myself. (The drive home much less exciting when sober.)

I felt guilty and skanky as hell in 1994.... But come to think of it 25 years (!) later... The aftermath was dumbly depressing, but during the drive there, and when I first knocked on his hotel-room door, and when we first fucked...nothing but exciting anticipation.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I missed out on Christmas this year...

Usually I get into the spirit o' the season back in late October/early November, planning what to get people (Mom, brother, his wife, nephews).

This year, though... Mom told me back in August that she's leaving her house to me --- but it will be 50% owned by my brother. So I can just live in it.


What was once, 10 years ago, a 50-50 split between me and my brother became a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 split a couple of years ago: Me 1/3, brother 1/3, his two kids sharing the last 1/3.

In August of 2017, everything became: Me 25%, brother 25%, his two kids 25% each.

Like fucking hell. Sure, my mom can do what she wants with her house and her money. But LIKE FUCKING HELL I'm going to be a participant in any part of her lunacy. In fact, I protest against it.

I was/am depressed about no Christmas this year. But I think I abstained for good reason.

"Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive." -- Josephine Hart

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Johnny Hallyday, 2006

11 Days Off Checklist

I'm off work Friday, December 22, through Monday, January 1. My goal is to not just drink and then lie on my couch the day after watching TV for any of these days. Here's the progress so far:

Friday, Dec. 22: Got my hair cut.
Saturday, Dec. 23: Went in to the office and worked 6.5 hours.

So far, so good...

For the coming days, I have simple needs: (1) Spend a day in downtown Austin, walking around and seeing a movie (Shape of Water, probably). (2) Clean my apartment. (3) Spend a day walking around my old North Loop hood just a mile south: Sue Patrick store, Dollar Store (buying some lighters), Savers, the used book store, with the church re-sale shop just up the street. (4) Give my car a present and wash it, inside and out.

So far, so good...

Friday, December 22, 2017

Johnny Hallyday Live 1963 Amsterdam

France's Johnny Hallyday died on December 5. The whole city of Paris came out on December 9 for his funeral procession. I got goosebumps at seeing such an homage. People actually still remember and honor their own...

As for the US... We've been co-opted. We're not allowed to appreciate Elvis any more. Here's what we're now "supposed to" think (courtesy of Public Enemy, 1990, and supported by today's media):

Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Motherfuck him and John Wayne
Cause I'm Black and I'm proud
I'm ready and hyped plus I'm amped
Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check...

FUCK OFF, Public Enemy. I want my country back.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Rolling Stones (1966)

Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere...

Hecate, Greek Goddess of the Crossroads (turn-of-the-century depictions)

Interesting that in the 1880s, when France gifted the Liberty statue to the US, the likeness was attributed to "Libertas," a minor so-called "liberty goddess" of the Romans --- much less troubling or interesting than the major Greek goddess Hecate, upon which one-third of the Statue of Liberty was actually based.

11 days off coming right up...

What the hell to do??

One day: Take public transportation to downtown to look at Christmas lights, plus see a movie at the downtown Violet Crown theater: Churchill, or Three Billboards, or The Shape of Water.

One day: Take public transportation to the new Austin library that just opened:

Ummmm.... And then... Clean my apartment (the living-room rug definitely needs vacuuming)? Use my new camera that I haven't yet figured out to take pictures of stuff to sell on eBay? Go into work and earn credits that I don't need? OK. Oh, and go dump the 4 bags of clothes I've sorted out into a charity bin.

There. Stuff to do.

Monday, December 18, 2017

When no one loves you...

...think back to when someone loved you.

In very dark times lately, I keep seeing Ginny's face peering into the stock-room of the K-Mart where I worked in Azle as a teen. I normally worked in the women's department out on the floor, but someone that day had told Ginny that I was back in the stock-room. She peered in, with her hair Vaselined, and wearing a sleeveless shirt that we'd both recently just bought from K-Mart, in different colors.

Vaselined. It was 1983, and we didn't know about hair products. The girl had coated her hair with Vaseline, and put on the sleeveless shirt, and come to show me. I remember her smiling face at the doorway, and me grinning back at her.

She later left me, but before she did:

One time I was at home suffering greatly from menstrual cramps, to the point where I couldn't leave my bed without throwing up; I even had a bucket beside my bed. Ginny came over. And the second she showed up at my bedroom doorway, a wave of what I now know as "endorphins" took over.... No more cramps, no more nausea. A miracle.

What else? Oh yeah, when I once spent the night with her as a teen, her parents' house had a ventilation system that blew air upwards upstairs: I accidentally stepped over the vent and my nightgown blew up... "I feel like Marilyn Monroe!" I quipped. It was funny; she laughed.

I dunno, a hundred other things. We went with her family to Georgia together. We stayed in a hotel room with her parents and watched "Endless Love" on cable, trying to be quiet.

Point is, she left me. Point is: Someone once loved me. Today, in my darkness, I remember how her happy face (and her terribly Vaselined hair) looked at the K-Mart doorway. I remember how she miraculously made my cramps go away. (I remember our car breaking down on the highway and the two cop-cars that passed us by without stopping to help; I remember our matching "Frances Lives" T-shirts bought from Ridgmar Mall in Fort Worth.)

Shortly after, I went off to college, thinking: "I'll experience many loves..." As it has turned out, I never experienced anything like Ginny. I came home from college for a summer or two, tried to re-connect with her... We watched "The Wall" together with her new love, Cindy, tagging along --- Ginny was horrified by the violence of the movie and left the theater; Cindy went with her. I stayed, admiring the film...

Once I was back in Austin, Ginny then came to visit me, trying to sell stolen CDs, and got busted... All a fucking mess.

She died in 1988, at 22, because she couldn't get a heart transplant.

Ginny didn't love me in the end, but... she did love me at one point. We wore intentionally matching shirts; we wore intentionally mis-matched socks. We slept in a hotel room watching "Endless Love" together with her parents in the next bed.

I have nothing in my life today, but I remember.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

I haven't talked to anyone on a deeper level for ages...

At the office working overtime this Saturday, ran into a couple of co-workers. One, originally from Turkey, in Austin for 5 years, lived in London, Portland, Toronto; offered jobs in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, et al., which he didn't take because of the societies.

I stood there in the hallway and talked to him for over an hour about different places to live, different public transportation systems, different political systems, different religious beliefs, the current international immigration crisis, how the Japanese are a very organized society (and very helpful when seeking transportation advice), and the curiosity of living in Austin above a neighbor whose apartment is completely trashed... He is defensive about thinking that Austin is "just OK." I've been in the town since '83, with a couple of breaks, and I told him that Austin hasn't been good since the early '90s.

He's off tomorrow to London, then to his family's vacation house in Turkey for the holiday season. Not looking forward to the air travel because of how ill-organized it is nowadays. Once on the Continent, he'll travel by train...

I'm not sexually attracted to the man, but I am very much attracted to the dozens of countries he's lived in, and his sociological opinions of all of them. I can't remember the last time that I had an intellectual/personal conversation with anyone.

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Rolling Stones - Just My Imagination (Live, 1978)

I look out my window, watch her as she passes by
I say to myself I'm such a lucky guy
To have a girl like her is a dream come true
And of all the girls in New York she loves me true

It was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me

Soon we'll be married and raise a family
Two boys for you, what about two girls for me
I tell you I am just a fellow with a one track mind
Whatever it is I want baby I seek and I shall find
I'll tell ya

It was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me

Every night I hope and pray
"Dear lord, hear my plea
Don't ever let another take her love from me
Or I will surely die"

Her love is ecstasy
When her arms enfold me
I hear her tender rhapsody
But in reality, she doesn't fucking know me!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The Rolling Stones - Shattered - 1978

Shattered, shattered
Love and hope and sex and dreams
Are still surviving on the street
Look at me, I'm in tatters!
I'm a shattered
Friends are so alarming
And my lover's never charming
Life's just a cocktail party on the street
Big Apple
People dressed in plastic bags
Directing traffic
Some kind of fashion
Laughter, joy, and loneliness and sex and sex and sex and sex
Look at me, I'm in tatters
I'm a shattered
All this chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter 'bout
Shmatta, shmatta, shmatta -- I can't give it away on 7th Avenue
This town's been wearing tatters (shattered, shattered)
Work and work for love and sex
Ain't you hungry for success, success, success, success
Does it matter? (Shattered) Does it matter?
I'm shattered.
Ahhh, look at me, I'm a shattered
I'm a shattered
Look at me- I'm a shattered, yeah
Pride and joy and greed and sex
That's what makes our town the best
Pride and joy and dirty dreams and still surviving on the street
And look at me, I'm in tatters, yeah
I've been battered, what does it matter
Does it matter, uh-huh
Does it matter, uh-huh, I'm a shattered
Don't you know the crime rate is going up, up, up, up, up
To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough!
You got rats on the west side
Bed bugs uptown
What a mess, this town's in tatters I've been shattered
My brain's been battered, splattered all over Manhattan
Uh-huh, this town's full of money grabbers
Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don't mind the maggots, huh
Shadoobie, my brain's been battered
My friends they come around they
Flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter
Pile it up, pile it high on the platter

"What made you question fake media?"

My cousin asked me on Facebook yesterday: "What made you question fake media?"

I'm a bit slow... I didn't fully get it until the spring of 2016 ---- Syrian refugees streaming into Europe. I read the UK Daily Mail, which showed photos of the refugees... From the UK Daily Mail, I learned that the refugees were refusing to stop in countries like Hungary --- the first to take them. Instead, they were holding out for Sweden and Germany --- the countries that offered the best benefits.

At the same time, US media, and US State Department spokespeople, were saying that Syrian refugees were "primarily women and children." I'd seen the pictures on Daily Mail, and I knew that said refugees were 95% men. The Daily Mail also showed photos of refugee camps; in one photo, there was a sign: "Borders are Racist."

At that point, I knew I was being lied to. REAL refugees would simply want to get out of their war-torn country. They wouldn't distinguish among which European country offered better benefits; they certainly wouldn't stop to offer a "Borders are racist" left-wing philosophy --- real refugees would have held up signs saying "Help Us."

Trump was campaigning right about then....And he pointed out everything that I just said above. And he also pointed out, more seriously,
how it wasn't right for US companies to invest globally and not in our own country. He also pointed out that constant global wars weren't productive in any way.

Fake news? George W Bush and Barack Obama --- the most incompetent Presidents in our country's history --- got a million passes. Bush stood for nothing; Obama tried to illegally pass socialist programs without Congressional support, as required by law. Post these two?

Trump, who has no skin in the game, is trying to Drain the Swamp, clean up the mess.

Ooops, sorry! I didn't answer your question re questioning "fake media":

I used to watch nothing but CNN and MSNBC. I only started watching Fox about 6 years ago because I was curious about how horrible everyone was painting it out to be. As it turned out, every Fox show features Democrats with contradicting opinions, whereas, today, CNN and MSNBC only offer anti-Trump propaganda --- as an independent thinker, I can't watch them.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Thank you, ABC, for being honest.

After erroneous Flynn report, ABC News suspends Brian Ross:

A president-elect contacting Russia (December 2016) re that country's stance on Israel, Isis, or whatever isn't "collusion."