Doug

August 12th was without a doubt the hottest day in Austin this year, and I spent about ten hours of it out running errands. When I finally got home I only wanted to walk my dog, take a shower, then contact my old friend, Doug. It was coming up on the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, and I wanted to make sure he was doing all right. (His wife had died the day or the day after I returned home from another friend’s wedding in Los Angeles, thus putting a sad ending on what had been a happy week.)

I went to Doug’s Facebook page and learned that not only was he dead, he’d died back on June 28th and I’d not been informed. I couldn’t find an online obituary, so I scrolled through threads on the Facebook pages of his family and friends to try to get some additional information.

Basically, all I learned was he’d been in the hospital only a shirt time, having checked himself in after one of his legs started bothering him. He contracted pneumonia, his heart stopped, and the doctors tried for thirty minutes to revive him, but were unable to do so.

I’d known Doug since about 1983. He was the Resident Assistant on my floor of my dorm in college, but quickly became a very close friend, as well as a sort of surrogate parent. Several times over the years he gave me a place to stay and food to eat when I had neither. He was my sponsor when I joined the Catholic Church. Had I ever married he’d have been a groomsman, had I ever fathered children he’d have been a godfather, and had I died first, he’d have been a pallbearer.

Needless to say, I was broadsided by the news of his passing.

Doug was a good man and a good friend. He had his share of suffering, losing his wife and both parents within an eighteen-month span. He battled weight problems for much of his life, and had two unsuccessful lap-band surgeries. Many a time when we were out in public I heard people mock his appearance behind his back, and he’d just get quiet, look off in the distance, and try not to let the insult get to him. But I could see that each jeer caused him pain.

Despite all this, he was a joyful person, a hell of a lot of fun to be around, and a central figure in my college life. He was passionate about music, especially the blues, southern rock, jam bands, or pretty much any music from the ’70s that was not disco. He was also an excellent cook, and a hilarious story-teller.

In the weeks that have passed since I got the news I’ve been thinking about all the things we’ll never do again: no more road trips, movie recommendations, political arguments, late-night conversations, or re-enactments of comedy skits. I’ll never get his opinion on that Rodney Crowell book and I’ll never again enjoy his corn bread or chocolate cheesecake.

But as I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized that I only saw Doug two or at best three times after August 1989. He was married almost twenty years and I only met his wife once. We kept in sporadic touch on the phone or through Instant Messaging, but our heyday was only a six-year period in the ’80s.

This realization has skewed my sense of time, as has the fact that Doug’s death, funeral, and all those related events were very much in the past before I got the news.

While the period before, during, and after a death and funeral often involves memories of the past and concerns about the future, it is mostly about the present moment, the harsh reality of now. We deal with that by getting involved, whether by attending the viewing, wake, and funeral, bringing the family food, sending flowers, or just remembering the deceased on the day of the funeral. If you don’t participate somehow in those acts and gestures, it’s hard to catalogue and categorize that person’s death as a real event that took place at a specific time.

I’m not necessarily talking about closure. I’m not even sure I believe in closure, because most of my past, especially the painful parts, are still with me, wide open, and unresolved.

I think what is confusing me is that I last spoke with Doug at the beginning of June. He lived and worked very close to my mother and was able to give me details about a major flood that was threatening her house.

He called me up on the morning that the floods were at their worst, and we had a long, leisurely, pleasant conversation. It was a low-key ending for us. Four weeks later he was dead.

The conversation seems very recent to me. Doug’s death does not. Since I was ignorant of his death for such a long time it seems an event removed from time, removed from my experience of life and time. I fall back on the banal question, “But how could he be dead? I just talked to him the other day.”

I don’t intend to write a comprehensive remembrance of Doug, partly because no description could do the self-styled “Round Mound of Sound” justice, but I keep coming back to one image.

Doug had been promoted to the position of Hall Director at another dorm. It was the end of the school year and since all the students and R.A.s had moved out and gone home the university rules regarding noise levels no longer applied. We were standing out on his front balcony, smoking, while the Grateful Dead’s “American Beauty” LP blared out of Doug’s stereo, out his front door, and out over a valley of dormitories, classroom buildings, and parking lots.

It had been a tiring school year and an annoying semester, and we were both glad to see it come to an end. It should come as no surprise, then, that while Doug was playing air guitar and singing along to “Truckin,'” he howled “What a loooooonnngg, straaaaaange trip it’s beeeeeeen” at the top of his lungs, like a lonesome, forlorn hound. He forced every particle of his energy into those lyrics. He wrung out all our weariness and frustration and replaced it with smiles.

That’s what he did best.

Journal–October 2015

OCTOBER
Thursday, October 1st–

I dreamt I went to St. Austin’s Catholic Church near the UT campus with the intention of collecting holy cards, programs, Bible study hand-outs, and the like. I came in the northern (side) entrance, and found a small class or something being held in the Main Sanctuary. I didn’t even bother to splash myself with Holy Water, genulect, prayer, or anything. I just headed to the Narthex on the eastern side of the building, which is separated from the Sanctuary by glass.

I found one program with Bible study inserts and the like, but nothing more. Almost hidden in the flyer rack, however, was a stack of Holy Cards. They were all antiques, and I wondered if a collector had left them there. Most of the cards were one-of-a-kind, though there were a few duplicates of a St. Patrick card that had actual shamrocks attached. Selfishly, I decided to take one of every card there.

I had been sitting up straight, but then leaned forward until I was horizontal, so I could get a better look at the cards. I forget if I was on chairs, benches, or pews. A nun passed by, asked me if I was all right, and kept walking. I sensed that she thought I was a homeless person who had come into the church to sleep. (I’ve had a lot of dreams about sleeping lately.)

I got comfortable in my reclining position. The Rector from St. Mary’s Cathedral downtown walked by. (He’s the one I nicknamed “Father Shatner” for his way of speaking.)

Presently the Narthex began to fill up with teenagers (though in real life there’s not a high school at that church). They were getting ready for some school event, a field trip, or something.

From my reclining position, I started talking to one kid, then looked to the south in order to mention the Confessional, but then I saw that the Confessional had been torn down, and there was a big hole in the southern wall leading outdoors. Then I noticed that the Sanctuary was being demolished, and a bulldozer and a Panzer tank were making their way through the rubble. I knew that there had long been plans to remodel the Sanctuary and build a new church elsewhere on the property, I didn’t realize that they were going to completely gut the Sanctuary.

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I forget when Belle and I got up and did our usual routine. We eventually went back to bed and napped until early afternoon.

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Wow, I just saw two African women in what I suppose you’d call “traditional dress” walking across my parking lot to another building. One was wearing an African head wrap, while the other was wearing a white hijab, and carrying a large box with between 16 and 24 bottles of water on top of her head. The box was perfectly balanced and she was not steadying it with either hand. I had not seen that done in real life–only in movies and books. Both women moved with an otherworldly, regal grace–I just stood there gaping. Since I assumed they were Muslims, I kept my dog well behind me.

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Someone posted–Are hipster beards really on the way out?

ME–I hope so. I’m sick of these fools looking like Paul Bunyan. If you can’t furnish proof that you’ve worked as a lumberjack, shave your damn face.

And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of those white men without male pattern baldness who shave their heads to look like bad-asses.

I get it if you’re already losing most of your hair anyway. But if you aren’t, say, Yul Brynner or Telly Savalas, both of whom, at last check, are very dead, then don’t shave your heads, because you look like fools.

Now this new rule applies only to white men. Men of other races can pull that bald look off perfectly. Pretty much any black man, for example, can look cool like that without even trying. But when a white guy who doesn’t need to shaves his head, he just looks like a silly teenager who’s trying to look like a tough guy and failing miserably.

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Someone posted–“No matter how hard life can get, go to bed grateful for all you have.”

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Friday, October 2nd–

I had an amazing dream. I was traveling with some people…. At first I wasn’t sure where we were going. but then I saw that the street was cut out between two sheer walls of shiny red stone, dizzying in their height. Clinging to these walls like the elongated, round-tipped, jar-shaped mud chambers of Dirt Daubers were several stories of shops. They appeared to have been made of earth or possibly adobe, and bore faint traces of having borne colorful external designs in the German style a century or more before.

I got excited and yelled, “Oh, man–it’s my city! L.A.!”

The street narrowed, the buildings got closer together, and edges of the cliffs leaned in and almost touched. When we got through this pass we were greeted by an amazing panorama of what was supposed to be the city.

We parked in front of three older buildings which were more of less connected side-by-side. There was a wide entrance gate with a lofty cross-beam. Atop the cross-beam was a sign that was virtually impossible to read because it was almost completely covered with vines.

We went into the middle building and ordered breakfast. The dining room had faded Art Deco touches. A number of people who were friends of one or more of our party kept dropping in, sitting at our long table, eating, visiting, and leaving. I lost track of how many people came by, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t get to sit down very long and I didn’t get a breakfast.

I was dressed rather flamboyantly, with a pearl grey, narrow-brimmed “LBJ-style” Stetson, a flowing tie or neckerchief, possibly a jacket, possibly jodhpurs and riding boots or maybe just normal boots, possibly a cape, the red silk fringed belt from my old smoking jacket (I forget if I was wearing this around my neck or waist), and I topped it all off with a walking stick and my camera.

It turns out this building was also to be our hotel, and I believe we were all to stay in one room. Though the hotel had seen its better days, it interested me greatly. The bed I was to sleep in had ancient stuffed animals on it.

The bathroom was, naturally, by the main door to the room, to the left as you walking in. Between the front door jamb and continuing into the bathroom were a number of buttons, switches, and dials, which turned on lights, blowers, fans, water, and other services and functions, but it took me awhile to find the switch that turned on the main overhead light in the bedroom.

We didn’t seem to have an actual door to provide privacy from passersby in the hallway. The doorway leading into the hotel room was not a straight line, but rather a ninety degree curve. After poking around a bit, however, I discovered a curved vertical metal panel that came out of the front door jamb right next to all those switches.

I pulled out the panel and discovered that it was the first of six or more curved panels, which were mounted on tracks in the ceiling and floor, connected to one another like a pair of clutching fingers, and which were brightly polished and served as a wall of mirrors on the bedroom side. It was a very elegant touch.

I don’t know if we slept first or just immediately went out sight-seeing. I was never entirely sure of the hotel’s name, but as we pulled our car out of its parking slot, I tried to make out the sign under all those vines, and I think the place we were staying was called “The Hotel Arthur.”

I noticed what appeared to be a warehouse, painted black, with several stories, a gambrel roof, and a general appearance of dilapidation, though at second glance I saw there were catwalks and platforms, several stories above the street and without handrails or safety features of any kind, and prostitutes, all walking like slinky cats, were going into the building but not coming back out again.

We drove out and down the street and were soon hit with another visual panorama–across the street and to the left was a multi-story building that looked to be constructed of rather flimsy pale yellow or beige poles and staves. (Picture a building built of match sticks, enlarge to a human scale, and you’ll have the general idea.) Latinos of all extractions were milling around in a mob, and just as I was about to take a photo of that big building, a Latin woman tugged at my left elbow and told me not to take any photos in order to respect the privacy of the people who lived in that district.

We soon found ourselves in a lofty, almost completely dark food market which looked like the one in “Blade Runner,” only this one was more crowded and there were only Latinos in there. The floor consisted of hard-packed dirt with a little sand and sawdust thrown in.

The whole space vibrated with a peculiar buzz, and it took me awhile to realize it was being produced by humans. They were doing something akin to Mongolian throat singing. It was very unsettling.

Our party got separated. I hired a pedi-cab to get me through the maze, the narrow aisles, the food sellers rushing around in a dizzying frenzy. I kept one hand on my camera and the other on my wallet.

When we got to the other side of the market, the driver seemed to be saying he wanted “fifty.” Did he mean fifty pesos, fifty centavos, fifty dollars. I said, “Well, I’m certainly not paying you fifty dollars for that short ride. I could get to the airport for that. I will pay you fifty cents, however, and throw in another fifty as a tip.”

There was a wide, empty space at that other side of the market, and archways that led to some space that may’ve been lit with sky-lights.

Our party began slowly to regroup.

I stepped through the archways and noticed Latinos placing white linen napkins over the faces of people, mostly children, who were lying in rectangular holes about six- to twelve-inches in the ground, with little mounds of dirt or sand pushed up against their sides.

Then all the other people in the market, as if warned by a siren or tolling bell, placed white linen napkins over their faces, bowed their heads, and increasing the volume of their buzzing.

My friends and I immediately intuited that we shouldn’t stay around any longer. We crossed the sun-lit courtyard which had piles of sand in its corners, and stepped into the next space–a broad corridor, that extended to the left and right beyond my range of vision, with floor, walls, and ceiling that looked like cloudy, opaque ice, which gave off a dull glow, and which exuded clouds, presumably from the cold. This space was lined with shops that sold gaudy, albeit expensive items–jewelry, clothing, and even less-functional items.

I found a replica of the bowl-shaped leaf of some tropical tree or plant, two-and-a-half feet across, cast in silver, and set into the floor. Someone told me to stand on the leaf; I did so, and water bubbled up from a fountain that was higher than my head, cascaded down a silver channel, and filled up the silver bowl in which I was standing.

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I forget when we got up and did our usual routine.

I finally dropped my past-due AT&T bill off at the UPS Store–something I should’ve done days ago, spent $46.23 at Petsmart, and bought non-grocery and grocery items at Dollar Tree ($5.41 and $8.00). Though the wind was blowing while I was out, I returned home hot and sweaty.

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Someone posted–The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd –The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.–Fernando Pessoa

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Someone posted–

LESSONS BY DOGS:

You pray for more.
I only pray for you.
–igor

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Last night I put a bowl of my leftovers down on the living room floor so my dog could eat what was left. And when I got up today I found she’d pooped in the bowl. It made for handy clean-up, but still….

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Someone posted–CARL GUSTAV JUNG IN KUSNACHT, 1959 HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON

ME–Jung smoked Granger, the same cheap pipe tobacco my grandfather did. So whenever I see a picture of Jung with his pipe I imagine him smelling like my grandfather.

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Someone posted–“My whole life is a dark room.”

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Saturday, October 3rd–

Someone posted—Erle Stanley Gardner – The Case Of The Baited Hook

ME–I read this a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

It’s a shame nobody seems to read Gardner anymore.

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Someone posted–I saw you post a what kind of rich person would you be quiz and then I lost signal. can you post it again? if that’s ok with you.

Someone posted–I’d be happy to c:

Someone posted–What Kind of Rich Person Would You Be?

UGH I NEED TO GET RICH

ME–Well, hell, I think we all knew this one:

You are a Crazy Recluse, like Howard Hughes

You’re going to be found dead by your only remaining servant, as your staff slowly dwindled during your long slow mental decline.

This servant will have tons of stories about your bizarre predilections—the tinfoil hat, the individually sorted raisins, watching “Ever After” 200 times in a row, etc.—and although your money will go to no one after you die, the servant will get a great book deal out of it. So it wasn’t a total waste.

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Someone posted–

so i keep seeing these mental illness support posts all over but i never see any for the “scary” illnesses

im here for the schizophrenics, paranoid and otherwise

im here for the bipolar people, especially those who are rapid cycling (believe me, i know how much it sucks)

im here for the people with borderline personality disorder who are constantly wondering if theyre being abusive

im here for the addicts

the people who dissociate

the people who have trouble telling whats real

the people whose minds are too scary to get their own support posts
im here for you all

we’re not as scary as we’re told we are

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Someone posted–To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.–Carlos Maria Dominguez (The House of Paper)

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Waking up, getting up, even existing is such a mistake.

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Sunday, October 4th–

I attempted to nap later on at night, but Belle kept rattling those papers and making noise.

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Someone posted–If you read one book a week, starting at the age of 5, and live to be 80, you will have read a grand total of 3,900 books, a little over one-tenth of 1 percent of the books currently in print.–Lewis Buzbee, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop

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Someone posted–ive seen a lot of saturdays and boy this sure is one.

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Wow, the street racers are really going at it now (1:22am). the freeway is just two blocks from here, and I can hear the cars screaming. I bet there’s a lot of out-of-town racers hear this weekend for ACL Fest.

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Someone posted–Sometimes the truth hurts because it uncovers the lies people are living.– Steven Aitchison

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Someone posted–Every dog you see has a story

Someone posted–what about humans..?

Someone posted–Who cares

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I posted–If somebody ask you to do something, do it really bad so you never have to do it again.–Paris Hilton

ME–Honestly, that’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. That principle got me through many bad years of chores and yard work at home, and all the shitty jobs I’ve had ever since then. When the boss says, “You know, let’s just forget this,” then you can tell that you’ve won.

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I used to have these cop/buddy picture dreams where I was the older police detective, grizzled, cynical, and nearing retirement, and the young impetuous rookie cop was played either by Elijah Wood or the singer Beck, and we’d go around solving mysteries.

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I was irritable most of the day.

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Monday, October 5th–

Someone posted–“If it is unappetizing: Do not eat, date, or sign up for it. If the mere thought of it is depressing: Do not major in it, sit through it, or devote your life to it. If it is not important to you: Do not do it only because it is important to someone else. You will thank yourself”

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Someone posted–I don’t think people love me. They love versions of me I have spun for them, versions of me they have construed in their minds. The easy versions of me, the easy parts of me to love.

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I worked for two years as a part-time librarian and substitute teacher at a K-12 private school.

Among my accomplishments:

+Updating the library holdings for the first time in 25 years.

+Running a school library on an annual budget of about $2000 (or was it $4000?).

+Dealing with noisy classes by snarling, “Put a sock in it!”

+Teaching an art class the urban legend behind the recording of “Love Roller Coaster” by The Ohio Players.

+Giving MAJOR tongue-lashings to some obnoxious junior high girls who were mocking two boys who they insisted were gay.

+Recommending that a high school student watch “Pink Flamingos.” (He did, and it messed with his head.)

It’s a wonder I didn’t get fired.

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Tuesday, October 6th–

Someone posted–LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO SUCK THE HAPPINESS OUT OF YOU.

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Someone posted–THERE’S NO POINT OF HAVING TONS OF FRIENDS WHO WON’T BE THERE WHEN YOU’RE DOWN.

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I’ve done my share, when working on political campaigns, of ripping down the opposition’s signs late at night before Election Day, but you have to destroy the sign or remove it from the premises, because otherwise your opponents might put it back up.

Also, as fun as it is to kick down a sign, you have to conserve your energy when you do black ops like that.

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Someone posted–[Dialogue from “Mr.Robot.”)

+What is it about society that disappoints you so much?

+Oh, I don’t know. Is it that we collectively thought Steve Jobs was a great man, when when we knew he made billions off the backs of children? Or maybe it’s that it feels like all our heroes are counterfeit. The world itself’s just a big hoax. Spamming with our running commentary of bullshit masquerading as insight, our social media faking as intimacy. Or is it that we voted for this? Not with our rigged elections, but with our things, our property, our money. I’m not saying anything new. We all know why we do this, not because Hunger Games books make us happy but because we wanna be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend, because we’re cowards. Fuck society.

ME–Kids, you know how much I hate tattoos, but if you insist on getting one, GET THIS DIALOGUE TATTOOED ON YOUR FOREARMS SO YOU CAN READ IT THE REST OF YOUR LIVES!!!

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Someone posted–pluviophile (n.) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

ME–That would be me.

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Someone posted–Working men are now left isolated and helpless, betrayed by the inhumanity of employers and the unbridled greed of competitors. A tiny group of extravagantly rich men have been able to lay upon a great multitude of unprotected workers a yoke little better than slavery itself.–Pope Leo XIII, AD 1891, Rerum Novarum

Someone posted–not much has changed

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Someone posted–To defraud any one of wages that are his due is a great crime which cries to the avenging anger of Heaven.–Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 1891

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Someone posted–“I’m just tired; I just want the world to be quiet for a bit.”–Matt Healy

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Someone posted–reminder that your intrusive thoughts don’t represent who you really are

your brain is where you sandbox and process ideas, and not everything you think implies some secret underlying evil that you’re barely holding in, or something

it’s natural to think about things you don’t want to think about, because it lets you break down the ideas and understand them better, and help understand why you dislike those things and why it’s healthy for you to dislike them.

Someone posted–I needed this

ME–My problem is I proclaim my intrusive thoughts on my blogs.

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Wednesday, October 7th–

All right, this is ridiculous. We’re a week into October and Austin is still hot as balls outside. Let’s get a cold front–NOW!!!

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We went to bed around 4:04 am and got up at around 6:14pm.

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I have an ugly feeling that Trump is going to win the Presidency. Americans are just stupid and mean-spirited and cruel to allow that to happen. And when and if it does happen, the last few bricks will be put into place, establishing an oligarchy in every corner of government and society, and turning the U.S. into not only an international laughing-stock, but also a dying republic.

And good luck getting a decent job then!

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What you call “social constructs” I call facts.

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I really hope I don’t have to live in Texas the rest of my miserable life, but with no money, job, income, or prospects, I fear that I’m stick in this God-forsaken hell hole. I’m so ashamed I’m from this vulgar place.

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Thursday, October 8th–

We retired around 6:36 am and got up about 8:41pm.

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Someone posted–What is coming is better than what is gone.–Unknown

ME–It sounds rather like the J. M. Rodwell interpretation of verses 3 and 4 of Surah 93 of the Qur’an:


…”Thy Lord hath not forsaken thee, neither hath he been displeased.

And surely the Future shall be better for thee than the Past….”

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Someone posted–*white parent voice* i cant believe kanye and kim named their baby North West!! thats ridiculous!! oh no, its almost 4:30, i need to pick up my kids Mackaylikiah and Ashleighyie from their water polo practice!

Someone posted–I always reblog this post so fucking fast every time it comes on my dash my phone shuts down the app and reboots

Someone posted–Edythe

ME–Exactly!

I can’t take seriously people with silly or misspelled names, nor parents who bestow such names upon their children. It suggests to me ignorance, immaturity, and bad taste, not to mention a slavery to each passing trend and fad.

Parents guilty of such nonsense invariably say, “Oh, I want my child to be unique,” but their poor choice of name doesn’t spotlight their spawn as the Golden Child, but rather as a fool, a worthy target of taunts from the schoolyard and on throughout life.

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Well, there is *ONE* good thing going on, I guess–we’ve not heard a peep for several months now from those “Duck Dynasty” jack-asses. But I don’t think they’ve just faded away, though. I think the sons-of-bitches are regrouping and waiting for the chance to spring on us again when our backs are turned and we least expect it.
SO…

CONSTANT VIGILANCE, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

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While I was walking my dog, I was trying to figure out how to describe this blog. It’s not a mood blog, a seasonal blog, fandom, art, music, photo, film, architecture, books, writing, cute animal, dog, animal rights, religion, politics, social causes, food, humor, vanity, history, mental illness, recovery, or rant blog. I guess it’s just a sloppily curated mix of all these things and more. (I think I must be a little too self-involved.)

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We retired around 6:36 am and got up about 8:41pm.

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Friday, October 9th–

Someone posted–micdotcom–Watch: A Texas mom called out textbook writers for erasing slavery — and won.

Someone posted–Teach your kids at home. Don’t rely on the board of ed!! “Only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.” –Malcolm X

ME–The late Mel and Norma Gabler were the assholes who started fucking up the Texas textbook adoption process.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_and_Norma_Gabler

http://ncse.com/rncse/19/2/texas-board-education-honors-mel-norma-gabler

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12430127

http://iloveyoubutyouregoingtohell.org/tag/mel-and-norma-gabler

Texas buys more textbooks than any other state in the US, so whatever changes the Texas Board of Education insist upon will appear in textbooks used all over the country.

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Someone posted–Why Dyscalculia awareness is so important

I’d like to take a second to list all the people I wish had known more about dyscalculia growing up:

My first grade teacher, who noticed when on a verbal counting test that I went from 99 to 100 to 200 and told my parents I just needed a little practice

My third grade teacher, who couldn’t understand why I would turn in a timed multiplication table test with absolutely nothing written on it, or burst into tears when asked to bring it home and have it signed by my parents

My school corporation, who placed me in advanced mathematics for two excruciating years based on aptitude tests, apparently unaware that aptitude and ability are not one and the same

My fifth grade teacher, who privately admonished me for “laziness” because I couldn’t stop making “silly mistakes”—like switching multiplication and addition, or flipping numbers like three and eight, or failing to follow every step of a math problem

My sixth grade math teacher, who publicly called me out for writing the formula for the Pythagorean Theorem on my hand, claiming I didn’t study, though I had spent five hours the night before preparing

My parents, who grounded me every time my report card came out, trying their best to discipline what they thought was laziness

My family doctor, who, once told about my math troubles, prescribed me ADD medication without any running any kind of diagnostic

My Algebra teacher senior year after I was diagnosed, who claimed that giving me extra time on my test would be “unfair to the other students”

Every teacher who ever laughed and pointed at the clock when I asked them what time it was

The boy in my band class that said I was the “stupidest smart person he’d ever met”

My former boss, who when I told I had dyscalculia told me “I probably have it too, I am always mixing things up!” (she was an accounting major and ran the accounting portion of that place of business)

But you know who would have really benefited from knowing about dyscalculia? Me. I wish I had known. I wish I could go back and tell my ten year old self that it wasn’t my fault, that I am extraordinary in the best way. I wish someone, somewhere along the way could have seen what was really going on.

That’s why dyscalculia awareness is so important.

ME–I don’t know if I have dyscalcula or not, but I’ve had math trouble all my life, even back to my early elementary school days. When I was in college I kept putting off taking the one math class that was required on my degree plan.

I tried Algebra, but only lasted two days. I was completely lost.
Finally, when I’d taken all the other classes I needed, I tried to talk the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences into letting the requirement slide. He made out like it would be a HUGE deal if he were to exempt me. I didn’t understand why. My classmates wouldn’t care, nor the Board of Regents, nor anybody else. I had a double major and neither major had anything to do with math.

He told me I had to get a certified educational psychologist to test me on my math skills. I took the test, and the psychologist wrote that I had a serious math problem that clearly dated back to childhood and that it would be almost impossible to fix at that stage.

So I was able to skip math in college.

A couple years later I was in a dead-end retail job. I hated the town I was living in, but my boss said if I did a good job over the next year, he’d see about getting me transferred to Austin, where I’d lived before and where I wanted to return.

One year passed. My manager was fired and replaced by another. One day the regional manager came by our store and I reminded her of what the previous manager had said. She said, “Sorry. He told you wrong.” Then she went into a whole list of reasons why I could never transfer to the Austin store.

“I see you use a pocket calculator when figuring out buys.”

“Yes, I have serious trouble with math and can’t do it in my head.”

“Well, the Austin store is the Big Leagues. You have to really have your act together to work there. And you have to work faster than you would with a calculator. You would have to be able to do math in your head.”

“I use the calculator faster than I could ever attempt to solve a math problem in my head.”

“Well, let me put it another way–if you went up to the register or the buy counter in the Austin store and took out a pocket calculator in front of your co-workers, it would essentially be the same as if you took out your penis in front of them and waved it around.”

I was shocked, not only because she was being unreasonable, but also because she was using vulgar and unprofessional language around me. I’m a vulgar, foul-mouthed man, but I never would’ve spoken to an employee, especially one I barely knew, like that.

At any rate, I’ve spent my entire life trying to work around my math difficulties, and I’ve found that carrying a calculator into a work setting has usually been good enough for me to meet most workplace requirements.

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Someone posted–I really hate the word ‘diversity.’ It suggests something … other. As if it is something … special. Or rare. Diversity! As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV.

I have a different word: normalizing. I’m normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks.–Shonda Rhimes at the Human Rights Campaign Gala in March.

ME–
Conservatives seem to regard diversity as a bitter pill to swallow, as something that is forced on them against their will, but at least as far as the arts and literature and history go (some of the areas about which I can speak with authority)–if students aren’t studying the works of cultures other than their own, they’re not getting a complete education.

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Someone posted–People only bring up your past when they are intimidated by your present.

ME–Old friends have a nasty habit of reminding me of stupid and embarrassing things I did in the past.

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The people in charge of factory farming, agri-business, and animal abuse and cruelty for profit really need to be executed, but I doubt the left will take up arms.

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Someone posted–There was a shooting at my Alma Mater, and my first thought was “thank God there was only one fatality when there could have been so many more.”

This is your America.

Fuck you.

ME–Well, a few years ago a student started shooting up the University of Texas, but oddly enough, didn’t aim at anybody. Then he went into the Library and killed himself.

Weeks later, at the State Capitol, which is in walking distance of that Library, Texas legislators considered passing a law to allow college students to carry firearms. They didn’t pass the bill that session, but they did during this year’s session.

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We went to bed some time after 12 noon, woke after 8:00 or 8:30pm, but didn’t get up until about 9:00pm. I’d actually wanted to go back to sleep, but Belle insisted that we get up.

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Saturday, October 10th–

Someone posted–If you live in a past dream, you don’t enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is. There is no time to miss anyone or anything because you are alive. Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half-alive. This leads to self-pity, suffering, and tears.–Miguel Ruiz

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After my previous dog, Fred, passed away I had a nervous breakdown that lasted about a year. For the first six months I had between one and four violent crying jags every day. I had to stick a bath towel in my mouth because I was screaming so loudly I was afraid the neighbors would think a woman was getting murdered in my apartment and would call the cops.

I sometimes broke down in public, especially if I heard a song that reminded me of Fred. Once I was crying at a bus stop, waiting for a bus, and the only way I was able to get it together before the bus arrived was to dig my fingernails into my palms until they almost bled.

For the most part my family and friends were very heartless and unsympathetic about my loss. I hated them for that and I hate them still.

I loved him so much that for years I hoped that he and I would die at the exact same time, or that at least if he died I would then drop dead of a heart attack.

I still wish that I’d died the day he passed–October 30, 2006.

After three or so years I got another dog, Belle, and now she’s my whole world, and I dread the day when we’ll part.

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I took apart my dog’s fort, vacuumed, removed all the hidden and forgotten chew bones and such from their nooks and crannies, and then rebuilt the fort. My dog is not happy with me right now.

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Someone posted–“WHY IS THE POPE KISSING ROTHSCHILD HAND?

Le pape Francis embrasse la main de David Rockefeller, John Rothschild, et Henry Kissinger.”

ME–
The only man mentioned that I actually see in the picture is Pope Francis.

If those important men actually visited the Pope, it would’ve been in the news. Had the Pope had some secret, sinister meeting, it wouldn’t have been photographed.

I’m fairly familiar with the Rothschild family tree, and I’m pretty certain there’s no “John Rothschild.”

The two men in the front row appear to be wearing kippahs. The man in blue seems to be wearing medals. I assume these men are Jewish veterans, possibly from a World War II underground group.

My conclusion is this post is just promoting another ridiculous conspiracy theory, and is also anti-Semitic garbage.

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Someone posted–The courtyard of the Palazzo Farnese, Rome.

ME–Clearly the inspiration for the courtyard of McKim, Mead, and White’s Boston Public Library.

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Someone posted–

simple tips to gain my friendship

have a dog
show me pictures of your dog
invite me over to pet your dog
be a dog
dog

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Sunday, October 11th–

Someone posted–The Ballroom inside the Astor Mansion, New York City

ME–Later knocked down and replaced by the Astoria Hotel, which later united with its neighbor, the Waldorf Hotel. Then they were both knocked down and replaced by the Empire State Building.

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Someone posted–Being able to respond with sarcasm within seconds of a stupid question is a sign of a healthy brain.

ME–And, failing that, a good, swift backhand across the face is a sign of a healthy body.

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Someone posted–“NOBODY FOR PRESIDENT.”
Odysseus has proven time and time again that his pride gets in the way of his leadership capabilities. He would be an awful president.

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Someone posted–It wounded him to think that he would never be but a shy guest at the feast of the world’s culture.–James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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We retired around 4:08am (although Belle got up twice and paced around and rattled the papers), and we got back up around noon, walked, and ate. I read up on what it means when dogs pace around at night, and I read enough to get worried. I sent a message to Belle’s previous owner, then Belle and I returned to bed around 1:30pm. I forget when we got back up.

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I tossed and turned for hours last night trying to remember the name of Raymond Carver. I think the reason I was so obsessed was because I’m afraid of losing my memory and forced myself to figure this out.

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Someone posted–“I love the feeling you get when someone cancels plans that you didn’t want to have in the first place.”

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I posted–“Meth…It’s what’s for dinner.”

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Someone posted–“I hate when I plan a conversation in my head and the other person doesn’t follow the damn script.”

ME–All of my conversations are scripted. I rehearse them in the shower.

I’ve been told that it’s very wrong for me to script my sessions with therapists, but I want to make sure I express myself in just the right way, and can control every second, every nuance of the conversation, especially so I can keep the conversation from going into areas I don’t want to talk about.

I want the therapist to think, as I leave her office, “Damn, he’s as crazy as a shit-house rat, but still he’s as witty as Noel Coward.”

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Someone posted–There were so many different moods and impressions that he wished to express in verse. He felt them within him. He tried to weigh his soul to see if it was a poet’s soul. Melancholy was the dominant note of his temperament, he thought, but it was a melancholy tempered by recurrences of faith and resignation and simple joy.–James Joyce, A Little Cloud

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Someone posted–Palace of Depression by wackystuff

Via Flickr: vintage linen postcard … “The only real depression is a depression of individual ingenuity”

ME–“Palace of Depression” sounds like it would’ve made a good George Jones/Tammy Wynette duet.

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Someone posted–At some point, it’s inevitable that a self-driving car will have to choose between killing you to save nearby pedestrians, or killing the pedestrians in order to save you. It’s also inevitable that a business will exist that will allow rich people to pay to ensure that the latter always happens.

ME–
I took driver’s ed in high school, though I haven’t had a driver’s license in thirty years, have never driven regularly, and have never owned a car.

In driver’s ed we had to go to something called “The Simulator” (which naturally we called “The Stimulator”). This was a long trailer, inside of which were several mock-ups of car interiors, with steering wheels, brakes, accelerators, etc. We’d sit in our fake cars and then the instructor would project a driver’s ed film across the back wall of the trailer.

The films would depict the point of view of a person driving through various conditions (rain, snow, heavy traffic, etc.) and a stentorian voice on the soundtrack would announce, “CAUTION! POTENTIAL TROUBLE AHEAD. WHAT WILL YOU DO?” And then we’d brake, swerve, slow down, and so forth. Our car mock-ups had some sort of electronic gizmos that would show the instructor what action each of us had performed.

In one film, we drove through a New England village, rather like the one in “Valley of the Dolls,” in light snow conditions, during the Christmas shopping season. A young woman, heavy-laden with bags of Christmas presents, stepped out from the middle of the block, tried to cross the street, realized she’d dropped some of her purchases, and went back to the middle of the street to retrieve them.

I floored it.

Another time we were “driving” through a school zone. A little girl ran into the street from the playground to retrieve her ball. Some asshole in the on-coming lane veered over and was headed straight at me. And a dog ran into the middle of the street. Again: “CAUTION! POTENTIAL TROUBLE AHEAD. WHAT WILL YOU DO?”

Well, I sure as hell don’t want to kill myself in a head-on collision. And I would NEVER THINK of killing a dog! So, as Mike Hammer once said, “It was easy:” I plowed over the little girl.

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Someone posted–Of course guns don’t kill people. That’s why America sends its troops into battle armed with feather dusters and colorful language.

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Someone posted–Obama’s not coming for your guns, you morons. The corporatist, right-wing agenda and climate change are what you should fear. Instead, you’re being played. The sick society is populated with aimless, infantilized young men. The sick society is pulled apart from the commons, whether spatially or through ideology. It metastasizes via a decadent culture of violence in “music” and video games, as well as hate on talk radio, television, and the great god social media. Growing inequality and a hustle neo-liberal economy has taken away so many good jobs while “disrupting” not merely venerable companies and the social compact, but the mediating entities — whether the union hall or individuals who lit our way — that helped hold us together as a civilization.–Rogue Columnist

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Someone posted–Wouldn’t it be nice to just live your life knowing that benefits for retirement, disability, unemployment, paid leave, health insurance, and education are there for you? Wouldn’t it be nice not having to spend your finite time on this earth trying to coordinate tons of different accounts and employment relationships (and bear the risk and uncertainty of those accounts and relationships) in order to meet these kinds of needs?–The Argument for Free College

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Someone posted–“What’s a Democratic Socialist?”

ME–I’m a little odd in that I’m in favor of most of these, but am also in favor of monarchies, and am a bit of a totalitarian in that I think the politicians, media mouthpieces, and oligarchs of the right-wing in the US should be given show trials, then executed for treason.

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Monday, October 12th–

If I had Brian Blessed’s voice I would rule the world.

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I woke up about an hour ago with George IV hair, but sadly, as soon as I took my dog outside for a walk, the humidity wilted it.

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I forget when Belle and I got up, or went back to bed for a nap, but I did spend most of the wee hours of the morning copying and pasting the various obituaries and appreciations I could find about Brian Sewell.

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Tuesday, October 13th–

Ah, the annual Nobel Prize for Literature! My chance to scratch my head and say, “Who?”

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Though Belle and I retired close to 11am, I tossed and turned until after 12:30pm, so I got up, had something to eat, and took two more sleeping pills. That did the trick.

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Incomplete notes from a dream:

I dreamt again that I was living in a version of New Guild Co-op in a version of West Campus. I got up and got ready for the day…

…cheated/stole from house -mate or fellow student. got caught. restored what i’d taken…

…but wound up close to evening in a wooded area north of the Co-op, in a stone pavilion that was probably octagonal, and was about ten feet off the ground, with openings on the sides instead of windows. It was sort of a cross between a gazebo and a tower.

Some of my fellow Co-op residents used the place to smoke weed; I went there to smoke cigarettes.

I saw a group of Asian soldiers creeping up towards the pavilion, skirting the edge of the wood. Because they were wearing fur-lined caps I assumed that they were Mongolians. The officer was armed with a pistol, while his men were carrying rifles.

They entered the pavilion suddenly, and though I realized I was in mortal danger, I felt that if I gave them no reason to suspect me of anything, they would leave me alone. They did a search of all the nooks and crannies of the pavilion, the officer asked me some questions, and I answered as best as I could.

Either I offered the officer a cigarette or he took the packet from me; either way, he grabbed the majority of my cigarettes, so all of his men could have a smoke. He left me about three.

It turns out these soldiers were Thai, and they had come to America to track down some Thai nationals who were guilty of treason or plotting revolution or lèse-majesté. The officer told me to keep an eye out for these people and to contact him if I saw them. Then the soldiers left and I returned to the Co-op.

As always when I dream about West Campus, the atmosphere was that of a street party, with lots of college students headed to this event or that bar. And as always, I was a young man.

I went into the house, wandered around in the kitchen, and noted that on a shelf or shelves in the southeast corner, between the entrances to the dining room and front hall, someone had set up a display….

incense gods

islam folders

picked up 2 thais

cath church?

rode around. how to sneak them in ? many thais in danger in austin

got out. got bearings. c-store. they got abducted? saw female thai spy outside watching. spies everywhere.

back to house. gotta lay low.

how to bring Belle and other dog upstairs. dont wanna lug several times a day. move to first floor?….

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We didn’t get back up until 11:20pm.

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Wednesday, October 14th–

Someone posted–Connect with people who remind you of what you truly are.

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I spent most of the night messing around with my cutting-and-pasting of online articles.

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I posted–Biblical city of ‘Sodom’ discovered

ME–This just in–Donald Trump to unveil new plan to deport Sodomites.

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Someone posted–What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.–Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

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Someone posted–“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”–Miles Davis.

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Today I dreamt I was much younger and lived in a large house with my parents. I dressed like Lord Baden Powell and swaggered about all day.

Then my parents went without me to a school event I wanted and needed to attend. Some friends suggested we walk there via a shortcut, and I nixed that, so one of them offered to drive me.

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I had more trouble getting to sleep.

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We got up around 7:00pm. I walked Belle, but didn’t eat. Instead I went to HEB, got sweaty and winded on the way to the store, spent $7.00 on my pills, $7.27 on non-grocery items, and $58.81 on groceries. I returned a little after 8:00pm, and within a few hours was so sleepy I was ready to go back to bed.

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Thursday, October 15th–

Someone posted–Isolation is a way to know ourselves.–Franz Kafka

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During the summer of 1986 I worked as a waiter at a Mexican restaurant that was a couple of blocks from The Walls Prison in Huntsville, Texas. The manager looked exactly like Anton Chigurh from “No Country for Old Men,” even down to the silly haircut. I think the main difference was the manager wore his shirt unbuttoned enough to show all the gold chains hanging around his neck. I think he even had a gold medallion.

He and I did not get along. At all.

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Someone posted–You’re ten and have an I-Pad? When I was your age I had a crippling depression.

ME–When I was ten I was a boy genius with a great future ahead of me.

Now I’m an unemployed madman with no future.

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Has anyone else ever watched the twelve-part “The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten, a television history?” I remember watching it on late night TV forty years ago, and I’ve been humming the march from the opening credits ever since, without ever knowing what it’s called.

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I posted–Spasi, Gospodi, Iyudi Tvoya (O Lord, Save Thy People)

ME–Just before I woke up today, I was dreaming of the end of “The 1812 Overture.” And when it came to the part with this hymn, I dreamt I was an Orthodox Bishop, coming outside with a large Suppedaneum cross, or possibly an icon, to bless the people and the troops of the Tsar.

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Oh God, I hate dealing with appointments. I wish I could just stay in this apartment the rest of my life and let people drop things off at my door without knocking or ringing the bell.

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Someone posted–why the fuck do people have to YELL AT SPORTS ON THEIR TV I don’t wanna hear it ever again

I have to let the sportsmen know what to do they are lost without my guiding hand. the tiny men on the TV run for my enjoyment the least I can do is be a leader to them.

ME–I don’t understand why people yell at televised sports either, though I do scream corrections when someone on TV mispronounces a word or uses improper grammar.

To give an example–There’s a Lake Buchanan somewhere near Austin. Whenever the local weather men refer to it they always say “Boo-cannon,” and I turn away from what I’m doing, face contorted with rage, and scream, “IT’S ‘BYOO-CANNON,’ YOU STUPID COCKSUCKER!!!”

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2016 is going to suck. It will mark ten years since I’ve been to Paris (and I’ve not been able to return since), and ten years since my dog Fred died (something which I’ve not been able to get over).

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I agree with pretty much everything Bernie Sanders has had to say, but I have three main problems: 1) I think it’s more important in 2016 to prevent a Republican from getting elected President than it is to ensure that any particular Democrat to be elected; 2) I fear that if Sanders got elected, with both Houses of Congress being controlled by right-wing Republican lunatics, he’d face even more gridlock and titty-baby-style opposition to his policies than President Obama has; 3) While I like Sanders personally, some of his followers creep me out, and are little too zealous and insistent for my taste (but this is usually the case with followers of third-party or dark horse candidates).

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Just take a pledge not to use “literally” in every goddamn sentence for the next, say, two-hundred years, and I’ll be happy.

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For the last 3.5 fucking hours my trashy downstairs neighbors have been playing the same 5-note dub-step crap they listen to all the time. What kind of mindless zombie does that?

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Someone posted–The perfect clarity of all the images we see in dreams which is the precondition of our unquestioning belief in their reality again reminds us of conditions pertaining to earlier mankind, in whom hallucination was extraordinarily common and sometimes seized hold on whole communities, whole peoples at the same time. Thus: in sleep and dreams we repeat once again the curriculum of earlier mankind.–Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

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Someone posted–
The same people who were questioning the school I picked for my girls and starting their own charter school, wanted to talk to me about the This American Life Podcast about segregated schools. They wanted to talk to me about things I already knew. Our schools are more segregated than they have ever been. Our educational system is deeply inequitable. Things are only getting worse. They shook their concerned liberal head in sadness wondering what they could do.

Then they made sure their child got into the very white, pretty affluent charter school that is not representative of their neighborhood. When one didn’t exist, they took their resources and began creating one.

When I am able to move past the anger, the frustration that people are talking about a school they know nothing about, I listen to what they say. Behind all the test score talk, the opportunity mumbo jumbo that people lead with, I feel like what is actually being said, and what is never being said is this: That school is too black.

The people who are moving into my neighborhood want their children to have a diverse upbringing, but not too diverse. They still want a white school, just with other non-white children also participating. They want to go to the Christmas pageant and not have their white sensibilities violated because the other parents are too loud and boisterous and it makes them uncomfortable, for really no good reason. They don’t want their kid to notice her whiteness in Pre-k […] They don’t want to have to wonder when the teacher calls, if they are getting extra attention because white parents are often perceived as overbearing. They want diversity, just not too much.–Abyy Norman –Why White Parents Won’t Choose Black Schools

ME–I worked at a K-12 private school from 1998 to 2000. I think there was exactly one black child in a school with 180 students, and her dad was a professional basketball player. There were a few wealthy Indians. I don’t remember any Asians. Two half-Muslims. And I once had a study hall where I was the only American citizen in the room–everybody else had either British, Romanian, or Russian citizenship.

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Someone posted–When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.

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I’d like to play a few chukkers of polo using Taylor Swift’s severed head as the ball.

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I wrote a 930-page book in a month. I think I’ve earned the right to skip National Novel Writing Month.

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Friday, October 16th–

Someone posted–did u kno: ur icon is actually you in 20 years

ME–I wouldn’t mind ending up in exile if I could get a decade or two on the throne. [My icon is Napoleon.]

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Someone posted– “My mind is a mess.”

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Someone posted–“CAN I STILL GET INTO HEAVEN IF I KILL MYSELF?”

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Someone posted–You can tell a lot about a person from the way they treat people working in retail or the service industry.

ME–Well, having worked extensively in both I can tell you that most people are real shit-heads.

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Someone posted–i may seem like an angry person on the surface but deep inside im actually angrier

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I don’t think my care-givers understand that I’m not interested in changing my personality. I’m interested in changing my circumstances, in getting financial security, getting money coming in, having housing, food, and utility security, and being left the hell alone.

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Saturday, October 17th–

3:45am. I’m hating life. Time for a shower.

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Sunday, October 18th–

Someone posted–I create entire romances in my dreams.–Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights

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ME–
To my asshole neighbors:

1) Do not approach or pet my dog Belle until you’ve asked for AND RECEIVED my permission. She’s skittish around some people and animals, and doesn’t like either to just run up into her face.

2) Do not say, “Man, that’s a really old dog you have!” Belle is not old, sickly, doddering, decrepit, weak, crippled, senile, or infirm. She is, rather, a “lady of a certain age,” and she has more energy and vitality than most humans I know. She just likes to conserve it for about 23 hours a day.

3) A Word to the Wise: If you hurt my dog I WILL bash your fucking skull open with one of the grapefruit-sized rocks that are used on the apartment complex grounds for landscaping.

Someone posted–We don’t use the word “old” when it comes to dogs, we use “distinguished lady” or “established gentleman.”

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Someone posted–Actually, it is amazing how much can be learned about people from the books they own.–Mitch Cullin, A Slight Trick of the Mind

ME–Definitely. My library is the blueprint to my mind. (Well, not the crazy part….)

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Someone posted–Let it die. Let there be a new beginning. It’s awful. Goodnight.—Charles Bukowski

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Someone posted–there are guys in my dorm who decided to play cards in the elevator

Someone posted–see what intrigues me about college isn’t the intellectual pursuit or the bonding or whatever, its the fact that people have the freedom to do random shit like this

Someone posted–Okay, everybody, I have a story about random shit in college. When I was in college, there was a particular class I took where, no matter what time you walked into class, if you made it into the room before the professor, you wouldn’t be counted late. I mean, that’s a pretty cool policy, given how some professors are really obnoxious about attendance.

Well, one time, a fellow student of mine was running late to class. As she reached the edge of the building, she saw her professor making it to the front steps (super long rectangular building here). He looks up from walking and he sees her. He then points to his watch, gives her a well-meaning “Look who’s late” face, and walks on inside.

What he didn’t know, though, was that this particular student was like freakishly good at bouldering and related climbing skills, so she was just like “Fuck it” and SCALED THE BUILDING!

She tapped on the window of the 4th floor classroom (the floors had like 20 ft ceilings, so, she was quite a ways up there), nearly making one student piss himself. They opened the window, she rolled through, onto the floor, and slid into her seat about five seconds before the professor opened the door to the classroom.

He did a double take, started to say “How the hell d—” when a security guard ran in, red-faced and panting, pointed at her and bellowed “STOP DOING THAT!”

Someone posted–Okay random college story of my dads. He was taking a history class and they were writing a timed paper during the class and when the time ended, the professor told everyone to turn in their papers or they would not be graded.

One boy in the class wasn’t finished with his paper when the time was up so he continued to write the paper until the class finished. When it did he went to the turn in the paper. The professor told him that he could not hand in his paper outside of the time restraint because it wasn’t fair to the rest of the people in the class.

So the boy went up to the professor desk and asked “do you know who I am? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM??” The professor calmly told him “no I don’t know who you are.” The boy said “good!” And stuffed his paper into the stack on the professor’s desk of all the papers that had been turned on time and then walked out of the class.

The professor has no choice but to grade his paper.

Someone posted–My favorite thing about this post is that people keep adding college stories to it and they’re so much fun to read

Someone posted–When my grand-fad was in collage he did engineering and to prank his teacher he and his friends dismantled the teachers car and put it back together in the cafeteria.

Someone posted–My dad kept a pet snake (yes apparently its genetic) but the RA was a hard-ass. He knew there was a snake and kept trying to catch my dad breaking the rules, but the entire floor hated the RA so everyone just kept moving Slinky from room to room.

Someone posted–S l i n k y

Someone posted–Slinky the sneaky snake

ME–When I was in college some guys in my dorm put their mattresses on the stair landing about 10 feet below their floor and about 15 feet from the top step, then leaped into the air and tried to land on the mattresses.

Another time some guys discovered that there was a steel trap door in the dorm’s ground floor janitor’s closet. The trap door led to a crawl space that was full of dead rats. As it turned out, that day the janitor forgot to lock his closet door, so that night some of the guys decided to go explore the cellar.

I gave them a head start, made sure they were all well in to the cellar, then I took off my shoes, approached the closet quietly, slammed down the steel trap door, slammed the closet door closed, and ran away.

I forget how long I left them down there, but they all panicked and at least one of them started crying.

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Someone posted–Your future self is watching you right now through memories.

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Someone posted–I’ve always had a terrible weakness for beautiful but sad things.–Sylvain Reynard, Gabriel’s Inferno

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Someone posted–Thank you, slow walking family walking in front of me on the sidewalk. No, please, take your time. And definitely spread out, too, so you create a barricade of idiots. –Jimmy Fallon

I relate to this so strongly I got a little teary-eyed.

ME–That’s why I practice and practice, developing my voice into a finely-tuned instrument, so I can clear my throat so loudly that the slow-ass people in front of me will know to get the hell out of my way.

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In 2004 a friend saw a news report that my apartment complex was on fire. He came and got me and my dog Fred and put us up in his home. Now I just learned his condo burned down today. He does have insurance and a job and a place to stay. I just wish I could do something for him.

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Monday, October 19th–

All these beautiful photos of the UK on my dash are depressing me, because I’m pretty sure I’ll never get a chance to go there, and certainly not live there.

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Someone posted–“my mental illness is destroying me and i want to die every day but that’s not the kind of thing you can bring up at parties”
ME–Ah, but that’s one of the reasons I stopped going to parties.

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Someone posted–The facts that are very simple. Republicans win when there is a low voter turnout, and that is what happened last November.

Someone posted–Sixty-three percent of the American people didn’t vote, Anderson. Eighty percent of young people didn’t vote. We are bringing out huge turnouts, and creating excitement all over this country.

Someone posted–Democrats at the White House on down will win, when there is excitement and a large voter turnout, and that is what this campaign is doing.–Bernie Sanders

#please vote#vote vote vote#i dont care who you vote for#be educated#vote from your heart#and your ideals#but do it!

You can learn how to educate yourself on the candidates and what steps you need to take to vote in your state here.

ME–Also, an odd trend I’ve discovered in 35 years of political work: Republicans do better in elections when the weather is bad. This is because Republicans all tend to have cars and ample time to go and vote. Poorer people tend to be Democrats, and they don’t always have cars or reliable transportation, so they often can’t get to the polls–especially if it’s raining or snowing.

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Someone posted–“we all have that one person that we wasted just too much time on”

ME–Just one?

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Okay, I’m overcome with sadness and am still sleepy. Back to bed.

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Someone posted–does anyone else get really anxious when the cashier hands you change and you’re hurriedly putting it away in your wallet so that the next customer in line can proceed or is that just me

Someone posted–i don’t even put it in my wallet, i just crumple everything and throw it in the bag before the anxiety bomb goes off

ME–Checking out at the grocery store is absolutely terrifying for me, because I fear that if I don’t do every step of the process correctly and at lightning speed, I’m gonna have problems with the cashier, the sacker, and everybody in line behind me. And if the cashier asks me a question while I’m typing stuff onto the keypad I jump about three feet in the air in panic.

And yes, part of this is ingrained and residual fear from years working cash registers and getting chewed out by managers and customers for being too slow.

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Someone posted–lil bpd things

• eating a lil for a few days or binge eating at once

• picking up other people’s sense of style or the way they talk because you like them so much

•feeling horrible when you aren’t 100% the best at something

•constantly wondering if you’re being manipulative or genuinely needing help

•needing as many labels as possible so that you can identify as something

•wanting to die when ur fav person doesn’t text back

•impulses to harm urself or say bad things

•getting attached to anyone who gives u good attention

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I’m incredibly sad and filled with dread because I have to go see my care-givers at a clinic tomorrow. It’ll take me 90 damn minutes to get down there by bus. I hate going to that place so much, and I get nothing out of it apart from meds which only work some of the time at best.

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Someone posted–I always have meetings where people are like, wanting to talk about character arc and learning lessons and I’m like, no, people don’t really learn lessons. People don’t necessarily get better. A lot of people get worse.–Josh Thomas, on network notes for Please Like Me

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Someone posted–[shouting angrily] “I don’t like ‘em putting chemicals in the water! They turn the freakin’ frogs gay! [grunting heavily] “Crap!”

ME–Did someone order a batch of gay frogs?

But seriously, Alex Jones acts like a four-year-old who’s throwing a tantrum because his parents decided to go to the Olive Garden for dinner instead of McDonald’s. I can’t believe anyone takes him seriously. I’m not much for empathy, but I’m actually embarrassed for Jones because he doesn’t seem to realize how ridiculous he is. (But he’s also made a ton of money acting like a jack-ass, and lives in a gated community.)

Also, Glenn Beck stole his crying shtick from Jones.

And furthermore, Jones is from Austin. I remember when he started out with a cable access show. Still, it’s good to know there’s at least one person in Austin who is crazier than I am.

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Tuesday, October 20th–

We got up at 9am–thirty minutes before my alarm was set. Belle and I walked, then we came inside and ate, and I got ready for the day. I caught the 11:34am Express Bus, got off at the Library but didn’t go inside there. I took the #7 Bus down to the clinic, met with my Case Manager around 1pm and a nurse around 1:30pm, but was unable to get my prescriptions refilled because their on-site doctor recently resigned.

One of the schedulers insisted that I come back on the 29th to see the new doctor (and the nurse added I’d not seen a doctor since July). Privately I was livid and anxious about having to go back down to that goddamn place in a week. I have nothing to tell a fucking doctor that I didn’t already tell the nurse. This is such a huge waste of time–as I knew it would be. (At least the appointment they’d set on my birthday got cancelled.)

I took an other #7 Bus downtown and an Express Bus to UT. I got a little food for lunch at the CVS Pharmacy, ate in front of the HRC around 3pm, and went to look at the Frank Reaugh exhibition again, and see if I could get better photos (especially of those works covered by glass), with a filter.

From there I took a shuttle to the PCL, checked all the copiers on Floors 2, 4, and 6, found that the copier on the 6th Floor had a piece of paper jamming it up, preventing it from working, and so rather than waiting on some slow-ass, lazy library employee to make a half-hearted attempt at repair, I fixed the machine myself.

Next I got three volumes of “The Dictionary of Literary Biography” and copied articles on Wiliam Laud, Robert and Edward Harley, Sir Thomas Bodley, the Bridgewater Library, John Selden, Thomas Cranmer, Izaak Walton, Lord Brotherton, Richard Garnett, Sir Anthony Panizzi, Sir Sydney Cockerell, W. W. Greg, N. R. Ker, Theodore Besterman, A. N. L. Munby, William Thomas Lowndes, Robert Proctor, Charles Edward Sayle, Alexander H. Turnbull, H. G. Aldis, and William Blades. “DLB” articles such as these on librarians, book dealers, book collectors, and bibliographers have served as my chief bathroom reading for the last year.

After this, I took another shuttle to the Drag, and caught an Express Bus for home. And when I got home, goddamned if I didn’t have messages that my prescriptions were ready.

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I think it was 3:45am when we finally went to bed.

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Wednesday, October 21st–

Someone posted–You can’t measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange.–Milan Kundera, Identity

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Someone posted–

Anxiety attacks aren’t always hyper-ventilating and rocking back and forth

Anxiety attacks can take different forms, such as:

Unpredictable bouts of rage or irritability

Nit-pickiness (obsessive behavior, which may be a part of OCD), and even a hyper-sensitivity to disarray, chaos, or any sort of change

Fast-talking, stuttering, stumbling over words

Not talking at all

Sitting rigid, staring into space, almost seeming “zoned out”

Understanding the way our or other’s anxiety works can help to decrease the stigma and help to calm a person faster and get them out of that state. These are just a few, but it gives an idea of the range in which attacks can come.

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Okay, I’m closing up shop. Time to take my meds, cuddle up with my hound, and hope the Hill Country gets some much-needed rain while we sleep.

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We got up in late morning, walked, and ate. Outside it looked like it had sprinkled overnight. We went back to bed in early afternoon, but I’m not sure how much, if any, sleep I got. The bed and I got very hot and uncomfortable even though I had the fan and AC on. We got up after 5pm and I got more and more irritated thinking about having to go back to that fucking clinic next week.

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Well, would you look at that! My birthday is November 2nd. (The Day of the Dead.) And the link to my Amazon Wish List is on the right-hand side of your screen. Funny how that works.

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Someone posted–How hipsters may be bringing back vintage language

ME–This article surprised me, because I’ve been using some of these words (bespoke, peruse, smitten, dapper, perchance, parlor, amongst, amidst, whilst, unbeknownst–-but not thou, thee, ere, and hath–I’m not a Quaker) as long as I can remember, and not as an affectation either–-it’s just the way I speak.

I remember when I was working on a political campaign, one of my co-workers, a lad of eighteen, laughed himself silly when I used “behoove” in a sentence.

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Thursday, October 22nd–

Happy birthday to my sweet Lady Dog, BELLE!!!

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Friday, October 23rd–

Someone posted–“I was waiting for
something extraordinary to
happen

but as the years wasted on
nothing ever did unless I
caused it….”–Charles Bukowski

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Someone posted–If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.– Thích Nhất Hạnh

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I watched the very first episode when “Sesame Street” premiered. I was in Kindergarten.

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Someone posted–“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another.

The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.

If this sounds too mystical, refer again to the body. Every significant vital sign- body temperature, heart rate, oxygen consumption, hormone level, brain activity, and so on- alters the moment you decide to do anything… decisions are signals telling your body, mind, and environment to move in a certain direction.”—-Deepak Chopra, The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life

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Someone posted–“It’s only getting worse.”

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Saturday, October 24th–

Someone posted–“everyone cares when it’s too late.”

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It rained most of the day. I think we got up in late afternoon/early evening.

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Today’s forecast: A seriously bad mood for the foreseeable future.

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Sunday, October 25th–

I’ve only been awake for a few hours, but I’m so overcome by sadness, depression, worry, anxiety, and just a general need to cry, that I would love to just go back to bed.

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I posted–“Everything just tastes like sad.”

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Monday, October 26th–

Someone posted–
If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next… don’t. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness. Don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present – each moment as it comes – because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again…

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Someone posted–Leave me alone. I’m only speaking to my dog today.

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Tuesday, October 27th–

I don’t really remember what I did today, so I must’ve been doing my on-going computer clean-up project.

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Wednesday, October 28th–

It’s 3am and I really want some Mexican food, but I’m broke, have no car, and my dog will bark her head off and wake the neighbors if I leave, so I guess no Mexican food for me.

Come to think of it, for the last two days I’ve been dreaming about hanging out in the kitchens of Latinos and watching them cook.

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Thursday, October 29th–

I remember about 15 or so years ago when blogging was in its infancy that some of the blogging sites (Blogger?) had things you could click to indicate what mood you were in when you posted a blog entry. I wish they’d bring that back.

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Someone posted–“I has a sad.”

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My favorite TV comedy–”Green Acres.”

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Someone posted–Marguerite ‘Peggy’ Guggenheim (1898-1979)

ME–I went to a wedding in LA five years ago, and a very drunk friend of the groom, and a supposed fan of my writing, cornered me and held forth on his rather peculiar theories of the arts, the most memorable being that had Jackson Pollock not possessed superb cunnilingual skills, then Peggy Guggenheim would’ve directed her all-important patronage to some other artist, and modern art would’ve gone off into an entirely different direction.

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Someone posted–bourgeois is a slur against rich people and it is wealth shaming

ME–I prefer “Plutocrat-American.”

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So a few hours ago I was grocery shopping and a guy wearing a T-shirt with this logo [Tyrell Corporation] almost bumped into me.

Thirty seconds later, he almost bumped into me again.

Then about seven minutes later I was checking out and I saw him directly behind me in the line! I was tempted to grab him, growl, “I WANT MORE LIFE, FUCKER!!!,” and then push my thumbs into his eye sockets.

(These are all “Blade Runner” references, by the way.)

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My new shrink thinks I’m a genius!!!….I like my new shrink!!!

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Are you fretting about what to get me for my birthday (November 2nd–The Day of the Dead)? Well, fret no more! Here’s a link to my Amazon Wish List….

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Friday, October 30th–

Someone posted–

Anthony Bourdain Says Trump’s Deportation Plan Would Bankrupt Restaurants

OCT 30, 2015 @ 04:18 PM 630 VIEWS

Katie Sola

FORBES STAFF

Anthony Bourdain arrives at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Donald Trump wants to deport every last undocumented immigrant from the United States. Anthony Bourdain claims Trump’s grand plans will destroy the restaurant industry. And data on undocumented immigrants in the workforce suggests Bourdain might just be on to something.

“If Mr. Trump deports 11 million people or whatever he’s talking about right now, every restaurant in America would shut down,” the celebrity chef and restaurateur told SiriusXM host Pete Dominick. Trump has promisedto deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Immigrants are “the backbone of the industry,” Bourdain said, because they’ll take the jobs Americans won’t. Bourdain claimed he was a manager employer for twenty years and ”not once, did anyone walk into my restaurant — any American-born kid — walk into my restaurant and say I’d like a job as a night porter or a dishwasher. Even a prep cook — few and far between. Just not willing to start at the bottom like that.”

Immigrant workers helped Bourdain as he was starting his own culinary career. “I walked into restaurants and the person always who’d been there the longest, who took the time to show me how it was done, was always Mexican or Central American,” he said. You can listen to the interview below.

https://soundcloud.com/siriusxm-news-issues/anthony-bourdain-if-trump-deports-11-million-immigrants-every-restaurant-will-close

The numbers back him up. Undocumented immigrants make up 12% of the workers who prepare and serve food, and 28% of dishwashers, according to a 2008 report from the Pew Hispanic Center. They were 17% of cooks and 16% of bakers in 2012.

Restaurants have notoriously slim profit margins of 3% to 6%, according to the National Restaurant Association. It’s estimated that 60% of new restaurants close in three years or less. Bourdain is probably exaggerating when he says America’s one million restaurants would go bankrupt. But it’s easy to see how the abrupt loss of so many workers could bust businesses’ profit margins past the point of repair.

ME–Although I strongly disagree with Bourdain’s views on vegans and vegetarians, I think he is right on the money about this.

I’ve been a busboy, waiter, side-order cook, short-order cook, and restaurant critic, and I can tell you that Latinos are essential to the US restaurant business. Furthermore, Latinos are the people who plant, tend, harvest, load, process, package, ship, unload, and display almost every bit of food that Americans put into their mouths. Without Latinos, most of us wouldn’t eat.

That said, I think they deserve fair wages and good working and living conditions because many of them today live little better than slaves did two-hundred years ago. In those days Southerners insisted that slaves were necessary for the existence if the Southern economy, and in a way I feel that Bourdain and I are using the same sort of arguments to justify the use of Latino laborers.

But the difference here, and I think Bourdain would agree with me, is that while Latinos are necessary to the US economy, I feel we need to remake the current model so Latinos are treated and paid fairly, rather than continuing to use them as near-slaves or deporting them to their country of origin.

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I must be in a 60′s mood tonight. I was preparing my dog’s dinner while singing “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?,” in the voice of Jo Anne Worley.

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Frederick Fitzgerald Bankston (July 1991–October 30, 2006).

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used

Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

–- Canon Henry Scott-Holland

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Saturday, October 31st–

How dare that little pisant in the apartment complex front office give me the fucking high hat! I hope he has a car wreck on the way home this evening.

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It’s a good thing I’m going back to bed soon, because I’ve been awake less than thirty minutes and am already filled with rage.

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It’s a good thing I seldom act out the rage that life and the world inspire in me or I’d be in serious trouble. But God help me the day I finally flip out and completely lose it.

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Someone posted–Expressive action begins with sensing a rupture in existence. The desire to eliminate this gap and become fused with existence itself becomes the will to create art.–Lee Ufan

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Today’s the 40th anniversary of the Charles Whitman shooting, so I thought I’d drag this out again.

https://thegreatindoorsman.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/8166-a-charles-whitman-gazetteer-2-2/#comments

Books Read In 2015.

I didn’t get many books read in 2015.

Most of them were also fairly short.

Even that didn’t matter much because when I tried to read on my bed, I’d be asleep within ten minutes.

By the end of September I decided to take it easy for the rest of the year and mostly just read biographical articles about famous British and American librarians, book collectors, book dealers, and bibliographers, photo-copied from different volumes of the “Dictionary of Literary Biography.”

Some books that I started reading in 2015 are still in progress.

 

Susie Hodge–Why Your Five-Year-Old Could Not Have Done That: Modern Art Explained. (1/2/15–1/28/15).

The Infinite Moment: Poems from Ancient Greek. (Translated by Sam Hamill.) (2/2/2015–2/8/15).

Poems From The Greek Anthology (Expanded Edition.) (Translated by Kenneth Rexroth.) (2/2/2015–2/9/15).

David Lazar, editor–Conversations with M. F. K. Fisher. (10/14/2014–2/18/15).

Hans Ulrich Obrist–Ways of Curating. (2/2/2015–2/25/15).

John Berger and Jean Mohr–Another Way of Telling. (6/29/14–2/28/15).

Kristin G. Congdon, Doug Blandy, and Danny Coeyman–Happy Clouds, Happy Trees: The Bob Ross Phenomenon. (3/1/15–3/19/15).

B. H. Friedman–Jackson Pollock: Energy Made Visible. (3/1/15–4/9/15).

Bobby Byrd–Otherwise, My Life Is Ordinary: Poems. (4/10-15–4/11/15).

W. G. Sebald–A Place In The Country. (4/14/15–4/25/15).

Mary Beard and John Henderson–Classics: A Very Short
Introduction. (5/9/15–6/2/15 ).

Maira Kalman– My Favorite Things. (6/3/15–6/6/15).

Robert Walser–Berlin Stories. (6/13/15–7/15/15).

Robert Walser–The Walk. (7/15/15?-7/21/15).

Christopher Kul-Want and Piero–Introducing Slavoj Zizek: A Graphic Guide. (7/21/15–8/3/15).

Elisabeth Roudinesco–Lacan: In Spite of Everything. (8/5/15–9/10/15).

G. A. Cohen–Why Not Socialism? (9/13/15–9/19/15).

Darian Leader and Judy Groces–Introducing Lacan: A Graphic Guide. (8/4/15–9/23/15).