2010–June through July

June

Tuesday, June 1–I woke up much to early today.  My phone tag game with my vet’s office was finally wrapped up this afternoon, though I didn’t really see the point of it. Belle is basically in good health, with only a slightly elevated kidney function. She’s still not responding 100% to the separation anxiety meds I’m giving her. I get the impression the vet’s office may be looking for another excuse to have me bring Belle in and shell out $300 more.

I got a call from the therapy clinic. They already have a new therapist for me–a man this time–whom I’m supposed to meet next Tuesday. Honestly, I wish they’d given me about four weeks off. Having appointments every single goddamn week is really tiring.

The air outside tonight has a metallic stench to it. I remember there were kids in elementary school that smelled like that.

Wednesday, June 2nd–I worked, planned for my trip, and eagerly awaited payday. I watched “Charlie Bartlett” and two episodes of “Jason King.”

Thursday, June 3rd–I worked, planned for my trip, and eagerly awaited payday.

Friday, June 4th–I didn’t get paid at all today, so I got very depressed.
I watched the last four episodes of “Jason King.”

Saturday, June 5th–I got a new upstairs neighbor. I hope this isn’t one of those who blasts techno at 3am. [Note: He is.]

I worked and watched “American Gangster.”

Sunday, June 6th–I worked, saw some deer while walking Belle at night (including one 12-15 feet away), and watched “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.”

Monday, June 7th–I worked, planned for my trip, and eagerly awaited payday.

Tuesday, June 8th–I met my new therapist today–my fourth since September 2007. He was a young man, sort of preppy, and seemed more like a young lawyer than a therapist. I condensed 79 years and three generations of family and personal history into a succinct 50 minutes. I’m sure the amount of information I supplied was a bit overwhelming.

Wednesday, June 9th–I worked, and waited for money, and watched “Spider-Man 3.” I also found a set of architectural drawings (floor plans and elevations) that I’ve been looking for since 1976. They are to “Undershaw,” a home Sir Arthur Conan Doyle built and lived in from 1897 to 1907. It’s always been one of my dream houses. Sadly, it’s fallen into disrepair, and some developers are about to turn the house into apartments.

Thursday, June 10th–I got paid a tiny bit today and immediately ordered a pizza and two pizza-sized cheese sticks from the pizzeria across the street. Unfortunately, it took them over 45 minutes to deliver me the food, by which time I had a huge hunger headache. I ate a great deal of the order as soon as it arrived, worked an hour, but felt very tired, and slept for about 5 hours before resuming work. During that time, my allergies flared up, my sinuses became inflamed, and my nose began dripping as I gasped for breath. Such is life in allergen-heavy Austin.

Friday, June 11th–I took some allergy medication and slept for quite awhile, until my nose seemed to dry up a bit. I woke hopeful I’d find a pay notice in my inbox, but it was not to be. This is really fucking frustrating.

Saturday, June 12th–Like most people my age, I saw John Hughes’s “Pretty in Pink” when it came out in 1986. I remember thinking the neighborhood that was home to the record store in the movie–the store where Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer hung out–looked so cool, full of hip shops and such, and I wanted to live in a place with a neighborhood like that. Houston had pockets of hipness like that then, and Austin’s Drag was like that in the 80s.

I knew the movie was shot in LA because I could see they used the Biltmore Hotel for the prom scenes. And for some reason I concluded the record store was in Westwood. When I was in Westwood last year I looked around, but wasn’t sure.

Well, last night I did some online research and watched the movie again and found out the hip neighborhood was actually the pre-renewal Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and the record store is now Cafe Crepe at Third and Broadway. So the next time I’m there I may rush into that place and lip-sync “Try a Little Tenderness.”

Sunday, June 13th–

Monday, June 14th–Well, I finally got paid today, and in full! I quickly set about paying my delinquent bills, and attending to some of my trip plans. I bought my plane tickets and reserved my hotel room. (Both I did with a great sense of fear and dread–mostly because I hate leaving Belle behind.) I frantically crunched numbers, to try to figure out how much more I need to earn for the trip and my monthly bills.

In 1976 I bought a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book included photos and descriptions of Doyle’s homes, and instilled in me a desire to one day visit them. One house, Bignell Wood, is still a private residence and was recently on the market. Another, Windlesham, is a nursing home. The oldest, Undershaw, was built in 1897, was occupied by Doyle for ten years, and was where he wrote “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” among other works. It included a big billiard room, a drawing room full of Doyle’s travel trophies, stained glass windows of the family crests, and a miniature train in the garden, rather like the kind you often see in zoos.

After Doyle sold Undershaw, it was turned into a hotel, but after the hotel closed, the house was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Sadly, developers bought the property and want to carve it into condos, adding a wing of more condos on one end. A group, “Save Undershaw,” formed and scared up a lot of publicity, issuing a call for the house to be turned into a private residence again or a Doyle museum, but last week the town council voted to allow the developers to proceed with their desecration. Now only a member of the Cabinet has the power to reverse the decision. (And yes, I wrote to him, begging that he act.)

I have been in correspondence with the lady in charge of the movement, and today I received a package from her: photocopies of photos, plans, and texts of and about Undershaw. I’ve also found, on the town council website, plans and elevations of the house as it is now, and of the planned development, and the grounds. It is amazing to find all these things after 34 years of searching. The house is even cooler than I imagined it would be.

Tuesday, June 15th–Before running off to therapy I called the Gamble House in Pasadena and reserved a $40, 2 1/2 “Behind the Velvet Ropes,” docent-led tour for August 11th. The tour supposedly takes you into areas of the house the normal tour doesn’t.

I asked my new therapist if he’d recovered from our initial whirlwind meeting, and he said something to the effect that his initial impressions were, “Here’s a guy who’s an intellectual and something of an aristocrat who fell on hard times” (a bit of an exaggeration, but flattering nonetheless), and “Why doesn’t this guy write a book?” I explained to him that I have actually written two books, though few people have any interest in reading them. I also told him more about my writing career–something I’d not devoted too much time to last week.

After this I went to the downtown Fed Ex shop and printed out the Undershaw plans, among other things. by the time I got home, walked Belle, and showered, I was exhausted from being out in the heat and had been awake about 20 hours straight, so I went to bed early.

Wednesday, June 16th–Since I woke up early I decided to run more errands.

Now last June I started walking every night two or more miles, just to stretch my legs and clear my head. I didn’t even have any great plans to do this as exercise, but I was still pleased and proud with myself for doing it. I kept this up until September, when I went to LA.

I bought two new pairs of shoes for that trip. Neither had very good support. I walked all over LA–museums, sight-seeing, shopping, and so forth. I returned very foot-sore. The pain in my feet was intense and didn’t go away. I stopped the late night walks.

And my feet got worse. Now if I’ve been seated awhile or in bed, when I get up my feet seem separated from my body. It’s like I’m an ancient Chinese woman with bound feet, or like I’m walking on stiletto heels, or maybe like my feet and ankles are made of very delicate porcelain. When I get out of bed I have to reach for the wall to steady myself. My feet feel bruised, as if someone hit my soles, and especially my heels, with a baseball bat.

I concluded that none of my shoes offer decent support, even with inserts. I did some research, and decided to go shoe shopping at Karavel Shoes, which sells regular and orthopedic shoes. I was there for at least an hour. (In the past I don’t think I’ve stayed in a shoe store more than 15 minutes tops.) The clerk had me stand on a machine that gave a reading of the pressure points on my feet. After more analysis she said I have some very strange feet. My right foot is a size 10, while the left is a size 10 1/2. I tend to walk on the outer sides of my feet. I have a wide foot, high on top, and with a very high instep. The shoes I wore to the store were too small and tight.

And from my description, she said it sounded like I have plantar fasciitis. She said I probably tore the ligaments on the sides of both my feet, though I would feel that as heel pain. when I’m sitting or laying down, the ligaments begin to heal, but when I stand up, I tear them all over again.

I had come in to buy an everyday black shoe–something looking like a classic Doc Marten–and some canvas slip-ons. After a great deal of fittings we found a good black shoe that provided support and was neither too tight or too loose, which would accommodate inserts and the normal thickness of the types of socks I usually wear. Their canvas slip-ons were too narrow–I had to settle for canvas lace-ups, with no support. I also bought supports and two pairs of dress socks.

She was concerned when I said I spend most of my time at home wearing either just socks or socks with slippers. She said if I’m to ever heal my feet I need more support, and talked me into buying some orthopedic sandals. Now I hate sandals, and would not be caught dead wearing them in public, but I figured they’d be okay in the privacy of my locked apartment.

I ate lunch at Phil’s Ice House, then stopped by Breed and Co. hardware–a visit I’d been meaning to get around to for several years–and bought a few dozen magnets, a clay flower pot and base, and four S-hooks (I need one to attach Belle’s tags to her collar–I bought four because I was unsure of the size I needed and didn’t want to have to make a second trip if I screwed the attachment up). From there I walked in the damnable heat, lugging way too much stuff, to the Texas Union, where I stopped for a drink, and then to the Architecture Library, where I made about $40 of photocopies of buildings by Eero Saarinen and Frank Gehry, as well as a lot of stuff from architectural magazines from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s.

When I got home, I got into an Instant Messaging discussion with James, who started busting my balls over the shoe-buying trip. As usual, his paranoia showed. He said the shoe clerk had cheated, screwed, and conned me, said I shouldn’t let a shoe store clerk tell me what’s wrong with my feet, and asked me if she offered to sell me a handful of magic beans. He said I should never do anything like this again without asking him or taking him along. Needless to say, I was enraged by his patronizing tone, and by the idea that I’m some wide-eyed, naive, helpless rube who is incapable of performing the simplest of tasks without help. Plus his insistence that everyone in the world is out to screw everybody else is a real fucking drag.

Thursday, June 17th–I got up, had lunch (tofu teriyaki at Drunken Fish–a restaurant that’s gone downhill since the days when it was Wiki-Wiki Teriyaki), bought some magazines at Barnes & Noble, then went to the big and tall clothing store to buy some wedding clothes. This was the first time I ever went to a fat guy clothing store, and it was shameful to me, but I can’t get anything in my size anymore in normal stores. I was horrified as I walked up there seeing a guy exit who looked like he was taking a break from his Dungeons and Dragons game.

I wanted a blue blazer and khakis, but the only thing they had in my size and budget was a black jacket and trousers. I wanted plain trousers–the only kind they had were cuffed and pleated, but they fit incredibly well, and didn’t pinch. As for the jacket, well, the sleeves will have to be altered. It was a two-button and I like three-button, and I thought the shoulders were too padded, but I guess this will do for one night. I still need to get the tie.

After this, I went over to Target to buy a few things and price cheapo, pay-as-you-go cell phones (which I need only for calling cabs in LA) and I-Pods. I then caught a bus, and got caught in a driving downpour two or three blocks from home. I showered, napped, then got up and worked.

Friday, June 18th–Today I went nowhere. I slept in and worked.

Saturday, June 19th–Today I went nowhere. I slept in and worked.

Sunday, June 20th–I went to have a late lunch at the Mexican restaurant across the street, only to find it had gone out of business. I ate instead at the Chinese place, and the food was really bad–so much so I may never go there again. I went to the dollar store and Petsmart, and just had time enough to get home, put up my purchases, and call my step-father to wish him a happy Father’s Day before the diarrhea hit.

Monday, June 21st–Today I went nowhere. I slept in and worked.

Tuesday, June 22nd–I went to therapy today, but am not entirely sure of what, if anything, was decided. We discussed, 1) the tendency of people to treat me like a helpless child, and 2) how certain people in my life, presumably out of a sense of cruelty, are fond of saying little, cutting things to me, that get me upset and throw me into a depression for days or weeks. He said by now, through trial and error, I should be able to recognize the cues that set off these remarks, but I said sometimes seemingly innocent conversations can turn ugly. My conclusion is that I should just totally cut these people out of my life, whereas, predictably enough, my therapist suggested I learn to work within the ugly parameters of the characters of these people. Yes, they are still useful to me in some regards, but it would be so much more pleasant if I was totally without them.

When I got home I had a message from a friend that Jill M___ had died. She was the former girlfriend of my buddy Dave, and a frequent player in my circle in the early 1980s, though I probably never saw her after 1985 or so. I was close enough to her at one time to have watched TV in her parents’ bedroom and seen her dad walking around in his yellow silk pajamas.

It’s odd for me when someone my age dies, or when someone dies who was once part of my life and then became estranged. I always wonder what their years after knowing me were like.

On the bus ride home I saw some idiot on a recumbent bike. These people produce strong reactions in me, and I posted the following comment on my Facebook status bar: “There’s just something about a guy on a recumbent bicycle that screams, ‘Hey, look at me, everybody! I’m a jackass!'”

To this a buddy responded, “James! How judgmental and unloving for an Austinite.”

And I wrote back,”Well, I am judgmental and unloving, so….

“Every time I see one I thank God I don’t drive. Otherwise I’d be tempted to swerve over and try to hit him.”

I’d like to address those charges. First, I used to love Austin, but I’ve hated the place since 2001, so I feel no need to adopt any “peace, love, and brotherhood” bullshit the others in the community lay claim to.

Second, apart from animals and a very few people, yes, I am unloving. Most people I’ve known have let me down and I have withdrawn my love from them. I don’t say that to sound self-pitying–that’s just the way it is.

What I disagree with, though, is the charge of being judgmental. I’ve noticed that just because I have very strong opinions about things, people call me judgmental. I don’t think being opinionated and judgmental are the same things.

Anyway, being out in the intense heat really took it out of me today, so after walking Belle and showering, I took a nap for about three or four hours. I only got about 90 minutes of work in, because the company’s computer tool was acting up again, so I watched some episodes of “Jason King.”

Remember that foreign object that I found in my food a food weeks ago? Well, the company wrote back and said that tests show the object was a piece of wood from a palette used in the factory. They apologized again and sent me two more coupons.

Wednesday, June 23rd–My mood grew worse as the day proceeded. I got bored, then cranky, then got a bad headache. I also realized that I’m building my entire year around this one-week trip to LA in August. What happens after that?

Thursday, June 24th–I worked, I slept, I got annoyed.

Friday, June 25th–Those shit-heads at the apartment office are at it again. Several months ago they began replacing the staircases and external bridges on some of the buildings, starting with Building #1, and moving on to #2, and so on. I called them and asked if they were going to do the same to my building and did I need to make some arrangements. The ditz I talked to said, “Oh, eventually. We’ll let you know.” I made tentative arrangements for me and Belle to stay with James and Nyssa out in the country, then put the matter out of my head.

Today I got a notice that work will take place on my building from Tuesday the 29th, through Friday the 2nd. The mother-fuckers didn’t even have the goddamn common courtesy to give me a week’s notice! And James and Nyssa, naturally, will be out of town next week. I e-mailed my friend Matt to see if he could help with arrangements, …[but couldn’t reach him].

As I mentioned elsewhere, though you enter my apartment by crossing a bridge on the street level, the building is built on the side of the hill, so I have an apartment below me and another above. I have all the advantages of being on the second floor–including a balcony–without climbing stairs. Unfortunately, the bridge is a swing club for carpenter ants and it and the stairs need replacing. The memo says, “Residents…whose main entry is the catwalk will not be able to enter their apartment during the hours of 8:30am-6:00pm.” (Well, I’m usually asleep then anyway.) I wonder if I can just stay inside.

I didn’t get paid today, so I really can’t afford to go renting a motel and a lap-top for four days. Most of my money is being saved for the LA trip anyway. I work from home, and I can’t afford to just blow off four days of work. And I seriously doubt the cocksuckers at the apartment office will pony up for a room and a lap-top.

Though I’ve lived in this complex for six years and just reluctantly renewed for a seventh, and do like the location, more or less, I’ve always been unhappy with the management. But then, I’ve never liked or trusted the management of any apartment complex I’ve lived in. Apartment personnel are on the same moral level as child molesters, I’ve always said. In 2010 they’ve really specialized in irritating me. In January they did an unnecessary re-roofing, which caused a huge leak and water stains and damage in my living room after several heavy rains. Then the repair of said damage was another pain in the ass.

When I renewed my lease they threw in an “oh-by-the-way-we’re-now-charging-renter-insurance.” Then they cancelled garbage pick-up. And there’s the once or twice weekly crack of dawn sessions with the grounds crew blowing leaves and mowing and edging the grass so short it’s barely there. I just wish they’d leave me the fuck alone, stop making noise, and only come around when I request them.

Saturday, June 26th–I called the front office and apparently I won’t have to vacate this next week. Supposedly I’ll just be stuck in my apartment from 8:30am to 6pm. I just hope I can sleep then. I asked the office guy if he could possibly do something about the construction crews tossing their unfinished fragments of lunch all over the grounds. It seems there’s a law that construction/maintenance workers have to eat friend chicken every goddamn day, and leave the bones and half the flesh on the grounds. When I walk Belle she zeros in on these fragments, and even though they are usually covered with fire ants, she starts to gobble them down. And everyone knows that chicken bones are dangerous for dogs. So I have to pry open her jaws and fish the bones out and throw them far away. (Frankly I’m more repulsed at touching something that’s been in the mouths of those workers than I am at touching the inside of Belle’s mouth. The latter is assuredly much cleaner.)

After doing my nightly work I watched “Lost in Translation.”

Sunday, June 27th–Well, due to Jill’s funeral notice and Facebook I have heard both from Dave and our old friend Jim. It’s weird…reconnecting with old friends…. We were thick as thieves from about 1979 to 1986 or 1987, I guess. Then we went our separate ways. They came out to my mom’s place to visit me one day in 1994 after my dad died, and again we drifted. Both Dave and Jim are bald now, while I have retained my hair and beauty, in spite of the fact I’m now big as a fucking house.

It’s been announced that former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe has died. I’m truly sorry it was him and not one of the useless cocksuckers that succeeded him: Bill Clements, Mark White, George W. Bush, or Rick Perry. I still spew blasphemies and obscenities at the name of Mark White every time I get into a car, because he’s the shit-for-brains that made it a law requiring front seat passengers to wear seat belts.

Monday, June 28th–I slept, worked, and dreaded the coming of the invading construction crews. I cancelled my therapy appointment for tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 29th–I tossed and turned for hours in bed, as I always do when I’m dreading being disturbed–either by an alarm clock or people. But the construction workers never showed, so it’s likely this ordeal will be stretched out over more than four days.

I eventually fell asleep and woke after 8pm or so. I worked from 11pm to 5am, then took Belle for a walk. Not far from our building, we saw four lovely young buck deer–not ten or fifteen feet from us–heading back to the woods after the end of their nightly grazing. We saw the does about fifteen minutes later.

Belle noticed the bucks, but not the does. She often misses deer. When she does see them she’s not threatened, she doesn’t bark, and she doesn’t regard them as just larger dogs.

When I became a vegetarian I did so initially out of a love for animals. It seemed to me logically inconsistent to claim I loved animals if I was sanctioning the killing of them. It wasn’t until months later that I also realized that my vegetarianism was an aggressive repudiation of the values of my family, since most of the men in my family were hunters. At one time I might have partially convinced myself I wanted to be a hunter as well.

I killed birds and squirrels as a child and was even an excellent shot, but I never killed a deer. I thought I understood the blood-lust. Now the only creature to which I have insatiable feelings of violence is Man. (And no, I’m not a psycho killer.) I just think the only creature that really deserves to be dealt with violently is Man.

I do not understand the motivation of the hunter, how he can look at something more grand, beautiful, and pure than he is and want to destroy it. I have more sympathy for the serial killer. The hunter kills to build up his puny, flaccid sense of manhood; the serial killer at least provides a community service by ridding this world of some more human beings.

Wednesday, June 30th–It rained. I worked.

July
Thursday, July 1st–It rained. I worked.

Friday, July 2nd–I got paid and planned my expenditures. I worked and read up in my I-Pod book. This book, while thorough, is also very confusing in parts. There are functions and uses they I can’t follow, and others that I totally question. Often, I’ll finish reading a section or chapter and think, “Well, why the hell would I ever want to do that in the first place?”

Saturday, July 3rd–The rain held off long enough for me to run errands. I went to Target, and bought some socks, DVDs, a temporary cell phone to use to call cabs when I’m in LA (I’ve never had a cell before and don’t intend to use this except for the trip), and my first I-Pod–a Nano in this case. (By the way–don’t write me trying to correct my spelling–I don’t recognize camel case as legitimate or correct, so I spell I-Pod the way I think it should be spelled.)

I realize I’m very late to the party on this I-Pod thing, but a well-connected friend of mine got to take an after-hours tour of the MOMA in NYC a few years ago, and described to me how cool it was to look at all these great works of art while listening to all the appropriate music on his I-Pod. Then, when I was touring the Huntington Art Gallery last year, I shared an elevator with a woman in a wheelchair who also had her own I-Pod of gallery-appropriate music. While I was in LA, I kept humming or thinking of specific songs or pieces of music when I was in certain places, and I’ve determined that for this trip I will have that perfect soundtrack.

After Target, I browsed in Barnes & Noble, buying nothing, had a so-so meal at Serrano’s Mexican restaurant (my drinking glass was absurdly small–I had to get it filled at least four times), then bought groceries.

Sunday, July 4th–I spent the holiday working. I saw a small fireworks display from my balcony, coming from somewhere to the north. I assembled and charged my temporary cell phones. I took my new I-Pod out and began trying to figure it out and charged it up. I finished by watching “The Duchess” with Keira Knightly and Ralph Fiennes.

Monday, July 5th–James called from DC, confused that so many buildings and services had been closed or on holiday schedules. I explained to him the provisions of the Monday Holiday Bill, which has been the law of the land for about thirty years, and ensures that all those useless, fat-assed Federal employees will get plenty of time off. James was unaware that if a Federal holiday falls on a weekend, then Federal employees get the Monday following that weekend off.

I signed up for I-Tunes and began ripping my CDs to it. I soon figured out that my CD collections, as paltry as I’ve always thought it to be, won’t fit within the 16GB limit of my I-Pod Nano. I think an I-Pod Classic is in my near future.

My oldest friend, Jeff, is taking his family on a trip through Europe, and he sent me a message from Paris, saying he wished I was there to show them around, running them from one site to another like I did him in San Antonio in 1980 or 1981. It turns out they’re staying in Rue de l’Odeon, so I suggested some good places for them to hang out.

Tuesday, July 6th–So after all that bullshit with the apartment management, the builders didn’t show up at all last week–probably because of the persistent rain. They did come today, and began work on the bridge and stairs on the northwest side of my building. I expect they’ll get to my bridge and stairs Thursday.

I’d set my alarm for 11am, so I could get up at make it to my 3pm therapy appointment, but someone called at 10am, and oddly enough, I had the phone ringer on. Of course I didn’t answer the phone, but it did wake me up, and when the radio came on an hour later I was exhausted. The caller was my therapist, wanting to set a new day and time for our appointment for later this week. I walked Belle, called the therapist, and he picked noon Friday–his idea, not mine. I spent about an hour loading CDs onto I-Tunes and a few minutes listening to James ramble about his adventures in DC.

Then I took two Valerian root capsules and slept for eight hours. I got up, worked, and loaded more CDs, pausing now and then because my Disc Drive was getting overheated.

Wednesday, July 7th–

Thursday, July 8th–

Friday, July 9th–A shitty day all the way around. I got up in the wee hours, worked, then had to go to therapy. I was having a panic attack prior to my session. During the session my therapist seemed bored and distracted. I mentioned three things I’m really worried about and he wanted to talk about something other than the one that most worried me. Bad memories from the past got dredged up and I was angry when I left there.

Then I waited in the ungodly heat for the fucking bus for about 30 minutes. I went to the UT Architecture Library, made about 30 photocopies, went to the paper cutter (since the blade of my cutter at home is dull), and discovered every single copy was of poor quality–barely visible! So I’ll have to go back some time and do it all over again. But I was too tired and sleepy to do it then. My eyes were clouding over.

I took the bus north, stopped by Barnes & Noble, and didn’t find what I was looking for, but was treated to a kid screaming it’s fucking head off incessantly and the parents, naturally, doing nothing about it. I then bought some groceries. On the way home the bags were so heavy I lost feeling in my hands and arms. And of course it was still hot out. So the day was a total loss.

Saturday, July 10th–I worked and finished adding most of my  CDs to I-Tunes.

Sunday, July 11th–I finally finished adding all my e-mail song attachments onto I-Tunes. Now all I have to do is enter all the homemade CDs and enter the titles by hand.

I have been very cranky of late. I’ve been working myself hard, work hasn’t been going well, and I’m finding no relief to my stress.

Now I love travel. I love anything that’ll get me the fuck out of Austin, Texas, or indeed wherever I’m living at any given time. What I don’t like are all the pains in the asses that pop up right before a trip–all the unexpected details and expenses and purchases, that invariably come out of my trip spending money. Just when I think I have everything more or less settled and ready, I have to go buy another pair of pants or some such shit.

Monday, July 12th–I went to the main Half-Price Books, bought some books, CDs. and DVDs, then ate Thai food next door.

Tuesday, July 13th–I had a non-descript meal with James and Nyssa, then bought some CD and DVD cases, among other things, at Fry’s Electronics. James saw fit to work me up into a state, telling me that in ten years I will be unable to watch my DVDs in any way, shape, or form, and that no one will be able to own movies–we’ll just have to rent them online.

Wednesday, July 14th–My college buddy Robert McL___ is in town with his girlfriend, so we got together and ate dinner at the Domain. I don’t think I’d seen him in 21 years or more.

Thursday, July 15th–I went out to dinner with my friend, Dave, and we tried to catch up on about 25 years in about four hours. He told me about people I knew well and people I sort of knew, but it seems the common thread I keep noticing among many of these people from my past (Dave excluded) is tragedy. Most people have had a really bad time of it the last twenty years.

I think I watched “Gran Torino” later on this night.

Friday, July 16th–I went back to the Domain, priced garment bags at Dillard’s, looked through the new phase of the center that recently opened, browsed Borders and was especially depressed at how skimpy the CD and DVD sections were, had a fairly decent meal at the California Pizza kitchen, browsed the Apple Store, then bused it to Barnes and Noble, which had a wonderful sale on its DVDs, including 60% off Criterion Collection titles. So I went a little nuts there.

Saturday, July 17th–I worked and watched “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.”

Sunday, July 18th–I worked and watched “V for Vendetta.”

Monday, July 19th–I watched “Hannah and her Sisters” for perhaps the first time since Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s ugly break-up. There were two unsettling parts: 1) Early on, in the TV studio, when a censor tells Woody he won’t allow the airing of a comedy sketch on child molestation, and Woody says, “Child molestation! But half the country’s doing it!,” and 2) I spotted the child Soon-Yi, the future Mrs. Allen, with the kids in one of the holiday scenes.  Understand, though, that I was on Woody’s side in the break-up. I think Mia is probably a bit touched in the head.

Tuesday, July 20th–There was more trip-related running around today. I had to take Belle to the vet to get her a shot (nose drops, actually) so she could stay in a fancy boarding facility while I’m gone. While I was there, the vet gals yet again tried to make me get Belle her annual check-up, despite the fact I’ve given them documentation that she got a check-up from her old vet in January in Ohio. It really pisses me off that they’re trying to gouge me like this.

Then I took a jacket that I bought for the trip to get altered. The alteration is twice the cost I thought it would be, and I’m not especially happy with the jacket in the first place. It’s made of cheap material, it has exaggerated shoulders, and it’s a two-button black jacket when I wanted a three-button blue blazer.

After that I dropped some shirts off to have them pressed and starched for the trip, and ordered two ties online. and I still haven’t finished buying things for this trip.

Wednesday, July 21st–I went to therapy, ate Mediterranean food, made some copies at Fed Ex and the Architecture Library, and took the night off.

Thursday, July 22nd–I worked and watched “The Dark Knight.”

Friday, July 23rd–Right before going to sleep this morning something popped into my head and I jumped out of bed and found a calculator. I realized to my horror that I had totally miscalculated how much money I still had owed to me, and as a result, will have much, much less for the trip than I had thought. Indeed, I began to worry if I should even take the trip at all. It looks like I may have to eat groceries in my hotel room, rather than meals in restaurants. I wonder if I can find a cheaper hotel?
I worked and watched “Youth in Revolt.”

Saturday, July 24th–I worked, then transferred music from I-Tunes over to my I-Pod. It took quite awhile to pare the selections down to a size that would fit.

Sunday, July 25th–I monkeyed with the music list on my I-Pod some more, but still didn’t get it the way I wanted it.

It looks like it’s too late for me to move to a cheaper hotel–most everything else in my price range is booked up.

I still need to get rides to and from the dog shelter and the airport.

Monday, July 26th–

Tuesday, July 27th–

Wednesday, July 28th–

Thursday, July 29th–

Friday, July 30th–

Saturday, July 31st–

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