Journal Entries–January and February 2011.

2011
January
Saturday, January 1st–The allergy pills I took before bed kept me knocked out for hours. Oddly enough, I dreamt about a girl I used to like in high school. I got up, walked Belle, ate, puttered around, then got so bored I tried to take a nap.

I talked to James on the phone today:

–One of the reasons I hate holidays is that after the main event has passed–gift opening, a big meal, fireworks, or whatever–there’s nothing to do.

–Sure there is. There’s plenty to do.

–Well, I don’t mean football games. I don’t enjoy sports.

–I think the reason you don’t enjoy sports is that you’re a sociopath. You’re incapable of empathizing with others.

–Well, that may be a secondary reason, but it’s not my main reason for disliking sports.

–See, you can’t feel empathy for the feelings of others unless it is something that personally involves you. A sports fan feels joy when his team does well, and sadness when they lose. Their victories and failures are his victories and failures.

–You may have a point. To me it’s all a bunch of silly chasing after a ball. But I do feel happy for some people. I was very happy for Jeremy and Nicole at their wedding, and Clark at his graduation. I even felt really bad for the people affected by Katrina, though I admit I felt a lot worse for the animals.

–But overall you lack the ability to empathize.

–More or less, yes.

Sunday, January 2nd–I slept late, then went down to the campus area to go to the 5:30pm Mass at St. Austin’s. At the service I shook hands with a woman I would’ve sworn was Hillary Clinton. We sang Christmas carols at this Mass, and I must admit I sounded very good.

A good portion of the sermon was drowned out by a shrieking child. The kid was even back in the glass-enclosed Narthex, which is reserved for parents with little kids, but the annoying little bugger was so loud that the priest would’ve done just as well to blow an air horn for ten minutes.

Eating all these black-eyed peas for New Year’s has really fucked with my digestion, and I’ve been very gassy.

I spent much of the later evening scanning old illustrations into my computer.

Monday, January 3rd–I spent most of the night scanning illustrations again. I sent a few important e-mails out, and did my impaneling application for jury duty. I do hope I don’t get picked, though.

I was wondering why so many of my friends have, over the years, gone for plain, unattractive women. James says I don’t understand love. I said that yes, I can understand a person loving an unattractive person. I just can’t understand how someone can be sexually aroused by an unattractive person.

I’ve been introduced to some girlfriends and wives for the first time and thought, “Oh Jesus, I hope my shock didn’t register on my face….How could he settle for such an ugly woman? I hope I don’t laugh out loud at them.”

Tuesday, January 4th–

Wednesday, January 5th–I got up around 4:30pm and took Belle for a walk. Towards the end of it we were joined by a friendly, bouncy, sleek black female dog. I thought at first that one of the people here in the apartment complex had let her outside to do her business, with the intention of calling her indoors later. Some people do this, and it’s very dangerous, what with the busy roads and crazy drivers with which the complex is surrounded.  But when she started following us to our front door I bent down and checked her tags.

Her name was “Boo” and she had two phone numbers listed. I took Belle inside and called the first number and got no answer. Then I went out, called Boo to me, got the second number, then went back inside and called it. I got ahold of a befuddled-sounding man who lived in my apartment complex, but who didn’t really understand where my building was. I explained several times, but he finally figured it out after a maintenance man drove by and hepped him to Boo’s whereabouts.

I said I’d try to catch Boo and put her on a leash. When I got back outside, Boo was about 50 yards away, but I called her and she ran over. I put her on the leash and saw a truck rounding the bend rather cautiously. I gestured for the driver to come on down. The owner was an older man who used a cane. Boo knew she’d made a mistake–she’d run off after a Chihuahua, the old man said–and was reluctant to climb into the truck, but I helped her inside. A happy ending–I hope.

Thursday, January 6th–I spent the night arguing online with a friend, then scanning, loading, and labeling my collection of old San Antonio postcards to Facebook. I had nothing better to do.

Friday, January 7th–I had trouble getting to sleep this morning and tossed and turned for hours. Then at 10am my doorbell rang. This made me jump about three feet and made my heart pound. It took a long time to calm down. I’m like a Chihuahua that way. That’s one reason I keep my telephone turned off. If I ever build a house, I want to keep the general public at least ten feet away from my front door and hold them back with an iron gate. That way nobody could knock or ring the bell.

My callers were a couple of young men from some church, who were asking around and seeing if anyone needed prayers. I said I needed a job. They asked if I’d like to pray with them right them, but I said no, that I’d been trying to sleep. Plus I was trying to hold a barking Belle back.

I e-mailed a recruiter that’s been avoiding me, took two Valerian Root capsules, went back to bed, and eventually got to sleep. I woke around 6pm, and found I’d not gotten my paycheck and not gotten a call from the recruiter. I continued my online argument with my friend.

Later on during the evening I showed off a bit. There’s a page on Austin history and nostalgia on Facebook that I like. It posts pictures of people and places from days gone by, and often affords me a chance to display my knowledge of local history.

Image

So someone posted a photo of her mother and another woman in the 1940s. The mother lived and worked in Austin and the poster believed the picture was taken in Austin. The two women were standing on a sidewalk that cut diagonally through a park or lawn. At the entrance to the park was a Sego Palm. In the background to the right was a flower shop and a big sign for a Greyhound bus station. To the left was a substantial, multi-story building with fire escapes.  The poster said that one building was obviously the bus station, but wanted to know what the other one was.

Well, I knew there weren’t that many tall buildings in Austin at the time the picture was taken, and none resembled this one. The palm tree suggested something closer to Mexico, like San Antonio or El Paso. The diagonal sidewalk I pegged as Travis Park in downtown San Antonio.

Now, as for substantial buildings overlooking Travis Park–the first that comes to mind is the St. Anthony Hotel. But I’d spent the previous night scanning, uploading, and labeling dozens of old San Antonio postcards, including many of the St. Anthony. The details of the ground floor didn’t match.

Then it hit me–the building was the old Travis Club. A quick Google image search proved me right. The Travis Club was a men’s club back in the day, but a brand of Texas-made cigars was named after it, and a picture of the now-demolished building adorns the inside of every box of Travis Club cigars. I used to be a cigar smoker, plus I’ve eaten in plenty of small town Texas cafes and diners, where there is always a box of Travis Club cigars by the register.

I announced my findings, and even stated that the picture showed the intersection of East Pecan and Navarro Streets, but to my great annoyance some people continued to speculate, sure the picture was of some place in Austin.

Saturday, January 8th–Well, the Tea Baggers’s Party’s chickens have finally come home to roost–some nut out in Arizona shot up a political gathering, injuring about twelve, including a Congresswoman, and killing six, including a child and a Federal judge. They ought to arrest that stupid cocksucker Glenn Beck and that ignorant whore Sarah Palin as accessories for helping to create an environment where this sort of thing was bound to happen sooner or later.

Again I spent the night scanning, uploading, and labeling old postcards.

Sunday, January 9th–I got up around 1pm, tired and achy due to allergies. I walked and fed Belle, ate, farted around a little, and went back to bed, skipping church, and sleeping about eight more hours. I felt just as bad when I woke up again.

I scanned and cropped more postcard images, then started a Tumbler account.

Monday, January 10th–The week is not off to a good start. One of the jobs I was interested in seems to be changing its requirements in a way that will probably exclude me. And I think I’m moving from my usual, year-round allergy problem into a full-blown illness. The sore throat isn’t a good sign.

Tuesday, January 11th–Herbal tea designed to help my breathing didn’t work. Hanging out in my steamy shower didn’t work. Allergy meds didn’t work. I retired today about 3pm, only to be awakened an hour later by that jackass upstairs blaring his techno. When I could stand no more I beat on the ceiling with a stick and it stopped.

I slept until 1:30am, but woke feeling no better. Belle has stayed close by me during this.

Wednesday, January 12th–

Thursday, January 13th–Thursday was the worst so far of this flu. No major coughing, though. Temperature normal. Miserable otherwise.

Friday, January 14th–Goddammit, where is my fucking money! Why is it always such a fucking hassle to get paid what is owed me? When I’m slightly late with a payment, fucking AT&T sends a goddamn obituary, acting as if the service has already been disconnected: “Dear Mr. B___, thank you for having used us as you carrier….”  If money is such a big deal to the companies to which I am indebted, then why isn’t it a big deal to those to which I am employed?

Saturday, January 15th–Where is my fucking money? I still haven’t been paid!

There’s too many holidays in this fucking country. Everything is shut down for a goddamn month-and-a-half from Thanksgiving to January 1st, and then here comes MLK Day and another three-day weekend.

Sunday, January 16th–

Monday, January 17th–I was bored out of my mind today. I got so bored I went back to bed, but couldn’t sleep. Naturally, because it was a fucking holiday I didn’t get paid. I’m totally stumped for ideas as to where to look for work. My flu seems much better, though.

Tuesday, January 18th–I was bored again. I didn’t get paid…again. I did, however, watch the excellent “Le Jour Se Leve,” with Jean Gabin and directed by Marcel Carne.

Wednesday, January 19th–My depression and cluelessness about where to find work continues. Again, I didn’t get paid. I was so bored I went back to bed and took a nap.

Late at night I was taking Belle for a walk, and was thinking about two things: 1) how prior to my getting Belle last January, I hardly ever went over to Phase II of my apartment complex, and wasn’t sure how it was arranged, and 2) how I wish I could just get ten good years in my life in a row, ten years of steady, decent income in a pleasant job, free from financial worries, and free of people nagging, criticizing, and belittling me, and during which I could live pleasantly and quietly and also do a little traveling.

I spent the night mostly farting around on Tumbler. (I can’t stand the misspelling.)

Thursday, January 20th–Still no money. I spent the day sleeping, knocked out on allergy meds, and having weird dreams. Then I got up and walked Belle and thought about how I hate so many of my friends now.
I seem to spend most of my time these days depressed, paralyzed in inaction, not knowing how to proceed, and angry about just every single aspect of my world, be it friends, or society, politics, etc.

I spent most of the evening farting around on Tumbler.

Shortly before bed I watched “The Magic Never Ends: The Life and Work of C.S. Lewis.”

Friday, January 21st–Still no fucking money, so it looks like this weekend will suck just as well. I’m waiting on $1,930. The first invoice I sent on December 24th, and the second on January 3rd. I sent a reminder yesterday afternoon asking where my money was, and around 6:30pm this evening got cc’ed on an e-mail from my contact guy to the Accounting Department.

Right before bed I watched “Diabolique.”

Saturday, January 22nd–Still no money. I slept about 12 hours and had some weird dreams.

Once again I am running out of food and don’t have enough money to buy a decent amount of groceries. Not until I fucking get paid.

I’ve never understood people who are committed 24/7 to dressing like jackasses–such as those people who wear shorts and short-sleeved T-shirts at the coldest point of winter. Who are they trying to impress? Then there was another guy, at a crappy job I had a few years ago. 8 hours a night, 5 nights a week, for 5 solid months, he wore a Misfits hoodie, and kept the hood pulled up over his head the entire shift.

Sunday, January 23rd–I remained in my daze, and watched “Variety Lights” before bed.

Monday, January 24th–I woke today to the awful news that I’d get paid in full, but not until the 28th. I wrote back, explaining that I was in a bad way and asking if they could pay me before then.

I took Belle over to Petsmart and bought her her food.

Eventually, after 7pm, my money finally arrived! I went back over to Petsmart and got Belle some treats, and to the dollar store to get me some snacks and some single bills for the bus tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25th–I had to take Valerian Root last night in order to get to sleep. Today I woke up several hours early, then headed downtown for jury duty. I had lunch at Mekong River. This used to be one of my favorite places to eat, but today the food was so-so.

From there I went to the Municipal Court House which was as dirty as a bus station and filled with the same kind of sad-looking people. I found the Jury Room, signed in, got a Juror badge, and read for about 45 minutes.

The Jury Room was fairly small, with the Judge’s bench, tables for the clerks and lawyers, and just enough benches and chairs to seat twenty-four adults uncomfortably.

The clerk explained that about twenty cases were tried every afternoon, and the lawyers and all would gather in the hallway and discuss which one of the twenty would get a jury trial. We were allowed to go get drinks or snacks or go to the restroom–otherwise we should just stay in the Jury Room, because it would not be a good thing if we overheard something pertaining to the trial.

Then the Judge came in. I am amused at the whole concept of rising when a judge enters the room, because there’s so few people in this world towards whom I have genuine respect. But this judge seemed a nice enough guy. He explained that the parties in our trial had just agreed to a settlement, so we were free to go. This court heard only Class C misdemeanors. I didn’t know crimes that petty even got jury trials.

We were given papers to sign. One dealt with what we wanted done with the $6 we’d each earned today. (I donated mine to an abused children’s fund.) The other was a survey about our jury duty experience. I gave them high marks overall, but gave the cleanliness of the court house poor ratings. I handed the forms back to the clerk and pointed out a typo on one of them.

I made some copies at Fed Ex, then went back up to my part of town, bought some magazines, books, and a DVD at Barnes and Noble, then got groceries and headed home. Belle was excited to see me, and had pooped diarrhea all over the house in my absence.

Wednesday, January 26th–Again I got too little sleep last night. I went into town to the DPS headquarters and renewed my State ID. I wore a cap and forgot to bring a comb or a mirror, so my hair stuck out all over the place. Also, they now make everyone take off their glasses for the photo.

Now I wear my glasses constantly, except for when I’m sleeping or showering, and I’m legally blind without them. And like most people who wear glasses constantly, the structure of my face collapsed when I took them off. The result was the worst photo taken of me in my entire life. It aged me twenty years and looked like one of those drunken celebrity mug shots on The Smoking Gun.com.

You know that look Jack Nicholson often gives where he looks like someone woke him out of a deep sleep and gave him confusing news? Well, that’s the look I gave on my ID photo.

From there I went over to the main Half-Price Books on Lamar and shopped for a few hours, before having another so-so Thai lunch at Titaya’s.

Once I got home I spent some time on Facebook and Tumbler, then I retired fairly early for me.

Thursday, January 27th–Again I was up early. I e-mailed James, to see if he was coming in to town today to run errands. Eventually he decided he wasn’t, that he’d come in on Friday or Saturday. I made my plans accordingly.

Later in the afternoon I walked Belle over to the Petsmart and bought her a bag of treats, then we went around the block. When I got home there was a message on my machine from James, saying there’d been a change of plans, and that he was already in my neighborhood.

I went into a high state of panic. I called James, and naturally he wouldn’t answer his phone. I accidentally knocked into my checkbook, sending all of my cards out onto the floor. I picked them up and sorted them, but couldn’t find my main debit card, the card I’d need if I was going to run errands with James. I looked under the desk–the most likely place for it–but didn’t see it. I called Petsmart and they hadn’t seen it.

I got more and more angry and panicky. I finally went out and retraced my steps all the way around the block, even though I was sure the card had to be inside the house. I got home angry and winded and stressed, looked again, found the card in a shadowy place under the desk, and called James. He was already on his way back home. I chewed him out, spouted obscenities at him, and hung up.

Friday, January 28th–I woke early. Since today is the one-year anniversary of my getting Belle, after I walked her I fixed her an elaborate breakfast. At 1pm James and Nyssa came by. We had lunch at Tino’s Greek Cafe, went to the Half-Price Books on Anderson Mill, then to some import shop on Research, Topp’s office furniture store, Fry’s Electronics, the Half-Price Books over by there, Sonic, a car dealership, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, her parents’s apartment, the Half-Price Books on Lamar, and finally Michael’s at the Arboretum.

Saturday, January 29th–I woke early, walked Belle, and noticed some of the punk kids in the complex had torn down a retaining wall by throwing concrete blocks at it. I called the front office, got bored, became sleepy due to my allergies, then took a nap.

I got up, walked Belle, then went to the grocery store to buy new toenail clippers to use on my ingrown toenail. But six months of poverty and too little food have made me want to stockpile food. Indeed, I bought groceries three times this week. And so I came back from the grocery store with $92 worth of groceries.

My misanthropy is always the worst when I finish riding the bus or when I leave the grocery store. There’s something about mingling with all of that flawed and annoying humanity, and then lugging heavy bags of food for one mile, that brings out the worst in me.

I got home, and it took me awhile to calm down. I got some surprising and disturbing news, checked it out, and then got set right. I finished the evening watching “Bronson.”

Sunday, January 30th–I slept late, walked Belle, and puttered around. During a later walk, some woman’s Spaniel freaked out at the sight of Belle and lunged at her, trying to attack her. Belle was quite frightened and disturbed by this, as well she should be. I took her on a long walk to calm her down.

Monday, January 31st–I slept late, then took Belle for a walk. We came across a woman from Phase Two of the apartment. She was walking her Miniature Spaniel. Apparently we’d met and last talked to this woman a year ago, because she said something to the effect of, “Well, have you settled in by now, little girl?”

This Spaniel was better-behaved, but was very curious about Belle and wanted to play. Belle wasn’t especially interested. I made it clear to Belle I’d protect her. Then Belle began walking in complete circles around me, followed by the Spaniel. It looked like they were on a merry-go-round. Finally, the Spaniel gave up and Belle sat down and basked in the sun.

The woman, however, wanted to talk, and I stayed out there about an hour. When I got back inside I was exhausted from being on my feet for such a long time.

I learned that my cousin and godfather, whom I last saw in 1976, died two weeks ago.

FEBRUARY
Tuesday, February 1st–Whereas it was 74 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday afternoon, it was in the 30s and dropping a little over 24 hours later. Indeed, it got down to 16 tonight.

I did little today. I left a message on the voice mail of that guy I interviewed with in November, hoping he’d tell me what the hell is going on about that job. I then went to Petsmart and bought food and treats for Belle, made another grocery run to the dollar store, and bought three bottles of wine at the liquor store, just to keep the chill off.

I spent the rest of the night online or assembling my new DVD reader/recorder, and avoiding the weather.

Wednesday, February 2nd–I sat, I puttered, I waited.

Thursday, February 3rd–Still no word from that company exec I interviewed with.

Dinner was red beans and rice, served with a cheap sangria that gave me a headache.

I spent much of the evening sneezing violently and repeatedly, with my nose running. I’d roll up pieces of toilet paper and stick them into my nostrils, then within five minutes they’d fill up and start dripping onto my shirt. Then I’d change them.

During the wee hours of the morning it started snowing. Around 4:15am I took Belle out for a walk. No one had driven around in the parking lot, so everything was white and pristine. There were only two sets of tire marks and one set of deer tracks on the nearby street.

But the most amazing thing was the complete absence of any kind of sound–no cars, no voices, no human disturbances of any kind–and this was two blocks from a freeway. It was beautiful. But then again, in Texas, snow is such a rarity it’s easy to still view it as magical. People up north probably feel quite differently about it.

Friday, February 4th–By the time I got up this evening much of the snow was gone and the apartment complex was returned to its normal drab appearance.

I got my tax info today. I earned $17,675.98 in 2010. That was quite an improvement from the $6,600 I earned in 2009, but still not good enough, since I only worked six months of last year, and pretty much starved and wallowed in suicidal depression the other six.

I continued feeling lost and confused about where and how to find work. I just don’t know how to proceed.

Saturday, February 5th–I woke feeling miserable and depressed, walked Belle, and got the mail. I’d received some of the things I ordered last week. I had ordered, for example, powder puffs. You see, after I shower, I like to douse myself with talcum powder, and the powder puff I’ve used to do that for the last few years has become threadbare.

But they sent me two tiny powder puffs of the sort a woman would keep in a make-up compact, whereas I wanted large ones, at least 4 inches across. So that was money wasted and I have to re-order. Any time something goes wrong and I have to re-do it I get depressed.

So I went back to bed and slept four more hours. I was still depressed and fuzzy-headed when I woke up. I really don’t know where I’m going to find a job or how to find one. I’ve been looking for a decent job almost ten years now.

By the way, the temperature got back into the upper 60s today.

Sunday, February 6th–Another day of depression. I slept as long as I could, and ignored, as I always do, the national holiday of Super Bowl Sunday. I mostly puttered around on Tumbler tonight and applied for one job. I began reading “The Little Prince.”

Monday, February 7th–I read more in “The Little Prince,” eventually finishing it right before I went to sleep.

Tuesday, February 8th–I slept late, until about 7:15pm. I just didn’t feel like getting up. I got some more items in the mail which I’d ordered recently, including the novel “Austerlitz,” which I began reading immediately. Later on I watched the film “Chris & Don.”

Wednesday, February 9th–

Thursday, February 10th–Not long before I was to go to bed this morning, James IM-ed me and said he was coming to town and would take me to lunch. since I’m almost broke, I felt I couldn’t pass him up, even if this meant my sleep schedule would be rearranged. We had a nice lunch at Threadgill’s, then went to some electronics store and Fry’s, as well as HEB. I got to bed in the afternoon.

Friday, February 11th–Thanks to my sleeping at night, I was up today during the day. I was fully expecting to watch footage of a bloodbath in Egypt, and was surprised to see that Mubarak had stepped down instead.

At some point in the morning I discovered the lights were out in the back part of my apartment–the bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in closet. I called the front office and the gal who answered the phone asked if I’d checked the breaker box. I said I really don’t know what to do with a breaker box, so she sent someone from

Maintenance to come check it out. I got very stressed out at the idea of someone coming into my apartment, as I always do, and tried to clean the place up. The Grounds Crew was making a terrible racket with their goddamn leaf blowers. They were in fact doing the especially pointless task of blowing the leaves out of my moat. The noise was making me even more stressed out and nervous.

The maintenance guy thought I must’ve not paid my electric bill, claiming that the City of Austin will come by and shut off half your power first before they shut off the whole thing. No, I said, I paid them on the 2nd. I thought maybe I short-circuited something when my clothes washer was on, since it makes the most horrendous sounds.

Eventually, the maintenance guy came back and told me my wiring was really fried. This was more than a mere short-circuiting, but because of his thick accent (I think he’s Haitian) I didn’t catch what the problem was. He said he’d have to call a City of Austin electrician to come out and work on the meter box.

The electrician came out and parked right in front of my apartment, leaving his fucking truck running for some fucking reason. The loud engine again made me nervous and stressed. Whatever the problem was, they couldn’t get it fixed today, so they shut off the power for most all of my building for the rest of the day and night–otherwise it would’ve been a fire hazard.

The maintenance guy came by and offered me a key to an empty apartment so I could have a place to spend the night with a heater and a working kitchen, but I thanked him and passed. I said I’d just make some sandwiches and go to bed early. Plus, packing and lugging all the stuff Belle and I would need to be comfortable for a night would’ve been just too much trouble.

So I read for the last four hours that the sun was up. During that time Belle let out with a piteous, mournful howl, while still sleeping. It sounded rather like the howl Fred made when he died. I’m pretty sure Belle has done this at least once or twice while I’ve been asleep as well, because it woke me up and I wondered which of us had made the noise. After it got too dark to read, I made a peanut butter sandwich, climbed into bed, piled on an extra cover, was joined by Belle, and retired at exactly 7pm.

Saturday, February 12th–After sleeping for about 12 hours I got up and attended to Belle, then read in bed, wrapped up in blankets against the cold. The electricians restored my power a little before 10am. Later in the afternoon I went to Petsmart and the dollar store.

Today would’ve been my father’s 82nd birthday.

Sunday, February 13th–I woke up much earlier than I wanted to, walked and fed Belle, ate, puttered, then went back to bed and slept until early afternoon.

One of the dreams I had was remarkable. I dreamt I saw a travelogue about visiting a small cemetery near San Francisco which was noted for its unusual grave stones. I went from watching the film to melding into it. Just down the hill from that cemetery was a much older one, and I went down the hill (on foot? in a car?) in that direction.

I found myself in a neighborhood that had been developed immediately after the 1906 earthquake, mostly by Italian immigrants. the houses and commercial buildings were all one-story in height, and all of them had the most curious Art Nouveau detailing on them, mostly in the form of sinuous wooden trim applied to the exteriors.

But the most bizarre thing was that everything in this neighborhood–walls, roofs, trim, yards, fences, curbs–was painted off-white, the color of dried putty or bleached bones. There was no a single spot of green in the whole neighborhood–even the least blade of grass had been replaced with white stones.

This evening I finished reading “Austerlitz”–a remarkable book–and did a little more fruitless job-hunting.

Monday, February 14th–Valentine’s Day. I confess I don’t understand the fuss over this and many other holidays. On Valentine’s you have people ready to slit their wrists because society tells them they’re losers if they don’t have a sweetheart that particular day.

On Thanksgiving people knock themselves out driving and flying across the country, to spend a few tense hours eating with people they may not even especially like. Invariably everyone comments how they wish they could eat the traditional Thanksgiving foods more than one day a year, but no one ever follows through with this.

And then there’s Christmas, when people line up before dawn and sometimes even get into physical altercations with others, just to grab the latest overpriced toy or electronic doo-dad.

I think one of the many things I’ve come to dislike about holidays is the way they create tension and despair for no good reason. Life is full of stressful events over which you have no control–why give in to artificial crises that you can just as easily avoid?

Tuesday, February 15th–I woke much too early, puttered, got depressed, went back to bed and tried to sleep. Then I got back up, cheered up a bit, and puttered some more. I did manage to compose and send out two important e-mails I’d been putting off, and finally fill out a long and tiresome application with the Texas Employment Commission.

Wednesday, February 16th–

Thursday, February 17th–

Friday, February 18th–In the Name of  Fred, the Compassionate, the Merciful….

For some reason I was up in the daytime. I thought about going back to bed, but didn’t. I just sat around and reblogged stuff on Tumbler. I’ve blogged or reblogged about 2,050 separate items in February alone.

I called the State Board of Education to find out if they’ve changed the rules, to see if I could get certified as a teacher without having to pass any math exams. They didn’t get back to me today.

I really don’t want to teach, especially below the college level. I don’t like children….But nobody is responding to my job applications, and my usual source of work has stayed quiet.

I worked for two years as a part-time librarian and substitute teacher at a K-12 private school, and it was not a pleasant experience. I was treated with total disrespect by the students, parents, administrators, and some of the other teachers. I felt so impotent there. I was totally unable to control those fucking kids. And one gossipy parent tried to convince the principal that I was a pedophile–chiefly because she saw me walking out of a news stand that happened to have an adult magazine and video section in back.

I think the reason I’m looking into this fucking teaching thing again is because it would at least beat having to go back to retail or one of those other degrading jobs that pays next to nothing and inflicts a violent physical and mental strain upon me. I’d rather be dead than go back to those kind of jobs again.

I’m also kind of overwhelmed by the state of the world. Revolutions are happening all over Africa and the Middle East. The Far Right is the US is becoming more brazen in its cruelty and indifference to ordinary people, and there are millions of ignorant, ill-informed people who support them. The Left, on the other hand, isn’t putting up enough of a fight.

Later on tonight I watched “Kansas City Confidential.”

Saturday, February 19th–I had a work-related meet-up group meeting at The Tavern downtown tonight. Only two other people showed. The conversation was good, but I got no job offers from the encounter, which is pretty much what I use to rate all interpersonal dealing nowadays.

On the way home my bus was re-routed as part of Burnet Road was blocked off with more cop cars than I’d seen since either the UT shooting or the plane crash last year. I was sure it was some act of domestic terrorism, but it turned out somebody got shot at a convenience store.

Sunday, February 20th–I must say I’m a little disappointed with all these revolutions breaking out all over the world that none have resulted in the ex-dictators getting executed. I’d really enjoy it if, for instance, Moammar Khaddafy got beheaded.

As for the situation in the United States, well, I think we’re witnessing the beginnings of class warfare. As an historian I really should know this, but I’m trying to remember a precedent for the ruling class duping the working class into destroying itself from within. And I wonder how many millions of assholes will pucker when the Tea Baggers realize they were played for chumps.

As for me, I didn’t do much today. My allergies were giving me trouble. I puttered around online, and read a few chapters in a Doc Savage book. I took Belle on a walk around the shopping center across the street. She smelled the carcass of a deer, but I wouldn’t let her wallow in it.

Monday, February 21st–

Tuesday, February 22nd–

Wednesday, February 23rd–

Thursday, February 24th–

Friday, February 25th–

Saturday, February 26th–Jim A____ came to town. We had coffee at the Starbucks at The Domain and talked for hours, then dinner at Threadgill’s, and knocked around the Goodwill store and big Half-Price Books on Lamar. I’d not seen him in 17 years.

Sunday, February 27th–I wrote most of my article for the “Oak Hill Gazette.”

Monday, February 28th–I did a phone interview that gave me the last extra bit of material I needed for my article,  finished writing it, sent it in, then took a nap.

I began work on “Withholding: Scenes From a Minimum Wage Life.” Or rather, I took it back up again.

Apparently I wrote the introduction in 2007 while praying I’d be fired from that last retail job. I got quite a bit written today. (Or did I start the book on Sunday?)

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