Journal Entries–July and August 2011.

Friday, July 1st–I slept and puttered. I continued in the books I’ve been reading and also started Isherwood’s “Lions and Shadows.”

Saturday, July 2nd–Today was the 35th anniversary of my grandmother’s death. It seems like that was several lifetimes ago. I went to the bank, Elevation Burger, Barnes and Noble, and HEB. I watched “Run Silent, Run Deep,” though there were parts when I didn’t give it my full attention, which makes me want to go back and do it over again.

Sunday, July 3rd–I was in agony from all the walking yesterday. I slept and read and probably watched TV.

Monday, July 4th–I got bored early on and napped, I think, then watched “The Grifters” and “Howl.”

Tuesday, July 5th–Goddammit–looks like the job I wanted [isn’t going to happen, or that I’m not even getting an interview.]… Am I doomed to live in this goddamned shitty, hot box of a state, barely scraping by, the rest of my life? Is it utterly useless for me to have any ambitions at all?

Part of the reason I’m so upset is this feels like a victory for all the nay-saying assholes in my life who said this job thing wouldn’t happen.

Wednesday, July 6th–James took me to that Vietnamese place to dinner, and then to the Asian supermarket. Matt is trying to scare me up a grant writing or grant researching gig, though I don’t know how long it will last or much about it.

Thursday, July 7th–I watched “The Naked Civil Servant” and “Billion Dollar Brain.”

Friday, July 8th–I watched the rather slow “Dr. Who and the Daleks” and the lovely “Schonbrunn: Well of Beauty.”

Saturday, July 9th–I went to Petsmart and the dollar store, applied for some jobs, and watched “The Razor’s Edge.” (The original version.) The irony of applying for shitty jobs while watching a movie about a man who wants more out of life than the ordinary grind was not lost on me.

Sunday, July 10th–

Monday, July 11th–I went to HEB and bought some groceries for myself and eggs for Belle, watched TV, and saw the first hour of “Gainsbourg (Vie Heroique),” but the movie streaming site I was watching didn’t have the second half! I finally finished reading Isherwood’s “Lions and Shadows.”

Tuesday, July 12th–I got a trial subscription to Netflix and watched “The Good Heart,” “William S. Burroughs: The Man Within,” and “Absolute Wilson.”

Wednesday, July 13th–Shortly after I got up tonight I watched a commercial for the new “Winnie the Pooh” movie, which included a lot of voice-overs of adults saying how much they loved the movie. The last comment was a woman who said, “I miss Winnie the Pooh.” This affected me greatly, and I immediately burst into violent, racking sobs at the thought of childhood innocence and happiness forever lost.

I did some job hunting, then watched “So Long at the Fair” for the first time in about 25 years, followed by “Sherlock: A Study in Pink.”

Thursday, July 14th–I slept until 2am, watched “Sherlock: The Blind Banker,” the very dull “Jimmy and Judy,” the excellent “Sherlock: The Great Game,” and “Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride.”

Friday, July 15th–

Saturday, July 16th–I watched “Harry Brown” in bits and pieces over the course of the day. I went to a late lunch with James and Nyssa at Chuy’s, then ran errands with them, dropping off my library books, going by her parents’s apartment, stopping by CVS Drugs and the MT Super Market, and picking up some cheap books at Savers and Half-Price Books. I watched “All About Eve” one-and-a-half times, though I didn’t pay full attention either time. I also watched “Doctor Who,” and puttered around a bit.

Sunday, July 17th–I watched some of “Inventing LA” and “After You’ve Gone” and retired fairly early.

Monday, July 18th–I took Belle for her annual vet check-up today. Some months ago I had, with some difficulty, gotten them to quote me prices for everything they were going to do. Once I got there today I had to tell them several times that I had a strict budget that I had to stick to.  But damned if they didn’t suggest all sorts of extra treatments which would’ve exceeded the budget by at least $100. I’m sure she needs all these things done at some point, but I don’t have the money, and I resented it when they tried to guilt-trip me into getting those things done today. And this has happened every time I’ve gone to a vet–any vet, any time.

I then dropped off some mail at the UPS Store and got some dog food at Petsmart. Belle and I went home, I showered, and we napped.

Belle had been very excited when she realized we were going somewhere today, but got nervous when she saw it was the vet’s. I had trouble getting her in the door. It didn’t help that the appointment took the better part of an hour and the treatment room didn’t seem to be air-conditioned.

Matt e-mailed me with details on a grant writing/researching job I apparently have all but locked up. Still, I have to talk to the contact person on Thursday, and I don’t have a lot of details.

Tuesday, July 19th–Family and friends are all excited about this potential job, but I want to see if it’s permanent and pays enough to cover my monthly bills.

I finally got around to going to the apartment office and started the process whereby I will renew my lease, which expires on the 31st. Then I went to the dollar store and lunched at Schlotzsky’s.

I dealt with two potential tutoring customers, one who left me hanging and the other whom I’m to meet tomorrow morning.

I watched a boring documentary about Paul Erdos, and the fascinating “Le Soleil,” a film about the Emperor Hirohito, which I’ve wanted to see since I saw it was showing in a little cinema opposite the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2006. It was an amazing film.

Wednesday, July 20th–Ten years ago today was my last day at Citysearch. I have been looking for a good, permanent, full-time job ever since, and have been stressed out and depressed almost constantly during this time.

I had to get up early today, which is always a sign of trouble.I stayed tired all day. I walked in the mid-day heat for a mile or more, fearing I was about to have a heart attack, and went to Barnes and Noble and tutored a student. On the way back I thought I’d faint from the heat, though I did buy some groceries at HEB.

I showered and puttered and watched “An Englishman in New York,” and also got depressed to see that another of the jobs I applied for has disappeared….

Thursday, July 21st–I had to get up early again today for my noon phone interview. I don’t think this job is going to happen.

I made a good initial impression and had a good rapport with the contact gal. I think I made a good case for understanding what it is they do. She wanted to know about my experience and I told her how I’d taken the classes but not actually done any grant writing.

She asked what I was looking for work-wise, and I said I was looking for something steady, with a regular paycheck, so I can pay my monthly bills. She said they couldn’t offer that, that this would at best be contract work. She said I’d need to quote a figure per hour and also say how long the work would take me to do. I told her in recent years I’d been getting $15-$20 per hour for my work, and said that since I’d not done this kind of work before I had no idea how long it would take. She said that wouldn’t sound good to a foundation, and that foundations are increasingly wanting to know what grant writers are getting from them.

She said organizations would be reluctant to take me on as I’m inexperienced, because then I’d likely take twice as long and cost them more than someone that is experienced. And organizations want to hire someone with a decent portfolio of past grant writing jobs.

She asked me some technical grant writing questions–how would I do such and such? I said since I’d not had occasion to use any of the information taught in that course I’d have to go back and consult my class notes and hand-outs at first.

She also said a good grant writer needs to be a good salesman. (I didn’t tell her that I’m not good at sales at all, and am in fact very uncomfortable with it.) She added I need to decide if this is something I really want to do.

She left the door open, and said she’d given me some things to think about. She said she was a big believer in giving people first chances, as she had been given chances before,  but after our talk it didn’t sound like I had much to offer and that they wouldn’t pay enough for me to survive on. And she didn’t sound all that sure of me. But I said I’d get back with her–not that I know what to tell her….

At any rate, rather than sit around and be stressed out for hours, I took a nap.

…[M]y indifference over this mess has turned into rage. I’m really not interested in grant writing and never have been, but have looked to it desperately as some sort of non-physical labor I can do seated and indoors, without having to deal with the public. It doesn’t interest me in the least. My feelings about this organization have turned very sour, but as I said in my most recent book, any employer or potential employer that fails to offer me so much as a living wage has earned, before I even start working for them, my eternal enmity.

I watched the overly-long, rather drawn-out film “Hamsun”…. [Lots of more private material has been censored here.]

Friday, July 22nd–…But I am so goddamn sick of this fucking business, having to live half a life, having no fucking will of my own, having other people…always dictating to me.

This whole business left me exhausted, and I got nothing else done today, other than watching “Two in the Wave,” a documentary about Truffaut and Godard.

Saturday, July 23rd–I watched “Dr. Who: City of Death” and “The Last Laugh.”

Sunday, July 24th–I slept late, and went over to Petsmart and the dollar store, only to find them closed already. I ate a dinner I couldn’t afford at Schlotzsky’s. I went home, showered, puttered around, applied for jobs, took some job-related tests, and watched “Man with a Movie Camera,” a fascinating avant-garde, Soviet-era film. It was quite trippy. It glamorized the machine, and, probably unintentionally, depicted the dehumanizing nature of much of man’s work. The people in it all had bad teeth and looked like the smelled badly, and their skins had that oily sheen of people who don’t bathe much, if at all. Still, it’s a masterpiece.  Later I watched the theatrical cut of “Blade Runner.”

… I’m sick to my stomach and always on the verge of tears….Why did I go to treatment and therapy all those years…?

I did wind up crying later in the morning….

Monday, July 25th–I woke up this evening, and as soon as I realized what I was waking back up into, I started crying again.

I didn’t receive a response form the grant job gal. I sent in my tests for the Bible proofreading job.

I puttered and watched “Dans Paris.” I sent another e-mail to the grant job gal before retiring.

Tuesday, July 26th–James had a 2pm doctor’s appointment, after which we were to meet for lunch. I woke around 3pm, and he was already finished and way down in South Austin. I cursed him, hung up, walked Belle, and since I was so very tired, went back to bed until about 7:30pm or so. I got up, went to Petsmart and the dollar store, puttered, saw that the grant job gal had sent me an e-mail essentially blowing me off (“Thank you for your interest.”), and watched “Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars.”

…I finished Caroline Seebohm’s “Boca Rococo” before going to sleep.

Wednesday, July 27th–I did some more job-hunting. A local realtor wants to meet me tomorrow to discuss a contract job. This means my sleep schedule will be all screwed up. I had to go to bed early, and naturally, I didn’t sleep well….

Thursday, July 28th–I got up early, still not knowing when and where I was to meet this realtor. By early afternoon I gave up and went back to bed, and sure enough, he called. We discussed the job, but he really seemed bothered I don’t have a car. One of his employees is supposed to pick me up tomorrow morning to drive me down to this realtor’s house, from which he works. So I’ll be stuck down there all day or at least half a day. I really dread that.

The guy called some of my references. Jeremy e-mailed me to say he’d given me a glowing reference. I thanked him, but said it’s only a temp gig and my eyes are still on a full-time job [elsewhere]….

I’ve got a really bad feeling about this, that it’s not going to go well. This is just not what I want.

I had a medium-grade panic attack all afternoon and night, because I was told I’d spend all day or perhaps half-a-day at this guy’s office, and I was afraid of getting trapped there, not knowing how long the ordeal would last.

I waited until my bank closed (because I didn’t want to have to make small talk with the clerks), and went to the drive-through window to deposit my grocery check. As usual, the drivers were annoyed with me. But after I did my business, I noticed a $20 bill flattened on the pavement, and pocketed it. Which just goes to show how good it is that I always look down when I walk.

I did some shopping at HEB, got home, showered, had a beer, and retired early.

Friday, July 29th–Again, I got insufficient sleep, and was cross-eyed with exhaustion all day. I had another panic attack over this.

The realtor that was to drive me to this meeting was late, and just when I was getting ready to go back to bed, he called and said he’d be here in 15 minutes. He got lost and showed up in 30.

I had dressed up, more or less, even putting on long pants for the first time in months–itchy ones at that. But the main guy, who works out of his home, greeted me in shorts and flip-flops, and picked at his toe jam during the meeting. And afterwards I was expected to shake the same hand that had done the picking.

I was in and out in around an hour. I mostly should be finished with this work in about a week–there’s less of it than I thought there’d be. He was especially interested in me also doing something James later told me is called “astro-turfing.” The guy droned on about that and I lost him somewhat. I don’t know how successful I’ll be with that.

A different agent, a “chatty Cathy”-type, drove me home. I showered, cranked up the AC, and went back to bed to get my sleep schedule re-adjusted.

I got up, puttered around, and watched “Twelve.”

Saturday, July 30th–I dreamt I was one of a group of detectives or something like that–one of about twelve men–confined for a few hours or days in a booby-trapped room. An evil genius–some kind of doctor or professor–has rigged bombs in the room, as well as hidden cameras and speakers.  We assumed the bombs were in the brown plastic bags that covered the ceiling. The doctor was taunting us, telling us we’d never find a way out of the room. But one or two of the men did eventually figure the scheme out and we all escaped.

I went back to what was supposedly my apartment, accompanied by three or four of these guys. We were discussing what all had happened, when one of the men took off his mask or make-up, and revealed himself to be the evil doctor. He cackled at how brilliant he’d been, not only in setting up the booby-trapped room, but also in escaping among our number.

As he talked, all of the rest if us were trying to figure out ways to attack him. One guy was trying to surreptitiously unscrew a curtain rod, remove it, and use it as a spear to stab the doctor, but the doctor easily saw what was happening.

The doctor was going on and on about how he could read everyone’s expressions, but the odd thing is he didn’t notice me staring at him coldly, or that my right arm was rigid and I was hiding an open pocket knife with my hand.

He didn’t even react when I slowly got up and began walking around him, talking. I think I even mentioned the presence of the knife in my hand.

At any rate, I came up behind him, and with no trouble at all cut his throat twice. He changed from an older man into an older woman. She was sitting in a long, rectangular box of dirt in the middle of my living room. The box was surrounded by stacks of paperback books.   

After I cut this woman’s throat, I stabbed her repeatedly in the chest with the tiny knife blade, and she lay back and quietly died. Then I got the other guys to help me cover her body with soil, and to move the books out of the way so they’d not get spattered with blood. I was annoyed we didn’t have any quick-lime to break the body down, so we were just going to cover it with earth, plant plants over it, let it decompose, then dump the clods of earth into the sea many months later.

I woke up angry and cursing, not wanting to return to my shitty existence. I walked Belle and showered and all that, and began working on my new work project, and within seconds was sick of it and angry about it. I want it over with. I don’t want to do it, don’t want to waste any of my time with it, and certainly don’t intend to do the “astro-turfing” aspect of it the sleazy realtor was so keen on me doing. And I got angrier and angrier that [others] think no more of me that [they believe] I should be content with a life of brief, inconsequential, inadequate, dead-end, soul-killing jobs, instead of a satisfying career.

Later on I watched “Gorky Park” for the first time since it was originally in theatres, 28 years ago. Naturally, I’d forgotten a lot of the plot.

Sunday, July 31st–I worked over five hours, watched the excellent “Zen: Ratking” on”Masterpiece Mystery,” followed by “Aelita: Queen of Mars.”

Monday, August 1st–Apparently today was the hottest day of the year thus far. I got up this evening, and had to call back my current employer, who was on the way to his grandmother’s funeral and said my first article was all right, but didn’t seem all that enthused about it. He wants me to work more, and presumably faster, and would like me to visit some subdivisions and take pictures, which of course entirely depends on James. I did four-and-a-half hours of work, then did some cursory job-hunting on Craigslist, where I was surprised to see a job notice that I am 99% sure was written by this realtor.

In it he described in more detail what he was actually looking for–qualities, talents, and characteristics that I do not have and which, James said later after examining the ad, are unlikely to be found in one person. James thinks this asshole wants one person to do the sort of work only a company can do, and wants it fast and dirt-cheap. James said if he had all these abilities he wouldn’t do the job for less than $60 an hour, and this guy is only paying $15.

Oh well, I shall try to get at least seven, and possibly fourteen days of work out of this prick before he pulls the plug. I will do the parts of the project that interest me first, and put off the boring stuff until later–if there is a “later.”

In my leisure I watched “Doctor Who: the Ark in Space” and “Doctor Who: The Leisure Hive.”

Tuesday, August 2nd–I went to Petsmart, the dollar store, and Schlotzsky’s this evening, did my work, and retired early, since I have to run by the library tomorrow.  My old newspaper publisher, who still publishes another paper in the area, asked if he could reprint the Charles Whitman article I wrote him in 2006, but said he’d lost the article and pictures. I sent him both. I hope he pays me….

Wednesday, August 3rd–I tossed and turned in the hot bed for hours, maybe got some brief sleep, then got up, exhausted, went to the UPS Store and mailed a letter and made some copies, took the over-priced express bus downtown, checked out some DVDs and books, waited a long time for a return express bus, then ate at Schlotzsky’s again, before coming home, walking Belle, showering, dealing with the crooked realtor pestering me for copy, finishing Waugh’s “Vile Bodies,” and sleeping. The latter came with some difficulty, because that cocksucker upstairs was blaring his stereo. Then I got up, had to walk Belle twice, and did more work. I’ll be glad when this realtor cuts me loose….

Then in the morning, while walking Belle, I got overwhelmed by depression and sadness to the degree I felt like crying. I just can’t see a way out of this rut of a life. Nothing is working out.

I read the first half of Vonnegut’s “Deadeye Dick” before going to sleep.

Thursday, August 4th–I had trouble getting to sleep today and didn’t get enough sleep to suit me. I had a weird dream, the plot of which I’d describe as “Vonnegutian,” but I remember nothing about it. I got up around 9pm. The realtor had called during the afternoon, wanting me to do some blogging work. I wish he’d leave me the fuck alone and go ahead and fire me. I left him a voice mail, suggesting he e-mail me. I did my night’s work, then watched “Zabriskie Point,” which mostly bored me. I finished “Deadeye Dick” before sleeping.

Friday, August 5th–This cocksucking realtor keeps pestering me every goddamn day, wanting to know my progress, or telling me something else to do. You’d think since I’ve been sending him in work practically every morning he’d figure out what I’ve been doing. He sent me something today about doing real estate blogging for his site. It looks boring, and I hope he’ll quickly figure out I’m not suited for it.

I did some more work, then watched the fascinating film, “Il Divo,” then read some in my Rothko book, and started “Loving Frank,” which I fear may turn too “chick-lit-y” for my taste.

Saturday, August 6th–More e-mails from the douchebag. I worked, watched “The Dirty Dozen” for the first time, and took Belle out at least four times. I also checked Craigslist for jobs and found the realtor was looking for someone to do his real estate blogging for him. The aggression and annoyance that is coming off that guy in waves is palpable.

I don’t know what I’ll find to do after this gig ends, but I’ll be glad to see the end of it. And anyway, a shitty job is like a streetcar–if you miss one another one will be along in a few minutes.

Sunday, August 7th–I put in two hours finishing my first project for the realtor, prepared and submitted a Pay Pal invoice, then spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

Monday, August 8th–

Tuesday, August 9th–I woke around 3am, got up and worked for about two hours on my Excel time-sheet, but couldn’t get the figures to match those on my Pay Pal invoice. I got frustrated, and sent the incomplete sheet to a guy in the realtor’s office, along with a complaint about how frustrating and counter-intuitive the form was. I went back to bed around 7am and slept until around noon.

That guy in the realtor’s office fixed my Excel time-sheet. I saw what I was doing wrong. I asked him if I needed to re-submit it or was it good as it was, and of course, he said I needed to e-mail it to the head guy–who was sitting ten goddamn feet away from him! I mailed the Excel time sheet, canceled the old Pay Pal invoice and mailed in a new one, and still didn’t get paid.

I spent the afternoon watching “Broken Embraces.” James came by and took me to dinner at the newly re-opened DiMassi’s, then we went by Fry’s Electronics, where I got quickly bored. I watched TV, the “Broken Embraces” extras, and retired a little after midnight.

Wednesday, August 10th–I woke in late morning to learn I’d still not gotten paid. I sat around, annoyed and cursing. I contacted that lady for that new job. She got back with me quickly. It doesn’t sound like it will get me that many hours. I sent the asshole realtor a reminder about my invoice and he finally paid me, but fucking Pay Pal charged something like $15.79 in fees, which is more than I made from this prick in an hour. I am pretty sure, though, that the realtor is done with me, as neither he nor anyone in his office has sent me any new assignments.

Belle snagged a wedge of pizza in her mouth during one of our walks, and ate much of it. After I got paid, I went to Petsmart and bought two bags of dog food, to the dollar store to get me some munchies, and to Schlotzsky’s for pizzas for both me and Belle. She was quite pleased when I got home.

I watched “The Shoes of the Fisherman” and retired fairly early.  

Thursday, August 11th–I puttered around and watched “Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet.”

Friday, August 12th–I puttered around the house, got tired and went back to sleep, then got up, puttered some more, and watched “Doctor Who: The Ribos Operation.”

Saturday, August 13th–I got up today and went to Costco to get my meds. I think I possibly saw Paul Giamatti at the cafe of the northwest Austin Whole Foods today, but I could be wrong, since probably one-third of the men in suburban America look like him (while another third look like Larry David).

I finally got around to seeing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.” I’d been putting it off because I’ve been broke and because I don’t like to deal with a crowded movie theatre, since I like to take over three seats and use both arm rests. (I went to one Potter film a few years ago, a few days after it opened. We were jam-packed in there, as if on an uncomfortable flight, and the woman to my left was wearing gallons of perfume, which fucked up my allergies for days thereafter.)  

As it was, I had to move from the first seats I picked and go to the front row, which was still almost full.
I enjoyed the movie (despite the fact that most every scene had been posted on fucking Tumbler within 6 hours of its debut), and cried quite a bit during the last hour. (I’m very bad about crying during films.)

Shortly thereafter, I had a weird experience. I was walking across a bridge over Mo-Pac Freeway. I was walking along on the sidewalk, looking down, minding my business, when a car on the side of the bridge closest to me honked three times. I looked up, and the driver leaned forward towards his windshield, gritted his teeth, and very forcefully gave me the finger. Naturally I gave him the finger back and screamed “Fuck you!” for good measure, but I have no idea who that was nor how I , who was not even on the roadway, upset this asshole so much just by existing.  

I went by Barnes and Noble, then went home, and walked Belle a few times. I watched “How I Won The War,” which was silly, self-indulgent, boring, tiresome, incomprehensible, and just terrible, and Doctor Who: The Androids of Tara.”

Sunday, August 14th–I listened to “The Big Broadcast,” added a tag to Belle’s collar, job hunted, re-arranged some books in my bedroom, and watched “Doctor Who: The Power of Kroll.”

Monday, August 15th–I got up early, by my standards, and took Belle for a follow-up vet visit. She was excited at first, but grew wary after she realized we were going to the vet. Belle has a low-grade yeast infection in her ears, so a medication was put deep down into them, where it will stay for a couple weeks. She was also given a Lepto booster shot.

We went home, and I planned to go out and run some errands, but the head maintenance guy was knocking on the doors of my neighbors, and since I didn’t want maintenance men in my apartment without me there, I stayed home until after the apartment office closed.

After that I went to Petsmart and bought Belle some treats (probably not the best idea, since she’s gained a lot of weight), I thought I saw someone I’ve fancied for years, and my heart took a little leap, but I was wrong.

I then went to Gunter’s Liquor store and bought beer, to the dollar store and bought snacks, and to Schlotzsky’s for dinner.

James learned today that I am apparently not working for that realtor anymore. He said I won this round. I asked what he meant. He said I’d beaten the realtor, and made a statement that I think he’s made before, and which I totally agree with, that I devote more effort to getting fired from or extricating myself from jobs I hate than I do to getting hired to ones I’d like. I said that wouldn’t be such a problem if there were a few more decent jobs around, jobs I actually wanted.

A friend sent me a notice about a writing contest, the first prize of which is $100. It’s a poetry contest, and poetry is not an area with which I have much luck. I think the contest was called “Humanity in Poetry” or something.

The premise is that several years ago a photographer found a little kid doubled over, starving to death in the Sudan, and not far from him there was a vulture waiting for the child to die so he could have him for dinner. The photographer waited for twenty minutes, but the vulture never made a move, so the photographer snapped the picture, and ran the bird off. Presumably he then took the kid to someplace where he could be helped.

The photographer won a Pulitzer for the picture, but the experience disturbed him so much he committed suicide.

The contest is to write 1000 words or less in free verse about the incident. Well, since I’ve never starved to death I can’t very well write from the point of view of the child. And since I can’t imagine being so upset I’d kill myself over the sufferings of another human being, especially one I don’t even know, I couldn’t write from the point of view of the photographer. And anything written from the point of view of the child or the photographer is likely to sound melodramatic and all too earnest anyway. But I do know what it’s like to impatiently wait for a meal, so I wrote the poem from the point of view of the vulture.  And anyway, I always side with animals in any dispute. I intend to tinker with it a few more times before I send it in.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of Dawn L___’s death, so I called Doug and we had a long conversation. Later on I watched “Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock.”

Tuesday, August 16th–I puttered around, read in my Rothko book, and watched “Doctor Who: The Mind Robber” and “Doctor Who: The Three Doctors.”

Wednesday, August 17th–I read in my Rothko book and watched “Doctor Who: The Aztecs,” “Doctor Who: Rose,” and “Doctor Who: The End of the World.”

Thursday, August 18th–I went to the dollar store and Schlotzsky’s, then read, and watched the following “Doctor Who” episodes: “The Unquiet Dead,” “Aliens of London,” “World War Three,” and “Dalek.”     

Friday, August 19th–I heard back today from two jobs to which I’d applied. The gal from the grant writing job got back to me after a wait of over a month and said she’d thought about the matter and concluded her organization didn’t have it in its budget to bring on a second writer. You’d think she’d have known that already. So why did she interview me in the first place?

The company that’s hiring proofreaders for a new translation of the Bible sent me a form e-mail, saying I didn’t meet their standards, and said they’re looking for people with excellent spelling skills and experience with “The Chicago Manual of Style.” Well, my spelling has been superb since elementary school, so I assume my particular problem was with the “Chicago Manual.” But I don’t know how to master it. Are there classes for that? It’s much too long and dry to read from cover to cover. No one could memorize everything in a book that long.

I went to McDonald’s for some fries and apple pies, then got some groceries at HEB. I read a bit, then watched the following “Doctor Who” episodes: “The Long Game,” “Father’s Day,” “The Empty Child,” “The Doctor Dances,” and “Boom Town.”  I started reading Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Saturday, August 20th–I finally finished Dore Ashton’s “About Rothko.” I watched “The Razor’s Edge” (the Tyrone Power version) on and off, as well as “Ilona Upstairs,” two “Doctor Who” episodes: “Bad Wolf” and “The Parting of the Ways,” and two “Zen” episodes: “Vendetta” and “Cabal.” I spent most of my time this evening very angry.

…[A] prominent Basset Hound in our Basset Hound community, who was known for his work in Basset rescue and for his strength in overcoming health obstacles, passed away today at the age of 12. I saw a video his family made of his life and wept heavily.

Sunday, August 21st–I got up late, listened to “The Big Broadcast,” and watched “Il Divo” again. I stayed up into Monday.

Monday, August 22nd–After waiting for everything to open, I went over to the UPS Store to make some copies. I was planning on a long, leisurely breakfast, so I went by Randall’s and bought a “New York Times” and a “USA Today,” as well as some over-priced index cards. I had an absurdly long wait in the heat for the bus, then the bus took forever to get me down to The Omelettry on Burnet Road.

My feet were numb by the time I got off the bus. I hobbled over to the restaurant, intent on a breakfast of pancakes, toast, and coffee, only to see a sign on their door that they took cash only. There was an ATM inside, but that didn’t matter, as all my money is in my Pay Pal account, not my bank account. I’m sure there are some rich ex-hippies and twisted young hipsters who regard this cash only policy as a cute eccentricity, but I think it’s a goddamned inconvenient and stupid way of doing business in the 21st century.

I stumbled over to the Yarborough branch of the public library, returned a great deal of materials, some of which were overdue, then found a computer. There’s a game on Facebook I’ve not been able to play for a year or two and I thought maybe the problem was with my computer, and that if I tried to access it via another computer, I could fix the problem. But that didn’t work either. I checked out some books and DVDs, and was told about my fine, but naturally, the goddamn library wasn’t set up to receive payment via debit card.

My next stop was Phil’s Ice House for lunch. It turned out to not be nearby, as I had thought, but actually a mile away, and it was already mid-day at that point and even hotter than it had been already. I found some keys on a wall outside a restaurant, took them inside and told a clerk about them, then went on my way. I was pretty out of it by the time I got to Phil’s.

I’d eaten at Phil’s one other time, around July of 2010. It was noisy and filled with too many kids, but the food was good. James and I have avoided it when we’ve gone out to eat because of the kids, running around and screaming, and indeed, there is a playground on the premises, an ice cream shop next door, and the readers of the “Austin Chronicle” have named it the best place in town to take kids. It seems to be THE place coaches take teams of child athletes. For all these reasons, it is a bad place for me to visit.

Indeed, when I got inside the lobby was filled with Little Leaguers, in Texas A&M T-shirts, nonetheless. I eventually got waited on, and ordered a veggie burger, fries, and a drink. I found a seat in the crowded and noisy dining room. The music was blaring. People were getting underfoot in the aisle next to my table as I was trying to set down.

I opened my papers. They were crap. A waste of money.

My name was called. I got my tray. I began eating the fries first. They were sweet potato fries–nice, but not what I’d ordered.

There was no place to spray ketchup, so I put down some napkins on my tray and sprayed it there. A waitress was hovering around, pestering everybody for their trays. She came to bother me just as I took up my burger and discovered it was a beef, rather than veggie burger.

I pointed this out to the waitress and asked if she could take it back and get me the right order. She said the beef burger would probably have to be thrown out, and then added in a mocking manner, “Good thing you didn’t take a bite out of that and find out it was beef!” Fucking bitch–where does she get off trivializing and making fun of my vegetarian beliefs?

I eventually got my correct order, and held onto my tray for dear life. the bun fell apart, making a mess. I know how in restaurants the staff hate for people to send back food, so who knows if the cook spat or jizzed on my burger before he sent it out.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I did not leave a tip.

I then had to wait at least forty or more minutes in the fucking heat for the bus. As is becoming more and more the case when I make an outing away from my apartment, by the time I got home, I was upset and angry, cursing the money I’d wasted on crappy foods, wondering why I ever leave.

I e-mailed a woman I’d talked with about a job a few weeks ago, but she didn’t write back. I showered and went the hell to bed.

Tuesday, August 23rd–I watched “Easy Virtue.” There was every reason for me to like it. Colin Firth and Kirsten Scott Thomas are in it, and they usually are money in the bank. Stephan Elliott directed it, and I loved his “Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.” It was based, very loosely, on a play by Noel Coward. And it was set in a beautiful stately English home.

But I didn’t like it. The script got some historical details wrong that would’ve been very easy to check. (Houdini didn’t die the same time as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.) I don’t know why, in amongst the Noel Coward and Cole Porter songs, they threw in jazzed-up, 20s-style versions of more contemporary songs like “Sex Bomb,” “Car Wash,” and “When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going.”  

Worst of all the film played up the death of a dog as a huge joke, and milked it for at least ten minutes. That’s when the film lost me. And while there are some taboos I’m perfectly comfortable seeing spoofed in comedy, animal cruelty is not one of them, especially because it sends the message that it’s ultimately funny to hurt an animal.

I had planned to see this at the theatre a few years ago, but didn’t get around to it. I’m glad I didn’t pay good money to see this, but instead, checked it out from the library.

Wednesday, August 24th–I watched three episodes of “Doctor Who:” “The Christmas Invasion,” “New Earth,” and “Tooth and Claw.”

Thursday, August 25th–I woke around 2am or thereabouts. I’ve been sleeping very heavily the last few days. I watched “Wild Target” and puttered around. I got some snacks at the dollar store and lunch at Schlotzsky’s, then showered, read, and retired.

Friday, August 26th–I woke around 3:30am, puttered around, and got bored. the morning temperature actually got down to 75, so I took Belle for a walk around the block and managed not to get as sweaty as hell doing so. The other day Austin made a new weather record–70 days in a row with temperatures at or exceeding 100 degrees.

I did some reading, and began “Goff in the Desert,” but only got about an hour into it before I had to go to bed.

Saturday, August 27th–My new project, which I can’t afford to undertake right now, is to buy 42 outfits of clothes–my at-home uniform of T-shirts, boxers, and socks. 42 matching black T-shirts, 42 pairs of boxer shorts, and 42 pairs of socks. This way, I can start taking three showers a day and have a fresh change of clothes each time, with enough changes of clothes to last me two weeks.

What inspired this was 1) the unbearable heat here in Texas and the fact I get hot and greasy just sitting here, even with the AC running, and 2) reading that Frank Sinatra used to take five or six showers a day. That sounded like a wonderful thing, since I never feel better than I do when I get out of the shower, and I’m always angry when I feel hot and dirty. The only thing keeping me from taking several showers a day is an inadequately-sized wardrobe.

It doesn’t hurt that I feel filthy any time I set foot outside, even just to walk the dog, and feel dirty any time I so much as break a sweat.

Sure, this will mean I’ll have to spend more for soap, shampoo, deodorant, baby powder, and laundry detergent, but it’ll be worth it. And it’s one way to kill the endless days and nights.

I finished “Goff in the Desert,” but only after numerous interruptions. It got at least 108 degrees today.

I listened to “The Big Broadcast” and watched “After You’ve gone,” two episodes of “Outnumbered,” and “Doctor Who: Amy’s Choice.”

Sunday, August 28th–I watched two episodes the new “Upstairs, Downstairs,” a short documentary on a Carolina outlaw, and “Death of the Old West,” a short documentary about the hanging of Deacon Jim Miller, as well as two episodes of “Doctor Who:” “School Reunion” and “The Girl in the Fireplace.”

Monday, August 29th–I woke much too early, read in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” and took a nap. I watched two episodes of “Doctor Who:” “Rise of the Cybermen” and “The Age of Steel.”

Tuesday, August 30th–I went to the bank, then had fries, a mango smoothie, and two apple pies at McDonald’s. I wandered around the huge Great Hills Baptist Church and did a lot of waiting in inquiry for a tutoring job I really don’t want, then bought groceries at HEB, and sweated like a cocksucker bringing them home. After showering and walking Belle a few times, I watched the wonderfully entertaining and violent “Kick-Ass,” as well as “Doctor Who: The Idiot’s Lantern.”

Wednesday, August 31st–I puttered around, read, and watched two episodes of “Doctor Who:” “The Impossible Planet” and “The Satan Pit.” 


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