Journal Entries. (March 1-15, 2012.)

Thursday, March 1st–I considered going to campus to the Blanton Museum and other places today, but I just can’t spare the bus fare and my allergies were giving me trouble.

I managed to read only one chapter in Gardner before having to retire.

Friday, March 2nd–Texas Independence Day.

I dreamt I was in San Antonio, in the old Joske’s building. Apparently there was a threat of war in the country, either from an invading force or some evil authority within the country. But things were quiet in San Antonio.

I was in some sort of gift shop on the second or third floor of the building, on the west side overlooking the street. Unlike the actual building, this one had windows through which you could see the outdoors.

There was some story line about a costume contest. A group of school kids came into the shop and I suggested to one kid that he or she should wear a black gauzy cape, for sale in the shop, and enter the contest as a certain character. Everyone thought this a great idea.

Just then there was noise and chaos, breaking glass and screaming. The army had arrived and had already set up firing positions out in the street.  Everyone started running around in a panic. I became angry. I looked around for Belle, only to find her quietly dead, on her side, off in a quiet part of the shop. I paused to give her a moment of respectful silence. I had nothing left to lose.

I began screaming obscenities: “ALL RIGHT, THAT’S IT! I’M GONNA KILL SOME OF THOSE MOTHER-FUCKERS!” I grabbed a rifle from somewhere and began running downstairs and over towards the Menger Hotel, a block to the north (and one block south of the Alamo). The hotel was a mess and I gathered that part of it had already been taken over by the army. A friend was leading two other people west, to go directly confront the army, but I had other plans. They ran off to their certain death. I knew I’d probably be killed soon too, but I thrilled at finally having the chance to kill at least a few representatives of an evil, illegitimate authority before they got me.

I see no evidence to indicate that anything I do or do not do, be it positive action or indifferent inaction, has any effect whatsoever on the course of my life. It’s like I’m not even here. My life has been determined from start to finish by other people, and I’ve not been given the slightest say in the matter. Those tired self-help slogans that say, in effect, “Only you can change your life,” are a load of crap.

I posted this last paragraph on my Facebook page, and [a friend] was quick to seize upon it and lecture to me that I needed to get independent of […] and the government–as if I don’t already fucking know that.

I put a big bag of beans to soak for Ten Bean Soup. I read in Gardner.

Saturday, March 3rd–I had a dream I was running around a much-improved version of West Campus with a cool and attractive hipster chick, possibly named “Moomie,” and with whom I’d immediately fallen in love. We kept getting separated, and I’d get very excited when we were reunited. The dream made West Campus seem a fascinating place.

I made Ten Bean Soup this evening. It was only so-so in quality. Potatoes would’ve helped. I read in Gardner.

Sunday, March 4th–I had another dream I was going back to college, settling in at a co-op, getting to know my room-mate (who looked a little like my first college room-mate, Phil), trying to decide what classes to take, and so on.

I was just too tired to get up early, nevertheless I’m hoping I’ll have no trouble getting to sleep early tonight.

I finished Erle Stanley Gardner’s “The Case of the Gilded Lily.”

Monday, March 5th–I had a little trouble getting to sleep last night, but eventually drifted off. Belle woke me an hour before my alarm. I breakfasted on Ten Bean Soup, two tahini sandwiches, and coffee, and the former came back to haunt me. Though I had gotten an early start, I soon realized I was too late to get a regular #3 downtown and still be on time, so I took the pricier and faster express bus, leaving the house around 7am.

I got downtown an hour early, had a Mexican Coke at The Hideout, then looked over my paperwork, before heading to the building on Second Street where my computer class was to be held. I took four or five massive shits while I was there, and had problems with gas as well. The class went well–I knew some things, and learned some more. I hope the other classes go as well as this one did. I think this means I’ve got one down and forty-seven left to go.

I got back home fairly quickly, a bit after 2pm, calmed Belle, and walked her. In the shower I realized I’d not had any panic attacks, bursts of anger, or any sense that I was about to burst into tears the entire time I was away.

After 4pm or so I took a nap, which lasted until around 9pm. I woke up sore and tired–I had walked too much today–and had toast and coffee, then read more in Aldous Huxley’s “After Many A Summer Dies The Swan,” a book I’d started earlier in the day.

Tuesday, March 6th–I woke a little after noon. I puttered and really didn’t to do much of anything, because before I knew it, I was already having to get ready for bed.

Wednesday, March 7th–I dreamt I was staying at a one-story house occupied by my friend […] and his parents, though they didn’t appear in the dream. I stayed a week or maybe even months, and was eager to finally leave. It was the wee hours of the morning of my last night. I was occupying two adjoining bedrooms. Actually, one opened off the other. I had to walk around very quietly so as not to be heard by the family. My dog was on one of the beds, but I think it was Fred, rather than Belle.

I started wandering around, out of my suite, out through the kitchen and the back door, and around the back yard by the garage, in a big circle. Then I’d return to where I started. I think I was wearing pajamas. Everything shone with white light. I was muttering to myself–but what? On my head was a huge cardboard box–two or three feet deep, two or three feet long, but just narrow enough to snugly fit onto my head. The trick was walking around in this circuit with this box on my head, in the dark, and not knocking into anything and waking the others.

I woke early today, but had to wolf down breakfast and leave early. I took the # 383 to the North Lamar Transit Center, then quickly boarded the #101 Express downtown. I had a bit of a panic attack and depression. I got downtown an hour early.

I wanted some food, and looked pathetically at the door and windows of an upscale convenience store for a sign indicating they took Food Stamps, but they didn’t. Then I went down to the headquarters of my bank to check my balance, and saw I still had $2.68 left in my checking account. I went over to the convenience store across the street from where my classes are held, but it wasn’t open yet.

I wandered around, looking for a convenience store or market, but not wanting to walk all the way to the fancy one again. I prowled around the Convention Center area, my first time there since it was a shelter for Katrina victims in 2005. (Where the hell has the time gone?)

Class started. The room was hot and stuffy, and there was some Hispanic guy in there wearing too much cologne. Class was easy enough that I began doodling. During the first break I went over to the convenience store across the street, but the cock-sucking clerk wouldn’t ring up a purchase on a debit or credit card if it was less than $5.

Around 12:40, the instructor gave us a choice–to leave early or to stay until 1pm and learn a bit more. I voted to stay.

It had been misting on and off all day and raining elsewhere. I was afraid I’d get caught in it. I bused it back to my neighborhood and went grocery shopping at Sprouts. I overdid it with the bulk items, such as nuts and Oriental trail mix, as I spent $143 of the $200 in Food Stamps benefits I got today. Yes, I did get plenty of regular food, but not as much as I’d hoped. I’ll have to be more careful in the future.

I got home, walked and calmed Belle, then showered, and napped for about three or four hours, waking sore and tired.

Thursday, March 8th–I gave Belle some of those beef knuckles to chew on. This is proving to be a bad idea, since it makes her stool much too hard. During our first walk today her stool got so hard to pass she started crying and yelping, and I had to help her pull it out.

It was a short day, as it seemed I’d hardly gotten up before I was having to start preparing for bed. I did get a little reading done, though.

Friday, March 9th–Belle woke me an hour early, around 4-something. It was cold and threatening rain, and I could tell it’d be a shitty day.

Two trees at the bus stop have been cut down recently. I was sorry to see that.

The #383 bus arrived at the Transit Center seconds after my connection left. Fortunately, the next #101 Express arrived in about five minutes. It got about as far as the DPS headquarters. At a stop, various passengers got off, and the driver was about to put the bus in motion again, when some fat chick carrying a birthday cake, yanked the cord again, and yelled out in a nasty voice for the driver to hold up. The driver suddenly applied her brakes, everyone was thrown forward for a bit, and the bus stopped stone dead. We had to wait for a goddamn local bus to pull alongside us to continue on our way. As we boarded that one, the driver complained that drivers behind her were getting upset with her stopping in traffic like that. Well, fuck them!

We got downtown and the driver didn’t stop until two blocks after I’d pulled the cord to de-board. I backtracked a block, then went to The Hideout for a Mexican Coke and people-watching.  There were some genuinely ridiculous-looking people out and about for the start of SXSW.

The rain really started coming down.

I headed to class. SXSW always depresses me because it’s about the only thing interesting that ever happens in Austin, and if I’m not formally reporting on it, I don’t want to know it’s going on.

By the time I got to the [Tek Skilz] offices, I really needed to shit badly. But there is only one toilet for me, and some asshole was hogging it, all the way up until class started. Then we wound up dilly-dallying from 9:00 to 9:30, while the instructor waited for most of the students to show up. (Presumably they’d been held up in traffic.) As a result of this late start, we didn’t get a morning break, and I was in serious pain. We broke for lunch at 11am and I headed off to shit.

Afterwards, I ran across the street to the little store to buy lunch. I heard some British journalist talking with the clerk, and hoped to strike up a conversation, or at least read his ID badge, but it was not to be. I spent the rest of lunch standing at the window in the [Tek Skilz] offices, watching all of the cool kids heading off to the Convention Center, two blocks away.

I finished the course. It was useful, and certainly not too confusing or fast-paced for me. I was given an attendance certificate, and then rushed to take another shit, but goddamned if another guy wasn’t in there, hogging the toilet for an absurd amount of time–much longer than is needed for a normal bowel movement. I opened the door a couple times to remind him other people were waiting to use the toilet, in case he was jacking off or something.

I now have a week off–though I have a MAP doctor appointment next Friday. Classes don’t resume until the 19th. Also, since they don’t offer the upper division/advanced courses as often as they do the beginner-level ones, it looks like it may take me well into the Fall before I finish all these courses….

I shared a bus stop with a musician who was clearly in town hoping to get discovered. Dirty jeans, wool skull cap, white earbuds, guitar case, and an over-stuffed backpack– the latter wrapped in a plastic garbage bag to protect it from the heavy rain. He was hunched over against the cold wind, holding his cigarette in that strange way all the old Nazis did in the “World at War” documentaries. Or maybe, to quote Mr. Mellencamp, he was doing “his best James Dean.”

The rain was coming down heavily when I got to my neighborhood, so I skipped a planned trip to HEB and went straight home. Belle went nuts and took quite awhile to calm down. The weather was too bad for me to walk her, so I took a shower, and eventually napped from about 5-something until 10:50pm.

Saturday, March 10th–It continued to rain all day. I was awakened at one point by lightning striking very nearby.

I puttered. I didn’t take Belle out for many walks–it was just too nasty out.

I read. My allergies gave me a lot of trouble.

I grew depressed and went to bed.

Sunday, March 11th–I dreamt I made a last-minute trip to South Korea–why, I have no idea, as I haven’t the slightest interest in the country. I wound up at a hotel that seemed to be run all by foul-tempered, rude women. I was billed for a meal I didn’t order. I was given a street map that was covered with lumps of food and which fell to bits in my hand, and I think I was shouted at by the manageress.

It was sunny today, but I slept in–close to twelve hours.

My apartment stank as if someone had sprayed insecticide, but I think I finally traced the odor to rotten fruit.
I got my Food Stamp renewal forms sent back, as I’d forgotten to sign them. I’d better send them back tomorrow, as I think the 15th is the deadline.

Jeremy IM-ed me, mentioned he’d sat next to Lauren Hutton at lunch, and wanted to know where she lived. All he knew was it a 1917 house in Venice with a big garden. I tracked it down within an hour.

Monday, March 12th–I slept until after 3pm. When I took Belle out for a walk, I found a notice from the goddamn apartment management company on my front door. “What now?,” I thought.

It was dated on the 2nd, and said that the idiots who have been doing renovation work on the property would be working on buildings 3, 4, 5, and 6 in Phase II, starting tomorrow. They would be working until the project was finished–weather permitting, starting at 8am during the week and 10am on Saturday. “Access to your apartment may be necessary to assess or complete work.”

I was to clear all items from my balcony. “We will not be responsible for damages to personal property resulting from your failure to comply with the above requests. If you have damage to the interior of your apartment walls from the construction, call….” The notice finished, “You may put patio approved items back once the work is complete.” Aw, gee thanks. That’s mighty big of you, you condescending cocksuckers!

Needless to say, I flew into a rage and a panic. What did this mean to me, since the notice was on my door, but my building and phase weren’t mentioned? Why do they only give less than 24 hour’s notice for this sort of thing? Would I have to cancel all my plans for the next few weeks until this shit is finished?

I didn’t like the idea of a bunch of stupid lummoxes waking me up early, trampling into my private space, knocking shit over, and leaving the door wide open so Belle could escape.

I called the front office at least five times. Though the office was still open, nobody answered, and the phone kicked over to a recording, which meant someone was sitting on his ass.

Since I needed to go buy some groceries, I swung by the office. Some white-haired asshole in a jacket, probably the manager, was lecturing the staff. That explains the unanswered calls. Unfortunately, I got waited on by the fat asshole who dismissed my objections about the old dumpsters a few months ago when I mentioned them.

I read off the notice. He said my building isn’t affected tomorrow, but will be soon. He wouldn’t or couldn’t give me a goddamn date. He didn’t seem to know anything for sure, least of all when to push away from the goddamn dinner table.

There may be workers needing to enter my apartment, but for the most part they’d probably get to the balcony via ladders. I expressed my concern about Belle, and he suggested I shut her up in my bedroom and put down papers. I said she doesn’t like being locked up, and tends to do damage then (not to mention there’s no room in my bedroom for her to move around). He suggested I cage her, then I said she’s terrified of cages and hurts herself when put in one.

As is getting to be the case more and more with everyone I talk with nowadays, I didn’t get straight answers. I wasn’t sure when those assholes were coming, or if I should cancel my appointments Friday and next week.

[NOTE: The balcony wall wasn’t torn down and replaced until July.]

So, I went to HEB, bought my groceries, and stayed under budget. I paid for the food with Food Stamps, then bought a magazine with the little money I had on my own. But while I was attending to payment I noticed the fucking sacker had taken it upon herself to start thumbing through MY magazine.

Now, I hate breeches of protocol and etiquette, and I hate people taking liberties with me and the social roles we occupy. I also hate people touching or examining things I own. So I shot the sacker a murderous look that neither she nor the cashier picked up on. Finally she separated my possession from her dirty hands and put it in a sack. Then I had the long, hot, annoying walk home, heavy-laden with bags. And not surprisingly, once I got home I discovered there were items I’d forgotten to buy.

Later on I did some reading.

Tuesday, March 13th–In mid-afternoon I was awakened by hammering–on my own building no less. That fat, stupid dickhead in the front office had been wrong–of course. There was one workman pulling rotted panels off my building’s gables, while another was nailing up plastic sheets to protect against a rain that seemed to be on its way. No work was being done on balconies, however.

After the workmen finally left, I went over to Petsmart to buy some dog food, and the dollar store for some supplies for me.

I think sexuality has become the new hipsterism.

Describing your sexuality and “sexual identity” in ever more obscure, detailed, and exotic terms has replaced “Oh, I used to go see them in concerts in small clubs in 2004, long before they got signed, but you wouldn’t have heard of them then” as the new badge of hip.

So the US Postal Service has been in business over 200 years now, right? Plenty of time to practice. So why can’t they master something simple like placing mail inside of mail boxes properly? Why can’t they put the big items at the bottom and the small items at the top, instead of vice versa, which causes me to drop everything on the ground when I empty the box?

I e-mailed the instructor of last week’s computer class with my suggestions of the other courses I want to take this quarter.

I was thinking about this one woman I “knew” early on in my Facebook experience. She was supposed to be an animal advocate and rescuer, had her hands in all the right causes, and had hundreds of the same animal rescuer friends that I did, so I friended her. Then after about a year I started hearing rumors about her, that she was nothing like the animal savior she seemed to be.

Her son was a dog fighter, and she often “saved” dogs out of shelters to deliver up to her son to use as fighting or bait dogs. She often raised funds for the treatment of various ill animals or the transport of those needing new homes, then pocked the money, and the animals either died or were left in the lurch. She had a long court action and arrest record.

And when she mistakenly thought I slandered her (I hadn’t—because I didn’t have enough proof against her at that point), she turned into a shrieking monster, and threatened to sue me, then calmed back down and feigned civility when I assured her I’d said nothing. But her outburst pretty well confirmed what others had said about her. I think she may’ve wound up in jail for fraud, but I never heard the final outcome.

I hate to think how much suffering that one bitch caused.

I finally finished Aldous Huxley’s “After Many A Summer Dies The Swan.” It got awfully dark there at the end. I was expecting just a straight novel, but what I got instead was a rather dark satire. Huxley examines such issues as American bad taste, the quest for immortality and youth, and the meaning of a happy life.

The main characters:

Jeremy Pordage–A slightly self-important, if retiring, English scholar, who is brought to America to study and catalogue a large quantity of papers that belonged to several generations of a once-prominent English family.

Jo Stoyte–A California tycoon, clearly based on William Randolph Hearst, who gets his money from varied sources, including oil, real estate, agriculture, and a tacky cemetery that much resembles Forest Lawn. He lives in a 23-story neo-Gothic castle in the mountains outside Los Angeles, and collects huge amounts of art treasures with no appreciation for any of it. At the foot of his castle is the state-of-the-art children’s hospital he endows. He is terrified of aging and death, and falling into the hands of the stern, fundamentalist God of his ancestors.

Virginia Maunciple–Stoyte’s pretty, brainless, and much, much younger mistress. Known by Stoyte as “Baby” or “The Baby.”

Dr. Sigmund Obispo–Stoyte’s personal physician, a devious, egotistical, cynical, self-serving, manipulative man whose chief occupations are seducing women and studying ways in which Stoyte’s life can be prolonged.

Peter Boone–A good-natured, idealistic, naive young man, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War and Obispo’s lab assistant.

Bill Propter–A former academic and childhood friend of Stoyte’s, who has retired to the valley below Stoyte’s castle, where he devotes his time to philosophic joys and bettering the lives of the agricultural laborers Stoyte exploits. Propter is fond of launching into lengthy monologues about religion, enlightenment, society, politics, art, literature, the human condition, Jeffersonian democracy, and other matters. In any other book such speeches would stop the action dead in its tracks, but Propter’s speeches are often rather interesting, especially because they tend to make a lot of sense.

It was an entertaining read, and full of interesting ideas for personal and societal transformation.

Before bed I started reading Hilaire Belloc’s “Short Talks With The Dead.”

I also thought about re-arranging some boxes in my bedroom. It would block access to the patio doors, but it would get me and Belle some much-needed floor space.

Wednesday, March 14th–…The construction work did not wake me today, and I didn’t get up until after 3pm. I called an agency to double-check some details about a discount on my utilities that I’ll apparently be given this summer. I puttered around and read.

There’s a perverse sort of thrill that accompanies the sadness of realizing you secretly hate most of your friends.

I’ve noticed that most bucket lists, especially those produced by men’s magazines, always seem to involve extreme sports and sexual fantasies.

None of that appeals to me. But most of my bucket list items involve travel and will require money to fulfill.

There are two main problems with the American Left right now:

1) It is too enamored of occupying the moral high ground and afraid to be sufficiently aggressive. Only if it starts playing as dirty as the Right does will it stand any chance of beating the Right.

2) It is overly concerned with trivialities, or rather, it can’t seem to tell the difference between trivial matters and important ones. Instead of arguing over the politically correct term for a person or condition, why aren’t you out there trying to smash a corrupt corporation that’s polluting the environment and stealing elections?

One of the many problems I have with political correctness is it says you have to show this level of respect to these people and that level of respect to those people. But I reject the basic premise: there’s almost no humans of any kind for whom I have any respect. I don’t think most people are worthy of respect. They need a swift kick in the ass, a baseball bat in the face, a lash across the back. People as a whole just aren’t worth a shit.

Thursday, March 15th–I slept until some time after 2pm today–maybe after 2:30. Most of the day was spent dreading going to and coming from my doctor’s appointment tomorrow, which will ruin my day.

There’s hardly a time I walk back into my apartment from the outside world that I don’t enter uttering blasphemies, profanities, and obscenities–either because of my dissatisfaction with the unpleasant climate, or else frustration over something that upset me while I was outside, something that I dropped, that strained me, that got in my way, or that in one way or other pissed me off.


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