Journal Entries. (April 8–14, 2012.)

Sunday, April 8th–Easter Sunday. I woke, a little after noon, with my back in great pain.

I finished the tutorials on Excel 2010, but at least two of them I didn’t completely follow. Then it took me 90 minutes to read 20 pages in Scott.
……………..

Someone should come up with a word to describe the delicious feeling of amusement one has to observe another person enraged over a matter about which one cares absolutely nothing. It would greatly enrich the language. I think the Germans would be the right people for the job, especially since they came up with schadenfreude, which is a similar emotion.

Monday, April 9th–Due to recent events, I’ve considered devoting the rest of my life to behaving like a complete shit, but unfortunately, I still have a few noble goals I wish to accomplish, chiefly related to animal rights and rescue, so I may have to postpone a complete turn to villainy for a bit.

…………………..

I had some trouble getting to sleep last night, but woke up, tended to Belle, got ready, and got downtown to class okay. I started Fundamentals of Database Design, but had trouble with a bit of it at the end of the day. (The previous classes have been Microsoft Operating Systems–Beyond the Basics, and Fundamentals Microsoft Word, Power Point, and Excel.) The class voted to skip the normal lunch break and just leave at 12:30pm instead of 1pm. I still didn’t get home all that early, or so it seemed. I went by Petsmart and got some dog food.

After walking and calming Belle, I lay down for a nap that lasted between three and five hours–I forget, and woke tired….

I secretly looked up an old high school crush on Facebook. She has aged badly and gone through at least two husbands, and borne several thuggish-looking children, and is even apparently a grandmother, though she’s a year my junior. She’s dating an old classmate of mine she used to date in high school. (He turned into a real hick.) The whole business is sordid to me. I’m so glad I broke away from Montgomery County, but I wish I could escape Texas completely.

Tuesday, April 10th–I had one dream where I ran into my high school friend D___ and his extended family. There seemed to be so many nephews, nieces, and other unidentified relations, taking over a good corner of a hotel, and getting into athletic stunts like a team of acrobats.  They were all getting ready to leave before I realized I’d not even seen his brother B___.

In another dream I was patronizing a very large, popular, and over-priced coffee house. (Was this due to all the coffee I put into my system yesterday?) It was a lofty place, with dim lighting, and bleached wooden tables and chairs.

Some of the regulars were very hip and other quite peculiar, and held cult-like beliefs. Some fertilized their organic gardens with their own feces….

I had purchased a tall glass of iced tea, and had been sucking on it for hours in order to keep my table. But I’d gotten up to do something like go to the bathroom, and when I returned a group of young people had taken over my table–despite the fact my books were still there. I got angry. Where was my tea? One guy pointed out a busing tray on the floor nearby. I stepped over towards it–one of the guys at the table was afraid I’d step on and break his digital camera. But either I wasn’t sure which of two glasses of tea was mine, or my glass had been made filthy. So I lost my spot and my glass and had to start all over again.

A group of activists were arrested inside the coffee house. The leader was played by Daniel Day-Lewis, suitably bearded.

I gathered my things, waited in line, got a new drink, and then searched for a new place to sit. There were plenty of open tables, but I wanted one that was just right. I wanted to have enough room to spread out all my stuff. The little table with just two chairs wasn’t big enough, but I also knew I couldn’t get away with taking over a table that seated six. Where would I have a good view of things, yet be out of the way?

I looked around, then looked behind me. People were beginning to line up behind me, waiting for me to chose a table and get out of the way. Directly behind me was a tall, fat guy, who sneered, “See something you want, yet?” I snapped back,  “I’m looking for the right table,” neglecting to add the last part of the sentence, which I implied by my tone of voice, “…as if that’s any of your goddamn business, you fat asshole!”

Finally, I just gave up and went over to the huge communal tables. Apparently in this dream I lived in a sort of student-run housing co-operative, so I went over and sat next to one of my housemates, who was played by Martin Freeman, and who seemed as bored and exhausted by this whole coffee house business as I was.

…………………

I went over my course notes, though I didn’t understand everything. I finally finished Gail Scott’s “My Paris,” which had begun to annoy me.

Now I love books set in places I’ve visited, because I enjoy it when the author mentions certain landmarks with which I am familiar and I can picture the scene perfectly. Certainly none of the places I’ve actually lived will be the settings for books, and if they are, those would not be books I’d care to read. But to get back to my point–yes, I enjoy books set in places I’ve visited, especially Paris.

And while “My Paris” has plenty of Parisian atmosphere and wonderful insights and vignettes, author Scott’s stylistic tics and obsessions quickly got on my nerves. She was obsessed with the war in Bosnia, academic feminist theory, and other such arcane jibber-jabber, and she threw in the expression “chez nous” at least once every page. I really had zero interest in reading her descriptions of the women to whom she was attracted. I only cared about the city.

She made a lot of literary and historical references, which I, fortunately, was able to catch. Her main point of reference is Walter Benjamin and his “Arcades Project.” Had I not been familiar with this I’d have been quite lost in this book.

Probably the most peculiar and perverse thing about the book is Scott’s choppy style, which reads like a telegram. She just absolutely refuses to write complete sentences. Even if she puts all the words down, she cuts them up with periods:

“I adding layer of lipstick. Guilty note still pulsing. Mother being Protestant. B saying remorse unequivocally 19th. It being sole emotion that century. Feeling with sincerity. As in those sons of leisured classes. Whose grey coats lined with scarlet. I.e. effeminate. Allegedly flagging regret.  For crimes of papa. While we. Sitting on divans. Turning off Sarajevo. Rwanda. Bosnia. Not to mention documentary from chez nous. Re: uranium. In reservation rivers.”

Every goddamn paragraph in the book is like that.

I retired around 11pm.

Wednesday, April 11th–The goddamn computer started or finished something on its own and suddenly came on, flooding the living room and bedroom with bright light and waking me up. Whenever this has happened before, I’ve always thought someone was breaking into the house, and getting onto my computer, prior to slipping into the bedroom to murder me.

I looked at the clock. It was only 3am.

I got up to turn the computer off and to piss. Belle got restive and thought I was getting up for the day. My mind started thinking and I couldn’t turn it off. I lay in bed angry and stressed at the prospect of facing a long, busy day with inadequate sleep. This is exactly the reason I often have trouble sleeping when I set alarms.

Later on the goddamn computer came on again. All chance of getting in another hour or so of sleep was ruined.

The alarm rang at 5:30am. I got up, took care of Belle, got ready, and made it downtown to class. We had a new instructor, who I think I liked better than the other one, though we didn’t seem to cover that much material in four hours. I learned that the reason no classes are offered in such areas as the Adobe Creative Suite is that the software is too expensive, and neither the City nor private benefactors have donated the software to the school.

I got home and napped from a little after 5pm to I think 9:39pm. I slept heavily….

I got up, took Belle out, and found a notice that my rent is going up a whopping $67 at the end of July. I gave a brief, uninterested look at the apartment listings on Craigslist in Austin and San Antonio. I really don’t feel like messing with moving….

I started, and read over half, of Gregoire Bouillier’s “Report On Myself.”

Thursday, April 12th–I didn’t get much done today, apart from scanning a few pages of architectural drawings and pages from the library books I’m turning in tomorrow. I didn’t even get a chance to read or watch any tutorials. I did speak with [….], however. He’s got a 40th birthday party coming up. He said the reason he’s been so impossible to nail down was he was dating this castrating, controlling bitch who wouldn’t let him go anywhere, and who got inside his brain and preyed on his weaknesses and insecurities. I’ll never understand why so many people allow themselves to get into relationships like that. It’s so very common.

Friday, April 13th–I had some trouble getting to sleep last night. I had a dream about being in something called “13,” which turned out to be the Thirteenth Dimension, where nothing was predictable, and you could never tell if you’d be breathing air, choking, drowning in water, or what. I think this was due to my choking in my sleep. [NOTE: I just now noticed this happened on Friday the 13th.]

I got up, and attended to Belle.

A little later, as I approached my bus stop, in a drive-way leading into a shopping center by my bank and the neighborhood Randall’s supermarket, I saw a black bird desperately nudging at a somewhat smaller black bird that was dead on the pavement. Was this bird his mate? He seemed anxious to at least get the other bird out of the dangerous drive-way and safe from the path more cars. I think maybe he thought the other bird might revive.

I was much disturbed by this sad sight, and finally walked over there, picked up the dead bird by one foot, and carried her over to the grass, and placed her down in it gently. The other bird, who had retreated at my approach, saw me leave, then slowly, but surely, went back to the body of his beloved, and continued to nudge at her, and scare off any other birds that dared come near.

I got downtown on time for what I think was my last morning class. I researched all the abbreviations for computer skills I’d seen on job notices in the recent past, to try to determine what I might need to know and what I could skip. I did not get my question sufficiently asked about the advanced filter feature on Excel.

Indeed, I don’t think this week’s class provided all that much information–it just seemed like an Excel review.
I finished my final project so quickly I was able to leave forty-five minutes early. I went to the library, returned some books, grabbed a bunch of tax forms and booklets, and checked more books out. God knows if I’ll have time to read them all before they’re due.

I got back home and saw that the work crew had painted the trim outside my apartment. Belle was not in the front window, and that suspicious-looking workman I’ve been seeing around, who looks like an ex-con, gave me a funny look. Fortunately, Belle was right by the front door–drawn there, I guess, by the noise when they were painting the door jamb. I’d been afraid the workmen had let her out.

I spoke to James–he was on his way out to some oil field in the middle of nowhere. I napped from about 6pm to 11:20pm, and woke, very tired and sore.

I finished Gregoire Bouillier’s “Report On Myself,” and read most of W. G. Sebald’s “Unrecounted.”

Saturday, April 14th–I had a wonderfully violent, intolerant dream. I was in a parlor with several people, including at least two supporters–possibly friends or my parents…. Also in the room were an obnoxious, smart-mouthed little girl, aged around ten, and her loud-mouthed, morbidly obese mother.

The girl kept pissing me off and talking back to me, until I finally lashed into her with a torrent of verbal abuse, which only made her more obnoxious. The mother got into the fight, defending her daughter and insulting me, and I started verbally abusing her, calling her [names].

We got into a physical fight. At one point she was waving her fat arms over her head and I seized her left arm, and bit down hard on a fatty mass on the underside of her left arm, just above the elbow.

Eventually, she found herself wedged into a tight spot between a round table and the wall, and, encouraged by my supporters (who were not actually participating in the fight), I pushed the fat woman over. She howled, then fell over with a slow, awkward crash. Her voluminous, old-fashioned skirts flew up in front of her, revealing that she’d emptied a large amount of piss all over herself and the floor. My supporters and I insulted and mocked her all the more for this, and laughed derisively.

Finally, the fat woman got to her feet, and indicated I’d started a major war with her. She led a procession out of the room, which included her daughter, and at least a dozen or more Mexican laborers (the latter no doubt being a reference to the Mexican laborers who have been swarming all over my apartment complex for the last few months, causing me no end of annoyance and stress).

Someone warned me that on making her exit the daughter tried to write something insulting on my back with a pencil, then stab the pencil through my back, but I pulled the pencil out of my back before it did any damage, then laughed scornfully at the girl.

………………….

I got up, tended to Belle, then got dog food and treats at Petsmart, and some food for me at the dollar store. I finished W. G. Sebald’s “Unrecounted,” did an online tutorial on blogging, then started Erle Stanley Gardner’s “The Case of the Baited Hook.” I retired about 6:30am.

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