Journal Entries (July 7-13, 2012).

Saturday, July 7th–I got up around 3am, and attended to Belle.

Within minutes of waking I found a notice on my front door from those cocksuckers in the front office, telling me to clear the “clutter” from my balcony or face a $50 fine. (The “clutter” was mostly empty flower pots and gardening tools.) Never mind that there’s an asshole in my building with a barbeque pit and fucking torches which he lights up and uses on his balcony on a regular basis, in violation of the lease and basic safety rules! I reported the cocksucker a few weeks ago, but his shit is still out there.

I was in a rage. I hate violations of my privacy. I cleaned up the balcony once, then decided those miserable pieces of shit would try to find something wrong with the things I’d left out, so I cleared everything off. God-for-fucking-bid I try to make this over-priced dump into something of a home.

I got paid my Food Stamps benefits. I called the vet and had them e-mail me an estimate of what all Belle needs to get done. Then I went to Petsmart for some dog food and the dollar store for supplies for me.

I finished my tutorials for Outlook, although the last section was an ungraded quiz, and it put me into a serious panic. I just guessed at the answers so I could get through with it and earn the Course Completion Certificate. I did some work on this in the morning, then went back in the afternoon and swallowed the rest of the bitter medicine down.

I read up on the latest developments on Lennox the Dog in Belfast, who is scheduled to be killed Monday for looking like a Pit Bull. I came across a very distressing website that attempted to debunk the whole controversy and shift the fault onto Lennox and his family and to claim the pro-Lennox movement is much smaller than it claims to be.

James came by and took me out to eat for the first time since, I think, February. We went first to a tile store near my house, which proved to be much more interesting and full of attractive things than I would’ve expected. Then we ate at Chuy’s, where Nyssa asked me what controversies I’d been getting worked up about lately. I said I was getting especially annoyed by all the ignorant kids on Tumbler bleating and braying about gender theory.

James turned to Nyssa, and said,

–B_____ doesn’t believe in self-identifying gender.

He said it in the same tone you’d use to say

–B_____ believes the world is flat.

Naturally, this pissed me off.

I explained to Nyssa,

–I regard gender theory as being about as scientific as phrenology and palm-reading.

I horrified James by telling him about my new animal companion– a red, inch-long cockroach who lives in my bathroom. I’ve observed him since he was but a wee thing, so I dubbed him “Scotty,” in honor of that schmaltzy, campy 1970 Bobby Goldsboro song, “Watching Scotty Grow,” and in honor of myself as his honorary father, since “Scott” is my middle name. When I told James that I always check the shower, the drain, and the shower curtain before I turn the water on, just to make sure Scotty’s safe, and that I think Scotty lives in a crevice behind the toilet where the cheap-ass vinyl flooring has curled up from the moisture of the shower, James turned white and warned me that I was about to make him vomit.

Later on during the meal, when he could make himself heard over all the shrieking kids (I do wonder why he loves that awful restaurant so much), he announced,

–I’ve just invented a new drink, the “George Takei Oh My Mai Tai.”

–What’s in it?

–Oh, nothing. Just the same as a regular Mai Tai, but with a new name. You know, because he says, “Oh my!” all the time.

–So basically you invented nothing, then? That’s not really inventing anything if something stays exactly the fucking same. At least say that it has rum, curacao, lime juice, and just a hint of Astroglide. Just say something!

James and Nyssa took me by HEB, so I could buy groceries and not have to lug the fuckers on foot for a mile in this heat.

As James was helping me unload groceries out of his trunk and was standing behind me, I let fly with an especially noxious fart that was one-fourth Mexican food fart, three-fourths old man fart. James reacted with great disgust, and I began laughing in a shrill, piercing manner. This got the attention of Belle, inside my apartment, who must’ve thought I was in distress from the way she started barking.

Belle was quite boisterous when I got home. She began barking sharply, and when I pulled the plant spritzer water bottle on her she jumped back as if shot (I hadn’t even pulled the trigger), and dramatically and with great force fell over onto her side, then rolled onto her back, offered her doughy belly to me to rub, which of course I did. This was hilarious to see.

I didn’t last long. My late lunch came only a few hours after I’d eaten something else, so I was a lot more full than I am used to being. I felt a bit sick to my stomach. The heat didn’t help. Not long after showering, I went to bed, read a little in Gardner and Maugham, and retired a little after 7pm, and slept like a log.

Sunday, July 8th–I woke around 4am and did a good deal of puttering today. James kept Instant Messaging me, and it took awhile to disengage from him so I could watch “Francis Bacon,” a documentary made for “The South Bank Show,” directed by David Hinton, with Melvyn Bragg as the interviewer….

I got a little bit of reading done in Gardner before bed.

Monday, July 9th–I had several dreams last night. In one I was in the Army or at least a military school. We all slept in a barracks and were awakened by a recorded video speech of President Obama. As soon as it came on we were expected to jump out of our bunks and stand at attention, though we were able to start getting dressed as long as we remained standing and facing forward.

In another dream I was about to take a lot of exams at a school. I think this may have been inspired by my panic over having to do those quizzes for my tutorials the other day, and the ending of “The Art of Getting By,” which I watched the other day, wherein the hero has to complete a year’s worth of homework and exams in three weeks in order to graduate.

These exams were supposed to be very difficult and important. There was some math exam I was sitting down to take, and the headmaster, played by Kelsey Grammer, came in and began to walk oddly across the linoleum-tiled floor, before turning stiffly to leave. Some of us realized he was giving us a little hint, that each square on the floor was one foot long on every side–or just short of it. This was enough of a hint to allow us to figure out some of the questions.

Within fifteen minutes of getting up today–close to 6:30am or so–I was already sick and tired of the day.

I spent much of the day following the events connected to the dog Lennox, who has been subject to two years of trials and legal wranglings in Northern Ireland. Though he has never been accused of misbehaving, he was seized and taken to a hidden location, ill-treated, and denied visits from his family, all because he resembles a so-called “dangerous breed” of dog banned by law in Northern Ireland.

The courts ruled to have the dog executed, and there have been worldwide protests about this. The execution was to happen today or at least this week. Naturally, I am passionately involved in this case. Today I wrote all of the members of the Belfast City Council that had e-mail addresses:

Dear Councillors:

I am writing to beg mercy for the dog Lennox.

Whatever point you wished to make over the last two years with this case you have surely made–why add that last little twist of the knife, that last little kick in the teeth, here at the end?

Humans can learn from long-term punishment–animals cannot. And when an animal’s only “crime” is the accident of his birth, his appearance, what can he possibly be taught? Do you expect to send a message to other animals not to be born in such a way as to resemble a “dangerous” breed? Perhaps a growled confession or apology by Lennox before he’s put down?

And why are you being so obstinate about the question of allowing Lennox to be relocated to a new home in another country, far from your jurisdiction? Who benefits from this? And why forbid the family even so much as a farewell visit or the right to claim the body? What end will that serve? Who do you expect to instruct with such singular lack of compassion and mercy?

I submit that you have lost sight of enforcing the law and have turned instead to exacting some sort of vengeance. Please prove me wrong.

Respectfully,
J___ B___
Austin, Texas, USA

………………

I followed the story online for hours until I was totally exhausted, pausing only to run across the street to the UPS Store to mail off some bills. Eventually, I adjourned to the floor and spent a few hours with Belle, reading some Gardner. When I returned to my computer I made the following conclusions about the day’s roller-coaster news:

So let me see if I got everything from today straight.

Lennox was scheduled to die on the 9th, but now they’re saying it’s the 10th.

The First Minister (of Northern Ireland) Peter Robinson is against the killing and may have spoken to someone about the case.

Celebrity animal trainer and TV hostess Victoria Stilwell was supposedly in meetings with the Belfast City Council about a reprieve and re-homing. She later announced that the BCC refused to talk to her about anything or listen to any suggestions or ideas.

The Queen may or may not have been approached to do something about the case.

The world news media is all but completely ignoring the case.

The BCC claims the NI courts hold all the cards, while the courts say the BCC is in charge.

An Italian media outlet may or may not have claimed Lennox had already been killed.

It was announced Lennox had been reprieved, granted amnesty, or been put to a review. This announcement got everyone excited, and cut the protest in NYC short.

Later, the announcement was discovered to be a hoax posted by one woman.

Victoria Stilwell may or may not be meeting with Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.

………………….

I took Belle out right before a big rain storm hit. In the mail was a letter from the IRS. Apparently I didn’t submit all the forms I should have back in April, and I need to do so soon. (I’m not sure I’ll understand how to do them.) But I may get my payment back as a result.

Tuesday, July 10th–Overall, it was a rotten day. I got up early, and farted and puttered around. I e-mailed M___, and asked him why he hadn’t gotten back with me after I’d sent all those messages about this work assignment he might have for me.

He curtly responded I’d sent only one message. (I later replied there’d been one phone message yesterday, and several e-mails the day he explained things to me.)

He then preceded to scold me about this assignment, saying the guy had wanted me to start last week, and said that the inflated rate at which I was getting paid was out of the goodness of his own heart, rather than the worth of the work I’d be doing. He said he was doing it because he knew I needed money. I thanked him effusively, but resented the hell out of being scolded and being forced to crawl and humble myself for the favor.

I went down to the bus stop, where one filthy homeless guy got angry at a homeless tranny, threw down his backpack and cap onto the paved median of the street, ran over, and tried to engage the tranny in a fight. I thought for a second this guy was going to come over and try to start something with me, but I had on my headphones, and didn’t hear what the problem was about, and stood around looking bewildered and off into the other direction so the guy would know I wasn’t involved or even interested.

After two bus rides I finally got over to the MAP office, arriving at 1:45pm. My appointment was at 2pm, and I wasn’t seen until 2:30. The office was jam-packed with filthy, stinking, diseased, and deformed humanity. Everybody looked like Dick Tracy villains. I first stood near the information desk, not wanting to have to sit amongst that filth, but the security guard appeared and ordered me to take a seat, saying I was blocking the lobby. I wanted to beat him to death.

It was too noisy to read, since I was seated directly under a loud TV that I couldn’t see. It was no good putting on my I-Pod, as I was waiting to be called. When the call finally came, I had to ask the girl to repeat herself, as I couldn’t understand her shrill, garbled voice.

The appointment itself took less than ten minutes. My card was renewed with no problem, and again I had the strange experience of signing a form that said I had an income of zero.

I got a bus downtown, waited a long time in the direct sun for a bus on San Jacinto Street, then walked two blocks to a stop on Congress and caught a bus immediately.

I got off by the campus at 20th Street, at the exact spot where a dream I had a few weeks ago began. I walked over to the HRC to see more of the King James Bible exhibit I’d run through a few months ago, but I’d not been in there for ten minutes when an awful alarm went off. I thought at first that I’d stood too close to a picture, but that wasn’t the case. The building was being evacuated for some reason.

I went outside, wondering if there was another crazed shooter on campus, like Charles Whitman or that kid from a couple years ago. I proceeded to the Architecture Library and made some copies, the quality of which largely displeased me. I also spent more money than I’d planned to do.

I went down to the bus stop on Guadalupe by the Union, my first time at that stop since I saw that video of a kid being hit by a bus there back in May. I marveled at a window sign across the street, welcoming “The Class of 2016” freshman orientation visitors. Could that have been those young-looking kids I saw all over the campus and streets?

My bus arrived. The driver was the asshole I’d pictured when I heard of the bus running into that kid. (The guy can’t drive worth a shit.) The bus was one of those used mostly for express routes, and had absurdly-high seat backs and narrow aisles. I got stuck in the very back seat, right over the hot motor, squeezed in next to a succession of students to my right, and a window covered by tacky stickers of bubble gum pop idols to my left. I tried to read in Maugham, but the driver kept hitting bumps. Because of height of the seats, I couldn’t see anything ahead of me.

I finally got to my neighborhood, went to Randall’s, and bought some groceries. I was heavily-laden, and began my walk home when I saw a car parked out front with two small dogs locked inside. The heat wasn’t as bad as it’s been lately, but because of all the rains it was very humid.

I walked back into the store, went to the front desk, and told a clerk to announce make an announcement. I had the license plate and a description of the car as a black “CX-7.” As I can’t tell one car from another and was unable to find any other markings on the car, I didn’t know the make.

The clerk called for the owner to come to the front without explaining why. No one showed.

I went out front and waited. I was too hot and tired to be really angry at this point.

I went back inside and told the guy to call the cops. He said they’re not allowed to do that, but that I could. So I did. I went back outside, just in time to see the car pulling out of the parking lot and heading north up Jollyville Road. Clearly, the owner saw me, walked the long way around me, and waited until I’d gone back inside to leave.

I went back inside to call the cops again and cancel the call. As I walked down the sidewalk heading home I saw a squad car swinging around, so I hailed it and talked to the officer, a woman with a bunch of tattoos on her forearm.

I told her this was the second time in recent weeks I’ve seen this and asked what procedure I should follow in this case. She said just to call the cops and they’d handle it, even if it meant breaking a car window. I asked if I would be legally okay if I broke a car window and she said no.

I then went home. Belle was of course glad to see me. I was exhausted, and my arms were quivering from the heat. I walked her before a big rain storm hit. I wasn’t sure if the thunder scared her or if she was just jittery out of excitement for my return.

I stayed up, doing a sort of vigil with people all over the world, waiting for news of Lennox. It reminded me of that tense night in 2005, when I stayed up with other people all over the world, for what was to be Pope John Paul II’s last night.

At one point what was supposedly the address of the secret kennel where Lennox has been kept appeared online. I hoped the Animal Defense League or some such group would make a raid, but nothing happened.

I prayed a rosary–my first in a long time. Lennox was to die at 7am Belfast time or 1am my time. I stayed up until about 3:45 with no news.

Wednesday, July 11th–I was awakened around 10am by the need to piss. Afterwards, I tried and failed to get back to sleep. I spent at least a half-hour or more scratching Belle, finally getting up a little before noon.

The murder of Lennox was announced, and I posted an elaborate curse on Facebook and Tumbler:

“I call down every form of curse, damnation, and malediction onto the filth in Belfast, Northern Ireland who seized, tortured, and killed the innocent dog Lennox: the animal control officers, the City Councillors, the politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, judges, and other scum, as well as their spouses, their children, their descendants, their families, their friends, neighbors, and co-workers. May these curses go down to the thousandth generation. May all who have this innocent dog’s blood on their hands see their loved ones writhing in agonizing death before them, with them powerless to help. May their homes and property be seized and destroyed. May their offices be leveled. May their nation be forever afterwards a by-word for ignorance and stubborn backwardness and a benighted wasteland. May their names be erased forever from history. And may their bodies from within be eaten away with cancers, tumors, and other wasting diseases, and from without be beset with every form of bloody violence. May “The Troubles” of the Twentieth-Century be but a gentle picnic compared with the woes which will now beset that country. May they be tormented both physically and mentally day and night in this life and the next. Their obstinate adherence to the letter of an evil law and their intolerant, stubborn refusal to listen to reason and pleas for mercy and justice now stand as a monument to the cruelty and stupidity of the human race. May they all know painful deaths, have their wretched bodies violated and defiled, and go down to unquiet graves. May they all be eternally damned!”

……………………

I was sitting here, having a drink, when I heard a female voice outside, growing from faint to loud and then back down to faint again as it passed my apartment. She was calling for someone named “Homer,” and I finally figured out he must be a dog and that he’d gotten loose. I further figured he was the dog that belongs to those two gals in the next building. I’ve warned them to walk him on a leash, that the drivers around here are crazy assholes, but they won’t listen to me.

I put on my shoes and some shorts and grabbed my keys and went out looking around the complex, whistling faintly. But I didn’t see a dog in the darkness, nor did anything I heard turn out to be a dog. So I went back to my apartment, was almost knocked over by my excited dog, who’d missed me for the five minutes I was gone. So I threw her a chew.

……………..

Later on, I finally watched “Inception,” realizing that, as with so much else in this world, I am late to the party in exposing myself to it. I enjoyed it and may watch it again before I have to return it.

Thursday, July 12th–I woke around 2pm or so–much earlier than I wanted to, and loitered in bed for an hour before I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get back to sleep.

I had a response to my curse from some fucker in Northern Ireland:

“You are simply a disgusting human being.

“I totally agree that those who have the blood of the dog on their hands should get what’s coming to them, but to wish anything on anyone in any way connected with these people is ridiculous and uncalled for unless they played a part in the death of the innocent dog.

“The most irritating thing about this is that you think that you can use an ethnic conflict, which is actually still ongoing, to make a point about the morality of a few here who justify the murder of an innocent dog. People in this country are currently ‘tormented physically and mentally’ by that period and do not need people such as yourself using their experience as a pawn in your ill informed points.

“You yourself are a ‘monument to the cruelty and stupidity of the human race’ along with those who decided to murder the innocent dog, because you, as well as they, refuse to empathise with people and animals on the most basic of levels.

“Screw you, son.”

Well, fuck you too, buddy.

…………

I tried out a famous British poverty dish–baked beans on toast, using Heinz Beans from Britain. I enjoyed it, though I think Belle enjoyed the remnants all the more.

I read some more in Gardner. I took Belle out for a walk and was annoyed to see that plenty of other people still had balconies cluttered with stuff, and that asshole in my building with the barbeque pit is still cooking out there. I’m going to make a point of mentioning this when I sign my lease in a few days.

I finished Erle Stanley Gardner’s “The Case of the Crying Swallow, continued reading in W. Somerset Maugham’s “Don Fernando,” and started Francis L. and Roberta B. Fugate’s “Secrets of the World’s Best-Selling Writer.”

Friday, July 13th–I woke earlier than I wanted to, and was seized almost immediately with sadness and the feeling that I wanted to cry. There had been a rain before I woke up, and there was another later in the afternoon. I took a shower at one point, gave Belle an energetic walk around the block, and after getting back inside decided to shower again. The funny thing is I’d all but forgotten I’d taken the previous shower.

There was no word from M___ on that work assignment, which doesn’t entirely surprise me, since no one fulfills their promises to me anymore.

I didn’t bother going by the office to sign my lease or going to the UPS Store to print things out. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

Now most of the year I can’t smell anything at all due to the pollens and other allergens in the air and the fact that my nasal polyps are swollen, but for the last few weeks I’ve been breathing somewhat better. Today I went into the kitchen and detected a stench that smelled like, well, semen.

I traced it to the bag of potatoes I purchased only last Saturday. Some of the potatoes were already wet and slimy, and after I cut open the bag I found the top-most one rotting and crawling with maggots!

This got me on a food-tossing kick, and I began going through the cabinets and refrigerator looking for anything that was past its prime. I was surprised by how much rotten stuff I found. The trash bag was so full and stretched that as I tried to pick it up on my front stoop the handles broke off and the damn thing tipped over. I just barely managed to get it to the dumpster, only to find out that some ignorant cocksucker had put down both of the lids, and I had some trouble getting one raised.

After we got back from our long walk, Belle seemed rather agitated, and panted quite a bit. A little later, while she was sprawled out on the coolness of the bathroom floor, she let forth the loudest and most powerful fart I’ve ever heard come from a dog. I’m sure that must’ve made her feel quite a bit better.

Later on in the evening I walked through the bedroom on my way to the bathroom and found Belle had pooped on the floor. This is a common enough occurrence, but it fostered a sort of epiphany: a turd on the floor is a sign that I am not alone. Someone is here with me.

I was distressed to learn that the former Whole Life Books, a wonderful New Age bookstore in South Austin, is about to close, and the stock and fittings are for sale, since some asshole developer wants to turn that shopping center into yet another ugly, goddamn over-priced apartment building. This town is really going down the toilet fast.

Then I learned the sale fell through–for the time being–but it sounds like the store is on its last legs.

I watched “The Hours” again, but this time to listen to the commentaries by director Stephen Daldry and author Michael Cunningham. I read a little in Maugham.

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