Journal Entries (September 1-7, 2012).


Saturday, September 1st–I woke around 7am or so, well before my alarm, but I knew it was going to be a long, troublesome day, and since I couldn’t get back to sleep, I might as well get up.

[There were complications with my rent check.]…

I called [Paddy] and left a message, saying I had a time-sensitive problem. He didn’t call back then, and 24-hours later he still hadn’t called back.

I did get ahold of James, who said he was planning to come to town anyway.

All the while I was having trouble with my piece-of-shit phone, with the push-buttons that no longer work….

James called a few times from the road. I got ready, and James and Nyssa came and picked me up. James gave me money to cover the bank, and extra for Belle and bank fees. I got my cashier’s check and we went back to my apartment complex. I was kept waiting about ten minutes, until finally some plastic bitch from the front office condescended to stop and wait on me and check to see the information on my check was right.

While I waited I watched some freakishly obese guy at a computer in the “business center” of the apartment office. For a few seconds I thought he had a backwards goiter or something on his neck, but then finally decided it was some sort of neck brace to keep his massive head raised up.

James and Nyssa and I discussed their planned trip to LA, which they hope to take soon. They wanted me to come along, but it soon became obvious that wasn’t going to happen.

First off, they plan to drive. Even if they took the most direct route from Austin to LA, that’s be four to six days round-trip, not counting the time in LA. While I’m willing to stay in LA a week, I’m not willing to be away from Belle longer than that. It turns out they plan to be gone a month, and James can’t understand why I’m not up for that, or why I would be unwilling to be separated from Belle for that long. He thinks of her separation anxiety as something I need to “break.”

Then James explained that not only are they driving, they’re also going via Utah, to visit a young relative. Now I like this young woman. I last saw her about six years ago when she was a teenager, and there was a surprise farewell party for her, when she decided to move from Austin and her mom’s house to go join her dad in Utah. I took a rather ham-fisted, unprofessional photo of her and her mom (that I’ve always wanted to re-do), but which has become beloved amongst the various member of her family.

Now all that said, I’m just not interested in “visiting.” I’m not interested in visiting my own family or anyone else’s. I travel to see things, not people.

Furthermore, there’s almost nothing in Utah I care to see. Though I have friends who are Mormons, I think Mormonism is a white trash cult, and my contempt of it has gotten worse with the rise of Romney, so I don’t want to waste time in a state filled with Mormons. About the only thing I might remotely be interested in seeing in Utah are, oddly enough, Brigham Young’s Beehive House and the Mormon Tabernacle, and I could get those out of the way in a couple of hours, after which I’d be bored, irritable, and fuming, which would cause problems with my traveling companions and their friends and relatives.

Also, though James has said he’d cover my bills on such a trip, I doubt I’d enjoy his low-budget methods of traveling. I’ve had a taste of that before and hated it.

So he’s suggested that he could buy me a cheap web-cam, have me get on Skype, and guide them along during the whole trip, telling them where they need to go and what they should see.

While we were having this discussion we took a back route from my neighborhood over to Anderson Lane. We ate lunch at an Indian food buffet. After we finished, I showed James and Nyssa some cartoonish maps of Austin from 1987, that formed, and still to some degree forms, my concept of Austin geography.

From thence we made our way north, through eyesore after eyesore of recent suburban development, up to Round Rock, to the IKEA Store. This was probably my first trip in two years outside Travis County.

It was funny. I started railing about how “desolate” I thought the area was, and James got all worked up, saying, “Desolate! They’ve got everything here now–all the stores you have in your area, only better and larger!”

But, I explained, it was all desolate to me. Ugly buildings, cheaply-built. Ugly apartments and houses. Everywhere I looked were eyesores. James, who understands aesthetics in photography and nowhere else, didn’t follow me.

James, for all his oh-so-tiresome political correctness, also hates homeless people and panhandlers, and makes a big show of locking all the car doors and rolling up the windows whenever we approach intersections where panhandlers are begging. At one we saw an older man, in a wife-beater T-shirt, his chest and arms covered with tattoos, stumble towards us carrying a squeegee, offering to clean windshields.

James offered a rather weak and not-too-convincing bromide, “Well, at least he’s trying to work—not just trying to bum something for nothing.”

Then I, using a particular voice James and I both adopt when imitating certain annoying people we know, said, “He obviously has enough money to keep getting tattoos, though, doesn’t he?”

And after we all laughed, James added, in that mocking voice, directing his barb at me this time,”Yes. He could be using it to buy collectible antique children’s books.”

I laughed at that for several minutes.

So we finally arrived at IKEA, and they let me go on inside ahead of them, since James had to meet a client in the parking lot to sell him some gadget or other he’d made. I walked in with wide-eyed wonder, grabbed a store map, and tried to navigate in such a way as to see everything.

I was in design heaven, though I’m surprised how few photos I wound up taking. I suppose it’s a good thing I didn’t have a penny to spend there, since had I had money with me, I’d have certainly gone nuts.

James and Nyssa soon found me–it turns out I missed a whole section we later went back to see. I have no idea how long we were there. We wrapped things up with chocolate cake in the cafe, and then Nyssa decided against buying the item she found because she didn’t want to wait in line. (As it was the Labor Day weekend, the store was jam-packed.)

After all that, we made it out to the parking garage, and got into a huge elevator with a reflective floor. The elevator stank of road-kill, which James tried to explain away by saying the elevator wasn’t air-conditioned, but I knew better. Something dead had been in that cab.

I commented in the parking lot, “Goddamn, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many fat-assed women in one place, at least this side of a Wal-Mart.”

James said, “Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”

“No, but seriously.”

“Well, IKEA is not for people who are courting. It’s for people who are nesting and settled down.”

“So when women land a man they just let themselves completely go to pot?”

James wisely let the matter drop.

We then headed west and south, through lower Williamson and upper Travis Counties, areas with which I was mostly unfamiliar, filled with more ugly, generic developments, apartments, tract houses, and strip malls.

Now I have very poor vision, which is made even worse out in the sunshine. On our way home we drove past a restaurant named “Morelia Mexican Grill,” but because of my lousy vision and the sign’s odd font, that’s not what I saw:

“What the fuck? Is that restaurant named ‘Foreskin’s Mexican Grill’? What the fuck kind of Mexican restaurant is that?”

And James quipped, “You have to leave a really big tip.”

I got home a little after 5pm or so, walked and tended to Belle, took a much-needed shower, cooled off, farted around on the computer, but retired exhausted about 8pm.

Sunday, September 2nd–I had one dream in which I was to write a book about a great tragedy that had befallen a prominent Southern family. I was staying in the grand home (or at least nice home), of the main character in the tragedy. My host was a rich young man, albeit a haunted one.

Late one night he came to my guest room, wearing pajamas, got into my bed, and began telling the story. I was walking around the room, which was poorly-lit by one lamp, asking questions and taking notes. He told me about his mother’s part in the story, and that was apparently agonizing enough for him, and then I crossed over, past the lamp, into a dark corner of the room, which in the language of the dream film was an indication that the story was about to get even more serious.

He started talking about his father as a young man. I forget whether his father was born in the 1930s, flourished in the 1930s, or died in the 1930s. But just telling the opening scenes of his father’s tragic history (did his father commit suicide?), took so much out of him, that he passed out and fell asleep across the width of my bed, rather like a dog, with the cover wrapped around him.

As a result, I had nowhere to sleep. I could feel the heat radiating from him out from under the edge of the cover. (This may be real life influencing the dream, with Belle’s bodily warmth seeping under my cover.) Anyway, I didn’t bother turning off the lamp. I remained seated in my straight-back chair next to the bed, but bent forward and tried to sleep or rest with my face buried down into the mattress.


In the next dream I was, I think, in Paris, with a young woman–perhaps a friend or girlfriend. She was to meet another young woman at a cafe and was rather nervous about it, for some reason. I agreed to accompany her to the cafe, then return at a pre-arranged time.

We got to the cafe, and because it was so crowded and my friend was so nervous, we had a lot of trouble deciding on a table. She finally picked a banquette, just as the other young woman appeared. The latter had white blonde hair, cut at mid-length, and was apparently wearing a dress underneath a black raincoat which she wore buttoned to the chin. She looked a cross between Kim Novak and Myra Hindley.

When I returned, summoned, possibly by the cell phone I don’t have in real life, the French cafe had turned into an American supermarket. As I wandered down the aisles, I passed Jake Gyllenhaal, who I knew somehow. He may’ve been an ex-boyfriend of this gal I was going to see.

He was in a terrible state, wearing only a grey or black T-shirt and boxer shorts. He looked as if he’d just jumped out of bed and run over to this place. He had a cell phone to his ear, and looked as if he’d just stopped sobbing and was about to start sobbing again. His hair was badly dyed blonde, and his eyes were hollow, sunken, and exhausted-looked.

I only recognized him when I looked back over my shoulder after passing him, and I mouthed, “Are you all right?” It took a few seconds for him to recognize me.

I kept walking, and located my friend. Either she or some other young woman was talking to someone else about her experiences working in this supermarket. Apparently, once a cow had gotten loose in the store and run amuck, knocking things down and shitting everywhere. The cow was caught and killed, and the employees were forced to eat parts of the cow, and also, I think, the cow’s shit, during their breaks for weeks to come. (That should tell you about how I tend to regard the workplace.)


I had to get up a couple times in the night to piss, but I was so exhausted from Saturday’s exertions and stresses, I was determined to get as much sleep as possible. Plus my back hurt as if I’d been carrying a heavy load in a backpack.

I got up around 5:43am. I walked Belle, and discovered my checks still haven’t arrived. Not long thereafter, I went into a panic when I saved my blog document, and the fucking computer wound up wiping the whole fucking text.

I decided to take an outing. I discovered that there’s an open market on Sundays from 9am to 1pm at the Arboretum in the parking lot, selling mostly jewelry and produce, and cursed, as most events and venues are in this benighted city, with a fucking live band. Of course, there’s no reason I should’ve heard of this to-do before, occurring as early in the day as it does.

I went to Barnes and Noble for the first time in many months.

There’d been some changes made–for the worse. There was more room for toys and Kindles and stuff, and less for books. Some sections had been re-arranged. (I hate when stores re-arrange things.) I bought two magazines, then went over to the Arbor Cinema. I’d planned to go inside, use the restroom, re-arrange my shorts and boxers, which invariably get jumbled and bunched-up uncomfortably when I walk outside in the summer, wash my face, cool off, and go through a stack of index cards I’d brought along, looking for the steps I thought I’d written down once for retrieving lost documents.

But when I got to the theatre I saw one of the front doors ajar, I reached for it, and almost tore a fingernail off, because it was chained-up. I was hot as hell and had been from the minute I stepped outside my apartment. The only outside bench that was in shade was already taken by an old couple. The others were in direct sunlight.
A manager stuck her head out to say they be open in fifteen more minutes. I was looking the other way, so I didn’t get to give her the murderous look I was wearing.

When I was finally let inside, I did all the things I’d planned to do, but for a shorter amount of time. And I got a coupon for a small drink, which was, in fact, huge.

I went to see the latest Wes Anderson film, “Moonrise Kingdom,” which I greatly enjoyed, except for the fact that Anderson kills yet another dog in this film.

I returned home, and right before I showered I tore out a painful in-grown toenail from my right big toe. (The in-grown toenail on the left big toe is a work in-progress.) I did a set of tutorials for Skype, but didn’t get any reading done. I think I retired around 8pm or so.

Monday, September 3rd–
I think I woke sometime after 7am, pissed, then saw Belle going back to bed, and then I tried to do the same, but my mind started working, and I started thinking about how I’d teach James and Nyssa where all to go in LA, and I was unable to get back to sleep, though it was around 9am, I think, when I finally did get up.

I scanned some from the library books I’m turning in tomorrow, put off messing with finishing my SNAP application documents, got distracted listening to the “Moonrise Kingdom” soundtrack over and over, and re-arranged some boxes and stuff in my living room, something for which I know my back will suffer tomorrow. I gained a little more square footage–very little–and blocked out the left third of the lower part of my front window by setting up some boxes to use as buttresses, so the main body of stacked boxes won’t slide and fall down onto Belle. I also tossed my two broken wooden chairs (one I’ve had for twenty years), a broken plastic parson’s table I’ve had for thirty years, and a huge sack of garbage.

Later, I showered, finished my SNAP application, and did tutorials for Mac OS X Mountain Lion.

Tuesday, September 4th–I got up around 9 or 10am. I already had three e-mails and one phone message waiting from my mom.

She had called her local post office, as well as one in a neighboring town, to see how I should go about tracking my missing letter full of checks. They told her I should try to speak to my postman about it.

[I began to panic.] I already had other things to do today, so I got very upset. I didn’t even have a chance to make or drink any coffee. I tried to get ahold of my local post office on the phone three times, but no one answered. I e-mailed my mom [and] said if I had time I’d try to go by my neighborhood post office, and if not today, then tomorrow.

Finally, I got everything together and headed out. My first stop was the UPS Store, where I made some needed copies for the SNAP folks, then mailed all of the SNAP material off.

I decided the only way to get everything done today in time would be to take the express bus, which, at $2.75 for a day-pass, was a bit more than I could spare, but I wanted to put this [business] to rest.

I got into town quickly, dropped off all the stuff that was due, amassed a huge pile of library books (which were painful to lug around), and picked out some DVDs, checked out, and got to a bus stop just as another express bus was pulling up.

I went up to the Pavilion Park and Ride Center, and soon got very hot walking the short distance to the post office. A postal clerk checked the regular, certified, and express mail sections, and found no sign of the letter, and said it was probably sent back to the sender.

It was so incredibly, painfully hot, I headed back across the road to a Sonic, picked up a dollar bill that I saw on the ground, then ordered a large cherry Slush and some fries. Since they don’t have a dining room, I had to eat outside. The awning and the ceiling fans helped not at all.

Early into my meal I got a weird brain freeze, which clashed so badly with the extreme heat of the rest of my body that I thought for a few minutes that I might be dying. I decided to take my time to finish the drink, and stayed there about thirty or forty minutes doing so.

Then I walked over to the transit center, waited twenty or thirty more minutes for a bus, while being stared at by some scary-looking criminal types, as well as a yoga instructor. I got a bus, got stared at by my fellow passengers, got off, and went to Petsmart.

I wanted to get some chews for Belle, but they didn’t seem to have any for large dogs–only for medium-sized ones. The packages were displayed on a shelf that was a little too low for me to reach easily, but everything I saw was marked “For medium-sized dogs.” I noticed some back-stock of these packages above the shelves, way over-head, but they were too high for someone my height, and I didn’t care to go looking for a foot-stool.

So I grabbed an over-sized chew bone, like the ape in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and used it as a tool to push around the packages stored up top, so I could get a better view of what was written on them. I suppose I looked peculiar, because a store employee came over to see what I was up to, and she confirmed that they don’t have (or maybe the manufacturer doesn’t make) chews for large dogs. Anyway, I made my purchase and headed home.

I made a bee-line for the mailboxes, opened mine, reached in, and felt nothing. Then I had a hunch. The box was too low for me to bend down and look into it, but I reached all the way to the back of the box, and felt the edges of the back wall with my index and middle fingers. And I felt the corner of a small envelope sticking down along the back wall from the box above it. I pulled it out, and it was indeed the letter with the checks.

I was very angry and upset and uncomfortable from the heat by the time I got into my apartment. Belle was barking her head off. I took her for a short walk, then came inside, gave her a chew, e-mailed my mom, and lay down on my back on the living room floor, trying to calm down and cool off. Then I took a shower….

I had tostadas for dinner, and started on a set of tutorials for Microsoft Paint, read a little in Jones, and retired fairly early.

Wednesday, September 5th–I forget when I got up. I decided to put off running any errands today, preferring to recover from yesterday’s exertions. I finished the Microsoft Paint XP tutorials, and puttered around.

I made a big pot of pasta and listened to the speeches, some good, some dull, some outstanding, from the Democratic National Convention. My friend D___ made a couple political posts on Facebook that enraged me.

I started tutorials for Word Press 3.3, and watched a very radiant Vanessa Redgrave in the film adaptation of “Mrs. Dalloway.”

Right before bed I began “Siren Land” by Norman Douglas.

Thursday, September 6th–I woke around 2pm or so, walked and fed Belle, mailed off a check at the UPS Store, got some dog food and ear wash at Petsmart, and some items for myself at the dollar store.

The clerk who rang me up at the dollar store, a fairly young guy, commented that I was buying Goobers (a snack of chocolate-covered peanuts), and said it was his father’s favorite, then added his dad had died just two months before. I offered my condolences and we actually got into a discussion on the matter.

I explained how every night, at least on week nights, my father would come into the kitchen a little before 10:30pm, get a glass of milk and a piece of pie or cake, then go into the living room and watch a “M*A*S*H*” rerun for a half-hour before going to bed. So now any time I see a “M*A*S*H*” rerun I think of him.

He went on to say how he’d been with his father in the hospital there at the end, and had even gotten him a bag of his favorite things–candies and such–and that after his dad died he found about half of the items in the bag had been eaten.

We discussed how little things like that remind us of our fathers. I said how mine had died in May of 1994, and that in December of that year I was at a mall helping a friend with his Christmas shopping. While I was waiting in some store I saw something and thought,” Hey, this’d be great for my dad. He’d love this!….Aw, shit.”

The kid said that’s exactly the sort of thing that keeps happening to him, but that no one else has really understood this.

Well, by this time, my eyes were getting moist (odd, considering the troubled, love/hate relationship I had with my father), and the kid had sacked up my purchases, and the line was beginning to grow. I was getting ready to leave, but he’d not finished ringing up the transaction yet. He did so, and I wished him well. I feel sure we could’ve easily talked ten or fifteen minutes more had there not been customers on hand. It was peculiar to bond unexpectedly with a complete stranger like that.

Later on, I began a set of tutorials for Word Press 3.3, listened to the Democratic Convention, and read possibly in Jones and definitely in Douglas.

Now for several years, I’ve been hearing ignorant, mouth-breathing Tea Baggers reciting the bromide about giving a man a hand-up instead of a hand-out. Tonight, however, in a campaign film featuring Vice-President Biden, he said something similar, but with an important variation. He said people today “aren’t looking for a hand-out–they just want a shot.” For some reason that just caught me the right way, and I began sobbing violently, albeit for only about 30 to 45 seconds, rather the way small children do. His observation distilled a problem I’ve been having for decades, but especially these last eleven years–that I’ve been needing just a shot to get back into the game, to make something of my life, yet I’ve been stymied at every turn.

Friday, September 7th–I got up in early afternoon, or was it late afternoon? ….[I got an e-mail that] made me sick to my stomach. I discussed it on IM with James.

Today was the day I was to get my latest Food Stamp payment, but it was too hot and I was too dispirited to mess with going grocery shopping. I did, however, make arrangements to order Heardguard and Frontline for Belle from the Drs. Foster and Smith vet supply house.

I did a great deal more on my Word Press tutorials, though I had problems with my own Word Press blog not publishing. Later on I read in Jones and Douglas.


Journal Entries (August 25–31st, 2012).

Saturday, August 25th–I had a dream of an old color film interview/travelogue with Somerset Maugham. The film kept changing to ever more lavish locations–palaces, cathedrals, and such. Most of them had lofty, elaborately-decorated ceilings, and the camera would sweep up from Maugham’s face to show the ceiling way up above.

There was another dream where I was an Assistant Band Director under my unseen parents. I drilled these high school students in marching for their half-time shows, but I added a rather militaristic element to it. I was on horseback, in an elaborate uniform of a 19th century French cuirassier, with knee-high boots, silver or gold helmet, silver cuirass, and a sword. The students were wearing their usual sloppy summer garb. After marching practice, they lined up in three or four rows under something like a carport or breezeway, while I swaggered among them, barking orders and generally being obnoxious.


I woke after 6pm, and couldn’t really bring myself to do anything. I mostly just puttered around. Eventually, though, I started tutorials on Adobe Acrobat X Pro. I read more in Jones and retired about 8am.

Sunday, August 26th–Though I woke a few times during the day, and eventually had to get up for a massive piss, and never really returned to full sleep after that, I got up after 6pm. I did the usual rituals, then fell into an anxiety attack…. I spent over two, exhausting hours doing Adobe Acrobat tutorials, just wishing to God they’d end.

Monday, August 27th–

AUGUST 27th—An important date in Austin history.

August 27, 1908—Lyndon Johnson, whose political influence was hugely important to Austin’s development, was born in nearby Stonewall, Texas.

August 27, 1990—Popular Austin musician Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a plane crash.

August 27, 1982—My first ever visit to Austin. I toured the Governor’s Mansion, ate birthday cake at the LBJ Library, and had dinner at the Driskill Hotel.

Tuesday, August 28th–
I finally went on a long-postponed grocery run. The 90 degrees Fahrenheit temperature at 9pm reminded me why I always stay at home.

Wednesday, August 29th–?

Thursday, August 30th–Today was a short, quiet day. I tried not to get excited, so I’d have no trouble getting back to sleep.


Yuck. Is there anything more sordid than a couple having a domestic dispute in public?

I was sitting here writing in my journal just now when I heard tires screeching again and again, and some gal screaming. I was afraid some kid was trying to be a hot-shot in his car and had run over one of the resident dogs or cats.

I went to the window and saw it was a young couple having an argument. The guy was in his car, with his baseball cap visor worn to one side in the manner of a half-wit. The gal was screaming and waving her arms around, occasionally reaching into the car to hit at the guy. She’d storm off, and he’d execute some jerky maneuver in his car, they’d fight some more, and the process would repeat. Finally, she sat on the ground and threw a rock at his car. The neighborhood real estate values were lowering by the second.

I’m a terrible snob, and I don’t like this sort of sordidness where I live, so I called 911. The operator asked me a ton of questions, most of which I couldn’t answer, and by the time I got back to the window the couple had gone. It’s a shame, because as much as I dislike cops, I hate trash even more, and would’ve enjoyed seeing them get into trouble. I’d had especially enjoyed seeing the nitwit in the ball cap get his face smashed against the side of a police car.

I finished L. E. Jones’s “An Edwardian Youth.”

For years it has been my practice to explore the more ignored sections of libraries and bookstores, leaving myself open to the happy discovery of old, forgotten, obscure, and unread books. I tend to anthropomorphize books, and I always seem to hear them calling out to me, asking for another chance to give entertainment and information to readers. (There was an academic library which I patronized in the 1990s where I checked out books that had not been checked out in my lifetime, and in some cases, my mother’s lifetime!) I have never had anything other than a completely delightful experience with these unjustly neglected books, and I wish I could turn my home into an orphanage for them all.

At any rate, this is where “An Edwardian Youth” by L. E. Jones comes in. I discovered this book and its sequel, “Georgian Afternoon,” at the main branch of the Austin Public Library (which sadly, does not have the first volume in the series, “A Victorian Childhood”). The titles intrigued me, and the rather spare dust jackets indicated they were British books of a certain vintage. What was there for me not to love?

I thought about holding out until I could purchase all three books online, so I could read them in order, but I have been very broke for a very long time now, and was eager to see what the books were about, so I checked out the two of them that were handy to me.

The name L. E. Jones did not ring a bell. I Googled the name and learned the author was Sir Lawrence Evelyn Jones, 5th Baronet (1885-1969), but even that didn’t tell me much. I’d not come across the name before. Sir Lawrence seems to have been one of those people who knew just about everyone worth knowing in his time, but managed to escape becoming famous himself.

And so, this evening, I finally finished “An Edwardian Youth.” It captures wonderfully a period I consider to be the peak of human civilization. Much of the book concerns the author’s experience in Balliol College, Oxford, and the students and dons he knew there. Another chapter is devoted to Italian travel, and a few others to Jones’s short-lived career in the law, and to social events and weekend house parties. There is a little discussion of Jones’s military training and experiences in World War I, but for the most part he sticks to a strict time-frame and ends this volume with the funeral procession of Edward VII.

It is an elegant and gently humorous memoir.

Friday, August 31st–I got up and ready on time, and caught my first bus, though my second bus was twelve minutes late.

I got accepted into the DARS vocational rehab program. It remains to be seen whether they can help me or not.

I was very upset to learn that the doctor who tested me earlier in the month (a psychologist, not a psychiatrist as I’d thought), said almost nothing about my psychological problems, but basically concluded they were all due to my Hashimoto’s Disease. Indeed, the Case Worker was thinking about turning me down for the program because she suspected I was willfully not taking my medications.
I explained that my sporadic taking of medications is due to [personal and financial reasons].

I told the Case Worker that even when I’ve been on my thyroid meds, they haven’t helped my mood in the slightest.

Anyway, the plan is for me to first get with my MAP doctor and get back on my meds, then meet with a shrink for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, have a week of vocational rehab training or something similar, which sounded ghastly, and at some point discuss with the Case Worker what I want to do career-wise.

I got home fairly quickly, set an appointment with the MAP doctor, showered, and went back to bed. Later on at night I finished my Adobe Acrobat tutorials and started L. E. Jones’s “Georgian Afternoon.”

Journal Entries (August 18-25, 2012).

Saturday, August 18th–I woke a little after 9am. After walking Belle and eating some soup–which rather bored me–I set Belle’s vet appointment for Tuesday morning, learning that Fred’s old vet has moved on to start his own clinic. I got into a long IM discussion with James, then disengaged myself from him to run over to Petsmart to get some dog food and treats for Belle, and the dollar store to get some snacks for myself. After returning home I took a shower, and was perfectly composed when the long-promised thunderstorm arrived.

The storm even managed to knock out the power for about a minute. Sadly, the rain didn’t last all that long, and in what seemed like no time the sun was shining. I finished my Adobe Photoshop Album tutorials at last. I found these particular tutorials exhausting, because the instructor in the videos had a really annoying and harsh Minnesottan accent. After this, I began to look over the Atomic Learning tutorials list, to see what else I might study in the near-future.

James left me a message.I called back. He was on his way to Ft. Worth, so he and Nyssa could visit her sister. Oddly enough, they are only staying one night and coming back tomorrow morning. It seems a long drive for such a short visit.

James pushed my buttons and got me so angry on a touchy subject that I told him I was on the verge of taking my baseball bat and knocking holes in my interior doors and breaking up lamps and my one functional chair. It took me over two hours to calm down after that.

I took Belle for another walk. Later, I settled down on the living room floor to read and try to slow down my pounding heart. I took off my bi-focals, which don’t really seem to help much, and brought a book up against my face, one page resting on a cheek, the other page just a few inches from my weak eyes.

Belle stuck her butt in my face, rolled over onto her back, thrust her chest impertinently into the air, and gave off waves of heat from her under-carriage. I scratched her belly, and attempted to catch some of her fleas, and kill them by pressing them between my two thumbnails.

The fleas often jumped off of her and onto me, rushing around along the front of my scalp, or the rather predictable spot of the tops of my socks.

I finished Bukowski’s “Love Is A Dog From Hell.” (Oughtn’t I to write a book called “Love Is A Dog Named Belle”?)

It rained again, longer this time. I moved on to “Mrs. Dalloway.”
When my eyes and attention span could hold out no longer I went into the kitchen and opened a can of vegetarian chili, emptied it into a saucepan, and turned up the heat. I smelled a sharp, stale, somewhat sour smell through my one unclogged nostril, and noticed how much it resembled one of the smells I associated with my maternal grandfather–that of cheap Granger pipe tobacco. And I remembered that odd fact I picked up somewhere or other that psychiatrist Carl Jung also smoked Granger. I can’t imagine anything those two men would have had in common.

Sunday, August 19th–I dreamt I was at a sort of church gathering. There were a lot of people there, and for some reason, the congregation need to rehearse my funeral. Someone said they needed twelve pallbearers, and twelve guys came forth, including a smirking, red-headed father and son team who both hated me and had shot me arrogant looks from their position at the bottom of the hill upon which I was standing. (They were in a dry ditch.)

The funeral rehearsal went well, and afterwards I very badly needed to use the bathroom, and went to a room that had a toilet in it, but it had glass walls and was used as an office or conference room. I was sitting there, with my pants down around my ankles and a newspaper in front of me, when all these people from the congregation started filing into the room to stand around and in front of me, to protect me from the members of the congregation that didn’t like me. It was a strange way of showing their support of me.


I woke around 9am. After the preliminaries–walking Belle, fixing some baked beans and toast, and so forth–I settled down to coffee and tutorials. I watched brief videos on Pinterest, Facebook, and Final Cut Pro X, then started to work on a series about Dreamweaver.
I watched “The African Queen” and “Embracing Chaos: Making ‘The African Queen.'”

Monday, August 20th–The day was largely a slow preparation for retiring early and getting up early for the vet visit tomorrow.
It took me many hours to get through the latest unit of my Dreamweaver tutorials. They presupposed I had certain background knowledge I don’t have. James IM-ed some background explanations that helped somewhat.

I read more in Bukowski and Woolf.

Tuesday, August 21st–
I technically woke around 7 something, but didn’t rouse until the alarm rang at 8am. I took Belle out, brushed my teeth, shaved, had a glass of tomato juice and a packet of peanut butter and crackers. Belle was upset, thinking I was getting ready to leave. She got very excited when I put the harness back on her and we went outside again.

I had set the annual vet appointment at 8:45am. Normally that is an impossible time for me, but I also knew that if I set the appointment at a time of day that was more convenient to me, the pavement Belle would have to walk over might be painfully hot on her feet.

She ran and jumped and gamboled with excitement. We crossed two streets, walked between two parked cars, but when she noticed the facade of the dreaded vet clinic she drew her head back with alarm in the exaggerated manner of a silent movie actress. After that I had to pull and plead for her to come along.

The vet whom we’d used for eight years, who’d presided over Fred’s final illness and death, has gone on to start his own clinic somewhere else. Since I have no car and this clinic is catty-corner across the street, I will continue to use it.

We went inside, and very quickly were shown to a treatment room. I had to lead Belle into the back for her weighing. (She’s 60.9 pounds–a few pounds less than last time.)

The new vet was a short, tan young man who didn’t seem old enough to have graduated from vet school.

His manner immediately rubbed me the wrong way. For most of the time I dealt with him he seemed to lecturing me, chewing me out, implying I was a bad dog parent.

He said Belle is 15 to 20 pounds overweight. He said I need to cut down on portion size, but admitted it was too hot for her to get much exercise. He suggested a test for her thyroid and cholesterol levels, but I said I can’t currently afford it.

I mentioned her problem of drinking her own urine inside, eating her own feces inside and the feces of other animals outdoors. He asked if I’d looked into treating that and I said most of the treatments seem to be for dogs who eat their own feces within fenced-in lawns.

I said at the apartment complex I couldn’t regulate the feces that were left on the grounds, and when we walked at night I couldn’t see where the turds were because the grounds are so poorly-lit. He suggested I should try to do a better job of it, and also told me to brush her teeth afterwards. He did say heartworm medication should kill most of the worms a dog can get from stool-eating.

The vet also scolded me about the flea problem. He said he could give Belle a pill there and then that would immediately kill all the fleas on her, but that it would do no good unless I have my apartment complex spray my apartment. I didn’t really explain that I don’t want anyone in my apartment–spraying or doing anything else. I did say I’d avoided having spraying done because I was afraid I’d be allergic to the smell of it.

I got a prescription for the heartworm medications, and they’re to call me tomorrow with the results of the tests. There was some trouble with the payment, as I was paying some of the balance with cash and the rest with money on my Pay Pal card, and I couldn’t remember how much money I had in my Pay Pal account.

I was glad to get out of there, because afterwards I felt bullied, beaten-upon, scolded, and depressed, and felt as if I was about to start crying.

We got home around 9am, and I soon went back to bed, though I read a little in Bukowski before going back to sleep.

Around 12:30pm, someone knocked on the door and rang the door bell. I got up reluctantly. It was a UPS delivery man. I signed for the package, put it on a chair, and went back to bed. I knew if went through the trouble of opening it and examining the contents the process would likely wake me up and I might not be able to get back to sleep.


I dreamt I was a chaperone on a field trip of high school or college athletes–possibly basketball players. Why I was on this trip I cannot imagine, knowing my utter lack of interest in sports. I think my friend Matt, who was a big shot in the world of school athletics (collegiate athletics?) had gotten me the job.

I think we were traveling by chartered buses. I forget our final destination, but along the way we decided to stop at some Basketball Hall of Fame. I think it may’ve been a College Basketball Hall of Fame (for the NCAA, perhaps?). It was located at a university with a powerhouse athletic department, and had a name like “The Citadel” or “The Summit” or something like that.

The campus was built on a series of hilltops, with most of the buildings constructed in that monumental fascist Art Deco style of which I’m so fond. The Main Building had a sort of needle-like skyscraper tower off to one side. There was also a domed structure like the Griffith Park Observatory.

The Hall of Fame Building was creamy white, with a touch of yellow, and had undulating curves, rather like the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington. I was reading that the Hall of Fame Museum took up six floors (what on earth could they find to fill that many floors?!), but as I counted the rows of windows it became clear to me that the building was much taller than that, and that the Museum must take up the top six floors.

In the next scene I was in a darkened hallway inside the Museum, overlooking a narrow staircase. I was thumbing through a guide to the museum, which was rather like the over-sized menu at a diner–the pages were at least 14-16 inches tall, and had been laminated. There were exhibits on Lew Alcindor, Magic Johnson….

Two Middle Eastern guys from the group asked me what all the fuss was over basketball–even though I think they were on the team. I began to explain the nature of being an aficionado to them, the basic features all aficionados of any hobby or pastime share, when I suddenly got interrupted. I hate being interrupted, especially when I’m launching into a clever speech, as this one was. I made a mental note to mark where I was in my speech, and frowned, wondering when I’d get a chance to return exactly where I’d stopped, so I could finish giving my lecture.

In the next scene I was standing in a sort of dark hallway, looking into a lofty room–something less than an arena–where awards were being given out. One of our team members was extremely talented, and it was no surprise at all that he received an award and got named to the Hall. We were expecting it. (Odd, since the stop at the Hall of Fame seemed a spur-of-the-moment thing.)

But then, another one of our players got named. This was a surprise. Though he was good, his abilities were not universally acknowledged, and as he got up to receive his award, some girl got up from the stands, ran out onto the floor, and began denouncing this boy, saying he wasn’t all that good, that he often cheated and took cheap shots, and so forth. The young man began to speak in his own defense to the crowd, and things got rowdy.

Some boy from another school, a “something Tartikoff” (son of the famous TV executive?), ran out of the stands to confront our guy. Someone tried to stop Tartikoff, holding onto his basketball shorts, but eventually Tartikoff, shrugged this person off and ran onto the court and started slugging. I knew something had to be done, but I did not go out onto the floor. I went to find Matt.

Matt and his fellows, I understood, had gone out to eat with some other collegiate sporting execs, entirely missing the awards ceremony. I made my way to the restaurant, which was in the same building. It was a long, very narrow room, with ribbons of window along three sides, and it jutted out from the building with what I assumed were wonderful views. Two parallel aisles ran along the length of the room, and connected at the end of the room in a tight U-shape. There was only one row of tables to the right and one row to the left of each aisle.

The restaurant was very expensive–I doubted I could afford to eat there or that I’d be taken there as a guest. But the main thing about it was it was extremely dark. I think there were tiny pinpoint lights that shone down onto the table tops, but that was about it. I made a circuit of the room about twice, and kept smashing my knees, shins, and toes into hard wooden tables and consoles. I wondered how long it took new waiters to learn to navigate around the room without hurting themselves.

Also in the restaurant I saw a chair that looked similar to, but not exactly like, that straight-back chair of my Grandmother’s that my mother loaned/gave to some friend of her–a matter about which we’ve argued for years. Right there in the middle of the restaurant I picked the chair up, flipped it over to the understand, and jotted down the name of the model and manufacturer, so I could order a replacement. It was the second note I’d written down while in the restaurant, but I forgot the first.

I concluded that Matt and company had already dined, and had left. What next?


I got up. The package was from a “Secret Pawtner” Basset Hound gift exchange (in which I’ve never had the money needed to participate). The box contained:

+A Kong Squeezz football.

+2 quilted Basset place mats.

+A coffee mug with an image of a Basset puppy inside a green tennis shoe.

+A sculptured acrylic note holder, with Bassets on it and Basset notes inside.

+A 2012-2013 Basset address book with stickers.

+A Basset refrigerator magnet.

+A 10-ounce box of Sojos peanut butter honey flavored dog treats.

+A 5-ounce bag of Old Mother Hubbard Classic P-Nutter Oven-Baked Dog Biscuits.

+A 5-ounce bag of Old Mother Hubbard Classic Puppy Oven-Baked Dog Biscuits.

There was also a card. I had trouble making out the handwriting and signature. I had a theory as to who the sender might be, but the return address didn’t match the address I had for this man, except for the city of origin. I had to dig through some old Basset Hound Christmas cards, find one from the man I (correctly) thought it to be, and match the handwriting.

I continued feeling sad, tired, sleepy, and on the verge of tears.
Later, I went to check the mail, and the same person had sent me another package, ordered from The Slobber Shop, which included a Slobber Shop pen and a pillow with a picture of a Basset embroidered on it, along with the caption “Cats Dogs Rule.”


I think my morals and ethics, in many cases depend not so much on any sense of right and wrong (though I do have that sense in some areas), but rather on circumstances, opportunities, and the degree of the likelihood of getting caught and punished. Put me in an environment where I have a means, motive, and opportunity to do something and get away with it, and I might well do it. Keep me out of that combination of elements and you have no reason to ever worry I’ll do that thing.

For example: I tend to be prone to road rage when I drive, and use a car as a weapon whenever someone else gives offense. So I figure as long as I remain a non-driver, there’s no reason to ever have to worry about me in this matter.


I watched “Daniel and Ana.” It was an odd little film about incest and Internet pornography, supposedly based on a true story in Mexico. I picked it up at the library, knowing nothing about it, after recognizing one of the cast members as having been in a tele-novela I watched with great regularity twenty years ago.

Wednesday, August 22nd–I had a dream that I was going down Interstate 45 with my buddy ___, heading to Houston (something I’ve not done since about 1989). I was trying to make conversation with him, but he was more bored than ever. (In recent years, he’s become especially unwilling to show much interest in anything, so it’s rather hard to make conversation with him.)

We passed a mall that was south of the old Greenspoint Mall, but north of downtown. I forget the name. (It doesn’t exist in real life.) But I started holding forth on all the visits I’d made there in the past, with him and alone. Then I seemed to recall that the last time I’d visited this mall I’d made a trip all by myself.

This was astonishing to me–taking a trip to Houston alone! Had I taken the bus? When did I get down there? When did I leave the mall? When did I return home?

Then I started trying to figure out when exactly this trip had taken place. I tried to fit it in with my meticulous knowledge of my comings and goings over the years, and finally came to the conclusion that the trip could never have taken place, at least during the time frame I figured. I finally decided I must’ve dreamt the whole trip.


Belle woke me at noon by barking and baying at something she saw outside the living room window. I tried for almost two more hours to get back to sleep, and finally got up, tired, annoyed, and defeated, at 1:49pm. During my first walk with Belle, we passed the asshole upstairs neighbor who always scowls at me. He gave me a hard look, then a minor acknowledging wave of two fingers, and was on his way.

Another UPS delivery man showed up this afternoon. This package contained:

+A ceramic Basset bobble-head.

+A good-sized ceramic Basset.

+A Hush Puppies For The Entire Family coffee mug.

+A 10-ounce bag of Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 dog treats.

+An “I Heart My Basset Hound” magnet.

+A book: Sherlock P. Blanchard’s “Deer Aint Peggy: Letters of Advice and Life’s Observations from a 14-year-old Basset Hound.”

+A “It’s time to get my Basset going…” Pet-Themed Magnetic List Pad.

+A fleece throw with dog footprints all over it.

+And a card from GoGo, Harold, and Smokey (The Wild Bunch), and their mom, Jean Harris.

The vet’s office left a message that Belle is heartworm-negative!

At some point, James wanted to get into another argument. He will still not take me at my word when I tell him I only want people to either agree with me or obey me, or failing that, to just shut the fuck up. He thinks I enjoy arguing.

I did twelve more lessons on Dreamweaver. It was exhausting and took at least two hours.

I puttered around online for awhile, then got onto the floor and read in Woolf and Jones.

Later, when I got up from the floor from reading, Belle sat up as well, and I noticed a large herd of fleas running across the top of the hair on her lower back, and retreating to the inner hair within. I ran my fingers through her hair, and discovered to my horror that her back is infested with more fleas than I have ever before seen on a dog.

I took her for a walk, gave her a thorough spraying with flea spray, and plan to bathe her again tomorrow.

I retired at 4am or thereabouts.

Thursday, August 23rd–
I had a dream I was in San Antonio. I got off a bus at the wrong stop and soon realized I was completely lost. None of the street names were familiar, and I didn’t even know which side of town I was on, though I suspected it was the west. The trees in the area were too tall for me to see the skyline and orient myself.

I saw a long park, or maybe just a really wide grassy median, about 100 feet wide and a few blocks long, with overgrown grass. I got the very uncomfortable feeling that if I ventured that way I’d be jumped on by gangs and criminals, robbed, beaten, or even killed.

I wasn’t sure where to go. There were still houses out in that area, but they were spaced further apart than in other neighborhoods–or seemed to be. Since my feet, ankles, legs, and back are in such bad shape, I didn’t want to do much walking. I was afraid of walking too far in one direction, then learning I was going the wrong way, and then having to turn back and retrace my steps. I knew my strength wasn’t enough for me to go very far.


I woke a little after 1pm, much earlier than I wanted to, walked and fed Belle, had lunch, then gave Belle a bath. Maybe the spray last night did the trick, because I didn’t see that many fleas in the water.

Afterwards, I dried her somewhat and let her run around the apartment. I opened the patio window to let her go out on the balcony, but she didn’t stay out there for long. I should probably vacuum the apartment, but with my little broken hand vacuum, I doubt it’ll do much good.

A little later I was reading on the toilet, getting ready for my own shower. I got very dizzy and weak, as if I was about to black out. I didn’t know why this was happening, then wondered if it was perhaps a reaction to all the hot air blowing into the apartment. I got up and closed the window, and soon felt a little better.

I did some vacuuming and washed the throw rugs and other cloth items that Belle likes to nap on, thinking they might have flea eggs in them. I gave her a second dose of Frontline, which is really supposed to be just a monthly thing, but it didn’t seem to do much good.

I did more tutorials, but they were boring and the process was exhausting. James interrupted me with Instant Messaging, and it was hours later before I could go back re-watch some of the tutorial videos I watched earlier in the week, to try and make sense of them.


So, Lance Armstrong is being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and is being banned from the sport of cycling for life. Now perhaps people around Austin and elsewhere will stop talking as if the sun shines directly out of his ass.

I’ve never been able to understand the fuss people make over sports or why people idolize and deify athletes. I think one of the problems, in America, at least, is this silly notion that athletic success has a connection to or is dependent upon character. I know that’s something frequently taught at the public school level. (If you take two well-crafted engines, and one runs up to 200mph, while the other runs up to 215mph, does the latter engine have more character than the former, or has it merely been crafted to run better?)

But even a cursory study of American sports history shows that an athlete can have skill on the field and still be a wretched excuse for a human being. (Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, and of course, Michael Vick, come to mind.)

Let’s hope Mr. Armstrong invested well. I suppose this ruling will kill his credibility as a brand-name. What is the procedure with disgraced athletes and their endorsement deals–do they have to pay their earnings back?


Later at night, I read in Bukowski, Woolf, and Jones, and was saddened to still see many fleas on Belle. I killed as many as I could catch.

Friday, August 24th–I woke after 4pm, an hour much more suitable to me than those I’ve been waking up at lately. I walked and fed Belle, then went to Petsmart, bought a flea comb, some flea dust for the carpets (though when I’ll use the latter I have no idea), and some not very necessary dog treats. Then at the dollar store I wasted some Food Stamp money on junk food for myself. (Instead, I need to go to HEB for bread and refried beans, but I dread the walk.)

I showered, then spent about an hour on the bathroom floor with Belle, combing out the fleas with the flea comb and warm, soapy water. She loved all that combing and I’m sure would have purred had she been able.

It took me about two hours to get through the last ten videos (which run about twenty minutes total) for the Dreamweaver tutorials. This gave me a headache, and a pain in the base of my skull. Then I got down on the living room floor and finished Charles Bukowski’s “The Flash Of Lightning Behind The Mountain” and Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway.” Being on the floor aggravated my allergies, and I felt some crud I could not dislodge from the back of my throat or lungs.

About 2:45am I took Belle on another walk–the third or fourth of the day. (For the last few weeks, ever since I was attacked, every time I’ve opened my front door at night I’ve expected to see that crazy homeless guy standing inches away from me, leering at me, poised to swing an axe or a machete into my stomach.) It was another useless walk, in the sense that she didn’t leave poop, but rather sought out poop to eat. Once again I saw a single red light or eye shining out of the ravine behind my building, the hair stood up on my neck, and I got into a great hurry to finish up outside and get back indoors.

In the wee hours I was given some interesting information about a friend, and learned that person’s life might not be what I was told it was, but rather, more as I expected it to be.

I watched the 1946 version of “The Big Sleep.”

Before bed I read some more in Jones.

Journal Entries (August 11-17, 2012).

Saturday, August 11th–What did I do today? I forget.

Oh, I remember now. I cooked my famous soup for three hours and watched “Love is the Devil.”

Sunday, August 12th–
I woke in mid-afternoon, scanned selected pages of books I need to return tomorrow, and stayed in a low-key mode so I could easily get to sleep when I retired around midnight.

Monday, August 13th–I had a dream I was living in a sort of student-run collective house, something between a dorm, a frat house, and a co-up. I had some manilla file folders I wanted to hide from others, so I put them in boxes in our huge central storage area, which was also a birch forest in the middle of the house. (The hundreds of tree trunks tended to get a person lost and hide things you wanted to keep concealed.) Someone was making noise outside my room, walking around, rattling paper. I woke and found it was Belle walking on the papers I’d put down on the floor for her to relieve herself on.

I woke about 5:30am, but didn’t formally get up until a little after 6. I got ready, then took an express bus downtown, and then the #5 into South Austin.

I got to see a section of town I’d never before seen, but I missed my stop, had to get off south of Ben White, walk several blocks, cross Ben White, and start looking for the office building where I was to have my test. Oddly enough, the first building I walked into was the new home of the publishing group I applied for back around 2004 or so, where I had such a disastrous interview.

I eventually found the office, then settled in. I was about twenty or more minutes early.

There was a waiting room, off of which several unrelated offices opened. This psychiatrist had a small suite–an outer room for a non-existent receptionist, and an inner office for himself. Both rooms were about the size of my bathroom at home, and the guy had to move one chair from the inner office to the outer one in order to give me room to sit down.

He was impressed that I was on time, and even early. Apparently that’s not often the case with the people he sees.

He was short, younger than me, and had a crossed right eye, so I had trouble looking at him without staring. I forget if his left eye was normal or not. The ear bridges of his glasses bulged out close to the lens end; I don’t know if that was just part of the design or if that was some special modification to accommodate his vision peculiarity.

His diplomas were from Alabama, though he had at least a trace of a northern accent.

He had me start with summarizing the history of my condition, as well as my various ailments, confirmed or suspected. After this we went into the tests. He did not give me specific tests for such disorders as sociopathy or oppositional defiant disorder. Indeed, the first round of questions seemed to test my intellectual knowledge, and seemed designed for an episode of “Jeopardy:”

“This is divided into 114 suras, going from longest to shortest….”

“The Qur’an.”

“This vaulted structure was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV, and….”

“The Sistine Chapel.”

“This former actress, her husband’s second wife, became beloved by the people of her country as a champion of the down-trodden and lower-class….”

“Eva Peron.”

“This object is found outdoors, and consists of a face divided by marks, and is used for telling the time by shadows cast by the sun.”

“A sundial.”

He said no one had ever answered that section of questions so fast before.

We moved on to shapes and pictures–which of these is not like the other. A few at the end totally threw me. On a few he told me to guess again. This surprised me, and the second guesses I’d make were not make all that confidently.

There was a section where I supplied the missing word in a sentence.

Word associations: blank is to blank as blank is to blank. What is the word for ___? (I forgot the word “jellyfish.”)

He provided me a long list of words to read aloud, then asked me to slow down, as I was reading too quickly. So I gave a second, more relaxed reading, doing a sort of Ken Nordine “Word Jazz” thing, commenting at the end that the list was rather like some modern blank verse poem.

He gave me a spelling test, mispronouncing one of the words in a sentence. I didn’t bother to correct him.

When we got to the math I was, as I told him I would be, wretched. I finished rather quickly, since I didn’t know how to solve many of the problems.

After this I answered a two-page questionnaire about my mental health over the last two weeks.

I made a few corrections and changes here and there on the tests.
The DARS people had said the tests would take three to four hours. On the phone, the doctor said they should take two hours. I finished in seventy minutes.

At the end he said, “Without even scoring this I can tell you quite confidently that looking at the intellectual skills tests, I can see no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do upper-executive-level jobs. I don’t know what your case worker will say, of course, but I’d recommend you get further testing for anxiety, ADD, attention, and probably some more specific stress tests to see how you work under pressure.”

On the bus back downtown I was so relieved that there was at least one other person in this world who believes me capable of high-level jobs that I almost started crying.

I got downtown, and since I was really hungry, went to the CVS pharmacy on Fifth to buy some food, then went to the library, returned some DVDs and books, checked some more DVDs and books out, and seemed to take my sweet time about it. Afterwards, I did not have a long wait for the express bus.

Belle was beside herself when I got home, and took a long time to calm down. I walked her, showered, had an IM conversation with James as I monitored the news of a shooting in College Station, then lay down for a nap, sleeping about five or six hours, and waking around 10pm or so.

I got up, ate, puttered, and watched “Vincere,” an Italian film about Mussolini’s secret first wife and son.

I spent much of the morning reading in bed, as well as being disturbed by those fucking workmen, who were doing something with an air compressor just outside my window. I eventually fell asleep while they were still working.

Tuesday, August 14th–I woke a little before 10:15pm.

While walking Belle I noticed in Phase II of the apartment complex that the portable toilets are gone. Also, the junk inside and outside of the temporarily fenced-in area in the parking lot over there is largely gone, as is the front-end loader, which tells me the construction work, and the Siege of B____, which has lasted almost all of 2012, is almost over.

I am unimpressed. The buildings are still as ugly and architecturally dated as ever. It seems that for all that time and money all they really did was cut down some trees and bushes, replace a board fence, tear down the old balcony walls and stair railings and replace them with flimsy metal ones, replace the rotting plywood siding with new plywood siding, replace a few of the stair tread and cat walk planks, leave a big mess, and make a lot of goddamn noise.

I’m sure some of the workers will use their knowledge of observing the comings and goings of the residents to come back and rob us, or pass the information on to friends and relatives who will.

One hot tub has been left unrepaired, while the other has been turned into a planter. No dumpsters have been added to Phase II. No pet poop stations have been added anywhere. The grounds sprinkler system still doesn’t work correctly. (I saw a water jet shooting up last night that put me in the mind of an ornamental fountain.) And the grounds are so dark at night you can’t see your hand in front of your face. It’s a wonder all of the residents haven’t been robbed, raped, or murdered by this point.

I started tutorials for Adobe Photoshop Album.

I watched the short “Brendan Behan’s Dublin” and the film version of Behan’s “The Quare Fellow,” with Patrick McGoohan. It was quite good. I read the first hundred pages of Charles Bukowski’s “Love Is A Dog From Hell” and a few pages in Crisp, retiring around 3pm.

Wednesday, August 15th–Most of today’s activities are listed in Tuesday’s entry.

Thursday, August 16th–
I got up around 11pm on Wednesday, and stumbled around, still half-asleep, walking Belle.

I did quite a few tutorials, then looked up the fall schedule for [Tek-Skilz], learning that for the entire term, they’re only teaching two classes I need. They’re offering both courses twice, but in locations that are very inconvenient for me. So I may not even take the courses.

I went to bed in the afternoon, read about fifty pages in Bukowski and a few in Woolf. I finally finished Quentin Crisp’s “Manner From Heaven.” I tended to disagree with most of what he had to say. Crisp dislikes the prescriptive rules of etiquette, as he says they tend to re-inforce class distinctions and make certain people feel superior and others inferior. (This is precisely one of the reasons I like them!)

He advocates instead what he calls “good manners,” which involve bending over backwards not to hurt anybody’s feelings ever, no matter how monstrous they are. (I, on the other hand, believe there are many people well worth offending, and I don’t hold human beings in any sort of sentimental fondness.) He claims his system will result in social leveling, and everyone being equal and being kind to one another. He further claims his system adapts to changing times. None of these things appeal to me.

I finally retired a little after 5pm.

Friday, August 17th–I woke a little before midnight Thursday, needing very badly to piss. Belle got excited, thinking I was finally getting up, but with only a little less than seven hours of sleep under my belt I wasn’t ready to get up yet. I did my business, then went back and slept until after 4am.

I had this dream that I was running errands, frantically going back and forth, north and south, in some city, possibly an improved version of Austin. Something important was happening, and part of it depended upon my getting all my errands done. but they were taking a long time. (Was I traveling by taxi or bus?)

I needed to get a special magazine, possibly “Texas Highways,” in order for this event to happen, and the only place I knew I could get this issue was in a certain shop. Well, I got distracted doing something fun, and before I knew it I realized it was too late for me to get to the store, that the store was already closed. So I decided I’d just try to go by there as soon as it opened the next morning, which I think was the day of the event.

I found my way to a neighborhood and a house. On the front porch was an Hispanic woman and an Anglo man. To my left, out in the street, the woman’s twenty-something daughter was loading up her belongings into a U-Haul, in preparation for a move. I was supposed to know these people and they were supposed to know me, especially in connection with this big event, but it took awhile for us to recognize each other and exchange greetings and information.

In the next scene I was in this huge, dark, rambling building, possibly neo-Gothic in style, and part of which seemed to be crumbling. I was there with the Arctic Monkeys, all of whom seemed to be friends of mine. They spent most of the day filming music videos, all very different in theme and appearance, and it was amazing how many of them they managed to film completely in one day.

The main event seemed to be, however, the marriage of one of the band members, who was a rather stout, jowly young fellow. The wedding was to take place in a lofty chamber, rather like a parliament chamber, very grand, with dim artificial lights, and with the only natural light coming from clerestory windows high up near the beamed ceiling. There was a central area, sort of an altar or speaker’s table, and there were rows of seating rising up in numerous levels on three sides, and with rows of stairs between them leading upwards. The third wall had coats of arms and such displayed on dark linenfold paneling, and there were two massive doors leading back to more private chambers.

Several dozen people were in attendance. I forget who was presiding over the service. For some reason, I was up by the altar, to the left of the couple. The groom was to my right, and the bride was to his right. Directly opposite me, to the right of the bride, was some fat blowhard, who looked like a cross between Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Lewis Prothero from “V For Vendetta,” Christopher Hitchens, and the Right Honourable Nicholas Soames, British MP.

For some reason, right in the middle of the ceremony, while the couple was kneeling at the altar and after the rings had been exchanged, this blowhard started in on a verbal attack of the bride, criticizing and condemning her in all sorts of ways, indicating she had a slutty past, saying what a mistake this marriage would be, and so forth. The couple was visibly uncomfortable, and the groom was sweating and looked over to me to see if I knew what to do.

By gesturing with my fingers, I managed to convey to him and possibly the bride my prophetic knowledge of future events. All would be well. And I indicated by some large hand gestures that all of the members of the Arctic Monkeys would wind up in the British Parliament, in the House of Lords, no less, as Peers of the Realm. This seemed to relax the groom. And the other members of the band were able to read my gestures from their front row seats.

The blowhard, however, noticed nothing, because he was banging on so loudly. Finally, in his last expression of contempt, he sneered down at the couple, “And is there anyone who will even see this disgusting thing you two are trying to do today?”

And I replied with a loud, ringing, keening, piercing, magnificent voice reminiscent of the late actor Edward Woodward, “YES! THE LORD OUR GOD!”

Everyone’s eyes bugged out, and there was throughout the chamber a massive intake of breath. Everyone was shocked and amazed. Everyone but the blowhard was delighted, stunned, pleased, and impressed that I’d invoked the Name of God. The blowhard fell back speechless. I had robbed him of his power to reply. I had shut him up for good. I had shamed him, and the people were glad.

The next scene took place after the service. The blowhard was gone. I was seated in a pew to the right of the altar. Instead of having a wedding reception, everyone was sitting around relaxing, having been exhausted by the stress and drama of the ceremony. People were waving at me and I was acknowledging their waves with a comic imitation of the Royal “unscrewing a light bulb” wave.

The band members had changed out of their wedding finery into normal clothes. The band’s lead singer, Alex Turner, came out of one of the back rooms, grinned at me, and flashed me the “thumbs up.” I flopped over the right lapel of my ample, cream white, splendidly-tailored double-breasted waistcoat, and raised another hand, waved, and nodded, indicating, “Think nothing of it, old man.”


I forget when I got up, but I seem to think it was around 4am.
I puttered. I did more tutorials. I read in Bukowski and finally moved from the dull, rather academic introduction to “Mrs. Dalloway” and on into the text itself. And I also started L. E. Smith’s “An Edwardian Youth.”

I retired a little after 11pm.