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.

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