Journal Entries (September 22-28, 2012).

Saturday, September 22nd–I woke at some point in the afternoon with a very stiff neck. I couldn’t get the HEB pharmacy to answer their phone. I began to get depressed, though I don’t think it was due to the horrific pictures and sad text I kept seeing on Facebook about animal cruelty. I went back to bed, read about ten pages in Douglas, and slept for several more hours.

I got up around 7pm or or so, still suffering from neck pain, and took Belle out for another walk. As we headed to the mailboxes, two young black men burst out of a breezeway and called out to me. As one was carrying a stack of papers, I knew exactly what this would be about. They claimed to be in some program designed to get young people off the streets and out of crime and on to some form of productive lives. They try to do this by selling magazine subscriptions.

The tall one, Jason, had a goatee and arm tattoos and did most of the talking. The shorter one, Hugh, had dreads, said nothing, but kept insisting on giving me fist bumps. Their patter was a little over-the-top, and seemed clearly designed to pander to white people who had very little contact with or understanding of, and consequently very set ideas about, black people. There was, for example, the reference to the President. (“I’m not out to get Obama’s job.”)

I indicated I was familiar with their program and had dealt with one of their members before, about five (or was it six or seven?) years before. “Well, I’m 24 now, sir, so you know how old I’d have been then?” Actually, Jason, no. I have a math disability, can’t do math in my head to save my life, and I was really, really anxious about having someone in my face doing the hard-sell to me, so even the simplest arithmetic was evading me.

All the while that Jason was talking 90 mph, Hugh was fist-bumping me, or patting me on the shoulder. It’s strange. As a rule, I don’t like to be touched ever, for any reason, and least of all by two sweaty complete strangers. I hate salesmanship in any form or fashion, and to be confronted on the supposedly “safe” grounds of my apartment complex. And I have still not gotten over the shock of being assaulted a month-and-a-half ago about 75 yards away from this spot.

And yet, these two put me strangely at ease. I was actually responding to getting patted and so forth.

Jason asked me what I did for a living. I explained that I was out-of-work and had been for two years. He pressed on. He was sure he could guess my occupation. Teacher? Not exactly, but I had worked in a school before. Lawyer? Programmer? I said no, I was an unemployed writer and editor. He asked if I knew Dan Brown. The only person of that name I could think of (apart from a long-dead neighbor from Conroe, Texas) was the hack novelist, but he threw the name out with a casual familiarity that I thought he meant a person here in Austin. But no, he did mean “The Da Vinci Code” guy.

Jason handed me a stack of papers, with sign-up sheets and names of magazines, telling me, “Look with your heart, not your eyes.” Eventually I managed to convey to him that while I would be happy to help, I really didn’t have any money, I’ve been out-of-work for two years, and was on Food Stamps. I finally extricated myself from the pitch, and they said they’d pray for me.

Later on in the evening, I did a CSS tutorial and watched the Clifton Webb version of “Cheaper By The Dozen” and the sequel, “Belles On Their Toes.”

On Facebook I happened to look up a former supervisor of mine, who turned into an insane asshole a few months after I gave him a stray dog that had followed me home from work. I know this guy had no control of his temper, and was often angry at “Yellow Dog” and screamed at him a lot, and I always felt bad I gave the poor dog to this guy.

Anyway, this dog was still alive as of 2009 (I gave him the dog in 1997 or 1998), and though he had apparently lost a front leg, he looked pretty happy.

Sunday, September 23rd–Not the best day.

I do not like this faux beef/meat substitute thing from the Asian supermarket that I put into my soup last week. It has the look and presumed consistency of a cat’s asshole.

The day has been stressful. Here are some of my posts from the Tumbler:

“I feel almost sick to my stomach.

“I’m almost to the point I’m scared to check FB any more, because it keeps revealing more and more old friends have turned into Tea Baggers and/or are supporting Romney! Jesus Christ, there’s almost no one left with whom I can agree or towards whom I feel any respect. Has everybody lost their fucking minds?”

And then:

“There’s an old saying that it’s not enough for me to succeed–all others must fail.

“I would take that, and add to it: I wish death upon all those who disagree with me.

“Seriously.

“I cannot begin to describe how overcome I am right now with anger, bitterness, rage, resentment, and hatred. I am choking on it.

“The human race is so fucking vile and so fucking stupid and so fucking destructive I just cannot get my head around it.”

And still later:

“I am definitely not having a good mental health day.

“I feel a tightness in my head that is almost like a headache, but not quite.

“But my doctor did say my thyroid levels were way off lately.”

I guess I should really start worrying about myself when I say crazy shit and then don’t recognize it as crazy shit later in the day.

…………………………

Well, that was kinda creepy.

I just took Belle out for a walk at 10pm on a Sunday, and in the parking lot behind my building was a police car, parked in a normal slot. It didn’t have the blue-and-red lights on top, but it was a black-and-white and had a spot-light. I couldn’t tell if someone was in it, and didn’t want to seem too interested.

I’m always paranoid about things like that, since I say such inflammatory things online.

I did some more typing onto my “Author’s Wish List” (I finished typing up the titles of the complete works of Sacheverell Sitwell, having done Osbert Sitwell yesterday), then did some Quark X Press tutorials. The narrator was so inept and frustrating, wordy, slobbery, and disorganized that I soon got exhausted, and decided to cancel all my other plans for the night and go to bed.

Monday, September 24th–Belle got me up around 12:30pm, a good two-and-a-half to three hours before I’d planned to get up, but oh well.

I scanned some materials I have to take back to the library tomorrow, got into a long, surprisingly friendly discussion with one of my conservative Facebook followers, then watched “Film Socialisme” with the full English sub-titles, which certainly helped make more sense of the film.

Tuesday, September 25th–I dreamt I discovered a school I’d never heard of before in some city with which I was very familiar. (Austin? Houston? Somewhere else?) I looked it up on a map and went over to photograph it.

The school had been founded around the beginning of the Twentieth-Century by some benefactor, either a female teacher, a male philanthropist, or someone like that. The school was built on the founder’s rather large lot in some residential neighborhood. Over the years the facilities expanded, but the founder’s house was still preserved, though I don’t know what it was used for.

The house was a turn-of-the-century, “four-square,” two-story house, made of off-white Roman-style bricks, with a hip roof, and just under the cornice, a tall decorative terra cotta frieze in an American Art Nouveau style.

The school itself occupied at least four buildings built around a large, rectangular, concrete-paved central yard. The Main Building was, I think, three- or four-stories high, and was on the northwest corner of the campus. I think the main entrance to the campus was on the northeastern corner, the founder’s house was on the east side, and the usual progression around the yard was clockwise from the northeast, down, and all the way back up.

The school was considered a landmark because of those of its buildings constructed in the 1920s. The style was a sort of Spanish/Italianate Revival, with rich detailing. But what set these buildings apart were huge bronze medallions and sculptures/bas reliefs of heroic and symbolic figures that emerged from the walls or hung down from the cornices. They were really too large and not quite in the right place to be called metopes.

There had been some construction done since the 1950s, chiefly along the southern, southeastern, and southwestern parts of the campus, and seemed to consist mostly of an auditorium, drama department, band hall, cafeteria and kitchens, covered walkways, and maybe the gym. The new wings were of course very ugly and out of place, but not as ugly as they could’ve been. They were made of reddish-pink vertical bricks laid in a sort of corrugated pattern. Some of these wings obscured the 1920s sections, but amazingly enough, the architect was humble enough to leave his brick walls heavily pierced in those areas, so you could still see the bronze ornamentation behind them.

At any rate, I marveled at the complex, and wondered how it was I’d not heard of this school before. Most of the students appeared to be minorities, and I think the school was mainly some sort of magnet/accelerated school, designed to get its students out of crappy or at least mundane futures and into top-level universities and careers.

I didn’t bother stopping by the office to see if I could get permission to take pictures; I just set up my camera and tripod and began snapping away. I headed over to the Main Building, ducked into an open door, and walked down a dimly-lit green hallway and up a tiled staircase to the second or third floor.

I found a narrow wing that seemed wholly unoccupied, with classroom doors standing open. I had just set up and was about to take a photo of an empty classroom from out in the hallway when a prissy, slightly-built teacher, who looked to be in his thirties, who was even shorter than I am, who had one of those short beards that never looks good on anybody, and thin lips pursed in a look of perpetual disapproval, appeared out of nowhere at my left, sauntered past my camera, and went right into that empty classroom, ruining my shot.
No matter.

I moved my tripod around and set up a similar shot for another room. But the little cocksucker walked into that room as well. This passive-aggressive bullshit went on about three or four times, and I was getting annoyed, but I just moved on. And then I heard him quietly get on a telephone in one of the classrooms, and assumed he was snitching on me, calling security.

He had figured, correctly, that I’d not obtained official permission to take pictures or even be on the grounds. It never occurred to me to bother, what with my contempt for authority, petty or otherwise. Still, I picked up my camera and tripod and slipped away. I wouldn’t let anyone have the satisfaction of seeing me run away, but they also weren’t going to catch me either.

…………………………

Belle woke me two hours before my alarm. I got ready, and had two fairly quick bus rides to the North Lamar HEB. There wasn’t even a line at the pharmacy! I thought maybe I would have a good day after all.

Then I learned from the clerk that they had put back one of my six prescriptions, after I’d been spending a goddamn week to get them all filled, and after I specifically fucking told another clerk on Sunday to hold them for me. The guy said I could come back later, or wait there for about thirty minutes while they refilled the prescription. I obviously picked the latter option, listened to music, looked at some paperwork, and got my meds in even less time than he’d suggested.

I bought a money order, then waited about fifteen to twenty minutes for my next bus. I’m not sure, but I may’ve seen “The Booger Eater” on this bus. (Maybe not–I’ve previously mostly seen him on the #3.) The Booger Eater is, like his name suggests, a middle-aged man who sits up near the front of the bus, and, making sure he’s being watched, picks his nose and eats it.

Now are there still any of my readers out there that wonder why I don’t like leaving my house?

Anyway, I got down to UT, got some food at a CVS pharmacy, and ate it in front of the Harry Ransom Center, while looking at all the acid-etched glass panels on the ground floor. I even noticed, to my great surprise, Denton Welch’s name among the facsimiles of writers’ and artists’ signature around the doors.

Afterwards I went in to see the new exhibition: “‘I Have Seen The Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America,” which had fascinating examples of his theatrical, industrial, and architectural designs. I took a lot more time than I normally do with exhibitions, but was annoyed at myself for not reading every caption and text. Still, I plan to go back again. The section on his “Futurama” display at the 1939 New York World’s Fair was brilliant.

I went over to the Littlefield Fountain and bought a couple of vegetarian egg rolls from a food cart. It reminded me of my Henry Miller/starvation years in 1989 to 1994, when cheap egg rolls and bowls of fried rice were often all I had for lunch or dinner. (A funny fact, in passing, is that it was eventually discovered that the egg roll stand on the Drag was a drop-off point, there in the middle of thousands of pedestrians, for goods stolen by the “gutter punks” who were so thick on the ground back then. The Asians who worked the stand were fences.)

From campus I went down to the public library, dropped some stuff off, and checked more stuff out. I decided to pay a little extra for an express bus so I could get home sooner. While waiting I saw a very ungainly hippie chick (or was it a hipster chick?) violently trying to peddle her bike uphill up Lavaca Street while wearing a skirt. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone ride a bike in such a painfully unattractive manner. Monkeys in the circus do infinitely better. I was tempted to call out, “You know, if you shaved your hairy legs you might get better wind resistance,” but I thought the better of it.

When my bus stopped over by UT I saw a black guy with a skateboard walk by. He had a black cloth tied over his eyes, with no eye holes cut out. It was rather like what you’d see on someone who was being stood up in front of a firing squad.

My bus driver was one of those old fucks that Capital Metro still keeps on the payroll. Really, they should send those geezers to the glue factory–they’re a public menace. I damn near broke my fucking leg standing up when we got to my bus stop, because the senile fuck didn’t properly understand the concept of braking.

I got some snacks at the dollar store, since I have no plans to leave my apartment for the rest of the week, then went home to Miss Belle.

I was too exhausted to read or do any tutorials, so I farted around, took my meds, and got knocked out by them.

Wednesday, September 26th–The hydroxyzine I took right before bed knocked me out on my ass. I fell asleep almost immediately and slept hard until the early afternoon, when Belle woke me to get walked and fed. I took care of her, ate some soup, then went back to bed until about 8 or 9pm.

Belle’s meds finally arrived. I decided to keep them, rather than send them back, ask for a refund, and have a big run-around with them, my vet, and Belle’s previous owner. I hope this doesn’t give me trouble from a legal standpoint, or that the vet clinic will refuse to serve me as a result, or that even the meds prove to be some tainted imitation shit from China. I guess we’ll see.

I saw where Andy Williams died. I remember watching his show a lot when I was a little kid in the 60s.

Around 10:30pm I was walking Belle. She was acting odd and excitable. We heard some small dogs yapping and I expected to see my neighbor Danna walk up with her two dogs, but it turned out the noise was coming from two or more little dogs that were in a parked car. I couldn’t see the dogs, but I could tell the windows of the car were rolled down.

With great difficulty I memorized the license plate number, and headed home and called 911. I have no idea what kind of car it was, since one car pretty much looks like another to me, and the parking lot is so dark I couldn’t see any model name on the side. I couldn’t even make out the color of the car other than that it was dark.

I told the dispatcher I wasn’t going to go outside and meet the officers and I didn’t want them knocking on my door, but curiosity got the better of me, and after about ten minutes I went outside and waited. I walked around the car and looked in as best as I could. There looked to be suitcases in the car, as if the owner was going on a trip. If I got too close the dogs would start yapping.

I waited outside about twenty minutes, went back in to my apartment. Belle started barking at me. I called APD again, gave them more info on where the car was parked, then I went back outside–this time with Belle, and saw two squad cars pull up. I spoke to one of the officers.

They looked at the dogs in the parked car, knocked on the doors of nearby apartments, then the officer I’d talked to earlier came over and told me they’d done about all they could do, but that on the bright side, it was a fairly pleasant night, and the car’s windows were rolled down.

Just then some woman came walking over from the second phase of the complex, from the other side of the street, and went up to the car and unlocked it. The officers went over and talked to her. Belle and I watched from a discreet distance. Then I heard high-pitched cries and moans. Was she crying because her dogs were about to be taken away from her for mistreatment?

Then she was turned around and cuffed. I waited around to see what would happen next. That one officer walked my way and I asked if it was okay for me to go. He said it was, then added that the dog’s owner had an outstanding warrant.

So, my work for the day is done. I just hope she doesn’t send some violent boyfriend after me.

I had a phone message from APD. It seems after I left the house the last time they were having trouble finding the building. I called this person back. She said the dogs would probably be taken to the shelter and put up for adoption.

Later on, I took Belle out for another walk in a different part of the complex. We saw a pair of buck deer grazing. We went on our way and one of them followed us for a short distance.Then they both headed off closer to the roadside to graze.

Thursday, September 27th–I slept until late afternoon. The anxiety medication made me groggy, but I wasn’t as bad off as I was yesterday.

I puttered around and did some CSS tutorials.

Belle pestering me to go out again and again. Around 10:15pm, we had just crossed the street at the intersection near our apartment, when I saw that car from last night turn in. I was sure it was driven by the boyfriend of the woman whom I inadvertently got arrested. Just in case he had a gun and was seeking revenge, I turned down a back way across a lawn, away from the road.

We cut through Phase Two of our apartment complex, and hadn’t gone very far when I heard another yap, then looked up, saw the car from last night, and the woman who’d been arrested. I’d not seen her very closely last night, but she seemed to be wearing the same clothes. I don’t know if she recognized me and Belle or not. She told her dog “Cody” to stop barking, and Belle and I walked past her, getting to within 25 feet.

I waited until we were a good ways away before I looked over my shoulder. I didn’t see her going into an apartment. Maybe she stayed at the car or ran away when my back was turned. I’m debating whether or not it would be safe or even productive to go back by there later on tonight to see if she left her car in that spot and left the dogs outside again. If the woman did indeed get arrested last night, she got out pretty quickly.

Later on I watched “Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars,” with Jonathan Pryce and a young Aaron Johnson.

Afterwards, I looked up my adoptive father’s biological father, a fellow who has been shrouded in mystery. I found a little bit about him, then shifted to my father’s adoptive father–“Pappy.”

By correcting a single spelling error in the records I had, I found Pappy’s family history going back to 17th-Century Sweden. This is especially interesting considering that Pappy said he didn’t know his own grandfather’s name. (Still, I didn’t find out that much about my adoptive great-grandfather and his generation. That section of the tree is the weakest.)

I learned that for about 150 years, the B____s often inter-married with a family called “Rambo,” and honest to God, there were quite a few men on the family tree named “John Rambo,” though I doubt they were Vietnam vet action heroes.

I haven’t a single drop of blood in common with these people, being the adopted son of the adopted son of the last of the line, but it was enjoyable resolving a genealogy question I’ve had for thirty-two years in less than an hour.

I also read over the obit of a friend of my father’s who died back in May. My encounters with this man mostly took place from 1972/1973 to maybe 1976 at the latest. I don’t know why my father didn’t see the man much after that.

I do remember my father saying to other people, “Well, if you ever start feeling sorry for yourself or thinking that your problems are too much to handle, think of poor B____ N____. He’s one of the nicest men I know, but he’s had way more than his share of troubles. Two sons in prison for drugs, one son crazy. Plus his wife went crazy a few years ago, stripped off all her clothes and ran around naked at a busy intersection.”

I met the crazy son once. He was about my age, and B__ brought him to the rather primitive camp house out in the woods where my father insisted we spend most of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when I was young.

I suppose the boy and I spent the afternoon playing or exploring outdoors, but then we were sent to bed early. The camp house had a front room with a long table and benches and a pot-bellied stove, and a back room with rat-infested kitchen cabinets, a cook stove, and two musty bunk beds covered with rat droppings and filthy stale-smelling blankets made of some sort of rough cloth.

It was hard enough to try to go to sleep in an uncomfortable bed, in a cold room, when I wasn’t even tired, and with noise and Coleman lantern light streaming in from the next room, but for some reason my mother had told this kid he could sleep in my bed with me! The kid fell asleep almost immediately, and began making noises and tossing and turning.

The next time my mother came into the back room to get something I got her attention and whispered to her how much I hated this arrangement. She was shocked, “But I thought you two liked each other! I thought you two would enjoy sleeping in the same bed!” I explained that I was feigning civility towards the kid just to be nice, and that I didn’t want to ever have to share my bed again with anyone. My mother got a little put out, but she woke up the kid, and had him move up into another bed, which in a few hours he would be sharing with his dad.

According to B___’s obituary, this third son apparently fathered some children by some gal, and both the son and the baby mama are now dead. Their children were not mentioned in the obituary.

I read a little in Douglas before bed. I’m really going to have to throw myself into that book if I’m to finish it on time.

Friday, September 28th–I’m definitely going to take myself off that fucking Hydroxyzine. Even a half-dose is making me much too sleepy, and is also making my heart race, making me impotent and shorter-tempered than usual, and giving me serious dry-mouth. So I guess I’ll just call the clinic Monday, and leave a message laying down the law. I just do not want to be put on any more mood medications ever again.

I didn’t get up until around 7pm. Someone called, but I’m not sure if it was my Case Worker or someone else, since all the person said was my first name. It rained much of the evening, but not too heavily.

I finished the CSS lessons for one tutorial web site, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied that I really learned how to do it. I’ll move on to HTML and CSS lessons on another site soon. I was too tired to fuck with Quark X Press tonight, since the instructor is such a disorganized slob, and so tiresome to listen to.

I watched “Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown,” and read a little in Douglas before bed.

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