Journal Entries (July 2nd–8th, 2013).

Tuesday, July 2nd–

I got up at 8:26am.


Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.—Sylvia Plath


The body shuts down when it has too much to bear: it goes it’s own way quietly inside, waiting for a better time, leaving you numb and half alive.–Jeanette Winterson


The unfed mind devours itself.—Gore Vidal


Someone posted– Plot twist: […] is an unused domain. You log onto a blank page every day. The people you follow are all personalities in your split mind. Their ramblings on your dash are ramblings in your head. As you follow more people, your personality fractures into more shards. You are on a downward spiral into self-conversing insanity and not even you know it.

Someone posted– #well at least i’m hilarious

ME–Wow, I sure have a lot of self-righteous college student voices in my brain.


Though I cannot really afford it, I think I’m going to try the lunch buffet at the new Indian restaurant across the street.


With some difficulty, and after putting it off for several hours, I left my apartment around 12:30pm or so to run errands. When I came up alongside Petsmart I looked around to see if that poor little bird I’d helped a few weeks ago had died, and was pleased not to find a body, but not far away, near a concrete ramp which led to a side door, I saw sitting on the ground another little bird, without enough feathers to fly, looking a bit sour.

I picked up this bird, who didn’t squawk as much as the other one (nor did his squawks attract other birds to his defense, as with the other bird), and set him up in the crook of a crepe myrtle about six inches off the ground.

I went to Petsmart and bought two bags of dog food and two small bags of dog treats ($31.27), then went to try out the buffet at the new Royal Indian Restaurant, which recently opened in part of the space that used to house A La Carrera Mexican Restaurant a few years back.

The food was all right, though the buffet was a little on the small size. I ate two plate’s worth, accompanied with a draft Shiner beer, and had a rice pudding for desert. The meal was pleasant enough, but I ate more than I’m used to eating, and left feeling over-stuffed. And I felt I’d overpaid, as I usually do nowadays in restaurants. ($14.73, including a $3.00 tip.)

I then got some items at Dollar Tree ($7.41), all the while having to deal with other customers and stock boy’s carts getting in my way, and children shrieking in the background. Belle, of course, barked up a storm when I returned, and it took me awhile to calm down, after which I took a shower.


Someone posted– Anyone else love that feeling when you step out of a freezing cold shower after a good workout and feel like a son of Odin?

No? Just me?

Someone posted– true shit

ME–I haven’t worked out in years, but on the rare occasions I did I would always feel 1000 times more alive, although I never thought of being a son of Odin so much as being Jack London.


Someone posted– so my sister’s fiance punched a butterfly this weekend (he is absolutely terrified of bugs like my sister is)
like it flew too close and he literally made a fist and punched the shit out of this poor butterfly

and it just exploded

I dont know whether to laugh or cry

ME–I’d suggest you cry because your sister is marrying an asshole who can’t let a sentient creature live in peace without destroying him.

People like that are the reason the Earth can’t have nice things.


Someone posted– We live in a world increasingly dominated by science. And that’s fine. I became a science writer because I think science is the most exciting, dynamic, consequential part of human culture, and I wanted to be a part of that. Also, I have two college-age kids, and I’d be thrilled if they pursued careers in science, engineering or medicine. I certainly want them to learn as much science and math as they can, because those skills can help you get a great job.

But it is precisely because science is so powerful that we need the humanities now more than ever. In your science, mathematics and engineering classes, you’re given facts, answers, knowledge, truth. Your professors say, “This is how things are.” They give you certainty. The humanities, at least the way I teach them, give you uncertainty, doubt and skepticism.

The humanities are subversive. They undermine the claims of all authorities, whether political, religious or scientific. This skepticism is especially important when it comes to claims about humanity, about what we are, where we came from, and even what we can be and should be. Science has replaced religion as our main source of answers to these questions. Science has told us a lot about ourselves, and we’re learning more every day.

But the humanities remind us that we have an enormous capacity for deluding ourselves. They also tell us that every single human is unique, different than every other human, and each of us keeps changing in unpredictable ways. The societies we live in also keep changing–in part because of science and technology! So in certain important ways, humans resist the kind of explanations that science gives us.—Science writer John Horgan responds to the major recent report on the value of the humanities.

Pair with Dorion Sagan on why science and philosophy need each other.

Someone posted– Yes. A thousand times, yes.

My MCAT students would always ask why the hell I paired Biology with English and History in college. This is why.

Also, I will always believe the reason I did well in organic chemistry was due to to taking Analysis of Literary Language during the same semester.

ME–I’ll reblog this because I know, since people are so predictable, that a certain one of my followers will feel obliged to respond to this and say why he thinks majoring in the humanities is a waste of time and money. It will amuse me to see my prediction come true.


Someone posted some photos of the River Oaks Theatre in Houston.

ME– I saw “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” there, and screamed like a little girl at the Large Marge reveal.

Someone posted– And to think they were going to tear this down and make it a shopping center. I remember writing to the mayor and he even replied back saying he appreciated how concerned I was about the building blah blah blah. Go me. I single-handedly saved River Oaks.

ME– Glad to hear that. I remember reading a few years back that they wanted to tear down the River Oak Center as well as the old Alabama Theatre, but I never heard what ultimately happened. I’ve not been back to Houston in many years, though I was born there and lived most of my life up until 1989 in that area.


We lay on our backs, looking at the ceiling and wondering what God had wrought when he made life so sad.—Jack Kerouac, On The Road


Someone posted– By request… Wham-O Slip ‘N Slide

ME–My mom bought me one of these once, but my dad immediately had her take it back. I guess he thought I was having too much fun.


The truly solitary being is not the man who is abandoned by men, but the man who suffers in their midst, who drags his desert through the marketplace and deploys his talents as a smiling leper, a mountebank of the irreparable. The great solitaries were happy in the old days, knew nothing of duplicity, had nothing to hide: they conversed only with their own solitude.— Emil Cioran


As far as I am concerned, I resign from humanity. I no longer want to be, nor can still be, a man. What should I do? Work for a social and political system, make a girl miserable? Hunt for weaknesses in philosophical systems, fight for moral and aesthetic ideals? It’s all too little. I renounce my humanity even though I may find myself alone. But am I not already alone in this world from which I no longer expect anything?—Emil Cioran


Why not explode? Isn’t there enough energy in me to shake the world, enough madness to do away with light? Isn’t chaos my only joy, and isn’t the elan which will cause my downfall my only pleasure? Are not my flights falls, and is not my explosion my love? Can I only love through self-destruction? Could it be that I am totally forbidden knowledge of the pure states? Can there be so much poison in my love? Have I not fought death long enough? Should Eros also be my enemy? Why is it that, when love is reborn in me, I become so afraid that I am ready to swallow the entire world in order to stop my love from growing? Can the man who has looked death in the face still love? Can he still die of love?—Emil Cioran




Someone posted–idk what i’ll wear once skinny jeans and boots go out of fashion cause that’s pretty much all that i own

ME–Forget the vagaries of fashion and embrace style.


ME– I can understand why some people are capable of loving unattractive people, but what no one has successfully conveyed to me is how someone can be sexually attracted to a physically unattractive person. Every time I argue this with someone the best they can tell me is, “You just don’t get it, man.”

I would say at least 90-95% of my friends have at one time or other introduced me to their latest significant others, and it’s taken all of my strength to not say “Eww, you’re actually sleeping with…that?” though I’m sure my horror registered in my face to some degree.

Someone posted– because for some people another person becomes more beautiful and perfect when one’s in love. I find most people attractive when I like them. but they are ugly in my eyes when I don’t like them. btw: what’s attractive anyway?!

Naturally, that response pissed me off.


[Someone posted some gifs from a documentary,

“Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible pt. 1,” that discussed whites in Lousiana voting for David Duke even though they knew he was a Nazi:]

Still don’t think we need voter protections?

ME– I made four trips to New Orleans in the early 90s. Though I loved the town, there were disturbing aspects to it, as well as the state of Louisiana. The presence of Duke bumper stickers was one thing.

One year, a black member of the New Orleans City Council spear-headed a measure that called for the various Mardi Gras krewes to racially integrate, on the grounds that since they paraded on City streets, and City police and sanitation services had to be used in connection with these parades, they could not practice racial discrimination. Some of the krewes absolutely refused to integrate, and cancelled their parades for the first time in over a century. I think at least one of the krewes has not paraded since.

This caused a crisis. On the one hand, the City had decided to take a stand on racial integration, but on the other, New Orleans was a city that depended on tourism to survive, and Mardi Gras was the biggest tourist-draw of the year. If Mardi Gras didn’t happen, New Orleans would be in really bad shape.

The newer krewes, which for the most part were not composed of Old Guard New Orleans aristocracy, were more open-minded, and had no problem with integrating, if they hadn’t done so already.

I went to Mardi Gras the year all this went down, and in the window of a sign shop saw a disturbing sign: “Mardi Gras: Make it a mosaic—not a melting pot.” Of course, in a mosaic, the tiles are all separated. They do not touch.

And let’s not forget how white men went “hunting” black people for sport after Hurricane Katrina.


My follower wrote– also, is there a list of languages ranked by their library sizes? because that would basically be the order in which one ought to learn them. all the ones on my “to know” list are there because I want to be connected to their literary culture in one way or another, Farsi and Urdu for poetry, Chinese and Tibetan for philosophy, English would’ve been high up there for scientific and economic importance if I didn’t start out knowing it….

I want lists!

ME– Library sizes as in the number of libraries a country has or the total number of books all of its libraries have? One thing you may not be factoring in is that a library may have a large number of books in it, but a lot of the books might be popular crap. That’s often the case in the US, so there’s no reason not to believe it’s the case in other countries. If a nation is addicted to, say, the equivalent of Harlequin romance novels, you might not be missing out in not knowing the language.

He replied–“total available data” might be a better way of putting that. I mean Latin is a lovely language and I’d imagine the literary corpus is larger than Tibetan, but hell if I’d rather read about psychology in Latin than Tibetan.


Could I just, maybe, pay a higher rent and have an apartment where my neighbors and the whole complex were completely quiet?

Jeez, if it isn’t some asshole neighbor blaring dubstep it’s a fucking maintenance man yammering outside or a grounds crew guy with a fucking leaf blower or the kids at the nursery school next door shrieking on their playground. It never fucking ends.


I listened to the first CD of Joyce Johnson’s “The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac,” which thus far isn’t all that interesting.

I finished “Blanton Museum of Art: 110 Favorites from the Collection.”


Wednesday, July 3rd–

Someone posted– This man, James Verone, robbed a bank for one dollar. Why only one dollar? Because he knew that in prison he could get the medical care he could not afford with his part time salary as a convenience store clerk. He was approved for food stamps, but they did little to help his finances. Between his back problems, carpel tunnel, and arthritis, he simply couldn’t handle the pain any longer.

On June 9th, he sent a letter to his local paper, the Gaston Gazette, that stated: “When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me. this robbery is being committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.”

He then took a cab to the RBC Bank, and handed the teller a note asking for one dollar and medical attention. He quietly took a seat in the lobby and waited for police to arrive.

Since Verone only stole one dollar, he was only charged with larceny. His bail, which he doesn’t plan to pay is set at $2,000, reduced from the normal $100,000. He’s scheduled to see a doctor this Friday, and hopes to get foot surgery, back surgery and to have a protrusion on his check treated.

To me, this is the perfect example of how disturbingly corrupt and unjust our health care system has become under HMO’s. For this man, or any person for that matter, feels that he needs to be imprisoned just to see a doctor, is ridiculous.

This is exactly what I hate about America. Why is it that you can buy an entire house with money you don’t have, but still can’t apply for health care if you don’t meet the requirements? That’s messed up.

ME– As someone who has also fallen through the cracks, I can attest to how fucked-up the system is. When I enrolled in our local public mental health program, it covered five conditions—depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, paranoid-schizophrenia, and one other, but not long afterwards it was forced to drop the patients with “mere depression” from its coverage. I had to stop going to a therapist because the rock-bottom $36 a month the clinic charged on its sliding scale was more than my family was willing to pay.

So no, don’t believe the conservatives when they say there’s a health care safety net for everybody in America.That’s just not true.


ME– I don’t get the whole “visiting relatives” thing.

“So are you doing anything special for the 4th?”

“Going up to see [relatives].”

“Again?! But you just saw them like a month-and-a-half ago.”

“It’s what I do every July 4th holiday.”

“Well, unless people are as fascinating to talk to as, say, Carl Sagan or James Burke or something, I fail to see the endless appeal. What on earth can you possibly have to talk about at this point?”

A follower replied–yeah you have to *like* your relatives to do that


Okay, now I’m pissed.

I just learned that Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would’ve banned texting while driving, saying it was a violation of individual rights. When I think of all the times I’ve almost been run over because some asshole was texting or yapping on their goddamn cellphone, this just enrages me.


Someone posted– If you meditate regularly, even when you don’t feel like it, you will make great gains, for it will allow you to see how your thoughts impose limits on you. Your resistances to meditation are your mental prisons in miniature.— Ram Dass

ME– I would love to try to meditate, but I have two problems: Adult ADD and severe allergy problems which often make it hard to breathe through my nose. And since much of meditation involves breath-control, that makes for trouble.


Someone posted– 25 Things To Do Before You Turn 25

1. Make peace with your parents. Whether you finally recognize that they actually have your best interests in mind or you forgive them for being flawed human beings, you can’t happily enter adulthood with that familial brand of resentment.

2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.

3. Minimize your passivity.

4. Work a service job to gain some understanding of how tipping works, how to keep your cool around assholes, how a few kind words can change someone’s day.

5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.

6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have. We will figure this mess out, I think, probably; the point is you’re not worth less just because there hasn’t been an immediate pay off for going to school. Be patient, work with what you have, and remember that a lot of us are in this together.

7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.

8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.

9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.

10. Start a relationship with your crush by telling them that you want them. Directly. Like, look them in the face and say it to them. Say, I want you. I want to be with you.

11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.

12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.

13. Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like something to look forward to.

14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.

15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.

16. Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don’t settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you’re afraid of getting on a plane.

17. Make a habit of cleaning up and letting go. Just because it fit at one point doesn’t mean you need to keep it forever — whether ‘it’ is your favorite pair of pants or your ex.

18. Stop hating yourself.

19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, listening to.

20. Take advantage of health insurance while you have it.

21. Make a habit of telling people how you feel, whether it means writing a gushing fan-girl email to someone whose work you love or telling your boss why you deserve a raise.

22. Date someone who says, “I love you” first.

23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.

24. Suck it up and buy a Macbook Pro.

25. Quit that job that’s making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open.

ME– I expect that if anybody does most of these things, it will be long after they turn 25.


Someone posted– at what age do all old ladies decide they want to have the same hairstyle

ME– At what age do all old ladies start wearing the same acrid perfume? And what kind is it?


Someone posted– let’s not talk about how i was banned from my town’s public library


ME– Good Lord! At my downtown library homeless men look at porn on the computers and masturbate and wash their genitals in the men’s rooms. You must’ve done something truly appalling.


Thursday, July 4th–

I woke much earlier than I wanted to…, but Belle jumped up into the bed and wanted to be loved on, massaged, and scratched.


If any of my British followers would like to trade their British citizenship in exchange for my American citizenship, I’d be very interested.


Someone posted– How’s the job search going?— assholes

ME– I was telling a friend about how, years ago, I was waiting to cross the street at an intersection, when a car made a wide turn in front of me, the driver’s side window rolled down, and my friend’s mother-in-law stuck her head out of the window and called out, “[…]!!!…Get a job!!!”


Wouldn’t “Xerxes” make a bang-up name for a kid?


Sometimes he spent hours together in the great libraries of Paris, those catacombs of departed authors, rummaging among their hoards of dusty and obsolete works in quest of food for his unhealthy appetite. He was, in a manner, a literary ghoul, feeding in the charnel-house of decayed literature.— Washington Irving, Tales of a Traveller


I spent much of the day farting around online.

I basically finished my SSDI paperwork, though I will probably go back to it tomorrow and proofread it.


You know what would really shock me? Someone with the originality and individuality to NOT have a fucking tattoo.


Well, this has been a wasted fucking day.


I amthisfuckingclose to taking a baseball bat to this fucking computer.


Fucking Spotify won’t open. Then it says I need to re-install it. Then it says I need to add Adobe Flash Player 11. Then it says I have to close Firefox for that to work. And when I do that everything shuts down and I have to start all over again with goddamn Spotify and Adobe….


Thank you, Spotify, for wasting a whole goddamn hour of my life that I’ll never get back because you wanted to be contrary.


We now return to our regular temper tantrum, already in progress.



ME–I tend to read everything aloud with an accent. And if the book’s written by a British author, I tend to read it in the voice of Peter O’Toole.


Oh my God, Spotify! Stop fucking with me or I swear I’ll leave your semi-nude, partially-decomposed body in a vacant lot somewhere!


Friday, July 5th–

Someone posted– does anybody know of a book or a website that has traditional chinese day-to-day recipes? not like feast food or what you get in restaurants, like the cheap almost-all-plants food that people actually make at home?

it’s mostly vegetarian and healthy as hell, and I’d kind of like to try it full time.

He continued–ok, so congee (rice porridge) is breakfast every day from now on. I already drink green tea all the time but I’ll do it more consciously now.

veggie stir fry at every other meal seems a bit sad but it’s a start, I guess. apparently dinner is considered incomplete without soup, so I may start doing miso soup every night.

this is do-able. my last metabolic panel didn’t show any hypothyroidism despite what was there last time, so I’m just going to try to shift entirely to a new paradigm. I had cheesecake and a frozen pizza for breakfast, which is some bullshit, so I’m just going to pretend I’m incapable of eating western food from now on.

And he added– yaaaayyyy

my Okinawan friend just jumped right in and told me to ask her anything I want to know about traditional Japanese food and said when she moves back to Little Rock she will have me over and show me how to cook a traditional meal or a lot of traditional meals, and she gave me a quick overview of what her mom makes for day-to-day food.

I didn’t want to just grab random asian friends and be like “TELL ME YOUR HEALTH SECRETS” but she saw my facebook status asking for book recommendations and just dove right in.

soooo happy, she wins. doing this right might actually change my damn life.

she also said hirayachi for breakfast and gave me a recipe, which is exciting, as well as the okinawan version of the breakfast porridge, and yeah. I’m so lucky I have friends who are into sharing this kind of thing with their clueless obese white friends.

And he also said– in other news this article I was reading on traditional chinese diet and it’s relationship to wellness said that actually breaking a sweat during a workout is considered punishment (because they’re a fucking civilized culture) and things like gentle walking and tai chi are preferable.

so yeah:

rice at every meal, soup at every dinner

no meat, no fried food, essentially no processed sugar, lots of fresh veggies

mouth feel and balance/variety an important component of flavor
daily gentle exercise

totally do-able.

ME–Do tell.

Sweating always throws me into a rage. People have suggested I swim for exercise, but I don’t know how to swim, have body issues, and am such a germaphobe that I don’t want to be in the same water that other humans have been in, so I’ll be interested on learning of your findings. And Asian foods as a whole are my favorite kinds.

He responded–this is why I aspire to have a private pool. though I don’t really care about other people being in it, I’d just rather skinny dip all the time.

ME–At my complex we have a good-sized gym. I’ve only rarely visited, but most of the times when I’ve gone someone had a TV up to a blaring level and I can’t handle that.

They used to advertise that they had two “saunas,” which I took to mean steam rooms, but which were in fact hot tubs. Neither has worked the entire nine years I’ve lived here, the management gave me a bullshit excuse as to why they’ve never fixed them, and finally last year they decommissioned one and turned it into a planter.

There are two pools which I’ve never used, which seems a shame.

Naturally, they have one closed right now for a complete overhaul/deck replacement. It’s typical they would pick the height of summer to do this, since they tend to do roofing projects in the winter—the only time it’s sure to rain around here.

But no skinny-dipping for me. I don’t even like being naked in the privacy of my own bathroom. It’s just too disgusting to see.


Someone posted– Anarchist communities often value and revere “back to the land” attitudes. They fetishize a world after the industrial collapse where we are all riding our bikes everywhere and growing our own food. But that’s not a world I can live in.

As a person with a disability, I depend on technology to keep me alive. I depend on my hearing aid, and my mobility chair. I depend on my perscription (sic) drugs to keep my immune system from destroying my spine. I can’t afford to “fuck cars and ride my bike.” Anarchist communities who celebrate able bodies, have bonding and strategizing events in inaccessible locations, adopt mantras like “racism is a DISEASE” and “The revolution will not be motorized” are not welcoming or safe places for me. These ideas of what revolution mean are exclusive, and borrow heavily from eugenicist idealogy. They are rarely criticized, because PWDs (people with disabilities) are humiliated by dominant culture AND by most anarchist culture. It’s not a revolution unless everyone is invited.

Someone added– THIS SO MUCH THIS


Someone added– This is basically the killer argument against primitivism – their ideology is really incompatible with having autonomous and mobile disabled people.

(caveat: my idea of revolution doesn’t require “everyone” to be invited, but “disabled people” is obv not an exclusion I want!)
wow this is a super fucking important point and not something that gets talked about nearly enough

Someone added– yooo and this applies to people who have serious conditions that require medications like asthma or diabetes.

Someone added–This is my problem with those “If everyone would just put down their cell phones and WAKE UP…” mantras. Because so many of rely on technology for our health. For some of us that means physical aide, and for some it means that thanks to technology we can finally communicate and make ourselves heard. Disabled people are empowered by technology in away that never existed before. And I refuse to buy into any movement that wants to take that away from people.

Someone added– Not to mention some of us need modern technology to breathe, either some or all of the time. Especially high quads. I don’t see losing that going over well with full time vent users, given they’d die instantly and horribly. And it doesn’t go over with me that well given I use supplemental oxygen and stuff, not to mention bipap at night and sometimes day too. Although I’d usually be fine for a little while, but might end up in hospital after awhile.

ME–And on the other side of the fence, the gun nut conservatives also fetishize a post-apocalyptic “head-to-the-hills”/”back-to-the-land” view. Their obsession with guns is tied to a testosterone-fueled “Red Dawn” fantasy where they will live off the land and heroically fight the US military. Thumb through a copy of conspiracy nut Alex Jones’s “Infowars” magazine and you’ll see lots of advertisements for survivalist gear, emergency food supplies, and so forth.

Personally, life in and of itself is not important to me if there is no quality to it. I would not want to live in a post-apocalyptic dystopia just so I could say I was still alive.


I’m turning 50 in November.

I’m probably not going to celebrate, because I’m broke and things have been going badly for a long time.

But I was thinking that since I have 1,338 followers [on …] and 2,965 followers on Facebook, I ought to try to put at least some of these people to use raising money for my favorite charities. (I know there’s a program on Facebook for that, but traditionally, only a few of my followers have contributed to that.)

Still, if my good friends kicked in the price of a meal or even a beer, and some others gave a dollar or two each, the charities might benefit at least a little.

Watch this space. This is still an idea in progress.


Everything. Is. Such. A. Fucking. Effort. Today.


Scrolling through my dash with one hand, and responding with the dismissive international “jack off” gesture with the other.


I finally finished the latest batch of paperwork for my application for disability benefits, and boy, do I come off as crazy.

Nor does it help that they provided only tiny, narrow lines upon which to write, which makes my writing even harder to read.


For days I’ve been hankering for Ovaltine with rice milk, but it’s too hot and unpleasant for me to leave the house. Plus, I don’t like ever leaving the house. There is that.


Someone posted–When you’re ten, they call you a prodigy. When you’re fifteen, they call you a genius. Once you hit twenty, you’re just an ordinary person.

Someone added–Haruka, words have never rung truer

ME– And when you’re my age they call you lazy and don’t understand why you’re upset doing dead-end, monotonous, minimum wage job instead of something challenging, fulfilling, and remunerative.


It’s terrible to think that more than likely all your dreams are silly, unrealistic, and unachievable, especially if they have been about the only things you’ve been staying alive for.


Someone posted–When I was a kid we ran barefoot in the yard, played in the dirt, fished in the creek with cane poles, and stayed outdoors until dark. We caught lightning bugs in jars and walked down the road without being afraid because we knew our neighbors. Share this if you remember those days.

ME–Hmm. Actually I stayed inside most of the time, drawing pictures of myself dressed as George III or Louis XIV, or trying to imitate the artistic styles of Albrecht Durer, Theodor De Bry, or James Whistler. I watched educational TV when it was in its infancy, listened to classical music, and read before I entered kindergarten. I entertained the adults in my life with poetry recitations and imitations of Richard Nixon. My skin was as white as library paste, and I was annoyed with my parents for not being royal or buying me knickers and a pince-nez. I had few friends and adult-level reading and vocabulary skills. When I did play outside, I mostly hunched over ant nests, observing their habits, building them above-ground cities of mud which included temples where I expected them to worship me for bringing them food.

So yes, you can say, I was doomed pretty much before I even got out of the starting gate.


If I were wealthy I would shell out to send most of my friends to the week-long seminar, “Why are You Dating or Married to Such Horrible Losers?,” and see if it would fix them.


Friendships begun in this world will be taken up again, never to be broken off.–Saint Francis de Sales

I retired to my bedroom for several hours and read in Huysmans, Fisher, Rubinstein, and Bukowski.


Saturday, July 6th–

There was a dream where I was in the Kirkley Dorm Main Lobby, and right by the door to the office I saw a couple of shelves of old, used books, all of which were for sale for modest amounts. There were paperbacks, as well as hardbacks, some of the latter including nineteenth-century Bibles and dictionaries. I think it was set up on the honor system–you were to leave the money the book cost in a slot–but theoretically you could just as easily walk away with the book without paying anything.


ME– Yuck. So many people have such awful taste in what they consider sexy and attractive. When they hold up their ideal type as often as not I want to vomit.


Now and then friends say they miss the “Old (me),” the confident, if obnoxious, larger-than-life character that once strode the earth like a colossus.

I miss him too, but I don’t know how to bring him back. My physical, mental, and financial problems seem almost beyond repair.

At this point, the only way to fix my appearance would be a weight-loss surgery, which is expensive, scary, and risky. I had a friend who got lap-band surgery twice and it failed both times.

As for the mental aspect, well, I have to get approved for disability first, and that’s no sure thing, and then get on Medicaid, and try to find a therapist who can help me. But I had four therapists between 2007 and 2010 and I’m probably worse now than I’ve ever been.

And as for the financial end, I was evaluated earlier in the year and told I was unemployable. If the therapists do manage to “cure” me after a couple of years of therapy (I’m skeptical as to the likelihood of that), what sort of career do I have to look forward to? Bullshit minimum wage call-center jobs or similar such shit? That is unacceptable.


Someone posted– Relax. You will become an adult. You will figure out your career. You will find someone who loves you. You have a whole lifetime; time takes time. The only way to fail at life is to abstain.–Johanna de Silentio

ME–Pfft. Hasn’t worked for me yet, and I’m older than most people here.


I do not acknowledge the right of anyone to “call [me] out” on anything, ever.

I have spoken.


I retired to my bedroom for several hours and read in Huysmans, Fisher, Rubinstein, and Bukowski.


Sunday, July 7th–

Though I may be broke—even poor—and have no visitors, and a ratty little apartment, I still use a saucer with my coffee cup, and as often as not have a charger plate under my regular plate at meals, though I admit this is more for cleanliness and tidiness than ostentation.


I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.—Michel Foucault


Someone posted– This unemployment game is getting me down so I gave my resume a makeover.

ME– Once some guy posted an ad on Craigslist advertising for a writer/editor for his new magazine. He had all sorts of criteria, but the main thing about the ad was that the guy tried much too hard to come across as edgy and borderline offensive. Well, I have chunks of edgy and borderline offensive in my stool, so I wrote back to him, giving an honest, if outré and balls-out response, but I think it proved too much for him, because he never got back in touch with me. I think I still have my e-mail on file somewhere….


“Capitalism would have us believe that we only deserve to be here because of what we produce, and even in our counter- cultures, even in our movements we reproduce the same idea. We only deserve to be here because of what we can produce that other people will buy with their money, time or attention. Our experience of our own lives is secondary, it is only the means of production, it is the products that matter, and unless we make ourselves into both factories and widgets we are not valuable.”—
Alexis Pauline Gumbs


Yes, I often wonder about my knowledge, education, and intelligence all being for naught. My family says I “didn’t do anything with [my] education.” Most of the thirty-eight or so dead-end jobs I’ve had in my life failed to utilize my knowledge and skills. So I have to wonder if all the treasures I have stored up in my head are nothing more than an elaborate entertainment system, put together over a period of decades, for no one’s use but my own. It seems a waste somehow.


Summer is for me a terrible ordeal that I have to endure every year. It’s really painful and traumatic for me, and in Texas it lasts for about eight months of the year.


Well, I need groceries, but don’t want to deal with being out in public or carrying my purchases back home a mile through the heat on my back and shoulders, so I will wait until my friends can drive me to the store.

Yes, my social anxiety is getting worse.

I should’ve gone to the UPS Store across the street to mail some stuff off yesterday, but didn’t want to leave the house.


I once got so enthralled by a story I was telling about a ridiculous customer who came into the store where I worked, that I forgot for a minute that I was actually talking to my mother. Needless to say, she was rather upset when I said, “So this stupid cocksucker….”

I got very embarrassed. I must’ve just been too much at ease.


My default name for other human beings is usually “cocksucker.”


Someone posted–you should post a few pictures of your impressive book collection sometime! it would be interesting to see! also, I think I already know the answer to this, but I’ll ask anyway. would you be interested in selling any? have you thought about cataloging them online somehow? seems there might be websites for that sort of thing? so, you could show people the list, if you wanted? cheers mate! -Jason

ME– I have some old pictures of my nasty apartment, featuring some of the books. I may take new pictures and post them. Sadly, most of the books are either in boxes or on shelves behind other stacks of books. I’ve not had all of my books easily accessible on shelves since 1973. (No typo.) Not being able to access the books feels somewhat like not owning them at all, since I seldom get to enjoy them.

I did sell a few hundred books back in 2007 or 2008, and realized less than $200 for them. I regret selling some of them, but I was running out of room. I have a three-room apartment with maybe 534-square-feet, and in the neighborhood of 10,000 books, and untold numbers of magazines and file folders full of print-outs and photos-copies, so I am on the verge of hoarder-like conditions.

I did have a sort of catalogue–just a numerical listing–but I haven’t updated it since 2004, not have I corrected it to reflect the books I sold.

I would like to prepare a spreadsheet or something at some point in the future, but I would need some room to spread things out, take things down, work on them, and put them back, and I don’t have that kind of room in this apartment. I would also probably need someone to help me with the process.

Because of all this, on the rare occasions I get into my book boxes, I always find delightful things I forgot I owned. I also have a peculiar habit whereby I seem to know years in advance what a future interest will be. I will develop an interest, then discover I already own two, three, or four books on the subject.

Finally, I should mention that for the most part, this is a working library, and not a collector’s library. There’s very little here that’s of great worth to collectors. There are some writers whose complete works I’ve tried to collect. I have much of their works, though not all. (These writers include Borges, Rexroth, W. S. Burroughs, Kerouac, Barthes, E. T. Seton, Walter Benjamin, Simenon, Hunter Thompson, Jim Thompson, Dickens, Faulkner, Hemingway, Henry Miller, Mishima, Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Jonathan Gash, Erle Stanley Gardner, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell, Frank Lloyd Wright, Rider Haggard, Stanislaw Lem, Noam Chomsky, Ross Macdonald, Emile Zola, Honore de Balzac, and others.)

Since I’ve been unemployed for almost three years now, I’ve really not been able to buy books, and that has caused me enormous stress. Those years have been wasted, and I am very much behind in my collecting. But in the free time I’ve been getting a lot of reading done, though oddly enough, in books I get from the library–not the ones I have here at home.


I looked up some people from my distant past on FB without bothering to add them. I should’ve just left it alone, left them as I remember them being as little kids.

My first kindergarten crush went to junior college and went into some stupid job, married a big, dumb, redneck lummox and had a big, dumb, redneck lummox son. Another kindergarten crush looks amazingly the same in the face, but grew a big ass and huge breasts, and describes herself as a Glenn Beck fan. Another crush has like five to seven kids. Another is a white trash-looking grandmother. It just gets worse and worse.

I’m so glad I don’t know these people anymore, but then again, I don’t like most of the people I know now. I often think, “Jesus, am I going to have to have these losers hanging around me the rest of my life? Can’t I do better than this?”


“I haven’t found myself with more friends: life has shown me more and more clearly how fulfillingly my duty is tied to the terrible condition of solitude”— Friedrich Nietzsche, Last Letters


“For each person there is a sentence—a series of words—which has the power to destroy them.”— Philip K. Dick

JSB– Oh God yes.

For me there are several such sentences. And a few have already been uttered.


Dear Spotify:

If you’re going to interrupt my music listening experience to advertise other musical acts, could you at least try to sell me on the kind of bands and musicians I’d actually listen to instead of some speed-metal or rap/rock shit?


The most common word out of my mouth is “goddammit.” I don’t know if I can go ten minutes without saying it at least once. This is probably because there’s always something going wrong and I’m almost always angry or irritated about something.


Monday, July 8th–

I woke up sometime in the afternoon, and after taking care of Belle, gathered my materials together to go run errands.

I went to the UPS Store and copied a few pages from some library books, then a great deal of documents that needed to go off to the Social Security Administration ($3.55). I hope I got the latter sorted correctly, as I had to send out two different packets. I noticed that I was too late for the packets to go out in today’s mail–I hope that won’t count against me, since I was supposed to do at least one of those packets within fifteen days of receiving it, and I definitely took my time.

I’m not sure, but I think the owner of the UPS Store is thinking about moving to a location down the street that charges cheaper rent. I hope not, as this place has been very convenient for me.

After that, I went over to Dollar Tree and got $34.00 worth of food items, though I still don’t have the main course foods I really need from HEB. Needless to say, the combination of the stress of being out in public, being out in the heat, and lugging all those groceries, plus Belle barking loudly at me, got me very upset, and it took me a long time to wind down.


I saw this headline– Perry won’t seek re-election as Texas governor





Someone posted gifs from the film “Revolutionary Road”–

So I guess Paris was a pretty childish idea, huh?

I guess maybe it was.

I wrote– The book depressed me. I’m afraid if I watched the film it would make me kill myself.

The book expresses so many of my worst fears about life.


This hot Texas climate is taking a toll on my mental health.

It isn’t normal that an adult should feel like crying after being out in the heat. The combination of the heat and having to go out in public just now has me beside myself right now. I’ve even put off a needed grocery store visit because I can’t deal with the people and the heat.


Someone posted a video of a child hitting a cat and the cat responding by swatting back at the child, knocking the child off a bed.

Someone wrote–Reason why I hate cats. They’re so scary.

Someone wrote–#Reasons why I hate babies #they do this and everyone blames the pet


Someone wrote–I grew up in a family with lots of animals. [mostly small dogs.] I was taught to respect them. To treat them like my family. Would I hit my mom, my siblings? No. Do I hit the animals? NO. If I hit, slapped or maliciously hurt one of them and they bit or scratched at me.. well, that’s my ass because I should know better and the animal was defending itself.

Someone wrote–If any child ever does this shit to my animals.. the CHILD gets reprimanded, not the animal. My nephew was absolutely BANNED from touching our animals because he was mean to them. My baby brother was 5, he straight up PUNCHED our 13 year old dog in the face.. she bit him in the face, he got stitches in his nose. He hasn’t laid a finger on her since.

I think people really need to teach their children, especially small children to respect animals.

ME– I fucking hate children. I would hope that the cat hurt the child, except that then the stupid adults would probably then kill the cat for reacting to abuse from their ignorant brat. But no, it enrages me when people allow their kids to abuse animals and then punish or kill the animals if they dare hurt “the little darlings.”

What a fucking world.

Someone wrote– yeah if a baby did that to any dog I’ve ever had they’d get kisses. cats are fucking bitches. I don’t condone hitting them, but they’re not intrinsically social animals and no matter how many human emotions you project onto them, they’re still predatory and completely without empathy.

that said, dogs are nigh saintly and the cat didn’t do anything wrong and the kid would get a serious talking to if it did that in front of me. I just prefer companion animals that actually like, give a shit about you. if you die your cats will eat you. dogs are known to pine listlessly over their humans graves….

ME– I don’t drive for a number of reasons, one being that I am prone to road rage, so I don’t want to get myself killed or go to jail for killing someone else with a car, so the safe policy is to just avoid driving.

Similarly, if I saw a child behave like that towards an animal, my initial impulse would be to slap the shit out of the kid. Now I know, objectively-speaking, that that is wrong, but I have a violent temper that I can’t always control.

There have been times I’ve wanted to violently attack or attempt to kill other people (like when that guy ran over a dog last year and didn’t even show the slightest remorse), but have been held back only because I knew I had a dog at home that loved and depended on me.

So, because of this short temper, …and because children generally just get on my fucking nerves in a major goddamn way, I think it’s best if I don’t have any, at least until I get my shit together, mentally-speaking.


Someone wrote– i’m going to start referring to men as “our husbands, fathers, and sons” whenever i talk about issues that affect them.

ME– Feh. Do what I do. Call them “these cocksuckers over here.” It’s a lot quicker.


I went back to my bedroom to read. I finished M. F. K. Fisher’s “Long Ago In France: The Years In Dijon. ” It was an enjoyable look at Dijon in the early 1930s, the odd characters that lived there, and Fisher’s awakening as a woman, an artist, and a gastronome. This book would pair well with Julia Child’s “My Life In France.”

After that I finished Jonathan Rubinstein’s “Joe: A Coffee Book.” Although the author does promote his own business a little too much in this book, and three times commits the unforgivable sin of using “impact” as a transitive verb, and also makes the life of a barista sound stressful, complicated, and hectic, it is, at bottom, filled with a lot of very good information about coffee and how to brew and enjoy it. Apparently, I’ve not been doing it properly all these years.


Journal Entries (June 25th–July 1st, 2013).

Tuesday, June 25th–

I got up around 7:30 to 8am after a night of inadequate sleep. I did my usual rituals, then called the Social Security Administration to give them my corrections, but a recording said they were swamped with calls and that I should try back later.


Someone posted this– NY morning view from a couch-crasher’s perspective.

I responded– When I first moved to Austin I was a couch-crasher.

The second couch I stayed on was that of a friend who had a long-distance romance going. He and his girlfriend were obsessed with one another, and talked every night on long-distance telephone for over four hours. Plus they exchanged cards and presents every day. One wall of his bedroom was covered with cards, letters, and deflated balloons from her.

I found it all rather ridiculous.

My friend spent so much money on this nonsense that he had to be very careful with his other bills. He couldn’t afford to run his air conditioner, which is an absolute necessity in Texas. But since I slept in the living room, I’d have to sleep with the patio door open to get any kind of air at night.

We were on the third floor. The patio windows and the balcony faced west, and I slept with my feet pointed at the open window.

At the time, Austin’s airport was just a short distance north of downtown, and as it turned out, our apartment was directly in the flight path. So every morning at 6am, I’d be rudely and frighteningly awakened by a big jet airliner roaring in, looking as if it was headed directly for our apartment.


I headed out close to 10am to go run my errands. As I approached the bus stop, I saw the # 3 bus leaving. The # 383 arrived just as I did, so I rode it over to Target, got off that one, and then got on the # 3, which was having a lay-over. Later, I rode it over to Burnet Road, got off, waited at least thirty fucking minutes in the hot sun–it felt more like an hour–then got the  # 240 over to the North Lamar HEB where I filled my prescriptions.

I had lunch at a filthy, crowded, and noisy McDonald’s in the HEB parking lot. I had a large order of fries, two apple pies, and ice water. I had to ask for a plastic fork and napkins since they’d not bothered to keep up the stock out at the condiments table.

Then I had another long, hot wait for the # 1 bus. When it arrived I had one of those drivers–I recognized him–who likes to drive his bus at the leisurely crawl of a hearse. It took forever to get downtown.

During the ride I had to sit seven to ten feet behind a homeless or near-homeless person I’ve seen around on the buses for years, whom I’ve nicknamed “The Dirty Asshole,” because of the rather engrained nature of his personal filthiness, and the sour expression he always has on his face. All the way downtown he had his arms raised over his head and his filthy mitts clutching a metal pole–airing out his stinky armpits.

I was very hot and upset by the time I got to the library. I dropped some materials off, went to the DVD section, found nothing to suit me, grabbed some books on DVD, snagged some more bus maps, then hit the second and third floors for more books.

Here’s what I checked out–

+James Ellroy–The Hilliker Curse (On CD)

+Jack Kerouac–On The Road (On CD)

+Vladimir Nabokov–Lolita (On CD)

+Joyce Johnson–The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac (On CD)

+Sylvia Plath–Ariel

+Mark Finn–Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard

+Joris-Karl Huysmans–Against Nature (A Rebours)

+W. D. Howells–Italian Journeys

+Norman Bel Geddes Designs America–(Donald Albrecht, editor)

+Jon Thompson–How To Read A Modern Painting: Lessons from the Modern Masters

+Patrick De Rynck–How To Read A Painting: Lessons from the Old Masters

After that I had fifteen or twenty more minutes in the heat, waiting for the # 382 Express to take me home. I was so tired and out of it, that when I slid my day pass through the scanner I didn’t look to see how much extra fare I owed, and the driver didn’t ask me for it. I didn’t even realize this until I was almost home.

Belle greeted me loudly, as usual.

I was very hot, sore, tired, irritated, and dehydrated.


So fucking angry right now.


I had planned to go to bed early, but I got drawn into watching the coverage of a filibuster at the Texas State Capitol. It attracted an international audience and became quite entertaining political theatre.


This made me laugh out loud–

Can we lift Wendy Davis out of the Senate Chamber and carry her through the Capitol after she finishes like she’s the goddamn Khaleesi?


Someone posted–Texas Legislator Wendy Davis is currently filibustering one of the strictest anti-abortion bills in America. She has to go for 13 hours without stopping, sitting, going to the bathroom or even leaning. There are currently 11,000 20,000 26,000 30,000 35,000 people watching live.

Someone posted– Davis has been wearing a back brace to help her poise as she continues on her fairly aggressive filibuster. If she can keep it going, she’ll have spoken until the end of the special session, single-handedly stopping a vote on the measure—or anything else, for that matter.


50,428 watching.


I read that the entire Texas Capitol is full right now–all four floors–and it’s a pretty large building. I think it was the largest office building in the world when it was completed.


86,535 watching live feed from Austin.


Someone posted–We’re currently locked in the Texas Capitol.


Someone posted–The political savvy with which David Dewhurst has handled this filibuster explains why Ted Cruz is now a U. S. senator.


Someone posted–  Weird how Texas Republicans won’t let Wendy Davis carry this filibuster to term.


Looks like the comment thread on the Texas Lege feed is at least an hour behind.


10:59 in Austin. One hour left.


Someone posted– Is Senator Watson going to try to deliver a 40 minute closing speech?

Looks like it.


Someone posted–i’m watching this texas livestream just waiting for “rains of castamere” to start playing.

#the feminists send their regards


Someone posted–this may be the only time in history where texans’ tendency to speak as slow as humanly possible may come in handy

ME–This Texan says “Tee-hee.”


I wonder what Molly Ivins would’ve said about today’s events in Austin were she still alive.


Someone posted–“mr president i have an inquiry”

“state your inquiry”



“Senator, you must rephrase that in the form of a question.”

“Very well, Mr. President, will you please go fuck yourself, sir?”


11 minutes left.


Someone posted– “At what point must a female senator raise her voice to be heard over her male colleagues in the room”

ME– The Amazing [Me] predicts this will be THE mother-fucking meme tomorrow.




A night like tonight makes me wish I still lived in Central Austin instead of out here in the ‘burbs.

I’d love to see the crowd at the Capitol in two minutes.


Midnight in Austin.


Wednesday, June 26th–Tuesday flowed into Wednesday.


What’s that rhythmic sound outside the Texas Senate Chamber?
It sounds like a faulty washing machine, but I think it’s the crowd outside the Chamber chanting and clapping and stomping.





Texas Capitol Rotunda—right now.


Someone posted– GOP senators in the Texas statehouse are claiming that they suspended due to the disruption in the chamber, and that “time-out” allowed them to resume and pass SB5 at 12:01 AM.

This appears the go in direct violation of Texas law and state senate procedure.

I predict a lengthy court battle to decide the fate of this bill.

Someone posted–oh good lord.


Someone posted–senate computer (whatever that means) reports that the bill passed. people are being hauled out of the gallery and arrested.

Someone posted–what oh god


Someone posted–



I keep telling you people what a shit-hole state Texas is, but no one listens….


Someone posted–  Aaaaaaand they’re arresting people now.

Someone posted– my greatest fear is that nothing will change, once the flash of this dies down.

ME–Of course nothing will change until there is a MAJOR overhaul of the way American government and society operate. And I don’t think most Americans are pissed off enough or strong enough yet for that to happen.









Someone posted–Yeah but what type of government tries to break its own law in front of a public gallery of hundreds of citizens, surrounded by cameras, while being streamed live for 150,000 people?

ME–A government that controls the economy, means of production. law enforcement and military, how you’re educated, whether you have a job or not….


Tonight’s events reminded me of an old movie I’ve not seen for many years–“Blossoms in the Dust.”

Starring Greer Garson, it was based on the true story about a woman who opens a home for orphans and illegitimate children. At one point, she campaigns to have the term “illegitimate” removed from birth certificates in Texas, and appears before the Texas State Senate to argue her cause.

Many of the Senators don’t want to hear her, because illegitimacy had such a huge stigma in those days. There’s a lot of harumphing and cat-calls. And right before she begins to speak, the President of the Senate calls a ten-minute recess, then adds, “Go ahead, Mrs. Gladney….Members of the Senate may walk out…if chivalry is dead in Texas.”

Naturally, the Senators can’t handle being shamed in that way, and they all stay, hear her out, and vote in favor of her proposal.

Which just goes to show the difference between movies and real life.


Someone posted–Close to 50 arrests already. DONATE TO BAIL FUND HERE

Donate to the bail fund for protestors arrested in Texas.


Someone posted–Every single one of my friends is up late on a Tuesday night watching a livestream of the Texas legislature debate points of policy. Do not fucking tell me my generation is apathetic you baby boomer assholes

Someone posted–Pretty much. My entire dash is filled with it.


Well, I’m sure glad I didn’t go to bed early tonight the way I’d originally planned.


Did anyone else notice a few hours before the Texas filibuster drama ended, there was a brief period of chanting from the gallery? I don’t mean the long burst of chanting right before midnight.

Anyway, right as that was happening, President of the Senate David Dewhurst looked out, as if getting the attention of security in the back of the room, and did an elaborate gestures in the air with his hands. If you watched the pattern he traced you could see he was telling security to enter the gallery from every direction, and sweep the onlookers and protestors out of the room.

Now they didn’t clear the gallery for another couple hours, but there was something in the way he made that gesture that was chilling and unsettling.


CONFIRMED: SB5 IS DEAD (According to Lt. Gov./President of Tx. Senate Dewhurst)


My gut feeling is that the Texas Republicans conceded defeat with SB5 not because they were intimidated by loud, but unarmed protestors, but because they realized the case for declaring the vote was shaky at best, and it would cause a big mess in the courts and make everybody responsible look like fools. Rick Perry has been pushing this anti-abortion agenda, but his political star has been on the wane ever since he made such a fool of himself in 2012. Maybe these Republicans didn’t want to go down on Perry’s sinking ship, and decided to cut their losses. Still, they’ll probably try to pass something similar in the next regular or special session of the Legislature. I think the legislators are more scared of the lobbyists and their big money bosses than anything else. But an audience of 150,000 around the world, even if it was just on You Tube, counts for something.


Someone posted–Everyone is saying take that TEXAS, take that TEXAS LEGISLATURE, take that MEN. I want us to all be REALLY CLEAR HERE. Tonight, members of the TEXAS LEGISLATURE stood up and followed proper procedure to protest an unjust bill. When the feeds were cut because the TEXAN people rose in protest, the only live footage or current correct news coverage I could find of the event was from MEN there to protest with the women. Keep the ‘equal’ in the fight for equality!


I watched maybe the last four hours of the session, and when things were really hopping, the other Democrats who helped Senator Davis were like a perfectly choreographed dance team, stepping up, making challenges, asking questions, throwing curve balls, handing off to another Senator, stalling for time, giving the Republicans as good as they got. It was amazing viewing.
Up until tonight I viewed the entire Texas Legislature as a monolith of ignorant, bigoted rednecks, but I have since learned that wasn’t entirely true.

And I also believe I saw some political stars born tonight.


On the other side of the Texas State Capitol Building, in the House Chamber, there’s a section of the gallery known as “The Owner’s Box,” because that’s where the lobbyists who work for big business interests, and who have all of the Republican in their pockets, sit.


Why can’t everybody just leave everybody the fuck alone?


Someone posted– “What you wear has the power to influence your thinking on a subconscious level. This is shown by the Standford Prison experiment.”

ME–What I don’t wear—pants—also influences my thinking. This is shown by the […] experiment.


Someone wrote–  [Social media] can go from porn and fandom to serious political talk in about .5 seconds and it’s actually pretty amazing

I wrote– Yeah, first it’s all Sherlock and John anal sex fan-art, then mother-fuckers are up on the barricades calling for revolution. I’m way behind on my cute puppy/kitten/bunny pix for the day.



Lemme put some pants on


ME– The Revolution will not be fully-dressed.



I woke about 2:30pm or so, still very tired and sore from yesterday.


Glenn Beck Concerned Gay Marriage Could Lead To Polygamy

Glenn Beck voiced a ridiculous “concern” about gay marriage on Wednesday.

ME– That’s pretty rich coming from a fucking Mormon.


After a long time spent on hold, I finally got ahold of someone from the Social Security Administration and asked about the corrections I wanted to make to my SSDI application. The lady was quite pleasant and helpful.


Okay, I’m not talking about any particular issue here, but it annoys me that where any kind of rights are concerned, the weak and the poor always have to ask, beg, plead, con, bribe, flatter, steal from, fight, cajole, and persuade the powerful and the wealthy for their rights, and the powerful always take the stance of strict parents: “Oh, I’m sorry. You want to have the car Friday night and stay an hour past your usual curfew? But you failed to mow the lawn exactly the way I told you to. There’s still a small patch in the back yard you missed. So, you missed your chance. And anyway, you didn’t need to go out. Trust me, I know what’s best for you.” I’m just really tired of being treated like a child by those in charge.


Someone wrote– Getting home from the psychologist’s office and realizing that you’re much more fucked up than you thought…

Someone else wrote–forward into the breach! I’m pretty much the same… sometimes it’s a bitch, but i manage most of the time.

ME– I had a therapist who said, “You know, you’ve been coming in here for months telling me the most horrific stories, but you usually do it with a smile on your face. How is that possible?”

And I said, “I don’t know. Maybe I’m just amused and overcome with disbelief that so many awful things have happened to me and continue to happen.”

Like the old cliche goes, if I didn’t laugh I’d cry. And in my case I don’t like to cry in public, in front of therapists or anybody else. I save my tears for home.


So *NOW* will you all believe me when I try to tell you what a fucked-up place Texas is?


I am not so much interested in winning as I am in seeing my enemies totally defeated and destroyed.


Someone wrote, referencing some right-wing claim that the Supreme Court today making two rulings in favor of gay marriage would lead to bestiality–Two Americans convinced their far-reaching bigotry is the work of god.

ME– Oh, in all of the excitement I forgot to tell ll of you that I asked my dog to marry me today and she accepted!

We’re registered at Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, and Petco, if you want to buy us a gift (hint hint).

I’m the happiest man alive!

Someone wrote–  human/dog marriages: actually much more stable than human/human ones

ME– And my dog also barks at me incessantly for about fifteen minutes whenever I return home from an absence of any kind, whether it lasted fifteen minutes or eight hours, so that’s a bit like having a nagging wife, though she stops eventually.

And I would definitely freak out if a human female took a dump on my carpet. With my dog, I can take care of it.


Have we heard anything today from Victoria Jackson, Kirk Cameron, or Rick Santorum? I’m sure those fuck-wits have something quotable to say.


I discovered the secret to life and I didn’t have to spend years meditating on a mountain-top or under a tree: Follow more Corgi blogs.


I always wince violently when someone calls a group of males and females, or worse yet, only females, “guys.” To me, a “guy” has a penis.


ME–Here’s how I think things will play in Texas.

Rick Perry has already called another Special Session of the Texas Legislature for this bill. I will wager he’s got lawyers, parliamentarians, and other experts strategizing how best to head the Democrats off at the pass and make this bill become law. He will either keep having Special Sessions until he gets his way or wait until the next Regular Session in 2014. He might prefer to wait until there’s a new news cycle and the public’s collective attention is turned to other matters.

Be assured, though, that Perry will probably have State Troopers keeping spectators out of the House and Senate Chambers, and the mikes cut much of the time, so what happened yesterday won’t be repeated.

My advice to Texas Democratic Legislators: buy comfortable shoes and adult diapers. You’ll need them.

But generally speaking, once the Powers That Be, whether on a national, state, or local level, decide they want something, they’re going to find a way to get it. If they can do it publicly that’s fine, but they are not above going for it in secret.

Now I was under the impression that Perry’s star was on the wane, but a friend who follows Texas politics closer than I do thinks Perry will make another Presidential bid in 2016, and if he gets SB5 passed he will wave it before the eyes of the Christian Right-Wingers that would constitute the majority of his base like a dog owner waving a chew toy at a dog.

Of course, if he got the GOP nomination, then he’d have to debate Hilary Clinton more than likely, and that’s one show I wouldn’t dare miss.

Someone wrote– He wouldn’t try again, after the disaster that was his campaign last time? Would he?

Someone else wrote– They already tried to push through an illegal and invalid vote. They’ll stop at nothing. Prick Perry knows he’s on borrowed time as Governor – his SB5 nemesis, Wendy Davis, might damn well be his competition in the next gubernatorial brouhaha. They’ll stop at nothing to “save” pre-born people while they execute the next 500. Bastards.

ME–I would think it more likely that if any Texas Democrat from last night runs for Governor in 2014 it’d be Kirk Watson, and even then, he might hold off. He considered running in 2010. (Though the office of Lt.-Governor is actually more powerful in Texas.) If Texas turns blue in the next few years, he could become a very major player indeed. He used to be Mayor of Austin, and he could campaign on his record in that area as well as his record in the Senate.

As for Wendy Davis, that’s hard to say. Yes, 180,000 people worldwide were watching the filibuster at one point, but who constituted her audience? I would think it was mostly young people, since older people with jobs tend to be in bed early. I watched the You Tube feed, but my understanding was that the major TV news networks gave the event little attention. Plus the filibuster got buried between two days of Supreme Court decisions.

I’m not saying that Davis (and others, including Senator Van de Putte) last night didn’t become new liberal Democratic stars. I’m just wondering how well this will translate with Texas voters. She has said she’s going to run for re-election in 2014. But I wouldn’t be surprised if she eyed a statewide office, such as Attorney General, especially since the current AG, Greg Abbott, wants to run for Governor.

Still, if she runs for any major office, look for Senator Davis to be tarred as Satan’s baby-killing hand-maiden by the conservatives.


Someone wrote– Dear Rick Perry,

You are not allowed to change the rules just because things didn’t turn out how you wanted.

No love,



Someone else added– WHAT

Someone else added– Actually this is perfectly legal under the Texas constitution.

Someone else added– seriously?! what is the point of a “democratic” process then?

Someone else added– well the idea was that since Texas elected republicans they get to pass the laws they want. Basically, screw you minorities/oppressed people.

Someone else added– Special sessions are used all the time since the Lege only meets once every two years. Typically, in the past, they have been used to pass budgets or education reform.

Perry has mostly used them mostly for pushing abortion and immigration bills.

ME– Yeah, I remember a few years ago that in the Regular Session the Legislature wasn’t able to figure out a way to finance public schools, but it did address that oh-so-important topic of sexually-suggestive high school cheer-leading routines. They actually had to have a Special Session to deal with school finance.

And let’s not forget that one at least two occasions they’ve considered allowing Texas college students to carry concealed firearms on campus for protection. The second time they did this was just a few weeks after a student went on a shooting spree on the UT campus, just a fifteen minute walk from the Capitol. (And if that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve had several friends arguing why such a law would be a great idea!)

The Texas Legislature is basically like a group of cranky, cheap old people. The members oppose any kind of progress, they use religion as an excuse to act like assholes, and they like to cut the funding for any and every program they can find.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Texas is a real shit-hole.


I wrote in response to a strange post- Masturbation feels how pizza tastes? Seriously? Either I don’t know how to masturbate properly or I’ve been eating some really lousy pizzas, because most pizzas taste like crap to me, and many give me diarrhea. I do eat pizzas, but I’ve never understood the fuss over them.


Someone wrote– “Shit ton” is my favorite unit of measurement.

ME– That is definitely a generational thing, because everybody I know over a certain age always says, “Shit-load.” “Shit ton” always sounds odd to me. And since nobody can fucking spell anymore, some people write it as “shiton” or “shitton,” which looks like “shit on” to me.

But I’m also not a big fan of people writing “ya” when they mean “yeah.”


Someone wrote– so now that I know I’m autistic I knew to expect a severe breakdown at the wedding (45 minutes of weeping over the death of shellfish, and suicidal ideation…check!) and to expect it to take maybe 2 weeks to recover from it.

so uh, accurate so far.  trying to decide how to use this information to my advantage.  or, you know, stop having aftershock-like panic attacks.

ME–There’s a famous Glenn Gould quote where he speculates about the amount of solitude you need to recover from a given amount of exposure to other people.

As for me, if I have more than one “ordeal” a week it’s bad. Two a week’s really pushing it, and I seldom let myself get trapped into more responsibilities than that. When I found out last week that my doctor had cancelled my appointment for the 24th, and that I could also therefore postpone a blood lab visit last week, I was practically whistling “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” out of my asshole.

Still, this week has involved sending an e-mail for the monthly checks to my mom, and dreading her response, two calls to the Social Security Administration (one a recording, one successful), and Tuesday’s errands (picking up my prescriptions and going to the library—which should’ve taken no more than four hours, but because of the slow buses took over six). This has all proved too much. I have been sore, exhausted, and dehydrated since Tuesday afternoon, and feel as if I’ve unloaded a boxcar full of 100-lbs. bags of chicken feed. So I have decided to postpone my Museum Day Thursday and concentrate on staying cool and calming down.

Indeed, I think my stress Tuesday had less to do with being around people and riding the filthy, noisy buses than it did with having to wait around for prolonged amounts of time in the unbearable heat. It just takes too much out of me. I’ve never been able to handle this climate, though I’ve lived here almost all of my life.

I will be interested to see if the Social Security folks do indeed get me tested for Asperger’s and what the test uncovers.


Thursday, June 27th–

I think today was the day I got the latest packet of SSDI forms to fill out.

I listened to the first three CDs of “The Hilliker Curse.”

I got diarrhea….

I think it was today that I started Sylvia Plath’s “Ariel.” I also read in Fisher, Buzzi and the Blanton guide, I think.


“There is more beauty in truth, even if it is a dreadful beauty.” — John Steinbeck, East of Eden


“I eat stories like grapes.” — John Steinbeck, East of Eden


Someone posted–“When people in Texas and other states complain about bad laws, the response from progressives in New York City (I use NYC only as an example — there are people in many cities that believe their city is the most progressive in the world) is that they should just pack their bags and hop the first plane to Manhattan. Instead of working to change bad policy, they should abandon their homes, lives, and friends for more liberal pastures.

For most of us, that just isn’t in the cards. My family lives in Texas and Louisiana, and I can’t imagine being far away from them. I live in Dallas, where I get the perks of a major metropolitan area, like 3 a.m. Thai delivery and excellent theatre, while simultaneously getting cheap rent and high wages. As a bonus — I get to live in a pretty progressive area full of great restaurants, urban gardens, cool bars, and best of all — great tacos.

I don’t want to leave my home, and I don’t think I should have to. Texas is a pretty great place, most of the time. I’m not going to let a couple hundred right-wing men in Austin make me leave the state I was raised in.

Progressives deserting Texas, Florida, and others isn’t the way to solve the problems of these states. More organization, more time, and more money from national progressive groups will lead to real, lasting change.”—Stop Telling Liberals and Women to Leave Red States

ME– Well, I DO want to escape Texas. Even if it were a liberal paradise, the climate is unbearable, and I am bored shitless with everything about this place. I hate the people, their values, their politics, their pastimes, their anti-intellectual bias, their bull-headed embrace of Tea Bagger stupidity, and what passes for culture. I hate the fact that my entire life has been wasted in a place that is exactly like “King of the Hill.”

The only things that have kept me in this godforsaken shit-hole are lack of money and the fact I’ve been stuck most of my life in a bad place career-wise. Never mind that I was recently told I was totally unemployable and will have to spend years in therapy trying to get my psychological problems in order so I can maybe go back to work one day, if, of course, I get approved for disability and Medicaid first, and that’s by no means a sure thing.

I hate everything about this goddamn place, but I’m terrified I’ll be stuck here until the day I kill myself, unless somebody airlifts me out of here.


RE: Paula Deen and race

When I was growing up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s, white men often used the word “n****r,” or if they were polite, “blacks,” “Negroes,” or (rarely) “colored people.” White women always used “nigra,” which seemed a strange compromise between “Negro” and “n****r.” A woman that actually used the word “n*****r” would’ve been considered vulgar and common.

I started school just two or three years after my town’s schools had been integrated, and when I was a high school senior inter-racial dating was still considered shocking and scandalous.

My father grew up on what was left of his family’s plantation in East Texas, and he was taught hunting and woodcraft by an old black man who worked for the family. After my father’s death I did some research and discovered that the old man was the illegitimate son of my father’s great-great-step-grandfather, George T.  Wood, second Governor of Texas, and one of his slaves. I’m not even sure if my father knew of the old man’s ancestry.

And I knew a man, a plant nursery owner, who as a child in 1922 participated in a lynching (actually a burning at the stake) in Conroe, Texas. He said that after this black man, Joe Winters, had been captured, after being accused of raping a white girl, he’d been taken downtown and tied to a hitching post. The storyteller and a bunch of other little boys then ran around in the alleys downtown, collecting scrap lumber, which was subsequently piled up around Winters, who was then doused in gasoline and set on afire.

When I was in high school, a girl attending a volleyball game at Conroe High School (the same town that was the site of the 1922 lynching), was raped and murdered. The school’s janitors seemed the most likely suspects, and a Texas Ranger said to them, “One of you is going to have to hang for this,” and turning to janitor Clarence Brandley, who was black, “Since you’re the n****r, you’re elected.”

Brandley did not get a fair trial, and spent several years on Death Row before he was exonerated and freed. He tried to sue the state for wrongful imprisonment, but his lawsuits were turned down. The State of Texas didn’t even give him an apology.

So no, the “old days” were not so long ago.

Some might think it’s a shame that a woman who seems like everybody’s aunt is losing her career for using racial slurs, while elsewhere politicians, business leaders, and other power brokers are getting away with amassing millions and incredible power by oppressing and even killing minorities. But let us not think Paula Deen is merely a quaint, if embarrassing holdover from the past, a “product of her time and culture,” that in a few more decades people who think like her will die off and we can settle into having a “post-racial society.”

The lynch mobs still exist, even if they haven’t seemed especially active in recent decades. We have only to study recent American political discourse to see that. Just this week Jim Crow sat up, and rubbed his eyes after having a long nap.

Keep in mind the words of Mr. Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”


Friday, June 28th–

I spent a few hours writing this for [a follower who is a photographer]:

Now that I’ve reread your original post I see you’re coming to Austin in a couple of weeks, though not necessarily staying a couple of weeks. I was going to say that unless you came down for SXSW or something like that, you’d probably run out of things to do after about a week. But yes, having relatives here and having visited before will help.

I used to be the Food Editor for […], and I had a newspaper column on Austin history (since turned into an as-yet-unpublished book), so I know the town pretty well, even if I haven’t been out-and-about much lately.

If you have time I would recommend a day or two spent in San Antonio, which is about a 90-120 minutes drive south. SA is older, more historical, with more interesting architecture, more museums, lots of cool old churches, and, in the city center at least, is more culturally rich and has less of that generic suburban American look than Austin has.

But let me start with downtown Austin and work my way outwards. Sixth Street is over-rated. Some think it’s Austin’s answer to Bourbon Street, but it’s mostly just frat boys, sorority girls, tourists, homeless people, and cover bands. Don’t bother.

Crossing Sixth, close to I-35, is Red River Street. For a couple of blocks north of Sixth there are several clubs. It used to be a good place to hear music, but I don’t know what it’s like now.

One of Austin’s most important venues, Emo’s, moved over into East Austin. Stubb’s is still there, though. It has an outdoor area for mostly traveling acts, and a barbeque restaurant where President Obama recently ate.

Congress Avenue is the main downtown street. The Capitol is worth seeing, and there are lots of statues on the Capitol grounds. AMOA/Art House at Jones Center is a small space that houses changing exhibitions. (The Austin Museum of Art has no permanent collection.) The Paramount Theatre is an old movie palace that has theatre events, but in the summer shows classic films.

West of Congress, you should check out Second Street, now named in honor of Willie Nelson. It has lots of chic shops, cafes, restaurants, and such. The newish City Hall has exhibitions of work by local artists. Austin City Limits has its studios on Second now, and there’s also a statue of Willie, unveiled last year on 4/20. I just learned that Toy Joy, an Austin must-see, has moved from its long-time home near campus to Second.

From Second up to West Sixth is the Warehouse District, with clubs, bars, and restaurants that tend to cater to a post-college crowd….

West Sixth has more bars and restaurants, as well as antique stores and art galleries.

At Sixth and Lamar are at least four places worth visiting. There is the flagship store of Whole Foods, which is huge, has a great buffet, and various food bars…where you can sit and watch the cook prepare your order. Book People is the largest independent bookstore in Texas (new books only), Waterloo Records is considered one of the best record stores in the country, and Amy’s has amazing ice cream.

South of Town Lake there is the Long Center and Palmer Events Center close to the shoreline. There’s a reflecting pool in front of Long which is good for setting up shots of the skyline.

Southwest of there is Zilker Park. It includes a miniature train, Barton Springs Pool (a spring-fed swimming pool and a location in “The Tree of Life”), a botanical garden (which is best-known for its Japanese Garden), and nearby, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.

Also down south–South Congress, a very funky, if chic shopping and dining district, and a good place to see hipsters. You’ll find Jo’s Coffee Shop, with its famous “i love you so much” graffito, and the Austin Motel, with a neon sign that looks like an erect cock and balls. The Continental Club is one of the most famous in town. A few miles down from there is the campus of St. Edwards University, which has a Victorian Main Building and good views of the skyline.

Parallel to South Congress is South First, best-known for its excellent Tex-Mex restaurants, although I’ve heard “End of an Ear” is a good used record shop. South Lamar used to have some cool shops, but some of it is being developed and rebuilt right now. One landmark there is the old-time honky-tonk “The Broken Spoke.”

South Austin has a lot of the sleepy, old hippie vibe that used to exist all over town.

Outside of town, to the southwest, is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and beyond that, Radha Madhav Dham, the largest Hindu temple and ashram complex in the US.

East Austin used to be home chiefly to blacks and Hispanics, but it is becoming gentrified and filling up with hipsters, bars, clubs, shops, and galleries. I haven’t seen much of the new stuff over there apart from Domy Books, which is now Farewell Books, and houses a bookstore, art gallery, performing space, coffee house, tailor, and in back, a food truck! But there you’re also less than five minutes away from crack central.

The State Cemetery is cool, with some nice monuments, but Oakwood Cemetery is even better, with Victorian monuments, and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.

As for West Austin, just west of North Lamar (the main street for the whole city, whereas Congress is just the main street of downtown), on a hillside at 1100 Baylor, is the Austin Graffiti Park. (Do a tag search for “Austin Texas” and I guarantee you’ll see pictures of it.)

The story is that some developers were going to build condos there, poured a foundation, but ran out of money, so the foundation walls serve as an outdoor graffiti gallery. And it has excellent views of the skyline.

Just above it, on “Castle Hill,” is a castle-like structure now used a a law office.

This neighborhood just west of downtown is called Clarksville, and has a lot of craftsman bungalows and a few Victorian houses. Nau’s Pharmacy is basically a 1950’s time capsule, complete with soda fountain. It is a hugely popular filming location.

North of Clarksville is Pemberton Heights, a very nice old money neighborhood, with mostly historical revival-styled houses built between the 1920s and 1940s. It appears briefly in “The Tree of Life.” There’s a castle there as well, which was built as a model home when the original developers were trying to sell lots in the neighborhood.

West of this, and west of Mo-Pac, a terribly crowded, freeway-like street, is Tarrytown. Old money, newer houses. Writer James Michener died there. Matthew McConaughey lived there at the time of the naked bongo incident. On the western edge of this is Lake Austin.

Looking out over Lake Austin is Laguna Gloria, a former estate with an Italianate villa that houses temporary exhibitions for AMOA. The woman who built it said the site reminded her of Lake Como. It has lovely grounds, some landscaped, some not, as well as outdoor sculpture, and a small art school.

Right next door is the relatively unknown Mayfield Park, another former estate, with a sprawling white bungalow, very nice gardens and ponds, and strolling peacocks.

Not far from this is Camp Mabry, a National Guard encampment. It features a cluttered military museum with some exhibits that are fascinating and others that are laughably amateurish in their design and execution. Outside are plenty of tanks, howitzers, and aircraft.

Also close by is Mount Bonnell, the highest point in the county, located up a flight of steps.

Now we head back downtown.

A few blocks north of the Capitol, set amongst a bunch of ugly State office buildings, is the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. It’s very flashy, and the only time I went there it took me over four hours just to make a fairly speedy trip through the three floors.

Across the street, on the UT campus, is one of my personal “don’t miss” sites: the Blanton Museum of Art. With 17,000 items, it’s supposedly the largest university art museum in the country, but only a small percentage of its holdings are on display. I recommend it, and you can see everything in just a few hours, without getting museum fatigue.

You can easily spend a day on the UT campus. In recent years they’ve been installing a lot of contemporary art on campus, indoors and out. Architecturally the campus is mostly a mixture of Spanish- and Italianate-Revival, Brutalist, and Regional Modernist styles.

The Harry Ranson Humanities Research Center has two photography exhibitions going now; they recently closed an excellent one on the work of Arnold Newman.

On the southern end of the campus is the elaborate Littlefield Fountain, with winged sea horses, a torch-bearing Liberty figure, nude men, and all sorts of other oddities. North of this is the South Mall, which is lined with statues of prominent Texans and Confederates. At the head of that is a statue of George Washington with one hand resting on his sword’s hilt. If you look at him from his left, he appears to be masturbating.

North of George is a plaza. To the west is Battle Hall, the Architecture Library, designed by Cass Gilbert, architect of the US Supreme Court Building and the Woolworth Building. The Reading Room is gorgeous. To the east is Garrison Hall, where the History Department is housed. It’s notable for the Texas-themed architectural details on the facade, including brands of the most important cattle ranches.

To the north is the Main Building. It mostly consists of offices, but the Life Sciences Library is monumental and lovely. The Tower, is of course the place where Charles Whitman had his shooting spree. Tours of the Observation Platform can be arranged by appointment. The north, east, and west sides of the Tower are decorated with alphabets of various languages because the lower floors house library stacks.

The Littlefield House is a red brick and sandstone Victorian mansion. I don’t think they allow the public to explore the restored ground floor any more, but you can take photos in the yard and on the porch to your heart’s content.

In the northeastern corner of the campus are the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum (natural history), and the Visual Arts Center (which shows student and faculty art work). All are free, but the VAC is closed in the summer. The LBJ has an impressive fountain in front of it, and that whole complex is long, modernist, and covered with creamy travertine marble.

The Latin American Library, also in the complex, has a stack room that is so long it looks like it’s going on for infinity….

Just to the north of the UT campus are two little Gothic churches–one Episcopalian, and the other, across the street, a chapel for a Presbyterian seminary. The seminary also has a delightful little Neo-Gothic library.

Just to the west of UT, from about MLK to 29th Street, is “The Drag,” which is lined with shops, bars, and other businesses that cater to students. It’s worth a look, but isn’t as hopping as it used to be when I came to Austin during the “Slacker” era in 1989.

Most of the local businesses have been replaced by national chains, and the homeless people and gutter punks are mostly gone, as is the old egg roll stand that used to double as a drop-off point for the fencing of stolen goods.

There are a few murals here and there, the most famous being the “Hi, How Are You” Jeremiah the Frog mural by Daniel Johnston, at 21st and Guadalupe. There’s a now-mutilated mural of iconic film images on the former Varsity Theater at 24th:

Near campus? Well, West Campus and North Campus are neighborhoods filled mostly with students and some permanent residents. Spider House is an old-style Austin coffee house in North Campus.

If you can, try to get a tour of the Old Main Building of the Austin State Hospital. I visited there in 2005 for an article I was doing, and saw some fascinating, creepy, decaying stuff. They were okay with photography so long as I didn’t take pictures of patients….

Near there is North Loop, a small hipster enclave with a 24-hour coffee house, vintage stores, a left-wing bookstore, and the like:

Architecturally-speaking, Hyde Park and Clarkville are neighborhoods with craftsman bungalows and Victorian houses. Travis Heights has bungalows. Shoal Creek, Allandale, and Crestview are Mid-Century Modern. (I think Brad Pitt’s bigger house in “The Tree of Life” is in Shoal Creek.)

Hyde Park is lovely and shaded. The Elisabet Ney Museum is the castle-like former studio of an eccentric Victorian sculptress, and is surrounded by a small park.

Just east of this is the Commodore Perry Estate, which has a large Italianate mansion. It would be a superb place for a photo shoot, but you would have to book the venue and pay them a rental fee for it.

The further north you go, the less interesting Austin gets. Burnet Road used to have some cool shopping, but that seems to be dying off. Chinatown is still getting organized, and is still part-ghetto. Mueller is a planned community on the site of the old airport. It includes a movie studio (where, among other things, “Sin City” was shot), but parts of it are still under construction.

The Domain is another planned shopping/office/housing mini-city. It’s attractive enough, but if you’ve seen the sort of upscale shopping centers/districts where they have Apple Stores and Neiman-Marcuses, you probably wouldn’t need to see The Domain.

I live nearby, close to The Arboretum, which used to be the hoity-toity shopping center before The Domain opened. The most photographible features there are a watercourse that leads to a fountain, five marble cow sculptures, and, at the bottom of a wooded hill, a pond containing ducks, geese, and swans.
North of The Arboretum are mostly more strip centers, office parks, apartment complexes, and subdivisions.

Austin has a great many parks, wilderness areas, and greenbelts, and from what I’ve seen of your photography, those would be the best places for you to go. One such park, Great Hills Park,  is a few blocks from my place, and has limestone boulders, rough cliff faces, a sort of limestone hole lined with moss, cedar brakes, and other hard-scrabble features.

Other parks include Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Barton Creek Greenbelt, McKinney Falls State Park, Westcave Preserve, and Wild Basin Preserve, among others.

West of town are a chain of lakes, the closest being Lake Travis, although several years of droughts have really brought the water levels down….There’s a number of wineries in the area that are open for tours, but since you’re under 21, that won’t do you much good.

You might want to check out Enchanted Rock State Park, which is about two hours away from town in the Hill Country, and centers around a huge granite dome. It’s so popular for hiking and camping that you have to call ahead to reserve admittance.

Hamilton Pool Preserve is in the county, but I think outside of the city. The pool is a sort of bowl located fifty feet beneath a waterfall that flows over a limestone lip. There is a sort of cave underneath this lip. Do an image search for “Hamilton Pool Preserve” and you’ll see what I mean.

Forty-two miles southeast of town is Smithville, a charming village that was the principal location for “The Tree of Life.” Indeed, within an hour or two of Austin you can find all sorts of small towns, both thriving and dying, which I would think would provide rich photographic subject matter.

These are the main points I can think of to tell you. If you have any other questions or need clarifications, please let me know.
One of the sites on the links I included has a section for arts events. If you give me a time-frame I can keep my eyes open for upcoming happenings. Failing that, you might want to check the site of our alternative weekly, “The Austin Chronicle.”


I managed to read some in the Blanton guide before going to sleep in mid-afternoon….



I got up at 11:22pm.


Saturday, June 29th–

I think if gay marriage is ever made legal in all fifty states, the law should should require that the very first couple that is allowed to marry after the law goes into effect, be named Adam and Steve…you know, just to fuck with people.


I had an online chat with a friend and former co-worker whom I’d not talked with since she got married last year. I listened to the last two CDs of “The Hilliker Curse” and the first two CDs of “On The Road.”

I went to bed sometime in the afternoon and read in Plath, Buzzi, Fisher, the Blanton guide, and Wright. I’m sure it was after 4:30pm when I retired.


Sunday, June 30th–

I woke around 1:30am.

Not having the money to do the things that are important to me is killing my soul.


Monday, July 1st–

I woke up around 3:15am.


I listened to the last five CDs for “On The Road,” worked on my SSDI paperwork, and farted around online.



ME– One of these days someone is going to realize that about me, that despite the fact I’m ugly and out-of-shape, I DO have a 10,000-volume library.


Someone posted–do you ever just sit there and lovingly caress the pages of the book you’re reading

ME–That depends on the paper. But I sniff them quite a bit.


I finally finished Sylvia Plath’s “Ariel,” but I didn’t understand most of what she was talking about, and was rather glad to be done with the book. I also read in the Blanton guide and Fisher and retired about 8:45pm.