ANOTHER SET OF WORDS FOR YOU TO READ -/THEY QUALIFY AS LEAF AND BRANCH AND SEED...
Sunday, October 29, 2006
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Am devoting all or most of this to selections from two e-mailings I get and enjoy, Rob Breznsy’s Free Will Astrology weekly posting, and V. Vale’s monthly newsletter from his RE/Search Frisco publishing firm…
Well, this week Rob started out with a great quote from one of my two favorite novelists, Tom Robbins (the other being the superlative William Gibson). It was published in Harper’s Magazine in late two-thousand-four, in an essay entitled “In Defiance of Gravity”:
The notion that inspired play (even when audacious, offensive, or obscene) enhances rather than diminishes intellectual vigor and spiritual fulfillment, the notion that in the eyes of the gods the tight-lipped heroand the wet-cheeked victim are frequently inferior to the red-nosed clown, such notions are destined to be a hard sell to those who have E.M.Forster on their bedside table and a clump of dried narcissus up their ass.
Not to worry. As long as words and ideas exist, there will be a few misfits who will cavort with them in a spirit of ‘approfondement’ – if I may borrow that marvelous French word that translates roughly as "playing easily in the deep" - and in so doing they will occasionally bring to realization Kafka's belief that “a novel should be an ax for the frozen seas around us."
I recognize this from a recent very, very recommended collection of the short pieces of Robbins called Wild Ducks Flying Backward. Anyone who’s got the time and inclination to open a book and enjoy, well, that is surely one to get and love until the bovines return to their domiciles.
And here’s his astrological reading for my sign (although now I’m also a Neon):
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You're ready for take-off. It's time to taxi to the launch location and prepare to go airborne. I suggest you do what birds and airplanes do, which is to fly directly into the wind as you leave the ground. As long as you're forcefully propelling yourself forward, that will give you maximum lift. Oh, and flap your wings gracefully, not frenetically. Don't stare at the ground right beneath you, but rather fix your gaze on a distant point high above you. Halloween costume
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suggestion: eagle, jet, hang-glider, dragonfly.
I like that dragonfly reference – along with cats, those insects are totems for me. (A totem, defined by the Free Dictionary, is: “An animal, plant, or natural object serving among certain tribal or traditional peoples as the emblem of a clan or family and sometimes revered as its founder, ancestor, or guardian.” Uh, that’s about what I meant, I guess. I just like ‘em.)
And that brings us to the RE/Search material – a lot in there…not much space left in this posting, so I’ll be judicially surgical about selections… First, a notice for an event at one of San Francisco’s great art schools:
PRANKSFEST celebrating RE/Search's new book, PRANKS 2
Sat, Nov 11, 2006 - 7 PM (doors open 6:30pm)
San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut/Jones - tel 415-362-1465
$5 (get in free with purchase of new PRANKS 2 book)
Well, heck, that was it – usually it’s pages and pages – this message was just a short press release for the above event…
And…have been not wanting to discuss money matters in this, but I’ll conclude with a little of that. Glad to be getting U.S. Treasury downloaded-into-my-checking-account cash in three days – got to make it more of an actually-practiced discipline to make my disbursement last an entire month. It’s worth it to have a little pocket change to, say, get a tasty homemade cup of soup at the deli on the same block as the hotel I’m in, or a buck can of the Arizona green tea (with ginseng and honey) that I find a delight on the palate.
And want to mention my Odd Fellow brother P., who tries to help me make ends meet (and they generally haven’t been, but that’s not his fault) with little jobs here and there. He had given me a pass to the recent Artists Ball Six at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and had even on top of that offered to give me ten bucks if I went and stayed for an hour – and his wife said she’d match that. But didn’t go, wasn’t feeling it that night about that.
And…just filling in space here…Daylight Savings has just kicked in…maybe it’d be a significant day to back off the sangria for a while.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
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Yeah, again nixed from the holy Beat shrine of Vesuvio - and this time there was absolutely no reason for it that I could detect, except whatever bubbled forth up from the mind of Ms. You-Know-Who. Maybe you can go in there sometime when she's tending bar and make discreet inquiries.
Well, it's that reserving of the right to refuse service to anyone - fine...heck - that very day wanted to go to the Brewing Company and not Vestigio, but Allen Paul's fine establishment wasn't yet open. No hard feelings against Ms. You-Know-Who – I left when she told me to. Maybe she’ll change her mind.
And: A Scanner Darkly - listened to the audio book two or three times recently - which form is my preferred way of intaking text these days - have nine audio books out currently, and all on compact disc, not cassette. There are a lot of Sixties-ish uses of drug and counterculture slang I found amusing. Still haven't seen the movie - it was at the Red Vic a night or two earlier this month after the regular theatrical run...seems like the role of Donna was perfect for the lovely and talented and all that Winona...
As far as VHS movies...gave my VCR back to Dave. We watched From Hell yesterday, me because of the presence of Depp and Heather Graham, perhaps my favorite actress of her generation, which includes Winona. But I enjoy them in different ways – very different filmographies for those two. Also Dave and I watched Die Hard, which I bought a copy of for cheap, I think on the street. Total classic, though I’m not really into shoot-em-ups.
And: thanks for the offer of buying me VHS tapes. Can’t really think of any right now…Heather Graham ones I haven’t seen would be good. But it’s fun for me to search these out myself. There’s a shop on Polk near Sacramento that has a “Cult VHS” section that I haven’t looked through yet but intend to sometime. And maybe I’ll get a Blockbuster account – I still owe Bank of America about five hundred on my credit card, but at least I’m on good terms with them and will need it to get a movie account.
Not particularly interested in the three titles you mentioned…but for sure there are ones I want to see. Maybe I’ll get Comcast again – when I had it I was watching a lot of stuff that I was pleased to catch up on and hadn’t seen
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when they were in the theatres.
Well, that about responds to your e-mail…was planning to type out, amplify, a few handwritten notes I took a while back, so I’ll get to that. I know what you’re saying about that last set of individual lines being like a cut-up text – that wasn’t the final form, just a working-out of ideas and a more fictional style, with “regular” he said/she said dialogue and maybe a bit of description – meaning, standard prose. So…
“Like Huck Finn with a dead cat,” she said.
“Should’ve bought that copy of Turbulent Indigo when you had that chance.”
Netflix queues, very happening now – read about them in Rolling Stone.
“Yeah…those distressed jeans, from Gap, ninety-eight bucks.”
“And, that jar of almond butter,” he said. “Nearly nine bucks.”
“Those little date candies are pretty tasty.”
He recommends smiling at strangers, looking into their eyes, saying hello.
She said: “Yeah, like hyenas chewing the faces of the sleepers for a midnight snack.”
I saw a dollar DVD of Sonny Chiba’s 1981 movie Samurai Reincarnation for sale on Polk. One on Tarantino’s infinite play list, probably.
[Well, that’s more of a standard prosaic form for the material, the information, that has been on my mind. I was also thinking of an interview form, a series of questions and answers.
It’s something to work on – I’ve done the first person non-fiction form in the blog for months and months – it’s okay, but it’d be interesting to try something else…
In the meantime, I can just read over notes, maybe see something in there, some idea about where to go next. People like novels, with a regular story – nothing experimental, really, just a fun and fast read.]
Sunday, October 22, 2006
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Yikes, six days since I last posted! Have been doing some sort of soul searching, I guess. And perhaps too much drinking of wine. Have not gotten to any idea of a specific new direction for this, but this time at least wanted to type up several Post-It notes I took, as follows:
The notes were about what I found interesting in the latest issue of 7X7 magazine, that inestimable publication about San Francisco, or at least a certain small portion of the city’s population. Here they are:
Write-up about one Alex Tourk, Mayor Newsom’s deputy chief of staff.
Barry Bonds and rocker Tommy Lee together at a nightclub called Crash.
Heather Bartlett Morgan, a nutrition coach. Her program of wellness is called Strong Heart Strong Body.
Scissors for Lefty, a promising local music band – Underhanded Romance is their disc.
Laura Chao, a nuclear researcher for D2 Fusion, a Foster City company.
Good Vibrations, sponsoring the Amateur Erotic Film Competition.
The Mars Bar at 7th and Brannan – given a thumb up in this magazine.
The Orphanage, a visual effects and production company – guys named Stu and Jonathan are behind it. Specializing in digital effects postproduction.
Mishana Hosseinioun – a human rights activist – also writes a column called Dovetales for the S.F. Sentinel.
59 Grant Avenue – the address of 7X7. Heather Luplow Hartle is, I think, the publisher – Hartle Media Ventures is the company. submissions@7X7.com is an e-mail address.
Amy Seiwart, a dancer/choreographer.
Peter Coyote at the recent Litquake event – see litquake.org.
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The Bambuddha Lounge.
Mackenzie Firgens, actor. Was in Groove, in 2000. Quote from her: “I have a soft spot for sci-fi.”
Bubble Lounge event involving a performer called Hoop Girl and Good Vibrations.
Stanley Nelson, documentarian. Film about Jonestown.
Sabrina Buell, art dealer at the Matthew Marks Gallery.
Parea, 795 Valencia – Greek wine a speciality. No retsina, though.
ybca.org for the Yerba Buena Cultural Center. Stanlee Gatti connection, plus the recent Artists Ball Six.
Jean-Luc Naret of the Guide Michelin – recently covered San Francisco.
Piece about what’s happening and hot on Valencia between 15th and 25th – phrase “perpetual hip factor” used.
Papyrus ad – location in the just-opened Westfield Centre.
The aforementioned Mr. Gatti at a 7X7 event – photographed with long-time city icon Wilkes Bashford.
The Christopher-Clark Gallery at 377 Geary – Gary Schwartz delivered a lecture to accompany current display of Rembrandt pictures.
Vintage 415, a organization of “culture marketers” – they promote events also. Owners of seven of the city’s restaurants.
So there they and you go. Also included among my Post-It notes, a heroic couplet: “As stylish as the fashion of the food,/a destination elegant and rude.” In honor of the Tenderloin, a zone of the town not much represented in this or any issue of 7X7. And one more thing, possible title for a work of fiction I’m considering: Sight Unseen.
Monday, October 16, 2006
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Forearms tattoos – like Shaolin temple ones. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Seekh kabaab at Naan ‘n’ Curry – chicken or lamb? I could kill a chicken.
Ancient Age with Rob, my “advisor” – fan of Jerry, not of Henley, though.
Another similarity, me and Rob – we both are fans of AC/DC.
Jackson Browne, “Take It Easy” – writing credits. Part of them, anyway.
“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” – Bon Scott era of AC/DC, I believe.
“Tequila Sunrise”, Peter Fonda, Don Henley, The Hired Hand (movie).
“For love and happiness, no money counts. Iambic pentameter.”
“What’s Uma Thurman done lately? Try Google.”
“I’m sure you know where it’s at, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…”
“Steve Miller, ‘Space Cowboy’.”
“Cole Haan loafers, displayed in virtual lighting.”
[Have begun with dialogue samples here.]
“Sutter/Stockton garage, 25 cents for a bicycle, flat rate on entry.”
“New Mexican food chain, the Enchanted Enchilda.”
“Jukebox, Creedence, ‘Green River’. A lot of avocado for two-17.”
“So far recently, no fee to Muni – off at Clay and Stockton.”
“American wild ginseng powder, Chinatown.”
“Trieste, Sunday mornings, opium.”
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“Chinatown, alley, French folks – ‘Vive le France!’”
“The Prague, open, on Pacific. Jackson Square. Loud Sysco truck.”
“The Myth Café there in Jackson Square – used to be something else. Four-90 street number. Quite a selection of wines, for one thing.”
“10:30 on the twelfth of October. Just delivered the Elvis Costello LP and the ‘Richie Bush’ comic book from Bound Together. Plus other things. Going to Vesuvio.”
“San Francisco Brewing Company not open yet. I’d go there instead of Vesuvio.”
“86’d again from Vesuvio. For no good reason. But I went quietly.”
[Fictional prose now…]
The Queen of There had banished me again from that holy Beat temple. Been there before with her. Whatever.
Castaneda would say she was a petty tyrant.
Read Amy Wallace for some good information about Sorceror Carlos.
Beach Boys dim sum, I think that was what was meant. “Barbara Ann”.
Just want to convey the information in the notes.
Coins, heavy, falling to the bottom of the pocket. As opposed to paper.
And two new initiates into that temple. One that I am still acceptable in.
And a brother, a note I can’t decipher about him.
At Radio Shack, the “Robo-Reptile” and “Robo-Raptor” toys – both look good. I like that raptor model. Exclusive to the store, both. The raptor costs twenty dollars more. Wouldn’t mind one of those, for fun and smiles.
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[Back to extreme short notes – some may find these amusing:]
Starship Troopers, Denise Richards, her use of the knife on the Bug Brain.
Great Overland Book Company – met son of owners the other day.
Three Overland locations: on Judah, on Webster, and in Sausalito.
This son said the Doogie Howser character in Troopers was a psychic.
“Service guarantees citizenship.” – slogan in Starship Troopers.
Paul Verhoeven directed – anti-Nazi, I guess. Dutch for sure.
Student project: compare Verhoeven’s movie to Heinlein’s original novel.
Friend’s call reminded me of art dealer at Martin-Lawrence named Stewart.
I dropped Warhol’s name into that phone conversation.
Apparently Stewart for some reason now is serving food at City College.
[Note on text: Apart from the obvious, this is what has interested me lately.]
Recent Maxfield Parrish sunset in San Francisco – the pinks.
Met a black guy at a bus stop the other day who was born in the Haight.
That before the hippies came to that part of town.
Bought three Royal Gates – one for that guy, and two for others – gifts.
One of them called Janis Joplin “the queen”, which sounded good to me.
Sinclairband.com – saw Sinclair on Market the other day – great sound.
[These are some things to think about.]
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Didn’t spend the 15 bucks Sinclair wanted for their CD, though.
Sinclair there on the street reminded me of Robert Johnson’s crossroads.
Told friend that it was synchronicity, not me, that was involved.
Told a Sinclair guy their sound was great.
They had to stop because their battery power was low that night.
Well, Sinclair, to paraphrase Scarlett, tomorrow is another night.
Was carrying my beer can that night upside-down – a symbol.
Somewhat related to the upside-down American flag.
Had Martin-Lawrence and the San Francisco Art Exchange on my mind.
Martin-Lawrence closed – had a Warhol “Marilyn” on display in front.
And a Janis Joplin black and white photo by Francesco Scavullo.
[Please feel quite free to Google on any names and terms and ideas.]
At the Art Exchange, the Beatles show continuing that evening.
William Gibson, his fictional drug called “dancer”.
Which made users inhumanly fast and clinically psychotic, I believe he said.
Maybe it’s “abnormally” and not “inhumanly”.
Googled – the phrase, had it right that first time.
Acid plus strychnine plus speed – A.S.S. – my idea.
The “seekh kabaab” at Naan ‘n’ Curry – recommended for non-vegans.
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And the other afternoon was out in the ‘loin making a drink selection, that to celebrate, across several days, Columbus Day. Had to be the Carlo Rossi Sangria and nothing else, and at the place where it sold for a mere four dollars and cents, 50 cents less than at other of the neighborhood’s fine establishments.
Well, this particular store, the Maryland corner grocery, had a wide range of Carlo Rossi’s product, but none of my particular choice of stripes. There was a Livingstone brand of sangria, but I wanted what I wanted.
And then, to make my considered video selection at the Vietnamese tailor shop a few doors up, which I just learned has a fairly okay selection of VHS movies in English. Had already a previous day looked through their dozens of tapes and had narrowed it down to The Hudsucker Proxy, which I’d seen on Comcast when I had that for a year, and The Golden Bowl (the recent Uma Thurman version – it’s possible, as I said last posting, that there have been others. Something from the Thirties it wouldn’t be out of the question to posit).
And picked The Golden Bowl. As much as any reason because it had a simple cardboard slipcover as opposed to the more elaborate resealable plastic on The Hudsucker Proxy. Which as I remember is a very enjoyable film in its own right, with pretty whacky humor.
And thought back to what the daytime counter guy at Wa’il’s corner market, the one I mainly go to, said when I bought some Carlo Rossi there for the first time in two months. He patted the side of the jug, smiled at me, and said, “Ah, he missed you!” Meaning, I guess, Mr. Carlo Rossi. So now, since I’ve been imbibing of the vino again for the last two weeks, I have lessened credibility with those whom (who?) were observing my sobriety, the progress of that.
And speaking of Wa’il, he’s back from family business in Jordan. A good fellow, who has in the past given me credit to the tune of thirty dollars in order to get jugs of wine. Am I going there again? He’d let me do it. Am working on the money in my life, to make what I get at the beginning of a month last through an entire month, without resorting to credit. Any more than I have.
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And was also seeking peanut butter for bread I’d been given by friend…but…y’know what? This blog needs a change in content and style. Let me feel…
Peanut butter, two-99 – partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil, 2% or less.
Five dollars for cheap red wine or for better food – a choice.
Columbus Day. Ayn Rand liked Columbus, apparently.
Don’t wanna read any Henry James, didn’t have to at Berkeley, I think.
Merchant Ivory did The Golden Bowl.
Had to read Mill on the Floss, George Eliot – boring, but classic.
Minnie Driver jawline in trailer, her skull.
Henry Rollins in another trailer for something called Time Lapse.
Theme, I think: guy forgets things, kills people. Like Memento, but before.
Warning on video – not for sale, rental – didn’t know that. Cost a dollar.
Bread and peanut butter out in hallway – ate half of each – overdid it.
Lot about money in The Golden Bowl. James – repressed homosexuality?
Big hat on Uma as “Charlotte”.
Big hat also on Deneuve in The Young Girls of Rochefort, with Gene Kelly.
Watching Sixties TV documentary The Hippie Temptation – CBS.
The bowl in The Golden Bowl looks more like a chalice than a bowl.
It has a pedestal, for one thing. Though it’s big like a bowl.
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Selling on the street, on Market Street, not long ago, an issue of Jane with a Madonna cover. There have been times when I would’ve bought that right up, but no longer. At the same time, guy on a bicycle pausing briefly to quickly scan what was for sale – kindred soul to me. And also a woman from the hotel, Edwina, walking along with blind man Free Bird. Surprised to see both of them outside of the Tenderloin, their usual habitat.
And: saw Odd Fellow brother P. about this time – he was having a Burger King Whopper for lunch that I’d picked up for him. He told me the Whopper was his favorite among all the burger choices we all have and enjoy, which is saying a lot. He said the McDonald’s product made him feel like he’d eaten “a big ball of fat” – I believe that was his phrase. And furthermore, Mickey D. uses Brazilian beef, the creation of which destroys much rainforest. Haven’t particularly known P. to be that much of an ecologically-minded environmentalist, but he mentioned this fact to me, and I listened.
And about this time went out on another little errand, to buy seven “Quick Pick” lottery tickets for P. and other Odd Fellows. And also brought along a winning one to exchange for their take, which turned out to be a dollar. Never play that game myself.
Then out on my own time, through the Farmer’s Market. Pomegranate pile. De-beaked chicken eggs (don’t get those anymore – I’m against cruelty to chickens, and to cruelty in general). Sought out the fruit vendors from Sanger and got a dollar’s worth of pesticide-free purple grapes.
And had on mind possible purchases at a Vietnamese tailor shop near the hotel – it has a fairly decent selection of English-language videos. The Golden Bowl (Uma Thurman one – there might be other versions of the Henry James novel) and The Hudsucker Proxy were my choice picks for a good double feature from what they had. Was circling around those two for a few days. At a dollar each, the price was right.
And into the hotel – signs for free tickets for a Mozart show at Davies Symphony Hall, and the Smuin Ballet at the Palace of Fine Arts. Wouldn’t go anyway – too much a child of the fastforward button.
And in my room, finally got into the Whopper of my own, everything on it,
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that P. had bought me. Had been carrying that around for a while in order to get done what needed to be done before relaxing a bit.
And turned on the audio book for Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Getting some good ideas from that. Also, made toast in a sauce pan on my hot plate – don’t have a toaster, but this serves well enough. And only had the bread because friend K. had turned me on to a free loaf. And: pressed down on the heating bread with a fork to make it thin and crispy.
And: one of the ideas in Blink, about how some art historians can determine the actuality, the genuineness, of a painting in seconds – the blink of the title. This without thinking much. I guess you could say intuition is a theme of the book. Bernard Berenson mentioned as having this ability – a name to Google on.
And…what’s being described being five days ago, a Wednesday, about quarter to four in the afternoon. Decided to go out and get some wine – been pretty good about that imbibing. Plus The Golden Bowl to go with it, and peanut butter to go with the toasted bread.
And was considering that the wine would be for a “Post-Columbus Day” celebration – it was the 11th. Columbus Day had been the 9th. And had started drinking for “Pre-Columbus Day” on the 7th. So there’s a mathematical sense I was bringing to the intoxication, a seeking of a living balance. Yeah, that’s it.
And was thinking back to something Odd Fellow brother P. had asked me – he was showing me large, poster-sized images related to the organization and asked if I could detect the skull-and-crossbones design on one. Couldn’t find it. He asked which of them should be included in the history book he’s been working on. I said a colorful one looked good, but the reproductions were to be in black and white. Well, the color one also had larger individual pictures in it which would show up more clearly than the other when reproduced.
And thought back to the subliminal depiction of a skull in some images I’ve seen, including a poster for a recent movie. But I don’t think that was happening in what he was showing me.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
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More about money – one of the Iranian brothers in the hotel wrote me an apology note about not paying me the eighteen dollars he’s owed me. I guess he and his brother have really serious drug issues, as well as health problems, and their main concern isn’t paying me back. Maybe I’ll get it back at some point. Could use it now. A line from the note: “I never intended to take advantage or use or lie to you. Please accept my apologies.”
And Dino, another hotel guy, intercepted me a recent day about this time and wanted to use my phone. Generous fellow that I am, I let him, though he has never given me anything back, as a gesture, any time that I remember.
So Dino says he’ll get it back to me in five minutes, and when it got to around fifteen I began to get seriously unhappy. I was entertaining thoughts that he had taken it to sell on the street. And he wasn’t answering his door.
And then I went downstairs to look for the guy, and he wasn’t around. Then back up – Dino’s in his room – he’d gone to the bathroom. He wanted to call a friend in Arizona to send him money for rent – apparently it was at the point where he was about to be kicked out for non-payment. All these money issues in the hotel. Could’ve taken the phone back then but, as a kind individual, told him to do what he needed to do.
And so Dino kept it for a while longer – again, longer than he said he’d keep it. But finally got it back, and we both left at the same time, him off to see the property manager. Wrote my number down for him so he could use it to leave messages so he could remain a resident.
So was thinking back to how genuinely distressed I was at that missing phone – like having it. Sitting and doing some conscious breathing helped keep me somewhat calm.
And saw a guy from the Tenderloin computer center, Paul, who’d let me have his library card number and PIN so I could have a second hour each day on a library computer. The computer keeps telling me the number’s invalid, so I asked him what the problem might be. He said it should work. Maybe he just doesn’t want me to use it anymore and doesn’t want to tell me directly.
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And thinking back to hotel fellow D., who said our mutual friend, Patrick,
who used to live in the hotel, was in a shelter somewhere after eviction.
Then to the Odd Fellow lodge building for work from Brother P. For one thing, had to get to his bank on Montgomery to deposit money. Some sort of live music there at the corner where the bicycle messengers congregate. One of them zipped by me, his arms about as thin as the tubes on his machine. Had ten hundred dollar bills in my pocket from P. to get into his account.
Walked up Montgomery – woman standing there absolutely wolfing down a sandwich. And into the bank – the teller did a test to determine if they were real bills, and I said the old joke about just printing them that morning. Then back down to Market – the music performance was for Dockers. A lot of ads for this now around where I walk.
And stopped at a table full of mostly anti-Republican buttons – manning it, a man named Adrian, who was running for governor. I picked one of a bicycle with peace signs for wheels and gave him a dollar. Previously, from another guy at the same table, bought one that said “Take a hippie to lunch.” He said that was a very popular item.
And paid a buck and a half for a Muni back to the lodge building. Passed the famous and historical Hobart Building, included among the several famous and historical San Francisco buildings described in a brochure Odd Fellow brother P. had given me – one of the many things I have got to get to reading. Been slacking at that lately, and slacking in general.
And at that portion of Market was made very aware of the unpleasant, loud, and continuous noises from several sources, including a construction site for a Ritz-Carlton residence, buses, welding hissing from the famous and historical Monadnock Building, and a siren.
Then back to the building – P. wanted to know if I wanted to help decorate Christmas trees for the Delancey Street organization. Sounded like too much work for me. Then back out to the library to run an errand for P. related to his on-going history project about the Odd Fellows. Then to Burger King to pick up lunch for him. Various little jobs that get me some extra money.
Friday, October 13, 2006
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Have been pretty okay about getting bills paid lately, though I’ve gone back a bit to certain evil ways in that department. Seventeen-98 – it was a very good year, and also the minimum to pay down my Bank of America credit card, which I did. Went personally to a branch to avoid the fee they levy when transacting over the phone. And leaving the bank that day a few ago, bothered by an idiot sitting in her car at a stop light, burning the gasoline to no purpose, not caring in the least.
And posters for Fergie’s debut solo album are still up. Read in Rolling Stone she used to be with the late Nineties three-girl group Wild Orchid, which got me interested in her. I think it’s her on their lead vocals, and her voice is incredible. It’s possible I’ve got a good place to finally burn my own music discs, on an Apple at the Odd Fellows lodge office, so for sure I’d put a song like their “Supernatural” on it.
Big posters up for Infamous, the new Truman Capote movie, full of stars, but none I particularly care for. Daniel Craig’s in it – the new Bond. It’s based on the George Plimpton book. Vaguely remember Capote from drunken Johnny Carson appearances. And drunken appearances in the Andy Warhol diaries.
And passing a Walgreen’s, guy sparechanging – older white man with a red face actually got out his wallet and gave the guy a dollar, it looked like. Rare to see the sparechangers getting anything. And had in my pocket two library photo collection request forms for Odd Fellow brother P. Wanted to get them to him so I didn’t have to carry them.
And went into the Chinese restaurant at 7th and Market, had a choice: a buck-25 piece of fried fish, or soy milk? The second would be the lighter, healthier, more nutritious option, but went for the fish. Guy paying before me called the old Chinese lady behind the counter “momma”, and I thought that was nice, and said it to her myself. Maybe I’ll begin calling older ladies that, when appropriate.
And got a slight soy sauce stain on one of P.’s forms and wondered if he’d notice. I’ve watched him see a miniscule bit of fluff on the ground and reach to pick it up. He might like his papers immaculate as well. And stopped to look at personal DVD players in a store window. The Sin City disc was for sale for 22 dollars, and Stealth, also, that military aircraft movie. Would make a good gift for Jack, one of the hotel front desk guys, if only for the Jessica Biel parts. She’s one of his favorites.
And to the Eviction Defense Collaborative offices at 6th and Market – owe them ten bucks a month for the coming, just about, six years. Big stone lobby sign to honor one David Hewes – the building’s named after him. Then to the offices on the 12th floor – maybe nine people already there, including, surprisingly, hotel friend D. I was already six days late with the payment, and was going to give them a token dollar, but
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didn’t want to wait. And D. as well had the same idea, and we left together.
And had an hour-and-a-half before an appointed time with Odd Fellow brother P. Thought about maybe getting up to North Beach to bring birthday gifts to friend Cathead, who works up in that area. But figured I’d want to spend some time with him and not have to rush away.
Then into the Tenderloin. Occurred to me that two of the deviled eggs at the Superette Market would be tasty – the sign calls them “devil eggs”. Continuing with the animal protein theme started with that fish.
And gave Cathead a call. He and his family had celebrated his birthday at the Fiddler’s Green restaurant in Millbrae. He was having lunch at 11:30 that morning and that wouldn’t have allowed me to get back in time to make my appointed hour with P., so would get my gifts to him another day. And got those eggs. Also looking good, thick french fries, four for a dollar – basically quarters of potatoes.
And heading back to the hotel, there was Tokay, a guy who used to live in the hotel, and we chatted a bit. Not sure what he’s talking about sometimes – he has an unusual manner of conversing. Paying only two-60 a month in rent, about half what I do. Not sure how he got that price – some places take only a third of one’s income, so that might be it. Asked him about this, and he said he “knows a man who knows a man who knows a man”.
And farther up Eddy, a Neanderthal-looking man leaning against his shopping cart. And then there was D. – we had parted after leaving the E.D.C. office – caning it up the street in his slow injured vet way. Crossed to the other side to avoid him – there are two or four I do that with. And had thoughts of a Boone’s Farm Sangria on my mind – at that point I didn’t act on that impulse, but recently have been imbibing again. Not a good thing. But I believe I have the drinking under enough control.
And was missing the use of a second library computer a day – a guy gave me his card number and PIN so I could get another hour a day on a library machine. But it’s stopped working. Have seen him since and he says it should be okay. Another person that isn’t the easiest to communicate with. Maybe he just doesn’t want me to use it anymore and isn’t telling me directly.
And ran into a young fellow named Weasel who wanted money for beer – he showed me a bag of foreign coins, one from 1947, and said these would serve as collateral, but I wasn’t going for it and gave him just a quarter. I walked away but he followed and kept pestering me – I turned and told him in no uncertain terms that the two dollars he wanted was a lot of money. Managed to get away without being too rude.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
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Heading back to the hotel a day or two ago – Patrick (the black one) and Alphelus and others being rousted from their “store” on the street. D., a guy in the hotel, also among them, for the company. A police officer was telling them all to move along, at least up the street. The previous night Patrick had got me a nice wooden box of Korean ginseng packets – traded him, as I remember, four herbal pills for them. Glad he was being rousted or else he might’ve asked me for more in exchange, or for me to bring him down tea.
Then into my room, 8pm – Stephen Colbert interview (on a local stage) on the radio. Feel okay enough about him from his cable humorous news program – would prefer the Jon Stewart program if I had to choose. Really wild applause at the start – San Francisco loves him, or at least part does.
And D. outside had offered to buy me wine, but I said I didn’t want it. Apparently he’d finally gotten his renter’s rebate check, or had sold some of the painkillers he’s prescribed. Made toast on my hot plate, the bread a gift from friend K. – pressed it down with a fork to get it crispy, the way I like it.
Then 10pm last night, on the radio, a repeat from twelve hours earlier of the Michael Krasny interview with Edward O. Wilson. A...biologist? Google helps: Yeah, a biologist, and so much more, says Wikipedia...considered also a researcher, theorist, a naturalist, as well as “a prominent man of letters”. I know him from big, fat books of his I’ve seen in stores. From ‘98, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge – idea about uniting the sciences, and then uniting that with the humanities. Tuned in a while, but fell asleep.
Then up, having some tap water. Distinctly peculiar taste. Carcinogens? And it was 8:20 this morning, someone knocking on my door. Didn’t answer. Someone wanting something. Have two or three who owe me money, told them to slip it under my door, don’t bother knocking. At noon Odd Fellow brother P. wanted me to get to the lodge to do a little work, take a request form to the library. Still had about twenty-five bucks from the previous day.
Turned on the radio – Bush address, or press conference. Something about the Middle East and “the capacity to use oil as an economic weapon”. And combed my hair – don’t do that every day, necessarily. Put on my light
purple shirt, instead of the one I’ve been wearing every day for many days since I like it so much. Some might think it’s paisley, but upon closer
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inspection that’s not the case. Had some of that Korean ginseng.
And there was D. outside – I’d forgotten that I was supposed to go with him to some office to do something. Well, I’d made plans already. He didn’t really need me to accompany him. This sounds cavalier, that I’d promised to go with him and then didn’t follow through, but you have to know a bigger picture about the man. He needs more help than I can give him, and to make more firm and long-lasting decisions about his life.
And was walking to the library. Checked to see if my back-up double A batteries were in my pocket – not where I usually keep them. Found them...am usually not so careless, even with small details. Whatever I want to carry I keep on a specific surface.
Then 10am, leaving the library, done with a blog posting. On the way had found a case for ear buds that really needed cleaning and washed it off in the first floor bathroom. As I was putting it up against the hot air hand dryer, guy next to me whom I’d never met before began talking to me about an article in the newspaper he was holding: a Hell’s Angel member in Oakland sentenced for killing women in his home torture chamber. I said that, well, at least he wasn’t eating them, like Dahmer – I told him that would be adding insult to injury. My humor failed to alleviate his concern.
Then, next stop – Bank of America, to pay down part of what I owe on my credit card, about 19 bucks. No additional charge if done in person and not over the phone. Walking there – paused in front of Ananda Fuara. Wasn’t in the mood to sit and have a beverage, though. Took note of the “herbal espresso” with roasted chicory, carob pods, barley, figs, dates, almonds. Has a lot of potassium, said the menu, an electrolyte that’s said to reduce blood pressure. Buck-95, two-50 with tip. Another time for their spiritual vibe.
And thought of a line for someone: “I wouldn’t be proud of having that much money.” Then paused, considering if I should go to the Powell B of A branch – but then recalled how busy it was the previous day, so took myself off the pause. Besides, the Van Ness one was only two blocks away. Passed the Fox Plaza Starbucks – still had two bucks and more on a card I’d exchanged a pill for. West on Market – could’ve crossed on a green into shade but was wanting the sun’s warmth just then.
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Civic Center, near City Hall, walking west – thought there were a bunch of Falun Gong people at a usual place across from the library, but when I got closer saw that they were Asian tourists with digital cameras.
Then into the library, up to the 6th floor, a part I don’t usually visit – on a mission for Odd Fellow brother P., who wanted a form for requesting a copy of an old photograph related to his on-going history project. Well, what he wanted was available online.
So got to a computer and printed copies. And outside, there was Robert, a guy from the hotel – he’s been owing me two dollars for weeks and weeks. Strange to see him there on Market. He gave me one of the dollars.
Then west on Market – many students of the Art Institute of California standing outside. My Former Lady Roommate has worked there, one of the dozens of art schools and art classes, the many dozens, that she’s posed for.
Then to the lodge building – P. there and I hurried to catch him – he goes over to two guys sitting outside, and I thought he was telling them to move on, but he tells me later these are among those on the street who watch his back and tell him information about people out there whom P. doesn’t want around. So we go upstairs and he’s got a lot of leftover Chinese food for them – I offer to take it down. And have a little plate for myself, selecting mostly serious chunks of beef.
And then P. had other work for me – deposit a check at a Montgomery Street bank, cash one at the Powell Bank of America, go back to the library and pay for a historical print, as well as submitting paperwork for additional images.
Then on a Muni towards Montgomery, on that busy financially-oriented street about 1pm yesterday, Tuesday. Ahead, the “upright thorn” of the Transamerica Building – that felicitously poetic (or poetically felicitous) description from William Gibson’s Virtual Light.
And got that easy bank transaction done – though two fellows ahead of me seemed to be taking too much time – usually it’s just for me, there, in and out – then to Market and a Muni back west. Passing guy wearing a little
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lock – not a locket – as a neck ornament. A fashion statement, that statement being: “I have no taste whatsoever in jewelry.” Perhaps a gift from a loved one. Let’s hope so.
Then off at Powell for the B of A – no spiritual dancing from Edward Jackson there then that day. And down to the subterranean moneychangers – super-long line, a dozen and a half souls including myself, which line I got into for a few seconds before deciding to get to the branch at Van Ness, which promised to be less crowded.
Then on a 5 going west, off when it turned onto Fulton, then an F to where I wanted to go, cashed the check, then back to the lodge. And more work from P. – get 30 stamps, this a little after 5 yesterday afternoon. To the Fox Plaza post office – a little bit of a line, but I wasn’t minding. Package of cupcakes left on a table, and a postal worker picked them up and asked us all if anyone had left them. Suspicious…dangerous baked goods? No one claimed.
So took about 15 minutes to get to a clerk – people get famous in a shorter time than that. Cute girl in line behind me, pale, with dark hair – good skin, or good makeup. And was finally able then to get a sheet of the twenty new D.C. superhero stamps – had been curious about those. One was a cover of a dime Plastic Man from, probably, the Forties. Half were covers, and the other half were individual close-ups of the superheroes depicted on the covers. I’m a Marvel Comics fancier, but these were interesting enough.
Included, the first Batman, with the Bob Kane cover, and a Neal Adams Green Lantern I liked a lot – great style of his. And for the other ten stamps I needed, chose a series about the Southern Florida wetlands with various creepies and crawlies, like a crocodile, and the Halloween Pennant Dragonfly, and flora such as the Leafy Vanilla Orchid.
And: the superheroes stamps came with information on the back about the artist and a bit of biographical detail about the character.
Then to the lodge building again – elevator guy lusting after the young girls of the San Francisco Dance Center in a comment to me. And to P. – he gave me a newsletter from another lodge and recognized, in the month’s birthday section, the name of Tony, guy I went to high school with.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
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In my hotel room, yesterday, Columbus Day, listening to the radio. News of North Korean nuclear testing. Bush said this action was unacceptable. Sounds like he pronounces “peninsula” “peninshula”. And news from Half Moon Bay, the annual giant pumpkin contest. Liked the joke about how the winner “squashes” the competition. Also liked the phrase “gargantuan gourds”.
And thought of a line for Bush: “And now I must reiterate…but no, I must do more than that, I must say it again…” And downstairs, got a copy of the Examiner in the lobby, went through it – a pro-Arnold editorial, a review of the Hang Ah Tea Room in Chinatown. Wsa there just a couple of weeks ago.
And outside…no computers at all that day, it being a holiday for the places I go. So was at some loose ends. D. outside…shared some of his beer with me. And he wanted me to go to his room and get a milk carton so he could have a table to put his cup on. And he said I could have six of the free meals he gets since his refrigerators were full with them, so up I went.
He had Court TV on his tube. Saw an LP on the floor – I think the It’s a Beautiful Day one I’d brought him. Some rancid smell in there made me gag a bit – maybe butter that was turning.
And about this time got a call from Odd Fellow brother P. – he wanted me to get over to Berkeley, to the Bancroft Library, and pick up an old photograph for him for a project he was working on about Odd Fellow history.
And headed to the lodge. There was Weasel, the son of one of the women in the hotel. Another one who is always asking for money. Wanted 75 cents for a beer, but told him I couldn’t do it. And continued walking – jaywalked across the middle of Leavenworth to stay in the shade – it was a warm day.
And to the lodge – got a BART ticket from P. and instructions about what to get in Berkeley, and where. And there was Patrick, guy who used to live in the hotel. Asked him if he had gotten paperback about tipi building I’d left for him in his mail box – he had.
Then to BART – got on a Pittsburgh/Bay Point train, knowing I’d have to transfer to the Richmond line. Then the ride under the bay. Made the right train change, got to Berkeley in an easy half hour. Up to Shattuck, up Center – looking south – knew where the library was towards there, and a movie theater. Up Center – the Act One and Two theater was closed, surprised at that.
And there was a Top Dog, and decided to have one. Been a while since I’ve been in
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Berkeley – knew only of the original one off Telegraph. Two-75 for a wienie – not bad. And there were framed and signed star pictures on the walls – had Jack Lemmon actually been there? So got my dog – a serious black grill stripe on it. Helped myself to the several condiments – diced onions, relish, sauerkraut, mustard, catsup. You can have as much as you can handle of all those.
Then into the campus, eating my dog. There was a metal image of a shattered Earth, six-feet across – a comment on the nuclear weapons work being done at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories. And was enjoying the cool and green shaded glens. And there was an older man, a professor, I supposed, looking, well, very professorial, talking to an enthralled young lady student about “the independence of Argentina”. Hundreds of students moving between classes. Knew the direction to the undergraduate library, didn’t have to think about it.
But when I got there, asked the guard about where the reference desk was. Well, turns out I was at the wrong place – it’s the Moffitt Undergraduate Library I was at – the Bancroft Library was off-campus. Still, it was a felicitous mistake – enjoyed seeing the heart of the campus again, brought back some feelings and memories.
So retraced my step, got to where I was supposed to be, picked up the picture Brother P. wanted. And my recorder had run out of room so stopped taking notes. Memory doesn’t serve me all that well if I don’t record a few words.
And then it was the next day, today, this morning…done with my first posting of the day a little after 10am. Another computer was waiting for me at 11. Friend Laurel had deleted my insulting-to-homosexuals comment about fairies in the Castro from her digital photo blog. She has an uncle who’s gay who might have taken offense, though she says her sister found it amusing.
And had another job from P. from the previous day – go to the library and get a form for requesting photos from their San Francisco history collection. And figured I might be getting to St. Anthony’s for the free lunch, since I was nearing the flat busted condition again. And: Gough near Franklin, seemed every other parking space had shattered glass from broken car windows, or very near that many. And guy near City Hall selling VHS tapes and DVDs from a cart at absurd prices. I mean, The Living Daylights on tape for eleven bucks?!
And a guy in an expensive suit talking on a cell phone. Reminded me of a man considered Mayor Newsom’s right hand, featured in a write-up in 7X7 magazine. And the Annie’s Hot Dogs guy at his cart – flashed me back to Berkeley the previous day, the Top Dog I’d had. About two hours there and back again, but it was memorable. P. says I’ll be going back there to pick up other ordered images.
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Listening to a series of voice notes I made a couple of nights ago – sort of embarrassing to hear what I took to be of significance during a binge on Carlo Rossi Sangria. Was out late with an all-night Muni pass. Thought I’d lost my cell phone (but actually had it in a shoulder pocket of a jacket I’d just bought and am not familiar with).
And while walking was asked by sailors on leave – it being Fleet Week – where the strip clubs were. They were still in the Union Square area on the south end of the Stockton Tunnel and I told them the generally correct direction.
Then got myself up to the Haight, after midnight, and the place was basically shut. Went into a store for, I think, a can of beer – noted that there was a “Mr. T. Channel” on in there.
And remember sitting on the ground with three others, one of them playing a guitar, the rest of us singing, asking for songs.
And managed to get an iambic pentameter line together: “The sacrament of Janis and of Kris.”
And there’s more: “For Kris and Janis, music is a groove,/and hopefully it makes you want to move.”
And took note of the time at one point: Sunday, the 8th, 12:57am. Back in what I called “the home ground”, the Civic Center and, more specifically, the Tenderloin. More drunken voice notes that seemed relevant at the time I made them, but not so in the retrospect of sobriety.
And thought of a question: “What would Gene Kelly do?” (Have got a 1967 Gene Kelly movie with Catherine Deneuve called The Young Girls of Rochefort. George Chakiris, also – thanks, Google – from West Side Story.)
Geez, if these notes I took are any indication of what I was saying to people, I have a real reason to be embarrassed. Perhaps if I said things like that they’d be more relevant in context. Yeah, that’s it.
And said this to my voice recorder: “I am glad I have a warm jacket.”
And realized I hadn’t brought my bank card, so figured just to get back to the hotel. Good thing, since in that frame of mind I may very well have spent money I’d set aside to pay my cell phone and pay down what I owe on my credit card.
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And then something about G-Unit, 50 Cent, in U.N. Plaza. Because there were black guys hanging around out there in the middle of the night? Well, nothing happened to me.
And took out twenty ATM bucks from my checking account – thought it was the right thing to do at the time. Thought to go to Sparky’s and “get a little something-something.” Brilliant. Did I go? I believe in some manic mode I got on my bicycle and rode over there, to Church and Market – this maybe 3am. Then stayed a few seconds before leaving. Yeah, that’s what happened.
Sunday, 8:45am, after sleep. Tower Records out of business, it said on the radio. And was glad to see that I hadn’t spent that twenty at Sparky’s. Some good measure of fiscal sanity was prevailing through the wine inebriation.
And to the library at noon. Did my thing, then took out another audio book – Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. The checkout guy was a lot more talkative than some, and he told me he had read the fellow’s previous one, The Tipping Point. Skipped for the time being a Dalai Lama audio book about happiness. And heading back to the hotel, cute: little blonde girl being carried on her father’s shoulders. And ahead of me, someone going into the Hyde Street Studios, the door closing.
And in my room, turned on the Bernard Goldberg audio book about the 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Julian Bond is one – not sure who he is – a lot of the people Goldberg castigates are media figures I’m not familiar with. Liked an anecdote told about Bond, that as a child Albert Einstein had visited his parents’ home and told him to never memorize anything you can write down. I’m for that.
Then neighbor Dino at the door. Well, he just walks in to the room, and I hadn’t invited him in. Taking advantage of my kindness, basically. Wants money for food, a couple of bucks. Had given him five the other day for breakfast. He’s the kind of person who’ll just keep coming back for more. I wouldn’t mind that, really, but in all the time I’ve known him I can’t think of a single instance where he’s given me anything back for the things I’ve given him. And besides, had at that point only two bucks and change left, so had to tell him no.
Then 8am, Columbus Day, yesterday. A half dozen times I’d been awake previous to that but had begun conscious breathing in and out through the nostrils and went back to sleep. Had the radio on for hours, KQED news. One of the last dreams was about an enlargement of a Michelangelo pointing finger, and I’m counting the segments, ten of them. And I was thinking I had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder since every time I saw that finger I had to count the segments of the indicating digit.
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At the library, picked the audio book of Bernard Goldberg’s 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America – he totally names names and doesn’t hold back. Recommended listening. Six hours, three-hundred-60 minutes. Which works out to a little less than 4 minutes per person. Though some get a lot less. Courtney Love is covered in just one word: “Coke.” Number one-hundred are the parents of Paris Hilton. Number one is Michael Moore. Noam Chomsky is eleventh.
Then back up to the hotel. Got waved across the street by T., who’d sold me at bargain prices dozens of herbal pills a while back. Well, last week I paid him an additional twenty dollars, leaving it in an envelope at his hotel, and he this morning being described expressed much gratitude at that act. In his world, among his usual associates, apparently this rarely if ever happens. He said this raised me very high in his estimation. I said it was only fair.
And got a call that Saturday morning from friend Anthony, who would have if I’d chosen driven me to my high school reunion. But I decided not to attend. Touched based with him about this during that call. But we plan to have dinner one night at Original Joe’s, a Tenderloin restaurant he’s familiar with. He says he’d park at 5th and Mission and walk up. And he told me he doesn’t shave for a couple of days before visiting the Tenderloin so he’d fit in better.
And: a sample of the kind of thinking that Goldberg feels is ruining America: a black woman who wants hurricanes named after black people. As if they’d feel more proud if a destructive storm was named “Denzel”.
And: “The Dumb Celebrity” is one of Goldberg’s categories – Cameron Diaz in this. Linda Ronstadt is considered both dumb and vicious – at least Cameron’s not vicious.
And recall the decision made by me to begin celebrating Columbus Day two days beforehand with Carlo Rossi Sangria.
And more from the Bernard Goldberg book: Norman Mailer is number 78. Mention, of course, of Henry Abbott.
And despite overdoing the Carlo Rossi, did keep a certain frugality in mind
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by purchasing the liter-and-a-half sizes at the market where it sells for fifty cents less than other places.
And ran into friend K. on the street – had a new cap and wanted to give him my old floral one, since he expressed a liking for it. Plus had a shaker of garlic salt I’d kept for him for a while that I wanted to pass along. So we went towards the hotel, and he waited downstairs while I went up.
And then this and that. By myself. Went to get the first jug of the sangria. Had it put in a brown paper bag so I could say it was a head of cabbage – had to get it past some on the street who’d expect me to be generous.
And on the way back, went into a Vietnamese tailor shop which I saw had a goodly selection of videos on VHS for a mere dollar a piece. Was seeking something appropriate to go along with the sweet red wine. They actually had a Ma and Pa Kettle flick, which I passed on. And there was a Van Heflin vehicle called Patterns, which was written by Rod Serling. Also a pass.
And after looking at all of the dozens of them picked one of the Terence Hill Trinity spaghetti Westerns. Italian, like Carlo Rossi, to go along with Columbus Day. And saved a dollar by buying just one, though there was pack of two of these Trinity movies.
And before starting on the wine and the video, did some balancing of personal finances, taking care of that business. And also on my mind, the big TV that Odd Fellow brother P. had sold me, and that I’d given to a guy in the hotel who said he might be moving any day. So went down to check on him – his phone’s not working. Knocked and knocked and got no answer, then inquired of his neighbor, who was clueless about the man’s whereabouts. So just put aside concerns about that tube – wanted to get it to my immediate neighbor, S., who would be a very worthy recipient.
And screwed off the top of the wine jug, turned on the movie. It’s like Leone without the genius, but it still has a certain charm that I like, especially with the help of the vino. Liked this line from the hero, when asked by his brother when he’d do something productive with his life: “Who’s got the time? I’m already busy doing nothing.” Well, took a few voice notes during the movie, but in retrospect they seem, frankly, not worth mentioning.
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Had inaugurated a beautiful blank book from the Fields metaphysical store with precise details of spent money. Did this pristinely, balancing it all to the very penny, for many days before drinking a lot of cheap red wine like I had been three months ago. Well, keeping exact track of money isn’t everything. (The Fields blank book is, as I said, a beauty – the cover is a reproduction of centuries-old metal gates in Cairo.)
And Litquake is continuing is San Francisco for four more days after tonight. Dozens of events of a literary kind across the city. Have not been to a one. One recent night featured L.A. screenwriters at the Edinburgh Castle talking, I think, about how horrible it is to be a creative soul with integrity in the Babylon of Tinseltown.
And have been listening to Pink’s I’m Not Dead recently. Fred Segal reference – a trendy L.A. clothing store. Donald Fagen’s Morph the Cat also on a lot – very New York. There’s one of Pink’s that critical of Bush – it says he doesn’t know anything about hard work. But, really, it’s hard being the President. Just having to deal with all the constant negative opinions would be difficult.
And glanced through for what’s pertinent to me in the new Rolling Stone, and have since given it to my neighbor, S. One thing: reviewer David Fricke commenting on The Information, Beck’s new disc. He says Beck “finally combines his folk and hip-hop sides.”
And there’s a write-up on the new James Bond movie. There’s a torture scene involving Double-Oh-7’s testicles and a bottomless chair – I remember that part from the Casino Royale novel, which was Ian Fleming’s first in the series. That’s sure to be real unpleasant to watch.
The new “Bond Girl” is Eva Green – saw her in The Dreamers, the Bernardo Bertolucci movie about Sixties Paris. Quote in the write-up from Barbara Broccoli, whose father “Cubby” began the franchise in ’61 with Dr. No.
And more from the Rolling Stone – it’s the annual “Hot Issue”. “Hot Actress” is Sienna Miller, who’s portraying Edie Sedgwick in a new biopic. And there’s a movie about Dylan, I’m Not There, with Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, and Heath Ledger all portraying the man at different stages of
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And A Bigger Bang, the Rolling Stones show, is the highest-grossing North American tour ever – a hundred-62 million earned so far. Scorsese will film concerts for a movie – a treatment, I guess, like he did for the Band in the mid-Seventies with The Last Waltz.
And was going to skip the article on cover girl Fergie, but became interested when learning that she was part of the Wild Orchid trio in the late Nineties – was very, very impressed with some of their music – songs like “At Night I Pray” and “Supernatural” are, to use an over-used word, incredible. And find it funny that Fergie likes to invent words – like “risiculous”, a combination of “ridiculous” and “sick”. 31 years old. For some reason I thought she was British – her name is the same as that other Sarah Ferguson – the Duchess of something in England.
And have nearly taken all of the Myoplex nutrition shake powder I’d bought on the street – really feel like I was getting much out of that. And had been watching Woody Allen’s Celebrity recently. A scene with Winona Ryder and Kenneth Branagh, black and white, with a prolonged monologue by him – reminded me a lot of Casablanca. And went through the most-recent 7X7 magazine, about the beautiful people of San Francisco. Notated names of places and people onto thirty Post-Its and have those up on my wall. Gives me something more to think about, see patterns, maybe.
And had the room door open the other morning and around comes Dino, a neighbor, wondering if I had a cigarette. Always wanting something, never, in my memory, ever giving. Could’ve given him a stick of incense, I guess. Then out the door, onto the street – had five dimes in my clutches, seeking two single cigarettes. Not in the habit of smoking, but felt like it that day. Checked two local markets and they didn’t deal with those – attracts the penurious kind of nearly non-customer merchants don’t want.
And had twenty minutes until the library was open. Crossed Grove to get a cup of coffee at the Burger King. Excellent design on the resealable plastic lid. And was amused by the comment by a guy standing there to another guy who seemed to be taking his picture: “You don’t have permission to take my image, ass!” Then accentuates this communication with a middle finger.
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Liked seeing Arthur magazine up at Amoeba Music when I visited the Haight a few days ago – good free publication out of Los Angeles that you can’t find everywhere. Used to get it years ago at the now-closed Leather Tongue video place on Valencia in the Mission, but haven’t seen it since, forgot it’s even still being produced.
In this current issue, an interview with John Sinclair of the 60s anarchist White Panther Party, and photos from a ‘67 “Love-In” in some park in L.A.
And was much enjoying a few days ago mint leaves with hot water on them. Really have to find a source for these – very refreshing, those fresh leaves. No sweetener needed – I’d recommend this simple drink for anyone.
And guy on the street the other day had chocolate bars for sale – had the money and wanted to buy, but he only had the dark kind – it’s got to be milk chocolate for me. Well, he then pulls out a milk chocolate one that was partially eaten, and bought that from him. Not that I really absolutely had to have it, but I like spreading money around when I have it.
And was waiting a few days ago for the Tenderloin computer center to open. Passing those of us standing outside, many Catholic grade schoolers, doing that military “left, left, left-right-left!” chant. I saluted to them and only one picked up on that and saluted me back, smiling big as he marched by.
And then – this being Friday, four days ago as of this, Tuesday, the day after Columbus Day two-thousand-six – then to the hotel. Asked assistant manager Steven about the whereabouts of the lobby soda machine, my source of the iced tea I like a lot. He said it was to be relocated to the basement since the hotel’s installing personal mailboxes in the lobby and needed that space for those. Good that the machine’s not gone entirely – many’s the time I’ve been putting in the 75 cents at 3am, totally jonesing for the cold, sweet, non-carbonated drink.
Also, received new issue of Rolling Stone those several days ago – flavor of the month Fergie on the cover with much skin on display – R.S. must somehow compete for eyeballs with the girlie mags. Also got a Billy Graham organization letter. This thanks to friend Cromwell, who’s a dedicated Christian and put me on an evangelistic mailing list.
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And have been enjoying the subtle quality of the Balinese incense I bought up in North Beach at Neverland the other day. More expensive than what I’ve been using, stuff from Bangalore, but worth that extra cost.
Then nearly 5pm that Friday, heading to the library for a computer. In hand to return, a Herb Caen column collection, a book about the principles of karate, and the audio book of The Da Vinci Code.
Then did my thing on the computer, then looking for a new audio book – had ten minutes until the library closed to make my selection. Two I considered: a biography of the Beatles by one Bob Spitz, and one of the recent Bob Dylan Chronicles – didn’t want either.
Picked one called The Narnian, a biography of Tolkien Oxford crony C.S. Lewis. Ten hours of it – maybe nine hours more about the guy than most anyone would want to hear, but was going to give it a go. Maybe there’d be good anecdotes about J.R.R. Lewis wore his Christianity more on his sleeve than Tolkien did, seems like.
Then heading back to the hotel. Asian tourists seriously taking photos of the old Federal Building for I know not what reason. And at The Fence where sellers without permits ply their trade, two guys had Luna bars, a nutrition product aimed at women. Had the money but didn’t buy.
And young guy from the hotel jogging toward me. I said: “Yo! Rocky!” and he grinned. Very athletic, and very media-aware.
And at the deli on the same block as the hotel, bought a two dollar box of sea shell pasta (I like the roundness of its mouth feel), two cans of tuna (only 69 cents there – usually 30 cents a can more), and a small can of tomato paste for the pasta. Four bucks, a good buy. The Muslim man who runs the place told me his plans to include all-halal products.
And got into the C.S. Lewis. Born 1898. Three years younger than Tolkien, if I have those 19th century dates correct. I think Buckminster Fuller was also born in 1895. Couldn’t get into it – I think I’ve already returned it. (Could see getting an unabridged reading of The Lord of the Rings. The library’s got radio adaptations of the trilogy, but that won’t do.)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
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Out of the room with fifteen pennies and six dimes in order to get a can of iced tea. And it was nearly 9am that recent day, heading to the Western Addition to get to a free computer, do my bloggy thing.
And was finding it difficult to find the drink I wanted – plenty of carbonated sodas, but not the tea. Then to the Gladstone market near to Van Ness – and they only had two cans of it.
And skipped picking up that morning’s Examiner. Had been diligently the previous several days collecting articles, and saving them in shoe boxes.
And west of Van Ness – at Turk and Gough, construction continuing on the Parkview Terraces – low income housing, I guess. Have been passing it nearly every day on the way to the computer center. The foundation’s been laid and now the above-ground part’s going up.
About 10:15am, a Friday, two days ago, done with the blog posting.
Thinking back then to a drunken binge, including mimosas on Haight Street.
And the Books Inc. – Jamie Lee Curtis to make a public appearance there in a few days. About the same age as me. But apart from that fact, our lives are pretty much as different as can be. She’ll be there as part of the on-going Litquake festival of literacy, which started on the 6th and ends on the 14th. Photo of her hugging a globe.
And was recalling the sound of the Blue Angels breaking the sound barrier that day I went up to the Haight.
Then decided to head back to the hotel for a half hour – could get a library computer at 11.
And sign at the Turk and Larkin tire and auto service store: “Martyrdom is the only way in which one can become famous without ability.” Bernard Shaw. That said before the Warhol fifteen minutes observation about the power of media.
And was wanting a can or two of tuna at the place I get it for 69 cents a
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can – a significant 30 cents less than most Tenderloin places sell it. And was back in the room, doing numbers – if I put in 46 bucks into my checking account I could just cover what I was to pay T-Mobile and Bank of America for my credit card.
Then out the door, heading to the library. Passing the Asian Art Museum – Catholic schoolkids on a field trip, the girls all in the same blue plaid skirt. Then to the library – it was 11am on a Friday, and realized when I was there that it opens that day at noon.
Then thought to get over to the office of the organization that helped me pay my rent when I totally skipped that a couple of months. Passing the Odd Fellows building. And thought: what other group makes it a main mission to advertise itself as a source of friendship, love, and truth?
And passed the Can-Cun Mexican place at 6th and Market – “mojado” is a way you can have your burrito – meaning, “wet”, with some sauce dripped on. Same word used in the hotel for signs when the floor is washed or the roof has leaked: “Piso Mojado”.
Then to the rental assistance place – again, not open. I think every Friday they have a morning meeting. So back across Market, up into the Tenderloin. Four new payphones at 6th and Market, strangely – helps to facilitate crack and prostitution deals? Less likely to find even one in these cellular times.
And St. Anthony’s, a line around the corner and halfway up the block. Haven’t been to their free lunch in over two months, but since I went back slightly to evil financial ways these past few days I might be making that scene again.
Then towards the hotel – the 69-cent tuna place open, I was glad to see, and got two cans. Then to the room – nearly noon…planning computer use for the rest of the day. And got to the last part of The Da Vinci Code – had been falling asleep to much of it and missed a lot. Kept my interest. And got into some of Fresh Air – innovative musician Steve Reich was the guest – played a tape loop experiment from the mid-Sixties in which the phrase of a holy roller preacher, “It’s gonna rain!”, repeats over and over and over. Interesting enough, but wouldn’t seek it out, that’s for sure.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
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North Beach, Columbus and Broadway, two days ago – about 9pm…went into Robert Hemphill’s Neverland curiosity shop. Very familiar to me from the three years I lived at a hotel at Montgomery and Broadway. Went around and around and decided on four dollar Balinese patchouli incense. Particularly unique, the tube-shaped packaging, made from leaves. Hemphill travels to exotic foreign locales and brings back the most-fine goodies. He has a very good eye.
Then to the Muni stop in front of City Lights. Didn’t go in, but looked at the window displays. The new Ralph Steadman there, also a gargoyles volume.
And for sure that Columbus bus going south didn’t come frequently. Took a voice note after waiting twenty minutes. But if I had to wait anyplace, there was one of the best, for the North Beach people watching, and for the many excellent volumes displayed in the historic bookshop.
And two of the more Bohemian locals were sitting there on the ground, and got into a bit of a discussion with them. The one, the more militantly-outspoken one, said loudly that Kerouac was an asshole. Apparently he knew him and could verify this claim through personal experience. Also discussed, differences between the hippie vibe of Rainbow Gatherings and whatever’s happening at Burning Man. I told these blokes that I figured myself more in the former camp rather than the latter.
And found in a discarded container leftovers from one of the local eateries – potato salad, a dollop, and a tender piece of some sort of meat. Picked it up for later consumption. And eventually came the bus – I’d say I was there a good thirty minutes and more. But the conversation with those two street-reclining Bohemians made for a good time, as well as the general nightlife environment.
Then down near Market – passed 57 Post, the Mechanics’ Institute Library. Going to pay the 95 bucks for membership sometime. And took a diagonal through Union Square – having by this time eaten that potato salad and the very tender cut of meat. For some reason loud Mellencamp playing in the area, from where I know not. Eighties “Hurts So Good” Mellencamp.
And heading towards the Tenderloin on foot. Did an extreme one-eighty at the thought of perhaps getting that Ian Fleming “Vesper” drink at the former Pan-Pacific Hotel – I believe they’ve recently changed names. Still had a bit of cash and figured to finally get around to indulging in that fictional beverage. The second floor lounge area where it’s served is probably the same. And thought of the Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide drink the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.
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But decided against the Vesper and continued west. Past the Superette Market, absolutely now in the Tenderloin. Bought two of their deviled eggs for a buck – written “Devil Eggs” on their menu, which name I prefer.
Then this and that, back in the hotel room, then sleep and then waking. Did a little pre-dawn financial reconnoitering. Had set aside 70 dollars in my checking account to pay T-Mobile and Bank of America, and had gone into that to the tune of 50 during my excursion to the Haight. But still had enough in cash to get the corporations what they wanted, with a little juggling of the lucre.
And this being about 4am a Friday morning…some regretfulness…about giving the finger to big vehicles, for one thing. And about spending so much money – although I’d gotten my bills paid, rent taken care of.
Had been so very precise about every penny spent for days and days leading up to the beginning of the month, then went to a spending extreme. But it had its boundaries, I made sure of that, despite outward appearances.
And a change in the hotel: the lobby soda machine had been removed. I almost never drink carbonated beverages, but have been a frequent imbiber of the iced tea from that source. Went down about 4am to the lobby when I found this out. Went to the all-night Lucky Market on the block and they didn’t have what I wanted.
Then 8:15am, Friday, yesterday, after falling asleep again. Continuing with the regret about spending so much money. So I won’t have cash to spread out over the entire month. Though Odd Fellow brother P. will surely be sending me out on little assignments. And: was considering perhaps making these feelings part of a confession of sorts of hotel case worker M.K. – a Mary Katherine, a Flynn, so it’s likely she’s not unfamiliar with that Catholic process.
And then for a few seconds the worst feeling – I mean, even though I was free with that money I didn’t blow the rent money or what I owe to the bank and the cell company. The very bad feeling was: Oh, no! Did I lose my bank cards and library cards and little slips of paper with various bits of information? Had that all rubber-banded together. Thought that this might have happened due to inebriated carelessness. But I wasn’t and am almost never so careless, and wasn’t then.
And looked over material I’d collected for free during my Haight visitation, including catalogs from the Bound Together anarchist bookstore and mags from Amoeba Music. Had gotten second copies for neighbor S., and had put them beneath his door.
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Two days ago, back in the Civic Center after an afternoon in the Haight. Had been partaking of “the sauce” a might and got into a bit of previous behavior related to giving the finger to large vehicles, certain of them, and the fine, upstanding individuals within them. Small vehicles, they passed.
Well, seems one automotively-inclined fellow took my gesture in a certain (intended) way and disembarked from his, to my way of viewing the situation, unacceptably over-large fossil-fueled transportation contrivance. Also disembarking, his friend – both male and both, as I recall, physically overlarge, that in an unfortunate parallel to their large vehicles. And both not happy.
To make a short story shorter, both of these subhumans – I mean, respectable citizens – faced me down and expressed, oh, curiosity about my supposedly unacceptable, unwarranted behavior. I didn’t say much, as I recall, just stood there. Not sure what they made of me, but the one called me a “moron”. Ah, such superlative wit! Then, after some good face time involving silent, direct staring, they got back into their obscene vehicle and drove off. Good riddance.
Well, “moron”. In the time since this confrontation have had more than a laugh or two considering this word. Wikipedia says it’s “a psychology-related term for a person with a genetically determined mental age between 8 and 12”. Perhaps the meaning intended by the fossil-fueled oaf described above. In more general terms, at answers.com, this definition: “a stupid person; a dolt”.
And thought of a simile about then: that the Tenderloin is equivalent, in some way, to the Himalayas. In some spiritual sense, that is.
Then back to my room. Considering two of my several purchases in the Haight – from Amoeba Music – Donald Fagen’s Morph the Cat, and Pink’s I’m Not Dead. 12 for the Fagen, 10 for the Pink. Been wanting these both for a while and was penny as well as pound wise to secure them at that significant discount. As noted in a previous posting, this procurement smacked nothing of the impulsive.
And noted my pleasure at mint leaf tea I’d brewed recently – just the raw leaf (someone had left a container in the hotel lobby) plus hot water. A very delicious drink, no sweetener needed. And had turned on the Celebrity tape I’d bought for two bucks a previous day – the Woody Allen movie. Noted a scene with fellatio instruction being given by one New York woman to another, using a banana.
And thought that Woody was doing very, very well by Winona Ryder, showing off her charms and acting ability beautifully in the black and white he’d chosen. She’s not the main star, but she’s excellent in the ensemble.
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And thought of an iambic pentameter: “She’s fine as wine times nine times nine times nine.” (I like this line because it’s made up of only one-syllable words. Often what occurs to me are I.P. lines using only two words, but monosyllabics can be very effective as well, and perhaps even harder to come up with.)
And had on a live Grateful Dead tape about this time, from the 70s or 80s. They cover “Day Tripper”. Would be a good one for Pink, I’d say. And then put the Fagen disc on infinite repeat. Something I can really love and live with.
And there was mislabeling on a VHS tape I’d bought on the street – thought it was that teen witchy movie, The Craft, but turns out it’s some soccer game. A bit disappointed – haven’t seen that one in a while and I recall liking it. Well, I know a guy who’s really into soccer, so he might enjoy this tape. (And also bought The Little Princess, the Shirley Temple movie. Not that I really wanted it all that much, but sometimes I just buy on the street to help out whoever’s selling.)
And: the Shirley Temple came out in 1939. With Cesar Romero – picked up on him about 2 and a half decades later for his role as the Joker in the Batman TV series. ’39…same year as Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
And another recent dollar buy on the street, a Herman Melville – main thing in it is Billy Budd. Again, didn’t really want it, but it’s okay to add to my small collection of paperbacks, a form of book I like very much. Might make a good gift sometime.
Then was out the door – I believe on my way to North Beach. On Market paused at an excellent (and I guess unsigned) rock band called Sinclair. I think I’ve seen them on the street before. A very good sound, and I’m not the easiest to please. But drew the line at paying fifteen bucks for their CD, as much as I up-thumbed them. They were positioned well, beneath the sign for a California Savings bank branch, and across from the Virgin Megastore. Much more power to them.
Then heading north – paid a buck-50 to Muni and got a transfer, so I was okay with the transport. Eventually got a bus, off at Washington Square Park, 9pm, a Thursday night. Thinking of Mauricio, a fellow I knew from years back when I lived in North Beach – associated with Panta Rei, a recommended restaurant on Columbus. Wasn’t going to eat there – a slice of pizza was what was on my mind.
Well, got there, asked for the man – sounds like he might be retired – was told he was in Half Moon Bay. Then south to Vallejo – the Rossi Market grocery store vacated, and next to it, also defunct, the N.B. branch of Truly Mediterranean. I believe the 16th and Valencia location for this is still doing well – hummus and tabouleh apparently didn’t go over big in this part of town.
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The Haight, two days ago – continuing with notes about that afternoon. Jets overhead – didn’t know what they were then, but subsequently found out that it was the Blue Angels practicing for Fleet Week. Also, for the first time bought some Salvia divinorum at a shop along that fabled boulevard.
And about this time went into Martin Mack’s bar, a mimosa on my mind. Felt afterwards I might’ve lost money in there, apart from what I spent. A pilfering lady bartender? Or a quick theft by a customer? Or maybe I was wrong about the loss. Was not, as I had been for several days prior, counting every penny. And – put 14 songs onto the jukebox in there. First one was Neil Diamond’s “He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother”. And two or three Hendrix tunes, including “Crosstown Traffic”, and I think “Voodoo Chile”.
And also bought myself a pack of Pall Malls – another thing I haven’t been doing, smoking. Noted that I had to light about nine matches at one point to get a cigarette on.
And took a note on the Decades of Fashion store – stuff in there from the 1880s to the 1980s. Seventeen-40 is the street number. Must’ve impressed me in some way, but I don’t recall just what. But that’s why I take these voice notes, so don’t particularly have to think much. And also a note: “the New Orleans connection”. Not sure what is being referred to.
And into a store to get some Bayer aspirin, the exact particular brand and stuff I wanted; none of the other over-the-counter pain relievers would suffice. Had been drinking a lot that day and was feeling it a little in my head. Might’ve been the mixing of drinks. Well, asked the clerk for this in particular and she (or he) was unclear, but pushed for it and got it. And noted also then, since I must’ve been impressed by it for some reason, the Milk Bar at eighteen-40. Sign in front: “I Love the 80s”.
And noted sign for Blufizz, and a related Desperately Seeking Susan reference for some reason. Must’ve seemed important at the time. Googled on that name – a “World-Class Lifestyle” company, with several global cities listed.
And noted about this time that Martin Mack’s - an Irish place, I guess - messed with me, or seemed to. Maybe they didn’t. Felt like I lost money
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there. Well, I shouldn’t have been careless, if I was.
And about this time into Amoeba Music and bought secondhand copies of Donald Fagen’s new Morph the Cat disc, and Pink’s I’m Not Dead – 12 for the first, 10 for the second. Nothing like an impulse buy, since I’ve been wanting to hear both of these for months.
And 3:15pm Thursday, two days ago. Still on Haight. Noted a guy in some horizontally-striped shirt with tattoos all up his arms. I said to my voice recorder: “…that’s not right, that doesn’t work.”
I think about then gave some of those Pall Malls to a guy with an acoustic guitar. Wanted him to play something, but he was on his way, on a mission. Recall leaning on a trash can, cigarettes on top of it. And was drinking from a 15 buck bottle of sangria – Dona Sol brand – California wine – from the Café International. Was walking along with that in a brown paper bag.
And tried to call friend (or acquaintance) C. about this time – really don’t remember this, don’t remember taking the voice note. But his mailbox was full. Said the Church Lady phrase to myself: “Isn’t that special?”
And the Blue Angels were really roaring up above, and thought that it was them versus Pink and Fagen. Then something somewhat incomprehensible at this remove of two days, about Blue Angels, Red Devils…and wishing there were “some chick Blue Angels.”
Then it was 4pm…noted that the sun was out, though a few hours earlier, on the way to the Haight, it’d been raining heavily. And at Anubis Warpus, at number fifteen-25, bought a designer-drawn cap with “FRISCO” on it – the lower half was the letters, and the upper were San Francisco buildings. Liked this so much I paid 25, not including tax. Have been wearing a tropically-colored floral one for months and this was a needed change.
5:12pm. Had the Bibliohead bookstore in mind – wanted Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus! there, twelve bucks. Mentioned Janis Joplin for some reason I can’t recall just now. And: I think I thought, referring to a driver whose car was nosing into the pedestrian walkway, that she was a bitch and not a witch.
Friday, October 06, 2006
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Yesterday, considering purchases, possible ones, with the money I’d just gotten. Maybe a stash receptacle in the likeness of a can of Coca-Cola. But had little use for it. Maybe with thousands of ten dollar bills I’d get a few of those to hide them. Had one once in the shape of a VHS tape that was indistinguishable, basically, from the real.
And had been watching Sidewalks of New York, a movie with Heather Graham included among the Big Apple ensemble from about five years ago. She in one scene was sitting with her movie husband and another couple at a dinner party. She’s drinking wine, really gesticulating with her hands to make a conversational point. Well, got this one secondhand and it just flat stopped playing for maybe the third time, so moved on to Celebrity, the Woody Allen one – also an observation about New York.
And: had the sound off on this, but even silent there were funny moments – KKK guy in the background removing his hood made me laugh. Lot of black folks walking around. Might’ve been in a Manhattan ad agency. Sound off, as I said, with a Steely Dan best of disc playing. Not many Asians about.
And was thinking of hotel neighbor Dino – gave him a tall mimosa before he had to get going to fulfill job requirements for his Workfare program. Thought that I could’ve given him one of the few herbal pills I still had, maybe make his work easier. But they aren’t readily at hand.
And Leonardo DiCaprio’s in Celebrity. Read that his father dealt in underground comic books. He’s also in that new one with Nicholson – a story of Irish gangsters. Good in The Basketball Diaries, as Jim Carroll.
Liked line in “Deacon Blues”: “the essence of true romance”. And was thinking about heading to the Haight, buy some things. Including Morph the Cat, the new Donald Fagen, and Pink’s I’m Not Dead, these used at Amoeba. And was going to carry along a small orange juice bottle with mimosa in it. Put it into an inner pocket of my jeans jacket and my cell phone complained at the intrusion.
And outside, to the Muni stop at Hyde and Turk, waiting for a westbound bus. Hard rain, heaviest so far of the year, and I was liking it. Thinking of the elements – plenty of water this day, yesterday, a Thursday. Fire not so
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much, or none, nor earth except for the city’s concrete. Air, wind, that present.
And off at Fillmore – another wait to get a southbound ride to Haight. A chance to cool off a little – am generally by nature warm, and the champagne with orange juice was heating me up even more.
Then the ride, then off at Haight – one more Muni west and I’d be at my destination. Went into the recommended Café International and got a glass of honey wine – well, had entirely fallen off the wagon yesterday, and wasn’t stopping. And said to myself that the place was “an experience unto itself” – has a good genuine feeling. Impressed, I was, with the entirety of the Haight during yesterday’s visit. Though, as a friend who has known the area well for years, it’s so very commercialized now.
And from the flyer table in front, picked up one for a class in Eight Step Mantis kung fu, held at 20th and Bryant, this for hotel front desk guy Vic. He’s already got a martial arts teacher who holds classes in Golden Gate Park, but this might interest him.
And bought a 40 minute computer card for five dollars, did a little e-mailing. Then eventually out onto Haight for the ride west – bought a bottle of sangria from the Café International to take with me. Wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked – should’ve gone for more of that Ethiopian honey wine, which is very smooth.
And guy on the bus said he dealt in Hofmann’s bicycle and magic morels. Been a while since doing these, but was interested in a purchase – seemed like the thing to do. We disembarked at the same street then walked a block north to a less-trafficked area to be discreet about it. Well, he had to go elsewhere and get the stuff. And I wasn’t really feeling it. And he seemed fearful of results of illegality. So let it go. Not looking, anyway.
And had to use the restroom – had been drinking continuously all morning – so went into the Magnolia, a corner pub I’d heard good things about, and was allowed to use the facilities. Thought of the phrase “the alcohol Mafia” – it was obvious I was drinking and that seemed to make me more okay there with the person I’d asked.
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At a laundromat yesterday, sipping a little bottle of merlot. Had selected pages from several publications I’d brought along, and from those pages selected the ones of most special interest to me: discussion of the Litquake literary event happening today in San Francisco and for a few days to come, a Dick Cavett interview, one with Heather Graham, a picture of her among the cast for her doomed Emily’s Reasons sitcom, review of the Love, Janis show, a 10% off coupon for the Bibliohead bookstore, and a review of the new Ralph Steadman book about his years in the company of Hunter S. Thompson, one of the most-desired by me of the current new hardcovers.
And standing outside, drinking that wine, along comes Denise, a woman I vaguely know from previous times I was hanging out in front of the hotel. Said she just got back from Huntington Beach, where she grew up. Shared the wine with her. Intense person, not one, it seemed, to take anything from anybody, but she was friendly to me, and we had a good conversation.
Then done with the laundry. Back to the room, about a quarter after nine yesterday morning. It was the day to pay the rent – had to get a money order then take it to the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. Half my month’s money.
And popped my head into the block’s deli – guy’d been closed the previous day when I was wanting to buy something, and asked him about this, whether it was a Ramadan thing. No, he was working all through the Muslim religious observance – it was just that he was fine tuning the place with the doors closed.
Then to the Mex Express to get that money order. Glad to see that it was empty – last month had to wait a good fifteen minutes. Then to the THC office around the corner – good man Nate at the front desk. Again, not a long wait – got to a woman who took my money in two minutes. On her, a shirt for some orchestra in Queens. Asked her about this – something she’d once belonged to. But she was very glad to get out of New York.
Then to a corner market for the makings of mimosas – Eden Roc California champagne, plus Tropicana orange juice (because it’s not from concentrate). Was falling even farther off the wagon that day, yesterday. And going in, ran into fifth floor neighbor Dino – was in fact wanting someone to share the drink with, and he was the right one for this.
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So we two in my room – he had only a few minutes before having to get over to sweep streets near 5th and Market for a Workfare program to fulfill General Assistance requirements, but I poured him a tall cup anyway. So we shared some fellowship that morning. He mentioned his little girl child Dina, how well she’s doing. He told about how striking it was to him to see her christening, her wearing a little wedding dress-looking outfit. Had on some Eagles while he was there, which seemed appropriate, at least for me.
And recalled a previous time he’d been in my room drinking – still had my 28-inch TV then and we were sharing wine, watching On the Waterfront on Comcast, this about a year ago. He was unhappy then about a relative in Oakland who’d been shot dead.
And after he left, turned on the Sidewalks of New York VHS tape I’d just bought, sound off, with an Eagles best of continuing to play, and I was continuing to drink the Eden Roc plus Tropicana mimosas. Scenes in the movie then featuring the watchably sexy Rosario Dawson. Also, scene with Brittany Murphy, looking much different from when she debuted in Clueless.
And liking about this time the line in “The Long Run” about “all the debutantes in Houston”, sung by Don Henley.
Then it was 10:30am yesterday – put on a Steely Dan best of. The last Eagles song, “After the Thrill is Gone”, was excellent to hear then. And: the Sidewalks of New York kept stopping by itself – the tape box was pretty thrashed when I bought it so maybe the tape itself was malfunctioning.
And planning the day: get to a place I owe a few hundreds buck to for paying my rent when I skipped that for two months some months ago. Maybe get to Bibliohead and pay twelve bucks for a copy of Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus! Considered getting a pack of cigarettes – I almost never smoke but was feeling that impulse then. Get more incense at the Tobacco Barn on Polk, enough to last the rest of the month. And the Tenderloin computer center was going to be open in three-and-a-half hours.
And was thinking that Steely Dan would’ve been a more Dino-friendly choice when he was in – the Eagles for him were probably too white boy.
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