carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
When you are lost, move slowly.
Stop at corners with no stop signs and look in all directions before you proceed
(with caution).
Read every word you see:
names on mailboxes,
license plates and unfamiliar, made-up sounding streets names,
signs: FOR SALE,

Pause to look at the weeds growing in yards of heat-killed grass,
at window boxes of stagnant flowers,
at fences conquered by varieties of ivy you will never see again.
Memorize the strange shade of the cement and its peculiar cracks.

Listen to the not-quite-tuneless music coming from inside houses that could almost be the houses in your own neighborhood.
Speak to yipping dogs tied to front porches you might have sat on, if your life had turned out differently.
Watch bedraggled children running in shrieking play, broken toys in their hands.
The sun slants down from a strange direction. This is not your world.
You are only moving through it, off-kilter; a detour, as you try to find your way home.
carose59: dreams (whose mind watches itself)
"Her Hobbies Were Hiding, And Lying About Hiding."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

It was like a British film noir—quirky and menacing at the same time. And it was almost entirely in black&white.

A man had killed most of his family. They lived in a small housing community made up of very small fifties era houses, and they lived in several of the houses—his parents in one with one of his sisters, another sister and her husband and children in another house, an aunt and another of his sister's in a third house. The man—whose name I don't know—lived in a house by himself.

When the dream started, he had killed everyone but the aunt and the sister who lived with her. The police were aware of this, but after talking to his psychiatrist, it was decided that he should remain where he was and the aunt and sister would need to hide. Everyone knew he was planning to kill them as well. The police were still investigating.

Then something happened with the aunt, but I'm not sure what, except she was bringing home groceries in the middle of the night. She was screaming

The police showed up to investigate some more and they took the aunt back into her house to hide while the man prowled around outside and stole her groceries. The sister, who was a little gir, was hidden more carefully than before; the police wrapped her up like a box of gift candy, with bright fancy paper.

(The wrapping paper is the only part of the dream that makes any sense, and it's the only part that was in color. OK, it doesn't really make sense, but I know where it came from. I've been watching That Girl, and the wrapping paper came from a bright spangly dress she wore in an episode yesterday.)

Once the girl was wrapped up, she became an actual box of candy and they put her on a shelf in the back of a closet.

Then the police decided to trap the man and actually put him in prison, so they sent the aunt outside to walk around so he could attack her, and they put the box of candy on the front stoop. They were still hunting him when I woke up.

This is the kind of dream I've been having lately, dark and menacing and full of gloom. I also seem to have them more when I sleep on my back.

I wish I could say it seemed unrealistic, but except for the girl turning into a box of candy, it all seems more than probable, women being expected to hide while men who want to murder them roam around free.

*Shawn Spencer
carose59: TV (but he doesn't know what he likes)
By Whom Do You Imagine Such A Sign Was Meant To Have Been Painted? The Municipal Signage Department Of Emerald City?*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

The pilot for The Andy Griffith Show was actually an episode of Make Room For Daddy, Danny Thomas's show. Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard had the idea for the show—about a town so small, the sheriff was also the judge, justice of the peace, and I'm not sure what all else, and in this episode Danny gets stopped in a speed trap. Andy wasn't terribly bright and Barney was his cousin. (Barney remained his cousin for a few episodes, then they dropped that.)

One thing they found out really fast was that Barney was a funnier character than Andy, so for the good of the show, Andy Griffith opted to play straight man.

The Andy Griffith Show, is purported to be a warm, wholesome, family show. People might behave badly, but at the end of the day, they learn a lesson and shape up. Strangers come to town and find that the slow, small town life is better than their big city bustle.

And that's not completely untrue, but there's such an underpinning of meanness, I found myself stressing out as I watched the episodes.

Barny Fife is one of those characters we're supposed to like in spite of his unlikeableness. He's officious, he's a bully, he's power hungry, and he's incompetent. (In 2017 he'd make a fine president.) I never liked Barney.

And yet when Andy is deliberately cruel to him, I get very upset. Because, as I used to tell Pat all the time, "I'm not his friend! I can't stand him and I wouldn't treat him like that, but here's his best friend constantly undercutting him, ridiculing him, treating him the way I wouldn't treat my worst enemy! What kind of friend is that?" Yes, in a pinch Andy would come through for Barney, but it has been my experience that in an emergency, even strangers will help you out. Friends are supposed to be nice to you on a daily basis! Otherwise, what's the point?

So the show constantly put me in the position of having to feel sorry for a character I disliked. This is the same problem I had with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, only at least with that one it was almost always Ted doing it to himself. I didn't like watching it, but I wasn't saddled with conflicted feelings about the other characters, except for wishing they'd stop putting up with his crap.

For Pat, the problem was Andy's fathering skills. She said he was a terrible father, and the way he treats Opie in a handful of episodes certainly testifies to this. Andy's response to Opie's behavior when he doesn't understand it is to assume he's doing something bad. The first—and I think worst—case of this is a very early episode where there is a charity drive going on. Opie gives three cents. (He's about six years old, and this is the early '60's; back then, you could actually buy something with three cents.) Andy finds out about this and is humiliated—because it's all about him. When he next sees Opie, he's obnoxious and sarcastic—to a six-year-old who doesn't even know what he's supposed to have done wrong.

When Opie explains he's saving his money to buy a present for his girlfriend, Andy continues this passive-aggressive behavior. He calls him Diamond Jim Brady and ridicules him in front of other people. In the end—when he finally asks Opie for some details instead of clinging to his nasty conclusions—he finds out the present Opie wants to buy is a coat. His friend's coat is worn out and her parents can't afford to buy her a new one.

Yes, he's embarrassed by this. He should be. The thing is, we never see Opie being a really bad kid, so why would his father jump to a conclusion like this? And not just once. There aren't a lot of episodes like this, but there's definitely a pattern.

In one of the last episodes—one I remember from when it was on originally—Opie, at his new job, breaks what he thinks is an expensive bottle of perfume. He pays to replace it without the store owner finding out, and when the man discovers it (because the broken bottle was only a display filled with colored water), Opie tells him that he couldn't confess because his father was so proud of him. And because he'd be nasty and sarcastic to him if he found out, I thought.

Things changed when Don Knotts left the show, and not for the better. The show became "why Andy Taylor is grumpy this week." They had done shows like that before, with Barney sending Andy off to get some rest only to bother him every fifteen seconds with trivialities. I understand that it's hard to shift a character from straight man to comic center, but this is another form of humor that simply annoys me, and while I can watch an episode of it, three seasons of it was intolerable.

And the worst part was what it did to Andy's character. His playfulness disappeared; he became tense, shrill, and sharp..They emphasized Andy's already strong "what will people think?" tendency, to the point where he gets mean about things like Aunt Bee wearing a blonde wig (people will look at them! He doesn't want people looking at them! She cannot wear a wig!) It gets ugly. A show about a man who is constantly exasperated and impatient isn't funny. At least, not to me.

Other things Aunt Bee wasn't "allowed" to do included learning to drive and learning to fly a plane. In spite of Andy, she did both of these things.

Another problem was, the times, they were a changin' and there was nothing they could do about it. The show went into color. Music changed. Opie edged up on teenage. Outsiders with New York accents showed up, claiming to have lived there their whole lives. The town lost its charm and became as shrill and petty as Andy.

I believe my favorite episode was a later one where an old friend of Goober's had spent the whole episode making him feel small, with his bragging about how successful he was. Goober pretends to be more successful than he is and is humiliated. At the end they discover the old friend doesn't even own his own gas station the way Goober does, and Goober declines the opportunity to rub it in. He doesn't want make his friend feel the way he had. I thought that was sweet.


Being who I am

Monday, 20 February 2017 02:08 pm
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
You Must Learn From The Mistakes Of Others. You Can't Possibly Live Long Enough To Make Them All Yourself.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I always got the message I was too emotional.

It was a mixed message because in my family crying was considered a legitimate hobby. My mother and I would listen to Puff, the Magic Dragon and cry. It was a thing you did.

But there were also times when I would be told if I didn't stop crying, I had to go to my room. The only way I could force myself to stop crying was to hold my breath—and sometimes that wasn't acceptable behavior either. Since these were times I was crying because my mother was angry at me, being sent to my room was even more upsetting; I just wanted her to like me again and her response was to send me away. (Did she know this? Did I tell her? I don't know.)

My father just withdrew when I cried because it made no sense to him. Our relationship didn't find firm footing until I was in my thirties and he yelled at me for something that was in no way my fault. It was where the cold air ducts are in my house. His father and brother built the house before I was even born. My response was to yell back that maybe he should have said something to them at the time, something I couldn't have done, what with not having been born yet! He was fine with being yelled at, whereas me crying panicked him. After that we yelled at each other.

Anyway, I got the message early from a lot of people that stoicism was the usually the best behavior. Never let anybody see how you really feel because if you do they will mock you, punish you, or withdraw from you. That's probably part of how I learned to be funny, because making people laugh is a pleasant distancing thing. Humor is one step removed.

I'm actually going somewhere with this. I want to write about The Andy Griffith Show, but so many people feel the need to tell me I'm too analytical, I wanted to explain first why I'm so analytical.

I think some of it is the kind of mind I have. Also, I like winning arguments, and if you stay reasonable, you have a better shot at it. And then there's the too-emotional thing. Fixing a problem requires understanding it, so I started early trying to understand why certain things upset me. And a lot of things upset me. I watched a lot of TV as a kid, and a lot of TV upset me. The Andy Griffith Show upset me. Eventually, I figured out why.

My constant analysis of things annoyed Pat—it seems to annoy everyone—but I think one of our deepest connections was that, while it annoyed her, she still agreed with my analyses of things. We had very much the same outlook on how people should treat their loved ones, for example, and while she instinctively knew that she hated All in the Family for the way Archie treated his family, I could put it into words, and she did like that, and the fact that we felt the same way about it mattered.

People tell me, "It's just a TV show, it's not important, why are you wasting your time?"

Well, first off, it is important. TV shapes how we think and that is not unimportant.

Second, I'm trying less to understand the show than to understand myself, and that is definitely not unimportant.

And third, I enjoy it. Yes, I get annoyed, but it's like working a puzzle. Anyone who has ever worked any kind of puzzle for pleasure has, at one time, been annoyed by it: a crossword clue they can't figure out, a piece that just doesn't fit anywhere—anything. Annoyance can be fun. When I express this to people, the usual response is to try and "fix" the "problem." Except there is no problem. (And I've only just realized this as I was writing this, which is one reason I write.)

Another thing about annoyance is, it's good for depressives. Depression seems to make me, at least, feel antagonistic towards the world. If I'm down and you tell me a joke, I might laugh politely but there will be a part of me resisting your attempt to "cheer me up." It won't lift my mood.

But annoyance, like anger, can raise my energy level, and when you're depressed, anything that does that is good.

Anyway, be prepared. Tomorrow, and possibly the next day, I'll be writing about The Andy Griffith Show.

*Sam Levenson
carose59: dreams (whose mind watches itself)
"OK, Let's Say Hypothetically That It's Not Hypothetical."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

The other night I dreamed all night long, involved, plot-driven dreams that exhausted me.

The worst one was about a man who murdered his young daughter. He drowned her and made it look like an accident. He dressed a wooden doll in her clothes—or dressed her in the doll's clothes, it changed—and put one or the other of them in the swimming pool, so it looked like the doll was just floating there, which sometimes it was. The body just floated there while everyone thought the little girl was missing and hunted for her. When it was discovered that the doll was really the little girl, the man stood by the side of the pool and pretended to cry.

I have zero idea where any of this came from.

Then I dreamed that I was going on vacation by spending a week at my friend Pam's house. (Pam lives walking distance from work, so there wasn't much travel involved. In fact, I think I walked over.) When I got there, we immediately did what you always do when you're spending your vacation in the same city you live in, with someone you work with: we changed into gorilla suits and put on ballerina outfits over them. Not tutus, the longer net skirts. I kept calling them bridesmaids' dresses. And then we spend the evening jumping up and down on the bed.

I really know how to live it up.

And I have zero idea where that came from, either.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I'm going through my usual spring-is-killing me instability. I know, you don't think it's spring. But under the ground, the plants are starting to do things, and inside me the same thing is happening and I can feel it and it's unsettling. I have lots of weird little aches and pains, I feel like crying, and I'm very, very cranky.

I saw Diane on Saturday and she's very pleased with how I'm handling this. It's not making me as nuts as it used to.

It's good to be told that because honestly, I don't remember. It feels the same inside.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

The other evening I watched a German adaptation of The Colour Out of Space by H. P. Lovecraft. It seems to me that the colour out of space is always purple. The movie was in black & white, but the colour was still purple.

It wasn't scary; it was sad. I'm in that kind of mood, where horror is tragedy.

*Adrian Monk
carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
"Well, If He Actually Went Mad—Or Thinks He Did . . . ."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So, I woke up this morning feeling terrible in a vague, existential, maybe my body is on wrong kind of way. I spent a long time in the bathroom working crossword puzzles because that soothes me and will sometimes make all the bad stuff go away.

It didn't.

I got ready for work, even managed to hit the post office to drop off the latest Netflix DVD without screaming, or crying very much. Got to work.

I took my blood pressure before I left the house and I don't remember what it was.

I took it again here and it was OK, but my pulse was 115, which probably explained my headache. "I am having a terrible, no good, very bad day," I said to nobody.

Actually, what I said was, "I'm having a fucking panic attack." And I took my blood pressure eight more times and kept getting error messages, which my brain insisted on interpreting as the little machine looking at my real numbers and saying, "Oh, my fucking God, this cannot be right!"

Though it probably wasn't.

I considered the logistics of the emergency room. Methodist is close, but I don't know where to park. Community is a little farther but the parking is easy.

Leaving would be considered an incident and would go on my permanent record.

I told myself I wasn't ready to die just yet, then I started crying and took my blood pressure again. The numbers were normalish. My pulse was down to sixty-seven.

This crap has been going on for days now, and why not? My mother died and I'm exhausted and the people in charge where I work hate us all the way Donald Trump hates us. And the new slacks I bought are weird and I was late for my appointment with Diane the other day and just can't seem to get anything right.

And I'm disturbingly aware of the back of the left side of my head. It doesn't hurt, and I know what it is—it's a muscle thing coming up from my left shoulder, but when I'm scared it becomes an aneurysm waiting to explode in my head.

It's not an aneurysm.

As I was sobbing just a moment ago, head down on my desk, I was thinking that this was what I was supposed to be doing when I see Diane. Only what good is that, having somebody watch me cry? It's like having somebody watch you vomit when you have food poisoning, it's a symptom—a good symptom, you want to get the poison out. The crying is what brought down my pulse rate. I need Diane for other things.

I don't know why, but I always think of Kimberly in moments like this. I miss her.

*Randolph Carter
carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
"Oh, Great, I Have To Work. I'm Always Working When The World Ends."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

This isn't a menopause thing, it's a Cymbalta-withdrawal thing, and you have no idea how happy this makes me. I thought I was either dying or losing my mind—those are my default assumptions about anything that happens to me. An unpleasant chemical reaction to the lack of a drug in my system is like a picnic in the park compared to either of those.

I'm crying a lot lately, too. That could also be a withdrawal thing, or it could be just me going back to being me, and I can deal with it. Maybe this is also why I've been feeling sort of dizzyish lately. Cymbalta. Actually, lack of Cymbalta. Not panic attacks, not anxiety, an actual real not-dying thing happening to me.

You know what that means? It means I get to be nice to myself. It means I don't have to be stern and unforgiving when I can't do perfectly ordinary things like drive to the north side of town where I've driven many, many times before. I can stop feeling like a failure because my stupid behavior is being caused by an actual thing instead of just my mind suddenly forgetting that driving over a bridge is perfectly safe.

I cannot tell you how wonderful this is.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

In other news, I'm reading this book called, What Alice Forgot, and it's one of the things that's had me on the edge of tears. It's about a woman who gets amnesia and loses ten years of her memory—ten years in which she had three children, her best friend died, her beloved sister drifted out of her life, and she and her husband are getting a divorce. And she can't understand why her sister and husband seem to hate her because the last thing she remembers is being happily married and close to her sister. I feel so sorry for her, though it looks like things might work out.

It's a relief to actually cry about this, instead of just absorbing it and having the sadness be a part of me. Crying drains off the poisoned groundwater, of which I have oceans. Really, it's amazing I don't cry more.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I dreamed about my mother the other night. She was alive again—that is, had been dead and now wasn't. My mind is very stubborn on this subject. And I was so annoyed because she had all of these chores she wanted me to do, and then she tells me brightly, "And on Saturday you don't have to do any chores because we're going to spend the whole day cooking and baking," as though she was taking me on that picnic in the park instead of expecting me to spend a whole day in the kitchen. And all I could think was, "I don't fucking want to spend my day cooking! How is that not a chore?!"

And I was wondering when she was going to die again.

I hope I'm not supposed to feel bad about this, because I don't. I find it funny. I loved my mother, but we didn't have the perfect relationship and I spend a lot of energy not being angry—and not showing I was angry when I couldn't avoid feeling it—and I'm relieved not to have to do that anymore. I'm relieved to be able to feel the unacceptable emotions that have always been there.

*Dr. John Carter
carose59: food (a life spent making mistakes)
"That's Going To Be My New Motto: Wham!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I believe I've come up with a system that will help me with my buying-food-then-not-cooking issue.

I've been in the kitchen, washing dishes. I needed to do that because I need to cook because I have food that will go bad if I don't cook it and I have enough to feel guilty about. Today's a good day (so far) because I got everything I needed clean, clean. Now I can cook.

And I'm still thinking, "But when I go out, I could just pick up Boston Market." Because instant gratification. Because depression. Because I'd rather pretend I'm going to start writing any minute than chop vegetables.

I'm not going to. And if I do, I won't tell you.

Anyway, my system. I'm no longer allowed to buy food to cook if the proper dishes aren't clean. And I'm no longer allowed to buy take-away unless I then wash some dishes. If I go out for Chinese, after I eat, I have to wash dishes. If I can stick to this, I won't buy food if I'm going to have to delay cooking it until I feel good enough to wash dishes to cook it in. (I get a little high when I shop and in the moment I'm sure I'll dash right home and wash dishes. This is never the case.)

And this is the important thing, the important thing about all systems: it won't always work. I won't always be able to stick to it. I've come up with a lot of systems in my life. Some of them didn't work at all. Some of them worked for a short time before things changed in my brain. Some of them work periodically.

But every step forward is a step forward. Not coming up with system is no solution. I have to learn to be optimistic in the right places: no in the grocery but yes with systems. Even if this only works once, it's still a time I got it right. This is what happened with my last system. It didn't dig me out of the housework hole depression pushes me into, but it made the hole shallower. That might be all I can do and it might not be enough, but I can forgive myself for the rest.

Also, I made eggs for breakfast!

carose59: TV (but he doesn't know what he likes)
"You Consider 'I Love You' A Punchline?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So, I'm doing my semi-annual rewatch of The Dick Van Dyke Show, this time on Netflix. The last time it was on Hulu. Netflix is better because there are pieces included that have been cut for so long, some of them I wonder if I've ever seen before. It's comforting and exciting and it makes me sad. I want Pat to be here. I found the rented children!**

Last night I watched The Curse of the Petrie People. It's the one where Rob's parents give Laura a big, gaudy pin that's a Petrie family heirloom. Laura is less than thrilled by this and Rob's apologetic. And all I keep thinking is, "But you'd only have to wear it is when his parents come over, how terrible is that, really?" I do that all the time, with pretty much every fictional situation I encounter, try to come up with solutions to their problems.

This morning I watched The Bottom of Mel Cooley's Heart. In that one, Mel makes a mistake and Alan Brady screams at and humiliates him in front of everybody. They try to help the demoralized Mel, and part of that is getting Buddy to stop insulting Mel. Pat and I actually talked about that one, about Rob's rationalization of never tryint to stop Buddy, and we agreed that Rob was partly right. Buddy insulting Mel allowed Mel to be nasty to him, to take his hostilities out on him. He couldn't have done that if Buddy had been nice to him.

Although it was the kind of thing that happened on pretty much ever sitcom that lasted long enough, it was The Dick Van Dyke Show that brought about our arrangement regarding secrets. We agreed that if a friend told us a secret, neither of us would share it with the other without permission from the friend. That was not considered keeping a secret because it wasn't our secret. (We actually used this rule a couple of times. No hilarity ensued. No arguments, either.)

I think the tendency to try to solve the problems of fictional people is both the beginning of how a person starts writing fan fiction, and something that takes over your mind if you keep writing. Besides an internal editor that never shuts you, you also default to trying to work out inconsistencies. (Pat and I also discussed the whole is-Alan-married-to-Mel's-sister or vice versa question, but I can't remember what conclusion we came to.)

I also wonder about the real life stuff. There are a couple of episodes where Rob's brother is trying to resolve a "speak for yourself, John" problem he has. It's compounded by the friend he wrote the letters for having the name of James Garner. So every time he tells someone he's been signing the letters James Garner, he has to explan that no, James Garner is a drummer friend of his. This episode was written after Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner made The Art of Love with James Garner. I want to know whose idea it was to use his name. I want to know what he thought of it.

I know this all sounds stupid, but The Dick Van Dyke Show was part of our common language and it was important to us. If Pat was alive, I wouldn't be writing this because I'd have been talking about it with her while we watched.

But I would still be wondering about James Garner.

*Donald Hollinger
**There's an episode where Alan Brady is going to do an episode that's warm, so he's rented some children to sing with around a campfire. I could not for the life of me remember which episode it was and I didn't see that scene the last time I watched it all.
carose59: computers and other machines (what do you think you're doing dave)
"One Doesn't Usually See This Kind Of Behavior In A Forklift."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Many, many years ago, Pat and I got up one Sunday morning to discover the on/off switch on the TV was gone.

This wasn't a knob; it was a recessed button (like how a doorbell is), so it couldn't have simply fallen off. There was just a hole where the part of the button that protruded used to be. And there was no way to replace it. From then on we had to turn the TV on and off with the remote.

I still have no idea what happened.

About a month ago, something else happened.

I was in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, when I noticed something strange about my shampoo.

There's a window over the bathtub and I keep my shampoo and stuff on the window sill. I was running low on one kind of shampoo, so I had the bottle turned upside down, but since the lid was rounded, it was wedged between the wall and another shampoo bottle. What I noticed was that there was a puddle of shampoo under the bottle. When I took the bottle away, I found that the lid had broken and was missing. I looked in the bathtub and found the pieces.

The bottle was where it had been; it had not been moved. But why had the lid cracked? It wasn't terribly cold, we hadn't had the cold snap yet; it certainly wasn't weight, the shampoo bottle was only a quarter full, and with the bottle being held up by the wall and another bottle, the lid wasn't even supporting the full weight. But the part I really don't understand is how the broken lid got out from under the bottle without disturbing it.

I could almost think Pat was messing with me.

There was an episode of The Twilight Zone where a little girl (and her dog) disappear into another dimension. Her frantic parents call their next door neighbor, who happens to be a physicist, to come help get her back. Whenever odd things happened, Pat and I would say, "I wish we had a physicist next door we could call!"

Maybe that's what happened to the bracelet that disappeared, it slipped into another dimension but it can't call out to me like the little girl on The Twilight Zone. I could use a physicist right about now.

*Martin Nash
carose59: politics (one of the f's)
Also, Yoko Ono Is Not Fictional.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

There's a story by Harlan Ellison called Hitler Painted Roses. The story is about the idea that we go to heaven or hell based on what is remembered and believed about us by others, rather than what we've actually done. Hitler is not in hell because he's remembered as a painter. (That's my vague recollection of the story, anyway.)

I don't know about an afterlife, but that's certainly what this life is like. My favorite examples are The Story of the Two Flag Shirts, and Rock Star Reputations.

In the sixties (which includes some of the early seventies), Abbie Hoffman was a guest on either Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin's shows, I don't remember which. He wore a flag shirt, which was censored: a big blue dot was placed over it.

This wasn't because of the shirt, though, because Roy Rogers wore an identical shirt and was not censored. (Not on the same show, though that would have been incredible.) It wasn't about the shirt, it was about who you were while you were wearing the shirt. Roy Rogers in a flag shirt was a patriot because Roy Rogers was a cowboy hero. Abbie Hoffman in a flag shirt was desecrating the flag because Abbie Hoffman was a protestor. You are who people say you are.

The second story is about Jim Morrison and Simon & Garfunkel. Jim Morrison, as you may or may not know, was charged with—among other things—indecent exposure. According to John Densmore, Jim Morrison didn't expose himself, and was convicted of the things he didn't do and acquitted of the things he did do.

After his conviction, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel received an invitation to perform for some Christian youth group. They were both offended by this—their songs were not squeaky clean, they were existential protest songs! After getting stoned, they discussed what they could do about this, how they could change their image, and the idea of exposing themselves on stage was brought up. They both liked the idea, but they realized that it wouldn't matter if they did: the truth would never be strong enough to overcome their reputation, any more than it was strong enough to beat out Jim Morrison's and clear him.

People keep posting, "When will Trump voters realize they've been sold down the river." The answer is: never. They believe what they believe and they're going to keep believing it. Trump is who they admire because Trump is who they want to be like. They want to be allowed to be horrible, offensive people who can act they way he does without repercussions. (They want to be allowed to be, but they don't necessarily want to actually do it. They want to be able to say nigger with no repercussions, even if they never actually have the inclination to say it. They feel like their inferiors are telling them what to do and they hate it!!!)

They will never believe that he would treat them like this because they will never believe this one important fact: Trump and his people look at them exactly the way they look at illegal aliens and Muslims and gays and whoever else they see as unworthy and taking from them. Trump looks at them with the same hostility and couldn't care less if they die because they have no health insurance—obviously they should have made better life choices if they wanted to be rich and powerful like him.

Instead they will blame Obama and Hillary and the liberal media and anyone who doesn't agree with them. Even though we have as little power as they do, it will be our fault when their jobs disappear and they can't pay to see a doctor because . . . our bad thoughts are very powerful. I don't know. They've cast us in the role of the cause of all their problems and that's who we are now. Reality will not change that.

Their perceptions will not change because they don't want to know they're loathed the way they loathe people not like them.

carose59: politics (one of the f's)
"They Look Like A Bunch'a Fags. Not Really Fags, But Close. Gettin' There."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I've been reading about how, if Trump isn't given the presidency by the Electoral College, his supporters will become violent.

There are a couple of things wrong with that. The first is, they're already being violent, so that's not much of a threat. The second is, I don't like being extorted, and I'm particularly ticked off by an extortion that reads, "I'm going to beat you up unless you do what I tell you and even then I'm going to beat you up anyway." That's not even extortion. I don't know what that is. Maybe it's Trump extortion.

Trump supporters want to be violent. They're angry. They have a lot to be angry about—the delusional ones who think Trump is going to save them from the liberal elite do, anyway; we share a lot of the same anger-inducing situations: health care issues, job issues, things like that. They think Trump is going to save them and I know Trump is only going to make things worse for them. But they hate-hate-hate liberals, so it's not possible we could make things better for them. We're the ones who make things bad for them now. And we always will be.

We're looking at a red Presidency, red House, red Senate, and maybe a red Supreme Court. And if that comes to pass, things are going to get incredibly bad for anyone living paycheck to paycheck. And you know who the Teabaggers will blame?


Really. They will stand there, watching their designated saviors pass laws that take money, security, and health from them and they will blame the people fighting them. They will blame Obama (don't laugh, they blame him for 9/11). It will be all our fault.

Because we are in an abusive relationship with Teabaggers. The boss beats them up at work and they come home and beat us up. And then we're told by everybody outside what we did to deserve it. (I recently read that Trump is the fault of Democrats because we've been smug. Sound familiar? "And what did you say that provoked him to hit you, Mrs. Blue?")

And we try and find a way to help them because it's what we do because we're liberals. We want to save ourselves and everybody else. We want the world to be a better place and we think if it is, people will be better to each other and maybe even us.

I have my doubts. I know we have to save them; there are too many of them not to save and still save the country. But I do wish most of them would just drive the hell off a cliff. They aren't going to become nicer people and they're never going to be nice to us and I'm fed up with them.

*Joe Curren
carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
To This Day, No One Knows The Plot Of The Terror."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So, I was going through stuff in my room and I found a bracelet that belonged to my paternal grandmother. She had very gaudy taste in jewelry, but this is one I'm fond of—it's a charm bracelet, with something like Italian charms on it, and it's kind of eccentric. I don't know why it was in my room—I don't keep my jewelry in my room—but there it was, in a small jewelry store box. I took it out and looked at it. Then I set it down on the bed to go back to what I was doing, and it vanished.

No, really. It completely disappeared. It's not on the bed, under the bed, or on the floor next to the bed. If it's gone farther afield, I have no idea how it did this. This happened over a week ago and I've looked for it several times. The box is on the floor, empty.

And Meg had nothing to do with it. He wasn't there when it happened and he's really not that interested in inanimate toys—except string. His favorite toy is the drawstring from an old pair of sweatpants.

On the other hand, when I turned over my mattress the other day, I found Pat's bathrobe. This makes about as much sense as the vanishing bracelet. The bathrobe was in the middle of the bed between the mattress and box spring and either I put it there or somebody who broke into my house did it. (Pat had nothing to do with it. She couldn't have managed it, and even if she could, I've worn the robe since she died.)

So I'm left with wondering why I lifted up the mattress and hid a bathrobe under it.

Maybe it really was one of the people who broke into my house. Maybe it was the Jesus guy.

See, the last time it happened, when I was walking through the house, I stepped on something sharp. It was one of the little spikes that holds Jesus to the crucifix. I only own one crucifix, the one they used when my maternal grandfather died; I've had it ever since. At the time I couldn't locate it, so I thought whoever broke in had stolen the cross but left Jesus, so I assumed it was a Protestant.

But I've since found that crucifix. So now I have an extra Jesus. He's in a pencil cup because I don't know what to do with him. You can't just hang him on a wall without a cross, and making a cross and putting him on it seems wrong. He seems happy with the pencils.

And all my assumptions about whoever broke in have been shattered. Who comes into your house to hide your bathrobe and leave Jesus on the floor to stab you in the foot?

*Jack Nicholson

This is my life

Friday, 2 December 2016 05:15 pm
carose59: adulthood (without being supervised)
"Well, A Person Who Thinks He Has Walls Is Infinitely More Interesting Than One Who Does."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Two weeks ago, I finally got around to seeing a lawyer to deal with the house. I called and left a message, he called back, and we made an appointment.

I had gotten his name from the AFSCME website (that's the union I belong to, and union members get a discount). His address was listed as being on Alabama Street.

I saw that he had his own website, so I thought I'd check it out—I like to get my information from as close to the source as possible. On his website, his address was listed as being on Market Street.

So the day of the appointment, I drove downtown, parked, and walked over to the address on Market. I went to sign in and found someone had spilled coffee all over the sign-in sheet. I found this by sticking my hand in it. They'd also spilled it all over the lobby and there was a trail of it going to one of the elevators. Right about then someone who apparently worked there showed up, noticed the coffee, and went to get it cleaned up. I went upstairs and washed my hands in the ladies' room.

It was an interesting building. Built in 1955 (according to the cornerstone), it had been renovated and decorated with non-fuctioning clocks. I've never seen so many clocks with the wrong time on them. It was, as I say, interesting.

I waited until ten—my appointment time—nervous because there was no-one to check-in with and I couldn't figure out where his office was. I played out the worst-case scenario: I didn't get to see the lawyer today and had to come back. Oh, no! The world would come to an end. Or, I'd just have to come back at a different time. Anyway, at ten I called and left a message saying who I was, what time it was, and where I was, and that if either the time or place were wrong, I'd really appreciate him calling me back.

In a few minutes he called back. Right time, wrong place. He'd moved to an office on—you guessed it—Market. I told him I'd gotten the address from his own website, and he was quite embarrassed. He asked if I'd like to meet him at the City Market—a block away from where I was—and get some food. I thought that sounded good, so that's what we did.

We talked about the whole thing—which is really just probate vs no probate, depending on the value of the estate. His wife is in real estate and said the house looked to be between forty and sixty thousand dollars; fifty is the cut-off for not having to go through probate, and he said that with me being an only child (meaning nobody contesting my inheritance), we could squeeze by with the house being worth under fifty. I told him that the house was built just after WWII and the plumbing and electric has never been updated, and he laughed. "Definitely under fifty then," he said.

He outlined what he was going to do and I gave him a check for a thousand dollars, but I should be getting money back. It's all really easy.

I'm really glad to be getting this taken care of, but I'm particularly glad that I was able to handle the whole wrong-place thing so calmly. It was a little adventure. I got to see a cool building.

*Lillian Carlson
carose59: my mother's family (it seems to absolve us)
I Couldn't Go To A Queer Halloween Party Once Because The Only Rule Was You Couldn't Come In Costume And Darling, I Had Nothing To Wear.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I've written this never-ending series of Wiseguy stories called Roadhouse Blues. I sort of thought I was finished a few years ago, but other stories popped up and I wrote them and did nothing with them (except the one I wrote for Christy; I showed it to her. Considering the number of stories I have that I wrote for/dedicated to her, Christy telling me she didn't think I was her audience is abso-fucking-lutely bizarre.)

Anyway, I'm writing on them again for reasons. But I'm breaking all the characters and at three of them are having meltdowns and I'm crying. This is effect and cause; I'm doing this because I need to cry and I'm a lot Irish and crying over imaginary people is what we do.

(I once wrote a story I only worked on when I was depressed or having PMS. And one I finished right after Pat died. You could wipe out a whole dealers' room of fans with those two stories.)

And in two days it's Thanksgiving and I've been invited by my cousin.


1. I love my family.
2. The food will be good.
3. There might be a few moments of feeling like I belong.
4. It will make them happy. I guess. *shrug* They invited me.


1. It will take four hours I could use for writing.
2. It will be loud and I will come home with a headache.
3. I will feel alienated and alone.
4. There will probably be a political argument which will leave me feeling even more alienated and alone. Unless I keep my mouth shut, in which case everybody will agree.

What I get when I see my family is sarcasm and whimsy. It's the language we all share; we're good at silly.

But it's like a garnish. Would you order an expensive dinner just for the garnish? (I might, because I'm like that, and if I had a use for the rest of the meal, like giving it away.)

It makes me so sad that it's this hard, that I do not feel a part of my family.

When my cousin in Texas wrote me that he had been thinking of coming to Indianapolis to look at train stuff (don't ask) (but now he wasn't because he was punishing us for something—again, don't ask), I wrote back and told him I'd be happy to go with him to look at train stuff.

He said he didn't know I was interested in trains.

I'm not. Except for liking to listen to them, I have no interest in trains. I'm interested in him.

I didn't tell him that because he wouldn't understand it!

And so it goes. I'm supposed to be interested in their lives when they're not a bit interested in mine. I'm endlessly weird, and as such, a source of amusement. I cause endless trouble by not enjoying my role as prop in the latest holiday special, sitting on the sofa and pretending everything is fine when nobody is talking to me (except my one cousin's husband who sees me as prey and wants to argue politics. It's fun. Fun. The destruction of our country is fun).

I want to say no and I want to be honest but I don't want to hurt them (well, yes, I do, but I also don't). I want them to actually be able to see me and that will never, ever happen and I need to stop wanting it but I don't know how.

And even if I tried to be honest, how many words do you think I'd get out? How many of my meaningless, incomprehensible words is anyone willing to listen to? I've written almost seven hundred right here. Nobody's going to listen to seven hundred words. Maybe I could pare it down to four.

I won't be happy no matter what I do, but staying home is a more productive use of my time. Sonny's having some serious PTSD, and Vinnie's throwing up from stress, and I don't even know what happened to Roger. It would be more fun to stay home and untangle those tangles and watch Humphrey Bogart. And I can make my own damn food.

(I did buy food. I decided to make smoked sausage and carrots and potatoes and onion and cabbage. I'm partial to red potatoes—I like the ones that are so small, you can hold two or three in your hand at a time. So I picked out a bag of small red potatoes. And I thought I'd get red cabbage instead of green, for no particular reason. And then, of course, when it was time to get the onions, I got red ones. I don't know if you've ever cooked with red onions, but they turn a sort of pale mauve, and from what I've read, so does red cabbage. I should have a really interesting-looking dinner. And while my family might find this funny, it would be in a despairing sort of way. Pat would find it hilarious. She'd hunt me down some red carrots, without me even asking.)

*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: the rose behind the fence (Default)
"She Was Not A Fiddler, She Was A Lady Violinist. I Was Her Beau."*-:- -:- -:- -:-

I decided to try to eat better, particularly in the morning to maybe stave off my panic attacks. To this end, I hardboiled a dozen eggs. Hardboiled eggs are easy and the only preparation they require is the removal of their shells.

And it's been going really well, except for the echoey thing in my head.

I remember words. Mostly dialogue, but also song lyrics and poems and actual conversations I had with real people. It's triggered by certain words or combinations of words or just the rhythm of certain phrases.

For instance, there's a scene in Casablanca where Victor Laszlo tells Major Strasser that he could never support the Nazis. "You see," he says, "I am a Czechoslovakian."**

And the way he says it, his inflection, requires me to quote Peter Warne (Clark Gable) in It Happened One Night. He tells Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) that her virtue is perfectly safe on the other side of the room—which he as divided with a blanket hanging from a rope. He declare it as sturdy as the walls of Jericho because, "You see, I have no trumpet." And he says it with exactly the same inflection.

I'm calling my diet a special hardboiled egg diet because on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Buddy tells them he's on a special hardboiled egg diet. It's just there in my head and I have to say it.

But the part that's driving me a little crazy(er) is A Night at the Opera. Because also as soon as I think two hardboiled eggs, there's the sound of Harpo's horn, followed by Groucho saying, "Make that three hardboiled eggs." Because it's there in my head and it just falls out whenever it's triggered by real life.

I wonder if this is related to earworm music. I get that, too. Right now Bob Dylan keeps repeating, "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handle." That's not bad; when I think of it deliberately, it makes me laugh. The worst one I ever had was the song the children in the school sing in the The Birds when the crows are massing behind Tippi Hedren. The problem was, I wasn't hearing the words, just the tune—and I couldn't figure out what the hell it was! This was in high school, before the internet, when the most you could hope for was that you knew the right people who you could quote the words to and they'd tell you what the song was—but that only worked when you had words to quote! (I actually did have a friend good enough that I could go up to him and say, "Da-dunt, da-dunt, da-da-da-da-dun—what is that?" and he understood what I was talking about, though I don't think he recognized it. It finally came to me.

I find that the best cure for an earworm is to feed it. I listen to the song over and over until it's burned out of my brain.

While I was writing this, I looked up earworms on wikipedia, and they say musicians and people with OCD are more likely to have issues. I fall into both categories, a little. I'm certainly not musical, but I write by rhythm. And I'm what I call Comfort OCD. There are things I like to do in certain ways because the pattern-ness of the activity makes me happy—like hanging my clothes out on the line with the socks matched up. But if I can't do it that way due to time restraints, it doesn't upset me.

*Jonas Clay
**I just needed you to know that I spelled Czechoslovakian right the first time without looking it up. On the other hand, I left the h out of Jericho and had to look it up. Batting .500.


Sunday, 18 September 2016 12:02 pm
carose59: politics (one of the f's)
"It's An Organization Of True Americans Devoted To A Healthy And American America."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

And it suddenly makes sense.

The country is depressed; that is, the people of the US of A are sad and gloomy; dejected; downcast; pressed down, or situated lower than the general surface; undergoing economic hardship, especially poverty and unemployment; being or measured below the standard or norm and; suffering from depression.

The reasons for this state of affairs are many and varied and in some cases unreasonable, but there's no point telling people their feelings are unreasonable. This is where we are.

Some of us are trying to climb out of the depression, and trying to pull as many people as possible out with us. We're voting for Hillary.

And some people are finding the great relief anger can bring you when you're depressed. I don't know what the precise link between anger and depression is, but I know this: some days the best you feel is when you're yelling at the AT&T CSR about your screwed up bill. You feel so much better, it would have been a disappointment if things had gone well and they'd just been friendly and competent and fixed things quickly without you having to shift into bitch mode.

That feeling doesn't last. I crash pretty hard when I hang up the phone, even if everything has been resolved to my satisfaction. I'd like to be angry again.

Some people have found a way of doing that, and it's called being a Teabagger.

They're chronically angry over things they don't bother to research, so most of the time the things they're upset about either aren't true or are actually being caused by those they support. And it doesn't matter, because the point is the anger that give them some energy and make them feel better than the depression.

For example, the war on Christmas.

The people who rant about salespeople wishing them Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas tend to be the same ones who believe in unchecked capitalism. But Happy Holidays is capitalistic.

Because when your major concern is how much money you make, you want to sell whatever you can to whoever you can. Your religion (if you have one) doesn't come first. You want to appeal to everyone. So you're going to use the most inclusive message you can.

Which is a problem when you run into those angry about this. They're the ones who for some reason feel that others' being included means they're being excluded (see: gay marriage). So what do you to? Tell the truth and say you want Jews, Muslims, Wiccans and atheists buying your stuff? Of course not. You blame the liberals for their political correctness. You make yourself the victim. Since the anger junkies feel like victims themselves, they identify and feel sorry for you. The evil liberals are persecuting a poor, innocent business again because they hate America.

And so it goes, on and on. Blame the liberal media (even though it isn't liberal). Blame those who have life-threatening problems, and those who are working for them, because they must be taking something away from them. Everybody is taking something away from them.

Someone is. The problem is, it's the politicians they keep voting for, and we don't know how to get them to see that because the politicians they should be voting for aren't giving them their anger hit. And that makes them angry.

Donald Trump is, of course, one big anger hit. Hillary Clinton is not.

*Joe Davis
carose59: my mother's family (it seems to absolve us)
"No, I Try Not To Have Any Ideas. They Only Lead To Complications."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I think the thing that drives me crazy about right wingers is that you can't even ask them questions about what they believe or why. You're immediately shut down—usually with vicious insults. Since I don't understand anybody, I spend a lot of time trying to explore different ideas. Why asking a question is seen as an attack, I don't know.

(If you think I'm not serious about this, you have no idea how many hours I've listened to talk radio so I'd know exactly what I was talking about, so I'd know exactly what people were hearing. It turned my stomach, but I listened. Maybe that's one reason I get so angry with people who want to shut me up—I've done my damn homework, I've listened to those wretched men, just so I can have an intelligent conversation with you and now you're telling me to shut up.)

It's probably my whole not-being-believed-when-I'm-most-sincere syndrome.** I have gotten in more trouble for asking honest questions--people always think I'm being a smart ass. (Except when I am being a smart ass; that's when people take me seriously.) It makes me not want to ask questions. It makes me not trust people. When it happens, I just want to disengage, just—fine, apparently I can't talk to you so I'll go away. And please don't pretend things are fine now because they're not. They're really not. I just don't need more people in my life who want me to shut up. I have more than enough of those and I've never been any good at it. There are books I can't read because the need to answer back is too strong.

I quit talking to my cousin Alan because I refused to be cruel to him and he wouldn't stop being cruel to me. (I value myself to much to turn myself into something I despise if there's a way to avoid it.) He denied everything—he wasn't being cruel, I was too sensitive, it was just a joke, his reality was the real thing and I was just wrong, wrong, wrong. He thought mocking him was somehow acceptable, no matter how much I asked him to stop, and he hurt me so much, I became afraid of him. I know he doesn't accept this, but it's the truth. I sincerely thought about banning him from my mother's funeral, I wanted to see him so little.

I didn't. I pretended it was OK. Well, I was numb.

I know, I keep writing about this. I know it doesn't sound like anything, but the betrayal was profound. And last night something else happened with another relative.

*Dr. Johnny Fever
**I once tried to post something frivolous on a Starsky & Hutch mailing list. My post never came through and never came through and never came through. I contacted the owner of the list to ask if there was some reason I was blocked and she said no, I should try again. So I did—a couple of times. Nothing. Contacted the owner again. She said there was no problem with the list.

So I came up with a different email—same name, only hotmail. And the post went through! So I figured it was just AOL and thought no more about it.

Until the owner sent me a furious email about me being sneaky and going around her. I told her I was just trying to solve the email problem, since apparently AOL was the issue.

That was when she told me how stupid I was not to realize of course I was blocked! (I was stupid for not knowing she was lying to me.) And how dare I try to trick her like this?! (She'd flat-out lied to me twice, but I—using an identical screen name—had been trying to trick her. That annoyed me just because I'd have to be pretty damn stupid to try to trick her using the same name. I might be clueless about what other people are thinking, but I'm not stupid!)

So it is me. I get that. I just don't get why.


Wednesday, 31 August 2016 06:39 pm
carose59: scary stuff (they're coming to get you barbara)
"Oh, Oh Sweet Lord! This Is What Evil Must Taste Like!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I have now finished The King in Yellow, and I can say with great authority that I do not understand it.

It's a collection of stories, "loosely connected" to, I thought, each other by way of The King in Yellow, which is "a forbidden play which induces despair or madness in those who read it," and apparently another name for Hastur (one of the Elder Gods, the ones Lovecraft later wrote about).

Here's the problem. The first story, The Repairer of Reputations is definitely creepy. It's about a man who has lost his mind, though nobody seems to have noticed—or if they have, they aren't taking it very seriously. It reminded me a lot of a short story I read in grade school in an Alfred Hitchcock collection; it's called Sleep Is the Enemy. Both stories are first person and have seriously unreliable narrators who don't seem to get what's going on around them. It's been described as being set in an imagined future 1920's America, but that's presupposing the narrator can be trusted—which he really, really can't. It was going along fine until we got to the end, which was . . . abrupt. But I was happy because I thought this was the tone of the book.

I was wrong.

The next three stories are dreamy, supernatural, and disturbing—well, disturbing unless you grew up watching The Night Gallery. There was nothing particularly unexpected. And as the stories went on, they became less and less disturbing and more average until we get to the last three which—

Honest-to-God, the first story had me craving some Lovecraft, but by the end I was laughing and wanting to re-read The Lawrenceville Stories! (The Lawrenceville Stories are set in Lawrenceville, a prep school for boys, in the 1920's. There's nothing remotely scary about them.)

I know I'm jaded. I've been reading and watching scary stuff since I was a kid—and really, this is a problem with all genres. When you've read those who were influenced by the originators, it's very hard to go back and be shocked by the originals—or even surprised. I knew where most of them were going long before they got there. The problem is, I've read a lot and I remember the patterns. They taught me well in high school.

I might listen to the first one again, to get my Lovecraft mood back.

*Phoebe Buffay
carose59: PLS (moses supposes his toeses are roses)
"Sure I Would! I Guess I Would. Why? Wouldn't I?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

As I remember it, the first day of class at IVTech, Pat came over and asked if she could sit next to me.** I thought she was insane.

I had had twelve years of people mostly trying to avoid being anywhere near me, so the idea of someone volunteering to seemed suspicious. But I said yes.

This was the day after Memorial Day, 1977. I had just graduated from high school. My parents had gone out of town for the King Tut exhibition and I was alone in the house overnight for the first time. That night my friend, Michelle, came over for dinner.

The next night, Pat and I went to the movies. We saw Young Frankenstein, which had been re-released. She drove from Carmel (which is just north of Indianapolis) to the near-east side where I lived then (and live now), drove us back to the Carmel Theatre, then drove me home again. And then drove herself home. In the night. In the dark. Back when she could do things like that. (She hadn't had the cataract surgery yet. She had just turned twenty-three.)

Later that year they also re-released The Producers and Blazing Saddles, and we saw them, too. Gene Wilder was very important to us. (Whenever we'd watch Dark Shadows and they started with something ilke "Collinwood in the year 1840," I would say, "Paris, France, 1789," which both amused and annoyed her. Which describes a lot of our relationship.

It was the beginning of us talking entirely in movie and TV quotes. (We could have whole conversations with nothing but quotes from The Dick Van Dyke Show.)

It was the beginning of everything. It was the beginning of my life.

*Andy Hardy
**Later she would tell me she'd been attracted by my red hair, which I'd recently dyed. I mostly kept it red for the rest of her life, mostly for her. We had such a great time.

March 2017

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