Monday, August 26, 2013

Skid Row Diary 13

6 August 2003    Wednesday      Day 25

   My alarm woke me at 3:00 because I set it for that time. I got up off of my rack, paced the short distance across my room (about one pace) to my desk and turned it off. I then went back to my rack, realized I was still tired, became aware that “Star Trek Voyager,” would soon come on, then went back to sleep.
   I re-awoke just before 7:00. An infernal informercial was just ending and “Tarzan,” the cartoon series was just beginning. I realized that Tarzan’s Jane... Jane Porter, was really hot. Didn’t Minnie Driver supply her voice in the movie? Minnie Driver’s really hot, I thought.
   Then I got up and took a shower.
   John Manzano knocked on my door just as I finished dressing and checking on Giselle.
   We went to breakfast. Chicken omelets. Chicken omelets? Who in their right mind makes chicken omelets on a regular basis. Anyone with an excess amount of poultry you may say, and you may be right.
   “What are you going to do today?” John asked between mouthfulls of chicken omelet.
   “I don’t know. Look for a job I guess. Go to school. What are you going to do?”
   “I don’t know... go to school...”
   “We could go throw things at cars from the freeway overpass,” I suggested. “We haven’t done that for awhile.”
   “Naw. Oh, you know... I have to go to the EDD to get my GR paper stamped.”
   “Really?! I’ll show you where it’s at. I’ll go to the One Stop.”
   We walked over to 9th and Hill. John kept bitching about how far it was, the lazy bastard. We arrived at the EDD building just as it opened. John went upstairs to get his paper stamped. I went to the One Stop on the ground floor.
   For the last several days most of the computers there had lost their ability to connect to the Internet, and no one in the office in a position of authority seemed to be in any great hurry to remedy the situation, which was upsetting. I couldn’t check my Email, let alone try to find a picture of Susanne Christian and Imogen Stubbs.
   Coincidentally, the two computers that allow access to their disk drives had not been booted up for several days, which makes it nearly impossible to print my personal files. I was quite vexed!
   However, I was able (to my great relief) to take care of a small personal matter that had nothing to do with finding a job. I spent a little over two hours typing a letter to the State Appeals Board, my GR caseworker, and her office administrator, giving them all a stern what for, describing the circumstances  of last Thursday’s aborted hearing attempt. I derided the hearing process and the officers inability to begin the proceedings in a timely manner. I also requested another hearing.
   I get like that sometimes. Make a big fuss about being offended and initiate some long drawn out process, or set of events that I lose interest in a few days later, usually because I’ve relapsed and couldn’t be bothered.
   We shall see.
   I took three copies of the letter to the post office and mailed them. That done I grabbed the Red Line from the 7th St. station to LACC, and then to the Financial Aid Office. Hopefully their computers would be working today.
   They were. Thus the office was rather busy and crowded, and I had to wait a while to be seen. Naturally Colette had the day off or something, and couldn’t be found.
   Another disinterested lady helped me though. I had to fill out and sign one more form, and review my SARs  (Student Aid Report), from the federal financial aid people. The federal financial aid people could not verify my veteran status and had documented I was not a vet. Bad federal financial aid people. Dumb ass federal financial aid people.
   I showed the financial aid lady my veteran I.D. card, corrected the SAR report, and that was that.I was told to come back in four months to check on my status.
   Four months!
   That wouldn’t help me with books in September. I could still hope for help from Voc Rehab, or I could wait another semester to start school, or I could leap off a cliff into the Grand Canyon, or (horror upon horror) I could save up all of my plasma money and pay for the books myself.
   At least I had options.
   Before leaving the campus I looked for and found the EOP&S (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services) office and talked to a young man there. I learned that I had to be a full time student in order to qualify for their services, such as book vouchers and priority registration. I took some pamphlets concerning their program before leaving.
   I stopped at the 99 cent store at MacArthur Park before returning downtown and picked up some candles, chicken gravy mix, pizza rolls, and a small, red duster. I then bought jalapeno cheese rolls and hickory smoked spam from the nearby Food For Less.
   “Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!
Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam.
Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
Spam spam spam spam!”
   Now well provisioned I returned to the Weingart and made myself a nice cup of Irish Breakfast Tea, then exercised and yogaed for a full half hour.  I used the day room computer to check my Email, and while doing that I heard on the T.V. news that Jennifer Connelly had a baby boy today, by that annoying actor who played Russell Crowe’s imaginary roommate in “A Beautiful Mind.”  
   Congratulations Jennifer! I wish you peace and good health, and for your two children as well, but not for that actor bastard. May the fleas of a thousand camels torment him until the end of his days!
   Why couldn’t you wait for me Jennifer? I’m the only one who fully appreciates you!
   Oh well, it can’t be helped I suppose. Jennifer’s loss is just another example of the ill effects of alcoholism and neardowellity.
   Forlorn, I consumed my newly acquired pizza rolls in my room where no one could see me. They were good.
   After a while I calmed down and wrote while listening to classical music. I wouldn’t finish until just before 8.
   I did break for dinner. Chile Mac. Gary Porch sat with me. He told me of how he had left his Weingart I.D. in a neighbors room who had left for the day. That meant he couldn’t use it to get breakfast or lunch, poor fellow.
   And I stopped writing to watch “Married with Children,” which was preempted by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s announcement of his intention to run for Governor of California in October’s recall election. I haven’t a clue as to what his qualifications are. We shall see.
   Charley Rose hung out with The Dave Matthews Band. I’m not a fan, although I admire the band’s unique sound. Maybe they're an acquired taste. They certainly are popular.
   At 8:00 I got good reception on channel 58 and watched the first installment of Ken Burns documentary on the Meriwether Lewis and William Clark expedition, the first official expedition of the new government of the United States, called for by Thomas Jefferson while he was President, and who had just completed the Louisiana Purchase. Very exciting.
   John Manzano stopped by and asked why I was watching this rather than channel 28's expose on the Spartans. 
   “Because I wanted to learn about this more. But I’ll tell you this... I agonized over the decision.”
   “I’m sure you did,” he said.
   He wanted to watch “The Twilight Zone.” He also told me that he had gotten information that his ex-wife had just married a man she had previously gotten a restraining order for. This is now causing him to worry about his children, but also provides more evidence in his case to win custody over his two sons.
   Women. They quite often don’t know what’s in their own best interest... what’s good for them, and act in contrary manners. They require guidance.
   But when we try to explain this simple fact to them they get all defense.
   Silly. But they can’t help it I guess. They’re women.
   Anyway, I told John I’d try to look up information concerning child custody laws in California.
   He mooched a smoked sausage sandwich from me and left after eating it and realizing I wasn’t going to change the channel to “The Twilight Zone.”
   As it happened (“As it is supposed to happen,” Bokonon sings to us) the Lewis and Clark documentary ended at 9:45, so I switched channels to 13, to the latest version of “The Twilight Zone,” just in time to see one of my favorite actresses, Jessica Simpson, being turned into a 10 inch doll by an obnoxious nine year old girl.
   How unfortunate.
   Actually, it was a pretty good segment, what I saw of it at least, and not a little bit scary.
   This episode may have influenced my dreams that night, which involved being turned into a doll, along with Rose McGowan, the perky and beautiful star of “Scream,” and “Phantoms.” Rosy (I like to call her Rosy), dressed in a Raggedy Ann outfit, held doll hands with me as we walked down the yellow brick road which led to Toyland. Unlike poor Jessica, we were very happy, and were singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” all of the way.
My oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way

7  August    Thursday   Day 26

   I watched the “Lineage” episode of “Voyager,” wherein the female half Klingon Lt. became pregnant by her human husband (at least he looked human. Who can tell these days?) As the late Dr. Carl Sagan aptly put it, it would be easier to mate a flea with an elephant than two different species from different planets. At least fleas and elephants possess the same DNA structure.
   Who knows what a Klingon possesses? I certainly don’t.
   But I nit pick. So does Carl.
   I was able to get some yoga and exercise in during the last half hour of the show, then took another nice, hot shower with my neighbor from down the hall, after which I wrote while listening to a Vivaldi (The Red Priest) violin concerto, and Mozart’s 39th  Symphony.
   At 5:00 I meditated and experienced enlightenment. Now space and time are open to me.
   Brian, of the Mark and Brian Show, threw his back out this morning while brushing his teeth. How odd.
   Thank God I’m still young and supple and have no trace of geez about me.
   Brian does. He even plays golf, the badge of geez.
   It was at this point that I figured out how to get my new VCR to record UHF channels by programming those channels into it. All I had to do was press the right button. The Auto Set Up button. These kind of insights occur after enlightenment.
   I also prepared a blank VCR tape to record the beginning of Despierta America so I could gaze upon Gizelle’s loveliness anytime I desired, as I would most assuredly do with Odalys Garcia as well if I could find Lente Loco on Univision’s local broadcast schedule. But I can’t. She’s being denied to me.
  John Manzano knocked on my door at 7:00, just as I was beginning to record.
   “Are you ready to go?”
   “Are you ready to go?”
   “Are you ready to go?” he kept repeating.
   Then I learned, much to my dismay, that Gizelle had taken the day off, pants or no pants, and wasn’t on the show today.
   I was disheartened, but eventually pulled through and went with John to breakfast.
   Waffles that soaked up all of the tiny amount of maple syrup that we were provided with, giving them the consistency of dried cotton. John and I ate heartedly.
   We parted after breakfast. John went to school, and I returned to my room to listen to Mark and Brian, and read about tobacco until 8:30 when I left the building walking up to the Nickle, to the Service Spot, where Mr. McCree works.
   This was the first time I had visited. The office looked nice and clean, and well furnished. I could see rows of computers behind the reception desk, as if computer classes were offered here, or a job resource center like at the One Stop.
   Donuts, little wheels of death, were available on a tray to my left.
   I asked the male receptionist if Mr. McCree was in. He wasn’t, so I left a message for him to come by and see me, or call my voice mail, to let me know if he was still alive.
   I caught a 53 bus up to the Skid Row Housing Trust office and signed in, then walked back to the Weingart. The day was already hot and humid.
   Mark and Brian were talking about the movie “Jaws,” which they will be showing at a special presentation on the pier in Santa Monica next Tuesday night. I’d like to go but then I’d have to call in to their show and participate in a trivia quiz, or fart on command, or lick my elbow... something entertaining, in order to get tickets, and I’m much too shy for that. I’m what M & B call a “passive listener,”and am content to remain one.
   We shall see. Perhaps I’ll change my mind.
   John Manzano tells me that he feels what M & B ask their listeners to do on their radio program is degrading, and he hates them for it.
   “And I suppose Howard Stern doesn’t do that? That he treats all of his guests and callers with the utmost respect? I don’t think so! I’ve heard guests, callers, his own freaking staff for Christ’s sake, go away in tears after talking to that long haired moron, geek. What you got to say about that Manzano?!”
   He didn’t have anything to say to that. John is a Howard Stern fan, thus joins what one critic labeled Stern’s fan base as, “a cast party for 'Deliverance.’”  
   I don’t care for Mr. Stern’s show very much, but have been forced to listen to it on occasion. Like when I used to deliver papers in Bullhead City and there was nothing else on the radio.
   But I digress.
   At 9:55 I walked next door to the Levi Center for Mr. Cairns Super Search Job Workshop, today’s topic... Liabilities!
   I was given my very own lined piece of white paper on which I was to list all of the liabilities I possess which hinder my gaining employment.
   1. Unstable
   2. Addict, prone to relapse.
   3. Laissez faire attitude toward working for other people.
   4. Dislikes those in positions of authority
   5. Lousy credit history.
   6. Minor criminal history (no felonies, mostly DUI and petty theft (booze of course. Everything’s related to booze))
   7. Lack of recent employment history.
   I’m fucked. I’ll never get a job.
   I left the meeting all depressed and morose. My head was hung low, my brow furrowed. I went to my room and started to cry.      
   John Manzano came back from school and collected me for lunch. Beef stir fry. I dribbled some stir fry juice onto my shirt and I was forced to change it.
   We walked up to the V.A. outpatient clinic on Temple. John was to begin his anger management classes at 1:00. I escorted him to the 4th floor to make sure he arrived clam and serene.
   Then I went to the 3rd floor, which was one floor below the 4th. I went to the V.A. Benefits Counselor’s office. There was a sign on the door stating he wouldn’t be back until the 13th.
   I then visited the Business Office on the 1st floor and was told I’d have to see the Benefits Counselor to find out why the federal financial aid people couldn’t verify my veteran status.
   I left the V.A., checking my mail before returning to the Weingart. I watched the film “Pollack,” on my new shiny VCR.
   Now I like Jackson Pollock’s paintings. They’re beautiful in an abstract expressionist sort of way. I have no idea of his real value as an artist, although I believe he was highly regarded. I do know that he fit the classic description of an addict, in his case he abused alcohol and nicotine (just like me). If Ed Harris’s fine portrayal of Pollock was accurate, he was a selfish, self absorbed, asshole, unable to deal with the world around him. He reminded me of myself at various time in my life.
   He was depressive as well, never a good combination. Unfortunately (and still my only information is coming from the film) he exhibited no sense of humor at all, and died as a direct result of his drinking, taking an innocent person along with him (the ultimate selfish act), in a fatal car crash.
   The same, or similar end awaits me if I’m not careful. I like to think I’ve learned to become more aware of the world around me and my responsibilities within it, but once I take a drink...
   Marcia Gay Harden won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Lee Krasner, Pollock’s wife, and she deserved it. Jennifer Connelly had a very small part near the end of the film, but I could actually feel her terror in the last scene. She is so talented... and still had big boobs in this film.
   Nowadays not so much, which saddens the men of the entire world... and some women.
   But I digress.
   John Manzano and I shunned dinner where liver was being served. Instead I invited him to dine in my room, and he opted for a hickory smoked spam sandwich.
   “Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!
Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam.
Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
   Spam spam spam spam!”
   Good choice. Then he sauntered off to to an evening class at school.
   He’s learning to crochet.
   I watched Charley Rose talk to some lawyers about the Kobe Bryant rape case. I couldn’t be less interested. The media is having a field day, and if the victim sincerely feels she was assaulted I sympathize with her, for she is in for a rough time. If she’s just out for publicity she’ll certainly get that. For money, she’ll probably get that too.
   If Mr. Bryant is innocent, and any decision will be a judgment call, then I hope he’s treated fairly. If not I hope he’s put away.
   And that’s all I have to say about that, except that I don’t like basketball very much, and I hold a slight disdain  for all professional sports where athletes are paid outrageous sums of money for developing useless physical abilities. Same goes with the millions paid to some film and television stars. Same with bankers, and other parasitic CEOs. And models... don’t get me started on models. Hundreds of thousands of dollars just to take pictures of their skinny asses.
   There’s so much poverty in the world. When people’s compensation are so out of proportion with their contributions to society I am outraged.
   It doesn’t take a lot for me to get outraged.
   I need to attend Outrage Management classes.
   I’m also a little socialist, I guess.
   I finished reading “Ghost Story.” I had forgotten how it ended and thought it rather weak, but the book in it’s entirety is so, so good.
   At 8:00 I recorded the 1999 remake of “House on Haunted Hill.” Despite the fact that Vincent Price was in the original (which tends to raise the creepy meter ten points all in itself), that film really sucked, although it scared the hell out me me when I was a kid. So a modern remake had a good chance of being decent. Starring Famke Janssen, Ali Larter, and Bridgette Wilson, this movie was quite clever, and scary, despite another weak ending. And I’d be happy to watch toilet paper commercials all day as long as Geoffrey Rush is in them.
   John Manzano returned from school and watched the first half of the movie with me, and kept bitching like a little girl about how hot it was in my room, like there was something I could do about it. I mean my fan was blowing right on the big pussy.
   I threw his complaining and noisy ass out and went to bed after the movie and put my shallow, opinionated ass to sleep. I dreamt I was involved in a vicious paintball fight with Tracy Winn, the beautiful and talented ex-actress and star of “Foreign Affairs.” Along with Colleen Applegate, both the prettiest actresses ever in adult films (not that I ever watch movies like that. They both registered a hard 134 , on a scale of 0 to 100 on the Pretty-O-Meter, so it’s not just my opinion, it’s a matter of record).
   We were all covered in multi-colored paint blotches, battling each other in what seemed to be a gigantic mansion that had at one time been a hospital for the criminally insane. Tracy, the little imp, shot me three times in rapid succession right between the eyes, then scarpered down into the basement. I went after her, but got lost among the endless corridors and passageways and wound up falling into an abandoned oubliette, and was never heard from again.

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