Sunday, October 27, 2013

Skid Row Diary 17

16   August   2003      Saturday      Day 35

   I woke from a dream of getting squished by Godzilla, and then hunting down Bob Hope and shooting him.
   And I liked Bob Hope! Very strange.
   I did not shoot him in my dream.
   I missed.
   He asked me why was it that I was shooting at him and I had to admit that I didn’t know, and promised to stop. That’s when I woke. 
   I felt much better today after shooting Bob... and after having such a nice day at the movies yesterday. I felt good enough to get back to the business of life. My aches and pains had decreased, and my energy and enthusiasm increased. 
   So, the first step... replenish my monitory resources.
   I got up at 8:15, cleaned myself and my room, made another tuna fish sandwich for breakfast (protein), then took off taking King’s newest book of short stories with me.
   I caught the 362 at 5th and San Pedro, taking it to Pershing Square. A black gentleman in the rear of the bus didn’t like it that the bus didn’t stop where he wanted to get off, thinking he was on the 18 or 53. 
   “Hey! Hey! Hey! Driver!” he kept yelling. “Why didn’t you stop man! The stops back there. You been drinking that Gallo and letting it affect you mind!”
   I truly take a great deal of pleasure in watching obnoxious, loud mouthed individuals make asses of themselves. It’s one of life’s little perks.  
   Why do black people feel it necessary to speak 3 decibels louder than any other life forms on this planet?
   Is that a racist observation? I’m not sure. It certainly is a stereotypical one.
   I re-read King’s “1408“ story while on the old subway to North Hollywood. I think it would make a really intense short film if done properly. Unfortunately short films aren’t much in vouge. I don’t care for most of them. 
   Oh well, I really like the story though.
   I stocked up on vitamins at the 99 Cent Store, getting some more E, fresh A & D, ginko (for my poor tired brain), and lots of C. I also got tea, coffee, smoked sausages, spiced luncheon meat, toothpaste, VCR tapes, jalapeno American cheese slices, provolone cheese, ravioli bites, beanless chile, and a can of cooked, sliced carrots.
   I braved the heat and made it to Trimar by 11:30, where the latest James Bond movie, “Die Another Day,” was playing again. I got to see the end this time.
   At least an attempt was made in this film to just shoot Bond, the slippery devil. Unfortunately, for me, he was standing on a glass floor at the time and was able to escape certain death by crashing through it. 
   Damn it Bond! I’ll see you die yet!
   He is really rather annoying.
   Always has been.
   Tom Cruise’s favorite television show as a kid must have been “Mission Impossible,” as he’s produced and starred in two films based on that show, both over the top and silly, and in need of just a smidgeon more action.
   Just a smidgeon.
   If I had the money I’d produce films based on the T.V. shows “Green Acres,”  “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement), and “The Invaders.”
   But I’m about flat busted.
   The reason I mentioned “Mission Impossible,” is because it came on after Bond.
   I read.
   Today marked the 3rd time in a row the nurses had difficulty getting through the scar tissue in the crook of my left arm and keeping the blood flowing into the centrifuge freely.   
   This marks the approaching end to my donation days, which is just as well. Too much time is involved coming out here.
   Aurica was around, but busy in another room and did not see me.
   I left and made very good time getting back to the Weingart, catching one of the new 761 Red Rapid buses, south on Van Nuys Blvd. I enjoyed the ride through the San Fernando Valley this afternoon, my mood pleasant and mellow.
   I got back to my room at a little after 3 and put my stuff away, made myself some Earl Grey, and began to catch up on some writing.
   Sloppy Joses for dinner. Gary Porch sat with me still whining about his personal poverty level. I told him I’d take a look at his radio when we went upstairs, and I eventually bought it for $10. I used it to record classic rock songs from The Arrow, 93.1 FM, a station that isn’t addicted to The Doors and Rod Stewart as KLOS (Mark and Brian’s station) is. I recorded one Blondie song, and one from Pink Floyd.
   I watched the “Succubus Attacking Skinner,” episode of the “X Files,” but it really wasn’t a succubus who was attacking him, it was that damn cigarette smoking bastard again. Well, he got his in the very last “X Files” episode... or did he?
   I read in the newspaper about Fox News latest lawsuit against comedian and author, Al Franken. Fox is suing Franken for his use of the phrase “Lies, and the Lying Liars who Use Them, a Fair and Balanced View of the Right,” as the title of his latest book. Fox contends that the term “Fair and Balanced,” belongs to them in the form of a trademark. 
   The lawsuit was dropped three days after it was filed, Judge Denny Chin refusing Fox’s request for an injunction. In his decision, Chin ruled that the case (Fox v. Franken) was "wholly without merit, both factually and legally". He went on to suggest that Fox News' trademark on the phrase "fair and balanced" could be invalid. 
   I’m not so interested in the lawsuit, which has had the ironic effect of  giving the book a great deal of publicity it wouldn’t have received otherwise, and therefore increasing sales, but I welcomed the news that Al was an author and apparently a spokesman for the left. Lord knows we need them.
   I was very pleased to discover what the title of Frankin’s first book was “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot,” which pretty much sums it up, don’t you think? 
   Joseph Mauro struck back with his own book, “Al Franken is a Bucktoothed Moron--And Other Observations: The Right Strikes Back!” which is funny too.
   Yet Rush is fat, and Al doesn’t have buck teeth. 
   I really have to get Mr. Franken’s books, oh yes.
   I was able to get good enough reception on channel 13 to record “Flirting with Disaster,” at 8:00, starring the lovely Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni, Lily Tomlin, and Mary Tyler Moore.
   Again, this film held a dubious significance for me. It was the first and last movie that appeared on my television when I stayed at the Cecil Hotel last year, a trying period of time marked by relapse and unemployment (and lots of canned pasta products).
   While re-watching the movie tonight I realized I had not actually paid attention to it before and didn’t know what it was about really. While at the Cecil I was... preoccupied, so much so that I hardly paid attention to what was on the television.
   I was pleasantly surprised tonight to discover how good the film was, with Patricia and Ms. Leoni putting in respectable comedic performances. 
   I also watched a great sketch on “MAD TV,” about how gross men are. I agree totally.
   One of the reasons that I respect and admire women to the extent that I do is that they can lead happy, fulfilling lives, although cursed with men.
   After going to sleep I dreamt that Mary Tyler Moore and Veronica Hart (star of ”The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Ordinary People,” “The Gin Game,” and  “Magnolia,” “Boogie Nights,” “Amanda by Night” respectively), lived next door to me when I was 16 years old and tried to lure me over to their house and get my high on LSD and paint thinner, and watch James Bond movies.
   They succeeded.  

17 August    Sunday    Day 36

   I set my alarm for 4:00AM and got up just after 6, listening to the soothing rhythms of the Skater's Waltz which emanated from my radio. 
   I put a load of dirty clothes in the washer before showering.
   After putting said clothes into the dryer at the appropriate time I read from “The Way of Zen,” and meditated.
   Boiled eggs for breakfast. Boiled eggs every Sunday these days.
   I had a wonderful, peaceful day up in my lonely room. I certainly isolated, but it was wonderful and peaceful.
   I got a lot of work done. A lot of writing. I already had the Sunday section from yesterday’s paper and would spend a good part of the day going through that. 
   I found seven jobs I could look into from the want ads. I prepared fax cover sheets for all of them so I wouldn’t have to do it at the One Stop Center.
   Mary Carey, my candidate for governor, is keeping herself in the news. I saw her on T.V. promoting no jury duty for the unemployed, which I wholeheartedly agree with. She’s a very smart, ambitious girl. Beautiful, talented, and physically sound.
   I changed clothes after an intense yoga session at 9:30AM, and left the building for the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple. 
   I hadn’t attended services for awhile and thought they might miss me, and I wanted I wanted to get out of my little room at least once during the day.
   The temple is located on 3rd and Central, about a ten minute walk from the Weingart, a beautiful building, inspired by the Tōdai-ji Temple in Nara, Japan.
   When I got there I was told there would be no service today. I felt Buddhism had rejected me, which was really bad as Buddhists accept just about anybody, even Dutch people. I left and slowly walked back to my lonely room.
   I didn’t think to ask when the next service would be, and the information was not offered to me.
   As a non-Japanese person with no family connected to the temple, I am barely tolerated there. 
   I am used to this type of treatment and will find out on my own when the next service will be, and may or may not go to it.
   I recorded a lot of classic rock in the afternoon, stealing songs right off of the airwaves from Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Led  Zeppelin, The Beatles, Arrowsmith, Bad Company, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Yes, BTO, BLT, and Tennessee Ernie Ford.
   I would have sang along while recording them but my nose was still stopped up.
   I read in the paper that the Weingart Foundation had donated 1.15 million dollars (American) to KCET, Los Angeles’s local PBS television station. Way to go Weingart! Well done. 
   I learned at the library that as of 1994 the Weingart Foundation had assets of $490,000,000, which is like almost a half a billion dollars (American), so they can afford to donate to KCET, and other fine organizations. 
   I feel very secure knowing that I will not be evicted any time soon due to the Weingart not paying it’s rent (actually the building was donated to the Foundation in 1983, so there is no rent).
   I feel very secure knowing that the lights and the water won’t go off any time soon due to the Weingart not paying it’s bills.
   There’s a picture of the Weingart building above, just below the Buddhist Temple. You can see the window to my lonely room on the side of the building facing the photographer, five stories up and just about in the middle. The intersection pictured is 6th Street and San Pedro. All the fire trucks in Los Angeles turn off of 6th onto San Pedro headed north, just below my window. They all have their sirens blasting which hurts my ears.
   I took a little nap after beginning the taping process. I remember a dream involving Molly Ringwald, a hula hoop, crayfish, fresh fruit, and silly putty. 
   I woke up after an hour screaming, then watched the last half of the Lewis and Clark program. I became more enthusiastic about writing a narrative of their story.
   I know this... it would be good, very good... and it would be long, very long.
   But it wouldn’t have many special effects shots!
   I began writing the first draft of a screenplay for a remake of the sci fi classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” after watching “Futurerama.” I’ve been thinking about it for years, and I guess I’ve thought about it enough to stop thinking about it and start writing. So far this film has been overlooked in the Hollywood remake frenzy and I wouldn’t want someone to beat me to it.
   Next after this... “Forbidden Planet.”
   I also watched the last 2 hours of King’s “The Storm of the Century,” because I had forgotten if it ever did explain what exactly was Linoge, the stories antagonist. It wasn’t.  André Linoge was just a really old guy (but not immortal) who knew everyone’s business, and liked to hurt and kill people with evil magic. 
   Thanks a lot King, you lazy bastard. How do you expect us to battle these creatures if we don’t know what we’re up against? We need some actionable intelligence, and you were our inside source.
   This wasn’t one of his happier tales, I’ll tell you that.
   I fixed myself some microwave popcorn for tonight’s 11:00 “X-Files,” the “Black Alien Baseball Player from Roswell,” episode. 
   I switched to “The Outer Limits,” at midnight, but became disinterested fast and went to sleep, after setting my alarm for 4:00.
   I dreamt it was 1802 and I had been sent by President Jefferson to explore the new territory sold to the United States in the recent Louisiana Purchase, and the guides assigned to me were native Americans, Hyapatia Lee and Jeanette Littledove, the beautiful and talented stars of “Centerfold” and “Dangerous When Wet,” respectively.  
   Enough said.

18 August   Monday       Day 37

   “The Impact Program” was off the air this week, perhaps next as well. Frank is on vacation, as are Mark and Brian... again.
   I recall Brian mentioning it briefly (they always mention their vacations briefly as they are ashamed of them, because they know they’re getting away with murder taking so much time off, as the rest of us work and slave throughout the year helping to make this country’s economy that which it is), suggesting, “Some would say... well deserved vacation.”
   Who Brian? Who would say that besides you and Mark? You work four hours a day, God damn it! Four hours is all we ask. Four hours in which Los Angeles requires the rich entertainment of which you provide... Four hours... and what do you do? Huumm? What do you and your sad ass partner do? You leave us... abandon us... eighteen weeks a year, playing repeat broadcasts that we’ve already heard before because they’re repeat broadcasts! Well that’s no good Mark and Brian, no good at all, and I for one am going to do something about it.
   You’ll be hearing from my legal aid intern!
   I slept until 6:30, or so. I was able to take a shower all by myself today. 
   Giselle was wearing a beautiful short skirt. Simply lovely. The skirt was nice too. 
   This was a good omen for the upcoming week. I’m sure to get a job because of it, although I am not superstitious. 
   Mary Carey Cook made it on to Despierta America, Fernando, one of the male hosts, saying something about her in Spanish. A video clip was shown of my candidate dancing next to a pole of some kind. She must have been visiting a fire station, spreading cheer and encouragement to our heroic first responders, although the place she was dancing in seemed rather dark and smoke filled.
   She just gets better and better.
   Scrambled eggs and fried Bologna for breakfast, this being the first time I’ve come down to the cafeteria for breakfast in about a week or more. 
   I walked to the One Stop Center, passing the Flower Market on the way, and spent 47 minutes there printing personal files, checking my Email, and faxing my resume.
   A Mr. Baker from the State Board of Appeals called me twice last week although I canceled my scheduled hearing. He does not appear to be aware of that and told me he has figured out why I requested the hearing and is willing to make a correction.
   I called him back and left a message on his voice mail. I’m curious to find out what it is he feels needs correcting.
   Nita Rodgers, from the Real Estate Legal Service in Pasadena called me three times last week, wanting to schedule an interview. She sounded like a very nice lady. I’m sorry I was sick and missed that opportunity.
   By the way, I felt pretty good today, except my nose is still running. It feels like it will never stop. I blow it occasionally.  
   My friend Ron McCree called me back eleven days ago in response to the message I left him at the Service Spot. He wants me to call him back.
   I had time to go to the Freeman Occupational Center to get myself a free haircut at the barber school. I took a DASH bus to get there.
   A nice Hispanic lady cut my hair, taking off a bit too much on the sides. They do that a lot. When in doubt keep sniping, and take 45 minutes doing it.
   It will grow back, and I couldn’t beat the price.
   I took a DASH back to 5th and Spring. I walked by a whole bunch of black people trying to sell me drugs. I also stopped at the SRHT office only to discover that it was being remodeled and wouldn’t be open until Wednesday.
   I caught a bus across the street which headed  west to the Arco Plaza to check my mail. It was now 10:30, thirty minutes past the time the mail is supposed to be ready, and found the P.O. Box lady was still putting the mail in the boxes. She said she’d be another hour.
   They too will feel the wrath of my legal aid tech.
   I took off. I wouldn’t wait an hour to see Elvis come back from the dead, let alone wait for mail that might not be there.
   I returned to the Weingart for lunch, running into John Manzano in the halls. He had freshly returned from Camarillo visiting him mother.
   “Did you say hello to your mom for me?” I asked while we waited in line to eat.
   “Yeah,” he said, although I felt sure he was lying.
   “How is she?” I asked.
   “Did she get her house fumigated finally?”
   “I didn’t ask,” he told me.
   “You didn’r ask?”
   “No. I forgot about it.”
   “You forgot about it?”
   “Yeah. I forgot about it.”
   “What were you doing that was so important that you couldn’t ask your mother about things that are important to her?”
   “I was watching the Cooking Channel.” he explained.
   “Did you bring back any good recipes, at least?”
   “No,” he told me.
   “Well my God!” I cried, exasperated. “Will you do me a favor? The next time you call your mom will you ask her if she got her house fumigated? It’s of great concern to me.”
   “Yeah... sure.”
   He wanted to know who won between Freddy Kruger and Jason.
   “They’re both already dead,” I told him. “How could either possibly win?”
   He didn’t believe me.
   After lunch I walked to the VA clinic on Temple, and checked in at the desk of the ASAP drug treatment program and volunteered for a urine test. I hadn’t attended groups there for several months and just wanted to let them know I was clean.
   At 1:00 I attended the Phase 1 group, facilitated by Kathy RN, a white haired widow who is one of the most knowledgeable persons I know of concerning drugs and alcohol rehabilitation. We discussed goals and solutions.
   My goal: Get a job to get money. Write. Move to Monterey.
   Solution: The solution is always the same. Stay sober.
   I spoke to the veteran’s benefits counselor about why the financial aid people could not verify I was a veteran. He didn’t know what to do and passed me along to the veteran’s voc rehab counselor who wasn’t in. 
   Great. Every indication points to the financial aid people not knowing what they were doing. I will attack this problem from that end like a bull terrier worrying a raw, meaty bone!
   I returned to Arco Plaza, via a DASH. I had two letters from the State Board of Appeals, one confirming my hearing cancellation, another from Mr. Baker wanting to discuss my upcoming hearing. 
    I filed both letters in the trash bin.
   John Manzano found me after I returned to the Weingart and asked me if I had an extra cigarette lighter.
   “No.” I told him. What am I? An AM/PM?
   “No really. Do you have a cigarette lighter?”
   “Any matches?”
   “No matches?”
   “No lighter or matches?”
   “No, no, no, no!”
   He left. I started to yoga and exercise. I wrote as well.
   Chile dogs were promised for dinner. What I got was two greasy, gamey turkey legs and chile fries. I was sorely disappointed. 
   John Manzano came back, but soon left after finding out I was not into Monday Night Football, realizing he would not be successful in his attempts to needle me into watching it.
   I watched Charlie Rose interview Jerry Buckheimer, like the biggest money making film producer ever. He seemed like a nice man.
   Ten Years After’s haunting, homophobic song, “I’d Like to Change the World,” kept going through my mind. I don’t know why.
   I would like to take this opportunity to wish Erico Oporto of Florida a happy 15th birthday. Way to go!
   At 8:00 I was also promised “The Genocide Factor,” a two hour long program discussing man’s inherent penchant for mass murder for the sole purpose of gaining and maintaining personal power on channel 58, the Orange County PBS station. I’m intensely interested in human rights issues, and got ready to tape the show.
   What I got at 8:00 on channel 58 was a teachers discussion on math assessment tests.
   I turned to KCET and watched “The History Detectives,” while reading of the neurological effects of nicotine use, and Spencer Tracy’s childhood in Milwaukee. 
   The genocide show came on at 9:00, and I taped it. I won’t go into it other that to say that the program affected me deeply. I will revisit this subject in the next and last journal like this, if I live long enough to complete it.
   I fell asleep during the 2nd hour, sometime between 10:15 and 11:00. I woke up enough at 11:05 to stop the recording process, turn to channel 13, and go back to sleep. I dreamt I was exploring Cambodia’s Killing Fields with Katie Couric, the Today Show co-anchor, and Elyse Luray, my favorite history detective (I don’t know why, she just is). We surveyed the scene and discussed the atrocities committed there, and found nothing funny about it. We were all greatly saddened actually, humbled and astounded by the ignorance of our fellow humans, and their perpetual selfishness and indifference to suffering. We realized that our own country was not free from guilt.
   We looked forward to a day of enlightenment that we knew would be a long time coming.

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