Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Skid Row Diary 20

23  August   2003   Saturday   Day 42

   I slept in late, very tired and lazy. My back was sore, probably due to the trampoline last night. 
   I had intended to head out to Trimar today and pick up some cash, as next week I would need to pay for both school registration, next months bus pass, and the movies on Friday. I decided against going though. I was still congested, and it wasn’t wise to keep siphoning off my precious bodily fluids while trying to get well. Thoughts of the long bus trip didn’t thrill me all that much either.
   I skipped breakfast and signed in. I showered and cleaned my room... partially cleaned my room. I didn’t want to get too over exuberant about it. 
   I wrote before lunch, and after. I listened to KLOS’s Block Party Weekend, recording a lot of Led Zeppelin and the Stones. 
   I’m beginning to get a little burnt out on Rock & Roll, and need to start listening to Whaling Songs again. There’s nothing like a rousing rendition of “Blow Ye Winds!”
   No John Manzano today. He’s up in the hills and far away.
   I passed Gary porch in the hallway. He didn’t seem to be drunk, which is good I guess.
   At 1:30 I put the writing down for a while and watched a movie on channel 7, “Castlerock,” a low budget survival movie starring Alana Austin and Ernest Borgnine as Nate. Frank Gorshin (The Riddler) was supposed to be in it but I didn’t see him by the time I fell asleep.
   I dreamt I was very little and standing on the sidewalk on Lankershim Boulevard after opening my first savings account at the Universal City branch of Bank of America. The bank was celebrating it’s grand opening, and some of the actors and actresses who were working in the studio at the time stopped by to make publicity appearances. 
   Ernest Borgnine came walking up to me on his way back to the set. He was wearing his uniform, that of a navel  Lieutenant Commander, for his show, “McHale's Navy,” which was a popular television show that I watched all of time. When he got near enough I asked him for his autograph, unafraid as only a small child can be when transcending established social strata. 
   I didn’t know or care that the man in front of me had won an Academy Award for Best Actor for a film he was in the year I was born (Paddy Chayefsky‘s “Marty”). I didn’t even know what an Academy Award was. Besides, he was Captain McHale (who was in fact the commanding officer of a PT Boat, just like John F Kennedy, and any CO is referred to as Captain while on their ship (or boat), no matter what their actual rank was) who would not hurt me.
   He stopped, looking down at me, smiling, a huge, bear of a man. I didn’t have anything for him to write on except for my newly acquired bank book, so I offered him that. He took it, still smiling.
   “What’s your name, son?” he asked.
   He wrote something down quickly in my savings account book and handed it back to me. I don’t remember what he wrote, and I remembered in my dream that I had lost that book a long time ago.
   “Be a good boy,” he said, continuing on his way.
   “Jumping torpedoes!” I exclaimed.
      “Castlerock,” was almost finished by the time I woke, with Ernest lying in a hospital bed, dying. It won’t be long, I thought to myself, when he really will be gone from us. 
   And that dream, strange as it may seem, was a recollection, as it really did happen when I was about 7 years old.
   I finished reading a short story by Stephen King called, “In the Deathroom,” and wished freedom to all political prisoners. 
   I watched the 8:00 broadcast of the film “Hexed,” starring the lovely and talented Claudia Christian, who seems especially suited for comedy, although the only things I’ve seen her in was the film, “The Hidden,” a science fiction movie which was the first she ever appeared in, and the sci fi television series, “Babylon 5.” Oh yeah, and a Playboy spread a few years ago. I did see her in that.
   I got reasonable reception on my TV and was able to record the movie, minus commercials.
   A little “Mad TV,” after “Hexed,” with a special appearance from “The Folksmen,” from the film, “A Mighty Wind.”
   “This song is dedicated to all of you who’ve  lost loved ones in train wrecks in coal mines.”
   I set my VCR timer to record “Across the Moon,” at 1:30, not knowing if it would work when the television was turned off. 
   Then I went to sleep.
   I dreamt I was on Babylon 5, a giant space vehicle built for diplomatic purposes, and being escorted by Susan Ivanova, the character on the show played exceptionally well by Claudia Christian, and Lilli Marlene, star of “Glamour Girls,” “I've Never Done This Before!,” and other fine films, to the ship’s brig. They threw me into a cell with Ernest Borgnine, then left.
   “See ya later Buckaroo,” Claudia said.
   “Yeah,” Lilli chipped in just before slamming the jail door shut.
   'Things aren’t looking too good, eh Rick?” Ernest inquired.
   “They’ve been better,” I answered.
   “What’ya in for?” he asked.
   “I don’t know,” I told him truthfully. “I don’t remember doing anything wrong.”
   Ernest belted out a laugh. “That’s what they all say, heh, heh. Might as well sit down. You’ll be here a while.”
   I continued to pace back and forth near the front of the cell.
   “But I really didn’t do anything,” I maintained. “The last I remember I was in my room watching Mad T.V.”
   “Mad T.V.!?” Ernest exclaimed. “That it explains it then. A clear case of viewing subversive material. I’m here for watching “Smothers Brothers” reruns.”
   “No, no, this can’t be. Maybe this is some sort of weird dream...”
   “Have it your own way kid,” laying back onto his modest and sparse bunk.
   Three hours and twenty seven minutes later Claudia and Lilli returned, dressed in black Dominatrix uniforms, with military caps and Nazi insignias displayed profusely. They each carried whips, chains, and assorted cylindrical objects.
   Claudia stood by the open door smiling at me.
   “Oh Buckaroo... punis... I mean interrogation time.”
   “Give em hell kid,” Ernest added helpfully, as the two ladies began to drag me away. “When’s it my turn again?”
   “Soon enough Ernie, you old hot dog you. Soon enough.”
   “And kid,” Ernest called out to me.
   The women stopped and let me look back.
   “I’m gonna be around for a long time yet. Don’t you worry.”
   “Have fun,” he said as the girls picked me up and carried me off.

24   August    Sunday     Day 43

   “Tomorrow and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
   Creeps in this pretty pace from day to day
   To the last syllable of recorded time,
   And all our yesterdays have lifted fools
   The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
   Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
   That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
   And then is heard no more: it is a tale
   Told by an idiot full of sound and fury,
   Signifying nothing.

   -R.H. Blyth

   I got up at 8:30, showered and decided I needed a meeting. Not wanting to get arrested I dressed before leaving, walking east on 6th to Gladys Park where the elite homeless hang out, and the location of the Skid Row Drifters A.A. meeting.
   The Orange County chapter of The Drifters came out in force. Up until today I didn’t know there were any drug addicts in the O.C. All I really know about the area is what Dean Koontz writes in his books. According to him it’s a very weird place filled monsters, and mutants who can teleport all over the place. A very scary place.
   And Disneyland! It’s in Orange County, and I’ve been there a few times. And Knotts Berry Farm, and it’s Halloween morph, Knotts Scary Farm (again, a very scary place, hence the name). 
   And Anaheim Stadium, where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play baseball. I’ve been there a couple of times as well.
   Other than those three places I stay the hell out.
   While listening to Jessica, Maria, William, and others tell their stories I had coffee and two chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Most of those who came from the O.C. were from Johnny’s Home for Women and Children, and didn’t have a whole bunch of sober time. All we really have is today though... and it’s always good to hear stories from those who are super enthusiastic about the program.
   I passed by Jack’s Market on the way back and bought a copy of the Sunday Times. Jack wasn’t there, just some Asian guy named Kim Lee.
   Jack’s never there.
   I spent a good part of the day reading that paper. I would find exactly one possible job opportunity in the Want Ads that I would act upon tomorrow.
   As I began to read up in my lonely room I switched on the radio to NPR, and listened to some leftist pinko programs that I hadn’t known existed. A guy named Blaze called in and called for an end to the “War System,” which he said made slaves of a significant percentage of our population and sends them off to be slaughtered, often for obscure reasons, or to solidify the personal goals of the current regime. How absurd! War has been a respectable way to settle differences between nations for centuries, why should we change now? Blaze also asked that the United States live up to it’s moral and financial commitments to the United Nations. He maintains that not to do so is in direct defiance of our own Constitution. Bullshit I say! The United States stands alone, as we demonstrated in Iraq (except for the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, the Ukraine, Georgia, 
Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, and Spain). We don’t need no stinking U.N.! A bunch of meddling bastards if you ask me, who need our guidance and unselfish wisdom in order to survive. And so what if our country is not in accordance with our own Constitution? It’s just a piece of paper... old paper at that. We have laws like The Patriot Act which prove our love for the Constitution and civil rights.
   Blaze also says we, the United States of America, should submit meekly to the World Court, and be held accountable by what they consider to be humane and justifiable. Hell, if they had their way they might consider the invasion of Iraq itself, and the suppression of it’s legitimate government a war crime in itself, and we can’t have that, not the old true and blue US of A! So what if they haven’t found those weapons of mass destruction, I’m almost positive they’re there. “I’m confident,” the President Bush said, “that they’ll be found eventually.” Those tricky Iraqi bastards sure did a good job of hiding them, I have to give them that. Anyway, we sure don’t want to send any of our boys over to those foreign devils at the World Court. The United States will always take care of our own, you can be sure of that.
   The next program was even worse. Hosted by some commie bastard named Ian Masters and his pinko sidekick, John Tapland. They had the nerve to infer that the current president was akin to a medievalist feudal lord whose only wish was to further the gap between the rich and the poor, turning the disadvantaged into surfs, born only to serve their masters into perpetuity.
   Well what’s wrong with that?! The rich deserve to have more advantages heaped upon them, after all... they’re rich, and worked hard for whatever they’ve got, if not truthfully, honestly, or legally. Isn’t that what the whole capitalist system is about? If you don’t have the wherewithal to  make it in the world and be successful, or have the benefit of having rich and powerful parents, then you can rot. We might not believe in Darwinian evolution, but we sure believe in Darwinian economics!  Fuck the poor!
   I get so mad listening to all of this intellectual clap trap. Give me fat, old marshmallow Rush Limbaugh anytime, so I don’t have to think and can be told what my reality is by his impeccable authority.
   I made a conscience decision to stop thinking and watch “Across the Moon,” starring the lovely and talented Christina Applegate and Elizabeth Pena. The film had a lot of problems, but I’m a big fan of Christina (although I could have done without the solo television show). Burgess Meredith got about a day’s worth of work in it. Michael McKean was involved as well. I saw him last night as a member of “The Folksmen,” and would see him later tonight on “The X-Files.”
   He’s very busy.*
   I read the paper then took a nap, which kept me busy enough. I had a dream involving Elizabeth Pena, Christina Applegate, 3 gallons of non-dairy whipped cream, a microwave oven, 12 quarts of 30 weight motor oil, a sandbox, 47 ball bearings, a protractor, 6 spiny-tail iguanas, a snow making machine, and a trampoline.
   I woke up screaming at 4:00PM. 
   Time to get up and start reading the paper some more. I did some yoga before going downstairs for dinner where I enjoyed enough discolored, pressed ham to make about half a sandwich. I supplemented this “meal” with a nice hot dog sandwich later in my room.     
   The boys who live in the Day Room 24/7 screwed up and left the one computer with a working word processor unoccupied long enough for me to get on it to update some of my files. My backup disks failed on me, so it took about an hour to make two more.**
   I also learned how to tape one program, and watch another on my new VCR. I taped the film “Hero,” starring Geena Davis, mostly because I liked the line shouted out by Dustin Hoffman after witnessing a jet liner crash near the bridge he had been driving on. 
   Dustin walked up to the railing on that dark and rainy night and looked down at the plane’s broken fuselage and listened to those passengers trapped inside, unable to exit the plane due to a stuck emergency exit, and screaming up at him for help. He looks over the situation for a moment, then shouts down, “What’s the problem pal?”
    I like this line too, “Keep a low profile, that’s my motto.”
   The rest of the movie fumbled along.
   While I was recording that I watched two episodes of “Futurama.” 
   I went to sleep after taping “Hero,” and watching the crash scene. I dreamt my wife, Geena Davis, was actually a spy for the United States with amnesia. Jessica Wylde, star of “Your the Boss,” and other fine films, was an enemy agent sent to terminate Geena before she regained her memory. 
   Jessica climbed in through our bedroom window while Geena was sleeping and was about to stab her with a ten inch switchblade, when I burst in to save my beloved. I karated Jessica until she was spent and helpless, tied her hands behind her back with her own long hair, and locked her in the closet. Geena woke up, regained her memory, remembered she had been ordered to marry me and find out all she could about my plans to end the world war system and subvert the imperialist girls Olympic gymnastic team, then kill me. She karated me until I was spent and helpless, then locked me in the closet with Jessica before taking off for The Hague, to blow up Paris and the World Court. 
   My alarm woke me at 10:58, so I watched and taped the 11:00 “X-Files” broadcast, featuring tonight The Lone Gunman (Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood, and Dean Haglund), then read an interesting book review concerning the life and brutal murder of Ramon Novarro, the silent film actor. Then I returned to sleep and dreamt I was on honeymoon with Gillian Anderson, the lovely and talented star of “The X-Files.” We stayed in a big hotel in Las Vegas, and she kept calling me “Cutie,” but wouldn’t come up to our room because she had gotten hooked on the slots and antihistamines.
   That’s the way it goes sometimes.

*And I wonder what message the screenwriter was trying to convey by placing all the adult male actors in jail at the end? Is this some type of feminist payback. Quite frankly, I’m outraged!
**Near 6:00 my left eye went blind for approximately 3 minutes. I could feel, sense is probably the more correct word, a slight change, a small “pop” within the vitreous chamber (like a pressure equalization), and my sight slowly blackened until the vision in that eye was completely gone. Black. I didn’t panic. This had been occurring occasionally since May of 2001, over 2 years now, and on every occasion the sight in that eye slowly creeps back from darkness and restored to normal.
    I’ve seen doctors about this. The technical term I’ve been told is Amaurosis fugax,  Latin fugax meaning fleeting, Greek amaurosis meaning darkening, dark, or obscure. The cause of my condition has not yet been ascertained. I once required housing for a few days, so I entered The Beast, USC Medical Center, or L.A.s General Hospital, a ghastly place, and was admitted there because of this condition. I was Cat Scanned, MRIed, ultra sounded, and x-rayed, all tests coming back normal. I was summarily discharged, a little earlier than I would have liked, with a “We’ve done all that we can do” and a “Unless it gets more serious.” 
   The best reasonable diagnosis anyone could come up with was that I was suffering from a painless migraine which was pinching my optic nerve, thus shutting off my vision temporarily. This was offered by the Neurology Department.
   I tend to believe that it’s something else. The migraine theory doesn’t explain that sudden “pop” feeling within the eye itself. But at this point I can’t pay to have it examined, and doctors only work real hard when their being paid.
   Fuck the poor!
   And as I’ve been told, unless it gets more serious. I’m not going to spend a great deal of time worrying about it.
   Worrying about things never helps. 

25 August 2003   Monday   Day 44

Giselle was back today, thank God! Pants though.
   At 7:30AM I went down to the cafeteria for some dry waffles for breakfast (message from next year, “Madam, we must have waffles! We must all have waffles forthwith!”). Syrup was provided, but the two lukewarm waffles soaked up all the little packet had to offer.
   Can’t beat the price though.
   At 8:00 I met Larry, the job developer for our much anticipated appointment... which lasted all of ten minutes.
   Larry faxed my resume to the one job I had found yesterday in the paper, and said he’d look into others he might have lying around somewhere. I asked him to look into CWT (Compensated Work Therapy) program at the Westwood V.A. He made a little note to himself to look into that. He also showed me the resource center room, which was locked up at the time, and invited me to use it anytime I wanted. He didn’t have the actual key to it just then, but told me I could find resources in there to help me find a job. The same stuff I could utilize at One Stop basically.
   And that was it. Short, concise, and to the point. Can’t complain about that. 
   I returned to my room and listened to regurgitated humor on the Mark and Brian Program, who were still on vacation... the lazy bastards.
   I need fresh humor, damn it!
   Whose ever job it was to choose the past segments to be aired was in high form. One example of “The Best of Mark and Brian,” was to listen over the telephone to a schnauzer licking it’s testicles.
   At 9:00 I took my $14 heavy duty collapsible dolly to the Service Spot in order to help Ron McCree move a television set to his apartment
   “Can I help you?” I was asked as I entered. I was asked by a dark haired young man talking to a short blonde lady.
   “Is Ron McCree here?” I asked.
   The blonde lady shook her head negatively.
   “He called in sick,” she said. “Your...”
   “Yes. He did say to come back tomorrow... at nine o’clock.” She smiled.
   “He did, did he?”
   I nodded. “Okay.” Then I left.
   I wrote for most of the day.
   At 12:00 I used the computer in the day room. The television news, or the Entertainment Today program actually, was in an uproar over who Freddie Kruger would fight next in the sequel to “Freddy Vs Jason.” Michael Myers from the “Halloween” franchise was named as the most likely candidate. The producers are in negotiations with Michael’s agent. 
   Alright, number one, I happen to like Michael Myers, and happen to believe he can kick anyone’s supernatural ass, especially that loud mouthed, obnoxious SOB, Freddy Kruger. Number two, Freddy didn’t win the fight with Jason... what’s up with that? Number three, all of them are already dead, for Christ’s sake! What are they going to do to each other? Put themselves into “Double Secret Death?”
    The actor who plays Freddy, Robert Englund, the nice lizard in the 1980s television mini-series “V” wants to battle Bruce Campbell’s possessed character from Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead,” movies. I have no problem with that, but I do with “V.” We’re supposed to believe that this whole big fleet of massive spaceships (that they ripped off from Arthur C Clark’s “Childhood’s End,” as did those bastards from “Independence Day”), piloted by evil space reptiles, came all the way across the gulf of interplanetary space to steal our water? And to use us for food?”
   Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Hell, the universe is almost all hydrogen! And oxygen isn’t particularly difficult to find. Those space lizards sure didn’t have to come all of the way here to get water. It’s everywhere! Water vapor is not uncommon. You could find more water on Jupiter probably than you can here on Earth. You just have to dig a little.
   And it would seem to me to be a whole lot easier to abduct a hundred or so of us, take us back to their planet and breed us, then eat us all up! Much, much easier than all of the trouble the space lizards went to in the series.
   These issues must be addressed!
   I made Kathy’s 1:00 meeting at the ASAP clinic. We talked about withdrawal symptoms. I asked her afterwards about the CWT program, and she told me Sam handled all of that. Sam was off today. 
   I’d rather not talk to Sam because I never attend his relapse prevention group, but I guess I’ll have to. He seems to be my best bet.
   I never go to his group because they never talk about relapse prevention in there. All they do in there is B.S. I can get a healthy dose of B.S. in the 5th floor day room anytime I want.
    I went up to the 3rd Floor to get my chest X-rayed. I hope I don’t hear anything back on that. No news is good news.
   So far my body has been fairly resilient to serious damage, or disease, despite all of the harmful things I’ve done to it, such as, let’s say, 35 years of smoking. I’ve been very, very lucky in that regard. Many are not.
   I had some medication waiting for me at the Post Office. I’ve been switched to simvastatin from lovastatin, to help control my high cholesterol. Hopefully the new meds will lower those pesky triglycerides.
   We shall see.
      I returned to my room and took a little nap. I dreamt I was surfing with Debbie Dunning, the beautiful and talented star of the television sit-com, “Home Improvement.” The last thing I remember is her string bikini (“How does that little thing hold those up?”), and being attacked by a great white shark. I woke at 4:00, sweat pouring off off of my well chiseled body.
   I finished up some writing, then watched “Home Improvement.”
   No John Manzano knocking on my door. I’m afraid he’s flown the coop without saying goodbye. I wish him well. He’s not really the type of guy I’d expect to hear from unless it was to his advantage. At least he’s back in Camarillo with his mom, and out of this hellhole.
   I spent the evening reading from Michel Eyquem ( “I am myself the matter of my book”) de Montaigne’s “Essays,” and watching “Paradise Hotel,” a silly Fox reality program, which in reality is a thinly veiled excuse to watch young, attractive, men and women flash each other, and make out in hotel rooms.
   I went to sleep late and dreamt I was working in a small radio station with the extraordinarily beautiful (and talented) Jan Smithers from “W.K.R.P. in Cincinnati (“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”). I have nothing against Loni Anderson, but for my money she doesn’t hold a candle to Jan (and I prefer Mary Ann to Ginger).
   We were busy putting together the nightly news program, and Jan kept putting her hand on my knee.
   “Stop that, you naughty girl,” I admonished. After all, there is a time for work and a time for play.
   Everything was alright until there was a knock at the door.
   “Who is it?” I asked.
   “Mister Joooyyyc” the unseen visitor announced.
   “No one ordered a plummer here...”
   “Telegram for who?” I asked.
   “Candygram? Oh, okay then...”
   I opened the door and was instantly swallowed by the infamous land shark. “Thank God Jan got away,” was my last thought before being digested.
   Don’t think I haven’t noticed, perhaps you as well dear readers, I haven’t been experiencing a whole lot of good fortune in my dreams lately.

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