Saturday, March 28, 2015

Skid Row Diary 40

9   November   2003   Sunday   Day 120

“E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!” -Mr. Praline

    I got up and found KPCC on the radio, and the Ian Masters Program. He was interviewing the Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. Ian wondered what Dennis would do if he became President.
   I know one thing that would happen. We’d have a super hot First Lady, that’s what. 
   And Elizabeth’s only 31 years younger than her husband.
   The show following Ian’s concerned the creation of a new Hollywood Black List, generated by right wing Internet web sites, targeting actors, actresses, and entertainers who have voiced displeasure with President Bush’s policies and administration.
   I skipped the Buddhist Temple today and went straight to lunch. Hot dog. One large dog. I brought down some of my special mustard.
   I felt restless today, and without direction, so I went to the library to exchange videos and use their computers. I didn’t feel restless anymore upon leaving the library. I felt horny.
   Spaghetti for dinner. At least that’s what I was told it was.
   Up in my lonely room I watched the movie “Saving Silverman,” starring the two Amandas, Peet and Detemer. The singer Neil Diamond made a rare screen appearance. My ex-friend and old boss, Captain Pamela Strickland was secretly in love with Diamond I think.
   The actor Sam Elliot too [2nd picture above is of the Strickland’s, Ron and Pam, on the right]!
   I also watched some new Simpsons episodes, and “Malcolm in the Middle.”
   Somewhere near 1:00AM, I stopped whatever it was I was doing and switched on Frank Sontag’s Impact Program on KLOS, and listened to his friend, Craig Hewlett, speak about corporatism, a form of government being tested in this country, and about how the majority of the population of the United States doesn’t give a rat’s hind quarters about anything other than their own immediate interests and pleasures, and also about how the U.S. military has surreptitiously surrounded Iran.
   Then I went to sleep. I dreamt I saw Crystal Breeze, the beautiful and talented star of “Winner Takes All,” “Raffles,” and many other fine films, sitting in a wheelchair wearing a motorcycle helmet on the corner of 6th and Wall.
   Then I woke up! Hewlett was just finishing up, and I wasn’t sleepy anymore. I slipped in a Monty Python tape, one of the skits focusing on a pet shop customer’s dissatisfaction.
   I drifted off again and dreamt I was in chapel on the third floor of the residence in Pasadena. Amanda Peet was seated to my right, and Kimberly Strickland, Pamela’s daughter, on my left, both ladies dressed in the tight, sexy uniforms of the Salvation Army, as was Kimberly’s mom, who was up on the stage opening her birthday present the men in the program had given to her. It was a pretty big box when she began opening it, but that box contained a smaller box, and that one a smaller one, on and on, until she finally came to a small envelope that had the words, “Led Zeppelin Tickets,” printed on it. 
   She read that and then told the assembled audience of clapping men, myself, Kim, and Amanda, “Thank you, but I don’t know who Led Zeppelin is.”
   She was wrong. I had told her who Led Zeppelin was, but when told to open the envelope, she didn’t find Led Zeppelin tickets. She found tickets to a Neil Diamond concert, one of the men she secretly loved .  
   Pamela was very happy. Kim and I thought she’d go through the roof.

10   November   Monday    Day 121

   Giselle Blondet was wearing a lovely black skirt and wide lapeled jacket today, while Ana María Canseco was contrasting in a low necked, red pants suit.   
   Later, after I got a hold of myself, I went to the library again to make sure I was stocked up on videos, as it will be closed tomorrow for Veteran’s Day. I borrowed some more Monty Python tapes, “Pulp Fiction,” and what I latter learned to be part 4 in a British mini-series concerning the antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, starring Kenneth Branagh and a bus load of angry penguins.
   No mail today. 
   When I got back to my room I cracked open four eggs, put some jalapenos in there, and Colby cheese, and cooked a fine meal in the day room’s microwave.
   I wrote, then watched Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece “Pulp Fiction,” starring Uma Thurman and a bus load of angry penguins.
   I’m sorry. That’s the other movie. There’s nary a penguin in “Pulp Fiction,” but Rosanna Arquette’s in there, which makes any movie worth while.
   I meditated until one hour before I wished to go to sleep, at which time I watched a Python tape, and sang along to “The Lumberjack Song.” 
   When sleep did come I dreamt I was stranded on a small ice burg with my first girlfriend, a sexy blonde whose family owned the fast food stand on the other side of the L.A. River from my dad’s liquor store in North Hollywood, and Sophie Sweet and Tiffany Rose, the lovely and talented stars of “ALS Video #50: Sophie,” and “European Union 2,” respectively, all three girls originally from Hungry.
   Taking a clue from a bus load of angry penguins, I suggested we huddled together in order to share our collective body heat. The half frozen girls readily agreed, and we huddled and huddled as we drifted off into the sunset.

11  November   Tuesday   Day 122   Veteran’s Day

   Giselle wore a beautiful black sweater and white mini-dress in honor of Veteran’s Day.
   I wore jeans and an old T-shirt, and my knee high black boots (fairies wear boots, you know).
   This was like the third day in a row that I haven’t made it downstairs to sign in before 9:30. It would seem like an easy thing to do, wouldn’t it? Just take the elevator downstairs to the ground floor, go to the front desk, and sign my name.
   I can’t bring myself to do it though. Getting out of bed before 9:30 would be involved.
   After I did manage to get up and showered, I discovered the Weingart staff, and case managers were not celebrating the national holiday and were working today. I had thought that on the day the nation honors those who served it unselfishly in the armed services, everyone would take the day off out of respect, using the time off to contemplate the freedoms that they and their loved ones enjoyed that we protected twenty four seven (including Sundays). But Nnnoooooo! Everybody was here at work! Supervising us as if we were little children.
   This borders on treason.
   I wrote in my room. I tried to find some nice easy listening music on my radio, but all that I could get clearly and without interference were Spanish stations, and as much as I admire Spanish, and Hispanic women in general, and food, I can’t stand 98% of their music. I switched to KMZT and classical.
   11 seconds into 11:00AM, I noticed that the classical music on my radio had muted itself, and the noise on the street disappeared completely. The only sound that I could hear was that of my own breathing. The only feeling I could feel was that of my own heartbeat. 11 seconds later the world returned to normal, and the voice of God left me, moving on towards Hawaii.
   I immediately turned on Venus Hum’s “Soul Slosher,” and began writing again.
   At twelve noon I left for the Needle Exchange on 5th and L.A.. Ron McCree was there handing out multiple vitamins to patrons as they left. I told him I’d be right back and walked to the Rite-Aid on Broadway and bought a paper and a box of microwave popcorn. I returned to the Needle Exchange to wait for them to close at 1:00.
   Ron kept handing out vitamins until that time. He told me he hadn’t been paid yet and had no money. I told him not to worry about, that I would leave a tip.
   The restaurant chain, McCormick and Schmick’s, was honoring veterans in southern California today with it’s 5th annual salute to... veterans. 
   We were allowed to choose from a special veteran’s menu that regular people never get to see, for free. Lunch or dinner.
   Ron and I were going to take them up on their very kind and generous offer. 
   As far as I know McCormick and Schmick’s is the only restaurant that does this, and I for one am sincerely appreciative of their gesture. Not for myself especially, but for those vets who are less fortunate than I am. I know providing these meals must be pretty expensive.
   What would I get from McDonalds today for being a veteran, who protect their ability to do business in America and abroad? McDonalds who thrived in this country, becoming the world’s largest fast food chain, a symbol of American capitalism and independence.
   I’ll tell what we’d get! Not one greasy, puny, little French fry, would come our way. Not a sniff of a Big Mac would we receive. The rough boot stomping on a human face - forever was our gift from McDonalds.
   Now if we could only increase McCormick and Schmick’s example, and declare a national “Homeless Day,” and honor those who brave the mighty and lonely streets, those who are devastated by extreme poverty, hunger, and lack of cosmetics, those who have never seen a McCormick and Schmick’s. That would be a good day.
   At 1:00 we left the Needle Exchange and walked to Ron’s place on Boyd St. Ron asked for and received one of my bags of popcorn. We made a decision to wait until 4:45 to go eat, at which time the dinner menu would be in effect, and which would give me time to try out the Laemmle’s Grande 4 Plex, on S. Figueroa St. that Ron had alerted me to. I wanted to catch the 2:30 showing of “Matrix Revolutions,” Ron and I agreed to meet at the restaurant later in the day. 
   Ron likes to walk, so he showed me where the theater was located, on Figueroa, between 4th and 5th Streets, sunk down below the street level where you couldn’t see it. No wonder it’s existence had escaped me for the almost two years I’d been in the area. The theater does not advertise in the Times, is not listed in the Laemmle Theater section. It’s sunken hole is dwarfed on the north side by the ultra modern Marriott Hotel, and on the south by the massive Westin Bonaventure Hotel, the largest hotel in Los Angeles, where the elevators are on the outside in case of earthquakes.
   The theater was closed. It did not offer matinees during the week, so my plans to see the Matrix movie were unceremoniously squashed, which gave me some unexpected free time.
   We went to McCormick and Schmick’s for lunch. It was located at the base of the Library Tower, the tallest building west of the mighty Mississippi, at 73 stories. Not once during our meal did Ron, or the restaurant’s staff show the slightest bit of distress  or anxiety that hundreds of thousands of tons of steel, glass, and cement where situated just above their heads, posed to come crashing down at the slightest provocation.
   Four menu items were offered on our special Veteran’s menu. I chose the cheeseburger, an American staple, medium rare, with fries. My friend chose fettucini with crab and shrimp. When it arrived he bitched about the size of the crabs and shrimps, wishing he had ordered the cheeseburger as well.
   I smiled inside where he couldn’t see it. My cheeseburger was very good. I dabbed Grey Poupon mustard on every bite, and gave him none.
   The waitress was very nice and I left her a three dollar tip (although 15%, or even 20% of the price of the entire meal would have been $0.00). Ron walked me through the Central Market on the way back. There he bought two cans of beer to bring to his house. I would have made an issue of him having enough money to buy a beer, but not having any to help with the tip, but the point would have been lost on him.
   When he tried to tell me that alcohol was not harmful to those who drank it, I made a stand.
   “Yes it is. It most certainly is. It’s actually a poison,” I said.
   “No it’s not,” he replied.
   “Yes it is.”
   “No it isn’t.”
   “It is.”
   “It is not.”
   “Yes it is.”
   “No it’s not.”
   “Yes it is.”
   “No it is not.”
   “Yes it is.”
   “Yes. There is nothing you can say that’s going to make me believe that alcohol does not adversely affect the human body. Or any other body, for that matter. It’s poisonous on a cellular level, and this is one of the very few subjects of which I happen to know something about.”
   “It’s still better for you than those candy bars you’ve been eating,” he said.
   “No it’s not.”
   “Yes it is.”
   On and on. 
   I returned to my room and watched the Shackleton video. It did not play well on my VCR, and was hard and annoying to follow, but I know now that they all got back from the South Pole safe and sound.
   Jackie Guerrido wore a matching red sweater and miniskirt, also with black knee high boots. You know... fairies wear boots. 
   I also watched reruns of “Married with Children,” and “That 70's Show.” 
   Later I watched the 3:00 to 4:00PM segment of “24,” the third season, in which Kiefer Sutherland is racing against the clock to find a deadly virus. Last season it was a nuclear bomb, the season before that a presidential assassin. All of this occurs within three days. 
   Sutherland’s character. Jack Bauer, needs to get a less stressful job. I mean I’ve had bad days before, but really...
   But where would we be without him. Presidentialess, living in a nuclear wasteland, and sick with the flu.
   Thank God for Jack Bauer.
   On channel 13's 11:00PM news, Lauren Sanchez was wearing a lovely beige jacket and denim miniskirt, sporting a rough cut look at the hem. She was wearing absolutely no boots at all!
   After meditation, I fell asleep and dreamt I was being held hostage by Kelly Bundy and Jackie Burkhart from “That 70's Show.” They were trying to get me to tell them where the virus was, but I wouldn’t do it. They tortured me with feathers and tickles, until I spilled my guts and told them everything they wanted to know. Having got what they wanted they began to squeeze me to death, when at the last second I was rescued by Gina Ryder, the beautiful and talented star of “The Gene Pool,” and many other fine films, and she took me to Vancouver to be... debriefed.
   “Yeah, fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
   Yeah I saw it, I saw it, I tell you no lies
   Yeah Fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
   I saw it, I saw it with my own two eyes...”

12   November   Wednesday   Day 123

   The maid knocking on a door down the hall woke me, and got me out of bed at 8:30. I rushed to make my room presentable in the unlikely event that she chose to clean it.
   I showered, then gave in to conventionality and signed in downstairs. I said hello to the maid. She said hello back.
   Giselle was wearing pants, and Mark, of Mark and Brian fame, kept asking female listeners if they did it in the “dirty place.” Nepotism was the rule for the day on the show as Kelly’s nephew won the daily contest.   
   I was able to see the lovely and talented Labren Marshall early today, and got two things accomplished at once. I got my weekly session requirement out of the way, and I was able to tell her why I was not able to attend the Super Search Meeting next Thursday, as I had an appointment at the DPSS, right smack dab at 10:00, when Super Search began.
   She took the news well I must say, one might even have surmised she couldn’t have cared less! She was much more concerned with the screw that had detached from her glasses, therefore becoming dysfunctional.
   “Wow,” she said. “I was looking at the computer screen, and one minute it was normal, and the next it jumped out at me.”
   “Really,” I replied. “That used to happen to me all of the time when I was in high school.”
   “It did?”
   “Yeah... but only when I was on acid.”
   I returned to my room and read the paper, then wrote. At one point I was able to get on the Internet using one of the computers in the day room, and reserved computer time at the library, and I checked my E-mail. The daily weather report told me we might have some today.
   It also told me it might rain, so I took the prudent step of taking my umbrella with me when I ventured to the ASAP meeting.
   I stopped at the cafeteria and had lunch with John Clark. I told him I had found a movie theater nearby and planned to go to the movies tonight.
   “Oh, you mean the Laemmle?”
   “Yeah. You knew it was there?”
   “Oh yes. As a matter of fact I used to live close by it, and have gone there for years.”
   “Why don’t they advertise?” I asked.
   “They do. They have ads in the Downtown News.”
   “But not the Times. I looked. Not even in Laemmle’s own section.”
    “Huumm, I don’t know...”
   “And it shows mainstream films, unlike most Laemmle theaters I’ve been to, which are usually kind of art house.”
   “Yeah. I’m going to see “Matrix Revolutions.” That film’s not playing at any other  Laemmle theater in LA county.”
   “Yes.” I thought a moment. I do that sometimes. “I think this may be a renegade Laemmle, one that’s attempting to break it’s corporate bonds.”
   “The black sheep of the Laemmles?”
   “Perhaps that’s what it is. It’s revolting against indie films. That must be it. And the management is trying to keep a low profile by not advertising. Interesting.”
   I walked to the ASAP meeting. The subject of confidentiality came up. Kathy listed those items that counselors were required by law to report to the authorities under the law. Child and elder abuse, violence towards others or one self, nuclear proliferation... not much else.
   “So what happens when your confidentiality is broken,” I asked. “What redress does the patient have? Can they sue?”
   “Yes,” she said. “And you should report it immediately to their governing board.”
   I asked because it had happened to me twice.
   While at the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center in Carpinteria, California, just south of Santa Barbara, my counselor told her boss, the program director, that I had gotten my previous counselor and current girlfriend pregnant. That information had nothing to do with nuclear proliferation, violence, or child or elder abuse, and should have been strictly confidential between the two of us, but she told a third party. That third party, the program director, took it upon himself to tell the center’s administrator, some young dick lick captain. I can’t remember his dick lick name right now, but he was a dick licker for sure. 
   When I asked said program director why he had broken my confidentiality and told the administrator, he said, “I just felt I had too.” 
   “Well I just feel I have to punch you in your dick licking face, you asshole!”
   I didn’t say that, but I should have. And I guess I should have reported these breaches to their governing boards, if I had known that was the appropriate action at the time, which I didn’t. 
   What I did do was get thrown out of the Carpinteria  ARC, which was the administrator’s response to the information he had been given by the program director. He also dismissed my girlfriend, and this action haunted her professional career for many years to come. 
   So much for Salvation Army compassion, and so much for confidentiality!
   Later, when I was established in Camarillo, I wrote to that dick lick captain and threatened to take this case to the media. I never did, but his response to my letter was to ban me from the ARC system for life... so...
   In December of 2001 I was able to enter the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light facility here in downtown L.A. They didn’t care about the ban because they were a renegade center, trying to distance themselves from their dick lick overlords.
   And that place, Harbor Light, helped me a great deal.
   It made me the man I am today... oh, wait...
   Anyway, at the library, I invested a few dollars printing out some Amnesty International reports on the murders of women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. I tried to find a link to Sontag’s Impact Program, but couldn’t. I did find a nice picture of Frankie, which I spent 10 cents printing. Not as good looking as I am, but okay.
   It’s nice to be able to see who you’re listening to. For some reason it took a good three minutes for the printer to cough up Frank’s little picture. It just didn’t want to give it up! I don’t know what that implies, if anything, but it was certainly very odd and annoying. 
   I walked across the street to Arco Plaza and the post office, and mailed letters to John Manzano and Odago Corp. As I left the rain began.
   My umbrella worked pretty well until the fabric became saturated, and water began to leak onto my lustrous hair.
   Never buy your umbrella from the 99 Cent Store.
   I had to walk a block and a half out of my way due to street flooding. Traffic was bumper to bumper. Emergency vehicles were slushing about. Mountainous thunder cascaded down from the dreary sky relentlessly. I was lucky to make it back to the Weingart alive (and with my shoes relatively dry).
   Our former president, Bill Clinton, had written me a letter. I didn’t even know he knew where I lived!
   I thought he might have been mad about my dreaming of his wife, but the letter didn’t have anything to do with that. Besides, how would he know.
   No, he just wanted money to help defeat the Republicans in the upcoming elections. I would have given him money too, but I didn’t have any that was allocated towards that purpose, and I didn’t expect to have any anytime soon.
   I did have money for the movies though. I popped one of those bags of microwave popcorn and placed it in my damp backpack, put on a ball cap, and took off down 5th Street toward downtown. 
   It was still raining, but had slowed down considerably. I stopped at the Rite-Aid to buy a Pepsi.
   The Laemmle theater was open today, though no one was at the box office. I had to enter the theater to find someone to take my money from me.
   “The Matrix Revolutions,” is the concluding film in the Matrix trilogy, and featured fantastic special effects, a unique story, and a boat load of black leather. All three movies star the beautiful and talented Carrie Anne Moss, and Monica Bellucci appears in the last two. 
   The brain child of the flying Wachowski  brothers, Andy and Larry, the movie solves a problem created in the second film, but ignores, or delays the primary dilemma described in the first, so it’s all kind of a cheat. But I enjoyed it very much and was glad that I went (or else I’d want my money back for all three movies). 
   There are a few intrinsic problems with these movies.  Canoe Reeves  and Carrie are not the most emotive actors I’ve ever seen, and it was hard to feel the great love they professed for each other. Indeed, the two actors didn’t seem to share much chemistry at all. And one of the major cast members passed away between the filming of the 2nd and 3rd movie. But what can you do? Instead of ignoring that fact and plunging ahead as is done in television, a plausible explanation was provided for a change in actors. In the end I felt satisfied.
   But I liked the first film best.
   I returned to the Weingart. The rain had reduced itself to a drizzle. No more thunder. No more lightening. No more gremlins.
   I listened to the Buddhist tapes John had loaned to me until the speakers monotonous voice began to awaken within me my violent nature. At that point I wrote, and watched Charlie Rose interview a photographer who took pictures of decomposing bodies.
   I made a vow to myself, not for the first time, that all of the bullshit in my life that I cause, well, it ends now.
   I didn’t go to sleep until 6:00AM, or so. But when I did I dreamt that the lovely and talented actress, Sherilyn Fenn, of “Twin Peaks,” and “Of Mice and Men,” fame, after showing her prowess with manipulating cherry stems, asked me to chose between a blue pill or a red one. 
   She told me, “You take the blue pill and the story ends.  You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.”
   I looked at her expectantly.
   “You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
   I reached out.
   “Remember that all I am offering is the truth.  Nothing more.”
   I swallowed the red pill and my journey began. 

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