Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Skid Row Diary 42

18   November   2003        Tuesday       Day 129

   I read the new Koontz book, “By the Light of the Moon,” until noon. This did not stop me from noticing Giselle’s schoolgirl mini.
   I got some work done on the Day Room’s computer, and had lunch with John. I don’t know what his last name is. I haven’t asked.
   I read today’s paper and learned that bus service will resume piecemeal, not being at full operating capacity until Friday. My October bus pass sticker will remain valid until the end of the year.
   I’m so happy that the buses will be running again. It makes it so much easier, sans car, to get from one place to another.
   I wrote during the afternoon, and finished the Koontz novel. Very good. More like his past body of work than the two previous novels, which I prefer as I hate change, which is a rather conservative trait, but in this instance it holds true for me.
   It took me a while to get used to Led Zeppelin’s evolving musical style as well.
   “By the Light of the Moon,” documented the true story of the very first team of superhero, do-gooders, who have the ability to teleport. Very rare.
   I think it could be made into a good movie, certainly an unusual one.
   No dog though.
   I watched Jackie Guerrido’s weather report. We are to maintain weather... at least for the next few days.
   It should hold at least until the Earth’s magnetic poles flip again, decreasing it’s ability to block the solar wind from frying the planet. This was the subject of tonight’s “Nova,” program.
   Currently the field exit’s from the South Pole and loops up around the Earth, reentering at the North Pole. This is caused by the movement of the molten iron core of the planet underneath us.
   As I mentioned, the field protects us from the Sun’s harmful radiation, and cosmic rays that come from deep space. It has protected us for billions of years. Without it no life would have evolved here. We’d be like Mars, whose core solidified eons ago.   
    It seems that every couple of hundred thousand years or so this crazy field gets it into it’s magnetic head to switch flowing from south to north, over to north to south, decreasing in intensity while doing so, the process taking about 300 years, during which the planet’s bombardment by high energy particles and radiation will increase, which will burn the hell out of living things, including us, causing an increase in the amount of deaths due to cancer. Coppertone will not help. We’re due for a flip right now. Over due.
   Fortunately, although the field’s strength is already decreasing in anticipation of the flip, it will still be about two or three hundred years before the change occurs. Hopefully we can stop all of our childish grumblings,  overcome our fear of economic ruin in order to survive physical ruin, stop poisoning the planet, and come up with a way to deal with the problem in a pragmatic, practical, and effective manner before it starts killing us off.
   That doesn’t sound like us though, does it? Not in this day and age. Perhaps if the field were to be disguised as a terrorist, and Halliburton could make a profit by dealing with it, and the oil and gas industry convinces us that somehow more smog will help, then we might start to do something about it. Maybe.
   Probably not though. We’re pretty much doomed.
   Such a pity. If ignorance and greed were taken from us we would have been such a promising civilization. I give us about two hundred years before society as we know it collapses.
   And I’m an optimist.
      KCET played Part II of “The Kennedy’s” which concerned John, Robert, and Edward. Not a great deal of new information to be had here, but interesting.
   I checked to see how Lauren Sanchez was doing on the 11 o’clock Channel 13 News.
   She was doing well.
   Precisely at midnight two automobiles collided below me at the intersection of 6th and San Pedro. Although the crash created a great deal of noise, which annoyed me considerably, no one seemed to be seriously injured.
   I tried to watch a Monty Python tape, but it was so garbled I couldn’t do it. I watched the last Shackleton episode instead, Part 3, in which he lost his ship and started out on the ice.
   This guy didn’t even get anywhere near the North Pole before things went to hell. He didn’t even make it to the continent.
   I ate a nice 3 Musketeers candy bar before going to sleep. I dreamt I was sitting on the rocky shores of South Australia, near Perth, with Christy Canyon and Seka (Dorothea H Patton), the Platinum Goddess of Porn in 70s. They were both wearing bikinis, which I thought rather odd as it was so cold and windy. We looked into the vast open ocean to the south toward Antarctica, just as I had 22 years previously with my fiance, Janine Cory.
   We couldn’t see anything. The ice was too far away.

19    November      Wednesday        Day 130

   That Rolling Stones song with the lyrics, “I used to love her, but it’s all over now,” sprang into my consciousness first thing upon awakening, and stayed there through my morning shower, until I made it half way to the VA Clinic for an 8 o’clock appointment with P.A. Brown, at which point it was replaced by Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.” I don’t know why.
   Giselle was wearing pants today, if you’re keeping score. She won’t be on the air at all tomorrow, taking a well deserved day off. Mark and Brian reported on President Bush’s trip to Great Britain. According to them Bush didn’t like it there because they didn’t have any weed, and that he didn’t like countries were you could become king just because your father was.
   P.A. Brown saw me for my 8:00 o’clock appointment at 8:40. This is fairly typical for doctors, who don’t seem to know what the word “appointment” means, but she is not a doctor.
   “Good morning, P.A. Brown,” I said upon entering her examination room.
   “Miss Brown. You can call me Miss Brown, of physician assistant Brown, or doctor Brown.”
   “I said P.A.”
   “That’s what I said. Miss Brown is fine. Just like I call you Mister Joyce. I’m not on a first name basis with anybody around here.”
   “I didn’t call you by your first name. I said “P.A. Brown!”
   “Oh... I’m sorry. I thought you said... oh, never mind. I owe you an apology.”
   “None needed.”
   Now that we got that all out of the way, we got down to business.
   I told her of the recent bouts of partial blindness, of amaurosis, and she asked me if I wanted to see an ophthalmologist.
   “Sure. Why not?”
   She had noticed that my thyroid was slowly, but steadily, becoming less functional, and scheduled me for an ultra sound procedure to look for possible thyroid tumors that might be strangling it.
   She prescribed some more foot cream, and ordered a battery of blood tests, checking my cholesterol, liver function, and thyroid.
   And that’s about it.
   I went to the lab on the third floor and had some of my blood taken from me, then scheduled an appointment with ophthalmology for December 23rd.
   Christmas Eve Eve.
   I returned to the Weingart and checked my Email on the Day Room’s computer. Amnesty International had sent me a message, which allowed me to sign on to a letter advocating aid for the  children who arrive in the United States illegally.
   I fixed myself some eggs and cheese, while listening to George Bizet’s, Overture for Carmen. That will wake you up.
   Then I returned to the clinic for an ASAP meeting. Back and forth. Back and Forth. My life is so busy.
   Kathy couldn’t remember what day it was and called for the breath-a-lizer. She laughed and didn’t test herself. Very suspicious.
   We all discussed recovery from drugs and alcohol... which itself is a drug.
   Afterwards I caught a Dash downtown to check my mail. I got a letter from the food stamp people, letting me know they were going to pay me back all of the food stamps they had rightfully been withholding. $54.00 worth. All I had to do was go pick them up.
   I exchanged videos at the library, and used their computers.
   When I got back to the Weingart the big news on television was Michael Jackson being issued an arrest warrant for child molestation.
   After meditation I watched Mel Brooks first film, “The Producers,” starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, the first manifestation which has led to today’s Tony Award winning stage production.
   It was not as good as I remembered it.
   And I watched a tape of 1982's “Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl,” which was a live (kind of) best of show.
   I’m not sure how wise it was to stage a comedy show in which most people already knew the punch lines, but everybody seemed to have a good time. Including me.
   Yet I feel asleep before it ended and dreamt that I was sleeping with Shirley Jones, the beautiful and talented star of “Oklahoma,” “Carousel,” “The Partridge Family,” and “Inmates: A Love Story.” I woke in my dream and looked at her lovely face. I didn’t remember how I got there. I was intrigued to discover that she snores slightly, in a pretty way. I tried to get out of bed without waking her when I noticed Marty Ingels, her husband, was on the other side of me. I was in the middle between them. As I was about to get up, Shirley rolled over, and her left leg... I’m pretty sure it was her left... fell across me.
   I had to stay where I was for the time being. There was nothing I could do.
   I felt helpless and alone.

20   November      Thursday     Day 131

   I took an 18 bus to the Red Line Station and took the train to MacArthur Park, to a check cashing place there where I picked up my $54.00 in food stamps. I spent four of those dollars at the 99 Cent Store, where I bought two packages of chicken sausages, one package of chicken Bologna, and a box of microwave popcorn (extra fat). I took the Red Line back to the 7th Street Station, downtown, and got $40.00 for the rest of my food stamps from the mom and pop coffee closet on 7th.
   I spent two hours immersed in the Internet at the library, visiting East Indian blanket weaving sites in Bangladesh.
   I also treated myself to Taco Bell fast food due to the fact that I was very hungry. I hadn’t eaten yet today, and didn’t plan to eat anything later. For $3.50 I got a cheese quesadilla, and two soft tacos. A black gentleman who was standing near the entrance offered me the opportunity to buy him a burrito. I declined that opportunity, but thanked him for the offer.
   A letter from John Manzano was waiting for me upon my arrival at the Weingart. He told me he expects to begin working as a bartender soon.
   He ended with this: “Hey Rick, if you stay there much longer the next time I see you you’ll have corn rows for a hairdo, smoking Kool cigarettes, and drinking grape drink.”
   Racist bastard.
   Michael Jackson was arrested today and spent about a half an hour in jail before posting 3 million in bail, after which he took off to Vegas.
   I, on the other hand, went to my room and wrote. I had no money for bail.
   I also watched the video of John Frankenheimer’s rendition of Thomas Harris’s first novel, “Black Sunday, starring Marthe Keller, Robert Shaw, and Bruce Dern. The film predicted a terrorist attack from the air using a Goodyear blimp, the twin of the one that flies over me as I sit at Drifters meetings. Keller and Dern use the blimp in an attempt to blow up the Superbowl.
   Tom Clancy, the author of books like “The Hunt for Red October,” and “Clear and Present Danger,” and the American military’s greatest fan, also predicted an air attack similar to 9/11, when he had a Japanese 747 fly into the Capital building while the President was addressing Congress, in 1994's “Debt of Honor.”
   So when Condoleezza Rice said “I don't think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile.” Well yes, there were people who predicted it, or something quite similar. 
     Oh yeah, there were also those direct warnings to President Bush about the possibility of a Al Qaeda attack which began in the spring of 2001, and by May 1st, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22nd, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” warnings that led to the infamous briefing of August 6th, 2001, by the Central Intelligence Agency, which headlined, “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.”
   Other than these instances and examples who could have known what was about to happen?
   I also watched the last two hours of a Frontline three hour special on the life of Lee Harvey Oswald. In it, conspiracy theories are mostly dismissed, the overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to Oswald as John Kennedy’s killer.
   When I was 8 years old I happened to be home in our little apartment on Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood on  November 24th, 1963, watching television, as Oswald was being escorted out of a Texas police station’s basement when he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby, a strip club owner.
   Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism due to lung cancer while appealing a death sentence.
   Right after Frontline ended at midnight, Charlie Rose interviewed Noam Chomsky, the American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator, social justice activist, and anarcho-syndicalist advocate.
   Mr. Chomsky seemed like he had a lot of interesting things to say that I would have loved to hear, but couldn’t because Charlie wouldn’t shut the fuck up and let him talk! If I have one criticism of The Charlie Rose Show, it’s that he gets a bit more involved in the interviews than he should. An interviewers job is to ask questions, not make statements. Tonight Charlie did ask questions that Chomsky most graciously attempted to answer (concerning the president’s imperialistic policies, democratic societies in Brazil and India, etc.), then Charlie would start arguing with him, interrupting him, then change the subject before Noam could finish answering. If I were Chomsky I would have yelled, “Do you want me to answer, or not!” Or walk off the set. One of the two.
   I also watched the 1998 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival tribute to Monty Python, the first time the troop appeared together without Graham Chapman, who had died of cancer in 1989. It took place in Denver, of all places, and I noticed that most of the cast of the sit-com “Cheers,” was sitting in the audience.
   A terrible snafu occurred when Terry Gilliam accidentally knocked over the urn which contained Chapman’s ashes, showering them throughout the room.
   I went to sleep and dreamt I was doing the Fish Slapping Dance, with Marthe Keller, “All Saints,” Melanie Blatt, Univision’s Ana Patricia Rojo, and Claudia Adkins, the beautiful and talented star of “Hot Spot,” “Devil Girl,” “I Swallow 16,” and many other fine films.
   We all wound up in the Thames.

21   November    Friday        Day 132

   It was evil twin day on Despierta America. Okay, look-a-like at least. And I don’t really think they were evil. The manic chickens were, I’m certain of that.
   The regular cast invited their look-a-likes on the show... Giselle, Fernando, Fat Guy, Ana, the News Lady, each had their own, who apparently had sent in tapes displaying their strong resemblances to the cast, or tapes of them acting out as the cast. They even dressed alike, Giselle and her twin wearing matching black open blouses, white mini skirts, boots, and turquoise nipple rings.
   The mad chicken, who terrorized the cast last Halloween, even had a twin. At the end of the show both of them took off chasing the hosts and guests throughout the studio, as is mad chicken custom.
   It will be interesting to see if there’s anyone left to host the show come Monday morning.
   I’m praying for you Giselle!
   I read from Homer’s “Iliad,” in the original ancient Greek, until lunch time, which was very trying, as I don’t read Greek.
   I was forced to use my “Ancient Greek/English dictionary, which was slow going.
   Chicken drumsticks (not mad) for lunch. I sat with John. I left right after consuming my sane drumsticks in order to get to the ASAP meeting on time.
   Five minutes after the meeting began Ron McCree shuffled in. Kathy asked us to each lay out what our plans were for Thanksgiving, and what we were thankful for.
   When it was my turn I said, “I’m going to buy some food and take it over to his house [pointing to McCree] and have him cook it up.” At this point every one laughed... except Ron. “And I guess I’m thankful for being healthy and relatively undamaged.”
   I supplied a sample of fresh grade AA urine before leaving with Ron. He’s still waiting to be paid. He’s always waiting to be paid. We walked south, through Little Tokyo, looking for a place that sold newspapers. We didn’t find one there. We stopped at the Service Spot, where Ron got lost in conversation with the desk clerk lady. I used their phone to check my voice mail. Two people had called me about jobs over twelve days ago. One nurse had called to remind me of yesterday’s medical appointment. I erased all of these messages, pried McCree out of there, bought a paper from Jack’s, and gave Ron some Top Ramen, fruit juice, the Bologna I had bought yesterday, and a can of turkey chile from my room. I told him he could make $30 if he wanted to go with me Monday to donate blood plasma. He said he would.
   I went upstairs and made some tea. On television, Debra Norville was talking to a 18 year old girl who had lost her left arm three weeks ago in a shark attack.
   I’m glad I don’t surf, although I could cope if it was my left arm that was taken, not my right. I er... write, with my right arm.
   For the four years I was in the navy, three of them on a ship, I never once went in the ocean.
   Not once.
   Anyway, I read and wrote, watched Jackie’s weather report. I’m amazed she doesn’t topple over at times.
   I was able to get good enough reception on Fox to tape the immortal “Dude, Where’s My Car?” at 8:00, starring Jennifer Garner, Marla Sokoloff, Kristy Swanson, and Mitzi Martin. The film recounts the true story (don’t take my word for it, there’s a disclaimer right at the beginning of the movie) of the search for the Continuum Transfunctioner, whose mystery is only exceeded by it's power, and the subsequent saving of the universe from certain destruction.
   This is weighty stuff here, and this film deserves a lot more respect then it has so far received. I paid to see this movie while in a transitional period in Santa Barbara. Granted, at the time I didn’t have anything else to do, but that hardly matters, it’s still a well written, acted, and produced piece of work. And at times funny.
   The guys in the day room jammed themselves in there watching Angelina Jolie in both of the Tomb raiders movies. I had to push through all of that in order to heat anything in the microwave.
   I checked to see how Lauren Sanchez was doing on the 11 o’clock Channel 13 News.
   She was Okay.
   Then I watched Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown,” starring Faye Dunaway and John Houston. Written by Robert Towne, it’s a marvelous film.
   I currently live just a few blocks from Chinatown. That’s why I do as little as possible.
   Before going to sleep I read half of the first act of Paddy Chayefsky’s “The Tenth Man,” a comedy/drama concerning aged Jews, mental illness, and self realization. I fell asleep before finishing the act.
      And dreamt I was running through the orange groves of the San Fernando Valley, with Faye Dunaway, Lara Croft, Jennifer Ganer, Marla Sokoloff, Kristy Swanson, and Mitzi Martin. I was naked, and the girls were all running away from me.
   They were wearing string bikinis, which I though was rather odd because girls don’t usually wear bikinis in orange groves.
   At least in my experience.

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