Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday 25 April 1998 – Hollywood Burger Bar

It's a beautiful Saturday morning in spring, and I'm at my favorite breakfast spot, Hollywood Burger Bar, which is at the crossroads to the world. I'm looking north up the street from where I sit, and it gives me the sensation of Anytown, USA—that 6th Grade social studies book, idealistic nostalgia that I carry around with me like a well-worn Bible. I don't actually have the social studies book—you know the kind, called “People and Places” or something like that—no crime, no weirdness, and certainly no methamphetamine. The cover of the book is yellow, that's all I know. I'm obsessed with the color yellow lately—probably because I've been reading this “Feng Shui – The Chinese Art of Placement” book from the library, in order to best arrange my things and life in my meager digs. Finally, I've been forced to accept that it's hopeless, but I did learn that yellow is he most important color in China—the color of royalty. Which is really quite the opposite of the perception of yellow here, where it's caution, school bus, cross-walk, “Copies 5¢” (just looking around)—taxi, mustard, and the plastic top to the lemon-scented dish soap. Never a house, seldom a room, and rarely a car (that's not a taxi). In fashion, like never, except for the local anti-establishment raincoats, called sou'westers. (The fishermen, and lobstermen, however, only wear black ones.) Anyway, I can't get the color yellow out of my mind, but I'll try.

Looking north up the street, I can imagine more small towns and rural areas in between, fields of yellow wheat and corn—but this isn't the Midwest, which I idealize. It's colder and more heartless. To the north is Canada, eventually, and then the Arctic. To the south—Boston, small town extraordinaire'—and to the east, over the pond, London, “The City.” To the west, after a three day non-stop killing spree, is our sister city, Portland, Oregon. Occasionally we attempt a cultural exchange with Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses”—we trade lobsters for roses—but this usually leads to conflict as we are never in agreement as to how many lobsters are worth how many roses.

Speaking of yellow—a beaming young father just pulled up on his Beamer, carrying his three year old daughter who is dressed in a bright yellow shirt! She has no choice, and is obviously dressed in reference to her golden blond hair, full and curly, looking like an old-time actress, maybe _____. (Carole Lombard?) Actually, she looks just like that writer, Carole Maso, who spends her summers here occasionally, creating gossip, scandal, and fragmented prose. The mature look of this munchkin human being has me transfixed, but I take my eyes off her before her father notices. He would never notice, however, because he can't take his eyes off her. He is watching her react to the stimulus of the diner, thus experiencing the diner in an intense and fresh way himself. He should pay her at least as much as his favorite musician, author, or filmmaker makes, but he doesn't have to because he owns her—at least until she starts to drive. He should really lessen his slobbering intensity a little bit, though, at least in the presence of us impotent, unemployed lobstermen. Really, fathers shouldn't stare at their daughters like they want to fuck them—not even in, or especially not in private. It's not like the kid doesn't notice.

I'm overhearing the conversation of two guys down the counter—it's one of these seemingly fake conversations that make one suspect that they are space aliens, or perhaps actors rehearsing a script. I hear the one guy say he'd have been executed many times over if he had been living somewhere at some particular time. I can't help but wonder how he thinks he'd be able to be excluded more than once. A little later on I hear the other guy say: “You can't take it with you...” I think about this common sentiment for awhile and I decide it should be rephrased: “You can't take it with you, but you should hide it before you go in case you can come back and get it!”

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sunday 19 April 1998

It's Sunday morning and I'm at The Lobster Shaq where I'm desperately trying to find work on a fishing boat. A lobster boat, preferably, though that is highly unlikely. The jobs on lobster boats are really, really desirable and there's almost no turnover. A lot of lobster boats have been manned by the same few old salts since back near the beginning of the century. I figured that once they started using computers on lobster boats that would create a few new jobs, but these old timers, the real survivors, have had to weather one advance in technology after another over the years, and the onboard computer is just another thing to adapt to. The only new jobs were for the guys selling the computers and the guys teaching the old salts how to use them. I know nothing about computers anyway.

The reason I'm here on a Sunday morning is because it's the one morning the lobster boats aren't all out before dawn. The lobster boat captains are all very religious guys, and they have breakfast and go to church on Sunday morning, and make sure their crew is lined up for the next week's work. If you're in here on Sunday morning and look strong and hardy, have a good tan and some bulging muscles showing, you might get an offer to man the traps come Monday a.m. But like I said, there are hardly any openings on lobster boats, and usually the only job possibilities are on the bigger, more industrial and dangerous menhaden and shad trollers. I guess they net tons of these small, boney fish, which are then ground down and used mostly as fertilizer. Why the world needs so much fertilizer I don't know. Isn't there enough shit being produced to fertilize the entire universe?

I don't feel too muscular, tan, or strong this morning, anyway. They need strong backs, and mine is all fucked up and twisted from sleeping wrong on my borrowed bed in my Hollywood sleeping room. Mrs. _____, my landlady, pulled the bed, the only one available, out of the cellar for me when I rented the room. It's a massive, kingsize model that is so big it takes up seventy-five percent of the floor space in my small room. Worse, it is really two beds—that is, the boxspring is in two pieces—with a giant kingsize mattress over the top—but the boxsprings always separate and the soft mattress sinks down into the crack between them. On several occasions I had dreams that I was being sucked into a crack in the earth and woke up screaming. And it's hell on my back.

The weathered, majestic ship captains sit together at booths and survey the studly young prospects flexing their muscles along the counter, some who are bragging loudly about harpooning whales and such. The captains aren't easily fooled, though, and it's best to keep your mouth shut. I'm sitting here at the end of the counter, my back all twisted out of the straight line it should be in, and I'm scrawling this gibberish uncontrollably in my notebook like some kind of mental patient. I'm aware briefly of the eyes of four captains, sitting at a booth just behind me, scraping over me saltily, and then I can make out, above their usually hushed tones, along with a chuckle, one of the salty old gents cackle, "Maybe for bait."

I finally found out, after no luck reading the paper, what that line was all about, outside of the theatre yesterday. It was a casting call for a TV movie they're shooting here this summer. Pretty exciting—our neighborhood, Hollywood, rarely coincides with the "real" Hollywood—and so every functioning man, woman, and child of the region was there leaving their name and phone number and getting Polaroids taken. I guess it's to be a period drama, set in the Fifties, about a lobster that grows to tremendous proportions after being radiated by a crashed nuclear submarine secret weapon. The lobster terrorizes the town, of course, and gets revenge for all lobsters, I guess. They're filming it here because of the lobster connection, and because a lot of this town really has a fifties look—I mean, it's really stuck in the past in a lot of ways—and that goes for the dress and hairstyles of many, many locals—and there's a huge vintage restored automobile club here as well!

I considered trying out, but I don't see being an extra extra extra—you get paid, I guess, but mostly in bagels and bad coffee. Now if I could have the part of the whale harpooner, out of work and hopelessly out of touch with the times—a broken down 33 year old alcoholic who sits around trying to get through Moby-Dick—who is then called upon to break out his razor sharp harpoon and save the town with an impossible toss while being squeezed to his eventual death by one of the enormous claws—hell yes, that'd be excellent. But I guess Leonardo Hawke, the hot young star, has already harpooned that role. Actually, I just made that all up!

Sunday 19 April 1998

I'm at Joe's Cellar on 21st Street, NW. Happy to find this place is open on a Sunday. It's actually close, somewhat, to my new home. Expensive, but the food is good—so maybe not that expensive. I've got to write in my “Psycho Journal” today, new project—so here I go.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

12 April 1998 – from Dream Notebook No. 1

(1st dream in new house—1202 NE Beech!)

Heather and I are at a roadside cafe in S. Oregon somewhere and the guy working there asks me when I got out of jail—and then I remember that I was in jail—how did he know?—no one knows, hardly—it was last fall. I went to jail for 26 days for kicking a car—someone's car, when I was mad. But I also then kicked a police car. The guy at the cafe says when he want to jail last it was for “plants”—meaning he grows marijuana. When I think back about being in jail—it wasn't bad—I read a lot and the time went fast. (Ha.)

Earlier, dreaming—driving around with someone—in the passenger seat—drinking tequila drinks!—Margaritas—shaken up—keep forgetting we're in a car and it's illegal. Stash the bottles under the seat—only two shots left—one for me and one for the driver, feeling very sloppy, but not drunk—restless and forgetful. It's all very positive.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Saturday 11 April 1998

There's a huge line outside of the Hollywood Theatre this morning—I must find out what it's all about—it's not every day a huge line forms outside of a theater that shows second run movies for $2.50 at 10am. The movies aren't at 10am—they start in the afternoon—and to their credit, they've been showing some old movies, musicals and such. The line I'm talking about is at 10am, which is NOW on Saturday morning. I can't imagine—maybe people are lining up to something else, like a record store next door—trying to get lottery tickets to be eligible for a drawing to be eligible to make advance bids on the new Garth Brooks boxed set that's going to be available soon in a limited edition of one or two million for only like $49.95. When you hear something like that—or when I, specifically, as a struggling country and western artist, hear something like that—I don't know how to react. With numbness—what else? Once in awhile, however, the consumer—the collective, idiotic, misguided mass of them—bites back and says, "Enough is enough—no matter how much you try to sell this crap—no!" Usually it's not right before Christmas—I think they should, to be safe, hold off the Garth Brooks release a few months—but what do I know about "The Industry?" If competing with a similarly bland but even worse "new country" act called Brooks and Dunn hasn't hurt him, I'd say his sales figures are beyond my comprehension. Tammy Wynette recently died. I was not a big Tammy Wynette fan, but that news made me sad—she was very young still. She had a hard life—was married to George Jones, who's one of my all time favorites—but I wouldn't have wanted to be married to him. That Billy Sherrill must be a genius—is he still alive? If I could just get him to produce my new cassette!

The line from the Hollywood Theatre is incredible! It's stretching for like three blocks! One might think it's something Titanic oriented—like outtakes from Titanic? Or one of those Titanic movies made earlier in this century that no one wanted to see, but now everyone wants to see? (Take heart all you failures—you will have tremendous success beyond your wildest imagination—just when it's the right place and the right time!) Maybe it's a movie poster sale—those always draw enormous crowds—which is funny, since I've never been to anyone's house and seen movie posters up.

I must find out what this line is for—I'm obsessed with it now. Whatever it is—I want in. I'll sell whatever it is. I'll get in that business—on the ground floor. Maybe that is how my fortune will be made. Then my bio will say: "Then one day he saw a line from the Hollywood Theatre extending for four blocks at ten in the morning. 'I've got to have a part of that—whatever it is,' he said."

It's a really strange line, too. You can't tell anything from the people—young and old, ethnically diverse—at least for Portland, Maine.

How can you predict something like this? The neighboring businesses must be looking on in envy. Over at Winchell's they're saying, "Why not us? We've got donuts!" Of course not—the owners of Winchell's are far from this scene, and the employees of Winchell's are probably getting worried that all these people are going to get a real hankering for donuts with all this early morning line waiting. That reminds me of when they tried putting a Blimpie's sub shop in Old Town, down by the docks. There's a good example of people not going for it. They made a big deal of their regional compatibility—introduced the "Lobster Blimpie." Whew! "Blimpie—it's a beautiful thing." Not always. It went over like a Led Zeppelin reunion. Hey—maybe I'll look in yesterday's newspaper for a clue to this thing.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Saturday 11 April 1998

Psyche's had a week or so of insulin—went to the vet yesterday for tests. It's costing Heather a lot of money. We also got the cats a toothbrush (they can share) and some poultry flavored toothpaste! Somehow that's really exciting to me. “Hotel California” is playing here in the Hollywood Burger Bar on Station Randy Russell's Bad 70s High School Music Memories.