Current Life on This Day

I’ve felt a surge of productivity today (June 2). That is in stark contrast to yesterday (June 1). Yesterday I felt sluggish, slothful, unproductive and watched too much mindless You Tube. Today, I feel energetic, productive, fulfilled.

It could be that I found some honest work for the Company. Recently, the Company allowed me to subscribe to a low level SEO dashboard. It scans the site and reports all the SEO issues in the site. And there are many. Most of the issues are hard to find unless you have this sort of tool. For example, there are (were) about two dozen broken links that I never realized existed. And, about ten pages had the same <title> tag, which is a ‘no-no’ in the realm of Google SEO. Of course, there are other issues to resolve, but knowing what issues there are is a big help in my productivity, which makes me feel better about the world.

Also, I went grocery shopping and only bought that which I needed, which is canned chicken and cream of chicken soup, chicken noodle soup and Big K diet soda. I have almost cleared out all the esoteric food that still lies hidden in the cabinet. But, the canned chicken and cream of chicken soup is the current staple. A single can of chicken plus a half can of cream of chicken soup costs about $2.65. Recently, I’ve eaten one to three a day. That fits well into the budget and the new eating plan.

Of course, it is a Wednesday and so the new comic release is upon us. I bought :

  • Batman Catwoman #5 (have all five issues)
  • Bettie Page : The Curse of the Banshee #1 (first issue in this series, plan to collect all)
  • Nocterra #4 (have all four issue in the collection)
  • Batman #109 (always need to buy the new Batman)
  • Vamperilla # 20 (trying to collect all Vamperilla issues)
  • The Walking Dead Delux #16 (buy for my son)
  • Serial #4 (missing issues #2 and #3)

For the Bettie Page issue, I bought Cover E. Usually, I buy the main cover and avoid the variant covers. But, in this case, a variant cover was available and so I picked it up for $3.99 (plus tax). There were other variant covers available but those covers were pushing $8.

I went to the Library. I borrowed :

  • The Prodigal Daughter by Mette Ivie Harrison
  • What to Read and Why by Francine Prose
  • The Secret Talker by Geling Yan

Still practicing the drawing effort on the digital tablet and following Complete Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting by Rich Graysonn. It really gives me a feeling of productivity to be consistent in drawing on the digital tablet. Some day I hope to be good enough to sell my drawings on eBay.

In fact, since I have been recalled to the Office on June 7, 2021, I bought a second Huion digital tablet to keep at the Office, which I will use to practice drawing during the lunch hour. Before I was sent home for Covid 19 in March 2020, I used the lunch hour to practice drawing in a sketch book.

I received the Summer 2021 Volume 28 Number 03 of Juxtapoz in the mail. Too cool. It has become a bit Woke but I guess it has always been on the edge, although being woke is a bit main stream in 2021.

Of course, I finished the day with 2 cans of DareDevil Lift Off and a Four Day Ray Peanut Butter Porter listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ The Gateway.

Cover E of Bettie Page The Curse of the Banshee #1. Scanned by Dave 0 with a Canon Pixma MX492 on June 2, 2021.
Cover E of Bettie Page The Curse of the Banshee #1.
Scanned by Dave 0 with a Canon Pixma MX492 on June 2, 2021.

Tales of Ordinary Madness

I’ve read two books by Charles Bukowski.

  • Factotum
  • Women

“Tales of Ordinary Madness” is my third Bukowski book.

According to the back cover of the copy I bought from thriftbooks.com for $5.39 (plus $1.44 in tax and shipping), the stories in “Tales of Ordinary Madness” are taken from the volume “Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness” originally published in 1972. The stories not included in the “Tales” book are included in a sister book called “Beautiful Women in Town“.

“Tales” includes 34 short stories of ordinary madness. The humor is crude and coarse, sexual, misogynistic and patriarchal. I don’t know if ‘ordinary madness’ is the best title as the madness in this volume if not the typical slasher serial killer madness. Bukowski would define madness as working a job you hate and screwing a worthless women.

“Rape! Rape!” is a story of a man who becomes infatuated with a girl he sees across the street. Stalks her to her apartment building, knocks on several doors before finding her apartment and then rapes her, though the women seems to be enjoying the rape.

That would not fly in 2021 society.

It didn’t fly in the story either, as the Man was arrested and thrown in jail, but later bailed out by the girl he raped.

There are several stories about the despair and elation that comes from betting on the ponies, a story about fighting a Zen minister at a wedding, and a story hooking up with a literature professor’s wife while on the poetry reading circuit.

The story “Animal Crackers in My Soup” is the most erotic yet deals with societal hatred of those who are different.

The general theme of the volume is one of existential nihilism. That is, finding a meaning for life. “My Stay in the Poet’s Cottage” and “Love It or Leave It” wonder what the meaning of life is. Sometimes, I wonder the same.

I could not live like the characters in these stories. I tried after Nikki left. I tried to be the swinging bachelor, seducing girls each night of the week, drinking more beer than legally allowed.

But, it wasn’t working for me.

Although, I would like to write like Bukowski, free, coarse, maybe crude and sexual, nihilistic. occasionally repentant.

Here’s a great video on Charles Bukowski. This video was my first introduction to Bukowski and his philosophy of life. I started reading his novels and stories after watching this video.

Here’s a list of the stories in this volume:

  • A .45 to Pay the Rent
  • Doing Time with Public Enemy No. 1
  • Scenes from the Big Time
  • Nut Ward Just East of Hollywood
  • Would You Suggest Writing as a Career?
  • The Great Zen Wedding
  • Reunion
  • Cunt and Kant and a Happy Home
  • Goodbye Watson
  • Great Poets Die in Steaming Pots of Shit
  • My Stay in the Poet’s Cottage
  • The Stupid Christs
  • Too Sensitive
  • Rape! Rape!
  • An Evil Town
  • Love It or Leave It
  • A Dollar and Twenty Cents
  • No Stockings
  • A quiet Conversation Piece
  • Beer and Poets and Talk
  • I shot a Man in Reno
  • A Rain of Women
  • Night Streets of Madness
  • Purple as an Iris
  • Eyes Like the Sky
  • One for Walker Lowenfels
  • Notes of a Potential Suicide
  • Notes on the Pest
  • A Bad Trip
  • Animal Crackers in My Soup
  • A Popular Man
  • Flower Horse
  • The Big Pot Game
  • The Blanket

Recent Books

Of the many books I have recently purchased from thriftbooks.com, three books could be construed as ‘risqué’, ‘naughty’ or ‘indecent’. These books are:

  • “The Mammoth Book of Illustrated Erotica” edited by Maxim Jakubrowki and Marilyn Jaye Lewis (2001)
  • “The Book of Nude Photography” by Michael Boys (1981)
  • “Glamour Nude Photography” by Robert & Sheila Hurth (1997)

I should confess that I would like to have become a professional photographer. Photography offers a different level of creativity that painting or drawing can’t duplicate. I would also like to have become a professional painter or artist as painting and drawing offers a different level or creativity that photography doesn’t offer.

Yet, I never became a professional photographer or painter or artist. I was (am) a worker drone for much of my life. I had to be a worker drone due to decisions I made early in life. Getting married and raising kids makes being a worker drone is the way I choose to provide for my family.

The “Glamour Nude Photography” and “The Book of Nude Photography” are helpful instructional references if I ever change career choices. “The Mammoth Book of Illustrated Erotica” is not instructional but illustrative and is certainly more on the risqué side of the spectrum. It showcases the work of 75 photographers who specialize in the erotic side of nude photography. The forward to this work says there are five other volumes in the series.

Three books that I've purchased via thriftbooks.com recently. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on April 20, 2021.
Three books that I’ve purchased via thriftbooks.com recently.
iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on April 20, 2021.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Joanne Greenberg’s 1964 novel tells the story of Deborah Blau, a teenage girl inflicted with schizophrenia and her stay in a mental hospital. Via therapy she is able to understand the world she created as a defense against the evil reality of this world is not the reality she needs to live with if she wants to overcome she sickness.

Through the pages you come to know Deborah and the world of Yr she created to live in. The people of Yr keep her convinced this reality is better than the Earth world as she has friends in the Yr world and not in the real world. The Earth world only offers her prejudice, physical trauma, friend and family abandonment. Her doctor, Clara Fried, slowly convinces her that Earth reality is really the better reality even with the tribulations and trials that come with living on the Surface. Slowly, Deborah begins to see that.

Deborah takes steps to live outside of the hospital eventually earning a GED. It looks as though she is going to move on from the hospital but the final pages revel the hospital and the sickness will probably stay with her for a while longer.

Near the end of the story, after Deborah earns her GED and the future looks promising and bright, which is most of our experiences after earning a degree, completing a class or succeeding in something difficult for us, her father (probably unintentionally) doesn’t offer the level of praise that would encourage Deborah to further greatness but offers a limp acknowledgement of her achievement that sends Deborah back to the hospital in despair. Isn’t that typical? We strive to earn, expand beyond our comfort zone, climb a hill or ladder that should mean ‘something’ to those who can (should) offer overflowing praise, yet don’t. It is discouraging. They see it as nonconsequential where Deborah sees her achievement as the beginning of something new, something better.

Afterwards, Deborah walks back to the hospital and we leave the story at that point. We see her sitting at a table in the ward. She asks for her school books so she can study as the ward continues in the normal chaos of a mental institution. This gives us hope that she will overcome the parental discouragement and will continue with her education, continue her struggles to improve and overcome her sickness and eventually live on the Surface outside of the hospital for the long term.

Although somewhat depressing, the conclusion of the story is true to reality where sometimes the sickness doesn’t go away immediately but we need to struggle to eventually struggle less.

There is a great resource for the novel here much better than my commentary. I would place this novel on the same level as Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. It is worth a second and third read.

Scan of the copy of Joanne Greenberg’s “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” that I read.

When I read this novel again I will buy a different copy. The copy I read was a normal paperback, probably printed a few years after the initial publication. The copy I bought from Thriftbooks.com was brittle, old, yellow with age and extremely hard to hold open. I don’t regret buying the copy from Thriftbooks.com but my old man hands had a hard time holding this copy. But I struggled and eventually finished.

The Invention of Morel

Interesting short novel published in 1940 by Adolfo Bioy Casares. This Wikipedia article says this little novel was Casares’ breakout effort.

I became aware of this title after ready this article which summarized the story as a guy who falls in love with a girl from afar on a tropical paradise. I was interested in how the guy captures the heart of the girl and if they lived happily ever after.

While the summary was faithful to the basics of the story, the story was deeper than a guy’s lust for love of a beautiful beach goddess. While the story is about the guy’s love for the beautiful beach girl it is more about his final realization that he can never love her in reality.

I would say the antagonist is Morel. Although his invention brings the Guy and his Love (her name is Faustine) together it is Morel who believes he is the true love of Faustine and so devises a way to keep them together for all eternity.

The story reminded me of this girl I met in collage. She was beautiful, smart, thin, shorter than myself, conversational with long hair she kept in a pony tail. She was quirky in a way that excited me. We became friends while in college but that is as far as it went as she was engaged and later married. I haven’t talked to her in over thirty years. She is my Faustine.

The novel also reminded me of Elton John’s song “Love Her Like Me” from his “Songs from the West Coast” CD.

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares published in 1940. This copy came was taken out of circulation and sold by the King County Library System. Eventually, it ended up on my bookshelf.
The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares published in 1940. This copy came was taken out of circulation and sold by the King County Library System. Eventually, it ended up on my bookshelf.

Little Black Lies

Finished reading Sandra Block’s Little Black Lies. Published in 2015, the story is a slow psychological burner that kept my interest and rewarded me with a climatical twist I did not expect.

The Protagonist is a psychiatric resident at a hospital and is assigned a patient who killed her mother many years ago. Once she started to treat the new patient, she begins having nightmares about a house fire with killed her own mother.

From the cover of the book I expected a deep woods slasher/horror story where the girl on the cover lies and leads unsuspecting men into the woods to kill them. But, that was not the story.

I wish not to spoil the story for anyone who is looking for a great read. But, I believe the cover (at least on the copy I purchased) is misleading. Instead of placing the sinister girl in a forest, she should be placed in a mental ward of a hospital.

Here is Sandra Block’s web page for Little Black Lies. There are two other books in this series, The Girl Without a Name and The Secret Room.

Little Black Lies by Sandra Block
Little Black Lies by Sandra Block

I took an Intro to Psychology class in college. I took the class at Indiana Central College before it became the University of Indianapolis and before I enrolled at Ball State University. This was in 1982. After taking the class, I briefly considered a career in the psychological arts. Currently, I wish I would have pursued that career so I could explain to myself the mystery of the narcissism and arrogance of some people I know.

What Should I Read Next?

This Page lists 50 great classic novels under 200 pages. It’s a good source of potential Next Reads.

Of the 50 novels listed, I’ve only recognized a few. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is on the list and the only novel on this list that I’ve read, twice.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is on the list. I haven’t read the book but I bought the movie on DVD to watch because I was in a Kubrick obsession at the time. I couldn’t finish watching the movie because it was too violent for my taste. Yet, I’m in a girl-is-raped-and-slashed horror film obsession at the moment.

Truman Capote‘s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is on the list. Although I haven’t read this novel, I did read his true crime thriller In Cold Blood. That ‘non fiction novel’ is about the 1959 Clutter Family Murders.

Willa Cather‘s O Pioneers! is on the list. I started to read this novel when I was in middle school (circa mid 1970s) but never finished it. That copy of her novel stayed with me through high school and collage and much of my adult life with my intent to read the novel all the way through. But, I never completed the read. I pawned it at Half Price Books for a few pennies. Years later, to redeem myself, I borrowed a copy of her Sapphire and the Slave Girl novel from the local library. I went the distance with that novel.

After reviewing the title on the list, I believe I will seek out a copy of The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares as my Next Read. It’s the shortest novel on the list! So, I bought a copy for $11.39 from thriftbooks.com. Not very thrifty.

One the the book shelves in the house. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on February 20, 2021.