Diary, 1/26 to 1/28/19

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

bela lugosi
Bela Lugosi as Dracula


Watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula, finally, a very ambitious attempt to make people forget the 1931 Bela Lugosi classic.  Director Coppola took the only possible approach to such an attempt, going back to the original book and trying to bring the essence of that masterpiece to fire-breathing unlife.  In this he was mostly successful, but some choices seem regrettably silly.  The Videohound review at two bones is ridiculous, and the criticism of Winona Ryder’s performance as “way over the top” is even moreso:  she’s brilliant in a demanding and key role.  Oldman as Dracula is also excellent, even bringing some pathos to a fearsome creature; the business with his shadows was unfortunate, however, almost as silly as the Simpsons parody of that bit of business.  All in all, I still prefer Lugosi, but I’d be willing to watch this one again, if only for the beautiful bodies on gratuitous display.  One kind of wishes that Coppola had gone whole hog and gotten an NC-17 rating.

Writers Writing this morning was a mixed bag, though I did get some work done—taking my edit to page 19 (of 151)—and also “discovered” Word’s outline view, which I anticipate will help significantly in the ongoing struggle with organizing the book.  When Pablo showed up at about 9:00 I told him that I had come there to work; fortunately, he took this seriously and left me alone for more than an hour.  I need to keep that sense of dedication if I’m to finish the book.  One drawback with the outline view is that when one leaves it, the ribbon tab defaults to “Home,” rather than the one I have tailored to suit my purposes.

The café au lait that I drank at 8:30 gave me a tremendous cleaning out around 3:00; at least, I’m assuming that’s what triggered it.  I’d better stick to sodas and hot chocolate in future—this is I think the third time that one coffee drink or another has given me digestive woes.  When the disaster was all over, I weighed myself at 219.0.  Hopefully, I can keep it there or lower.  I have to be more judicious in what I buy and what I eat.

A disappointing purchase is Roberto Simanowski:  The Death Algorithm and Other Digital Dilemmas; I argued with the “Introduction” and finally called it “superficial and alarmist, i.e., stupid,” but I’ll read more before I decide.

Baggini’s book, however, continues to be very interesting and “valuable”; I was reading it on the bus today and am about halfway through.  Some useful quotes along the way, including this one on p. 146:  “A sentimentalist might believe that it is wrong to cause unnecessary suffering.”  Exactly my view, though I can’t say that I like the label “sentimentalist.”  He doesn’t mean it as it sounds, however.

I am continuing to have second thoughts about the trike; but I am determined to try it.

Pablo introduced me to one Q, a thirtyish man who is unemployed, a former Air Force guy who is into meditation and spiritual seeking.  He called his father an asshole, but was unclear about whether his parents are alive.  He said that meditation makes his mind work faster.  He liked math in high school (and little else) and had a 4.0 average, but isn’t interested in college.  Isn’t interested in politics.  Married early, divorced after ten years.  I didn’t try to encourage him to go to college, though I wanted to.

Pablo annoyed me by describing me to Q; there’s more nonsense and lies than insight or accuracy in his descriptions, and I often contradicted him, mostly with sarcasm.  This isn’t nice of me and I’d rather not have to do it, but I felt called upon to defend myself.  Example:  he said that I “hate Bach and Mozart.”  There is no room for nuance and subtlety in his memory, apparently—meaning, [I had told him that] I mostly don’t like their music, but do like some pieces by each.  And of course, “hate” is just silly.


{1/27/19}  Weight 218.2.

At the Hemlock Club today I talked some about M and my critique of his novel.  I just reread that critique.  It was brutal, very negative.  I’m sorry that I didn’t see that clearly at the time; if I had, what then?  I suppose I would have sent it to him anyway.  In a way, I did him the honor of taking his effort seriously; and in a way, it was just a completely insulting and callous response.  I don’t know.  I wish that he had fought back instead of just slinking off into the sunset.  I find it hard to work up any guilt or sympathy for him over this.  Apparently I overestimated him.

Pablo got all pissed off again about our disagreement over his response to my chapter that I had asked him to read.  That pisses me off.  He had no clue, it seems, why I was angered by his response.  Fuck it, and him—I don’t want to talk about this again.  He’s a child, and I keep expecting more from him than he’s got in him.  For starters, a memory.

You cannot interrupt J when he’s talking, he simply doesn’t hear you.  He and D had a long conversation about spiritual matters that was almost completely opaque to me.  J requested that I produce another few philosophical pages for the next meeting.

D brought cookies again.  They’re great, but Dagny’s isn’t going to appreciate that.  I told him, “not so often in future.”  I hope he heard me.

Salomé showed up after a while, and sat and painted, as usual.

I expect a rather large weight gain tomorrow morning.


{1/28/19}  Weight 220.0.  I just couldn’t stop eating yesterday, it seemed.  Given that, and the D cookies, I guess I’m happy that the result wasn’t worse.  I even had an ice cream sandwich after 9:00 pm, a thing which I “never do,” meaning eating that late.

I’ve just about stopped going to Taco Bell and Del Taco with Pablo, both because they don’t fit into my eating routine, and because he’s a more tiresome companion than he used to be (or I’m less tolerant).  Last time was on the 18th; though I did also treat him to an absurd breakfast at Lorene’s last Saturday—I call it absurd because he had a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of soup, then took the sandwich with him to rush to catch a bus (which he missed).

This morning I’m feeling depressed again, which is pretty annoying.  A diet Dr. Pepper (caffeine) plus breakfast removed the feeling of depression, but possibly not the fact.  In other words, all available activities seem like chores.

I am unhappy with recent diary entries, though I’m not sure why.  I suppose that everything I have to say seems prosaic.

Not prosaic is Don’t Hide the Madness: Ginsberg and Burroughs talking about exorcism, evil spirits, shamans, and a sweat lodge ceremony—not at all what I had been hoping for this book of conversations.  I cannot fit such things into my worldview, yet am unwilling to totally dismiss them.  I don’t know what a reasonable attitude is—are they delusional, gullible, easily fooled, joking, or just describing actual experiences, as they see them?  Taking the stories at face value seems the least palatable choice, not even a “live option.”  I have a very similar reaction to such books as Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions and Black Elk Speaks.  Likewise D and J’s discussion yesterday, though that was much more muddle-headed and metaphysical than these stories of demons.

Prosaic:  getting the trike this month is looking problematic.  My vendor seems to have disappeared, and five days after payday and I’m down to about $250 disposable (30 days until payday).  I spent about $100 cash in those five days, of which almost $60 looks like Dagny’s, sodas, snacks, misc. merchandise, and payoffs to panhandlers.  A morning at Dagny’s can cost $10, and I think I had three of those.

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

One thought on “Diary, 1/26 to 1/28/19

  1. What an interesting blog, and an interesting dramatis personae. If I ever get to Bakersfield I would like to meet them. Especially Salome. But if she ever orders food and it’s brought in on a covered platter, I shant lift the lid. The Jeffrey Dahmer Special? Donner Party Bucket? Head of John the Baptist with an apple in his mouth?

    Liked by 1 person

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