Tuesday 5 July 2016

I'm in Chicago at Corner Bakery, which is one of those chain type places I never go—but I just couldn't stand the thought of going to that foul food court upstairs in Union Station—actually I was on my way there and took the wrong stairs, went outside, sidewalk closed, it's 88 degrees and rush hour (though very quiet and subdued). But still, Chicago is a foul sty. People are not friendly. What's the point of living in a society when people are not friendly? Anyway, I avoid these places because they are sterile, have no personality—but I guess they serve a purpose. I wish the Marquette Inn was still open—the place I used to go in Chicago layover—but it is not. Anyway, maybe I'll start coming to places like this when I have a train layover like this, why not—can always get a salad—which is at least healthy—and good—and it's so much nicer to sit here than at the fucking food court, and it like $10—not bad—I wouldn't have to carry so much food with me then—though I am not really today carrying that much. The only bad part really is the music they're playing, which sucks. The music playing in the Great Hall—Amtrak is now actually using the Great Hall for waiting and boarding trains, which is nice—but sucko music! Why is there so much bad music? I guess because there are a lot of people who like it. Whenever I hear a bunch of crap music, it makes me mad, and also want to play music. But how to go about it? It's just as hard as getting writing published... But I do kind of want to do something that I might be embarrassed about—and then refuse to be embarrassed. I know my songs are good—the good ones—and there are a few—though I never write any now. But I could—maybe? But where to play—that's a problem. There has to be a place to play where I would choose to spend time in on purpose. Does such a place even exist? I always think of the King Avenue Coffee House in Columbus, when I saw Beat Happening there—1987? There must be some places to play that aren't totally heinous, I'm not alone on this, am I?

Thursday 30 June 2016 – Maxfield's Pancake House

This is the date every* year I write a poem “June 30, June 30” because of the Richard Brautigan poem (and book) by that name. Maybe I will this year—still keeping with the poem blog—called Poultry—or whatever—I like it—some good stuff there in my opinion—whether anyone sees it or not. Maybe I should start using the fucking social media like a normal person! (Maybe I should actually see what Brautigan's poem refers to someday!)


June 30 June 30

Since last time

everything has doubled,

and in some cases doubled

again. Though not

everything. I know that's

not what you want to


—Randy Russell 30 June 2016


I'm at Maxfield's Pancake House. 10am on a Thursday. I just wrote a poem. Rode here on my bike, early. I'm debating going to Starbucks for an espresso, or maybe, if I need to, coffee shop on my way by the mall.

*not exactly every

Friday 24 June 2016

I'm at Benji's this morning (late) (11am) breakfast—I guess eating out a lot lately (I went to the Original Pancake House with Brent, yesterday) but what the hell, it's summer now, and a really nice day today, and I wanted to ride my bike and this seemed like a good, not that far, biking spot (plus, I went through Estabrook Park, which is really nice this morning) and I haven't been to Benji's since I was cat-sitting for Anne Leplae—and I like Benji's!

Though I don't feel like lingering this morning—it's already almost noon! Plus, Great Britain voted to leave the EU, and I'm voting to leave here, now, plus it's nice out...

Wednesday 22 June 2016

I am at the Bollywood Grill on the first Wednesday of official summer and it's been hot lately, also a lot of REX work lately—too much, really, and I don't know how to reconcile that, but I'm trying to just not worry about it and let things work out by themselves, because they usually do.

Sometimes, however, I must act impulsively, and now, such as today for lunch, after I finished four hours of computer work this morning (well, five, because I started doing my stuff, then REX stuff) and felt not like making lunch, so I came directly to my favorite Indian close by lunch place—which has seemed a little spotty on the consistency lately—but maybe that's just because the more I learn how good some things can—and should—be, the more I'm prone to some level of disappointment. But it's still really good.

I made a BIG list of stuff I want to do this afternoon—so I guess I'll try to do these things (and continue on into evening and early next morning, I guess). It includes: walk, pushups, buy coffee somewhere, read, work on my website, clean my apartment, organize notebooks, get 0TV info together for a documentary (Zero TV!) Barry and Andrew are working on!

Friday 17 June 2016

I'm at the Plaza Cafe on 17 June 2016—past halfway thru June I guess—nearing official 1st day of summer—hasn't exactly felt like summer—today it does. I'm still cat-sitting for Roy (since last Saturday) and coming by my place every day briefly—taking things from place to place (mostly some laundry) but only a few minutes—and mostly being at Roy's house, mostly at the kitchen table where I have my computer, and am working on stuff. John had put the TV in the closet, was away—so I figured no TV, that's okay, in fact better (of course, I watch Netflix on my computer)—but anyway, no TV is a huge improvement (though I did miss two NBA finals games—which might have been okay since the Cavs won them—but still, anyway). Anyway, instead of TV I've been listening to records, which is great—and writing some record articles for DJ Farraginous blog—which makes me feel a lot better than watching crap on TV. Also, working on my huge Mexican restaurant list, for my website. And of course, REX work.

Sunday 5 June 2016 – Sunday Project

I'm at the Pfister for breakfast on a Sunday—for my Sunday Project! Not going to take much time today—sitting by the front like last time I came here. Which I don't mind since I like seeing people come and go—but it's the shit table, for sure. I think this place is a little snobby. It's not outrageously expensive, but it's not cheap—and it's inconsistent. I mean—there's gluten-free toast—but one piece. What is that shit? I might have to switch Sunday Project to another location—unless I can just get into complaining. They have a flat screen TV on the wall that's put into an old, gold frame—which is kind of brilliant, and funny, but still kind of sad because it's a flat screen TV! One thing about this place, you don't have to worry about being kind of disheveled (which I always am) just because it's a fancy hotel—this is the butthole of the hotel, I guess—people here—some of them—look like they rolled right out of a pool of vomit. There was an old guy wearing flipflops and shorts that looked more like boxer shorts than shorts—they probably were! Anyway, come on—one piece of toast, with no butter. Fuck that! (Though at least they don't charge extra.)

Friday 3 June 2016

I'm at Maxfield's Pancake House in Friday, the first Friday in June—it's 70 degrees, very nice out, no rain today—looks like rain tomorrow, so I thought today's the day for a bike ride. The bike ride is the thing. Eating here is secondary—though it is nice being able to eat pancakes.

Now that it's June I think maybe I should get up earlier—it's nice to go out early—but I need to be up for awhile, coffee, bathroom, etc., before I go out—so earlier the better! But it's hard to get to bed early enough—and I blame the REX stuff—the late engaging with the characters. Maybe I should just force myself to go to bed at a certain time—stop the work—it's not like I can't get in enough hours. Lately I've been watching Mad Men—kind of last thing of the day, so I should start that an hour before I go to bed—I've been sleeping six hours lately—which I think is better for me than five or four, like I used to—is 5am early enough? Anyway, I should watch TV and sew at 9pm—try that. Why not. Oh, my, this is boring! I'm glad no one is ever going to probably read this damn thing! Okay, this is like ten times longer than it's ever took for my food to come, here—and I even got here before the lunch rush (which starts at 11:30 in Milwaukee). Anyway, that's good because this is my second breakfast. What I want to do today and this weekend is work on some stuff for my website—my notebook journal stuff—retyping old journals, organizing old notebooks (I just got everything out to re-organize and clean) (so maybe I can find all my old notebooks)—which can't possibly excite anyone but me—but I don't care—it's interesting to me.

Also—I want to work on lists—all kinds—which is really geeky—but fun—it's a fun thing for me—ranking things, listing—I'm making a list of all the Mexican restaurants in Milwaukee—also, I have to finish my Coen Brothers article/list—and re-do my 100 movies. (Idea I just had—put intro to 100 movies list that explains how it was made in 2012—so no movies after 2012—and I'll make a new one some day.) (This solves Coen dilemma—only Big Lebowski is on 100 movies list.) And then got to start drawing, drawing new zine—and also do collages again.

Monday 30 May 2016 – Memorial Day

I'm at Chuck's Place in Thiensville—for breakfast on Memorial Day Monday—I'm having ½ order of “hoffel poffel” omelette (w/ “f” instead of “p”—what's that mean? I'll have to look this up). It's not remotely an omelette—a “scramble” would be accurate. Anyway, it's good. Not remotely healthy. I'm sitting at the counter, which I told myself I'd do next time, last time (or first time) I came here. I remembered! (This is third time here—second time I came with Brent.) It's a beautiful sunny spring/summer morning—in the 60s, now 70s—it's now 10:10 AM. I left around 8:30—on my bike. My old bike had a flat—which is weird, sitting in the bike room—though, it happens—no need to be paranoid—I probably punctured it last time I was riding it and got a slow leak—the day I bought my new computer. Anyway, this new bike trail is amazing. Way shorter than before—and all trail—not one street at all—a couple of blocks here in Thiensville is all I had to go on streets. I'm not going to hang around—I want to be riding more...

Friday 27 May 2016

Ma Fischer's... Lunch. There are sure a lot of crazy people in the world, and in this country. And in Milwaukee, and in Ma Fischer's at any given time! I'm on my way to a movie at the Oriental (The Lobster) and just came from getting my hair cut from this dude on Brady Street (Aaron is his name, I think) who has no name for his shop I can see, or maybe no sign—though I'll have to look more closely sometime. Anyway, it's $12 for a haircut—it must be the cheapest barber in town. I love Jose's Barber Shop in Bay View—but it's in Bay View—and $23 (last time I went there) and the difference between $12 and $23 is a lot ($11—to be precise)—plus, this dude is pretty funny.

So anyway, I shaved this morning (quite an undertaking, as I had a beard—it's a lot of work). Got a new computer this week and set it up yesterday. It went smoothly. And I'm working on my website—it's finally getting there...

Monday 23 May 2016

I'm at Maxfield's for breakfast—it's a really nice morning—70 degrees—sunny—no wind—not too humid. It was a nice bike ride here—fairly early. It took me about an hour. It's now 10:50 AM. I saw an estate sale over on Seneca—so I'm going over there—and maybe to Bayshore Mall Apple store—we'll see how I feel after the estate sale! Maybe I'll buy something good. Anyway, I got a couple of story/novel ideas while riding. [What follows are some notes for my ongoing new novel, K2, which I don't want to reproduce here.]

Saturday 21 May 2016

I'm at Ma Fischer's, May 21, Jeff's birthday—it's nice out, finally—it was kind of cold the whole time I was cat-sitting—I mean, it was nice, because for me 50s is nice—for me, 30s is nice. But it's like 70, not windy, nice for walking—the blossoms are out and it smells good. Soon it will be just HOT—but I haven't even put on shorts yet this spring...

I haven't been to Ma Fischer's in a while—it's exactly the same. That's a good thing about it. It's dead in here—I guess maybe 9AM is early for a Saturday—I bet it's twice as full by the time I leave. There is a handwritten sign on the wall that says, “Shakes $5.50.” It's funny, because I saw the day a waitress put that sign up—it's a handwritten sign—and the owner, at that time, was determining the price—and I thought, no shakes on the menu? I keep forgetting to check the menu—it's kind of a mystery.

I was watching this documentary on Nina Simone (What Happened, Miss Simone?) last night—and she said something like, to her, freedom would be being free of fear—and I thought, yeah—everyone lives with some fear—it's much worse if it's this real fear of someone trying to kill you, your neighbors, the racist majority society, your husband, or whatever. For me that doesn't have to be an immediate concern—which is something I should be eternally grateful for—but then I replace that fear with another and another. Maybe everyone does this. Solve one problem and replace it with another. So last winter my major fear was health stuff because of having a colonoscopy, so I was all afraid of that, then the dentist—so that stuff got resolved (temporarily) and then the fear of no job, no money, homelessness, set in. If I could solve that (win the lottery) then fear of death and the ?afterlife would take over. It's always going to be something—so why can't I just eliminate it all? Because fear doesn't help!

I got a book from the library about the Japanese art of decluttering (by Marie Kondo) and I'm really trying for a big cleanup now. It's going to take some work—but it will help! And I'm working on my website—it's a little difficult, but possible—and I'm trying to get rid of my TV (via Craigslist). I also just got a new idea for warmer weather—since it takes me awhile to really get going in the morning—maybe every day I'll go out early for a short walk—to the park, whatever. Then later take a longer walk or bike ride. (note: I put a star by this last part, and some arrows, and a yellow highlighted note that says “New Way.”)

Thursday 19 May 2016

I'm at Jalisco's on North Ave., finally trying out the $7.99 lunch buffet—if it was $4.99, okay—or if it was better—or if you were going to eat a real lot. But frankly, it's pretty gross. Well, that's what I get, coming by mid-afternoon—of course the shit has been sitting there. (Idea: Buffets should get cheaper the later it gets!) The good thing is, the guy working is really nice—and there are three booths near me with two women each—so it's actually a really nice atmosphere for being 3:30 on a Thursday—so that's a plus... AND, the guy brought me extra napkins without me asking—and that's a serious extra star—in the Michelin Guide.

Anyway, I'm pretty depressed today. I'm going to a movie at Downer Theater in a bit. Not excited about it. I'm trying to give away my TV on Craigslist—got two replies already—so that's promising.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

I'm at Nana, Asian Fusion restaurant in Shorewood on Oakland, for their lunch special—I'll see how cheaply I can eat here. Brent and I came here for dinner, and it's good and very gluten-free attentive—so I want to see how cheaply I can eat lunch here, and what else it on the menu! Five pieces of sushi and a roll, miso soup, and salad—for $11—that's good (and they don't charge for the green tea!) It's my last day cat-sitting at Anne's place—it's been kind of fun, and a nice vacation—really—though I haven't gotten very much writing done. But I'm just not going to worry about stuff like that anymore! The most important thing to me in life is taking a walk and getting a good feeling from taking a walk—when it happens—and you can't beat that.

My phone went from 67% to nothing in like a minute—I think I need a new phone! I need a new computer. It's all kind of overwhelming. I need to clean my apartment most of all. I'll start getting things in order soon I guess.

Friday 13 May 2016

I'm at Maxfield's Pancakes on Friday, same as last Friday—kind of crazy—I didn't realize it was Friday I was here last. It's a really nice morning—the air is clear and smells good—low humidity—which always makes me feel like I'm on vacation. I'm still cat-sitting for Anne's cat, Patty, and so I'm kind of feeling on vacation still for that reason anyway. I had to go back home last two days for details and stuff, tax lady (Glenda), office mail, etc.—so I rode my bike last two days—not a ton, but it feels like good exercise—after Tuesday—when it rained all day and I stayed inside (should've got out—at least briefly—should never stay in all day).

I talked to Nick yesterday about Talkhouse stuff—it's nice it's still a possibility—but it comes down to—I have to write stuff! Can I even fucking write anything anymore—or should I just give it up? It was so hot in here I took my shirt off! Ha! That helped—then they turned the AC on.

Saturday 7 May 2016

I'm switching around notebooks a lot—hoping that will inspire me and also get me to work on my new novel—K2—as I have ten K2 notebooks that can also function as daily journals. Plus, this extra carry-around journal, a little one, which is nice because it fits in a pocket of a jacket—so it's nice if I'm traveling light.

Anyway, I'm at Anne Leplae's house cat-sitting for this cute boy cat, Patty, who is dark orange/brown tabby—on an orange tabby/light/dark scale—it's like this: lighter—KO—Louis—Patty—darker (three orange cats). I'm over here in Shorewood, a nice neighborhood—kind of treating this as a vacation (with no cessation in work—but that's okay—work for Chris—since it's part-time, for sure—20 to 25 hours a week). So this is kind of interesting, being over here. Today is: Day 4—of Shorewood vacation (Day 1 being May 4, when I came over). Now I'm going to look at my last entry (in this notebook, anyway) and see how my to do list is going.

Friday 6 May 2016

I'm at Maxfield's Pancake House—first time of the season! Everything is the same here—that's good. I've been cat sitting for Anne Leplae—her cat Patty—since Wednesday—I guess this is Day 3—it already seems like longer! Things like “going somewhere new,” moving somewhere, or vacations—the time is always weighted on the beginning—that is, the first day is epic—the next day is, too—and then time speeds up and you're right back to speedy time as usual. Why is that?

Anyway, it's interesting being in Shorewood—totally different feeling than my house, my neighborhood. You wouldn't think so. The first day, Wednesday, I rode over in the afternoon, got settled, and then went to Benji's (two blocks away!) for lunch. Then yesterday I went back home, got some more stuff—on my bike—and then later took a long walk up to Whitefish Bay Library. It's amazing how little I know the area! I've driven around there a lot, but not walked. I guess people who just drive all the time, never walk, just don't know their home!

Thursday 28 April 2016

I'm at the Bollywood Grill for lunch—I came here quite impulsively on the spur of the moment—which is often the best way to do things. I was going to go to Benji's yesterday but didn't, so I don't feel bad about spending the money—even though I'm trying not to spend too much—since all these things have come up—health insurance premium every month now—expensive!—and my renter's insurance—and life insurance—and tax prep payment—and federal income tax—it's insane! But maybe it'll level off. Plus, I need to buy a new computer!

Anyway, lot of REX work lately—and I keep fearing it'll get to be too much—but hopefully we'll be able to talk about it at some point—me and Chris—and it'll all work out. Really—I worry too much—that is my biggest problem of all! Why can't I deal with that—HUH?! Anyway—my main concern is always—Do I have enough time for my own stuff? But, however, I spend a lot of time each day doing nothing—I don't know what—probably looking at crap on the internet. Maybe it's all worthwhile—but a lot is not, really—like I just read an article about racism—interesting—but another person's opinion, really—but about things where I don't feel like I need a re-orientation, or attitude adjustment, or a re-schooling, really—while I just go on worrying too much—and that is where I should be spending some time—concentrating on that area of change and hopefully improvement.

I guess there was some kind of official? Un-official launch today (?) We'll see what that means. Hopefully something positive.

I went over to Anne Leplae's house last night—in Shorewood—to talk to her about cat sitting—I'm going to stay over and take care of the orange boy cat Patty—two weeks in May. Hopefully it'll be nice—and a change of scenery—and a kind of vacation!

Sunday 24 April 2016 – Sunday Project

I'm at the Pfister Cafe for breakfast on a Sunday as part of the Sunday Project! Maybe I was supposed to use a different notebook—it's going to be a challenge later (probably will never happen) (looking up the dates, and putting them in chronological order—since I'm using 12 notebooks simultaneously!)

It's funny, at one time I felt I kind of had a dilemma about my Sunday Project—like, is it part of the journal—or separate from? As if, anyone is going to read them anyway! Anyway, now—the way I'm going to deal with my notebooks, as in use them—is to put them totally in chronological order... from earliest up to this I'm writing right now (& the future)... going back to... I don't know really—and extending through all the years, writing a lot of years and not writing much of the time, I guess!

So—I've been working on my new website—it's been kind of a trial—just the indecision—fear of the unknown—terror of technology—etc. But I finally feel like I've gotten somewhere and the website is live—I decided to just get a new domain name, even—rspeen.com—which I'll try to keep ongoing—we'll see. Anyway, the part of this new website I'm most excited about for whatever reason is the journal part—which I'm calling (for now)—Memoir (just because it's not, and that's funny). Probably the journal part is least interesting to anyone on the site, but most interesting to me. That's okay! I am starting with my 1972 trip to Florida/Autotrain notebook! Which I still have—after that—do I have any school journals? I don't know—what will be next? What do I still have? Will the Garbage Memo work its way in? Trips across the country? NYC 1985? We'll see what I can find. (I might continue my blog/Notebook Journals project, simultaneously, too—just to have a little more.) Oh, and 1989.

As far as the Sunday Project, here at the Pfister, more of the same—a decent place to sit, perfect for this project—really—though the place is really kind of full of dull people...

Saturday 16 April 2016

I'm at the Prime Minister Family Restaurant in Thiensville on about the first nice day we've had—and I took my old bike to the Bikesmith bike shop yesterday and got a new back rim, instead of fixing the spokes—not much more to do that $—to fix spokes and replace rim—similar price—so whole new rim. I took it in Thursday—then today already they called—while I was trying to figure out what I'm gonna to do—go to a movie or a walk or to office—so I walked up there—and got bike. Then on a test ride—it feels very comfortable—so I started riding up north—thought I'd try to go to Maxfield's, if I could make it up there—and then I decided to try out the new trail thru Whitefish Bay—and it's amazing! It cuts a diagonal up to the Brown Deer Trail—it's a major shortcut and all on trails! So I got carried away and came all the way up to Thiensville, to the Prime Minister—and I'm having big lunch special—roast pork on sauerkraut with potatoes and corn and salad and rice pudding! For $8.99.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

I'm at The Plaza Cafe for breakfast on a sunny 30 degree day in the middle of April, too cold to ride my bike yet. Plus I've been too busy! A lot of REX work and stuff for Chris—not making me too happy because of the slippery nature of my expectations, his expectations, etc.—not well defined. I've gotten over some of my main anxieties—got colonoscopy, went to new dentist, and got new health insurance—and still I feel unhappy—so now I've got to realize it's me, not this external bullshit. So I've got to try to adjust how I think without psych drugs or therapy, if possible! I've got a few more problems to solve—but they should be kind of fun if I let them be—like: new website. Then I've got to try to make something every day—chapter, collage, monkey, journal entry, draw!

As far as the confusing evolution of my notebook journals goes—I'm using various notebooks for my new novel—K2—and in each of these there is also a continuing journal (always with the date!) (It's so I don't have to carry around multiple notebooks!)

Anyway, this time three years ago I had just moved away from New York—to Cleveland—I think—2013—yeah—and I think it was this week—like second week in April when I moved—packed on a weekend after I quit my job (I gave them an extra week in April to train the new dude)—then drove on a Monday—I think—got to Jeff Curtis' house not too late—unpacked—took back car next a.m.—then went to breakfast—maybe at the Coffee Pot, on Madison—and started exploring the neighborhood. It was really a sad time, of course. (But then not even close to as sad as later, when Cindy died, a year and a half ago, or so—which I have not gotten over—I guess I never will...) Anyway, that was a pretty exciting time, too, exploring a new place—Lakewood. A drag looking for jobs and temp places—but great fun discovering bike trails and restaurants. Thinking about Lakewood makes me very nostalgic now—and I kind of realize I should move again—but maybe the time isn't right—right now—and hopefully I'll get a chance to move again, some day.

I walked over by the park overlooking the lake this morning, and felt different just doing that—I should do stuff out of the ordinary every day—I decided—and get out early. Even briefly, when possible—especially in spring—and exercise more, of course, and go to the lake more—go to that amazing Juneau Park—3 blocks away, a.m. & p.m.!