Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Perspective on Motorcycle Gangs, or the Night Ronni was Gang-raped

In the wake of the Waco Massacre (see what I did there?), I found myself researching a bit about motorcycle gangs and what they are like these days.  I mean, we all hear about the Hell's Angels raising money for this and that good cause and helping little old ladies across the street, but I wanted to know just how much of an anomaly this O K Corral stunt was.

I looked at this picture, and that grinning red devil's face rang a rather clangy bell.  I can't make out the name on the top rocker or the word (usually a place) on the bottom rocker, but that face reminded me of something.

A Google Image search brought up this:

Not quite the same, but the image and the name of the club raised hackles on the back of my neck.

Sometime in February of 1968, I was talked into going to a party with a casual acquaintance who hung out with the Satan's Choice in Toronto.  As far as I knew, this acquaintance was not a member of the gang and he didn't sport the "colours," as the above badge is called.   The party turned out to be at the group's clubhouse, a much-abused older home out in the burbs somewhere.  It was dark and I was riding in a car (nobody bikes in Toronto in winter), so I really had no idea where I was.

Anyway, I soon had reason to regret my recklessness.  I got slapped around and asked if I wanted to get "fucked or beat."  The evening went downhill from there.

About the only thing I managed to do was keep track of the numbers.  There were 18, all told, but I have never been sure if it was 18 different bikers, or only a dozen and half of them got a second turn.  The last one passed out after claiming me by throwing his leather jacket over me, and I slept.

The only one whose name I remember was Tiny, a large individual who wasn't there that night, but in whose bed I was dumped in the morning.  I think he was the one who gave me the STD.

They took me home, after courteously calling me a "good sport," and inviting me back anytime.  One of them asked me if I'd go on a run with him to Quebec when the weather got warmer.

I was terrified, because they knew where I lived.  A few days later, I saw the person who had taken me to the party.  He was wearing colours.  Putting two and two together was not difficult.

So, while researching the Waco Massacree, I found this little gem:

Fascinated, I watched the whole thing.  This was made a couple of years before my little run-in with them, but it's the same clubhouse.  Of course, I didn't recognize any of them, but when they showed Tiny and named him, I knew.  Oh, yes, I knew.

I had nightmares for years, and would cross a street to avoid anyone who looked like these guys.  

Then, about 20 years after that night, I was telling a friend about it.  The friend and I were both three sheets to the wind, or the subject would never have come up, and halfway into the story, I was giggling.  By the time I got to Tiny, I was rolling on the floor, overcome with hysterical laughter.  Don't ask me how.  Time and distance, I guess.  And the right listener.

Suffice it to say, the experience lost its power over me that day, and I have not dreamed about it since, even in the wake of Waco.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cameron Brown: GUILTY of Murder in the First

This is the son-of-a-bitch who walked his daughter, Lauren Sarene Key,

this lovely little girl, along a cliff, and threw her off the top of this.

 This was the third trial for Cameron Brown.  All jurors in both the preceding trials found him guilty of murder, it was just a question of degree.  This time, without the firm of Geragos and Geragos and their associate Pat Harris defending him, Brown has got his just deserts.

They had a couple of witnesses this time who had not been there for the first two trials.  One was a work associate who would not allow the defense attorney to deflect him from his testimony, and his testimony was damning.  Cameron Brown had spoken to this man about getting rid of his child.

Trials and Tribulations writer, Sprocket, attended the trials, and has detailed notes about testimony.

Cameron Brown Trial has some biting coverage, and the author's poem about Lauren will make you cry.

I found myself needing to go hug some grandchildren.  I have one the same age as Lauren.  I can't shake the feeling that the child knew something was going to happen that day.  The teachers at her day care testified that she had been crying all day because she didn't want to go with him.  He took her up the path, at times pushing her along in front of him.  I can't shake the look of terror that must have been on her face as he picked her up and threw her off.  This case is the stuff of nightmares.

I do feel relieved that it is done and over.  He will not get to be a surf bum ever again.  Nothing can console Lauren's mother, but I bet she feels a soupçon of relief tonight.

Incarceration has not been kind to Cameron Brown.  He has been locked up for 12 years without bail.  His sentence will be handed down on June 19th, 2015.  Pretty sure California has mandatory LWOP for First Degree Murder with Special Circumstances.

I hope he develops a skin condition that makes him burn every single day of a long, sickening life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coffee and Hail

I am a woman of simple tastes.  For me, coffee comes in three grades:  Nectar, Drinkable and Suitable Only for the Dyeing of Costumes.

Right before the hailstorm that scarred Hans for life, we (Hans and I) were in Mineral Wells.  I had been hearing rumours that the Baker Hotel was being renovated and wanted to see.  I stopped in a shop across the street to look at the floor plans for the hotel, and bought some coffee and tea.  Jitter Beans Coffee Roasting Company is what it says on the bag.  I picked one at random and it is Nectar for sure.  One can indulge once in a while, right?

Drinkable covers what we usually buy, such as Folgers or other pre-ground canned coffee.

HEB house brand coffees come under the label of Suitable Only for the Dyeing of Costumes.  I do use a lot of it, as well as house brand tea.  Nothing gives cotton a beaten-on-the-rocks look better than coffee or tea...most brown or tan dyes have a pinkish or yellowish cast.

When I left, they were telling me to "Be safe going home."  I figured it was the usual general wish, because I had not been listening to the radio.  Joan Baez 5 was blasting on my Bose because I was out of range of KUT (Mineral Wells is closer to Abilene than to Austin).  I saw this:

but didn't think too much of it, as this is Texas, after all, and storms are a given.

I was driving south on 281 when it started to rain.  The wind picked up a bit, but Hans hugs the ground, so no biggie.  Then there was pea-sized hail, but that's no biggie either, right?  Even if it is a couple of inches deep on the road.  I started to see cars huddled under trees along the way, but by then there was quite a bit of cloud-to-ground lightning and trees didn't seem like such a good idea.  The hailstones started to get larger, and by the time they were about an inch in diameter, I was looking for a place to pull off.  Lacking that, barreling through seemed better than just squatting by the side of the road, in the open.  I didn't see shelter until we were getting hit with icy chunks the size of ping pong balls.  I pulled off, across a cattle guard, and partly under the partial shelter of an open-sided tractor shed.  Of course there were half a dozen vehicles there ahead of me, so I couldn't get all the way under.  By then, the ping pong balls had become golf balls, and my back window was gone, my mirrors were smashed, there was a huge crack in my windshield and dings all over poor Hans.  I am very happy to say that the ragtop held up very well, even though hailstones were coming in the broken back window and landing in the floorboards.

When it stopped, I drove and drove through sunlight and on a dry road.  I also tuned in a local radio station where I was told to take shelter immediately, as there was a tornado and baseball-sized hail happening in the little town I had just passed when the hail hit me.  Not to put too fine a point upon it, I was lucky.  Note to self:  I need a weather app with alerts tied into the GPS on my phone.

So, Hans is totalled.  I shall keep him, of course.  I can get the things fixed that I have to have...the mirrors, windshield, and top (it is pretty torn up around the place the window used to be), and leave the dings and dents as battle scars.  I really don't think they will give me enough for him to buy anything I like as well.  He is a 12-year-old car, and had been totalled before I bought him.

I can't shake the idea that I could have been quite badly hurt if not for Hans.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Twice-bought Dress

I used to have a lovely 1970s black dress.  If it wasn't a Gunne Sax, it looked like one.  Made of black crinkle cotton with black cotton lace trim, it had a square neckline and a flounce at the hem.  It was a bit long--everything was--so I hemmed up the flounce about six inches, which brought it up to my ankle.

I wore it a lot.  It was flattering, washable and just all sorts of awesome.  After a while, it began to look a little rusty, so I re-dyed it.  Chandra wore it for Halloween in 1989, when she was Scarlett O'Hara In Mourning.  I do have a picture of that, somewhere, so I shall have to scan it into the computer.

Eventually, styles changed, and I had nowhere to wear it after SSS and I split up, so I donated it to Goodwill.

Years later, shopping at a different Goodwill, I was perusing a huge round rack of such dresses, and came across it.  I was a bit taken aback, thinking it was an identical dress, but when I examined the inside (like you do) I realized that a) it had been dyed and b) the hem was definitely my work.

So I bought it.

It's probably not still around, but I was thinking about it a few days ago.

Because it was awesome, and I bought it twice.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Well, Dearly Beloved, isn't this nice?  Remember this from Hamlet?  That's me being Prologue.  I just threw it in because it's April First, and some attention must be paid.

However, it has been an interesting month.  Or so.  I was Costume Mistress for Avenue Q, produced by Austin Theatre Project.  In all my years of theatre, I had never been a dresser for a puppet.  I had, of course, mended a few of them for Jim's puppetry classes at Cedar Valley, and those skills came in handy, too.

Remember this?

Rex's gown from Rex's Exes was something of a challenge.  I bought a size 20 gown, and let it out as far as it would go, adding all the pink lace, net and fringe to make it as crazy as possible.  Lynn Beaver did the hat.  John Iacoletti is the actor.  Well, it got used again in Avenue Q:

having been reduced to a size 10, just for grins and giggles. Pictured are R Michael Clinkscales, Michelle Alexander and June Julian.  Michelle was a student of Jim's at Cedar Valley.  It is always wonderful to meet people that he influenced, and especially so to meet them in theatre.

I auditioned for Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest at City Theatre, and made it to callbacks.  I am still chuffed about that.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  And, I sent my brand new shiny resume (thanks, Darr) and my brand new shiny headshot (thanks, Doc List) to a director doing a music video, and got cast in that.  I assume I will have a copy of the finished product for my demo reel (listen to me, sounding all professional and shit), so y'all will get to see it too, even if it doesn't make Cannes.

Speaking of films, Brandon Harris, alumnus of both Jim's class at Cedar Valley and Sam Bass Theatre, has landed his happy self a lead in a movie.  I will share as he does.  Something about knights and magic...

I went to Sherwood Forest Faire with Vanessa, Addy and some friends.  Here's Addy.  She had fun.

I made this out of a curtain, after dyeing it and applying some trim that I had knit last year:

Vanessa wore one of the corsets I made for The Tempest Project:

I love the blue and bronze colour combination.

So.  That's what I've been up to.  How about you?

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Manson Madness Continues

Scroll to the bottom for the latest updates.  It gets better and better!

Here's a link to a story of the latest madness to issue from Charles Manson.  Now, Dearly Beloved, you would think his story pretty much over, wouldn't you?  Not so fast!  By god, he may be locked up for life, and 81 years old, but he hasn't given up.  No sir-ee!

Here's a nice picture of him with his new wife:

As the article states, she is the spitting image of one of his minions from back in the day.  She looks a little whack...well, she would have to be, wouldn't she, to marry him, with his mohawk (there's nothing sadder than an old man trying to be hip, especially in prison), swastika tattoo and murder conviction?

Now, here is a picture of his son:

Quite a family resemblance, isn't there?  One might even say, a cultivated resemblance.  That, or the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

From the article:
Notorious mass murderer Charles Manson is planning to become a dad again – by smuggling his sperm out of prison.
The 80-year-old cult leader, who married besotted superfan Afton Burton, 26, behind bars last year, is desperate for her to have his child.
But because he is serving life he is not allowed conjugal visits. The closest contact guards allow them is a peck on the cheek during weekly visits.
So instead he plans to sneak his sperm outside to enable Afton, who calls herself Star, to be artificially inseminated.
Dad-of-four Manson confessed his bizarre plan to son Matthew Roberts, 47 – conceived after Manson raped his mum during an orgy in the swinging Sixties – and incredibly he has agreed to help raise the child.
“My dad has wanted to be a father again for many years.
I can kind of understand why his son would not be horrified by this crack-brained scheme--after all, if Manson has already fathered children, what's one more?  This son was adopted and raised far from his sperm-donor's vile influence.
A later DNA test confirmed Matthew was Manson’s youngest son, a brother to Charles Milles Jr, Charles Luther and Valentine Michael.
So two of his sons have his first name, and a third is named for the protagonist is Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land," whose name was Michael Valentine Smith.  No overweening ego there, nope, nope, nope!
“Part of the whole thing with him marrying Star is that he would love to have kids and he was waiting for someone to come along and provide that,” says Matthew, seemingly oblivious to his father’s heinous crimes.
So, still the manipulative asshole he has always been.
He adds: “He wants to see what it might be like to raise a child with more of his own ideas.“He is starting to think about how he wants his legacy to be left once he’s gone.”
Oh, boy.  Where to start?  In the first place, he will not be "raising a child."  He is in prison for life.  Oh, he comes up for parole every few years, but it will never be granted.  Would you like to see a child raised with "more of his own ideas?"  I thought not.  Let's move on to "legacy."  This murdering bastard knows perfectly well what his "legacy" is.  Dead people, and the death of the hippie "movement."  Putting more of himself into the gene pool is not going to change that.
But Matthew argues: “Dad is legally married and deserves time to enjoy the benefits of marriage. Other prisoners in facilities around the world enjoy that privilege when they wed.
“I feel my dad and Star’s love is genuine, and that they have the right to consummate that marriage.
Yeah, right.  He saw another little minion coming his way, and is using her, and his son, to do this thing.
 "I believe he is still physically capable of that. But, obviously his options are limited. Somehow he hopes to smuggle his sperm out of the prison.
“Some of the guards have sympathy towards him, but I’m not sure if they can help. It is illegal trying to smuggle anything either in or out of there.
"Some of the guards have sympathy towards him,"

Those need to be ferreted out and removed from his sphere of influence.
 He admits: “My plan sounds crazy, but this seems like the perfect opportunity. It’s synchronicity and I believe things like this unfold naturally.”
Matthew, who describes himself as a “hippy DJ”, says his “spiritual understanding” of means it is irrelevant what the wider world thinks of the plan.”
Sounding just like rambling Manson – who told followers he was Jesus – Matthew goes on: “I like who I am and I’d like this genetic bloodline to be passed on and continue in this world.
...And, in that, he stands alone.
 “I would make sure, wholeheartedly, that they were safe.”
Better build a big wall.
Matthew says: “I do feel like Star and Dad are communicating with each other on a higher level.They really believe they have something very special.
“I think she thinks he’s a victim who didn’t murder anybody and was falsely accused. I do believe now that she does have genuine love for him. I don’t think she is bulls****ing, I honestly think she has feelings for him.”
So.  Two more people he has managed to manipulate.  IMO, this man should be in solitary, with guards changed every week.  Not rotated in and out, replaced so that no one else, ever, falls under his influence.

And I am unanimous in that.

Found this link today:  Perhaps Matthew and Star have been putting us on:  It seems a license has been purchased, but it expires this week.  A new license (good for 90 days) will be needed if the happy couple is, indeed, going to tie the knot.

Another Update:
She wanted to stuff him like Trigger and charge the masses to see him.  If this is true, she is as sick as he is and they deserve each other.  Kind of nice to see him taken for a bit of a ride, though, isn't it?