Friday, October 29, 2010

"Hookers Don't Count", the film

For too long I've allowed, even encouraged, an overly questionable view of myself. I had thought that all of these half-mad, illicit and illegal stories somehow just added to the tale. There was no such thing as bad press, etc. But things change, people grow up, their values adjust, before I knew it the tide had turned against me. Or worse, the tide had just ceased turning at all.

Perhaps the water line had simply settled.

There were too many stories out there, some of them were true-ish. These stories made me appear other than I actually was. There were some that I could have defended, but chose not to. There were others that were partially true, and so as to appear to not be in denial at all, I allowed those stories to parade through, mostly untouched. Then there were others that were flat out lies, I denied some of these, but perhaps with a wink in my eye, or with less than adequate and justified conviction.

These are the missed opportunities that vaguely haunt me now. There is no way to go back, as Dylan famously said, with no direction home.

And of course, some of the stories were true, and not all of them were funny, or good. Though there were plenty of great stories as well. Too many laughs, perhaps. It turns out to be exactly what your parents warned you about. Be careful who you choose to be friends with. But not too careful, right?

It is difficult, to know that you are suddenly being perceived in a way that brings all of your actions, past-present-and-future, into question. A state you once encouraged but now find un-defendable and tiresome.

But there it is, floating out there in front of you... your life. It is like a movie is being made and you are the writer, director, and leading star. But you didn't spend enough time on the original script, there was never enough time for re-writes, the cast and crew have begun to feel overworked and underpaid, and all those scenes you thought you'd save in the editing room turned out to have interesting camera angles but too few match cuts.

So, through my thirties all that footage I shot becomes a "visual poem" project, meant to be understood through non-narrative viewing. No, that never quite worked either. Now, in my forties I'm trying to edit it together in some bizarre pseudo-narrative that even the most avant-garde audience would wince at.

Perhaps it's far over budget, and for the sake of continuity we're going to shorten the length, cut out a few of the more disastrous scenes, and we'll still be able to salvage an art-house project out of the footage. The soundtrack has always been amazing. We might not break even, but we can still get a rough cut done in time for festival season... It's a shame because some of the early edits were received so favorably.

Only after the fact did I discover that the entire cast and crew were moonlighting on their own films, and some of them were shooting video documentaries of the making of my film, hearts of darkness indeed….

This has placed any surprise viral marketing campaign clearly out of the picture now.

Who knows... perhaps I can still pull a few favorable reviews from the lefty-press. I just might need to distance myself a little bit from some of the other actors, get a new agent, do a few talk shows, join a gym, act as if I'm training for a reality recovery program.

And always be aware when the cameras are rolling...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Demon Principia

I can not think in the morning. There is perpetual noise, distractions, questions, needs, preparations, and on and on.... I try to sit down and write but it is nearly impossible. Oddly, some of my favorite posts have been written while I'm at work, on a break. I only have 15 minutes from start to finish, so I am forced to focus.

The noise is maddening. Noise lingers long after the sound is over. It pollutes the mind. A friend sent me an article the other day about its ill effects. As if....

I've always loved this city but I need to get out. Once the feeling of madness creeps in there is no easy way to be rid of it. Noises are the bedbugs of the mind.

I should take the day off work today. I am not feeling well. The guilt might overtake me though. The noise from within, the incessant demonic buggings.

Java Kong

The world is full of confused craziness, too much to write about every day. I really should keep a notebook with me to jot down the things I want to write about here. I forget about them by the following morning and then sit and look at a blank blog. That's what prompted the posting of this picture. It is an ad in Soho, one of many. It is difficult to determine what it is selling or promoting. I had to look it up on the internet. It's clothing. I suppose the ad worked.

Is it a satyr, or are they just goating us, or is it ramming?

Some friends of ours bought us a Nespresso machine. It is a wonder and a thing of beauty, truly. To be able to make yourself an expresso first thing in the morning.... ah, viva java. I've become one of those people that doesn't quite think clearly until I've had a coffee or an expresso. I know I was bemoaning my coffee intake on this blog a few days ago, but all that is behind me now. Now I am screaming it from the rooftops. Wait, maybe I am supposed to be singing it from the rooftops? Never-mind that now.... Whatever it is, that's exactly what I'm doing.

I am of the Nespressomind.

Ah yes, now that the caffeine takes hold I remember the story I wanted to tell.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a 3 yr. old I know

"A child is a curly dimpled lunatic." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lafayette and Sistine

I've walked by this several times and chuckled. The other day I walked by and took these two pictures. After my birthday-weekend I was looking through some of the pictures I had taken recently and these two were there. For some reason they struck me so much more as pictures in my camera than by the painting I've seen on a wall many times. It is so 'famous' that it's easy to overlook, or under consider.

Perhaps that's what I've been doing too much of: under considering. I am usually plagued with the opposite affliction: over thinking. Well, at least that's what everybody always seems to accuse me of. But the under-considering is an equal danger, perhaps even more so.

I will try to do neither today, though it is a constant challenge. Like the two famed characters in the painting.

The fading of a madman.

addendum: I wanted to write more about these pictures but I am exhausted and beaten, all self-inflicted, but beaten nonetheless. It takes too much time to recover from anything any more. I am going to San Francisco this weekend and I am terrified. We're celebrating a good friend's 40th birthday in Sonoma and then Halloween in San Fran the next night, then straight home and back to work on a 6 day stretch. I don't know how I ever used to do this sort of thing professionally. I don't know what else I was going to say about these pictures but I felt there was more to say. I have been warned not to opine, but since when have I heeded warnings? Peligroso, Achtung, Opinions!!!!...etc…..

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

a mean kind of fun

"Some people call politics fun, and maybe it is when you're winning. But even then it's a mean kind of fun, and more like the rising edge of a speed trip that anything peaceful or pleasant. Real happiness, in politics, is a wide-open hammer shot on some poor bastard who know's he's trapped, but can't flee."

-Hunter S. Thompson


I am filled with strange obsessions. I follow them through and they lead me to where I've been before. I'm told it is neurosis. It feels neurotic, it must be. I must widen my tastes for pleasures and rediscover the simple ones. It is not that I am reluctant to do so. In the past year I have discovered new joys, which is even better than pleasure, they say… joy.

Yesterday was my birthday, again. We celebrated the day before. I was not in the room when they sang me "happy birthday." I hadn't known they would. I wish they hadn't. It is just that after 42 birthdays I feel stupid standing in a bar having a song sung to me, though of course it is a sweet thing that they do this. It is done from love, but it makes me feel silly.

My wife and I celebrated my birthday yesterday by lying in bed and watching a couple of my favorite comedies and ordering food. I had two beers and a salad and a medium-rare steak. Afterwards I had ice cream, two different pints, though I only finished one of them. Two would have been overdoing it.

I finished half of the second this morning on an empty stomach. It is the inertia of certain things that must be fought, they say. There is no joy in repetition, others say. One must always be on guard against the carrying out of empty ritual. Though it is not always easy to see when one's rituals have become empty. They always seem to hold some charm, some special meaning for the initiate, for the believer, in the moment of belief. They must seem senseless and strange to the outsider. But rarely does anyone ever want to compare rituals, to be forced to examine the emptiness and strangeness of their own. They will fight to keep them sacred.

Overdoing it. That is what they've called it. Overdoing it with ice cream.

"Ride this train up and down and across a strange and wonderful land."
- Johnny Cash, "Ride this Train"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

...he had traded on it.

"She shot very well this good, this rich bitch, this kindly caretaker and destroyer of talent. Nonsense. He had destroyed his talent himself. Why should he blame this woman because she kept him well? He had destroyed his talent by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook. What was this? A catalog of old books? What was his talent anyway? It was a talent all right but instead of using it, he had traded on it. It was never what he had done, but always what he could do. And he had chosen to make his living with something else other than a pen or a pencil. It was strange, too, wasn't it, that when he fell in love with another woman, that woman should always have more money than the last one? But when he no longer was in love, when he was only lying, as to this woman, now, who had the most money of all, who had all the money there was, who had had a husband and children, who had taken lovers and been dissatisfied with them, and who loved him dearly as a writer, as a man, as a companion and as a proud possession; it was strange that when he did not love her at all and was lying, that he should be able to give her more for her money than when he had really loved."

-Ernest Hemingway, "The Snows Of Kilimanjaro"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Send in the Calvary….

I'm having problems with this aging friend of mine. He's not a bad guy, but he just keeps having run-ins with the law and I don't know what to do. He's gotten older and his mind is starting to slip at an astonishing rate. Last week he got into the wrong car and drove off. It wasn't exactly stealing but you can understand how the law looks on things like this. The car's registration had lapsed so they had to haul him in. I'm not sure who bailed him out but I question if it was the best thing for him. He's been misplacing things and he's becoming forgetful.

Like I said he's not a bad guy, but what am I to do? I worry about his police record. I don't even bother trying to call him on his cell phone any more. He never knows where it is and I don't want to alarm him with the thing going off and him not being able to find it.

He caused such a problem at the DMV that two women had to mace and subdue him, such is their state-funded training.

Just the other day he shit himself in a movie theater. Again, they had to call in the cops. He had fallen asleep during a Woody Allen film, as the others were leaving the theater they tried to wake him. He had stopped snoring so they were worried. He's becoming an increased nuisance to the charming little society he lives in. He's always been a trouble maker, of sorts. He was in a "punk" rock band that once opened for Abe Lincoln, at least that's what he claims.

I couldn't find anything on the internet about it… but as I was searching the symptoms... I was directed to a few interesting articles on the effects of menopause.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Merry Christmas…!!!

The holiday season is coming. For once I am looking forward to them. Something has changed. There isn't the usual dread and emptiness.

It's not that I am a grinch but it's just that they seem to require so much effort and energy at times. The holidays can be very demanding in an odd way. Cheeriness can be exhausting.

But this year I am eager for them. I'm looking forward to the coziness of winter, the romance of falling snow, the time spent with friends, all of it.

Merry Christmas everybody….

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jameson Whiskey

I woke up and felt guilty again. Memories of the night before creeping back to me, ashamed of themselves. They crept back very slowly, one at a time. I went out drinking with some friends after work. It all started innocently enough, with nice cold beer. But then I burst through the whiskey window, with cape on, bullhorn in throat, ready for action… demanding it.

I don't know why I ever choose to drink whiskey after beer. It always seems like a good idea, a wonderful launching point for great possibilities. It rarely ends up that way.

So few poems are written in that state, by me.

Earlier in the evening I distinctly remember offering some useful advice for drinking whiskey. Never tilt your head back, always just tilt the glass towards your lips, sipping the whiskey, slowly. As soon as your head goes back then you are very likely gulping it and you deserve whatever happens to you. It acts as kerosene on the mind, and flame.

It is also very likely that nobody else deserves whatever it is that happens to you.

I only had one, I think. I remember one.

After venting my wisdom on these poor souls for an hour or two I suddenly decided to get on my bike and ride home through late-night Manhattan traffic. Pure class. Part of me should have gotten hit, or slapped, or put in a head-lock. Anything….

I woke up and everything seemed intact. Though tact really should not be included in that sentence.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

…the signs of decay

I am struggling. I want to create something of beauty but am not giving myself the time to. I rush from one place to the next then back to the other without ever getting any satisfaction from any of it. I drink too much coffee. It makes me nervous. I come home from work and drink beer, which makes me lethargic. I awake from a night of restless sleep and drink more coffee. This goes on and on without visible end. I am trapped in a T.S. Eliot poem.

The flower above was once more than what remains here. One glance at it and it can be sensed. It is on its way out. All beauty is loss. It has given off its best richness, the signs of decay have begun to show. Time is a trap, the ultimate paradox. The more we gain the less we have.

I sit and write this on a short break from work; the need to escape, to get outside my responsibilities, even for a moment, to have some place of solace, away from the maddened world. To try and make some sense out of what I have become. One glance and it can be sensed.


I feel like I am busking lately. Well, not far off. I have a job, but... it is something that just takes time from other things. Sometimes I wish I were just singing songs somewhere for money. Just playing the guitar and singing well enough to have people stop and listen.

I once read about an experiment done in the Boston subway. A guest virtuoso violinist took a multi-million dollar violin (Stradivarius maybe?) down into the subway and played one of the most difficult to play yet beautiful pieces of music ever written for the violin. I forget who the composer was but I want to say Bach or Beethoven, it was definitely a recognizable name. During the entire performance only one person stopped, a young boy, who was rushed away by his mother after being allowed to listen for only a few minutes. As far as I can recollect from the story nobody else stopped to listen. That was the point of the article.

It was a deeply contrived experiment of sorts, but perhaps a telling one.

The same question occurred to me that I'm sure occurred to you… Boston has a subway?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The battle of St. Paul De Vence

(All pictures taken on previous reconnaissance missions)

So, the early-night battle of Saint-Paul De Vence.... the story must be told...

My wife and I were on our honeymoon in the South of France. We had been resting peacefully and enjoying the food and wine. On the next to the last evening of us being there, inside the walls of the elevated city, we sat and enjoyed wine with our evening meal. There at a table near us, just outside the restaurant, under the awning, at a rectangular table, sat a large German family. It was difficult to tell whose children were whose. There were 5 or 6 of them, several women within child-bearing strike range, and one quite rotund patriarch seated at the inner corner of the table, with his back to the side wall, facing outwards towards the small avenue at the outside southern wall of the city. We all sat and watched as the sun went down and just after...

As we sat and drank red wine after our dinner the children began to appear restless, perhaps from sitting too long with such dull adults. My wife and I were the only others in the restaurant, so their attention slowly began to turn to us, one by one and little by little their eyes began to focus. I noticed that one of the young boys had what appeared to be a toy gun. My wife went to the restroom and on her way back she attempted to verbally engage a few of them in their native tongue. They were clearly trained to deal with this sort of thing and responded in genuine childlike confusion. How could an American be speaking fluent German they wondered.... I chuckled to myself , but sat taut in preparation, not allowing the wine to interfere with my judgement. I could feel it tugging at me like a drunk teenager trying to get me to go skinny-dipping... but these were dangerous times, clearly there was menace in the air. Now that the enemy had been confronted directly it was only a matter of time before violence broke out, possibly more. My wife and I were in foreign territory, without backup, though not completely cut off from supply lines, but still without open lines of communication, not nearly enough arms, never enough armament for a situation like this. Why had I been so thoughtless to not bring heavier artillery with me... I had only my hand gun which I stealthily kept hidden in my pocket.

Perhaps they could detect that I was a lone trained killer, a pedigreed assassin, sent on a very specific mission: to guard and defend, at any cost, the southern wall of Saint-Paul De Vence.

Without a word between us my wife realized that it was immediately time to pay the bill and depart, we were jeopardizing ourselves and our mission by staying any longer. We asked for the bill as naturally as if we were reclining on the beaches of Ibiza. The bill came, we paid it without a hint of haste. As we stood to leave the room suddenly grew darker. There was an unexpected tenseness in the air. I could see that each and every child at the table snapped to quick attention and became fixed on our every move. We were in trouble and we both knew it. I kept one hand in my pocket holding the shape of the gun that waited there for action. I couldn't tell if they could see it or not as it was the exact shape and size of my hand, and I did all that I could to make it seem as natural as if it were only that, a hand. I could see on the table that the two boys had some pretty heavy firepower, one of them was a gun as large as an adult arm. I wondered how he carried such a thing, though it was clearly made of some special lightweight material for just this purpose. German engineering....

The three girls sat staring at us without nearly as much malice as their male counterparts, though they each had some concealed article of their own. Who knew what poison trap lay inside any one of those dolls or any other veiled feminine plaything. We had to make our move swiftly and pray that there was no altercation in the next few moments, there was only a handful of steps between us and the avenue where we, at the very least, had a fighting chance.

As we passed the table, my wife in front of me, as cool as Ilsa Lund entering Rick's Cafe for the first time with Victor Laszlo. I turned and nodded to the fat patriarch in the corner, as is the custom, then to each of the women in all of a single second motion. They nodded back, and even smiled. Then we were on the street. We swiftly turned towards the right where safety, a communications depot, and hopefully reinforcement waited. Neither of us could be sure, neither of us expected what happened next.

There was a burst of excited talking in youthful German, the frenzy of childlike expectancy. Then the celebratory sound of chaos. By this time we were already 8-10 meters down the avenue from the restaurant. I coached Ilsa not to turn and look. I held her gently by her arm, but hurried her along, all I could think of now was her safety. There were the sounds of scurrying feet behind us, it was impossible to tell how many there were, but we were clearly outnumbered. The voices rose in a fever pitch of attack. I turned, and in doing so turned Ilsa with me, so that we were face to face with the enemy, looking into the eyes of fate. Yes, we were outnumbered but they were coming at us as if they had no ground warfare or counter-insurgency training whatsoever. The two boys with guns led the charge but they were close together, behind them there were three girls, skipping along, each with their unknown cotton weapons of savagery, though one seemed to be possibly empty-handed. I made a mental note to keep one eye always on her. It was difficult to tell what treachery she had laid in store for us, and what did it matter at this point, confrontation seemed inevitable.

Clearly the two in front meant business and there was going to be trouble. We turned and faced them fully and demanded to know what their business was, and what was the idea of such an accosting. Oh, they pretended not to speak much English then. Though they had not been trained very well in guerilla street fighting techniques, as I had, clearly they had some counter-espionage training.

My wife said a few things to them in German and the girls began giggling. I don't think any of them could have possibly realized how close it came to a shootout right then and there. I would have asked what she was saying, and what their response was, but I knew to keep my eyes firmly targeted on the two ruffians in front with the plastic hardware howitzers. So I kept my cool, but just barely. I'm certain they could detect my eagerness to do battle by the smile at the corner of my eye, a certain surliness to my smirk.

One of them stayed locked on my right hand. I thought for sure that he would ask me to empty the pocket but for now he merely kept a steely-eyed vigil on it, with his finger pressed against the trigger of his cannon. Nobody had raised a gun yet, but now it was the time for some questions. Where were we from? What were we doing here? Were we married? Standard military stuff.

The questioning came to a close and at what I felt was the appropriate time Ilsa and I turned and began to walk back towards our camp, they hadn't even checked our transit papers or passports. I could hear the feet behind us, following. They trailed closely but not too closely. We could hear their verbal transmissions from one to another but neither of us could decipher their meaning. They spoke in some strange German dialect of which Ilsa was not familiar. We both kept ready. These were the times of code.

We made it almost halfway down the avenue towards safety when the first shot rang out. I turned immediately returned a salvo of shots across their entire flank. They were not expecting this, I could see. In the noisy confusion of battle all I could think was that we needed cover and we needed cover immediately. We both ran for it, with me shooting over my shoulder to try and create some.

The sound of battle can sometimes sound just as the sound of glee, and that was what we had chasing us. To the untrained ear it might have sounded as if there were just 5 German children running along a vacation locale at night, eagerly chasing some bumbling Americans, but we were doomed. There was very little cover to be found and the rapidity of the gunfire behind us was increasing exponentially. The sound of gunfire filled the air, both mine and theirs. I knew that I didn't have enough ammo to keep things going at this level so I would let them fire in rapid succession and only return fire when they had ceased, only one or two well-placed and strategic shots. It was all I could do. We were outnumbered, outgunned, outside, and out of wine.... We had to escape.

As we worked our way down the avenue, me providing cover fire for Ilsa to make it to the next doorway, it began to occur to me that they were getting further and further from their base camp. Without knowing exactly what type of artillery those demons were hiding in their dolls I started to surmise that we might actually be able to get them to exhaust their firepower. I kept daringly sticking my head out from behind whatever corner I had retreated to so that they would keep up a steady pace of ricocheting bullets around me. As soon as it would stop I would make a crazed dash for the next available bit of cover. A corner, or a short wall, the base of a statue, anything.

Then I got hit. One of them had snuck up on me so boldly I was unprepared. I stepped out from a doorway to make a run for the next possible place of cover and there he was, standing in the middle of the street laughing, looking right at me, his persuader leveled with the dangerous end pointed in my direction. I saw the flash from the gun and felt the impact all in the same frozen instant. I went to the ground on one knee, turned and got off one round that luckily made him flinch just long enough for me to roll towards a car that partially blocked his view of me. I was trapped, with nowhere safe to run, up against the proverbial wall.... Where was Ilsa, oh God, where was she... please let me know that she's made it away safely. My life had only one purpose now, to do whatever it took to ensure her escape. I stared up into the starry sky, lifted my leg, and gently farted. My wound was not so bad. It was serious, yes. But I could still giggle at a fart, and that meant, as anybody knows, there was still life left in me, and fight....

As I lay there and looked further down the avenue I realized that indeed Ilsa had made it all the way down to the city gate, where the cannon was pointed so tellingly outwards. I looked at where I had been hit in the arm. It was only a surface wound but it was bleeding, or was that just some red wine? I couldn't tell and there was no time to take chances. I jumped up and started retreating to the next doorway. Only this was no doorway. When I reached it I realized that this was an avenue leading back up towards the peak of the southern wall, far behind enemy lines. I shook my head at my luck. I was astonished that they had left their rear flank so unprotected. I could still hear them up there, their barbaric screams of laughter filling the night air, still the occasional sound of celebratory gunfire in the distance.

I ran for it. I booked up that dark avenue knowing that this was not only to survive but with some luck, for full victory. I ran as quietly and as quickly as I could. If this dark passageway occurred to them before I made it behind their lines then I was trapped, and fatally doomed. I knew it. It was death or glory only. The rhythm of my running became a prayer for Ilsa's safety, with each secret step I deepened my pact with whatever god might have been listening at the time, anything. By the time I reached the top of the hill and the outer entranceway to the tunnel road I turned and then suddenly I was a god... Each of them was there with their backs to me, still looking off into the darkness, giggling their curses towards us, basking in their assumed victory.

I opened fire.

The explosion of disbelief from their garrison was immediate. I had them cut off from supplies, had effectively isolated them from their base camp, and was now eliminating them as skillfully as a sommelier dismisses cheap wines at an all-night bordello. The bullets rang out like fireworks. The anguished cries of defeat rose from their two primary soldiers, their worthiest adversaries. Had it not been their final moment of doom the sound could have easily been misunderstood as laughter. Easily.

But no, there was no laughter ringing out on the southern wall of St. Paul De Vence that night. Just a group of soldiers who strayed too far from their camp, and very likely, from their orders. They paid the ultimate sacrifice. It is only a shame that they didn't live to learn from their mistake, laid low by the hubris of power.

Fallen soldiers....

And then of course there was us, the lovers, united in battle, but still apart, neither knowing the fate of either, nor the combined fate of us both.

Once I had secured the area and relieved the fallen of their arms I took off on foot as stealthily as was humanly possible. Across the cobbled stones the sound of my feet and the light of the moon became one with the pounding of my heart. I pitied those fallen for their cause, but that is how things go. It was my cause now that awaited me, and I ran to her. It was daybreak when I found her, half-asleep in a village garden, surrounded by spring, but very much alive and eagerly awaiting my return. She gently nursed my wine stains back to health there.

We prepared our departure. Our mission complete....

That is the true but little-known tale of the battle for the southern wall of Saint-Paul De Vence, Spring of 2010.

Communique' fin.... or something like that...

- Rick Blaine, freedom fighter.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let the rain kiss you….

It will rain all day today.

This picture was from last year, and it is snow.

I am just thinking ahead.

"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby." ~Langston Hughes

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

... but I borrowed it

I've got a bike
You can ride it if you like
It's got a basket
A bell that rings
And things to make it look good
I'd give it to you if I could
But I borrowed it

You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world
I'll give you anything
Everything if you want things

I've got a cloak
It's a bit of a joke
There's a tear up the front
It's red and black
I've had it for months
If you think it could look good
Then I guess it should

You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world
I'll give you anything
Everything if you want things

I know a mouse
And he hasn't got a house
I don't know why
I call him Gerald
He's getting rather old
But he's a good mouse

You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world
I'll give you anything
Everything if you want things

I've got a clan of gingerbread men
Here a man
There a man
Lots of gingerbread men
Take a couple if you wish
They're on the dish

You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world
I'll give you anything
Everything if you want things

I know a room full of musical tunes
Some rhyme
Some ching
Most of them are clockwork
Let's go into the other room and make them work

-Syd Barrett, "Bike"

(uncredited photo found on internet)

Sears Roebuck and Co.

Life is just abject and unashamed industry. Living in Manhattan and having any job at all is not as bad as having a good job and living in Hackensack, New Jersey. But it couldn't be far off, I guess.

I never have the time to do all the things that I want to do. My life is filled with the things that I need to do, or must.

I have a story I want to tell, though I'm not sure how to start. It is a thing that I want to preserve. I must. It is the tale of a little-known battle for the southern wall of Saint-Paul De Vence. The campaign was over almost as quickly as it began, with undetermined consequences for both sides…

Another day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crimson and Clover

Nothing to tell today. I have exhausted myself of weirdness for the time being.

But soon I'll be back….

I have a story I want to tell, to preserve it. It involves international warfare and diplomacy, sort of.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

the gods of transit

As I sat eating my lunch today on MacDougal Street in Soho, just outside the park I noticed several women walking along with a look of anguished concentration. It seemed as if they walked just a little bit faster then they might break into tears, or a stride. It is a familiar look in New York. Everybody is in such a hurry, and those who are not in a hurry are of a few kinds, mostly to be avoided.

So, women... I notice them more than men. In that noticing I have seen a few things. Women in New York are trying very hard; trying to get somewhere, trying to get a job, trying to succeed, trying to find a mate, trying to convince their mate to marry them, trying to avoid being watched, trying to look good, trying to buy shoes, trying to buy handbags, trying to try, trying to get there. They are quite tried.

There was one woman in particular today, walking along with express intent. A look of concentration on her face that was not that dissimilar, other than her eyes being open, from the look on a woman's face as she is attempting to navigate towards an orgasm, before the noises start, when there is just the severe look of concealed concentration... off having orgies in Spain, firemen, public spankings, who knows, etc. It is often a look of almost childlike concentration. There is a furrowing around the eyes and a slight wrinkling of the forehead, the mind constricting around its idea of pleasure.  With the look of sought focus, and promise.

Of course, when walking with eyes open, it all changes. It is all different with the eyes open in the daytime, in Soho. There is a direction, but with very different purpose, and they are of course upright and mobile, as I had said, but there is an almost stern look of anguish on the face, a need to get somewhere, and the attending focus of getting to that place, at whatever cost, whether it be resting pleasurably afterwards on terraces in Spain, dressed in silks, being fed wine by foreign and familiar lovers, or simply just late for an appointment. Who knows what exotic practices emerge in that space, or what dull ones.

All it takes is to ask your lover "where were you?" after a particularly intense orgasm to see that it must be a private, familiar and hopefully shameful place indeed.

Or, ask any stranger why they're in such a hurry to be the recipient of vaguely hostile dismissiveness.

The gods of transit are only sometimes the gods of pleasure.

(unknown painting, Soho street art)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This is not a technical support line...

I must not understand anything.

Let me give you some back-story... I work for a computer company doing technical support. So, I get anywhere from 3 to 5 calls/texts/emails/random bar conversations/etc./etc./etc. each and every week asking me for some sort of technical support. It is usually something well outside my area of knowledge, but always well within their area of need.

There is no easy way to say, I'm sorry but I can't help you. Or, I can't help your friend, or the friend of your friend, or anybody, right now, I'm trying to do many difficult and easy things with my own life.

No matter what you respond with they will trot out their problem to you. Even when you have already repeatedly expressed to them that you have no way of helping, and talking about technical problems is not what you most prefer on your time off; neither is the history of computing, nor where to buy necessary components, nor when new models will be released, nor why you can't get wi-fi at sea, nor can you get them a discount on a new computer, Norton... nor-anything.

None of this works, no matter how many times you try.

All they see is that you can help them, and you should help them: they would help you, etc.

But they work in an industry where people don't stalk them the way that they stalk somebody with technical skills. They work at The Pottery Barn, where the discount they get is very straightforward and untransferable, except in the most domestic and suburban of ways. Or, they work in finance.... I have never asked somebody in finance to give either me or somebody I know money because they need "help." This simple request is actually far less complicated than most of the requests I get.

The requests I get almost always involve much of my time and expense, and the the person I am supposed to help, who I usually hardly know at all, if at all, assumes the expenses involved are me trying to rape them. I believe it is car mechanics who have made people feel this way. You always have to just trust them and it always cost more than you hoped it would.

But no money should ever change hands when you are just "helping" a "friend"... or even a friend of a friend, ad infinitum.

I am going to adopt this attitude when dealing with all of my "friends"... dental work will suddenly cost me nothing, a little short on cash... nothing to worry about, I have lots of friends in finance, need some new clothes? but, of course, I have many friends in fashion, need some time off? well, fuck me, I've got friends that do nothing at all.... I never thought about how truly wonderful this world can be. If I feel like having a beer: I have friends that drink. When I feel like sleeping: I know people who have died. If I'd like to feel young: I know kids. If assumed wisdom is what I seek: I know so many soon-to-be corpses it would take a plague to deprive me of any freshly atrophied opinions.

Oh god, please make it stop.....

I must not understand anything at all.

Alarm: fear resulting from the awareness of danger

New York is alarming. It is constant. The garbage trucks have alarms on them that never stop. Whether the truck is moving or not, be assured that it's sending out a very high pitch and very loud, repeating alarm. It's as if they're collecting trash in the shower at The Bates Motel.

My friend suggested that it is OSHA that has done all of this to us. The Reagan years. "Safety First"... I wonder if there was ever a follow-up study to any of this. How many minutes, or days, or weeks are these trucks shaving off of our lives because they put us in a near perpetual state of fight-or-flight. There is no escape, and if you tried, there is an alarm for that too.

I can hear the trucks now. I have been hearing them all morning. One truck will go up one side of the street, then another will go up the other side of the street, slowly collecting trash as they go. Sometimes a third or fourth truck will go up my street, I'm never sure why. Perhaps there are trucks that just roam around making sure everyone is alarmed to the fact that they're picking up the trash. They emit this auditory treachery whether they're moving forward like a normal vehicle or not. It makes no sense. I don't think I've ever noticed it in any other city in the world, outside of America. But I am trapped by it here most of all, almost non-stop.

I can still hear two trucks now, only a street or two away; their alarms slightly out of sync though in the same key, the key of dismayed and distant horror, forever returning, like a demented drunk siren.

Though, sometimes when I am awoken by it, and still half in that dream state it just sounds like simple feminine alacrity, the sound of eager readiness, like a cheerleader talking in the other room. Now that there are two of them in the distance it sounds as if it's just twits chatting at a distance, endlessly repeating the same encouraging consternation and eternal readiness.

Ok, I'm a curmudgeon. I get it. But I just feel that the world didn't have to be this way and nobody seems able or willing to fight it, me most of all. I somehow can't resign myself to it, the way everybody and my wife wishes that I could, and still so deeply bothered by it that I can't let it go.

I see why people completely freak-out in this city. Just walk the streets of New York and you will see endless numbers of people who have to listen to these exact same garbage trucks every other morning. Look into their eyes. No, wait, don't do that. Definitely don't do that. Bad advice.

My phone has alarms in it, the computer of course, the front door to my apartment has an alarm on it, every piece-of-crap car parked on my street and every other seems to have an alarm or two in it, I work in a place that has security alarms, the firemen and police have their special alarms, even the ice-cream trucks have child-friendly alarms on them. This maddening Dutch carnival tune that acts on them in complete antithesis to the effect it has on me.

It is all a raping of the mind of man.

What is most perverse about this system is that a normal person reading this post will see me as the alarming part of it all. Me. I am the thing to be worried about. One semi-sane man willing to try to speak up over the alarms and offer some reason in this maddened and overly-alarmed world. A dangerous thing for sure, and I hadn't even mentioned guns yet.

In my almost 12 years of living in New York I don't believe I've ever once heard an alarm that was from an actual break-in, or attempted theft, or actual danger (unless you're a deaf child that falls asleep behind moving garbage trucks from time to time). It's just the perpetuity of an insane need to pre-assert that this store, or car, or pile of garbage is safe from any attempt of malicious danger from the universe. I think we should start installing small alarms in every bag of trash that gets taken out to the street so the garbagemen don't hurt themselves on them. I'm amazed that the city, and the insurance companies, and the union haven't banded together and demanded this, for the sake of all involved. Each shoe should have an alarm built into it that goes off just before it hits the ground.

Oh Christ.... It's a beautiful day, I should be chasing chemtrails....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bourbon St., NYC

Getting a flat tire on your bike is not the worst thing that can happen to you. I got one last night, I know. I noticed it as soon as I set the bike down on the pavement, heard that empty metallic sound of the wheel rim hitting concrete nearly unimpeded. I felt the subtle difference in height between the front and the back tire. I immediately knew. I had to walk my bike home in the rain. I knew that too.

My neighborhood is getting dangerous. It never felt this way before. Two friends have been attacked in the last two months. Neither of them was hurt very badly, but both had to go to the hospital. As I was walking my bike home last night the neighborhood seemed very seedy and dangerous again, but not in the way that I used to like, to enjoy. Maybe it was the rain, or that I was walking my bike along and felt less able to run, or glide, through places where I perhaps would have before.

The neighborhood used to be filled with artists and poets and musicians, eccentrics of all types. Yes, many of them were also troubled drug-addicts, but some of them were at least creators, most of them were reasonably harmless towards others. Now the neighborhood is filled with CPA's and lawyers, the wives and babies of soon-to-be money men, consumers to the core, a corp of consumers.

So, when the economy gets bad crime goes up. The East Village becomes a target-rich environment. Though neither of my two friends were accountants they were apparently the targets of friendly fire-storms.

My favorite bars and hangouts have now become places where you'll often see somebody still wearing a tie from their day at the office. That was never seen 10 years ago in these places, or only as a post-post-modern joke. The owners of the bars seem happy, of course. They are almost unanimously raising the price of their drinks. Some places offer table service now. These are places that would hardly offer to mop the bathrooms before, even after a vomit incident, and now they're selling $200 bottles of vodka, with little "reserved" signs on tables on the weekends.

The signs should read: reversed… the new and improved dyslexic Alphateb City

On my way home there were two men clearly up to no good on a particularly dark street last night. They were standing very close to one another, both intently focused on something held between them. It was drugs, I was sure. I recognized the ferocity of attention that I have seen so many times before. The nervous, quick looking around, but always looking back, like a new driver, the nervous student, never taking their eyes off the prize for more than a second or two, hands at 10 and 2, one foot on the gas.

Perhaps I am just getting older. I am beginning to want my neighborhood to be a nice and safe place, even if a few accountants do move in here and there. I never wanted to live on Bourbon Street, though that is exactly what the neighborhood has become in the last 4-5 years, especially on the weekends. A group of girls attacked the cab my wife and I were in and then tried to start a fight with us. All night there are the random sounds of drunken revelry or worse, fights and slurred full-volume arguments.

I went to get my bike tire fixed this morning. I could have fixed it myself but I didn't feel like getting my hands greasy. I guess I didn't want it affecting my job interview at Big Money, Cash, Stocks and Bonds, Inc... What would normally cost about $10-$12 came to $18, labor included. I did a quick calculation in my head… an accounting of sorts.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The feel of a thing

The world feels flat today. It looks flat too. I bet it is.

The rains have come, along with the colder winds, though not truly cold yet it is easy to imagine the world tilting away from the sun.

I feel like an empty gum-ball dispenser. I am certain that it is work that makes me feel this way. I miss the days of living in New York without a job, though I have gotten very used to having it. It is not so much that I like having the job but I see the charm in doing things. I spent many, many years as a very lazy man. Having a job makes me want to do things with my time off, and each day becomes more precious in that regard.

Everyone will be jealous of my new camera…. I will write it a love letter and leave it lying out, to be found. I've never felt so sneaky in all of my life. It just feels right.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

When a psychic is called for

I need to summon a psychic. None of my normal attempts at things are working. I talk myself through any number of situations, then once I feel that I have the various elements understood and accounted for, I communicate those ideas to whomever I should.

That's when things start to fall apart. I'm not sure if I've lost my sense of reason or humor, or both. Even harmless situations and communiques become some form of misunderstood embarrassment. Though my capacity for shame is diminishing in an inverted exponential way in relation to most of these situations, and people.

Perhaps I need the guidance of a spiritual counselor, somebody who can tell me what I need to hear, and to face the hard facts of the universe... someone who will explain the intricate mysteries of humanity to me so that I can see clearly, where before I saw only veiled confusion and opaque befuddlement.

Who knows.....

It just comes as quite a relief that in all of the confusing situations I've created that none of them have served to impede the endless flow of cocaine into any of my friend's bodies. That, of course, would have been a real psychic disaster.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I woke up and immediately felt guilty, some vague memory of late night-last minute gibberish about me not buying the camera I want, the camera that I need....

That is, of course, absurd. It is a thing of beauty and it will soon be mine. You can see it here.

I woke up and in that dazed state felt as if I had cheated on, had physically betrayed, my current camera. Luckily they will not make me hand it over when I buy my new one... though they probably should.

What a silly, drink-crazed night.... I have been bitten by, and suffer the sickness of, the photography bug. I feel like a drugged beast at the last rotten craps table in crooked old Atlantic City, desperate for action, bleary-eyed and hoarse from drink and ceaseless talk of the near endless possibilities, forever looking for more, frantically searching for whatever happens next, in frenzied hope of any last remnant of chance.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I am ruined.

A photographer friend came to town.

We discussed the inverted relationship (ratio) of focal length to aperture width,


barrel distortion,

emulation of film speed,

digital vs. analog,


d. vs. dslr

spectator vs. observer

now vs. then

then vs. soon

soon vs. the future

soon, the future.

i give up.

he made me realize that i am happy.

my limitations are suiting me well.

my camera is right in front of my eye.

he has a d700, of course.