Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And if you ever turn around....You'll see me

The other day I watched the movie Adam on HBO. It's a beautifully told story of a young man with Aspergers Syndrome and a budding romance he has as he begins to strike out onto the world on his own. Hugh Dancy's performance as Adam is spot on.

Without tieing things up in a neat little Hollywood bow, Adam shows what happens when there is understanding, compassion and an open heart toward people who see and experience the world differently. It also faces the reality of such things with bittersweet honesty, especially in that way that depending too much on someone holds you back, yet that dependence can be the launching point for something greater for you both.

The movie has stuck with me for the last several days. Haunted me really. If you've read any of my previous blogs on Aspergers you'll immediately assume that I think much about my daughter when thinking about this movie, and you would be right. But there is much in the character of Adam that reminds me of myself in a lot of ways. I think I'll save that for another blog though.

I've been thinking much of my daughter who is now 20 and not long away from striking out on her own. The song that comes at the end of the film is one of very beautiful and simple words of encouragement and the kind of words I wish I had gotten in my youth. The kind of words I want to tell my daughter now and holds in her head and heart in the moments before, during and after she walks on stage in a year and a half to take that diploma after 4 years of struggle, growth, frustration and triumph.

This is for my beautiful 20 year old daughter who is becoming an articulate and wise young woman even as she hangs on to many of the trappings of childhood, as many of us do at that age before learning to let go and walk on.

Can't Go Back Now
Written and Performed by the weepies

Yesterday, when you were young,
Everything you needed done was done for you.
Now you do it on your own
But you find you're all alone,
What can you do?

You and me walk on
Cause you can't go back now.

You know there will be days when you're so tired that you can't take another step,
The night will have no stars and you'll think you've gone as far as you will ever get

But you and me walk on
Cause you can't go back now
And yeah, yeah, go where you want to go
Be what you want to be,
If you ever turn around, you'll see me.

I can't really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself

And you and me walk on
Yeah you and me walk on
Cause you can't go back now
Walk on, walk on, walk on
You can't go back now

Friday, November 5, 2010

My letter to Phil Griffin regarding Keith Olbermann

Dear Mr. Griffin, (

It strikes me as quite an over reaction to suspend Keith Olbermann for his small contributions to two political candidates.

I understand that there are provisions in his contract and that he failed to inform your company before hand as he is obligated to. An employer does indeed have the right to reprimand it's employees as it sees fit. However an indefinite suspension is an act better saved for someone under indictment for a serious crime or perhaps something truly damaging to the reputation of the employer. This does not fit that category. Perhaps a more reasonable reaction would have been a defined suspension or the docking of pay over a fixed period of time.

This act however punishes your audience and only creates animosity. MSNBC after all, is a network struggling between 2nd and 3rd place. Showing such disrespect over what amounts to a hill of beans will only turn off what few viewers you have.

You're action demonstrates your own personal view of the situation rather than reasonable business thinking. Countdown is your highest rated show with a very loyal following. Mr. Olbermann himself has been a strong influence on your evening line up with has resulted in more weeks of MSNBC as number 2 rather than number 3 in the ratings of the 3 cable news networks.

Understand that I also believe that NPR should not have fired Juan Williams for his strange statements made on the Fox Network, nor Rick Sanchez' firing from CNN for his ridiculous statements. Much as I understand the employers reasons, there were better ways to handle that situation and created dialog over important issues. I tell you this because I want to assure you that I am not merely writing as an outraged viewer who agrees with Mr. Olbermann's positions (In fact I often disagree with him with respect). I am writing as a viewer who finds himself being treated with neglect and carelessness.

I urge you to rethink your decision. In the meantime, until such time as Mr. Olbermann is returned to the evening line up, I will not be watching any programming on MSNBC at all. Nor will I stream Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell or Ed Schultz as I often do on my home computer. I will seek my news sources elsewhere.


Monday, November 1, 2010

My Trip to the Rally to Restore Sanity, Part Two: Sanity Restored...somewhat

Having gotten my anger out on the bus situation yesterday I can now write about the aspects of Saturday’s trip that were rather pleasant.

The first, I have to say, was the people. I mentioned John and Kyla from early in the morning, waiting in the “line”, not knowing what was up, but enjoying a beautiful sunrise.

I didn’t get any sleep. In order to make sure I was at Willet’s Point by 5:30 I needed to make sure I was out my door by 3:30 or so as the trek from Brooklyn can be problematic. A fairly long A train ride followed by almost the entire length of the 7 line. If I had had any brain at all I’d have taken Nyquil at about 8pm and slept til 2 or 3. But sleep didn’t come, so I made breakfast at 2am and drank a few mugs of coffee, then showered, then out the door.

I was reminded of how much of a party town New York can be, because I saw a lot of people going home after early Halloween parties at 4ish am while I was just starting my day.

I saw this couple whom I had thought were going to the Rally and had formed a response to those teabagger signs of Obama as the joker when in fact, they were just heading home from a party. Still, great job on the costumes I must say.

Frustrating as the line and all the lack of organization was, it must be said that Citi Field is rather beautiful to look at in the dark. I hate that it, like so many stadiums, is named after a corporation rather than the team or a team icon. But I appreciate it's homage to Ebbet's Field.

Ummm, Arianna, stop posing and pay attention.

On the early part of the bus ride I had a nice conversation with the guy sitting next to me at the time. He and his wife were from Hawaii and visiting friends in Canada. They had come down to NYC specifically to get to the Rally. It was interesting to hear someone describe Hawaii with a sense of appreciative boredom. It made me feel a little better about feeling stuck in New York.

After the rest stop (which we didn’t really need, but since the bus was having an a/c problem we did get to switch out to a more comfortable bus) seating got moved around, and the new person next to me was sleeping. So I enjoyed what scenery there is on I95 and also managed to nap for about 25 minutes.

When we finally reached DC it was a thrill to get off the bus. Five hours of sitting like that really makes your ass sore. Especially when part of your ass is titanium and ceramic. This had a lot to do with my decision to walk rather than stand and wait and wait for the Metro.

I used the GPS on my iPhone as best I could, but mostly followed others who were also walking. I was still seething from how late we were and how much that lateness wasn’t being acknowledged when I was catching up to another young couple. Close enough to hear the woman say “I just feel like my day is now wasted. I could have gotten a lot of things done today and still seen the Rally on TV. The whole thing”. I felt compelled to say “Would it make you feel any better to know you’re not alone?”

The three of us instantly became friends. We continued the walk along Independence Avenue, a very beautiful street that reminds me very much of parts all over Brooklyn. I didn’t get any shots of the area, but honestly it looks like a cleaner, more refurbished version of some of my earlier walk through Brooklyn blogs. The couple; Jim and Sue are very sweet people and who despite being supremely pissed off had managed to enjoy what could be enjoyed. It made the frustration a bit easier to handle.

We finally reached the Capital Building where we encountered masses of people leaving the rally, which we took to mean it was over. It wasn’t…but as it turns out, we would not have been able to get to a place to see anything until it was.

It had been about 10 years since I was last in D.C., over 20 since I'd lived there briefly while on tour. I always remember that I like that town, though I forget how much. It really is, where it is not blighted, a beautiful city and I am filled with a sense of awe, wonder and national pride when I see the grace of the Capital Building.

Astoundingly hungry, sore and tired. We chose to turn back and find a place to eat as we had passed several nice looking restaurants a few blocks back.

A high point was seeing Donna Brazile heading down the hill as we turned to go back. She was talking on her phone (I think faking it to avoid too much attention, understandably) but I waved to her and gave her a thumbs up. I would like to have yelled “Kick Breitbart’s ass on Tuesday” to her but on the chance that she was sincerely talking I decided not to be that rude.

Timing is everything. That crowd I mentioned going the other way got to the restaurants before us and what seemed manageable on the way TO the Capital had become…well…ridiculous. The only place that had seats was a Thai place that had been converted from being some sort of little pub.

I’m not a fan of Thai food. I actually find it kind of boring and even more prone to the “hungry right after you eat it” syndrome than Chinese food. BUT…I don’t hate it and when it’s the only place you can eat..what the hell.

Turns out it was pretty good. Tastier than most, nothing I’d write home about or even put any energy into eating again, but it was nourishing and hot and delicious enough. What I DID love was the Thai beer that Jim and Sue talked up and ordered. Very very excellent. I recommend it highly. Chang Beer.

Jim and I talked a lot about the state of the media and how I was growing tired of pundit “analysis” shows and how we wished there were more Anderson Coopers and Richard Engels, etc. And we watched what was left of the rally on the TV as we ate and drank.

Sue, as it turns out, works with the daughter of a famous cable news journalist. I won’t mention the name here but I will say it is one of the ones that would more appropriately be found on the unemployment line than on the TV.

Jim and Sue.

Stewart’s closing speech was spot on as far as I was concerned. I may be a fan of Keith Olbermann, but Stewart has a point. And David Carr can kiss my ass until he fesses up that the media is indeed part of the problem, not just a “messenger”. Marshal McCluhen anyone?

But man…Tony Bennett singing the song that SHOULD be the National Anthem is a sublime pleasure.

Nothing overcomes anger and frustration like good conversation and company and a good buzz from a couple of beers. Seriously, unless you are an alcoholic, alcohol is a great remedy.

But we were running out of time to catch the bus back, a ride we were dreading. This is where we met Steven, the fella I talked about in yesterday’s blog who managed to get on the bus rides without having done a single thing we were required to do. We chatted and left the bar and headed toward the bus.

I mentioned how I didn’t want the buzz to fade and someone came up with the idea of getting something for the bus. To which one of us responded “We aren’t allowed to drink on the bus”.

The only possible answer to that was buy bottles of Coke and some rum and mix it.

Genius. We got some Captain Morgan Dark Spice Rum, 4 sixteen ounce bottles of coke and proceeded to make our survival kits. Buzz maintained…as well as the improved mood.

We got back to RFK which is a fascinating structure from the outside though I can see how as a baseball park it’s an epic fail.

There was more of the nonsense about wrist bands that were never checked, we got on the bus easily and by coincidence Jim, Sue and I happened to have the same driver we had coming in. A very funny woman who’s nickname was Miami Vice. She was awesome. Great sense of humor and really good at keeping us informed. She also managed to get us back to Citi Field about a half hour earlier than could be expected. That, I can absolutely appreciate.

Back in Queens, ass sore but spirits improved.

I said goodbye to Jim and Sue who were driving off to Long Island, and then goodbye to Steven who was off to his home not far in Queens. Steven, if you’re reading this, email me at Jim and Sue, please do the same, though I have Jim’s site.

Calculating the visuals for the blog posts and tired as hell, I got onto the 7 train, decided I couldn’t make my friend’s party in Hoboken and be any decent company at all.

Jim, by the way, is a musician and here is his band’s site:

Once home I collapsed and slept a solid non stop 9 hours. I can’t remember when I did that last. Maybe staying up all night and sitting on a bus for 12 hours total is what I need to do.

Favorite sign seen but not photographed "Make Inappropriate Sexual Suggestions, Not War"

Coming soon, I blog about conservatives I respect. It’s a short blog, but not as short as you might think.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Trip to the Rally to Restore Sanity, Part One: Sanity Lost.

I don’t like buses. In fact I hate them. To me, riding the bus is a necessary when absolutely unavoidable evil… root canal.

They are loud, bumpy, cramped and uncomfortable. In Brooklyn, the city buses are the best way to go and manageable, but beyond that, I’d rather be strapped into a chair Clockwork Orange style and forced to watch Glenn Beck give a chalkboard lecture.

So when Arianna Huffington announced so joyfully that she would provide free bus transportation for anyone wanting to get to the Rally To Restore Sanity, I hesitated. For a second. The word “free” generally helps me get over myself. By yesterday afternoon I was sorry I had heard about her offer at all.

Before I start on the disaster that Huffington established, let me say a few positive things because that would only be fair. I’ll even do it without qualifiers.

First, it was a good impulse and a great idea to begin with. After all, Freedom Works, the Koch Brothers and other Right Wing corporate funded groups go out of their way to bus in Teabaggers to their ridiculous events, so why not counter that with similar help? Good and nice idea. Plus this would provide the ability for people like me, of very little means of finance AND transportation to go, thus increasing the attendance numbers.

Second, great thinking to have the pick up point in New York City be at City Field in Flushing Queens and the D.C. drop off be at RFK stadium in Southeast Downtown. Both locations have the facility to handle multiple buses and have public transportation close by that also has the capacity to handle large crowds. RFK is also a reasonable if a little long walk to the National Mall.

Sadly, the thinking that went into this undertaking seems to have stopped abruptly at these two points.

Here is Arianna giving the same info on Countdown after her visit on Friday.

This was accurate, if by 6am you mean 8am.

Don’t for a second think that I am not taking into account the very large task it is to bus 10,000 plus people. It is a big job…very big…but it’s actually not a hard one. Not once you think it through.

Let me tell you what went wrong, then I’ll tell how simple it should have been for it to go right, barring acts of God.

Emails from HuffPo indeed instructed us to arrive by 5:30 check in so that buses would leave at 6am.

This was after having us register, then confirm, then a few days later RE-confirm. I don’t know why there needed to be a re-confirm, but there was. By the way, I had to email the bus organizers because I hadn’t received a clear confirmation that my re-confirmation had gone through. This was a first, though minor indication that something on the other end wasn’t working.

Trouble indicator; the time for a re-confirmation is within two days of the actual event, not two weeks. In that time people may have been able to make other arrangements (car rides with friends for example) or may not be able to go at all. Some friends cancelled because they balked at having to be at Citi Field at 5:30 in the morning, many of those friends found friends with cars. If you have to have a re-confirmation early on, have a re-re-confirmation just before the event. This could save you time…and money. Original estimates had bus riders at 14,000, but we ended up being 10,000. That’s a lot of buses you end up not needing at the last minute. Potential money saved…potential easing of organizing done. Now this last point is based on a 14,000 that was hearsay so I my point on planning may or may not apply though as a general rule, confirmation on the last day or two before an event is pretty much common sense.

I arrived at Citifield at 5:12 am. There was already a considerable crowd of people, there were young men and women with bullhorns speaking not very clearly or loudly instructing us to have our IDs and confirmation printouts or phone images ready. Nothing else. Since there was no indication as to where a line started or ended I figured that the one I saw as I came closer to the stadium was where I should go. I followed this line to it’s end which was just about to the Right Field entrance and then curling back.

While waiting I made friends with a young couple, of which there were many, John and Kyla. We made conversation. This was comforting to me because my plan to meet an old friend was quickly coming to be an impossibility. That’s a different time though.

John and Kyla and I were confused by the line, it didn’t seem to have particular shape or direction and after awhile there seemed to be another line of a very different shape or make up. 5:30 came and went and neither line was moving.

Now we were over by the Right Field entrance. It was pretty chilly and I was regretting not having brought my hat, but I knew the rest of the day would be warmer in DC and as 6 was approaching I’d be on a bus soon.

Not so much.

The line itself did not begin to move until about 5:45 and that was in small drips and drabs.

Every now and then one of the staff would come by with these bullhorns and start talking. What they said I cannot tell you because somehow they managed to be inaudible. No matter how many times we shouted “Please speak up” nothing changed.

For the record, speaking into a bullhorn does not require that you speak in a whisper. It requires that you check your volume, speak at at least normal volume and continue to check that you can be heard.

None.Of.This.Happened. EVER.

We got people who were standing close enough to hear her to spread the word that they were simply repeating the instructions about the IDs and confirmations. Nothing about where the buses were or how the line would be working or what we would be expecting.


The line very slowly moved. 5:45/ 5:50 / 6:00. As it moved. , many who were past the curve simply turned direction and cut the line. Part of this was people being sneaky, but it was largely because we were all very confused and had no idea what was actually happening.

We managed to move from Right Field entrance about a third of the way to the main entrance. By the time we reached the main entrance we realized that there was another line on the other side, that probably went to the Left Field entrance. 6:10 / 6:20 / 6:30.

We manage to get around enough that we can see a bit more of the crowd. The sun was rising. It was very pretty but we were getting very cold as the wind off the bay was now whipping against us. This is not Huffington’s fault, the weather is the weather, but since we were supposed to be on our way by 6:45 and had yet another hour before even boarding the bus, I’m going to say that it was indeed her fault that I was freezing my ass off and had chattering teeth, despite a very warm fleece.

I spoke to my friend on the phone that I had missed meeting. She had arrived 20 minutes later than I had and yet somehow managed to be close to getting checked in and boarded once the buses arrived. This is still after the supposed leave time of 6am…but the fact that people who arrived later were getting boarded earlier indicates a very clear lack of any system whatsoever.

We rounded the corner and saw the other side. The crowd was still quite huge. There was still no sense for us of what was going on, but there WERE people kind of directing us without being entirely clear. But there was a tent, and in that tent we would finally show our photo IDs and re confirmations. The stuff that was supposed to be ready almost 2 hours ago.

There were three people checking IDs and printouts. Once done we moved on to have our bags security checked. Security checks are fine and absolutely understandable. But some people packed a lot of things and it would have been a good idea in an advance email to make sure that people understood that there would be a security check and that packing very lightly (as I did) was a good idea.

The security guy gave us wrist bands to wear with the Huffington Post letterhead printed on them. We were told these would be VERY important as this was what would get us back on the bus on the way back.

Now this was done…the buses had been pulling up and waiting about 10 or 15 at a time…we had to continue along another line, this one a bit more organized but only a bit. This lead all the way down to the end of the lot, where we would then board buses by walking back up the way we came and finding a bus and boarding. Huff Crew would announce that there were a few more seats in a given bus. The bus would fill and be on it’s way.

It is now for me 7:45. Finally I get down to the right spot, we walk up, find a bus and get on. 5 minutes after being full, we are on our way, nearly 2 hours after the announced departure time that Arianna announced many many times.

I should add that at about 7am Arianna herself was out thanking people for coming. She never made mention of things running late. I didn’t think much of that at the time. She was getting a lot of adoration and being swamped by people wanting pictures with her and all that. However angry I am at her…(and after watching her on Hardball just a moment ago I am even angrier) I can understand how that is a very heady and distracting thing. I also frankly did appreciate her saying hello.

She left abruptly, I assume to catch her bus.

Alright, we are, leaving two hours late, which means that instead of arriving at the planned 11am we would arrive at about 1pm. Which means getting to the Rally closer to 1:30. This is frustrating but not terrible. We would get there by the time Stewart and Colbert were scheduled to come on stage and we would still catch the bulk of it, albeit from a great distance.

Below is my diagram of what happened. This is from GoogleMaps shot of Citi Field. I’ve moved the crowd on the right is a bit off kilter because of the angle of the picture. Imagine the green oval being closer to the wall and on actual sidewalk. Forgive my crude power point. Yes I did once do this professionally but I've had a bazillion things to do today.

Click on the picture to see it full size. Then click the BACK command on your browser to return to the blog.

But…..there’s a lot of construction on I95 between here and D.C. and by the time we were hitting it, after 9am…we were screwed. We basically crawled the entire length of Delaware and slowed quite a bit through Maryland…then once we approached Baltimore it was slow going for the rest of the way.

We would have missed this traffic had we left on time because the traffic flow would have been lower. And even if we hadn’t with the same amount of delay, we would have made it by 12:30 at the latest and not missed much at all.

Instead, we arrived at RFK stadium at a little after 2:15pm. The rally itself was scheduled to stop at 3.

Now some buses had left before us and had arrived before us, but not by much. And some folks did get to the rally way way in the back and managed to catch an hour.

Once we got out of the RFK parking lot, about a 5 or 8 minute trek we were greeted by a guy with a bullhorn. This guy could be heard. “Arianna Huffington personally welcomes you to D.C.”

Personally? Really? You don’t look like Arianna Huffington to me. Plus at the moment we are all really pissed the fuck off and mentioning her name is counterproductive to say the least.

There was no acknowledgement of how bloody late we were, no mention of an apology. Instead we were given instructions on how to cross the street. Right…never done THAT before.

Because the train station was crowded and I figured it would be awhile before even getting into the Metro, let alone an actual metro train I chose to walk…it’s a long walk but not terrible. Still longer than we had been told but I’m pretty fast.

So…by the time I got to the Mall people were leaving. As it turns out there was still some show left, but there was quite an exodus.

I had made friends with another young couple on the walk over…we ended up having Thai food and beer and watching the last half hour on TV.

At the bar we met a guy named Steve. Steve had been driving by at 3am in Queens and saw signs for the rally and decided to come by. He hadn’t registered or re-registered…and he’d also never gotten a wrist band. He got onto the bus and got on on the way back.

The way back makes sense to me because when we got back to the buses our wrists were never checked. Never. We were told we better make sure we had our wrist bands as we approached the buses, but no one ever actually looked.

When we got on the bus, the crew didn’t even bother to check to see if the bus was full, we had about 4 empty seats. They didn’t bother to look and sent our driver on her way.

I’m not mad at Steven even fact I’m thrilled that a guy who wanted to go and didn’t know about the buses got to….but he’s another clear indication that what little bit of a system there was, wasn’t even adhered to in any way.

Our driver, by the way, was amazing. When traffic allowed she pushed the limits and on the way home got us back to Citi Field about 45 minutes early. What might have been…ah what might have been.

Steven informed me that he saw that despite the fact that the buses were already there by 5, the crew itself was not ready to deal with anything until 6.

Now, lest you think I’m being unfair, let me show you how in fact the way to organize this that would have worked. I would tell you that I have some experience working with large events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade (Downtown coordinator) and several large events such as fashion and spring festivals that take up entire parks and streets.

But really, anyone who has put a kid on a school bus could have figured this out.

Below is how I would have planned this. I figured this out in about 15 minutes while on the bus, stuck somewhere in Maryland on I95.

First. When you announce to people to arrive at 5:30, that means that you make sure you are ready for them at 4:30 at the latest. WHY? Because once people arrive and they have to be processed it’s going to feel like a shit storm on the crew and they will need an hour to relax after set up to be ready and raring to go.

As well, the 7 train arrives every 20 minutes at this station...there's even a schedule easily found on any map program and at that hour the train actually does arrive on time. Which means you can even plan ahead for the waves of people.

Google, Arianna, look it up.

This diagram should demonstrate pretty much how it should have happened. Again, click to enlarge, then BACK to return here.

Again, I thought this up in 15 minutes. Huffington and her crew had weeks. WHAT.THE.FUCK.

The bus drivers clearly knew what they were doing so as they loaded even in that haphazard system, they were in and out fairly quickly.

In closing I do think it was a great impulse. And I'm appreciative of that impulse. But there seems to be a lot of back slapping for what amounts to a failure.

Don't offer something that you don't follow through properly on and then brag about getting 10,000 people there on your website and then have Chris Matthews congratulate you on it on National Television.

Acknowledge the problem. At the very least acknowledge it. Apologies would be nice too.

For me, Arianna has no credibility whatsoever. I can't take anything she says seriously because she seems so far to be living in the same bubble that Republicans and other inside the beltway jerkoffs suffer from.

I'm done with her.

I invite suggestions, comments, complaints.

Tomorrow I will blog about the nicer aspects of the trip. There were nice people to meet and it was a beautiful day. Plus I got to see Donna Brazile.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Realizing I have something to crawl out of

Strangely enough, in the nearly 8 months of my unemployment, I’ve spent a lot of time in a kind of isolation. This is not an entire surprise, I’ve always been a very social person who needs to crawl into a tiny place to be alone for awhile.
I spent a lot of time, online and on the streets, looking for work early on. Applying for jobs, interviewing at agencies, updating my resume on and other such places. But I still had lots of time and in that time, I’ve seen only a handful of my friends.
That’s not like me. It’s not normal.
When I was married my wife marveled at how I navigated parties and got to talk to everyone I could and make new friends. It was a skillset that she envied. To me I just like parties. I like moments of being the center of attention (Hello, actor) I like listening and engaging.
But over the last few years, I’ve sought more comfort in being alone. I communicate through email or the phone. I watch movies or TV shows I love, but I don’t get out much. Social situations scare me now.

I use the financial situation, which has not been better than struggling for at least 10 years, as an excuse for not doing myriad things with my life. Not seeing people, not seeing shows or movies in theaters or trips. I sit here alone with my PC or laptop or DVD player or all three and live in my own world.

Lately I’ve become immensely aware of all this.

A few weeks ago I went to the launch party of the NYSexBlogger’s Calendar for 2011. This is a great party for those of us who support and want sexual freedom, the calendar is very cool and btw, if you support such things I would ask you to buy one for you or your friends. Check it out.

Anyway, big party and I was looking forward to seeing @MiaOnTop for the first time since before her move to Texas and maybe a couple of buddies of mine. But in the hours before the party, I had to really nudge myself to go. In fact the kicker was that I would get to say hello to Mia, who had even asked on Twitter if I was going. That was worthwhile to me. And so I went.
It was a pretty good night and I’d gotten there early enough to even get some swag. Swag mostly for women, but swag nonetheless. (Seriously, since I'm not dating at the moment what am I supposed to do with 3 vibrators.)
I even got to meet @GrayDancer who’s kinda big in the poly/kink/podcast world and the quite sexy @sexiesadie. Nice thrills for first 40 minutes that I was there…and then…I became a meandering wallflower. I stuck around to listen to some speakers, and enjoy the raffle, but all I did was wander through the crowd, and literally stand against a wall while GrayDancer drew raffle tickets. I barely spoke to anyone. I felt isolated surrounded by like minded people. It was kind of ridiculous.
I left as it wound down, tried to say goodbye to @_Ten_10 who was busy with conversation and headed home. I felt relief as I sat on the F train.
A few weeks later I went to a weekend retreat with polyamorists in New England, not far from the city. It was a basically free event and a chance to get out of the city for a weekend for almost nothing. It was a good time. There was anxiety for me but I could occupy myself with building fires (cold weekend) which I love to do and am very good at and then on Sunday morning make my somewhat famous French toast for breakfast.
I made some new friends and managed to relax after awhile, but I found myself doing the meandering thing on more than one occasion. There were only a couple of people of the 18 of us that I knew and I found it hard to reach out too much. Fortunately this was a person’s house and there was TV and fire and a yard.
I had a great time over all and even got some pictures that will be headshots for free out of the deal. Kind of wild. And a friend there seems to be determined to life coach me. Really what I need.
Then last weekend was a party held by an old friend that would feature many old friends. I have avoided the whole idea of the party for weeks. The idea of the party itself filled me with dread.
What was I going to talk about? My lack of a life? My lack of a job? My over all sense of doom about things of late?
I didn’t want to get into it, so I conveniently chose not to think about it. To the point of forgetting about the party until 2 hours before its start.
I decided that it was important for me to go, so I spent an hour and a half talking myself into it and asking myself what the hell had happened. What is going on and why do I feel I just don’t have anything to offer as a person to my friends.
My friends don’t care about my joblessness or whatever. They want to hear my political rantings (even though I myself and getting a little tired of myself on that front…sort of) so what am I worried about? But bottom line I want so much to talk about my latest adventure, my latest passion, and I have none.
Not that there aren’t things in my life I feel good about, but some aspects of my life I need to keep to myself for now and can’t share them for myriad reasons. I can and have lived with that. I’m fine with it, there are people who deal with that sort of thing on much grander scales than I do. Just some things that I might share with friends are things they would not understand well.
But ultimately something hit me as I got myself dressed and dragged myself off. On November 2 of 2002 I was on my way to a party when I was hit by a car and spent the following 3 months in the hospital and the following 2 months after that homebound. I literally bear the scars of that event and am partially artificial for it. Every day I am reminded of that night 8 years ago by a pain here and there or the sound of my hip slipping slightly from its ceramic socket.

Of course I get nervous about going out.
This is not a blog of “feel sorry for me” for all this crap that’s going on. It’s more about the fact that I need to write anyway and that I find myself not quite being myself and trying to get clear why.
I was once hungry and ambitious and creative, now it’s more like I can’t be bothered. I’m starting to think that more than my hip and shoulder were broken and those breaks probably predate the accident, but the accident itself was like a final nail after an already tough decade.
I’d just found so many avenues to avoid really looking at all that for so long that it took this latest bout of unemployment to look at what the hell is going on.
Somehow I’ve got to find inspiration again. Somehow I’ve got to remember the only reason that I feel that I have nothing to offer is because I FEEL I have nothing to offer. The facts say something else….
More on that for another entry.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NPR's Juan Williams Firing Prompts Conservative Backlash

I have to say, as a person who is generally liberal I find this firing troubling in the same way that I found the Rick Sanchez firing troubling.

Both Williams and Sanchez are journalists that I have/had very little respect for, but neither man merited being fired for what they got fired for.

Fire them for being bozos and not very good journalists. Fire them for sucking (which they did). Don't fire them for saying things we find disagreeable or even reprehensible. The fact is we need to talk more out in the open about this because if you think that Williams is the only American who feels this way, you ain't lookin' very hard.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant and this kind of thing just shoves prejudice and fear back in the dark...where it thrives.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Justices Scalia And Thomas's Attendance At Koch Event Sparks Judicial Ethics Debate

Dear America,

This is Clarence Thomas. I just want you to consider apologizing to me for making me undeservedly famous and for allowing me to have a job for which I am so deeply unqualified that I need Antonin Scalia to hold my hand for the last 19 years.

Pray on this and say you're sorry, or I'll whine about my absent father some more.

Have a nice day.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Remains Of Dollhouse

Eliza Dushku and Amy Acker in Season 2 of Dollhouse.
I spent this morning with my brother on some personal business and had a bit of breakfast. We had a short argument about Dollhouse. He hated it from the get go, hated the premise (which I told him he had gotten completely wrong, but he's entitled to his opinion), hated the scripts. This didn't surprise me entirely. My brother and I, both science fiction and fantasy geeks, have very different sets of standards. For instance he loved Babylon 5. I myself could not stand that show. The over all storyline was interesting, and philosophically dense, but the writing and acting per episode was so atrociously bad that it rendered the show, for me, entirely unwatchable. So I laughed as he tried to break down Dollhouse as an excuse for an actress to be vapid.

By the way, he concedes the point on writing and acting but is able to go past that for the philosophy. Maybe it's because I am an actor and sometimes writer that I just can't do that.

But Dollhouse, I pointed out to him, was about the exact opposite of being vapid. At the core of the show was the societal pressure to be vapid against the strength of the human spirit (Echo) and Love (Sierra and Victor). This is not THE core of the show, but is certainly a large part of it.

It's been months since the end of Dollhouse, which I've written about here before. I still miss the show though even more, I miss the show's unreached potential. The potential that FOX TV never allowed and indeed undermined.

But this week, the DVD and Blu Ray set of the series' second and final season released. With that release comes an official video of the original song "Remains" which was written as the coda for Season One's unaired episode "Epitaph One".

This episode was written as a contractual obligation to FOX TV and was thrown together by the show's writers and filmed simultaneously with the actual "season finale" of the series.

Epitaph One was meant to give the audience a glimpse into what the show might have been since by then, Joss Whedon had not expected to be renewed for a second season. So they fulfilled the contract and had something for the DVD release as an extra for fans. And what an extra it is.

Here is the final clip of the episode, featuring the song "Remains" written by the show's Mo Tauncheron and Jed Whedon who became the head writers for Dollhouse during the second season. Here we see the basic thrust of Joss Whedon's philosophy of what happens when they keep trying "to make people better" (from Serenity).
Here is the same song, but with it's official video release. This goes back to other core themes of Dollhouse by revisiting the concepts of vapidity and how easily we can disregard our fellow human beings. It revisits the inherent loneliness of human beings and the ways we try to fulfill that loneliness even as we regard eachother with disposability.

My brother still hates the show and doesn't miss it. But he doesn't like Fringe either and he liked Titanic. I love him, but damn that's just crazy talk.

These videos make the sting of missing this show and regular doses of Eliza Dushku easier to tolerate.

Now if Amazon would hurry up and deliver my Season 2 DVDs.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pizza, memory and dad

"Sex is like pizza. Even when it's bad it's still pretty good" Woody Allen

"Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table." Charles Pierre Monselet

Ask any New Yorker what the best pizza in town is and you will usually get the same answer, whatever pizza it was that said New Yorker grew up with. I am no exception, though I think an excellent case can be made for me being more right than most.

That pizza is Sal and Carmine’s on Broadway between 102nd and 103rd street. Known as simply Sal’s Pizza when I was a kid, the place has been an Upper West Side fixture since the 60s when Sal first opened up his shop. He was later joined by Carmine, his brother in law (I believe). Sal passed away last year unbeknownst to me until a few months ago, but Carmine and Sal’s son are still there, still putting out this most excellent example of classic New York pizza. Here is a link to the best write up I have found on about this slice. I agree with every point made. You have to scroll down to the part about Sal and Carmine’s but it’s a great read all around. You’ll get no less than 12 pages of links to different reviews, blog entries and diaries just by googleing “Sal and Carmine’s”

I started eating Sal and Carmine’s when I was 11, not long after my parents split up and my dad moved to a tiny studio apartment on Amsterdam Avenue and 95th Street. Back then Sal’s, was a hole in the wall with no tables and white tile everywhere. The counter had barely enough room for the two men to work. But work they did. Making pizza after pizza, serving slice after slice after slice. It was rarely empty, rarely navigable and always delicious.

Their pizza was, and still is, so good that a plain slice/pie is more than good enough. Adding sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms or whatever actually ends up distracting you.

This isn’t gourmet pizza, you understand. This is classic New York by the slice pizza at its best. And it is indeed the pizza I grew up on.

Sure there's Lombardi's (where pizza was invented), Grimaldi's and John's (who both got their start at Lombardi's) and they are great, but that's sitdown eat a whole pie kind of place. Sal and Carmine are of a more common New York tradition and you are hardpressed to find something as classic and authentically Italian as they are save for parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Mulberry street in Manhattan.

I started eating Sal and Carmine’s when I was 11, not long after my parents split up and my dad moved to a tiny studio apartment on Amsterdam Avenue and 95th Street from our place on 103rd and Central Park West. Back then Sal’s, as it was known then, was a hole in the wall with no tables and white tile everywhere. The counter had barely enough room for the brothers in law to work. But work they did. Making pizza after pizza, serving slice after slice after slice. It was rarely empty, rarely navigable. It was always delicious.

When the neighborhood yuppified in the 80s they were forced to move up about 7 blocks. It was worth the extra time. Back then, the real estate line was sharp…at about 99th street the neighborhood remained a mix of middle class and sketchy, rental was still a bit cheaper than the rest of the area so the new space, now called Sal and Carmine’s had 7 tables in the back. The ovens and the flavor never changed.

Sal and Carmine never bought into the ridiculousness of putting every damned thing on their pizza the way so many of the newer, generally awful pizza places do. They stuck and continue to stick to the basics. Woody Allen's joke no longer applies in New York. The bad pizza here is pretty fucking bad. In my part of Brooklyn (Crown Heights/BedStuy) the local pizza makes you lose the will to live, it's that horrible.

When I moved out of my dad’s place 27 years ago part of my life became about finding places nearby that were approachable to Sal and Carmine’s. Not just because of the goodness but because of the memories.

When my parents split up I was of course pretty devastated. Dad was over ever Wednesday and we went to his place every other weekend. The distance between mom's place and dad's wasn't that far so we were lucky in that we still got to see him.

Dad had discovered Sal’s right after the move and Saturday pizza with Star Trek reruns on Channel 11 became the tradition when we visited. It was a tiny studio apartment and my brother and I slept on inflatable mattresses on the floor, but we had fun. There was always something to do and of course, Sal’s Pizza and Star Trek every Saturday.

Years later I moved in with dad so I could go to the high school I wanted to go to, my brother stayed with my mother who had moved out to Long Island and we switched off weekends. The Saturday tradition never changed, though there would be additions of Space 1999 (we would talk about how awful it was), UFO, Battlestar Galactica (to this day I wish dad had stuck around long enough to see the new one. He’d have loved it). But Star Trek was always on the Channel 11 lineup and Sal’s pizza was always in ours.

This was dad/son bonding time and just plain fun. We’d call ahead and order by phone, then go pick up. They never delivered so we always went to pick it up…always chatted with Carmine mostly, Sal was usually silent but never unfriendly. We would vary sometimes and get toppings, just for fun…and they were always good. Even better, if there were leftovers, we’d have cold pizza for breakfast.

Trust me, this is a sublime pleasure when the pizza is good. It doesn’t work for all pizzas.

More and more as the years pass and the pain of my father’s suicide is layered over by years, experience and perspective, Sal and Carmine’s pizza remains my favorite dad related set of memories.

As some of you know, this past summer I tried my hand at apartment showing for a real estate firm on the Upper West Side. This was not a terribly successful venture, in the two months I did this I made under $700 altogether and generally ended up wanting to go postal on “clients”. It is an industry I may return to but not with that particular venue.

A plus though was that many of the apartments I showed were in my old neighborhood and I had some pretty surreal experiences showing apartments on blocks that we didn’t even go to when I was a kid because they were too dangerous. Wild stuff, and fun.

Mid July I was showing an apartment in the low 100s to a couple of college girls. I was in a pensive mood. It was what would have been my father’s 72nd birthday and whenever it is his birthday or the anniversary of the day we found him I’m always a tad on edge. Even when I don’t realize what day it is.

It was warm, but there was a slight rain that tempered the warmth that made the day actually very pleasant. I showed the apartment (which I liked very much but the girl's typically didn't, that's another blog for another day. Spoiled young clients with no clue), afterward I chose to walk a bit before heading back to the office. Lo and behold, there was Carmine tossing away and spinning a pie.

At this point I was certain that Sal and Carmine’s was no more. I hadn’t been in this part of town in a very long time. The last time I had been I “misremembered” the location and found what I thought in it’s place one of those newfangled awful pizza places that specialized in dreadful toppings to mask the utter lack of flavor. At this moment I was in one of those rare states of mind here I am deeply grateful that I am wrong about something. I stared for awhile, took a picture and then walked inside and ordered a slice and a cherry soda which was my standard back at dad’s.

Carmine looked much older of course than the last time I’d been there which I think was about 10 years. I wasn’t aware at the time that Sal had passed a year earlier, but given how old they must have been I surmised and said nothing to Carmine, only that I was so happy to see him.

He remembered me after a few minutes and asked about my dad and brother. I lied and told him that dad was fine but had moved away years ago. I didn’t want to get into it. I was too happy with the sight of Carmine, the taste of my favorite pizza which had not altered a jot. I savored every bite, grinning the entire time. I wanted this moment to be about the good memory, not grief.

I thanked Carmine for the years of great pizza and that I couldn't wait to be back again then left. I stood outside for a few moments and said quietly “Happy Birthday, Dad”, then turned and headed back to the office.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

“…the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and

William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act III, Scene 2

The humorless John Conyers

Much has already been said and written about Stephen Colbert’s testimony before the House last week regarding migrant workers. Too bad, I’m chiming in anyway.

Many may not realize that Colbert was speaking about plight of migrant workers because the press, both liberal and conservative and even “moderate” obsessed about there being a *gasp* comedian in that Capital and what an insult/joke/degradation etc. that is.

Because of course, having Elmo, lying steroid addled athletes, the massively under-qualified Alberto Gonzalez testify before the House were such dignified events. As if allowing someone like Louis Gohmert or Michelle Bachmann let anything come out of their ignorant and crazy mouths in the halls of congress were remotely respectful.

This wasn’t a disease suffered only by FOX anchors, Chuck Todd who was at one time a promising and bright analyst for MSNBC but who has become a barely articulate mouth breather of an anchor whined incessantly about the dignity of the House as if he hadn’t been covering Washington for the past two years.

Apparently, the press will do anything but discuss the plight of migrant workers, the sorry state of our nation’s farms and farmers and the decline of the American Agricultural tradition. It’s easier (lazier) to focus on the trivial and make it a big fucking deal.

Note to Chuck Todd: When you’re in the same company as Megyn Kelly, check yourself.

So far as I can tell, only Keith Olbermann and Lawrence O’Donnell actually covered and discussed the meat of what Colbert was addressing and why he was brought in to testify. Only these two of the press, that I can find, and John Stewart, even approached the seriousness of the situation. Is it possible that only these three individuals understand the purpose of satire in the national media?

It’s possible. The media is filled with idiots and sycophants, after all, as we already know. It’s also possible that the media, which is pretty much 100% corporate owned, doesn’t want us talking about these things at all. But that’s another subject….or rather an offshoot of the same subject.

What I want to discuss is America’s growing lack of a sense of humor which I believe can be traced right down to the chipping away of arts education. As an actor I am of course an advocate for arts education in our public schools and it should be no surprise that I believe arts education is more important than what are generally called, the basics.

Why, you may ask?

Learning about theater, dance, music and visual arts opens up both sides of the brain. It stimulates creativity and creative thinking. It provides a very strong foundation with which to learn math, science, reading and writing. It teaches you to approach the world from a more rounded standpoint than a narrow, left brained training.

We learn through the arts, how to play and by learning how to play, we learn how to work.

But in the last couple of decades we have seen and experienced not only the cutting of arts education from schools, but the dismissal of it as a luxury. As if there is nothing to be gained from understanding what an artist might be trying to communicate or what goes into learning and bringing a part to life on stage, etc. As if a stimulated imagination has nothing to do with anything else in the world.

We can certainly get into a discussion on whether this is actually part of an overall strategy to keep the masses under educated in order to keep the powerful in power and I would agree with that assessment, but that’s also another blog post for another day.

The other thing that comes with arts education is a broadening of a sense of humor. Any education that involves being creative does this. Human beings love to laugh and we find new ways to do it whenever we can.

Unless you’re Gallagher. Taking a hammer to a watermelon is great and hilarious…when you’re 8 years. Then, hopefully, you grow up and it becomes mildly amusing but you need some good, strong satire, of whatever political bent, to really get your mind going.

And this is what Stephen Colbert gave us last week.

John Conyers, a congressman whose politics are much aligned with mine but who is, largely, a rather humorless man (and I have followed him for about 25 years now) let that lack of sense of humor get the best of him.

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the embarrassment.

Not that Stephen Colbert testified in character, but that John Conyers didn’t get it. That Chuck Todd, most of the House, all of Fox News and most of the rest of the media DIDN’T GET that the joke is on us. That is what shames me as an American.

Nancy Pelosi got it. Clearly Zoe Lofgren, who requested his testimony got it. What she didn’t get was that she was surrounded by colleagues and a press too narrowminded and too childish to think or to understand. Her mistake was in assuming that her colleagues both left and right were smart enough to get it. Her mistake was thinking that the press would instead of asking what the steak was seasoned with would skip right to the dessert of bad rice pudding with off brand jello.

Yes, in that one day that he worked, Colbert became more of an expert on the subject than anyone in that room who wasn’t testifying. By a long shot.

Colbert’s testimony, joke by joke, jeered at the lack of action, the lack of character and the lack of maturity that one finds in today’s politics and in so doing made clear what happens to people when politicians act as they do. He even brilliantly brought it home with a final, sober and out of character statement that to spoke our humanity and human dignity.

But our own lack of humor allows us to buy the nonsense that FOX, Todd and the rest feed us.

As an artist, Stephen Colbert held the mirror up to nature, and nature didn’t like what looked back at it, so…it whined about the mirror instead of itself.

It is to laugh.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And while we're on the subject of not having any fun....

Early Friday morning I had a panic attack. Full on, pain in the chest, cold sweat, dizzy spell, am I having a heart attack, am I about to die, what the hell panic attack.

I’ve only had this once before, several years ago. It was many months after my accident. I had recovered well enough, but woke up in the middle of the night having some chest pains. Being over 40 and it being late at night…the mind goes to ridiculous thoughts…and all I had to do was entertain the notion of a heart attack to scare the becrappus out of myself.

It’s not that hard to do…the fact is that the symptoms of a panic attack are pretty much exactly the same as a heart attack.

“Dumbass, why didn’t you call 911?!!!” I hear you shout.

Well, that is what I did 6 years ago…got the whole treatment, ambulance oxygen…the works. By the time the EMT guys got there though I was feeling better if idiotic. But they insisted I go to the hospital and check things out.

I ended up being there for 3 days. It took them 3 days to tell me that I was fine, my cholesterol was a little high but my heart was in great shape and there were no signs of a heart attack. The pains were symptomatic of some of my injuries and that I’d fallen into a midlife panic attack. SO there. Fortunately I had a very good health plan at the time and my copay was small.

Jump to the present. Much of the process is exactly the same, except this time I have no insurance…and while I was talking myself down from the panic and semi successfully convincing myself I was not suffering from heart failure (despite Google’s insistence that I might be) I also reminded myself that if I was hospitalized, there was no way on this green earth that I was going to be able to pay for a fucking thing…OOOHHHH boy…More debt.

This did not help the panic. I couldn't bring myself to call. Stupid? Probably. But since I'm sitting here writing this almost 24 hours later, I feel it was the right way to go. So I did some slow yogic breathing, did my best to go to my happy place, and closed my eyes.

Eventually I sat upright in the kitchen and slowly drank a glass of water I’d left on the table before bed. I held my iPhone in my hand, ready to dial. But I started to feel fine and eventually I went back to bed and lay there awhile and stared at my phone. I chest stopped hurting, I fell back asleep for a few hours and woke up feeling normal.

In the morning I remembered something else. I'm also hypoglycemic. I sometimes have to watch how I eat and how often I eat. If I over do the carbs and under do the protein I can end up having similar episodes. This has happened to me once or twice, but so rarely that I forget about it. And by rarely I mean 3 times in 25 years. Pretty much all I'd eaten yesterday was 2 mugs of coffee and a big plate of spaghetti with two meatballs.


It’s annoying that the kind of ailment I sometimes suffer from ends up being so similar to a heart attack. As I approach 50 this has to be a reality I face, even though heart attacks don’t run in my family at all. Seriously, the only member of either side of my family that didn’t die at a very old age of some form of cancer or another was my great grandfather. And that was a brain hemorrhage. Oh wait, my grandmother…but she was 86, diabetic, massively overweight and drank Jim Beam like a fish. OH and the heart attack happened while climbing 4 flights of stairs. She was also, God love her, batshit crazy.

Still, the bottom line is that I have to be more conscious.

Yeah, I’m nervous as hell, I was actually going from store to store filling out applications in supermarkets like a high school kid yesterday. And yeah, I had visions of myself as a 4 year old man bagging groceries for a living. Hey if I get hired I will suck it up and do it. I can handle that, but it’s a lie to say that it’s not a depressing thought.

This isn’t exactly what I had in mind for myself.

Anyway I’m above ground is a good one. I’ve used that phrase to remain positive for a couple of decades. It’s been helpful and funny to say it with a smile.

But maybe it’s time I raised my standards…I need to find something to inspire me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Treading Water

So, yeah, it’s been awhile. My latest blog entry has a months long gap between it and it’s predecessor.

What gives?

During BlogHer, @MajorBedHead asked if I had stopped blogging altogether. It sure seemed that way. I would sit down, have an idea to blog about, then start writing. Then I’d find something to do, never get back to writing and just couldn’t muster up the urge to continue.

Like the White House’s “Summer of Recovery” my summer was productive as a wet noodle screwing in a hot lightbulb. That’s not entirely fair. The recovery act DID actually help maintain and create some jobs. And I had a minor one in that time.

But as I wrote my piece for yesterday, I realized that what I had been doing was retreating. My long stint of unemployment was getting to me on an emotional level. My efforts in the real estate proved beyond frustrating and frankly really demoralizing. My luck was so bad with it that veterans in the office where I was working even said “Wow, What the fuck?”

I’d also been doing some production work for a friend who was participating in a theater festival here. So I decided to ditch showing apartments and just focus on that. And when it ended, I found as much motivation to show apartments as I had with writing in this blog.

The difference was, I knew I was supposed to be writing, whereas with the real estate gig, I felt no such urging.

I don’t seem to be the only one @LesleeHorner of Waiting For The Click had flat out decided to stop blogging on a regular basis, @2MuchPerfection has also been a very infrequent writer, and even @MajorBedHead spent some time away from her blog while dealing with the end of her marriage. @MiaOnTop took a hiatus as she moved to Texas from New York. There was a lot of shifting going on. The thing is that everyone else seemed to know where they were shifting to. I still haven’t figured out what is going on with me.

What really shocked me though, as I logged onto Blogger to write the other day was that that not only had I not written, I’d been pretty piss poor in following up on the blog’s that I read. Musings of A Madman would email me to remind me to read up (though lately he’s been AWOL with his new life), Leslee would knock on my Facebook to ask if I’d read her. It wasn’t personal. I just wasn’t busting out. But when I looked at the Blogroll on my page, I realized that I just hadn’t kept up with anyone that I had been reading on a regular basis.

I really had withdrawn. If not for Twitter and Facebook, it’s entirely possible that I’d have had almost no contact with anyone for most of the summer.

There are other factors. Some creative outlets that I’ve had have fizzled because of time and circumstance, so I’ve had to shift slowly to different creative writing outlets that are more self reliant. This isn’t easy for a guy with ADD.

I’ve done a little other writing here and there. Something that may become a one man piece about my father’s suicide and the role that Fear has played in his/my/the world’s life. Slow progress but coming along.

I’ve smattered around with an adaptation of a series of books that I love too. But just smattered.

A lot of my energy has gone into just changing my frame of mine. Yes, affirmations, meditations. Things to bring my mind away from despair and back to a place of forward thinking and inspiration.

I don’t despair, and haven’t in the 6 months that I’ve been out of work, but like a tired swimmer treading water, I’m managing to keep from drowning, yet can’t seem to figure out what direction I need to swim to get back to shore. I don’t know what that shore looks like and I just don’t want to keep swimming in the wrong direction and end up in deeper, rougher waters.

Overall, I’m doing ok. I’m healthy, I’m enduring. But I’m not thriving. I’m not having any fun.

But something is “clicking” to an extent. Here I am, writing, and I am catching up on the blogs I haven’t kept up on. I’ve rearranged my room which is no small thing considering how small and oddly shaped my room is. I’ve also started re-engaging with the polyamorous community in New York. It looks like I may be doing some more production work for a small production of a play here for even smaller money, but it’s work and in a field I love. And there’s an interview coming up at the end of the month that I’m not excited about but like the prospect of SOMEthing cooking in the work situation.

I think I’m back. I hope I’m welcome. And I hope to keep some momentum going.

Thanks for your patience if you haven’t given up entirely on me.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Picture from

I’ve blogged on this subject before here and here. In fact I guess this is sort of an annual thing. Anyway, my readers won’t be surprised by what I have to say today regarding everything involving tomorrow’s anniversary.

What will shock my readers is that I’ve actually made a blog entry for the first time in four months. More on that another time.

As I’ve said before. I live here in New York City. I’ve lived here just about my entire life. I lived here before the Twin Towers were visible and lived with them as they dominated the city land and sky-scape.

Nine years later it is still strange to me to look out and not see them from various spots in the city. From West 4th Street and 6th Avenue, to the Smith and 9th street stop on the G and F train in Brooklyn, from the Staten Island Ferry to the Ditmars Blvd stop on the N train in Queens. Nine years later there is still something not there that ought to be there.

I remember my last visit to the Observation Deck at the World Trade Center with my then 10 year old daughter as we looked out at the Liberty Science Museum, Long Island, Upstate New York and of course Manhattan Island.

For those of us that live here, we are constantly reminded. The skyline itself is an empty echo of the thousands of lives contained in those steel marvels of engineering. The many more thousands of lives left behind in loss and pain.

As I’ve pointed out, I somehow escaped personal heartache on that day. No one I directly know was amongst the murdered. But many I do know have lost lovers, friends, husbands, fathers and children. Every moment I talk to them on the phone, or see them on Facebook or have a cup of coffee I am reminded. Every waking day, they are reminded.

My heartache is for the heartache of those I care about and of course for the scar on the city for which I have a love/hate relationship and with which an indelible part of my soul will always belong.

It’s also no secret that aesthetically, I hated those buildings. While marvels of engineering they seemed out of place at the time. And I still feel that way about them then.

But now…

Like them or not, they were unforgettable, powerful and a kind of gateway to the city. A gateway this city no longer has.

The Statue of Liberty no longer stands in the shadow of that gate. A gate that increasingly seems to remain closed to what America is. There was a kind of sense of the Statue of Liberty showing her light to the harbor as she stood at the feet of the Gate that was the Twin Towers. A Gate now closed.

Liberty still shines a light onto the harbor, her words of welcome still inscribed. But God forbid you want to build a community center aimed at healing that gaping wound. God Forbid you make a place that yes, is primarily a Muslim Cultural Center but that also will house places of prayer for every religious practice available. God Forbid that an act can be made to reach out, to bridge the divide.

Oh you’re welcome here, but only up to a point.

September 11th must be a day of reflection, prayer and thoughtfulness. However it is you observe for yourself and ponder the nature of humanity’s penchant for cruelty and violence to each other and what we can do to grow from it, to be greater than it. To be better than we have been.

No, instead we focus on whackjobs burning books of worship, we throw parties to make money and then retroactively decide to donate the proceeds somewhere and claim that the party date was a coincidence. We claim to be thinking of the families of the fallen when we display our astounding ignorance of every conceivable fact and meaning. We exploit and wring our hands, but God forbid we actually solve the issue and learn to live WITH each other.

Clearly I stand in support of the Cultural Center known as Park 51. But I will not be joining the demonstrations tomorrow. I do not believe that September 11th should be marching or demonstrating for anything. ANYthing.

Anything else dishonors the dead and dishonors the families of the dead, whether at the World Trade Center, The Pentagon or that open field in Shanksville.

We need reflection. We need to think. We need to pray and send light. We need to volunteer. We need to really help.

As always I say we don't need to be told to "Never Forget". That's a self aggrandizing phrase promoted by people who are trying to be part of something that frankly they.just.aren't.

What happened was yes, a national tragedy. But the wounds are felt HERE. Not in Wasilla, not in Florida....HERE.

Any idiot will tell you that if you keep scratching a wound it will get infected. We need to stop scratching at the wound.