"Hello, wall..."


I'm going to Egypt in a few weeks. A trip with my mom that's been in the works for over a year. Except for family stuff (which i certainly don't discount) this will be my first vacation since i took a three-day trip to Ensenada back in 2000 or 2001. Okay... hearts weekends... But this is pure vacation. Cruise down the Nile, see the Pyramids, hang out with my Mom for a couple weeks.

Oh, and ride a camel. jimonacamel. Well... If there's a weight limit, I might be screwed. And, of course, I've known this was coming for over a year. So, I've been trying to exercise, lose weight and generally get in shape for about six hours now. I don't want to be the guy who broke the camel's back. And I really don't want a camel pissed off at me.

So, I'm back to cabbage soup. Maybe that's ill-named. There is cabbage, but also every other vegetable I saw & liked at the store. Green beans, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, leeks, onions. And other stuff I can't recall at the moment. If I can stick to it for a few weeks, I could probably compete in the Olympics this winter. This is so not fun, writing about my weight. I am not the guy in the mirror. So, I'll switch to a photo. The up side. The attempt to do right. Cabbage soup.

Oh. And I bought more kale. I'll be damned if some stupid mistake is going to ruin my day.

"Down to stems and seeds again..."


Kale, one of those "really good for you" foods. I don’t think i ever had it before, unless it was snuck onto my plate at Maurice’s Snack and Chat. Or down in South Carolina at Laura Bradford’s parents’ house. But… it was suggested to me as a really good, healthy snack. By Jen Menchaca, who occasionally tries to put me on the right path. Or a path. Any path. (I did read Dave Barry Does Japan, btw.) So, “kale chips,” she says. Instead of potato chips or doritos or some other bad choice i’ve made in the past. So? I’m in Pavilion’s, on the other side, and i think “kale.” (power of suggestion.) I buy a bundle. Looks like dwarf romaine. Or a loofah.

Sat in the refrigerator for a couple of days. (not me, the kale). Waiting for the right time. Waiting until… well, until i’d run out of food. And voilá! — later that same day, no food! No food? Bake the kale.
So? Google, baby. Google a recipe. Salt, olive oil, apple vinegar and kale. Miracle of miracles, I have everything. And I can read a recipe. Me want chips.

Green & leafy. I can sense the health. I cut out the stems, mixed the other stuff, swirled it around, lay out the chips to be on the cookie pan. (most recently the tator tots pan… — see her point?) and baked it. I would have included shots of me mixing the cut up kale with the coating, but my hands were covered in oil. As we learned in photography class, don’t get olive oil all over your nice Nikon.

Follow the bouncing ball..

So far, it looks like I’m baking a salad. (Who doesn’t do that?)

This looks like something you’d try if you had a lot of extra marijuana. You’ve made the gigantic spliffs. You’ve made the brownies. Used it as oregano. “Hey, man, let’s bake it and make chips.” Somehow the olive oil, vinegar and salt start to make a brown mess. Instant muck. We all shine on.

It actually scraped off the pan in nice leafy chunks. More and more like la mota. In the bowl… it almost looks like food. I lift a chip out of the bowl. And float it into my mouth. It feels like a baked butterfly. The wings melt on my tongue. Too much salt, though. Way too much salt. I try a couple more, hoping it’s an acquired taste. It’s not. This is kale chips? This is a mouthful of salt.

Sorry. I can’t concentrate on this. This salt is killing me. Even though the kale is making me stronger. I need some beer.

CUT TO: The emmys. No, that was last night. Tina, Glenn, hooray!

Okay. I get the salty taste out of my mouth. Red Stripe. And I re-read the recipe on its way to the recycling bin.

Oh, my. Oh, dear. “Two bundles.” One tablespoon of salt for TWO bundles of kale. If only I could read. As my father used to say. “Measure twice, cut once.”


"Drinking wine, spo-tee-o-tee banana and wine..."


So, the creative cooking continued. And degenerated... as I ran out of ingredients.
We'll start with the better days. Can you say taquitos? I can.

Fresh, healthy, chicken-y.

Some of that leftover tomato, onion & cilantro - makes the eggs... fuller. And those little bowling balls.

And for dinner? Fruit. Always a healthy choice.

Everybody needs a little Elvis in their diet.

Egg sandwich and a pickle. And that white shit...

Somehow a hardboiled egg at night, under the fluorescent light, she don't look so good.

And then there's always peanut butter and jelly.



I'm addicted to "No Reservations." But I'm not a chef. I can read a recipe. I just don't ususally have more than film and mustard in my refrigerator. So, impulsive, clever cooking is not usually an option.
'Twas my birthday recently. And for one party, I decided to bring an old favorite, a guilty pleasure - pigs in a blanket. Yummy. Big hit. Charlotte and I popped and cut the Pillsbury dough, and then rolled our own. Little smokey links. They were all eaten. Well, 4 out of the 48 were left.
But at home, I had something new in my refrigerator. A few leftover pieces of Pillsbury crescent roll dough. So, one afternoon, on one of my many trips to the kitchen opening the refrigerator and the pantry where I usually just stared at almost nothing -- suddenly there were blankets. But no pigs. I did however, have some mustard-packed sardines. Mmmm. If the fish fits...

I'm trying to save money. Or trying not to spend so much. Whatever, it's not working. This Bourdain show reveals endless great meal after great meal (of course, with the occasional really disgusting food stuff). But all this great food. Lots of pork. And beef. So, on a recent thrift-shop trip to the grocery store, I bought a filet mignon. It just looks better than the other steaks. And it costs a lot less than sushi. A little foie gras, some mushrooms, and I was ready for a Sunday dinner. I went online to find a recipe for filet mignon. Usually, I'd just throw it on the barbeque and hope that I'd remember I had food cooking in time to save it from turning into charcoal (ah, those poor Italian sausages... all black crust and no innards...). Online, I find a series of VIDEOS on how to cook filet mignon. So, I sear the meat in a frying pan (to seal in the juice). And then I grill it. I sautee some mushrooms and put a few slices of foie gras on the steak as it's cooking. (I actually cut the beast in two, so I had two filets) And voilá!

The meat and the mushrooms were delicious. Foie gras, on the other hand, tastes like... what's a polite word... "liver." Because it is liver. I try liver every ten years or so and am violently reminded that I can't stand the taste. Foie gras (paté, if you're being picky) is like expensive liver sausage. Now, liver sausage, I can eat. Lots of mustard, it's somehow sweeter than liver. Or foie gras. On top of the filet, it's interesting for a second. And then it suddenly leaves an aftertaste of... shit. So. Those little slabs were scraped away. Luckily, the filet's taste overpowered the ill-chosen topping.

Did I mention that the side dish was tater tots? Always crunchy, always tasty. And so good for you!

"oh, lydia, oh, lydia, say, have you seen lydia?"


Sometimes I understand why I work 24/7 (minus the odd few hours that I collapse and "sleep"). If I actually stop working and start thinkng about how fucking miserable I am, why... I'd do something drastic. But no one wants to hear that shit. And the answers are easy. "Get in shape, get a girlfriend, go out. Go to the museum, go to the gym, go to church groups, go line dancing, go get a job where there are other people."

Time is a bitch.

Lydia Armstrong died this week. She was the little sister of my friend Richard Armstrong. I had a mad crush on Lydia when I was in college and in DC. But, being the fearful twit I was and am, I never acted on it. We wrote. That was safe. Flirting by mail.

A few months ago, she was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer. One of those things I had to look up on the internet. How serious? Very serious. I'm relatively new to the world of death. My grandparents are dead. My father died in 2001. Lennon. I know. It sounds almost sacrilegious to mention a rock and roll star in the same context, but his death was probably the most devasting thing to happen to me. Of course, until I process fully the death of my father. But that's another perk/downfall of working 24/7 and blocking out everything. Feelings only surface when I drink. Or while driving. Or watching something good. Like where Lem gets killed.

I was told about Lydia's condition in November. The family seemed to want to keep the news private. It was sad, but there was nothing to do. It sounded as though she had given up. Didn't want to eat or get up. That was wrong. Not Lyd the Kid. I couldn't do nothing. I asked if i could write, what I could send her. So. I wrote, passed on messages through Richard. I contemplated going out there, but I work 24/7. And I am not the same jim dean I was 30-odd years ago. The shock of me now would have crushed those fond memories of a younger guy named jim dean. So I wrote. And sent a few things. DVDs to pass the time confined to a bed. Some Nation shirts to enjoy. Why not have some fun stuff? I wish I could have done more. She started chemo. She was up and about. She went to Target. On Valentine's Day, I got my first Valentine in 15 or so years. Hand-made, with a poem. Lydia asking if I would be her Beau Zeau. (A stupid nom de heart I used as a young dufus.) I emailed back. Of course. Of course.

And then a few days ago, Richard wrote and said Lydia had taken a turn for the worse. And then a couple days later, another email. Subject "Lydia."

I know we don't go to heaven. But we do live on in the memory of others. Maybe that's heaven. Or heaven enough.

I guess the important thing is to make sure your kids are smart and capable. And to enjoy life. Instead of working 24/7.

Thank you for the Valentine, Lydia. Thank you for the poem.

"break my faithful heart. tear it all apart. but love me."

Just need to throw away a few scraps of paper with some scribbled notes.
When I came back from Christmas, I was caught up in the crush. Delays and all that. I was making my final connection to LA from San Francisco and hanging out at the gate.
An old guy (and I know old) leaning heavily on a walker was hurrying to the men's room. Struggling, but a younger man, maybe his son, was helping. As I went to a urinal (details later), the younger man helped the old guy into one of the huge stalls. The old man told the kid he could do it himself. I heard the walker bouncing around as he finally made it to the toilet. A long wait. Finally, the old guy's voice "I think i might just be squeezing out air."

Young girl in line with her mother (maybe). Cute winter coat, cute hat pulled low over har forehead. Cute hair, cute face. With a little giggle in her voice, she said to the mom, "No one recognizes me. They'd be, like, 'Wow, she cleans up nice!'" No clue as to who she was.

Waiting at the gate in St Louis for the flight to San Francisco, a long-haired guy made a 20 minute call to American Airlines, asking repeatedly where the plane he was supposed to take to Chicago was. How could he get on a plane they couldn't find? Fianlly, he whined, "I'm supposed to be at a movie at 6:00 in Chicago. I guess I'm not going to make that, am I?

I have two tickets for the Clippers on Saturday. A gift from my friend Marnie. Center court, row B. Finding someone to go with is been hard... But a basketball game from that POV is going to be great. $350 tickets? Jesus...

Been watching House. Good show. Interesting that he is an English comic. Not usually a good transition. Robin Williams... Adam Sandler... But Hugh Laurie is really interesting.

Of course, the best show on TV is The Wire. Smart show. Great cast. There is an interview with the show's creator on Slate.com that is definitely worth reading. While I may be the inspiration for "According to Jim" (hey, my ex-wife creates a show with that title? duh?), I have to say that I go beyond network TV for most of what I watch. Said the guy who watches two Fox shows...

Oh, well. Theories.

"break my faithful heart. tear it all apart. but love me."


Judith Wolinsky is dead.
Obviously, that's not all that the new year has brought... but judith wolinsky is dead. I was bored, avoiding work, surfing the net, costing my employer billions of dollars a year, and then i found before and after dates. best if used by. last june. judith wolinsky. a beautiful woman. a beautiful voice. she was in the song improv class i took with my ex-wife back in 1980 or 1981. she was the reason i kept taking the class. she was the person i wanted to be with when i went out for a drink at the cesspool bottom of hell Improv one night. it was tracy who sat on my lap, but it was judith i was there for. years later. years and years later, i had split from tracy and had lunch with judith. and i asked her out. which by that point in the world had become hitting on someone. so, i hit on judith and she wanted no part of it.
judith... who was in recording sessions at the time, who i thought should sing the Elvis tune "Love Me." Seems a bit self-serving now, but... her manager at the time didn't want her to sing a song that made her sound vulnerable or weak. It's a great song. "Treat me like a fool, treat me mean and cruel, but love me..." Elvis breaks your heart. Judith would have broken hearts with it. Fucking managers... She was the reason i took the song improv class. that i kept at it. tracy was secondry. sounds english. it was judith.
i read about it a few days ago. but tonight i was watching sleeper cell and the woman from profiler was on as the dufus's mother. ally walker. i always thought she was like a blond version of judith.
what a face. the most defined features. classic. brunette, blue eyes. green eyes? and insecure as hell. back then, anyway. or so it seemed. or maybe it was just in the world of music. she was a producer. henry jaglom's producer. she must have been pretty fucking ballsy and capabale to make those films work. to keep henry j under control. to turn his outpouring into movies.
i don't remember calling her that. or judy. or anything. she had these big eyes and great cheek bones and a voice that killed. it just whacked you. held you up and hit you like a ball your fielding coach hits. stretching into metaphors i can't continue.
someone was complaining yesterday that they shed no tears for people they didn't know. they couldn't understand people crying for princess di or for john lennon.
i had to step in. john lennon? she couldn't understand crying about john? but there were two of them and my one lone voice. the ladies drowned me out. but john lennon? they didn't get that?
fuck. john lennon. my god. john lennon.
i've covered this. i've written my bit. but that hit me. john lennon. god damn.
and here was judith. i didn't bring her up at the dinner last night, but judith.
we're all going to fucking die.
my college roomate's little sister, lydia, seems pretty ill. fourth stage cancer. very serious.
and my friend. mentor, partner, carl heinz, while not dying or near death, has had some serious health shit going on. life threatening. serious.

what the fuck, man? i say, what the fuck?
time for me to get some insurance, so i can die with tubes up my nostrils and a bag of shit on my hip.
fuck, just hit me with a bus, man. someone else just died at 57 or something. fuck man. it's all over that soon? it's the end? i haven't fucking lived yet.

and in other news, i had a wonderful christmas.
thanks for asking.

fuck... judith wolinsky. is nothing sacred? or holy? or immortal? god damn. we're all facing the fucking worm, aren''t we

judith... very sorry. very sorry to have never connected afterwards.

i wish i'd bee nable to do a proper recording of this with judith. it's a song i wrote called don't walk away (why don't you call)

"can't remember any songs. just "oooo ooo" monkey with a gun."

It's the ides of May. Beware.

[REMOVED - SESSION COMMANDER check-in shit... what was this?

I know what this was. disparaging remarks about someone I was/am in love with. but sometimes i learn. hah.

, fuck me jesus.


It's the birthday of my first love and... it would be so bookend if I could say my last. First real girlfriend and my ex-wife. Two people. Shit, I don't know who reads this anymore. So, fear is controlling this now. Ha. Ho ho. all clear. Gonna stay out of the sun. Dump the house with the pool. Stay indoors. Buy a loft. Blah blah blah.
Chuck's in the hospital. I've been up all night, waiting for news. She called last night around 10, saying she had severe stomach, upper abdominal pains. She wondered if she should go to the hos

"the sweat is gonna fill your head, when it becomes too much, you'll shout aloud."

shot for a new jewelry client. working with a real model. wow.


All clear. Gonna stay out of the sun. Dump the house with the pool. Stay indoors. Buy a loft. Blah blah blah.
Chuck's in the hospital. I've been up all night, waiting for news. She called last night around 10, saying she had severe stomach, upper abdominal pains. She wondered if she should go to the hospital or wait until morning to see a doctor. I told her I'd talk to my sister Pat (a nurse, neo-natal, but what the hell.) Pat wasn't home, so I called my friend Geri Knorr. She asked a lot of questions about fever, lymph glands, all that. Char had gone through something similar before she left. In the hospital, and the docs said it was an ovarian cyst that had finally exploded or whatever. So, now, the same questions arise. Is it appendicitis? Stomach infection? Gall stone? Kidney stone?
So I called Char back and asked about her symptoms. We talked for a long time and she got into a really good mood. She and Miguel have found a university that seems to be a conglomerate of art colleges. The school where Frida and Diego Rivera went. Inexpensive. Five years for both of them costs less than the meal plan for a year at Bard. Of course, then there's rent and food. Every once in a while I'd hear her grimace, but the pain didn't seem to be as intense as during the first call. I finally got off the phone and went back to work. The plan was that if she could sleep through the pain, she'd go see a doctor in the am. Miguel called around 2:00 to say they were going to the hospital. Charlotte couldn't sleep. So, I worked and waited. While I had been talking to charlotte, one of my clients called from Hong Kong, needing some product up on her site right away. (Is it yesterday in Hong Kong?) So, I did that while I kept getting more and more ill thinking about charlotte with no insurance in mexico having surgery and going under anesthesia. (sp?) Too fucking grim.
Anway, they just called. Miguel called. The doctors know nothing and they want to keep char there longer. Very frustrating to be so far away. I'm the arm she near squeezed to death all the various trips to the dentist...
Meanwhile, back in the states, I have a long day. Showing someone how to take pictures and use photoshop. Having the realtor and a potential buyer come by. And a new client who wants a CD cover done asap. I haven't slept yet and only got four hours last night. Woe is me.
I'd like my daughter to be well.
And I want fries with that. Too tired for wit. .

"We can't even think of a word that rhymes,.. School's out forever!"

Just a few quick words here. I'm going in to see a skin doctor today to see if a mole I have is malignant. I have no insurance. I was insured through the school, but when I took off a quarter, the insurance company dropped me. And they weren't particularly friendly when I tried to extend my policy. Cobra, or whatever. So. Here I am. A mole on my arm (sorry if the thought or image makes you puke) has gotten hard, it's bled, it's doing all sorts of little tricks. It has been for a while, but I was not particularly worried about it before. So, why now? Why now.
As part of the grand exit from the state, charlotte and miguel encouraged me to go see a doctor. To check on my health. I, after a great deal of reluctancy, finally agreed. My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol high, I'm way overweight. I need exercise and a better diet. Things I knew and know. And have done little about. Just call me fucking stupid. I was rather chummy with the doctor, a friendly guy. At one point, as I was reminiscing about my medical history, I mentioned a time when I had urinated a rather steady stream of what we call blood. My blood. I was in Chicago for the holidays and suddenly, a Merlot-like liquid came a pouring out. Later, at the clinic, I was giving a blood sample when out into the cup plopped a goldfish-sized thing. A clot, I thought. That was a clot.
New doc asked what I did. I told him I took the antibiotics they'd prescribed. He said they'd probably recommended seeing my regular doctor in LA, right? And you have no regular doctor.
He was right. That was it. I had no regular doctor. He then asked me what this bleeding usually is a symptom of. I had no answer.
Cancer. Well, I wasn't dead, so maybe he was wrong. Here I was a year and a half later, not dead.
But Dad died of cancer. And his father. And who knows who else in this family.
So cancer has been preying on my mind. I showed him The Mole. But I had scratched it so badly it was undiagnosable. If there is such a word. He suggested I let it heal and he could recommend a specialist. In the meantime, he wanted to run a second blood test, since he was concerned about some sort of kidney virus I seemed to have. Either hepatitis or... something. He took the blood, and they lost the results.
In the meantime, I lost my insurance.
Man, if I don't sound like the dumbest asshole alive...
Anyway, I chose between an obvious thing that was wrong (the mole) and the blood test.
So, tomorrow I go in for an examination.
I was at a belated birthday party tonight given to me by my friend Erik and geri and Rich and Christie. I tried not to mention this. I didn't want to bring them down. I didn't want to bum them out. I didn't want to see overly dramatic. But I couldn't keep my big yap shut. Asthings were wrapping up, Erik mentioned whatever he was doing tomorrow, and I threw out the fact that I was going to see if I had cancer. Couldn't ask for a more stupid dramatic way to bring it up.
I feel sick. to my stomach. I read through some melanoma sites tonight. Couldn't work. Just enugh wits about me to fucking bum myself out with lots of info about surgery and chemo and lymph nodes and all sorts of shit I'm sure I'll get to know very well.
Or not.
Or not.
Fucking stupid human. Fucking stupid.
Bought some rare Eddie Izzard to cheer myself up. Maybe he'll come to the hospital. After I sell my house to pay for chemo.
What a fucking awful thought. Sell the house, buy a really great camera and shoot till I croak.

I was actually thnking of selling and buying a loft. Since all I do is work where I live anyway. Don't use the pool (bad sun rays). Need to paint. Need to fix a shitload of things. Why have a yard when I don't use it? House prices in this neighborhood are in the million-plus range. Why not sell and make a killing? Live my last years as an artist. Or a guy who does websites in his loft?

Fuck, Fuck fuck, fuck, fuckfuck fuck.

"I'm a million miles away from that helicopter day..."

mood music

a short video clip (1.3mb)
So, I talked to my brother today, and one of the things that came up was that he had had a "Hollywood" experience. Not a celebrity sighting. Helicopters. Focusing on a house across the street. Not a typical thing in Columbus. But here... pretty common. We talked for a while longer, maybe an hour and a half or so altogether. And then I went back to work. (It's saturday night, what else?)

A little time goes by, and suddenly - helicopters. Or, more precisely, one helicopter. Round and round and round and round. Circling the neighborhood, shining searchlights into my backyard, in through my front windows. Blinding white light. And incredibly loud. Exactly as we had discussed.
Only this goes on for hours. Finally, around 1:30am, I decide to videotape the helicopter and the lighting effect. I whip out the little Canon (so to speak) and I videotape this helicopter circling overhead and lighting up my yard. I bring it back in and decide to make a little quicktime movie to send to Joe. I can barely hear the audio, since the real thing is still going on. Anyway, I edit, I compress. I make it a little 3mb file, instead of 465mb. And as I'm testing it, I hear the doorbell. I mean, I hear the doorbell ring about ten times. (I might have missed the first ten.)
Now, I have to say, I'm a little nervous. Charlotte has gone out for a while with a high school friend of hers (a young black man) and they are due back soon. And Miguel is out working. Security at a bar. In bad neighborhood. I don't know who's at the door, but it could be the guy they're looking for, or Miguel or Char and Michael - but they have keys.
Of course, it's the cops. Two young policemen. And in the background, two more. And a dog. They're impatient. They ask if I will open the gate to my driveway, so they can get into the backyard. Now. I ask what's going on. They tell me that it's a domestic violence situation. And the suspect has run up the block and is going through the yards. My backyard is gated and fenced. He most likely couldn't have gotten in there. But they ask me to open it. And they go take a look.
No problem. I go back in the house. And after a few seconds' deliberation, I decide to videotape a bit more. I go back out to the front door, but they ask me to stay inside, since the guy is armed. No problem. Minutes go by, I look out the front just as a German Shepard (K-9) (Cujo) passes by my front gate. Maybe the backyard...? So, I peek out the back and shoot. I don't want to get caught. Paranoia layered on top of paranoia here. What if they catch the guy in my yard and... So, I videotape these two cops in my backyard. They're staring at the neighbor's yard. Which is a jungle. A good place to hide,
And then the phone rings. It's Charlotte. They won't let her back through the perimeter. So, she and Michael decide to hang out at the Pavilion's. It's the social spot in the wee hours. She tells me the guy they're looking for has a gun. Oh, good. Wasn't I just joking with Joe about cops spraying bullets throughout a neighborhood. We were laughing about having to drop to the floor... Nervous laughter...
So, I have Charlotte and a young black guy, and Miguel who will be coming home shortly. Both are potentially bad situations with all these cops. I call Miguel to give him a heads up, but Charlotte has already called him. All this time, the cops are right outside my office window, talking on their radios, searching through the jungle. I'm editing their movie.

Finally, Charlotte comes home. The helicopter has gone.

And Miguel just showed up. The coast is clear. He just told me the driveway gate is wide open. I tell him the cops asked me to leave it open, in case they had to come back. But Miguel wanted to close it. I guess it looked a little inviting. And the cops didn't come back to give me the all clear.

Don't know if they caught the guy. But it will be light soon.
Just another night in the H'wood 'Hood.

And Paul Power stopped by tonight. Sometime after Joe's call. Wanted me to go to a party. Russell Crowe was going to be there. (That wouldn't happen in Columbus, eh, Joe?) But I had too much work to do. Paul's nose was a bit tender. He'd just come back from six weeks or so in Australia. And he'd gotten into a fight. Four guys against him and his nephew. And then his nephew got pulled out of the fight. So, it was Paul against the four. He apparently bit a chunk out of one guy's arm and gouged out an eye on another guy. He kept showing me how he dug his fingers into the guy's head and scooped out his eye. I asked how the guy reacted. Paul said he was a little disoriented. It stopped the fight. I asked Paul if he were on the run. He said he had to go back for a court date. Time goes by. Same Paul...

I skipped the party. And waited for the helicopters.


"Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting..."

Not in the zone. Where is the zone? Why is the zone... created? Abetted? This would be known as writer's block. If I were a writer. Not even a photographer these days. In the last two years, I've shot almost 20,000 digital pictures. Product shots. Some persoanl stuff, but the ratio... Why do I always switch the a and n in personal? Slopp typing. I swear that at some point the standard keyboard shrank. Or else my hands got huge. I feel like I have to type with the points of my fingertips. And my fingers aren't pointed.
Sorry for the warm up. I don't even know what the hell I'm doing anymore. Just working. I stopped teaching so that I'd have more time... to work. And I have to keep working. This past month I spent more money than I ever have since I bought this house. $24,000 in taxes, new roof, mortgage, blah blah blah. And then the congress votes to spend another $82 billion in Iraq? I want my fucking money back. Now, don't get me wrong. I want it back. I finally paid the city. Okay. The city isn't dropping bombs. No, they're spending money on bullets. 150 rounds into one car. They hit nine houses and didn't kill the guy. Freeway shootings - maybe it's better that I'm not teaching. Stay safe at home. Never go out.
Try to see things my way. I 've been listening to this compilation of (big surprise) Beatle covers called we can work it out. Some gret stuff. R and B-ish. And stevie wonder sings we can work it out. Try to see things my way. Okay... Can I stop? Went to see Margaret Cho last month? Yeah. Two nights - once with Marnie and once with the kids. Charlie and Mike. Man, is that woman funny. And nasty. But mostly funny. What? Do you expect me to tell you all her jokes? Forget it. Go see her. Or wait until the DVD comes out. I sit there watching her, cringing every once in a while, thinking (or shall we say remembering?) that I'm next to my daughter. My poor innocent daughter. Who turned me on to Margaret Cho. But still... my kid. I don't think I'd take my mom to see her.
Shit, this is old hash. Old stuff. There's so much - wow, for a guy who does nothing! - but there's all this crap rumbling around. Like suddenly a phrase from about ten years or so ago comes back. When McCaulking Culken's parents let him spend the night at Michael jackson's house, the phrase "H*** L***" popped into my head. I should have stamped it out. But suddenly here's the kid testifying and all I think the prosecutor has to do is show the jury "Party Monster" (or whatever that movie was called) and they'd know that MJ fucked up that poor kid. Or at least contributed. What a fucking nightmare. What's up with these stupid parents? Uh, okay, you can stay with Michael. As long as he gives me a cadillac. Crazy. And der smoot always swore that michael was not hurting kids. Maybe not. A jury making a decision isn't going to answer that question, is it? No.
Two big jobs seem to have slipped away. Some relief, I suppose. But missed opportunities. A chance to make my business grow. Yawn. I just want to get through the day and make it to the next. Char and Miguel were going to call my doctor and set up an appointment for me. Push-y! While I still have insurance. This will be real ironic if I'm found in a coma tomorrow. (No one found me today.) Argy bargy. Went to Vegas and met (hello, sue) my brother's new girlfriend. Friend. Woman friend. Friend. Vegas. The Wynn hotel (hey, find this in a search engine, wynn fans) what an amazing place. All this hoopla about the guy who built it. So, we went, and there are a lot of flowers, and colorful mosaic tiles in the floor - and a huge room full of...SLOT MACHINES. What a surprise. Vegas. Slot machines. One point something billion. Sure, there is a mountain village or something with pine trees. Looks like an old native american (indian) village in the southwest, except... not. Who knows? I have a red card. I have points at Wynn. Points. Guaranteed to get junk mail. Hurray.

Oh. I want to get this domain name thing over with. A client had her name expire and a domain name vulture was lying in wait to snap it up - to sell it back to her. They paid him off (I guess we DO negotiate with terrorists), but he's taken about a week to make the transfer happen. A week. Like he didn't know how to do it. Pedazo de shit. Should be done tomorrow or the next day or monday. If you see Kay. Really a waste of my fucking time. Calling the other domain registrar. Calling GoDaddy. Calling the clown. And where did the jerk go with the money he got from the lawyer? Where did he take his extortion money? VEGAS.
Patience, Jim, patience. Patience. Ommmm. Alonnnnnnne....
It was good to see Joe so happy. I'm envious. But I have my work. I have my work. As raul campos says boo-ain-ass no-chess.

Carl told my students that I'm sitting home all day, working at the computer in my underwear. I sent the students that famous shot of Carl mudwrestling. Seen it?

Try to see things my way. There was this time when charlotte had just learned to write and put thoughts down on paper, and I found this note, a scrap of paper with the words "life is very short and there's no ti-i-ime for fussing and fighting." Guess she heard a lot of beatles... she leaves in June for three years or so...


"Nothing new, sound of breaklng glass..."


Weird series of events. I went out one morning (weird number 1) to go get new tires for the car. I put my camera in the backseat and closed the door. Heard a noise like a rain stick. Crackling, dropping, crusty, pellets... I looked at my back window. The whole thing was shattered. I at first assumed it was the local hoodlums. But it turned out it was the local tree. My lovely sycamore tree had dropped a branch during the night. One stinking little branch, maybe an inch in diameter. It hit just below the Bard sticker. The point of impact was very clear. The damage was complete. The only thing that remained was the glass held together by the Bard sticker.

I saved it, thinking it was artsy. The shattered dreams of Charlotte's Bard education. I showed it to Charlotte and she said mockingly, "Ah, the shattered dreams of a Bard education." Neither the apple nor the branch fall far from the tree.

Last Saturday, I was up, trying to get my shi-ite together for school. The usual four hours' sleep or whatever (he wrote at 1:41 am before class this morning). I showered, made myself a cup of coffee. The usual. My big glass mug. Filter holder on top, filter filled with grounds inside. Boiled the water. Remembered,as I always do, what Danny Alvarez once said, "I've never seen you make a cup of cofee that wasn't full to the top." All of a sudden, I heard a cracking sound. Low, like a snake. I looked at the mug. There was a crack all the way around the cup. I stared at it stupidly (sweet is a synonym for stupid, isn't it?). Sweetly. And then coffee started to spew out from the cracks. I weighed the info for a few groggy seconds, then made my move. I picked up the cup and lifted it toward the sink. Sweet boy. The bottom stayed on the counter and the oh-so-full cup of coffee dropped all over the counter. Creeping across the tiles, dripping down over the edge of the counter. Over the drawertop, over the cabinet doors and down to the floor. I got an old dish towel and mopped it up. So, cool, so efficient. So fucking hot. I wrang out the towel and then looked at the top of the drawer. What if...? I opened the drawer. A huge wave of coffee swooshed across the bottom of the drawer. This was where most of the coffee had gone. I stared at it. And decided to finish getting dressed. For a moment, I thought about leaving it for Charlotte. (Who is still here, but that's a whole other story.) And then I thought I'd better clean it up. I pulled out the silverware tray, the chopsticks, the strainer, the serving spoons, everything that had gotten wet. Rinsed them off, drank my coffee and went to school. My class later had to storyboard a short incident about a cup of coffee unexpectedly breaking.

And, of course, things happen in three's. This morning, I woke up. (Hallelujah.) As I walked out of the room, I heard a short crunch sound. As if... as if a window had broken. And sure enough, I raised the blinds and one of the panes of glass in my sliding glass door was shattered. There didn't seem to be any point of impact. No dead bird outside the window. Just a spiderweb pattern through the super-strong, screen re-enforced glass. No explanation. I'm glad things only come in three's.
That's just begging for it, isn't it?

There seems to be a point of impact. (That's why I take pictures - the truth!) But no dead bird. Or did I look closely enough?


10:24 PM
I'm going to Sundance. The film festival. I've lived here for 25 odd years and have never made the trip. Of course, I never had a reason before. But now I do. A friend referred me to a young filmmaker, a grad student at USC. She had completed her masters thesis, a short film (13minutes) called "Eating." She had entered it in the Sundance film festival and it had been chosen as an "official selection in the 2005" short film competition.
I was immediately interested. She needed a movie poster and I like doing movie posters. She also needed some other "stuff" - postcards, buttons, promo lip balm, beanies, cookies, stationery, etc. And she needed everything right away. Of course. Early December she was notified, and three days later had to submit a headshot, stills and some press stuff to Sundance. By the end of the month, she needed to send in some posters, electronic press kits, a DVD of movie clips. And everything else had to be ready. Sundance is the last week or so of January. Both of us were going home for the holidays (what we used to call "Christmas"), so everything had to be done by the 20th of December. Les than three weeks for the poster and press kits. We jammed and got it done.
I have to say it was a pleasure. First of all, the movie is great. Good, short story, well-acted, well-directed, well-written, well-shot. It's about a guy at an overeater's anonymous meeting who figures out that evening why he is so huge. A flashback takes him back to a traumatic night in the 70's at a party at his parent's house. A night that set him on a course of eating. I understand this. I don't have the same memory, but I understand the compulsion. The addiction. The addictions. The struggles. (I miss my dad, I suddenly thought, for no reason. Or some reason. I miss him. As realistic or unkind as memories have been. Not all bad, but I miss him. Anyway. The movie. I get it. I understand the kid jamming his mouth full of pigs in a blanket and swedish meatballs and cake and M&M's and other crap. And I understand the denial.
I watched the film with Rebecca (the director). At the end, the adult dave leaves as wuickly as possible, without sharing what he has discovered. As the film ended, I turned to Rebecca and said "And off they go to fellowship." She knew I knew. The code. The ritual. The meetings. I know. I've been there. In a less-tahn-fully-committed way.
At any rate, I got the movie.
And I saw that she needed to make sure that she took advantage of this opportunity. I've blown a few opportunities in the past (hello, People magazine?). Choices I've made. Youthful stubbornness. Foolishness.
Rebecca had no desire to do a poster or postcards or a website. She's a filmmaker. But she had to wear that self-promotion hat. It's that awful moment when the artist realizes that he or she has to market him or herself. It's a shitty feeling. Purity is suddenly chucked out the fucking window and commercialism flies in. I told her I would handle the site and the poster and all of the other stuff. Iwould make it work. I made her a priority. As much as I'd like to, I can't claim full credit for making this happen. She, of course, made the movie. And she is smart and had an understanding of what needed to be done. She hired the publicist , not me. She gets it. But it was a bit overwhelming. As I said, I made it a priority to help get her stuff done.
And most of it is done. The site, the buttons, postcards, poster, etc. She's gone all out. And so did I. It was fun. And fueled by the knowledge that I was dealing with a project I cared about.
I can't say that my motives were completely altruistic. But they were. I may get another poster job. Or another web site. But I don't really care. I have a lot of work already. This was a fun project.
And I'm going to Sundance. The last week of january. Rebecca invited me. She has a three-bedroom condo with lots of floor space. (Or at least some.) I am paying for the flight and chipping in on the rent, and paying for tickets. And food. But I'll be at Sundance. Park City, Utah. Out of Los Angeles, away from my desk and computer. In the snow. In a festival town. I can't wait.


In other news, Charlotte and Miguel have decided to go to Mexico in early February. They were going to wait for some INS (Homeland Security) issues to be resolved, but instead, they will be able to handle stuff via the mail. So, they are going to leave. They have been living here, waiting to go. In limbo. A horrible place to be. Heaven or hell, damn it!
They will be okay. I am happy for them. It will be tough to lose my roommates, my workout nazis. For indeed, I am going to the gym. Usually with them. But I'll keep going.


I just burned a CD with a few tracks Miguel wanted. And I put Try to Remember on it. The song still gets to me. The sadness of Jerry Orbach dying. Passing. Maybe I feel the death of my life in theater. Maybe it's just a sad song. I know it will affect me for a long time. After Law & Order this week, they played a brief instrumental version of the song under a photo of Orbach. It made me cry. It makes me cry now. Why? What the fuck is wrong with me? Why does this get me?
Don't know. I had a dream. Rather un-Martin Luther King-ish. I was participating the the Olympics. There was a new event. Leg shaking. Uncontrolled leg-shaking. Like spasms. Like you're sitting in a chair and suddenly your leg starts bouncing out of control. There were three of us. The guy who was doing his leg shaking was going crazy. He was an old guy. And his leg was bouncing and shaking - completely out of control. It was so violent that one of the judges comically put a long piece of corrugated cardboard over his crotch, so it looked he hada long cardboard hard-on bouncing towarda female judge.
He finished, and the next guy up was Jerry Orbach. Jerry sat down on the chair and waited. But his leg wouldn't shake. I sat there wathing him, and I knew that he could have faked it. He could have made his leg bounce. He's an actor, he has control over his body. he could have made his leg do anything. But he didn't. Instead, he apologized and got up. It was my turn. I knew I could fake it. I knew I could make my leg shake. But jerry hadn't faked it. How could I? I would sit and let what happened happen.
However, at that moment, i was awakened by a loud cracking sound. It turned out that the power had come back on in the morning, and my scanner was stuck in a repetitive cycle, jamming the scanning element into the back end of the scanner.
My chance to show Jerry that I, too, was a trooper, that I was an honest guy. That if my leg wouldn't shake, I wouldn't cheat. But my dream was interrupted by the power company.

I don't interpret dreams. I can barely remember them. But this probably meant that I want to sleep with J-Lo or something.

Good news. I don't have to teach tomorrow!!! What a relief. Two days a week. Finally, I have time to work on my web sites. Loree Rodkin has been patiently waiting (I hope). This is loree rodkin day. I will re-do her site today. It if kills me.

That's all.


from the LA Weekly - the kids at a protest rally where they were kicked by police - charlotte in the chest and miguel in the back
charlotte has it on video...
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sob - the beginning

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all material © 2005 james frank dean