"and then i go and spoil it all by sayin' somethin' stupid..."

[I kept trying to write. I kept starting pieces, but never finished. Too much work, too much wine, too scattered... But here are some bits...]


I'm trying to get a lot of work done. It's been building up. Lots of work for little money. And in some cases, no money. And I don't feel like doing anything. Charlotte's gone again. I'm still burning bedsheets after the Labor Day weekend nightmare. I can't figure out the woman who is not in my life. One minute we're friends and talking late on the phone, and the next minute, she freaks out thinking she has told me too much and says she's not going to call again. It's all just a little too much for my little brain. And of course, she is all I can think about.

But there's all of this damn work.
I have a client who changes her mind about how she wants some photos. I decide to re-shoot. I have my dining room turned into a studio (which is fine, since I eat over the sink or the keyboard, anyway.) The re-shoot will be a breeze. I pick up my camera and drop down about four inches to take a look at the shot through the lens.
And Pop! Pop! Pop! Down in the small of my back. I yelled out some obscenity and managed to set down the camera. Excrutiating pain. I couldn't walk. I couldn't sit. I couldn't stand.
I called my acupuncturist. I was told I could come right over.
It took me ten minutes to get into my car. I couldn't drop down onto the seat. I couldn't lift my leg over the front of the seat. I finally crawled into the front seat on my knees and then sort of turned back toward the steering wheel. I sat back, unable to move, sweating. This was fucking murder.
My back was pressed against the back of the seat. My feet barely reached the pedals. I could barely get the key into the ignition. But I drove to the doctor's office. (What an idiot...)
I staggered into the office, holding myself up. Grunted hello to the people, and sort of managed to lie down on a table. I get the treatment, some herbs, and realize the pain is not going away. I realize this as two young Korean assistants help me into my car. Another ten minute adventure.
I needed painkillers. I went home, laid down on an ice pack on the floor. And couldn't get up. For an hour and a half. Once I did, I still couldn't walk or stand or sit. I tried to make some tuna fish, but as I was straining the water out of the can, I squirted a stream of tuna muck all over my shirt.
Finally, I went to bed. Couldn't get up for three hours. I tried. I yelled. I swore. But I couldn't slide my leg over the edge of the bed. Once I finally was able to make some sort of houdini move off the bed, I was exhausted. I was in a sweat. I tried to sit, couldn't.
The kitchen counter was just the right height for me to lean on. It took the pressure off of everything. so, there I was. In the dark. In the kitchen, leaning on the edge of the counter, finally relaxing. And all of a sudden, I feel this tingling on my arms. Ants. Fucking ants are swarming all over me. I shake them off, wipe them off.

I hate Las Vegas. I hate myself in Las Vegas. I am a bad, compulsive gambler. I had barely gotten enough cash together in the past few days to pay my mortgage and a few bills, and here I was going to this fucking hellhole. I brought a couple of hundred. Bought a flight for almost a couple of hundred. And I had my credit card.
I think I can win at blackjack. I have won at blackjack. Once. Once I left Vegas with more money that I had arrived with. I'll spare you the details.
I barely remember anything, anyway, since I was popping two vicodins every four hours. And I was still in pain.

The real reason we're there, though, is so my Mom can take care of some business regarding my father. (I won't squeal, ma!) Anyway, I had to do the trip. Backache or not.

The best part of the trip, other than seeing my mom and brother, is saturday night. Joe and I go out on the strip and take pictures.


I don't even know when where to start. I've been in love, I've been out of love. I've run out of love. I got older. I fucked up my back worse than i ever have, I've been medicated. I've lost in Vegas.
Right now I'm too drunk to write this, so I'm going to bed.
Good night.


Well, there I was a few days ago. Back when the world as we knew it was more or less normal. I can't believe it's been a month since I've written anything.
But these have not been days of bliss. Real or imagined. These have been days... It's been a year to forget, and one to remember.
The big deal, of course, is that we are at war. But what can I add to the general awareness of that? One of my first thoughts was that I was probably never going to be able to see my Persian friend again. At least, not for a long time. The borders will be tightened. The profiles will be put in place.


Every comic who comes to LA comments that the seasons all run together and time just speeds by. And now I've lost the weekends. Not in the sense of The Lost Weekend. But rather in the sense that I just work day and night. Occasionally, I rent a video or two. For a while I kept watching The Matrix over and over. But even that didn't work.

I should back up. About a month or so. But this is here, rightnow. I have to explain the present.
I am a week into one of my (many) fasting diets, undergone with the help of an herbalist doctor. Herbs, acupuncture treatments, ume juice, and a decreasing intake of food. And suddenly, I'm down to a weight that only a few months ago I saw on the scale, and thought "Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened to you?" And then I went up. And then another "How did this happen?"
So, back to the doctor. The routine is to gradually cut down on regular meals, go through a week of oatmeal or that awful worm-shaped bran cereal or bread. And then ease back in to a new lifestyle. A couple of times I have lost as much as twenty five pounds doing this. You just have to start at the right weight.
So. I'm doing it. Three good days. But then... My new partner (I like the sound of that) came over late to work and brought a couple of beers. She drank one and then half of another. I explained the cleansing diet to her and begged off. And as soon as she left, I finished her beer. And then when that wasn't enough, I dragged out the warm amstel lights and added ice and drank a couple of them. (Wow. This always gets back to the addiction.) The next night when I wanted a cup of coffee, though, my new partner stopped me cold and told me not to break the diet. So, I waited until the next day and had a large cup of coffee to kill my headache. And I'm still up. I didn't sleep at all last night and it's already one thirty on Saturday morning. I buzzed all day on one cup of java. I guess the diet works, if you follow the rules.

Anyway. One of my fave clients, actually the woman I have this "crush" on. (Crush. Yeah. That barely covers it. There are more patterns here...) Anyway. My clients like me and they're trying to work it out so I can be a partner of some sort. The fave-est of all likes working with me on the creative stuff. So, for the past few days we have been working on a little side project. It has been absolutely great. Banging ideas back and forth. Coming up with stuff, tossing it out, coming up with better stuff. It is really fun. More than I've had in a long time.

"And then I go and spoil it all by saing somethin' stupid like 'I love you...'"

Well, not quite that. But on one of her late night phone calls she told me about going out with a girlfriend and kissing some stranger in a bar and some other stuff and I just felt sick. Maybe she's just out having fun, but here I am, totally in love with her and we have this business partner agreement. Which is good. 'Cause otherwise there probably wouldn't be anything. Oh, there probably would... But it's between us. So, we have an understanding. The lines have been drawn. I respect them.

Backtracking again. My birthday was on august 14th. The day after my last entry. Now, usually I stop writing in journals when I'm happy. I have several volumes that have a few miserable days' worth of venting and then nothing for another hundred pages or so. Explode, write, push it out of my mind, put the journal away. And that seems to be what has happened here. Somewhere in there, I confuse pushing the bad shit away with being happy. Maybe that's what happiness is. Who knows?
Anyway, my birthday was great. Started at 12:45am dropping char off at the airport on her way to guadalajara. As she was waiting in line, surrounded by mexicans speaking spanish, she suddenly started to feel that she was getting in over her head. Her year and a half of spanish classes at the art high school suddenly didn't seem sufficient. She started asking me for little phrases. Everyday, common stuff. But as she listened to the rattle of spanish around us, she started to look ill. "Dad, what am I going to do when people are talking too fast for me to understand?"
And a guy in line behind us, kind of uncut hair, bad teeth, his best sport coat on, face weathered by the sun... this guy leans forward to char and over-enunciates "Es-speak ver-ry es-slow-ly, please." The answer to charlotte's problems. And from that moment on, people in line started talking to her, asking her what she was going to do in mexico, what university she was going to, if she knew people there. The atmosphere got very friendly. And it calmed her down.
It was all almost okay, except she'd been battling with her mother all summer and her mother decided she couldn't see charlotte off at the airport. Charlotte was going to be gone until December, and she couldn't come. Of course, she may not have been invited... But. Only child. I was a little perturbed. (He said, to avoid using bad language.)
Finally the flight left. I waited to see the plane leave. About another hour after she got on board. man, this is going to seem like some quaint custom in the future.
That night, my fave client was taking me out to dinner. I liked that. I had taken her out for lunch on hers. She asked if I wanted to go to color me mine first. (A paint-the-pottery-your-way little shop.) Yes, of course. So, she pops over. And pulls out the ingredients for... crap. some drink. i've forgotten. but it's mint, rum, club soda and tons of sugar. Like a whiskey sour mash with rum or something. She mashed up the mint, mixed the drinks and we sat and talked and drank. And then it started getting late, and she had made a reservation at color me mine and we had to hurry. so, we chugged the second round of don juanitos, or whatever they were. We drove to larchmont. i was feeling the effect of the rum. Into the pottery shop. And there on a table are a dozen or so plates, upside down. And the artist has signed her name. Selma Hayak. "Oh," I say, "Selma Hayak was here." And someone says, no, she's right behind you. I turn and, damn, there's Selma. Gorgeous, small. And I turn back, and I realize it's my friend Erik who has pointed out Selma. He's there, and scott and jill and steph and selene and... It's a surpise birthday party. I can't get over it. My fave client has thrown me a surpirse birthday party. I'm stunned. I blasted. I can't decide what to paint. I don't get who Javier is. Well. It seems fave client has invited a boyfriend to the party. It's a brilliant way to draw the lines. "I threw the party, but don't get confused." It's a bit of a heartbreaker, but... I'll cry later.

After we've all painted, everyone else splits and the two of us go have dinner. Bottle of wine. Stinks. Get a different bottle. And, as I have warned many people, I do what I do when I have too much to drink. I es-peak my mind. And I tell people I love them. Sort of. I asked her if she knew I had rather huge crush on her. And she says it's been pretty obvious. We actually have a good talk. We agree to keep things as friends and business... not partners yet, but on a business level. I agree. I talk too much. I think she's beautiful. I probably say that. She says something completely unexpected. "I don't know you well enough to trust you." I'm astounded that she doesn't trust me, but I'm totally blown away by the frankness and wisdom of what she said. Of course she doesn't know me well enough. I could be some lying sack of shit. But I'm not. I would do anything for her. Anything. I don't know the scope of this personal flaw of mine, but she could move in, I'd give her anything. And why? Why? Because she is nice to me. She may not be in love with me, but jesus christ, she is nice. And she thinks I'm funny. I keep her messages on my answering machine for weeks because I like the sound of her laugh. I make her CDs of music I like. I make CDs just for her. And as John Cusak revealed in Hi Fidelity, creating a music compilation for someone is a supreme gesture of love. At least for geek guys like me. Anyway, I barely finish my dinner. She drops me off at my place. I start to ask her if she wants to come in, and she's beating me into the house. There's CAKE!" Which we pretty much wolf down. Although there was enough to last for several breakfasts and lunches for the next couple of days.
So, we talk. Quite a while. She splits. And I end the night saying something stupid like "I will do anything for you." Which seems to indicate that perhaps I am not complying with the business-partner arrangement. But I would. Do anything for her. It's an illness. It's my illness. It's just a big old slice of what I like to call "Happy." Being in an impossible relationship. Thinking that at least it's something. And I get the feeling that if any woman ever read this, she would run so fucking far away...

I was set up on a blind date. spoke to the woman on the phone. She's my age or so. She's been in L.A. for a year and she realizes that the seasons don't happen here. Time just slips away. She hasn't been dating. Have I? I say I don't really meet anyone interesting, except for several female clients. Who are all entrepreneurial, aggressive, smart, thirty-ish. And this blind woman asks, "But you wouldn't date a thirty year old woman, would you?"
The silence was probably embarrassing. But I didn't notice. I was running through the list of thirty year old women I know who I would definitely go out with. I finally answered some sort of slurred "well-l-l-l..." and then said something about the fact that these women have a lot of spirit and personality and attitude..." "And good skin," she added. maybe. it's the life in them. I've said it before. But that's the attractive part. Life. As in I should get one.

Today would have been my parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. That is something I will never have. But it's something they should have had.

And one more thing. a lighter note. Access Hollywood or some such show was doing a teaser. One of the announcements was this: "Jennifer Lopez finally gives her reaction to the attack on the twin towers." Click

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