Thursday, June 28, 2007

How You, Too, Can Get Killed on the 4 Train

I've been fairly knackered lately.

Someone said to me recently our easygoing habit of emails would have to stop because they are too wrapped up in an artistic project right now.

I was miffed... what a great word!..feeling slightly, well, slighted.

Now, I understand... and I can write with great importance, that I, too, am burdened down and cannot take part in our easygoing habit because of my being wrapped up in my silk robe... film, right now.

The subject matter at hand, however, is how to get killed on the 4 train.

Lately, I've been slipping into 'crazy lady on the train mode'. I'm reading like mad, I have pencils stuck behind my ears, a rolled up copy of the script, two bags, and a dog with indigestion.
I also buy strange food on the streets, tend to do my laundry at The Boss' house, and with little sleep between jobs, nod off.

After being dropped off at the 86th and Lex station around 3.30AM to catch the 4 on Tuesday by the Director, I scrambled past the passed out drunk.. he was a well dressed drunk, considering where he was...and dashed downstairs where I could hear trains coming and going.

My one joy was, the 4 ran local at that time of night.


I sat on the express platform.

And waited.

And fell asleep.

I was not mugged there...I guess it was the bag of smelly food, and the line of drool that ran down my chin, the filth from the tar paper rooftop smearing my pants and darkening my exposed skin, the once white terrier that would now give a shelter mutt a run for their money for just plain filthy....

Eventually, myself said, "HEY... notice the rumbling on a regular basis above your head? I think you are on the wrong platform." Of course, Self had a good nights sleep, and was feeling perky.

We shambled up the stairs, and sure enough... there was the 4, running local.

I dragged all of my belongings, including an exhausted terrier onto the train and nabbed a seat. For the life of me, I do not understand how the 4 is never empty. No matter what time I ride it, that sucker is packed. It's along the lines of shopping at 3AM at an all night grocery store, and finding other people and wondering what they are doing there, never questioning the fact you are there yourself.

I started a conversation with a woman who scratched the dogs head...brave soul. The terrier had investigated every nook and cranny in the warehouse. She was now the colour of ewwww.

In the middle of our conversation, which served as both a pleasant way to pass time and to keep me awake, a group of young men started to yell and talk in a different language, obviously disturbing everyone else in the car.

The rest of us made eye contact, as they shoved each other and yelled back and forth, jumping out of the doors when we'd stop, shouting... dashing between cars as the train moved.


Finally, when the cacophony reached it's crescendo, I said, "Gentlemen, please... would you lower your voices?"

I presume they'd never A) been addressed as gentlemen or B) been asked to not run the place.

You could hear the soundtrack from High Noon in the air.

A sudden torrent of Spanish said in a cracked pubescent voice directed at me with nods to his friends for backup started and carried on for a good minute, the r's rolling in that beautiful way they can do on certain words.

He looked at me in a smug way, then his eyes flickered to his friends, all of them looking pleased with the dressing down I'd been given.

The men on the train glanced at me, to see how I'd take this obvious insult to my womanhood, my place as a human... hell, they more than likely insulted my nice blue shirt that I'd purchased at Pretty Girl on Grand Concourse.

The train was pulling up to 161st. You could see they were going to get off .... always time your insults if you think they may cause you harm.... as the doors opened, and they were departing, I said,

"Jack, do I look like I understood a word you said? So, allllllll of that, was wasted energy. Never insult anyone in a language they don't know, because then... it doesn't mean shit."

The doors closed, they stood there, and I went back to my conversation with the lady who was laughing.

It's how I drive, too... if you don't look at that person you cut off accidentally, whatever hand gestures they make towards you don't count... any yelling or verbal barbs thrown go into the void. Last night, we had to dash to the store to replace my Maglight, and not being familiar with Greenpoint, the driver went the wrong way down a one way street... he says it's because I yelled "TURN HERE!"

I was very clear about the fact I don't drive and I had no idea where I was.

We ended up facing a driver who was very facial and very hand friendly... and we didn't make eye contact, so, it didn't count. See? It's a great concept. If you are screamed at in any language you don't know, it's in the manner of the adults in the Peanuts films, you don't understand it, so, it doesn't count.

Just make sure they get off far away from your stop.

Far, far away.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sleep Is Never Overrated

Life is built around the film right now.. Before, I was the 'talent'... read credited speaking part.. now, I'm the scripty.

I've never realised how intense this whole process is... theater is a world apart from film. In theater, you move in a nice orderly progression to create the play, a to b to c.

In film, you shoot all of the scenes for that particular area, so, you shoot out of sequence... that's where I come in with my job of keeping track of back flashes and front flashes and continuity.

I have tabs and coloured markers and pencils everywhere.. I'm as happy as a pig in mud.

Tonight, we were scheduled to shoot seven scenes... the rain disagreed with the director's vision, so, after over three hours of setting up, going over timing, rehearsals, wardrobe and makeup (and some pizza for the camera crew with a nice big piece given to the scripty)... we shut down early.

I'm home, and ready for bed at midnight instead of 7AM as I'd planned.

Plus side is, sleep.

Minus side is.. no weekend.

Still in all.... it's amazing how this all comes together... I may be hooked.
My call was 4.

The cast and crew call was 5.

Our first shot was to be at 7.

We called action at 9.15.

We called wrap at 4.42.


In between that time, I was privy to watching someone's dream be put onto film (well, tape), the talent work the same lines over and over, my headset pick up everything, hunch over a monitor <-->this big while sitting on a milk crate and making 4,752 notes on each take to keep the continuity straight... now, if I can read those notes and pass them on to S, the editor, so HE can keep the continuity straight, I'll be able to live.

It was, "No, you said the word "but", you keep dropping that word... you jump down off the beam on the word 'sleep' move out of frame on the word..." and so on.

In theater, you block and the talent knows their lines and if they don't always get the cue, you give them notes after the show. The audience doesn't know something went wrong most of the time...unless, as in the case of one of the shows I worked on where the set was two feet off the ground.. don't ask... the actor fell off the front of the set.

His comment? "Thank goodness that was the testicle they'd removed."

He was a trooper, he really was.

In film, they HAVE to do the same thing every time, because the editor has to match all those bits and pieces into one coherent piece of seamless film. Otherwise, people like me sit in the audience and say, "Hey, didn't he have four pickles on his plate when they showed him just a minute ago? And, I don't see him chewing."

There were four trains to take to get there, forty pounds of crap to carry, a terrier who has to sit in the production office... thank you K for making her the company mascot... the heat and no thyroid to control my inner body temperature. Cables, and techs, and cameras, and the DA and the and slates and grips and PA's and gaffers and the all important DP... the director/writer.... and me. Equipted with two copies of the script, 147 pencils, a clipboard, nerves, a keen eye for out of sequence issues...thank you OCD

Monday, June 25, 2007

Today, Part 2

1. Nosebleed stopped...after an hour. It's a bleeding disorder.
2. Showered, and looked cute as anything...well, for a mature woman.
3. Room I was shown SUCKED ROCKS.
4. Room I loved, $1800. No, and no again.
5. Hooked on Falling Softly from Once. Cry alot.
6. Have old job back.
7. Film tomorrow.
8. Still hyperventilating due to 7.

More to come.

Today, I Shall....

  1. Stop nosebleed.
  2. Take shower
  3. Dress
  4. Take two trains to look at overpriced room in Greenpoint
  5. Try not to sob when I fall in love with said room, and don't want to pay the money, but, hell, it's in a nice area
  6. Go to work
  7. Buy the last of my supplies
  8. Go over script one more time
  9. Hyperventilate
  10. Go to bed
  11. Hyperventilate one more time
  12. Wonder if I got the room
  13. Stop listening to Falling Slowly from Once
  14. Listen to Falling Slowly from Once, once again
  15. With luck, go to sleep

It's a good life.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summer Wars

I'm at a loss as to what to say today.

Our shoot starts Tuesday, I've got to remark the 12th revision of the script, and I need to re-time it... Words swirl in my head, and sometimes, well, you have to contain them.

SO... I've dug into the vaults of Quin, and will write about Quin's Summertime as a Child.

I don't remember much of my was fraught with not very good memories. On the surface, we were a typical family, Mom, Dad, 2.3 children. My MawMaw lived with us, because, as good Southerners, when her husband died when I was 5, she came to live with us, and raised us... my mother was *GASP* a working mother.

On occasion, my MawMaw would head back to Mississippi to check on her home there, or to visit, and take the Golden Child with her, and I would be a latch key kid for a week or so. This was in the time and in the area where kids had moms at home... I'd pull the key out of the mailbox (ohhhhhh... who ever thought of putting a key in a mailbox!), let myself in, call Mother at work on the black wall phone... in telephone company language a TELBW....then, I wasn't allowed out of the house until she arrived home. Usually, I had to dustmop and would follow written instructions to start dinner.

I was 7 or 8 at the time.

In the summers, I had my magic days in Monroe. Weekends, all through the years we would go to my Aunt A's and Uncle G's to visit my cousins over in East New Orleans. She is my Mother's sister, and the greatest woman on the face of the planet. I don't go a week and not call her.

I've not spoken to my Mother in two months, and her birthday was sometime in June.

My cousin MV is nine months younger than I am. She was, and can still be, the meanest bitch on this earth. You do NOT cross MV. In high school, she would correct the grammar on her tests and hand them back into the teachers along with her answers.

Yeah, they loved her ass.

She bought a car when she was around 18. Her own money. Thing was, she couldn't drive. So, she drove it up and down the driveway. Really, she did. We all cheered when her daughter, L, turned out to be a small version of her mother...although my Aunt A says L is a combination of MV and me... poor child. MV's siblings are a collection of personalities that I adore, along with my loved MV, and even if we squabbled as children...her Barbie was a social person, well dressed and classy, she is the closest of all my relatives... I could never live with her, however, I think of moving back home to be near her.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, she was right there, having had the same form a few years ago, and a walking encyclopedia of the disease, she answered all my questions. Any time of the day or night, I could ring... and her Yat accent was right there, laughing, crying, and nagging me on to keep going.

We shared MawMaw's upbringing, the woman who gave us a hatred for Limburger cheese. Trust me, you don't want to know.

She used to beat the hell out of me, and toughened me up considerably. I'd walk though fire for her. After I did, she'd cuss me out for doing something so stupid. I'm so fortunate to have people like her in my life... I want her to come here, New York would never be the same, trust me. After Katrina, she carried on, pissed off that the only part of her house that was really ruined was in her bedroom... a huge hole in her roof.. right over her bed.. where she'd piled all of her Mary Kay products she sells part time.

Summers were MV, Monroe, mosquitoes that ate us up and caused us to run behind the trucks spraying DDT.. which she and I are sure caused our disease, but, hell, at least we weren't bitten, and our Annual War.

I grew up in Metairie, which is on the edge of New Orleans, towards the airport. We were the new generation, the suburbs, build on swampland... 20 foot creosote soaked poles driven into the ground to keep the foundations from sinking, little boxes immortalized by Pete Seeger built on streets named by someone in the company... a job I coveted along with running the elevator at Masion Blanche... 700 square feet of domestic bliss, a carport, three bedrooms, living room, and one bathroom, heated by a gas flame set into the wall. Throw in an attic fan in the hallway, two square feet of Bermuda grass that would take over your yard (and everything else) in one summer, one tree in the front yard, and you were set.

Across the street, the houses backed onto swampland that had not yet been zoned to have homes, so, it was our playground. We curried it into perfection, creating paths and forts and treehouses under the canopy of 30 foot high treetops, under the knees of cypress trees, around pools of stagnate water. Tree trunks were piled up, affording cover in our never ending war against our mortal enemies; the Wilson Street Kids.

Behind my house were the homes of those fiends, the kids from Wilson Street. I never learned their names, even though they lived in close proximity to me for 10 years. They usually attended Green Park Elementary while those of us on Dilton Street went to St Mary Magdalene, making us vastly superior. We knew we would grow up with perfect penmanship, a hatred for any outfit that had blue bottoms and white tops, excellent spelling, a fear of rulers, and that our souls were saved, and we often wondered if the Wilson kids were some of the pagan souls we willingly gave up our silver dimes in order for the missionaries to baptise and thus keep them from Limbo. We never saw them at Mass... it was rumoured they were Baptist, just like Skipper Watson. We allowed Skipper into our group, only because he was an only child, and he had an amazing play room. Plus, he was 6 foot tall at the age of 12, making him a valuable commodity in the battlefield.

Most of the year, we confined our skirmishes with the Wilson Kids to hiding between the cars parked on both sides of our respective streets...realise, this left a space wide enough for one car to drive though.

You waited until you saw your enemy go by in a pack, their bikes with the angel handlebars and the banana seats... except for mine, which was a huge hulk of a thing, weighing more than I did, and Lynn, who had a three speed English bike. She was the anomaly on our street. Her father flew for TWA as a pilot, so, she was always ahead of her time. She wore Yardley makeup before we knew what it was, or before we even wore makeup, and her brother had Playboy, giving us access to real female bodies instead of Barbie or our mothers in their girdles. Our bikes also had baseball cards clipped to the spokes... cards that would now allow me to buy a flat in SoHo if I sold them on eBay... and you'd stick a broom handle in the spokes.

This action will immediately halt the forward motion of a bike, causing the rider to flip over the handlebars, crashing into the concrete street, and jamming up the riders behind him or her...hell, it was always him... this was pre-Women's Lib.

As they laid there stunned.. or, as you lay there stunned... a pack would leap upon you, punching and hitting and biting. New Yorkers have nothing on human bites, let me tell you. With studies showing that mercury is a cause of Alzheimer's, my generation will lead the way from all the bites from teeth that contained mercury fillings.

That occupied our school year. It was during the long, hot summer, working around the things our parents had us do, like vacations or summer school or going to the pool...walking down to the A&P to stand in front of the frozen food aisle to get cool or buying penny candy at TG&Y, that we'd take turns slinking into the forbidden area.... canteens full of water, hostess snack cakes under our tshirts, Keds and flip flops in place, brown bags packed with lunches....other kids had pb&j, my MawMaw made me take something good, so, mine held a chicken potpie. Discussing the trauma of eating a chicken potpie in a fort in the jungle of our lives would take more than one single post.

We went equipped with trusty boy scout knives at the ready. Every boy was in my dad's scouting troop, I used his old knife... and still bear the scars on my hands to prove it. There were six boys in the gang; Rusty, Danny, Larry, Pat, Skipper, Frankie, and my brother the Golden Child. They allowed the girls to join them, mostly because we were better at the scouting then they were, and we were willing to make sandwiches. LuLu, Frannie, Debbie G and I were the main group. Sometimes, Debbie H joined us, but, she was pretty much a girly girl, so, she spent her time examining her fingernails and sweeping the fort.

The primary job was to collect ammunition and place it into various caches in our sector of swampland. All around the area were sections of cane. When green, we'd cut it into 4-6' lengths, strip it, and sharpen the ends to make spears. Later, we'd return to pull out the root balls and let them harden in the sun to make the perfect throwing weapon. They would weigh a good pound or so hurt like hell when they hit you. We spent hours creating camouflaged hideouts, covered pits, and jail cells.

The weekend before school started, after family vacations when my friends went to Daytona Beach or Disneyland or Six Flags over Texas and we went to Vicksburg or Bull Run or to worship somewhere else at the altar of Jefferson Davis on our way back from Monroe, we prepared for our yearly battle that made Gettysburg look like a minor skirmish. The small attacks of broomsticks pushed into bikewheels as they rode past or bottle rockets fired with black cats attached or even roman candles fired at point blank range on the 4th of July celebrations only whetted our appetites for the main event.

Labour Day weekend.

Parents were dozing in the shade, lulled by hamburgers and far too many beers in the hot September sun. Flies buzzed over the potato salad that was reaching toxic levels. Babies slept. Women played poker and smoked. The men sipped absinthe and threw each other in the swimming pool. We loaded up on Dr. Pepper bottles, potato chips, cupcakes and the last of the bottle rockets. Spreading out as to not cause alarm, we meandered towards the pile of cured tree trunks that blocked off the forbidden land at the end of the shell dead end road. Some crawled under the chain link fence behind Lindalows.

Like ghosts, the Wilson kids could be seen filtering in behind the Tomasotas house. Once out of view from the street, everyone broke into a trot to their respective forts. We were ready. This was it. Flags raised, people in position. Old army binoculars in place, the skinny ones shimmied up trees to be ready to report movements of the enemy. We surrounded the battleground, a painstakingly cleared area in the middle of grove where the battle took place. Our plans were made, our medical supplies consisted of a few bandaids, some mericuricome and toilet paper that you could spit on, then put on the wound. The blood held it in place until you ripped it off later, causing a fresh torrent to pour forth. It kept us going, though.

The generals met, hands were shook, rules set, they returned to position.... the air stilled with the exception of gnats and the birds... and the first tree root flying though the air.

For two hours it was on... spears flying, tree roots ripping through walls woven from palm fronds, Debbie G falling out of a tree, bottle rockets setting forts that had dried in the sun all summer on fire, screams as a root slammed into a kid from Wilson Street, who was dragged off the battlefield, screaming like a ninny, we carried on, covered in dirt, blood, leaves, bites, our teeth showing through the muck, our voices cracking, only ending when real damage, the kind you couldn't explain away to a parent would occur.

This year, it was when a spear hit Danny B in the eye, ripping flesh from the corner back to his temple. He bled like mad, and was rushed back to the house, with a plausible story. The last year we had a decent battle, a boy called Bill J cut half-way into his foot with an axe trying to strip bark off a tree to make a shield. Never place your foot beneath the axe and then cut downwards. I'm not sure what was more interesting, the fact we all denied knowledge or the fact his mother wouldn't take him to the hospital until she freshened her make-up.

Yeah, those were the days, my friend. Those were the days.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

i showed her

quin left me alone today.

she had to work on her moooooooooovie. a film, and she had things to do, and i couldn't come with her. a film, ohhhhh. big deal. what do i know, i don't see colors. see? that proves this is the terrier talking, i don't use capitals and i write like an american, not one of those stupid english people even though i'm a west highland terrier.

take that, you damn scotties.

she left me alone.

while she was gone, i showed her.

that little bag of sunflower seeds i've walked around with in my mouth and buried in her clothes for the last three weeks? that habit she thought was so cute and clever?

i ripped that sucker apart and spread them from one end of this miserable hot sub-let to the other.

she doesn't have a broom, and she had to get on her hands and knees to pick them up. i followed her around and pushed them under the sofas to make it harder. it's difficult to get angry with me when i make my little button eyes sparkle and wag my cute tail.

oddly, she managed to yell anyway.

i pulled all of the clothes she'd folded off the plether sofas, and rolled in them. i think plether is made from thundercat skin. it smells like it. next, i jumped on the coffee table think, and pushed everything over, including the junk she puts in her hair to make it not all fuzzy... it's a gel, and it went over papers and stuff. i stepped in it, then, went back to the clean clothes.

she'd left the air conditioner on, to cool off the bedroom... i managed to push the door open. sometimes, it doesn't latch very tightly... up on the bed, pillows on the ground, then, i left the door wide open. the room was warm, the air conditioner ran for nothing, and her ocd made up bed was rumpled.

by the time she arrived home, i was pretty worn out, to be honest.

oh, and i pooed on the floor.

i saved my last trick for last, because i want her to know to never leave me home again.

i figured out how to push the chair over to the table, climb on it, get to the stove, walk over the edge of the sink, and push my open bag of dog food over. she leaves the window open, because as a dog, i won't jump out. i have depth perception. a stupid cat would leap out at the birds that fly by, i bark, but know i'd kill myself if i jump.

i'm thinking she wishes i'd jumped today.

The Pulitzer?!? First, I'd Have to Thank Bee and 6S

I swore I wouldn't do this.

Bee told me about Six Sentences.

First, I laughed... I mean, me? Put something coherent with a beginning, a middle and an end in six sentences?

Even the terrier stopped her Spanish lessons long enough to laugh.

I submitted one. Two. A few.

Here's the part that is surprising... he liked them. Said nice things... personally, I think it was the bribe of meatballs and red gravy and peach ice cream..but, I'm not looking a gift publish in the typeface.

My first one was today, and they'll be sprinkled there throughout the month.

Bee has some well written pieces there, too.

In fact, it's chock-a-block with good writing.

What can you say in six sentences? Obviously, I couldn't tell you about the site or my little story in six.... but, give it a try.(I wish I could figure out the embedding thing...if someone could help, I'd appreciate it)

It's a challenge... and, it's worth picking up the gauntlet he's thrown down.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Musings at the End of the Week

The person who invented car alarms should be one pays attention, they are annoying when they go off at 4AM, and mockingbirds love to..mock them.

With that said, the person who invented air conditioners should be made into a saint. To walk home after a long ride on a train, hampered by two bags, a plastic sack with food in it, the terrier who suddenly is not feeling well, bringing on grumpy behaviour and constant re-adjustment in my lap, so that her theme song becomes The Byrds Turn, Turn, Turn... down the stairs, across the station, down more stairs, up the hill, schlepping through the neighborhood, dodging the stickball game, through the gates... the stairs seem insurmountable. I go up two sets, only to realise the terrier is caught, and I'll have to retrace my steps to retrieve her.

Free the leash, once more, up the ten sets of steps...I have bruises on my shoulders from my two heavy bags... I'm tired, hot, heartsore, it's airless in the stairwell..I swear I can feel a grove in the marble stairs where people have tread.

Finally....even the dog is done for. Door open, my usual OCD pattern is followed... lower locked, upper locked, shoes off, bags down, keys hung, leash off and hung, food in 'fridge, put the laptop on the desk and power it up on my way to the bedroom where I....

....turn on the air.

The rest doesn't matter. What matters is I put on my gray cotton tshirt that hangs to my mid thigh, that is getting thinner with each wash, that I should put away... I put it on, and I shut the door, and I finish out my night, knowing I'll open that door and will be met by the Arctic Circle.

I do not watch TV.

I do not cook.

I do not put on lights.

I run my AC for three hours to freeze my room, and that's my electricity consumption.

It's worth it... the fan goes in the room with me, I keep the door shut, and I stay cool all night.

I'm sprawled out on my bed, my gazillion count Egyptian cotton sheets beneath me because I am a linen whore... and I'm happy.

Even when the car alarm goes off at 4AM... it's why they sell ear plugs.

I went to our set today... it sits on the water in Greenpoint. Our wrap party will be on July 4th, on the roof... across the river from the barge that does the big fireworks.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh yeah.


Tonight on the way home, I became one of ....those people. You know the ones... that just when you are getting ready to sit down... you realise they are slightly off.. and you do that reverse squat, and move back to the pole, smiling politely as you wave an unsuspecting standing passenger your place instead....looking as if you are well bred, when the truth is... you don't want to sit by a crazy person.

I was the crazy person tonight. The Boss gave me a gre... okay, lets be honest, she was getting rid of a great suitcase, and I nabbed it. I'm a dumpster diver at heart, and I couldn't see letting this go. I sublet, my life is in suitcases...and this one has wheels.

I also had reached the place where I could no longer carry the new laptop bag. Sure, it's red... sure, it's pretty. Yes, I paid $23 for it, talking the guy down past his lowest price... and, although it's more than likely made of ThunderCat skin, it is leather. My problem is, I pack everything in the world into it, to deny needing a purse.

I believe I mentioned bruised shoulders.

I sucked it up, and bought a messenger bag, suggested by Weather Guy. With the dogs in tow, I perused the various open air shops off Canal, opting for the same place where I'd bought the ThunderCat bag. Fortunately, the owner was gone, and his bored son was in charge. He said he's sell me a messenger bag for whatever I had in my pocket.

I had $11.23.

He asked if I wanted the large or the small bag. Ahhhh, clever, clever man. I wasn't going for that, ohhhhhh no. No big bag for me. I'd be in the ssds....same shit, different shoulder. I bought the smaller bag. Sage green. Nice.

Getting the laptop into it is much like squeezing my size 8 ass into a pair of size 6 pants that don't contain lycra. I have to gently align the two items.... getting eye level as I place them both on a flat surface. Slowly, with the patience of a NASA astronaut, I prepare for docking. the left side is moving too fast... ABORT ABORT ABORT.

After 15 minutes or so, I've got the laptop in, have squeezed in the cord and my MTA card.


The MTA card.

I also had the aforementioned suitcase shoved full of the items from the old two bags... the other bag being my script supervision kit... I had some food in a bag, and the grumpy terrier

And the MTA card in the size 6 messenger bag in a lovely sage green with a size 8 laptop docked on top of it.

Reaching the station on Canal, I'd managed to wiggle my flexible fingers under the laptop enough to slide the card up and into fresh air. Why I didn't walk the other block and force the guy to give me a larger bag...oh, right.. Dad was there by then, and would have a heart attack much like the father in Breaking Away (great film, btw)... "REFUND??? REFUND????"

Before I could go down... a gaggle of sain...gees..tourists screech, "LOOK! He's like BAXTER!"
And automatically, I correct them and announce he's a she.

As if she knows the difference.

I juggle the leash as they coo and cuddle and she looks with longing down the stairs... they follow, asking directions, which I give, and then proceed to block the turnstile causing me to miss the train.

I push forward, hey, I'm an expert at moving though and not getting stuck... I got stuck, managing to get everything but my suitcase handle which caught on the arm, and freezes it up. The girl behind me goes on and on about a card she's found... "Put it down," I told her. "Run your card, push the turnstile and then jump."

"Is it your card?"

"I have my card, see? There is no attendant. Run your card, push the turnstile, and jump over the way that smelly homeless guy just did."

She was from Minnesota.

It took some telling to get it though to her.

I drug my collection of items to the front of the train, trying to not look as harried as I felt, pulling the suitcase, with the shopping bag balanced on the top of the suitcase. It slide from side to side as I navigated my way to my seat, mumbling the entire time.

It was then I slipped into crazy person mode, a pair of glasses on my head, one on my face, a double handled shopping bag sitting on top of the suitcase resting against the pulled up handle, a messenger bag that slid around and a dog that was clean, but, didn't want to really be friendly tonight.

Inside the shopping bag was my food, my pungent Indian food, some of those great toasted almonds, a book and a Pepsi, and with the arrival of the train, I walked on, happy to be seated at last.

It wasn't too bad there, I dropped a couple of almonds, and would say, out loud, mind you... "Oh, I can't believe I'm dropping those." and, I'd kind of laugh. In an embarrassed way. The guy next to me moved slightly away... I can't blame him, to be honest.

Union Square... oh, I was SO happy... getting up, I dropped my shopping bag, reveling my curry, ran over the toe of the woman next to me with my suitcase, had the dog on a short leash, so when she jumped, she yelped, and talked to myself the entire time.

Oh, yes, I was a real peach.

Sadly, people on the same car transferred with me. I kept looking for Todd and his camera phone.

I had two choices... keep explaining it was a bad day, or go with crazy.

I went with crazy.

I grabbed the seat on the end, and piled my stuff around me, holding the dog on my lap. I looked like the 2007 version of Ma Joad in a peasant top and jeans with cute flats. I mumbled a bit, shifted my bags about, and when the guy started to sing because he didn't want to sell candy or pretend he was sick, I asked him not to.

He replied, "Why not? I was just singing."

"I know....that's why I want you to stop. This lady and I are talking (and we were) and we can't hear each other. It's rude. Please stop." I gave him a crazy lady smile.

He left.

I talked to myself all the way home, past the b-ball players, up the stairs and into the flat.

I stood at the window and watched the hunky firemen go into the building across the street... I didn't act crazy, but, I did stand there in just my long tshirt.

It was dark... still, I knew I was there.

Tomorrow I go back to being sane.ish.

There's a situation I want to work on... even when someone is listening, you sometimes need them to see the things you do, read their words, it's about the other senses, too. And, never, ever use the promise word lightly in regards to time spent. You get one chance with that word.

That's it for me.

Musings from a crazy lady... and if I show up on Todd's site.

Put it this way, I know where he'll be on July 3rd.

I Was Rude

I was rude today.

Imagine that, me, rude.

I had to go to the set, to see my director...K, for our film (I shudder in anticipation and fear at that word)...that starts shooting on Tuesday. It's a clever, well written piece, called 'scar'.

It's a short, K's baby...her heart and soul are in this, and she's no idea this journal exists, so, I'm not saying it to win points... I'm proud to be attached to this, I get half the swag when we go to the festivals, so, I'm totally going to bust my butt on this job.

Besides, I want to AD the next film...I'm oblivious, not stupid.

I had to change the train twice to reach Greenpoint Avenue.

The 'F' train stands for FUCK...who are these people? I really do believe when you are released from any mental facility, still whacked out (I can say this, I have enough white coats in my closet to qualify for being certifiable), they say, "Here are your meds, try to remember to take them... come out of the train tunnels into the parks so we'll know it's Spring, and, oh! here's your never ending pass for the 'F' train."

The 'G' train stands for "GODDAMNIT, THIS IS SHIT".

I arrive at my 'G' train stop, enjoying Greenpoint, thinking... I can live here. Of course, after my project apartment in the Bronx, I can live in a box in a park in the middle of Canal Street and think I'm living high on the hog.

I settled into my seat, both bags tucked down, one with my laptop, the other holding my precious kit of script supervision equipment... the terrier sitting and looking around.. and I lean forward, to ask if this is, indeed, the right train to go to my stop.

"Excuse me, does this train go to blah blah?"

She looked at me as if the terrier had eaten a wheel of cheese, and was telling her about it in Spanish.

The terrier doesn't like cheese.

" I don't know. I think so." Her headset back on, she started into the darkness of the tunnel beyond my shoulder.

The woman next to me who'd just sat down said, "Yes, it's two stops away."

We chatted a bit, the train moved, and sure enough... there was my stop.

Guess who stood up and got off?

Miss Google Search Engine herself.

I matched her stride for stride, and as we came out of the dark, into the nice smelling air of the street, I turned and said...."Aren't you lucky this was my stop?"

"Ummmm, why?"

"Because, if I hadn't gotten off the train here, on Greenpoint Avenue, the stop you weren't sure existed, you'd still be on the train, wouldn't you. Oh, and have a nice day."

I kinda feel bad.

Then I bought some kind of Polish pastry full of transfat and cheese and sugar and butter, and I was fine.

My luck, she'll be on the board of the apartment I want to rent.... and I'll have to lie and say it was my twin sister, Tondalaya, who was mean to her.

I've used that excuse before.... not that it's worked or anything....always a first time for everything, I suppose.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

You Can Write Me At....

I'm official...

I may sublet, but, I have an address...

Yes, you can send me mail, a parcel, money, candy... bills even.

My address is.... on the email link, I'll send it to you.

What, you thought I'd put it here? I'm not that silly... I'm a smart New Yorker.... after all, I bargained that guy down to a great price on that bridge to Brooklyn.

Oh, yeah.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why I Miss Me My WalMart

Over at Oob's, there has been a discussion of WalMart, or MalWart, as TheInvestment used to call it.. he was big on Spoonerisms as a child... who shops there, if it's liked or not, etc.

I'm a fan of WalMart. When the kids were little, and I lived on a budget that was barely enough to keep one person going, much less five of us and a bigass house, Sam Walton was my best friend. Clearance items gave me the means to buy Christmas and birthdays and WalMart's food was affordable. It let me keep my dignity, and I never had to stand in line for welfare.

This was important to me.

My kids still laugh they knew it was a birthday when they could shop the sale rack, and not the clearance ones.. they still head straight to Clearance when they shop.. old habits die hard.

Now that I'm in New York, I miss my WalMart. On my last visit out to L.A., I had to pick up a prescription, and one of the joys of WalMart is their interlocking network of pharmacies. I can go to any of them in the country, and they will fill my meds. Great when you have the number and importance of my little friend who decided to invade my body's medical needs.

The line was long, so, I meandered over to WalMart's paint department to look at the colours there. I like paint colours. The names fascinate me. Gobi Desert... Parchment Paper...Liliac Breeze...oh! to have the job of naming paint colours! It's up there with wanting to name streets in my imaginary list of great jobs.

Glancing back, I saw the clerk was free, so, I walked up, and gave her my 'script.... my best smile in place...

"Hi, Julie, how long will this take?"

"Hmm..a bit."

"A long is 'a bit'?"

"You know...awhile."

"Is there a specific number attached? Ten minutes, twenty?"

"No....just a bit."

I discovered that 'a bit' equates to $62.93 in your basket as you wander about. I also discovered that WalMart remains unique in it's oddity in America. Once touted as selling American only, the smocks are now made in Mexico. Although some do feel Mexico is part of the US by population crossovers alone, it's still not officially on the flag, so, I've a feeling Sam may not have agreed. The store was organised by someone who seemed to just throw the department names in the air and see where they landed. Nothing is where it should be... I went to look for a pumice stone, and found all the foot products located with adult diapers.

I'm still not sure of the connection.

Pregnancy tests are $2.00. I'd not trust a pregnancy test that costs $2.00. More than likely, I'd buy two or three or four, just to test the accuracy, which would end up equaling the more expensive one anyway.

While looking for multi-vitamins, I was overwhelmed by the huge array of minerals and vitamins and other items on the long shelf that started with diet aids and ended with weight gain drinks. There were things I'd never heard cohash, strained cranberries in tablet form mixed with ginseng, milk thistle in a capsule... what in the world is that for? Boils? The plague? Boils brought on by the plague? And 539 kinds of vitamin B. I was unable to pull myself from the area...standing there, transfixed. It was a black hole that was sucking me in. Thankfully, a friend called to ask if I what time was I going to be back in New York, or I'd still be there, talking to myself, wondering if I should buy dried white tea leaves.

I realised that their men's tee shirts have sleeves that are too short, that the deli meat is a bit off-putting, and that you always see at least two people that you know.

So, I went and picked up my prescriptions, added them to the cotton tshirts, the great white blouse, the two pairs of levis and the dried pigs ears the terrier loves and shoved my 200 lb cart to the checkout. Trying to shove it all into my already full suitcase in the hot parking lot was interesting, to say the least. I could have gone back inside to buy another case, however, I would have come out with enough stuff to fill it, and still had my first bundle of items sitting there.

In the end, I noticed the only place in the entire store that really is logical is in the pet food section, where you can find cat food and cat litter in the same aisle. What joy! There is perfection in the universe once again! Here it is, all in one spot... something goes in, something comes out...and you find the products for both in an easy stroll. The ying and yang of shopping is restored.

Keep KMart.... In the Land of Utes, I did all my socialising in WalMart... everyone in town shopped there, from the Mayor to those people with their ATDC cards. Students, doctors, professors at the University, actors.. all of us, the parking lot filled with beaters, humvees, bmw's and polygavans.

It was our place to meet up, share gossip and buy cotton tshirts. We all had the same clothing, and pretended we didn't.

We frequented the local businesses, too, but here, you could always find someone you knew, if you waited long enough.

I miss me my WalMart, and I assure you, it will be the first place I visit when I go back in August...right after I see every film that is playing.... at $4.25 a pop, it's heaven to go to the cinema.

Then, I'll see what and who WalMart has inside... catch up on the sales, the summer clearance, and all the town gossip.

I'd better plan on bringing an empty suitcase this time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I have a friend, Loo, who lives just to the east of me, not too far... around 5000 miles or so.

She's someone who is part of my family of my heart, of my soul, of my choosing...and I'm fortunate that she's made the same decision.

We met online, believe it or not... chatting away first in a chatroom...then in those odd IM's that we would occasionally hit the wrong button on, and let the conversation slip into the main room... causing our catt... um... sharp tongued comments to be read by all.

Moving to a forum, we stayed in touch, and then, started to ring each other, timing our conversations around her husband who traveled with his company, our children who's combined numbers were seven, dogs, cats, her massive social calender, and our various mom duties, along with my commitments to my little theater company, not to mention an eight hour time difference.

Magically, like the other sisters the Master of the Universe has decided to bless my life with, sisters I do not share DNA with, she always knows when to ring me... I'll answer the phone, and that plummy accented voice will say, "Hello, sweetie."... and we fall into the rise and fall of her dialect, sharing stories current and memories of times together.

Her visit here gave me one of the best holidays I've ever had... two of us driving across Utah and Nevada, in search of the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas... from the sublime to the superficial. We ate at Wendy's, and watched TV sitting on our beds in a hotel... we took photos and walked the rim of that big hole in the ground, fending off tourists who hear her speak, and fall under her spell. She attracts nutters the way a trailer park attracts tornadoes. One woman went on and on to us about this amazing species of animal she'd found at the Grand Canyon... things we had here in America, things you can't find in England, Miss English accent... we have perfectly formed miniature bunnies. Yes, they were stunning, had we seen them? Just down that path they were, you could hold them in their hand, they were that small. Little ears, little eyes, little legs, little puffy tails. Minute. Perfect. Miniature bunnies, and she could bet they didn't have those in Merry Ole England, ohhhhhhh no.

Loo looked at her, with her beautiful eyes, her perfect teeth, her graceful manners, her voice that is like butter and said, "Are you talking about the baby rabbits?"

I think I peed a little, I laughed so hard.

We stopped at every state sign, and took her picture under the sign, to show were she'd been... posing in the dim light with construction machines around and horns honking when we held up traffic going into Nevada. She waved with a cheery smile.

Vegas. The Orleans Hotel. Perfect for us to be in, perfect to sleep in, perfect in every way... the British woman and the New Orleans walking definition of oblivious. We hit town, unpacked... and did very little.

The dumbest thing? Wearing heels. The funniest thing? Going to the Bellago to give hello's to the pit boss of the craps high rollers club for the Golden Child. I mean, as if that man would remember him. The GC used to stay there saying that way I couldn't come visit, they wouldn't let me past the front door. Dressed to the nines in our heels, we sauntered in, over to the pit, and I asked for V. They brought him over, and I said, in a rather shamed voice, "Yes, I'm Quin... Golden Child is my brother, and he asked...". Before I could go further, V exclaimed, "How is he doing??? He's such a great guy, and so funny.", and went on to give a few stories about the GC, making it obvious he knew him.

I guess when you win and lose a HUGE amount of money every time you gamble, they remember you.

Shame he can't remember to pay me the HUGE amount of money he owes me.

We struggled back in our heels, and discovered craps. We were made for craps. Well, she was.

I was given the dice twice.. the first time, I knocked over the stack of chips by the dealer guy. The second time.... well, I'm sure eventually that man was able to use his left eye.

We had a system, bet $50 and play until it was gone. That kept us going for hours... and we had the busiest table there... not because it was a winning table, it was Loo.

She adored cheap Las Vegas breakfast, she loved the look of the polygamists, she laughed and cried with me, we drove and sang and talked and talked and talked.

We rode the roller coaster at NewYork,NewYork... her eyes gleaming, me screaming the entire time. "Oh, lets do it again!" Yeah, right after I volunteer to have my teeth pulled by Dr. Szell in Marathon Man II.

We never left the Orleans again, and were so comfortable, when we'd hit the lobby... our shoes came off.... now, that's comfort, and she made it classy.

This is a woman who has more underwear than any upscale shop on High Street in London. I can assure you, she's never waxed herself, and here's a secret.... she snorts when she laughs. It's not pretty when the two of us get going.

When I go to her house, I have my own room I share with a huge hairy dog.... he sleeps on my pillow after I'm gone. Somehow, that makes me feel good. I eat lovely British bacon, have tea, freeze my ass off, set off her house alarm at 2A, go up and down the stairs in a home that looks normal outside, but, inside is like a rabbit's warren, drink at a pub where everybody knows your name and they all call me Yank. Her daughters are part of my life, with one who is a social butterfly, and the other so sharp, some of the things she says don't sink in until five minutes later. She introduced me to Black Books, and for that alone I am grateful.

Loo loves me enough to not let me navigate when we go anywhere. She buys me strawberry tarts. She takes me to dinner with her parents, who are so amazing, you can see where she got her sense of humour. Her father said, "Oh, I'll pay for this." as we sat down to eat. Her mother and I were wisely silent.

"No, I said I'd pay."

"Darling, I am."

"I'm paying."

Two jaws set.

"Well, then, you pay." He leaned over to me. "Since she's going to have it her way, make sure you pick something embarrassingly expensive. I am."

And we did.

She put up with her soon to be ex mother-in-twat with grace and all of her well bred dignity. Then, we made huge fun of her on the ride home. 'Nuff said.

I hate June. It's a month of sad days for me, of deaths of many sorts, of the discoveries of words that were lies, of finding out I didn't have supernatural powers and slamming into brick walls, of making the worst second first impression ever, of spending seven hours in a car sobbing into In-n-Out bags because I'd run out of the napkins, of Father's Day, of birthdays I don't care to remember, and of anniversaries I want to forget.

It also holds Loo.

As usual, I'm late..... but, it comes from my heart.

Happy Birthday, Loo. See you soon.

Tuesday Morning, 11.49AM

The hydrants have been running for two days now.

Full on, water rushing in an arc through the air then spilling into the streets running.

At first, it was amusing... someone took off the cap to let the children play in the cool water (as if I'd let my child near that stuff) in this heat. The only people I see near it are the crack dealers who are washing their cars. Rubbish floats down the gutters to pile against the other piles of rubbish already stacked on the curbs. This creates a change in the landscape.... we now have stinky stacks of dirty diapers and old bags of half eaten food that will mold at a snappier rate than normal.

This adds to my living pleasures here in the Bronx.

Last night, my neighbor told me she's still searching for a new place to's tough, she said. No one wants to give Section 8 housing out. "I wanna get my boy out of here." she said. Her eyes dart, watching the cars drive slowly down the street, music making the air move. "He ain't gonna be like me, no. I beat that shit. No, he ain't gonna be like me."

Her father, as always, tips his hat and offers me his seat. "Mamii...sit. Sit."

The little boys hold the gate open, walk the terrier around the courtyard, "Dats some pretty dog. Can we feed her?" The ice cream they give her comes up an hour later. They were all happy for awhile, so, it's worth the clean up.

While I struggle to talk to the dad, they had strutted up and down, showing her off, keeping her out of the stream of water in the gutter... showing off to the next building.

"No, dis dog is the white lady's dog. We got a white lady in our building."

I am a trophy.

I found out my building is now known as the building with the white lady in it... ironic, as I've been having a discussion online with a fellow theater person in LA over colour blindness in theater. I think the arts are the one place it should be a level playing field... talent should be the top priority, not the colour or race. Sadly, it still is true that those factors will step up and be part of casting. And, in some plays, it may have to stay that way... although, I wouldn't mind seeing anyone play Othello... just show me the talent.

I digress.

I live in an area where I am sneered at because I can't speak Spanish. One shopkeeper pretends to not understand me at all, and will short change me if he can. We have constant staring battles when I am forced to shop there I know he speaks English, I've heard him. He calls me puta, I call him fuckwit.

Oddly, we are starting to get along.

I may be able to swelter it out here under the roof until September.... there is a place I can move to then. I may have to move back to the land of Utes, things are not going well there.

Life moves on, cotton fabric is my friend, and Limewire is the best thing I've found online. Where else can you find a copy of Pete Seeger and Judy Collins singing Union Maid to download for free?

Monday, June 18, 2007


.....I love to listen to it.

Some days, more than others.

June~It's a Four Letter Word

I hate June.

It always makes me cry.

I hate it so much, it took me four tries to type the word, my mind won't allow my fingers to say it properly.

I've birthdays and anniversaries and deaths of one sort or another in June...enough to make me...well... hate it.

I'm hot and sticky and grumpy and even the prospect of a film with a director I respect looming on the horizon helps.

I had a package at the post office... but, no little pink piece of paper... we know what that means... no package. Even in my little town among the Utes, no piece of paper, no package.

"Quin! Hi, how are you? How are the kids? Festival going well?"

"Yes, thanks. Say, I had notice I've a package, but, I left the darn pink piece of paper at home. May I pick it up anyway?"

*crickets chirp*

"No. You must have the approved US Government Pink Piece of Paper along with Two Forms Of ID and Your Photo Must Be On These Pieces of ID To Prove You Are The Collecting Party."

I had the tracking number from Amazon... and hope.

And an Angel from Queens.

She has curly dyed red hair and a lisp. I explained how the pink piece of paper was in The Boss' mail box, she works all the time, I get my mail out of there on occasion, and I really needed this package. She said, "Let me look for you, honey."

She found my package, hiding it behind her back...

"Is this yours? Baby, why don't you get yourself a post office box?"

"I sublease... no utility bills."

"Well, have a certified letter sent."

"No access to the mail, that's the problem here... remember?"

"Baby, fill out this, give it to me and come back on Wednesday to get your post office box."

"What do I owe you? It's certified mail."

She smiled. "It's a gift from the US Post Office. Welcome to New York City."

June always makes me cry.

Just the way I am now.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Shuffle Picks Your Life's Music Score

Thanks to Oob for this game...

We all talk about the magical qualities of the shuffle.... so, here's how you play the game...

If your life were a soundtrack, what would the music be?

Here’s how it works:
1. open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod)
2. put it on shuffle
3. press play
4. for every question, type the song that’s playing
5. new question– press the next button
6. don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool

I was a bit hair on my neck standing up on this one.... it's an emotional day for me.. June is never a good, the selections proved the Mystery of the Shuffle and the serious eclectic music on my PC and lamented red iPod.

Opening Credits:

Funny Valentine~Elvis Costello

Waking Up:

God Bless the Child~Billie Holiday

First Day At School:

Sam Stone~John Prine

Falling in Love:

Fields of Gold~Eva Cassidy (sobbed though the playing of this)

Breaking Up:

You Will be My Ain True Love~Alison Krause (again, sobbing)

Prom: (I didn't date in high school, so, this was interesting)

Close Your Eyes~James Taylor and Joni Mitchell

Life’s Okay:

Over the Rainbow~Eva Cassidy again

Mental Breakdown:

Blackbird ~ Sarah McLachlan


The Boy in the Bubble~Paul Simon


I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow ~ Soggy Mountain Boys

Getting Back Together:

Old Friends~Simon and Garfunkle


Suzanne~Leonard Cohen

Birth of a Child:

Here Comes the Sun~The Beatles

Final Battle:

Angel from Montgomery~Bette Midler

Death Scene:

Tears of Rage~Joan Baez

Funeral Song:

What a Wonderful World...Louis Armstrong (I'm so good with this)

End Credits:

Ode to Joy

Interesting, to say the least.


Father's Day

The dogs and I did our stroll today, bolstered by a letter from The Boss.

No, not Bruce.

I wish.

I was asked once by my ex what would I do if that Boss showed up at the door, while I was surrounded by kids and my corporate suits and dishes and laundry and the chaos of being a full time working wife and mother... what would I say if he asked me to come away with him.

My reply? "Do I have time to leave a note?"

The Boss wrote, and all is good with us. I'm leaving on 5 July, which will make life very interesting, as The Film...don't you love all these capitals?....will shoot during this time. I've submitted my resume, or CV if you want to be very posh, to a few other projects. I'm talking on a daily basis to the Guy, who answers the phone and calls and cares and that makes me smile. A lot. Good solid smiles.

I have friends who are speaking of Father's Day, in sad tones, hushed tones, regretful tones. I, myself, have never been fond of this day. My own father...may he rest in his never ending buffet of excellent food surrounded by all the books and music he can have.... was a shit dad. A good granddad, a great friend... a shit dad. The ex, well, that is my business.

Parents shape who we are, how we see ourselves. Women often grow up and marry a man like dad. It's held up surrounded in pink light as if it's a great thing. Don't kid yourself... it isn't. Sometimes, we seek out the emotions and acceptance and guidance and need to be someone's little girl that we didn't have as, well, little girls.

It is the hardest thing in the world, to walk out of our own dark, dark house and shut that door. To understand we simply cannot change the people we share DNA with, that we cannot make them love us like us accept who we are how we care. It is why we make our own families, as I say time and again. We create our family of our heart.

Sometimes, the shadow of that house stretches long and deep and it takes decades to escape it's reach. Sometimes, we never escape, and it's tainted colour that is so ingrained into the colours of our spirit, we eventually succumb to it's teachings, and become the person we are told we are. Or, even more fearful to our beings, the person we fear and who tried to shape us and destroy our spirit the most.

And, sometimes, we don't.

My dad sucked as a father. As a friend, he told me I could be anything I chose to be... to believe in myself. To go full tilt at my dreams. He told me that I had an imagination that stretched out beyond his limits of understanding, and there was my future.

No Happy Father's Day to the man who lived with me until I escaped at 18.

Instead, Happy Father's Day to NN, who has and deals with his own issues with a horror of a dad and is a good guy in spite of that man...for my Uncle G, who taught me to crawl by getting on his hands and knees every day on his lunch hour, who always gave me the end of the loaf of French bread, who loved the little girl who wasn't his blood...who was my dad in many my friend, Mr. Neebes a dad who is To my brother, who doesn't have kids, but, is there for Mr. S, who personifies the word kind... to MattN, whom I've never seen without a smile and knows more stuff than anyone I know and to this Guy, sitting there today, helping his sons study, who listens and as importantly, responds.

Happy Father's Day to John, a man who gave me curly hair, introduced me to history, books, music, ghost stories, a love of food (my ass thanks you there), taught me to question everything, let me be me, defended me against The Wicked Witch of The South, loved me as much as he knew how... someone that we both decided we wanted to be family with, even if we hadn't shared DNA.

Now, I've an iced coffee to drink, a book to read, and the 9th Symphony is playing in his honour, in all their honours. The most beautiful piece of music in the history of man...written by a man who couldn't hear...but, he knew how to listen with his soul.

That's the secret to being a good dad... they listen.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Job

I quit my job today.

I'm still wheezing.

My boss is good, the job is easy, the pit bull...oh, how I'll miss him! However, I'm becoming complacent.. and, I came here to challenge myself.

I've quit.


Friday, June 15, 2007

FMD'S Week in Review

In no order, because I write as it floats in:


The two women at the Eugene O'Neil Theater, discussing their tickets for Spring Awakening...

"I don't know, Doris...look, it says Stage Seating is the $31.50 seat. Our tickets were $31.50. Go ask."

I wait patiently in queue. I'd like to take the Jarhead to see this show.

One walks up to the bored looking man in the box office...

"Where are these tickets?"

"What do you mean?

"Where are we sitting?"

"On the stage."

"On the stage?"

"Yes, on the stage."

"Up on the stage?"


"Where the actors are."

"Yes." He looks back to his charts and counts money.

She looks back to her friend. "Barb, we are on the stage."

"You mean with the actors on the stage, stage?" Barb asks.

"You mean with the actors on the stage, stage?"

"Yes." He personified the word bored.

"How do we do that?"

"You sit there and watch."

"Are they good seats?"

He points to the chart. "Good seats are $100. Yours are $31.50. What do you think?"

"So, we sit on the stage, with the actors. We are on the stage. We sit on the stage."

"Yes, that is why they called 'stage seats'."

"Barb, they are called stage seats because we sit on the stage."

Barb, who is three feet away, says, "Really? How strange. Will it be loud?"

"Will it be loud?"

In the background, I can see the other box office employees laughing.

"Yes, m'am, it will be. It is a musical, and, you are on the stage."

"On the stage."



She turns and walks to Barb. "Well, that's new to me. I'm never buying tickets from a scalper again."

By the by, we didn't get tickets, stage or otherwise.


Jarhead and I decided to grab one of those ride around the city buses. Since it was pouring down rain, and another guy was muscling in behind him, our ticket seller gave us a deal, $25 for both of us to ride... of course, it was inside due to the rain, however, it beat walking.

As soon as we sat down among a group of non speaking tourists...what in the hell were they doing there? They had NO idea what was going on.... it stopped raining. He and I dashed up the stairs, dried off the front seats, and settled in to enjoy the ride.

It was a perfect day, the sun peeped out, gentle breeze, and all the sights of New York below us.

As we drove around, he asked, "What happens, this thing just goes in a never ending circle?"

"I'm not sure.,, it seems like it.", I answered, as yet another duplicate bus passed us, full of happy, smiling faces.

He faced forward, his eyes lit with a glint as they slid over my way.

"I've figured out what we can do with you now. We'll find one of these buses, put you on it, and say... "Mom, enjoy the sights... we'll be back to get you in a bit. Here's your lunch." And, we'll leave."

For some reason, he found this vastly amusing.

I'm so glad one of us did.


Every morning, I asked..."What do you want to do?"

"Nothing in particular."

The last afternoon, he thought of a zillion places.... museums, Statue of Liberty... the Chrysler Building.

We'd seen a glimpse of it from the tour bus, right before we departed it, right before the rain started again.

"Where did he say it was?"

"I wasn't paying attention.", I said. "I think something second."

We agreed it was 62nd and entered the backside of the Grand Central station. Yeah, I know now.

We took a train to 59th, and got out, scanning the skyline... no building that looked familiar. I finally dialed a friend, C, who knows everything there is to know about New York.

"Hey, I think we are a few blocks off, and before we walk any further.... where is the Chrysler Building?"

"You are where? Um... well, start walking BACK."

So, we started the long trek back to Grand Central... the heavens opened.... we were drenched.... stopped for gyros....talked... and reached the building as the rain ceased.

It was a good time, in every way.

Oh, and if you need to know where the Chrysler Building is... call C.


This is on our local papaya stand.

I'm not sure what is back by popular demand; the price or that the product is back to being all beef.

I'm afraid to ask.


Did Dr. Zizmore change his name to fit his field in dermatology, did he chose his field in dermatology to fit his name or was it just serendipity?

CUNY needs to change it's name. Period. Every time I quickly glance at the sign, I have to do a double take. "Look who's teaching at CUN... " What? Who's teaching at....? Ohhh, I was worried that even liberal New York had gone too far.

来我们学校学习英语,以提高您的生活和事业! at Bob's School of English.


They shot for two days right outside the flat. I walked by the trailers 47 times, and never did see Chris M.



I forgot the amazing out of body dreams you have with this sleep aid. I've tripped the light fantastic, bought a phone that took dictation, relived every thing that happened to me over the prior fifteen years, and they were in colours I've never imagined.



I needed one. I made an appointment at AVEDA on Spring, opting for the AVEDA school, at 1/4 the cost of a real cut. I lucked out, getting someone who had trained and worked in London, and was having to re-certify here in the USofA. For $20, I would get a high end stylist cut. woot.

I said I wanted to go shorter, as the shorter my hair is, the curlier it is. This also happens when it's longer, but, I have to worry about zombies, so, I've gone for the short look.

My stylist was great. My hair, now that I'm used to it, is.... curly.

Very curly.



The Jarhead had his photo taken on Tuesday by an amazing photographer... her name is Maggie Saniewska, she's not only talented, she's a great woman and has become a friend.

Here is one of the photos of my lad... the one of him and I won't be posted... not enough PhotoShop to make it where I'd feel good about it.


Normally, I don't do this, because after they read your palm, they want to read your wallet. (see LA and chakra ripoff).

This woman read my palm for $5. No extra offers to dig up dirt and do a gris gris on them to help my aura clear. No leaning in to tell me I need help to get my chakra's lined up and only she can do it for $500. Nothing. A palm reading. What do you know, she actually hit everything on the nose... I mean, didn't miss a thing. Discussed what has happened to me, in close detail. Told me personal attributes of people connected to me, and they weren't general. I never change my face, and I stare at my hand, never looking up. She even told me what people looked like, personalities, financial situations and things about my children that aren't... general. The hair on my neck (what is left of it) rise up. It was....eerie. It was interesting. It was worth every cent. Now, we'll see if what is predicted happens.

Todd's back online, all is good in the world... everyone look and let me know if you see anything in Astoria or Sunnyside.

Took me all day to do this... distractions happen...

Such is life.

I may have to steal someone's blog name for my tag line...

Nothing is different, every thing's the same.


What happened?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Miss Him Already

"Mom....I'm leaving... wake up."

I kept my eyes closed... if I did, I could pretend I was still dreaming, and it was one of those stupid melatoinin dreams... where you get new phones and everything you've heard during the day seeps into your nocturnal fluttering flashes of colour and sound.

He lay down next to me....

"Mom, I've got to catch the train."

I started to cry, after I swore to him I wouldn't. He cuddled me close, the way I used to hold him.

"Mom, I'll see you in December, it's only six months... I swear, I'm coming back. I promise you."

He was sweaty from packing in a hot room with just a fan on him... I could hear his heart pounding. His big hands patted my back.

"Oh, Mom. I love you forever."

I sobbed.

"You stay here, okay? Keep your eyes closed, and stay here."

I tried... at the last minute, the last nanosecond, I jumped up and came in the room as he had the door opened to go...

"If anything happens, I will be so far up George Bush's ass, when he brushes his teeth, he'll be combing my hair."

His laugh boomed out.

"Yeah, I know... that's why I know I'm coming back. I don't want you on every front page in the country."

I stood at the window and waited for the door buzzer.... I could hear him talking to someone, it was the super...

"Hey, man, you headed over?"

"Yeah... Marines.."

"Buddy, you be careful, you hear? Thanks for what you guys are doing."

"JARHEAD!!! I love you forever."

He turned around. "Like you for always"

We did the rest of it.

And he walked out the gate, strong... proud...

My countdown begins.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Craigslist...You Bastard

I believed in your lies...your luring words...your...your...links.

Actually, it came down to waiting another hour as these two nice men dashed about tying up the ends of their purchase of a lifetime, or spending that time with my Jarhead.

Jarhead won.

Apartments come and go.... blue-eyed boys are far more important.

I got up, left a message on the machine, and took the 'A' to the loft.... he was there, with dogs piled on him, patiently waiting, wanting me to live somewhere safe.

We locked up the place, and strolled down Broadway... I bought him street food, and myself a cheap umbrella.

"Why do you need that? It's not going to rain."

Two minutes later, the skies opened, and I let his Marine ass walk in the downpour while I serenely walked to the 6 under my cheap Chinatown purchase.

There will be other chances... but, only one Jarhead.

It was a good decision to leave... one I don't regret.

And, today? Today, I discovered Sunnyside....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Wishing and Hoping And….

Last night, after a long break-up with Craigslist…I gave it another chance.

And there it was….an apartment. Not just any apartment, but, a shared apartment, an apartment that was dirt cheap, not just dirt cheap, but, a brand new, dirt cheap, on Wall Street, not about the money but totally about if we like you so it’s dirt cheap, even though it’s brand new, fully furnished, so beautiful it brings tears to your eyes apartment.

The ad was three days old.

I gave it a shot.

This morning, while on my way to work with the semi-asleep Jarhead, who is used to a nocturnal schedule, and nods off on the train, I had a call…

They picked me to call about the apartment.

“Well, it will more than likely be rented by 5P…we’ve showed it to so many people.” he said.


“But, if you can get to 14th and 8th with $200 on the back of a donkey, you can have it.”

“I’m on the 4, it’s bogged down, but, I’m so there.”


“I was joking.”

“I’m not…” and I went over the living situation.

He again explained this was not about money… this place was all about who they liked as a roommate. They could easily get $2500 a month for the place, and trust me, looking at the website of the flat they are buying, that would still be on the low end.

We spoke some more. He’s had emails from all over the world, in spite of a specific sentence in the ad stating not to contact them if you aren’t in the US.


“Call me when you get there, to 14th and 8th. Let’s see how it goes.”

So, here I sit… waiting. The Jarhead is walking the dogs, I just helped Greg run his lines… who’s Greg? Greg was a nice young actor who was sitting next to me and has an audition at 4P. I spoke to Pan and her mother, who is from Texas. The mom is visiting….she loves New York, she said. I spoke to a young woman who was a day early for the job interview of her life. She was outside, crying…so, I went outside and asked what was wrong. I mean, when you see someone sobbing that hard, you don’t walk past. We talked and I told haven’t made your first impression yet. You do that tomorrow. They only know by a phone call you were a day early. Go back to work, get up tomorrow… and make that first impression. The only person who knows you are upset is you. I think she’ll get the job.

I’m waiting. Every once in awhile, I go over and buy something, in order to keep the owner of the deli from asking me to leave.

Have you ever noticed how the deli food looks so amazing on Monday? It’s fresh and clean and appetizing? Wednesdays, it’s starting to go a bit… the lettuce has lost the fresh look, starting to slide downhill like a town that the interstate bypassed. By Fridays, the bombing of Dresden is complete. You fear touching the California rolls, the chicken has a covering you aren’t sure is a prepared sauce, and everything with a sauce has a firm surface.

I carefully go though the items…picking lightweight things… careful, careful… lettuce, chickpeas, perhaps some hearts of palm…it’s still light as a feather. This will be a cheap lunch. One California roll… some ginger… good going, Quin!

And I see them… the strawberries. Big. Juicy. Red.


I end up paying $5.32 for four strawberries and a small amount of salad. Every time…every single time.


I’m thinking right now, its 4.21. I trust that Trojan horse, Hope. They are going to come here between appointments with attorneys and such. I may lose my money from the current flat, as I’d have to move in right away.

I can do that.

It’s worth using up every penny I have stashed away if I get this, it’s worth not having a place of my own, and it’s worth moving those big ass bags again. It’s worth the ninety minutes I’ve sat here, and the ninety more I’ll sit here.

Yep, it’s worth all of that.

Never hurts to hope. If nothing else, I had some great strawberries.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

He's Here

Two hours on the local, I'm on one side of the 2 platform at 11P, scanning everywhere.... I'd dashed out of the downtown train, after being stuck on a platform at 149th in the bowels of the earth, the terrier's heart racing as fast as the rats who were dashing everywhere.

People sat with their feet up, she was in full ratter mode, ears forward, tail up... her hair on her back in a raised ridge... if I set her down, she strained at the leash to go after them.

Finally, the train came in.. and made


Why, oh, why didn't I take the D from Yankee Stadium??

I ran off the train, past this young man on the platform, down the stairs, through the tunnel, leaping over a homeless guy sleeping there, over to the uptown platform, where I told him to meet me.

Scanning, looking... and on the downtown side, was the young man I'd ran past.

"Um, Mom?"

He hiked up his two bags, trudged over, and there he was, LCPL Jarhead.

We rode the 2, caught the D, switched to the 4, and were home by midnight.... talked until 2A... today was to be an up by 9 and do NYC thing.

I'm watching him sleep as I type.

On the train, as he stood there with his packs, a man around his age asked, "Coming back?"

"No, on leave before I go over."

A pause. He looked at me, then back to my son, then away...

"Thanks, man. It's shit, but...thanks for what you are doing." He stepped off when the doors opened.

The Jarhead shrugged. "People say that to me. It's weird."

As we walk home to my 'hood, he comments, "Great neighborhood, Mom... when can you move. I need to get you a tasar."

A few guys start to step up into our path, see who is with me, the walk, the cami bags, his bearing, his stare... they back up. A car slows down, full of young guys... I'm waiting for a situation and the driver says, "Yo... go Marines!"

Odd how it happens.

He shows me his new ink. Oy!

I woke up early, and came out here.... and let him sleep. In a few weeks, he won't have that luxury any more.

We'll leave eventually. Until then, I sit and type and look at my gifts..... all of them.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Writing Letters

I went out yesterday, and bought some good stationary.

It's cotton, in a pale cream colour, with matching envelopes. It is a nice stock, not too heavy, but, nothing that will fly away should you put it on your desk either before it's written on or after it's received. You can write on both sides, and it won't show through.

When the Jarhead was in boot camp, he wasn't allowed contact by phone... the only call that was ever allowed was when he called home upon being told about the death of my dad. HRH and I faithfully wrote him, every day. I was lured back into the memory of how I liked to put words on paper. I don't email all that much, text is so irritating to me, it's faceless and toneless and is read in the voice of the person who has received, no matter what you say, the sentence is heard in the emotion of the one who is getting the mail... a simple sentence can cause pain if the receiver is in a bad place, or, it can put promises when none are meant.

Written letters show how you feel... the pressure of the pen on paper allow emotion and even how you feel physically to show. Tears drop on the paper, your hand moves, leaving bits of you to be sent along, microscopic, but, there all the same.

They are far more personal... you take time to send a letter... uncap the pen ... I only use fountain pens with bottled ink... take the paper out, you think before you put the pen in motion. The sound of the nib moving over the paper, the way it catches the ink... it glistens for a moment before it's absorbed. Your thoughts are sucked into that paper, suddenly all one being. It takes all your senses to write a involves you completely. As you write, your handwriting is hurried if you find yourself thinking faster than you can write or slow and smooth if you are writing something serious.. a letter of condolence or one of love.

The last is the one you take the time with, your words going to that person who holds your heart... you think carefully... hold the pen over the paper... pour out how you feel, letting all of it show, there.... having your feelings sing.

There is nothing as romantic as reaching into a drawer, and pulling out a packet of letters, tied up with faded writing, and reading the words there. I have the love letters....even though they are simply letters of communication they contain words of missing and longing to be back when his trip is over... between my great grandfather who was a steamship captain on the Mississippi and great grandmother. She had five children when they married... and he writes to her as if she's young and beautiful and... he adores her, you can see it in each line.

You're's signed, you put it in the envelope, address it, and put a stamp on it to be mailed.

You simply cannot be more intense than that in a communication.

I'm going back to writing letters... yes, it may take longer, and yes, I may get emails in response. No, I'm not going to give up email or phones... it's necessary at times. But, I am going to write to those I love... friends, family.. others. To send them part of me, to let them know I love them enough to take the time to put my pen on a piece of beautiful, lush stationary... and have it soak up my thoughts and words and emotions and so I can send it off to them.

Saturdays Are A Good Thing

Today was stupendous.

Lupper with some great ladies, amazing ladies, funny ladies, talented ladies, a street first....a pedicure, a great shirt at Fell Off A Truck for $1...and two, count 'em, TWO chances to stand in the street with my arm in the air to wave down a taxi.

I am in heaven.

The Jarhead is going to meet me at Grand Central at 10P... we come back here, and tomorrow.... I play tourist.

Life is good.

Friday, June 8, 2007

FMD's Week In New York

Belittled At Tiffany's

I had to return some earrings my employer had purchased at Tiffany', off I went on my journey to 5th... Straight leg jeans, ballet flats (Payless, thankyouverymuch), an oversized white shirt, crisply ironed with sizing, to give it that just right look... no must keep one's hair short in case of a sudden zombie uprising. I wore my perfect got-it-on-clearance wonderful watch, gold hoop earrings, and I had on vinetage RayBan Wayfarers...I was....Audrey Hepburn.ish. Granted, I've lost weight, but, I don't have that gazelle look. My neck is more cygnet than swanlike. However, I carried, 'IT'.... The Bag. That Colour, The Name.. and it Tiffany diamonds. My carriage showed I was no ordinary stroller down the avenue, no, I wasn't just walking down the avenue...... I was going to Tiffany's, and I

Upon my arrival, I swept through the doors with all the assurance in the world... I had the necessary items to be there, didn't I?

I strode towards the first counter, smiled my best smile, opened my mouth, and said;

"Hello, I ...."

She looked me up and down and said, "You must want silver.."

I ended up returning the diamonds, saying they didn't sparkle enough... but, even that wasn't fun.

Belittled at Tiffany's.


She Must Have A Great Personality

We are finishing a walk, the dogs and I... going past an eatery near the Grand. People stand outside to smoke, as if it matters with the wind blowing the smoke back into the open doors into the inside diners faces.

A blonde (I'm sorry... she was) stands outside with two men... they hang on her every word. She talks, they look hard at her mou...breasts. We go past...the two white dogs, one a pit bull and the other a ten pound terrier... she squeals, totters on her heels and grabs one man's arm as she says,

"Look! How cute!! She got them little matching outfits!!"

Yes, it's her bubbly personality that keeps them around.

The Homeless Guy

This afternoon, I rounded the corner onto Walker headed to work...and came upon two NYPD officers standing there while a paramedic worked with a homeless man who was stretched out in the sun.

He was a human desert....his skin was deeply tanned... full of hard earned wrinkles, his hair wild and curly and dried out from the sun. No shirt, even his pants looked baked on.

He was on a towel, placed on the sidewalk. The paramedic was on one knee beside him, leaning over to block the sun from the ageless face....

"Come on, guy... " he coaxed. "Come on... let's get you some food..some water. You don't want to die out here. Come on." And, he'd lift him up a bit.

The man would go limp.

"Let me die, right here, please. I'm ready."

The paramedic leaned close, "I'm not going to let that happen, sir. Now, come on, let's get you going."

It was the 'sir' that made tears come to my eyes.

The cops were moving things along, I caught the paramedics eye for a moment, and smiled... he was focused on what he was doing.

Giving life and water and food and a bit of dignity back to a man who had had none of it for what looked to be a long time.

Lemonade At The Pizza Shop

I am addicted. It's homemade. I buy the gigundo size, no ice, and come home and slam it down.

Nothing else to say.... just that.

The Stolen Red Nano

My beloved red nano... Apple sent a box, I packed the box, I had it in my bag...and someone walked past me, grabbed it and ran.

The good news; they stole a non-working nano.

The bad news; I have to pay for a new one to replace the non-working nano Apple was replacing for free.

Ah, well.

Heat and Humidity

I test it by seeing how my hair curls. Today, you could hear it curling....

George At Starbuck's

His real name isn't George. I am protecting his identity. Why? Because he slips me free drinks.

I don't buy Starbuck's. I think they are the evil empire, and I hate them. I hate them with a passion reserved for people who stop by when you are sitting down to eat supper and stand there until you invite them and things you buy that come with a manual that you eventually have to read.

I also hate the fact I didn't buy stock in Starbuck's.

My boss, however, loves Starbuck's iced latte's with no ice.

I'm a regular, I stop by at the same time, order the same drink. They start making it when I walk in. It's $4.34 with tax. Once a week, I drop a big tip.

George, once a week, says, "Here's your extra drink... you always throw me when you order that extra drink." and he winks.

I hate Starbuck's. I love free iced lattes and George.

The Trash

They picked it up.

Say no more.

My Knock-Off Bag

I work near Canal...on the train, off the train, on Broadway, in SoHo, you see them... the big black bags, the people on phones, the hustlers... "Hey, lady, you want Coach, Gucci?"


I don't carry a purse.

I do, however, carry a laptop (see dog, laptop, sending emails). My current bag broke.. I guess it's the 8,473 things I shove in the bag along with said laptop to allow me to say with a smug look that I don't carry a purse.

I refuse to pay full price for a new laptop bag, and they are ugly, and I don't want a courier bag...the reason is, I'll shove so much in it, I'll lean over to one side.

Off I go to find a bag... I want a deep red, it's a red year for me. Red phone, the lost red nano, red shoes. I spy it... the vendor spies me. We circle each other like prize fighters.

"Oh, this good bag. Uptown, you pay $200. I give it you $100."

"I live here. $20."

"You crazy! You neighbor, I see you with dogs. $75"




"Lady, go away."




He's screaming now.




"Sold." And I left with my bag made from some poor animal skin for $23.

I avoid his shop now... it's best.

My New Fan

It blows cool air around, and moves, and if you stand behind it, and talk or sing, it makes a neat sound.

That was my week. There were other things, but, they weren't very exciting. Since these were the highlights, you can tell it's going to be a long, dull, summer.

Ohhhhhhhh, yeah.