www.goneunderground.com I have moved on from here
Well the meet did not take place. I got to the diner on time and waited. They were running 20 minutes late so I called my mom on her cell phone. She answered and I asked her what happened? She said what do you mean, I said I'm here now at the diner waiting for you guys. She said I thought it was for 9 o'clock this evening. I reminded her of our previous conversation and she knew she got it wrong. She began to apologize for the next five minutes and starting hysterically crying. I could hear her in the background telling my father how she blew it and they missed their chance. She got back on and I tried to calm her down. I told her it was okay and we could re-schedule. She calm down a little bit and I reassured her that I would be calling back. Finally got off the phone and I left the diner to go to work. From that call I figured things at the homestead are horrible. I know what that's like and now I can only imagine what it must be like with so many "adults" in that house and no one to help them or talk to. All of those adults are just leechin' off them at this point. Once I get my act together here at work, I can call her back to set up something else. I just gotta check my schedule. To be continued.....
Well I had no idea the Yiffy post would rule the day. I got into my car last night to go home and I could not help but think I might see the bunny and the panda again, to no avail I didn't. I did see what appeared to be a middle-aged man staggered wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. Now this may not mean much to you but to me its the second night in a row that I have ever seen anybody on this strip of road in two years. Lets also mention that this part of the road is pitch black. You cannot see your hand in front of your face and yet this knuckle head is "walking" (more like staggering for whatever reason) down this road. My office building seems to be attracting an element of people that you would think uncommon to the area. In case you missed it, when I came back from lunch yesterday I did see some woman giving head to someone in the front seat of a white Mustang convertible at the far end of the parking lot. No, I did not stop to watch. Anyway today is the big day (in case you haven't been following this weeks post) with the familia. Should be interesting. I guess technically I am losing a bit of sleep over it since it is now 4:00 a.m. However its not uncommon for me to be up this early. There are times I don't sleep so well. Maybe Im not up for any other reason than drinking too much coffee yesterday, who knows. I figured I wouldn't say too much now and I will post about the meet later in the day. Im just trying to decide either to have a boot knife or a small caliber weapon in my belt. I cant help but think now when my mom says in her broken English, "oh Yerry don werry we be dare in a "YIFFY"." If you want to be creeped out by something, go to Google "Images" and look for Yiffer, Yiffs, and Yiffing......You will be scared.
First, I have to say don't ever think for a second that the BLACK is in "oh whoa is me" mode, I don't make excuses for anyone or for myself. I don't feel sorry for myself nor do I want anyone to feel sorry for me. It's part of a code I live by and I guess it's part of how I want to live my life which is the exact opposite of what I have been dealing with for the last five decades concerning my family in my posts this week. Im not even sweating my meet with the parents tomorrow. I do want to say how much I did appreciate how everyone has reached out to me with their words, their stories, and their encouragement. Thank you. Man, this is crazy. After what I saw last night, I wasn't sure if I should even blog about but it was stupid. I kept thinking to myself, no way no one is going to believe this crap but I figured I would sleep on it and if I still wanted to blog out about it in the morning I would. It's was a long day and I was ready to leave work. I was the last one to leave the office last night and I was beat. I had already taken off my tie and rolled up my sleeves. I was so tired I almost walked out of the office with my wireless headset still on my head and my "office slippers" still on my feet (hey I spend lots time there and the big cheese gives me that leeway to do so). I pick up the phone to tell my wife I am leaving but she isn't even home, she is out with her mom as usual, shopping. So I tell her I'm leaving as it is my common practice to do so. I grab my bag, jacket, keys, punch the code in and lock the door. I get into my car and I decide to open the windows and the moonroof. I usually crank the air conditioning since its been so hot and humid lately but I have been inside most of the day and I wanted to feel the fresh air and wind in my face albeit the balmy night that it was. I noticed the clock on the dash said 8:42 p.m. I turn on my stereo and my ride is blaring Curtis Mayfield's, "Superfly" (its a 70's thing). So I put it into reverse, pull out of my spot, put it back into drive and floor it. There is a "s" turn coming out of the parking lot in the way I usually leave at night. There was no one else around, I was the last to leave the office building, not even the cleaning people were there. After coming out of the turn there is a stretch of road for about a hundred yards that is straight then another not so sharp "s" turn comes but now I am flying (since I am a bit of a heavy footed speed freak) and take this turn very fast, quick right quick left. Now after this left and these stretches of road there is never traffic, no cars, no pedestrians, no commerce, no residential, nothing. This road is just a dark wooded area hence me driving like a bat outta hell. Tonight, just after I made that quick left, I was surprised by two cars parked off onto the left by the trees. No biggy my car can handle the maneuver of steering away from them and slowing down without incident. I thought to myself, "oh shit what the hell are these two doing here, there is NEVER anything here, NEVER". So I figured they were up to no good or screwing around. It was of no consequence to me so I was going to keep driving. All within a split second, I saw a giant bunny. I thought I must really be tired but I saw a giant bunny and the bunny was leaned over the back part of the second car and being embraced from the rear by a panda. I didnt know what to think at first but then I thought of a TV show that featured these people that dress up in the very hot plush costumes to have sex with each other. Well it looks like thats exactly what they were doing. I didnt SEE actual human body parts but the concept of what they were doing was quite vivid. They looked up at me and apparently did not care about me driving by. Its not like I stopped to check it out or anything since I didnt know if there were any more of these "plush fuckers" around and I didnt know if a plush fucker can be crazy or violent. I am sure there is a name that these plush fuckers go by since I believe it is considered a fetish. I couldnt help but think how hot they must have been wearing the costumes and screwing in this heat. So I kept driving, all the way thinking if I should even be blogging about this. In the meantime, it was the wind in my face and "Superfly" still blaring in my ears and home I went.
It feels a bit weird airing the old dirty laundry here but fuck it. The last few days have been bizarre and full of firsts or renewals I should say. We have my drug snorting compadres who have yet to be confronted or told what I am going to do or not do. Then there is the old familia. This family could have me blogging till I'm old and gray (wait I got some grays now). I can't tell you how many times the cops have been over the house back in the day. I can't tell how many times somebody had to go to the hospital or needed some serious medical attention after a brawl. I can't tell you how many times a get together of some sorts, BBQ's, christenings, birthday parties, a family reunion, or hell even just evening dinner would end up in a "dispute". You could get stabbed at the dinner in my house growing up. Its happened. When you came to dinner at my house you best be packing. It was more like you went to fight and a family reunion broke out. I don't know why it turned out this way but it has. My main concern for me is that this sick demented way of life and cycle of dysfunctionality not be passed on to my own family. So far so good. So I spoke to my "moms" last night and set up a breakfast for Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. in a public place, a local diner. I will not be packing however I will take my usual seat in the diner whereby I will keep them in front of me. For the first time in probably 20 years I will be sitting down to a meal with my mother and father together, civilized I hope. I'm sure it will be awkward at first since my father and I haven't spoken to each other in quite some time. To me he is still the biggest prick walking the planet earth but he is my dad and I still love him. My mom has her own set of issues. I am not really sure where it will all go but I will just play it by ear. I am not really nervous or anything like that I am just concerned that if I sit down with them that I may have wasted my time. Anyone close to me knows that what I hate more than anything in this world is having my time wasted. I have been telling my parents for 20 years how this was all going to turn out. Everything that I said would happen has happened. I have heard, "how the hell do you know what's going to happen, you don't know that, what are you a mind reader, who the hell do you think you are, God?" I have heard all of those and more over the years and now it has all come full circle for my parents. I guess its taken a while to sink in and for them to say, no mas or no more. I will keep you posted.
Monday morning at around 4:30 a.m. I woke up. It's usually because its too hot, too cold, have to go to the bathroom, my son is crying, or maybe even a bad dream. None of those woke me. For whatever reason I was awakened. I woke with a deep feeling of loss and pain. I didn't know why this was happening but it was. My first "instinct" was something was wrong with my mom. If you have been following along with some of my posts--I am completely estranged from my family. There is so much "drama" going on at their home on a daily basis, I have found it necessary to stay away and not have contact with them. Every now and then I manage a phone call with my mom and may even "bump" into her at church about twice a year. The relationship with my father is severely fractured. I saw him 1995 for my first son's funeral and spoke to him a couple times very briefly in 1997--oh, I did invite him to my son Jordan's christening last year. I actually tried to speak to him but he made it difficult so that's as far as it went. So I was able to get back to sleep. I eventually woke at 7:00 a.m. and remembered how I felt earlier. I noticed a couple of my fellow bloggers were having some challenges with their own mom's. So after reading their posts yesterday morning, my "feeling" was starting to loom even larger. I had some appointments throughout the day and some travel that had to be made so I showered and dressed and got out the door. On the way to one of my appointments I stopped at a gas station to refuel. As I was waiting I got on my cell phone and called my mom. It was already 11:00 a.m. and I wasn't sure if my mom would answer the home phone since she manages to leave the house as soon as she can to get away from the madness, so I called her cell phone. She answered and as soon as she realized it was me, she began to cry and went on to explain how she couldn't take it anymore and she wants my father to sell the house and leave New York. Throughout her hysterics her tone was one of desperateness and total grief. She also mentioned to me that my father wanted to talk to me (ME???) but was afraid that I would not speak to him. Somehow these guys always managed to put the distance and no communication thing all on me. Yes, the choice was and is all mine but they never seem to get the why part. Now they were getting the why. First, my sister-in-law and her three grown kids live in the house and now my sister, my brother-in-law and their three kids live in the house--Oh yeah, my brother who recently got kicked out his own house of which my father co-signed for is now living with my mom again. This is supposedly a temporary condition. This temporary condition has lasted for almost a year now. His issues would take an encyclopedia of stuff to explain what he is about. My sister-in-law's kids have their own unique set of issues all of which range from unemployment, drugs, violence, and almost every dysfunctional thing you can think of. My sister's kids are actually great kids, 16 and 14 year boys and a 18 month old baby girl of which was not a planned pregnancy. Since my sister nor her husband have been able to manage their money well they are living with my parents again. They lived with them twice before and for the same reasons ended up back with my parents. The 14 year old has a severe case of tourettes syndrome which of course adds to the pressures of their life. There is also my brother-in-law who is back to his old tricks, leaving late at night to go be with whomever (that's a female). I told my sister years ago to kick this bum to the curb. Remember what I said in a previous post, whatever a man is when he is single, he will be more of when he is married. He was every bit the "player" when he married my pregnant sister years ago. Anyway my mom wants me to help them. She wants me to help chart a plan to get out of the situation they are in. I couldn't stay on the phone too long and if you let her, my mom will keep on the phone for hours. I wanted to get back on the road to my appointment and really didn't feel like having this conversation while I was driving. So I let her know that she can tell my father that I will call her the next day to set up a time possibly for them to come over for dinner or go out to dinner this way we can sit and talk about what they should. Selling their house of almost 30 years might one of their options since it will get everyone out of their house and pretty much out of their lives. There is so much more to this but I will give it to you as I go along. Again, my "feeling" was right and I must go now to buy a lottery ticket.
Just the other day I was betrayed by a couple of people that I know. Nothing huge, nothing life shattering, nothing none of you probably haven't been through. No, I am not going to cry or whine about it either. However the sting of that betrayal has not worn off. I thought the weekend would come and go and I would forget about it. That's not the case. The incident reminded me of a former employer of mine named Pete (real name). Peter owned a manufacturing company and a limousine company. The company he had made limousines out of sedans. Most limos are made this way--brand new sedans are literally chopped in half and extended and re-made to be luxurious limousines. That was the business we were in. Since he had access to the limos already, he started using them to cart clients for business, nights on the town, weddings, etc. This side of the business would eventually be an endless source of stories for me since I would meet a great deal of celebrities and very prominent people. Anyway I was the Office Manager for Pete for both of these businesses. Pete was a nice guy, a fair guy, but a hard guy to work for sometimes. Much of the why would come to light as time progressed. Much of what I have to say almost makes my stomach unsettled and me practically nauseous right now. There was another side of Pete that others in the office didn't know about, it only came about when I started seeing employees come back from the bank without being able to cash their paychecks. I would immediately confront the accountant in payroll to find out why this was happening. The accountant was a childhood friend of Petes, so he covered for Pete. To give you the Readers Digest version of this whole sordid story since it would literally take 5 days to tell it--the company wasn't doing well, it wasn't doing well because the owner of this company, Pete, was using the money to fund his severe cocaine habit. I confronted Pete about it and of course he denied it at first but he finally confessed. I told him that he needed to change before the company went under and I would leave. He said he would but he didn't, for a couple of more weeks employees came back to the office with uncashable checks. This created grief for me in dealing with employees and total anarchy in the company. True to my word, I left. A week later, a former close assistant of mine, told me Pete died of a heart attack from a cocaine overdose. Pete was 35 years old. Well the other day it came to light that a couple of folks that I know who have told me that they were not using cocaine--are in fact still using cocaine. How I found out is not something I am comfortable divulging--lets say I spoke to a reliable "source". There is no doubt that what I found out is true and it has disturbed me most of the weekend. I now feel I have a decision to make since it may effect my family as well as myself. Whatever I decide I know it will be for the best.
Obviously as you can see my blog has changed quite a bit. If this is your first time here, the blog you are viewing is a different from what I had here before. The old one was kind of blah so it was time for a change. My wife, JoAnne has always had a talent for this sort of thing and I have always pushed her to take things to the next level. So I commissioned her to do the new blog. She has done an outstanding job considering it is her first try and design. I didnt want to wait any longer so I wanted to roll it out now. There are just a few little finishing touches that will be made but the overall look is done. Again, thanks to my lovely wife JoAnne. Thanks Jo!
I had to totally blur out both photos. It came to my attention that my sister-in-law is now a blogger. Since she works closely with the one of the sisters and she should see this post--this could be a huge problem. I know she will come to me first and I guess I will have to explain all of this then. In the meantime, the post stays. I wanted to totally remove the story but these posts have been read already so fuck it. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ So we arrive at the house and I go to the door and ring the bell. The door opened and I said, "Serena?" She answered the door with a pleasant "that's me" and a very anxious, "lets get started"! I thought great. However she looked over my shoulder and could see I was not alone and gave me an odd look. I asked her if everything was alright and she said, "I thought you were coming alone?" I said, "no, I said I would be bringing my assistant?" She said, "Oh, I guess I forgot." I thought no biggy lets move on and get on with some picture taking. So we unloaded the truck and brought everything in. Serena, had motioned us as to where we would be taking pictures and where we could set our stuff down. It was as she said on the phone, plenty of room, high ceilings, and room to move around. I usually set up in the living room since it is typically the most spacious room in the house. We made some adjustments to the furniture and some tables so as to create an open space for us. We set up the back drop of which we brought a black one since it was going to work well with what we were going for. We were going to be doing shots from the chest and shoulders up. Since the pictures we decided were to be her and sister sitting close together, I had brought a small bench so that they could sit on. Now at this time the sister, who I didn't even think to ask her name from our phone call, had not shown up yet to the photo shoot. So just about as my wife and I were done setting up backdrops and lighting and making adjustments, I thought to ask, "so where is your sister?" Serena says, "she's coming." So of course Im thinking no problem she will be here any minute. At this time I am doing some test shots with my light meter and loading my camera with film. I brought about 15 rolls of film which is normal--I usually shoot about 5 to 10 rolls of film just in one sitting. Then we try to pick the best ones and decide what will be "the one" we will use. The phone rang and apparently it was Serena's sister. Serena's answered the phone but she was in the kitchen and we couldn't hear what was being said. Serena's came into the living room and told us that her sister would be here any minute. It was at this time I asked what her sister's name was. She said, "Randa." I thought okay I never met or knew a Randa before. The front door swung open and it was Randa. I thought okay I guess they look alike, I mean they are twins right. As it turned out they were only fraternal twins, they were not identical twins. Okay so we got right to it. They were both dressed in black outfits that were tight to the skin and their hair was done in a such a way that made them look more alike. I motioned for them to sit and immediately started to work my viewfinder. They sat back to back facing away from each other with their heads close together. The shot was going to be somewhat of a mirror concept of them from the shoulders or chest up. Now here is where it starts to get weird. Serena shouted to me that she didn't want to start until seven minutes after the hour. It was 12:55pm and I thought, is she serious? I figured what the hell, they were paying me and we had the time and it gave me time to speak to them to relax them a bit. Again, more weirdness, they didn't want to talk to me now. Serena said, "no talking until 1:07pm." I just said okay and looked at my wife with a what did we get ourselves into look. However at that time it wasn't really such a big deal. Okay so now 1:07pm arrives and I start shooting. Immediately the flash of my lights got them responding to my camera. Now what I didn't know was that Serena was keeping count of the clicks or flashes of my camera. At the seventh click or flash she shouted to me and said that the shot just taken is the one we were going to use. Now I had already explained to her from our first phone call how I take several rolls of film and use the best one. Apparently she just "yessed" me at that time. Now I was concerned since I could tell that the lighting wasn't right and I know from experience that the first roll of film is a bust and its just time I use to make adjustments. My first roll is to get an idea of how my subject is acting or reacting and if I should change something. The first picture of the twins in this story I was reluctant to use since it is not a great picture--and its a record of what wasn't my best work but I decided to put it here anyway since it is key to the story. Since it also the actual picture Serena insisted on using. For security and anonymity reasons I had to blur out their faces as well. I maintain the copyrights on all my photos however I still had to at least hide their identities. So now as per our phone conversation Serena wanted some "serious" shots. The whole time they had been taking smiling, laughing, and playful types poses. Now this is where black & white photos are at their best. We were going for drama and intensity and I needed my subjects to be serious, no laughing, no joking around, no cracking a smile or grin. Well we weren't having any luck since every time I tried take a picture they would start to laugh. So I as a back up, I usually say to my subject, "think of something tragic." These two started laughing and wouldn't stop laughing. My wife and I thought this was weird. So I told them just pretend you got some bad news about your mom. Now that shut them up and I mean shut them up. They silenced at the exact same moment together and remained motionless, almost in a catatonic state. I almost thought they were playing with me. These two remained still and never moved a muscle and never said a word for seven minutes. Seven minutes--I kept trying to get their attention and ask them questions and even apologized for saying what I said. After watching them do this not moving thing for seven minutes, they started talking again as if NOTHING happened. Now my wife and I just spent time in the twilight zone for seven minutes and these two acted as if nothing happened. GETS WEIRDERRRRR.....During the time we were waiting for them to come out of their catatonia, a picture was taken. No, it wasn't me nor my wife who clicked that camera, we weren't even near the camera when it happened. For whatever reason the camera took a picture. The second picture in the above is that actual picture that was taken by......................During that seven minutes--again I had to do some blurring but I wanted to at least maintain the integrity of the state they were in so you could see what I was talking about. However we really didn't pay too much attention to it--I attributed the picture being taken on its own by some electrical charge or something. Now our photo shoot is over, no, not because I said it was over but apparently Serena had been looking at the clock and noticed it was 4:07pm. I didn't think much of it since after taking so many pictures, my eyes, so I thought started to play tricks on me and I thought I was tired and it was time to leave. Well after we packed up everything it came time for me to get paid. Serena asked me to come into the kitchen and took out her check book. I told her what it would be but she insisted on making the total 1,077.00 dollars. It was only suppose to be 1,000.00. Who was I to argue. Then I looked at the check an noticed the 77 7th St. on the street address. So then it hit me and I asked her, "are you superstitious?" she actually said yes. We started talking about the number 7 in great detail. Apparently, the twins were born 7 minutes apart, they wear a size 7 shoe, they were born on July 7th 1977, which may have been the beginning of their obsession with the number 7. There are a thousand things of which they are obsessed with concerning the number 7. So I figured we spent some time talking and I was comfortable enough to ask about why they zoned out on us. Apparently they have been in some therapy for it as well--the mom in which these pictures are for is dead. She died July 7th 1977, yes, the mother died giving birth to them. The twins feel guilty about this so ever since they've taken pictures every year and bring them to the cemetery for their mother to "see." It explained the pictures of the very young woman they would look at in reverence and never once mentioning it was their mother. I actually thought it was an older sibling that had passed since the nature of their display indicated to me that person may have died and of course I couldn't get away from the resemblance. I was totally blown away by all this of course and figured my job was done and it was time to leave....................Until I saw Randa do something that I normally see other guys do. With her right hand she reached down towards her crotch and did the half-hearted squat and pull as if she had a set of balls. Yes, I said balls. Then Randa walked past me to go into the bathroom shutting the door behind her. I could immediately hear the rush of piss pouring into the toilet. Randa had not closed the door securely and the door started creeping open ever so slowly (Serena saw this and remained frozen solid with part of her mouth open since it was too late to do anything at that point)--Randa had been standing like a man over the toilet taking a piss like a man. I was in denial, I felt she managed to push a nice stream of piss from her female "johnson" until I saw her do this hunching tucking in thing. All of this had taken place in a matter of seconds from the time Serena and I finished our conversation about the number. My wife is only a few feet away from me just taking it all in and keeping her mouth shut. Serena just looked at us and said, "Randa is actually my brother Randy." I didn't even know what to say. I was speechless for all of three seconds. The only thing I could muster was a, "hey that's cool." Now let me tell you, when I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, I thought I saw "something" down below. I had to attribute that to some "heavy flow protection"--Im sure the ladies know what I mean. Aside from that though she was all woman. She had boobs and beauty and fooled me completely. We said our good-byes to the both of them, got in the car and drove away. Of course, my wife and I immediately started talking about every little detail we witnessed during that entire shoot but Randy's "johnson" (excuse me if your last name is Johnson) was the main topic of discussion all the way home. One more thing Serena insisted that the picture that was taken during their catatonia was the second picture they wanted to use for the Mothers Day photo since they felt that their mom was the one that clicked the camera at that exact moment. By the way, Serena is on the left and Randy is the one on the right. We never told my sister-in-law about the weirdness we witnessed that day or what I thought was the weirdest photo shoot I have ever been through.
Serena and I made arrangements for just about everything--what they would wear, what time I was to arrive, how much everything was going to cost, what kind of photos they wanted, what proofs they wanted, how much leeway or control I would have during the shoot, if anyone would be present, if I had enough room to spread out my equipment, and pretty much all of the particulars involved. Now I got off the phone knowing what was going to happen or should I say what was suppose to happen. She mentioned that she wanted black & white photos taken which was okay by me. She wanted some drama and intensity and the black & white photos would definitely bring that out. I did explain to her that if she wanted to use black & white film that it would be best if they both wore black. She agreed and said it wouldnt be a problem. The appointment was made on a Saturday afternoon which is always best for me since I have a tendancy to go into the office on Saturday mornings to take care of some work. My wife (girlfriend at the time), was typically my assistant on shoots. She would normally help me with carrying equipment, setting up test shots, distracting babies, adjusting lighting, having film cartridges ready for me, and other things of this nature. Having an assistant is definitely key to the success of shoots since it allows you to focus (no pun intended) on the business at hand. It would be tough to always go back and forth from here to there all while trying to get a look through the viewfinder and setting up a shot. So a week later that Saturday arrived and my wife, JoAnne and I showed up at Serena's home. I usually allot about three hours for photo shoots. I usually take about a half hour to set up my equipment, adjust backdrops, adjust lighting, and taking test shots. It can actually take about ten minutes to tear it all down and be packed up and ready to go. The rest of time is devoted toward shooting the subjects and any "costume" changes they may have planned also the x-factor, sometimes you get thrown a curve so you just have to make sure you have time for those as well. We were about to be thrown some curves. NOW PLEASE DON'T BE MAD, I WANTED TO FINISH THIS STORY TODAY BUT MY DAY YESTERDAY WAS FULL OF CURVES OF MY OWN AND SOME CLIENTS, APPOINTMENTS AND TRAVEL THAT REALLY CONSUMED MY DAY. I PROMISE I WILL HAVE THIS FINISHED FOR YOU TOMORROW.
Besides being involved in a million things, I am also a professional photographer--since it is not my primary source of income or how I make my living, I will call it a hobby. However this hobby has made me lots of money over the years but I would do it for free because I enjoy it so much. I have owned a 35 mm camera since I was 7 years old and have owned various other cameras since then. My favorite to shoot with is a medium format camera. This type of camera uses a larger size negative to shoot and develop, is more expensive to actually purchase and maintain (meaning the lenses can be as much as a car), requires more knowledge of photography, but the results of what you shoot can be tremendous. My first medium format camera was a Hasselblad 501cm, the V-system as it is called. I still remember why I bought it. There was a picture of a ballet dancer in a red dress (photographed by Xie Mo). This picture spoke to me, it called me, the detail, the lines, the composition, the color,the lighting, the shadows, and the way the dress danced in the air--it called to me. I saw this picture for the first time, I fell in love with it. No, not the girl in the picture but the picture itself. I became infatuated with this picture. My eyes could not and cannot at times remove themselves from the glare of this photograph. This photograph to me, has literally changed my life. I have heard numerous stories from other photographers on how a photograph has changed their life or how or why they became a certain type of photographer. There are many famous photographers that shoot with a Hasselblad camera and I know you have definitely seen their photos. If you know Ansel Adams' work, then you know what a Hasselblad is capable of. To this very day I still go to the Hasselblad website just to see that picture and many others. That picture changed how I view my subjects through the view finder. In turn, I became obsessed with the idea of shooting with a Hasselblad camera and wanting to learn more about medium format photography. *now taking a deep breath from that Hasselblad love story* I normally take portrait shots only since it is usually a controlled environment and I can pretty much dictate how the photo is suppose to "turn out" or what I am trying to accomplish. I have taken other types of photos such as wedding, sweet sixteen, communion, landscape, and surveilance photos (this is for another post). However my favorite medium to take photographs is in the portrait arena. I particularly don't like to take pictures of kids older than 10 since they tend to be wise asses and very uncooperative. I have taken numerous photos of newborns (including my own) all the way up to 9 years old depending upon the kid's attitude. Of course I have taken many photos of adults of various ages. I put the age limit on it for me since I don't want to be stressed out by uncooperative subjects as I have had the experience in dealing with them. I have taken many photos of pets. I was actually working on a calendar for my English Bulldog, Havana at one time--until while during a photo shoot she fell off the stage setting we made for her and I have not been able to get her to take a photo since. She was fine but spooked and very skittish after that. That project was unfortunate since we had already done several months of photos and while working on a graduation theme for the month of June, she fell. Anyway most of my subjects or customers if you will come, from referrals. A "friend of a friend" thing. One "client" came to me via a referral of my sister-in-law, Dana (not her real name). Dana, was always good about doing things like this for me and was an endless resource for many people I would come to photograph. Dana, was 24 years of age and her friends typically were about or around her age. I received a phone call at work one morning from Dana telling me that her friend, Serena (not her real name) wanted to have her picture taken with her twin sister. The picture would be a gift for their mother for Mother's Day. I immediately started to ask her the relevant questions such as how soon they wanted it done and where they wanted it done. I usually preferred that they come to my home this way I didnt have to cart a ton of lighting equipment with me elsewhere. Dana, said they wanted it done right away and shooting in their home was imperative. I thought to myself alright but thats going to cost them. Anytime I had to lug that stuff, it pretty much added hundreds of dollars to their bill. According to Dana it didn't matter, she was willing to pay whatever the cost. She immediately gave me her friend's number, we said our good byes and hung up. That evening I called Dana's friend, Serena. I told her who I was and she said she was expecting my call. I had known most of Dana's friends since she was in the habit of bringing them to my home whenever she came over. Dana has issues with being alone (I'll post about that too one day). However I had never met Serena for some reason but I didn't dwell on it too much. I have a tendency to use my "extra senses" for almost any situation and I "felt something" from my call with her but I couldn't put my finger on it..................(to be continued)
Several milestones took place yesterday, one of them being it was Lance Armstrong's final day of competing in the Tour De France and being declared the winner for his 7th and final time. I have been watching him just about everyday compete against the rest of the world in a most invincible manner. Everyone else was competing for second place. I was sorry to see it all end. I have heard the Tour will be more interesting and more entertaining without Lance. Which may be true since the winner won't be declared before the race even starts. However it wont be the same without him and his yellow jersey. Viva la Lance!! Second, I have officially been a blogger for a month. I have learned so much from the experience of blogging that I dont know where to begin. I will keep it short though--I have learned that even though I may have had a respect for what others had to say, I realized how important it is to maintain that respect. I have learned no matter how educated someone may be in the blogosphere, that they still can be really stupid. This paradox repeats itself at the point of making me ill. Lastly, it was my birthday yesterday. I am not one to bring up my birthday but yesterday was especially nice (for me anyway). No, there wasn't a party, I didn't go out to dinner, get any extravagant gifts, it was just me, my wife, and my son. I got up early of course to watch the last day of the Tour de France (so I was already happy), my wife got up early to make me breakfast, my wife handed me a gift bag which enclosed several books, a card, and drawing from my son. My wife knows the what I like so I was especially pleased with the selection of books she got me and my sons drawing almost drew me to tears. The card my wife got me spoke volumes about how she feels about me. Sometimes you need to see or hear that appreciation even though you may not really feed off of it. It does give you that extra push to do whatever you can for your family and more importantly for yourself. It was also a reminder how "all work and no play makes........." I can at times be consumed by my work. I also wanted to comment on Carol and Robert from last week's post, THE TOUCH. I remembered something this past week. My grandma (RIP), told me many things in our sit downs together. One thing that has always stuck with me and I never forgot, "whatever a man is when he is single, he will be more of when he is married". Now I know all of you married women are thinking of your husbands. You single ladies are definitely cataloging that one, I hope. It was one thing I wanted to say to Carol but now she will never get to hear.
Well I figured I would post what I found out about Carol and Robert. They are engaged now, they have set a date to be married, they have a huge deposit on the reception hall in which they will celebrate their marriage, and invitations have been sent out (we are not invited, thats okay, it came down to an issue of expenses). Well with all that said I dont think its feasible to follow through with my conversation with her. Apparently all of her close friends upon learning of her impending marriage, pleaded with her not to marry Robert. Her close friends explained their strong feelings toward this issue and as most of you have already surmised she is not bending, she will not listen, she will not leave Roberts side. She feels she has supported Robert all of this time and will continue to support him in his time of need (oh brother). She explained to all of her closest friends including my sister-in-law (her best friend), that she knows what she is getting into. GET THIS! I also found out that before I had even met Robert, Carol met with a PSYCHIC, yes, I am not kidding, a real life medium. From what I have heard this psychic is very good. The psychic of course never meeting Robert, never knowing about Robert, told Carol everything I have told you about Robert from my contact or handshake with him--except the psychic went a step further and told Carol to leave him. You know what has happened since then. What else is there to say about this whole scenario? I do greatly appreciate the strong opinions and feelings of all of you who offered that input. I did not realize that I was going to strike a nerve with so many. I am completely "stunned" at this point and feel Carol has reached the point of no return and will have to somehow live out this destiny she has mapped out for herself. Deep down she probably knows what she should do. She is still a young girl, 26 I believe. There is no reason to think that she can still move on to something else. However from what most of you have already commented, she will continue with this relationship. Again, many thanks.
Desult, triggered a memory of mine, a very recent memory. I thought I would actually blog about it right here. In the past I have been told that I have been able to "read" people. Now I am not talking like that show "The Deadzone" or stuff you see on day time TV. I am talking about a natural ability to see certain things, a premonition if you will. My friends and certain family members actually think its pretty weird and funny in a good way. NO, I cannot give you tomorrow's winning lottery numbers but I will post about that another time (how to win the lottery that is), nor can I tell you your future (almost). I was actually given a crystal ball as gift by my wife because she thought of my ability as almost uncanny and because I have always been able to tell people their future or what the outcome of a particular scenario will be and be very on target with my assessments. Also the old adage of no, I cant sing and dance ........but I do have a gift for "seeing people"--and sometimes by even "touching them". I was at a wedding about a year ago. The woman getting married was the daughter of my wife's former employer. My wife had maintained contact and we were invited. My wife's sister (my sister-in-law),was also friends with the bride and was part of the bridal party. The bride and my sister-in-law shared the same friends as well. This one girl, Carol (not her real name), was friends with my sister-in-law and the bride. Carol was in the bridal party as well. I had come to know Carol from times she had been at my home with my sister-in-law and I thought she was very nice and felt a kin to her. Carol's boyfriend attended the wedding as well. We will call him Robert (not his real name). My wife and I arrived at the reception and started saying our hello's. While looking for the table of which we were suppose to be sitting, we met up with Robert. Robert had been sitting with some other friends of my sister-in-law. As I was being introduced to Robert we shook hands and I looked him in the eyes. As this was taking place, a "quickening" or catharsis was taking place. I could "see" so many things about Robert that I had never felt before in the past in just a simple handshake. It almost creeped me out that I could see so much of who this guy was. I saw he was an abusive alcoholic, he would become verbally and physically abusive to whomever was around during his drunkeness, I could see pain and lonlieness, I could see him beating Carol, I could see him never maintaining a relationship, I could see a dark future for this individual. All I saw in the span of a two second handshake. Those feelings I just experienced were very overwhelming. and very powerful. Keep something in mind--I NEVER MET THIS GUY BEFORE TODAY. I never heard him discussed, hell, I didnt even know Carol had this boyfriend. Again, I am so overwhelmed by the feeling I had, I have to tell someone. The most convenient person to tell was of course my wife but she really didnt know much of this Robert. I did tell her all that I felt but of course she knew about my "ability" and really couldnt comment but said we needed to at least tell her sister. After all of the usual things the bridal party has to do, my sister-in-law had a breather. I had my wife ask her about Robert so as to not arouse suspicion as to why. Since if I would've asked, my sister-in-law would've became more aggressive and inquisitive as to why I was asking (she is somewhat aware of my abilities). My wife comes back to me to confirm essentially everything I told her. The boyfriend is currently in Alcoholics Anonymous, has been verbally and physically abusive to those around him as well as Carol, has had a history of "episodes". It just got worse from everything I heard. And, on top of it all, Carol and Robert have made plans to get married. Now what do I do? Do I tell the girlfriend about my premonition? Or do I just say nothing? The reception ended and we all went home. I never said a word to my sister-in-law nor to Carol. I also told my wife never to repeat any of what I said. Months have passed and I have seen Carol at my home and at other family gatherings. Its now been a year and I have chosen to not get involved and say nothing. I figured how do I explain to her what happened and of what I saw in that brief two second handshake? I can't help but think of that day and how should I tell her of what I saw. When I see her I always ask how the boyfriend is doing? Apparently he is still in the picture. From what I have learned from my sister-in-law, their circle of friends do not like to be around Robert and they often try to make plans without Carol if Robert is going to be with her. Thats sad....Carol is very nice and has a lot offer but because of her fiance Robert, she is being avoided for nights out with the gang. Now that you know the whole story--what do I do? Is it time to say something to Carol or just leave things be and not get involved. Granted, what if Im just a nut or something and totally screw up what would've been a great relationship? Well we can't ignore the facts, what I felt that day and the facts surrounding Robert. What should I do? * Those in the path of EMILY or effected by her, be well and good luck!!
Getting back to my post yesterday regarding the sensitivity of certain things written in blogs--I came across this site. This site has much to offer with a decent blog roll, an article about how the soldier's in Iraq must register their blogs with the chain of command, and a interesting interview on NPR. The chain of command article really hit home with quite a bit for me. I can truly understand the nature of certain things NOT being talked about in a blog with respect to service men and women in a combat zone. You obviously don't want to talk about how you have to wash tanks at the south end of a city. Then again most of us in the blogosphere are not in the military. However there are things we may need to be careful of. My meaning is this--without saying anything, it may have happened in college, at work, or sometime in service for me, this one individual killed himself. Well I did not actually divulge how or where that person killed himself since that would actually send up red flags for some people. Someone could say, "hey that sounds like my son or daughter or whatever he is talking about". Okay I'm sure some of us know of someone that killed themselves but may or may not know fully of the circumstances in which they occurred. Well what if I said, yeah someone killed them or herself but when they did the investigation, the findings of which were divulged did not actually jive with what we knew in-house. Well of course that would set off a full blown investigation and of course that dead person's loved ones will be looking for some answers to a lot of questions. And of course, life as we know it would be a living hell since he have to answer for ton of stuff for divulging that piece of information. The point in bringing all this up--the dilemma we may face and the fine line we walk in telling, outing, speaking, writing, blogging, or whatever you want to call it. Also a reminder to me as to what I should or shouldn't be doing here in the blogosphere with some of the very sensitive stories I actually contemplated telling. I do look forward to telling some more stories but some of those will have to be thrown into the abyss and never heard from again.
When I am blogging in the mornings, I am usually watching Lance Armstrong kick some major butt and literally toying with his opponents during the Tour De France. Yes, I am a huge fan of Lance and have been since his triathlon days. I actually have a 3x5 foot steel-framed lithograph of Lance's win in 1999 hanging in my livingroom. This year has been different for me in watching The Tour since now I can watch it live (via OLN Outdoor Life Network). Other years it has always been a condensed tape delay, getting updates from the web, or trying to get streaming video on the web. All of those pale in comparison to actually being able to see the drama unfold live. So this year I have been glued to the set and actually going into work later than I usually do. My son at times has been denied his usual dose of Sesame Street and the Noggin channel. Today the Tour is off as is the case on Mondays and this is their last week of racing--they will resume tomorrow 730am EST. The tour will end in Paris with Lance drinking his usual glass of champagne during the last legs of his ride. It will be a mixed emotion since I will be happy Lance wins his 7th unprecedented Tour but sad that this will be the last time we see him ride. I'm sure I cant be the only one watching this race with the anticipation of a school boy. Also, my weekend was particularly uneventful Saturday but Sunday my wife and I were invited to a wedding of a former employee of ours. Our friend Matt, an individual of short stature but tall on heart and character was getting married to a girl who seems to be his equal on all levels. The looked liked they belonged on the top of the wedding cake. We are very happy for him since we really couldn't think of anyone else would be more deserving of the happiness that goes with being married. He and his bride pulled out all stops, they spared no expense in making all of their guests glad to be there. The actual wedding was beautiful, the reception was exceptionally fun and festive, and more importantly it looked as if Matt was truly happy. After he and his new bride return from their honeymoon, we will have to reconnect with them and spend some time with them. I was reminded of my posts last week and the sensitivity of blogging certain things. I will get away from story telling for a bit unless the spirit moves me in a such a way that I must tell one. However I thought of some stories that I could never tell since the repercussions of telling them can be devastating for me and for those involved. So I will stay away from those stories. In the meantime, if you want leave with a "viva la lance" or whatever you would want to say.
So now we start to get into the more personal questions. When I asked him what he did for a living, he said, "I'm a wine distributor in Manhattan," and then I asked Mary, and she said, "I'm a writer". I figured no biggy, everyone calls themselves a writer. John, actually interjected at this point and said Mary was working on a book. I thought fine, everyone is always working on a book. I believed he mentioned this to let me know that she was home most of time so taking care of Oz wouldn't be a problem. I wanted to know what their schedules were like since I didn't want Oz to be alone very often. I figured two career people and being "Manhattanites" they probably had a very busy lifestyle. So I kept pluggin' away to find out more. I suspected that they were people of means and didn't feel taking care of Oz financially was going to be a problem. John, would keep telling me how he has done his homework in learning as much as he can about bulldogs. I got the feeling he was selling me on him, and he was. I started to be a believer not so much at his knowledge he needed to be able to take care of a bully but his conviction and energy. Maybe he would fight me for Oz--who knows, however I did get the feeling if I said no, he wouldve been crushed and pissed at the same time. At this point, I began to like John. The whole time John been playing with Oz and Oz played with him, jumped on him, and licked his face. Mary, didnt say much most of the time, John did most or all of the talking. Mary came off as quite timid to me at our meeting. Not to say that this would've made a difference in my decision but I felt there was more there but I couldn't quite put my hand on it. So now we have evolved to more of reciprocal conversation whereby they were asking us questions and we just went back and forth for a bit. At one point when John asked me what I did for a living, and I answered Investment Adviser, I noticed a very strange look on Mary's face, almost as if she was startled by something. I thought nothing of it but I did make a mental note of the look she gave when I said what I said. We continued talking about why we had to get rid of Oz and how his relationship with Havana just wasn't going to click. We also talked about the energy and amazing things Oz was capable of. So now its been a little more than an hour we have been talking. The moment of truth had arrived where I was going to say yes or no. I was still hanging on to Oz, just the thought of actually letting him go was killing me. I didn't want to break down in front of these total strangers and my wife (hey Im a man--we don't do that stuff for our puppies)--the decision was made, I was convinced, I said yes, you can take Oz. During our conversation that evening the price had already been mentioned and was not going to be a problem. John and Mary were quite happy and were eager to get Oz outta there (the limo had been waiting for them this whole time) John also had purchased all of the necessary items he needed to take care of Oz. We gave our last hugs and kisses and good byes to Oz (its tough actually re-living this part of the story). John, gave me the money, in cash--and Oz was now theirs and leaving us. The reality of him leaving was beginning to set in. I was getting concerned that I would break down as he was leaving but I held on. They were out the door and we walked over to the window to see them off. Oz, seemed pretty happy getting into the limo--the limo drove off and Oz was gone. No, this isn't the end of this story by any means. This story was never about Oz finding a home. Later that evening John called us to say he was having a hard time getting Oz to drink water. We didn't think of it until that time but we knew Oz was very particular about his water since he was weened on Poland Spring water. Oh thought to myself how funny this was that I had to tell John that Oz will not drink water from the tap, he needed to have bottled water. Of course, John's attitude was no problem, we will make sure he has bottled water. The next day we checked with how Oz did on his first night. Oz was fine and drinking some "expensive" bottled water now. We may have had a few more calls in the later weeks with John and that was it. We had also made plans to visit Oz in his new home some time in the future, maybe even on his birthday. We were very comfortable with who we allowed to have Oz and actually quite happy. We felt Oz was going to be fine. We never did get another bully, we still just have Havana. After dealing with Oz's breeder we were a little soured and were just concerned about how Havana would handle the next "visitor". We wanted to get a bully from Darling Dominic's owner but she had a waiting list a mile long. So we dropped the idea for the time being. As the months went by we would think of Oz and wonder how he was doing. John, would often email us and give us updates and send us pictures of Oz, which of course we thought was great. John and Mary sent us an invite to a birthday party for Oz, of course we accepted. We were going to get to see Oz. So we brought Havana, since she was invited to the birthday party as well. We had gotten there late not by accident but by design, we had earlier commitments throughout the day and John said no problem. We get to their building and it appeared to be a very secure building. We rang the buzzer and they buzzed us in. They lived on the 18th floor so we took the elevator. They greeted us as we exited the elevator and brought us inside. My feeling that they were people of means was not wrong. We walked into a very posh place. Their place actually took up half of the entire floor of this building. I do remember seeing a walk-in "wine cellar". He was wine distributor you know. It was an open floor plan for the most part but the most interesting thing was Oz had what I would call a throne. A huge luxurious chair that he would sit on and I guess sleep on. This dog had it made. He and Havana met for the first time since their last time together and they actually played together very well. However there were a couple of times that reminded us why they couldn't be together full time. All of the guests had gone so we had time alone with the John, Mary, and Oz. We chit chatted about quite bit. Mostly Oz and Wine. I remember John drinking wine like you and I drink water, unaffected by it mind you. I remember Mary being the soft spoken timid self from our first meeting. However this aura of timidness was about to disappear. I guarantee to finish this up tomorrow.
So after speaking to this man and we will call him John (not his real name) for now, we made arrangements to meet. However during our conversation he spoke as if he was going to be the owner of Oz no matter what but I was going to make sure he stood up on under scrutiny. He was very late for our appointment at my place and I felt this was not a good sign. He did call to tell me that he was having a hard time making our appointment and again he made it clear that if he liked Oz he was leaving with Oz. He said he already bought everything he needed to take care of Oz but that made no difference to me, he needed to get past the "interview". He was actually a bit upset on the phone when I told him there are no guarantees that he would be leaving with Oz at all. At that time he needed to know I had to like him first. He finally made it. He and his lady friend show up in a stretch limousine......OOOkay. I didn't know where this was going but I was sticking to the plan. The door bell rang and I answered the door and there they were. John, was short, well groomed distinguished looking man and appeared to be with much energy and anxious. His lady friend, whom I will call Mary for now was a bit more on the quiet side, with long reddish hair and seemed not to want to make eye contact. I didnt look into as a negative just her nature or maybe she just didnt like the way I looked, I have a tendency to scare people sometimes, at least this is what I am told.
There was a brief awkwardness at first when they came into the living room, a very pregnant pause if you will. He started explaining why he was late and the challenges he had with getting a cab to come out to Long Island. He was roughly 50 miles from where I was since he lived in the city (Manhattan). So his alternative was to get the limo to bring him out and of course he hit traffic and the driver got lost and this and that. Anyway as he came into the living room he saw Oz and Havana. Oz of course wants to jump all over him (good sign) and Havana backs away very slowly (this is normal for her, she is very skittish). He immediately kneels down on the rug with Oz and begins playing with him and hugging and kissing him. I could see Oz loved him right away, then again Oz would've done the same with Osama Bin Laden. The litmus test was yet to come. We started to ask the usual what do you do for living type questions and this is where it starts to get interesting. Man, why can't I just tell a shorter story. I will try to finish this up tomorrow.
A couple years ago we were looking for a companion for our English Bulldog, Havana. She is named so from a Triathlon I did in Cuba several years back (okay, okay...that whole Cuba deal is for another post). My wife and I were kicking around names and I had just gotten back from Cuba and had enjoyed myself immensely--so my wife, JoAnne says, why not Havana? So of course I couldn't disagree with that. Havana, is a female with a great deal of champion lines. Her daddy (Ditoro's Darling Dominic) is pretty famous as sires for English Bulldogs go. We had checked with our original breeder from which we got Havana to see if he can recommend someone who was having a male bulldog in our area, thats what we wanted for Havana. She also could never be bred or "shown' since we had her spade. It was part of our initial contract with the original breeder. If we didnt have her "fixed," she had to be bred and shown. Breeding and having a show dog was something at the time I was not interested in. So we had her fixed. We had to provide documentation to the breeder that it was done so as to receive our AKC papers. We weren't having much luck at first finding a breeder but Havana's breeder came through and gave us a reference. We called her and said we can come over to take a look at a couple of puppies she had. We saw the puppy who was to be our next "bully". We fell in love with OZ, thats what we named him. Oz, came home and we could see right away that he was full of energy and spunk. We originally considered getting another female and we were going to name her Zoe. So after much talking and consideration we decided on a male. We like the name Zoe so much we just flipped the name around and came up with Oz. He was also the sired from the same daddy as Havana which made getting him a bonus--these actually turned out to be brother and sister. Oz, was also very smart. Our water here in our area isn't the best so we had a Poland Spring water cooler in the kitchen. That dog figured out how stand himself up against the cooler as if a dog jumps on you so he can lick you. Well he could be leaning on the cooler but still manage with one of his paws to pull down the lever that lets the water out and he could be drinking the water from the spout. Man, that dog really did some amazing stuff like that--he was only a 12 week old puppy!! However what was to follow we were not prepared for. Typically the breed likes to play rough, very rough. Almost to the point of bloodshed but for the most part the breed enjoys the rough play. However unlike When Harry Met Sally, when Havana met Oz, these two were not going to sleep together and there was no doubt they were not going to be friends. Oz, love to play but Havana had come to a point in her life when she didn't want a "man" imposing his will on her (what woman does?). These two were like titans in a ring and both were not going down without a fight. Even though Oz was 12 week old puppy, he could hold is own against Havana, which really concerned me. Since once he became a full grown bully, he could do some serious damage to my first love Havana. There were times blood was drawn by the both of them. I think Havana even bit his balls once and Oz let out the biggest yelp. I know he had retaliated by trying to sexually assault her. Havana, fought him like you know any woman could. Keep in mind bulldogs were once bred to bring down 2,000 pound bulls in a ring for sport and their wrinkles were bred into them so as to have the blood drain away from their eyes in combat with the bulls (it was called bullbaiting). They both had their crates or cages if you will so we could keep them separated between walk times and fight nights. It just seemed like as the weeks went by it didn't seem like they were going to click together. I didn't want to come home one day and find my Havana seriously injured or worse. Oz had to go. I will continue this tale tomorrow
I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. My Saturday started with some time alone in the office of which I was able to get quite a bit done (thanks Alix). That night had a surprise 50th birthday party to go to (not mine Queenie). The party had some hitches in the beginning but turned out excellent. Keep in mind it was on my wife's side of the family, so NO drama occurred. Then had a christening on Sunday which also turned out great (mostly because it had nothing to do with my side of the family). All in all some time with the familia and some great friends. After last week and reliving a couple nights in the Summer of 77' it came to me--If I continue to run my mouth about the life and times of BlackOps, is this going to come back to haunt me in some way? Well I pondered this question between shouting Happy Birthday!!! like a madman and crossing myself at the church. I figured it would be just a matter of time till my past catches up with me and some angry relative, friend, or worse yet, New York's Finest put's the collar on me and I will have to be confronted about divulging skeletons the size of a pre-historic T-Rex or might have to get a lawyer, my cousin Vinnie (no joke). I'm not really too concerned about the relatives, my immediate family anyway since I really don't speak to them, though I have been open to a sit-down. Of course all of the details of the sit-down would have to be ironed out ie. no weapons, public place, metal detectors, police protection, blah, blah, blah. Though I wouldn't mind seeing some of the crew again (even though some key figures have passed on), it could get ugly. The police and maybe a few federal agencies, that could be a problem but only because I am booked solid with my client schedule and calendar and wouldnt have time to answer a whole bunch of questions. Do I continue writing and possibly jeopardizing all I have worked for. I have made it a point to be the one to break the cycle of dysfunctionality in my family since it continues to this very day. My brother's kids are in their early twenties now and I am still waiting to see them on an episode of Cops. My sister, that's a whole other story. Mom and dad..........I'm blogging not writing a novel. I just deleted an entire paragraph of stuff that I am not ready to let loose right now (no, really)--anyway my point is I am a bit leary of the direction my blog has taken however I will continue to go forward and see what happens. I just hope I am not sticking my head in a noose. Make no mistake the stuff I tell you here you will probably not believe half of or any of it at all but that's not what bothers me--again, I figure its only a matter of time till I get a call or a knock at the door. With that being said..........Let me tell you about Oz, Booze, and Enron story--aw hell I'll finish this tomorrow.
I really don't have anything to blog as far as a story or anything like that this morning--I mean I do but I'm taking a break. Reminiscing all that this past week really made me think about quite a bit. It made me think of other stories as well. Such as my mom and the laxative ice tea caper or my aunt and what she did to my cousin Larry (this is NOT his real name). So I got TONS of stuff to write about but I dont know where to begin. Anyway its been a rough week at work and I have been playing catch up since we did all that moving last week. So I did some catching up last night while watching the Yankee game and Im about to go to the office for a bit. At least no one is there to bother me with other things, ask me questions, take phone calls, ask me to help them with stuff, etc. Its 630 am (I'm leaving in a few minutes), my time anyway and the last thing I want to do is go into work on a Saturday morning. However thats the nature of my business. I spend quite a bit of time actually on the phone just talking to clients, its the nature of beast when you an investment advisor. Everybody just wants to talk to you especially when you are taking care of hundreds of thousands of their hard earned dollars. So for now you guys enjoy your weekend. If you are in the direct path of Hurricane Dennis, good luck and God Bless.
Yes, A.I. you guessed right, I just had to finish this. I was going to let it go at first but thought better of it. I didn't want to continue this story since there is so much to tell and it would take a couple of weeks to finish. So I gave the Reader's Digest version so as not to put you in a coma. So I will finish it up here. Well Fluffy and I actually slept on that bench for a few hours. It really didn't matter because everyone just walked around like a deer in headlights and just wandered around. We finally woke up around 9 am, so we got about 3 hours sleep. I felt pretty fresh but I was hungry and so was the Fluffster. He was actually our first dog and as it turns out I was the one that always walked him, so that kind of made him mine. No one else would ever bother with Fluffy anyways. Me and Fluff actually had a pretty good relationship. He wouldn't pee or dump in the apartment AND I would take him out 3 times a day, feed him, and made sure he had fresh water. When Caesar came along, Fluff didnt like him at first and made sure he showed that big German Shepard that he wasnt going to be his bitch (get it). Anway Fluffy for a little black hairy mutt with short legs was real badass at times. Every now and then "the crew" would get to taunting Fluff. Fluff would make it a point to do his imitation of a big black hairy piranha and would actually take some skin with him a few times. My friends would bitch and moan and complain they got bit but they started with Fluff so they had to pay. Thats the way things were back then, you started something with somebody, you got your ass beat and that was the end of it. Though there was this time Mike (from the crew) caught a beating from me and his father made him come back to fight me again (oh damn, this one I will save for another day). There was none of this Im going to sue you crap. It was the law of the jungle so to speak. So now me and Fluff are walking around surveying the damage and wondering what the neighborhood is doing. I noticed that all of the fire hydrants were open and pouring out water. Somebody figured we can get water from the hydrants since our utility, Con Edison, somehow didnt allow the residents of the city to get water from there faucets. Apparently it had something to do with the aqueducts upstate that supplied our water. So now everyone has a bucket or pot of some kind to fill with water. We have neat orderly lines to use the hydrants. What a contradiction that was from the previous night. Order and calm to get water, I guess they figured pushing and shoving to get at the hydrant wasnt the way to go. Noticeably some folks were actually walking around with their spoils from the night before. Kids riding brand new bikes, bums walking around with lots jewelry; guys walking around with a "boom box radio", one on each shoulder too, man it was just plain stupidity time now. All that did was bring NYPD into the neighborhood to take back what they felt wasn't ours (well it wasn't). So of course that started a whole new ruckus. People in the streets fighting the cops; kids running home to their moms telling them that police stole my bike; boom boxes crashing to the ground in pieces; and the bums swore that they had relatives and friends give them all this jewelry on their fingers and around their necks. The cops weren't playin', if they heard you had stuff in your house they were coming inside to get it back. This really turned into a public relations nightmare for the city and the police. However we brought this on ourselves through gluttony and greed and it was now time to pay. So me and Fluff decided to go back upstairs to let the family know about how we can get water but apparently they knew about it and were pretty pissed that I took three hours to walk the dog. They wanted me back home to go out and get some water so we can boil water for our spaghetti. Not that is wasn't hot inside the apartment already and now we were going to boil water. The only thing that did work was our gas stove, so that is what we had to cook. I say, "wait a minute now, where's Jorge, couldn't he go get some water?" I gotta hear, "no, he is outside getting some more goodies from the furniture store." I'm like c'mon now enough is enough. I thought to myself, he, he, he....I knew about the round up the cops were doing so I figured Jorge was probably going to be somebody's bitch over at Riker's Island (our local prison which can house thousands of inmates). Of course he is my brother so I gotta open my mouth and tell my pops about the round ups. Now he says I gotta go down and find his ass. So I go down and I find him right away because the cops already had a bunch of these guys in custody. Jorge was one of them. So I go over and yell at him, "what happened?" He yells back, "nothing!" Nothing was in handcuffs and looking pretty stupid. At that point one of the cops who was in charge of the jailbirds tells the peon cops to let them all go. Who knows why, maybe it would've been a logistical nightmare to house these guys or move them to Rikers. Hey the city was broke already, between the overtime for the cops, repairing a million things, and countless other things, it was probably their only move. So one by one they started "uncuffing" all of these guys. Do you know the first thing some of these guys do, go back to the places they were busted in to go and get the stuff they had. Well it seemed like an eternity that day but the National Guard made its way to our hood. All of the military equipment and uniforms, machine guns, and such looked very intimidating. When night came, their main guy is yelling into the bullhorn, go home, stay off the street, you will be shot, yadda, yadda, yadda. Well let me tell you, these people actually shot at us but over our heads as a warning. NOBODY went near the street after that. It was checkmate, the city had made its play and the craziness had been put to an end. That night the power came back on and we swapped war stories, what I stole stories, I haven't eaten stories, where's my stuff stories, and even some how we "helped each other" stories. Do you know that some folks were disappointed the lights came back on--this meant the looting party was over I guess but for the most part I was glad the power came back on because those stairs were killing me and I wanted that air conditioner on and eventually there would be a cold drink to be had. We learned quite a bit in the hours of the darkened city but mainly but its not what we learned that was important, its what was lost. All of the stores were almost all out of business after that ordeal--not to mention we really screwed ourselves big time. We didn't have a grocery store, a bodega, clothing store in the neighborhood for quite sometime. We had to go elsewhere just to buy milk. Anyway the city had to endure a fiscal crisis of bibical proportions, the NYPD had to institute new procedures for handling such a crisis, and ConEdison had to make sure this would never happen again. Me, well after the power came on, I went upstairs to get Fluffy for a walk, this time I took the elevator.
Some names have been changed to protect the guilty…… Okay so now my pops and I are looking around for my brother, Jorge, the stupid ass that he is because he couldn’t figure out that his ass should’ve come home and we gotta come after him like a John Wayne posse. Jorge, seem to have a certain amount of latitude with my father for some reason. This lack of discipline would not serve him well in his adult life and would come back to haunt us all. As I grew older I came to find out that his dumb ass probably wasn’t even my biological brother (that’s for another post). Now we couldn’t see a damn thing in front of us—we literally had to be up close in someone’s face before we could acknowledge friend or foe since there were a few pendeho’s who felt it was necessary to try and take a bat out of your hand. Not to steal from you but to take it and use it as a tool to break the windows on the storefronts so as to get at the caches of jewelry, Carvel Ice Cream (yes, the dumbasses that took the ice cream didn’t figure out there was no way to keep it frozen), jeans, sneakers, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and greeting cards. Yes, even the barrio wanted the greeting cards. It was a block by block decision on the kind of goodies you wanted. Up the street there were a few places that had much better pickings. The Wiz which was a new and upcoming electronic store at the time which had all of the “boom boxes” and stereo and electronic equipment was the premier takedown. Morris Toyland was a close second. That place had every possible toy, bicycle, electronic gadget of its time. Poor Morris was the kindest man you could meet. He was an old Jewish guy who really cared about his customers and always gave them a break. He could’ve had his store in any other place but he chose to have his in East Harlem. I know one Christmas I got this race track thing and it broke the very next day. My mom took it back and Morris replace it with a much better remote controlled racing car set which was more expensive and Morris said, no charge. It wasn’t even the same thing I got. My mom would’ve never bought this thing for me, we couldn’t afford it but we walked out with it nonetheless. Morris was the man. He’s long since passed on now and Morris Toyland is now a clothing store. Big ups to you Morris!! At this point we see its Christmas in the heat of the summer. Everyone and I mean everyone is working together for once instead of ripping each other off, stabbing each other, shooting each other, and God knows what, everyone is working together to tear down the metal gates on all the storefronts. Since everything was closed except for a few places to eat—the entire neighborhood bonded for one night at least to help each other rip those gates down like there was gold bouillon behind them. They were like piranha consuming every bit of real estate and commercial property in site. I had never known looting before but I got a firsthand look see on how it goes down. I was too young to remember the Northeast Blackout of 1965 and from what I learned no looting occurred back then, New Yorkers were peaceful and working together do the right thing. Now the cops had lost control by this time and were completely over matched and out gunned. Every now and then they would make a half-hearted attempt to “shoo” people away from the stores but forget it, it was a total frenzy. It seemed like every store had a cosmetic make up of people depending on what they wanted. Such as the jewelry store had most of the “Angel Dust” druggies (they would be crack heads today probably) inside going through everything as fast as they could. Tom, Dick, and Harry’s, the local shoe store (yep, that was the name of this place and we always inserted our own jokes every time somebody’s mother went to get sneakers or shoes for one of us kids (the lore of this place can provide maybe two dozen posts alone), had most of the younger kids in the neighborhood rampaging through it. Even me, I managed to lift out a case of Puma sneakers (no, not bragging or proud of what I did but lets be honest and tell the whole story). Anyway while chaos ensued all around us my father says, “give me those sneakers, I’m gonna put them in the van and you go back and get some more”. No joke my fellow blog posse. I’m telling you this guy has provided me with about five years of material to present to you guys on a daily basis. Most people always say stuff to me like, “wow, your very well this, your so that,” and go on pay me all these compliments and say your parents must have really set an example for you to follow. Then I would always agree and say yes, they did……….they were the example of the type of parents I never wanted to be like. Yes, that’s harsh but it was and is my reality. No, I’m not venting or complaining or whining about what I didn’t have or anything like that. I’m just stating the facts and maybe letting some folks know that you don’t have to be a product of your environment. So I go back towards Tom, Dick, and Harry’s, next store is the Pizza joint. Nobody and I mean nobody fucked with these guys, I took a look into to why their glass was not broken and I was staring at a shotgun barrel at my face as I was using my hands as horse blinders so I could see inside. I carefully moved away from that glass and stayed far away from that place and went back to where my father was holding Caesar, a bat, and his damn rifle. I asked him, so what’s up, are we going to find Jorge or what, and as I said that Jorge comes strolling by with case of frozen chicken from the KFC (he wasn't the smart one as you can tell). Now all the food places had been open but they were completely overrun by the masses. The only place that actually survived that whole block was the pizza place since they had the presence of mind to have four guys and some guns with them. Man, this was a crazy night, just crazy. I think I could be here for the next two weeks describing ALL of the madness that took place that night, let alone the next day. Well we ran into some of my buddies of mine otherwise known as "the crew", Crazy Joe, Dave, Bern (Bernard), Fat Time, and Mike (yes, these were their names, screw that names have been changed crap to protect the guilty, lets keep it real—this crew alone would provide for a lifetime of blogging) and they too wanted to use my fathers van for all of their loot. So the madness continued till about 3 am. We were all tired of hauling furniture on our backs and boxes and cases of this and that. So somebody had to stay and watch the van to make sure nobody looted IT. That somebody was me. My father went upstairs to check on my mom and my sister and my brother was still running around looking for anything that wasn’t nailed down. One thing, our van had windows and nobody thought of how our van was going to look when the sun came up except me. I took a chance by leaving the van unattended and went upstairs (18 flights of stairs) to tell my father about our predicament. He immediately came back downstairs (man I was tired of this crap already) and we rounded up the crew (as we were actually known by) and told them what our situation was. We all began bringing everything upstairs to our apartment, yes "mi hente" (my people), walking upstairs with furniture, boxes, cases, and every other part of our booty, before the sun came up no less. Finally it got done and we could look at the sun come up as we surveyed the damage and ruins of our neighborhood. The destruction was vast but now peaceful (for now). Garbage and mounds of it was every where. Some people were still walking around like Night of Living Dead in hopes of spying a few leftover goodies. It was time to regroup and figure out how we were going to eat, drink, wash, and maintain some perspective on what just happened. It was 530am now and it was too hot to be inside so I figured it was time for Fluffy to go out, Caesar had been out most of night and wasn’t budging. So the Fluffster and I walked down those stairs again (again for me anyway) and went for a walk in the neighborhood. After Fluff did his business by the school yard we always went by, we found the local bench that we would often sit and lament morning homicide photos we were just shown from the detectives on other mornings and decided to go to sleep and there we slept, right on that bench.
The New York City at that time was under a great deal of pressure, especially during the summer. We had the “Son of Sam” serial killings otherwise known as the”.44 Caliber Killer” because of the type of gun he would use on his victims. The city was also flat busted, I mean broke, I think the Mayor had to come over for dinner at our place a few times because the city could barely afford to pay him. Crime was the highest it’s ever been and murder rate was sky high. Oh yeah, Con Edison, the city's utility company, didn't have a contingency plan in place for what was about to happen. The only good thing that was happening, it looked like the Yankees might have a chance at winning the World Series that year (and they did). Well I was eating dinner, a late dinner mind you, we had actually just come from Long Island, and my father was bent on getting us out of the hood into suburbs. Well we had a few last hurrahs before we got the hell outta dodge. I remember it being very hot summer evening because the air condition was on. It had to be hotter than Hades before my father would allow that thing to be on. It was amazing that we had an air conditioner at all since we couldn’t actually afford one; I know my father must have boosted it from one of his jobs. He was a mover for an auction company. Whenever rich folks died, the contents of their mansion would be auctioned off. His company would be the ones to come get all their belongings for that auction. So like I was saying I was sitting at the dinner table getting ready to just stick some food in my mouth and it was just after nine in the evening, my mom had just made the old standby of Arroz Con Pollo (rice with chicken). I was blowing on my fork full of rice to cool it off and I was doing that the lights went out. I thought I had just blown out a candle. I immediately started to hear this very loud and intense screaming. Now we lived on the 18th floor so we had a pretty good view of the city below us, at this point I ran to the window to see what that screaming was, I started to see blocks or grids of the city "blacking out". Literally thousands of people were screaming and we could hear 18 stories up. From where we were in East Harlem, the dimming if you will, headed north towards the Bronx. The loud screaming was panic and fear from what the hell was going on. It sure as hell didn't seem like the lights were coming back on anytime soon. Well we didn’t panic or become gripped by fear or anything, we only thought of my brother who was still out on the street somewhere. He was a year older than me and was supposedly out playing basketball at one of the local courts. So my father says we gotta go get him. Well the elevators weren't working of course so we had to walk down 18 flights of stairs and my father wanted to bring Caesar, our German Shepard. Caesar wasn't anything his name might imply or like "Baron" the vicious Shepard the 70 year old Mr. Franklin had on the 17th floor. Baron once lunged at me and took a piece of my left knee with him when I was already on my way to emergency room for a cut on my wrist I received at the kitchen table with a steak knife (OH MAN, that’s a whole other post), he was a mush but my father felt we needed the intimidation factor while we were out and about the madness that seemed to be going on. We were better off bringing Fluffy, our little black short legged hairy mutt. He had a tendency to be a bit short tempered and kind of a badass with the knuckleheads in the hood. My father also had brought his rifle with us downstairs (I have more stories about this obsession with his guns and how it’s a wonder this man is not in jail, anyway). By the time we got down all those damn stairs (thinking oh man we gotta walk BACK UP all those stairs), there was total chaos, you could hear gunshots being fired; cops were on their bullhorns telling rabid crowds to go home and disperse and all that crap. They were actually the ones firing the shots, firing them into the air so as to scare the crowds. This must of been that cops first day on the job because this was East Harlem, everybody was either packing heat or wouldn't think twice about throwing a bottle at his head. Of course it was dark as anything so that would make it so much easier to do. As we progressed out from our building in total darkness and with flashlights in hand, we got closer towards the street where there were headlights beaming and shedding light on certain parts of the neighborhood. I guess everyone in the neighborhood must have gone to a "BAT DAY" at Yankee Stadium because it just seemed like everyone had a bat in their hand (well us too but that’s beside the point). Wow this post is getting long; I will tell you the rest tomorrow.