Saturday, April 30, 2005

Percy Heath.

Percy Heath died on thursday. He was the last surviving member of the Modern Jazz Quartet. I saw the Quartet in late 1988. A few things struck me that night: The concert was completely unamplified. The only way I could tell if John Lewis was improvising was when he was humming along with his playing. And that Percy Heath never stopped smiling. A few years later, on Charlie Parker Day, I got to take a picture.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Home tour.

Found myself with some time to kill on tuesday. That time between sound check and show. The $10 buy-out for dinner added to the feeling of being on tour. I’m rarely that far downtown, so I decided to check out the future site of the Freedom Tower. I’d never been to “Ground Zero,” and it’s been maybe ten years since I’ve been to the Trade Center. The first thing I realized is that I didn’t really know where it was. In the past, I’d just look up at the towers and walk closer. Those signposts in the sky are no longer there, but it’s a big lot, so it was easy to stumble upon. I never really stepped close to the fence to get a good look. I was more taken with the fence itself. With the walkways around it. The pedestrian bridge over the West Side Highway. The ornate entrance to the PATH train. The church that I never even noticed before because the towers were so distracting. I guess it was the ways a city and its people get on with life that interested me more than the grave in the middle.
It’s still possible for me to walk around in this city and feel like I’ve never been here before. I think that’s an important part of what’s kept me here for so long.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

You keep pushing my love...

...over the borderline. I just heard that song in the cab home. What exactly happens when your love gets pushed over the borderline? Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? I’m listening to the Duke Ellington version of The Nutcracker Suite. On my way up the stairs, I passed a white plastic cup containing a blue liquid. I entered my building with a delivery man, and a drug addict. It wasn’t raining like it was supposed to when I got off work. I had no motivation to walk around and take pictures without the rain, on a weekend night. There was a higher than usual drunken New Jerseian count. I want to stop missing people. Summer came early this year, and lasted about two days. I got a birthday present from my place of employment. I want to always have a long list of things to do. My mom probably broke her foot this week. She hasn’t gone to a doctor yet. Dana showed up at work and said, “I’m supposed to tell you to get this fucking band off the stage.” Hopefully, I will see her again tomorrow. I always seem to stay up really late on fridays. Scored myself four of those big spring-loaded clamps tonight. I really hope Kelli can come to Amy’s wedding. I seem to work six nights a week now. I want to find a woman who can take no for an answer. I’m faced with an offer to mix a band at the Knitting Factory. I love mixing the band. I hate mixing at the Knitting Factory. I like the term “art maker.” Rose is cloning herself. I have to go to Philly for Mother’s Day. I have six printers. I need to walk around midtown more often. I remember the first time I heard Borderline. I was in a hotel room, on vacation with my parents. We didn’t have MTV at home, so I was mesmerized by the hotel TV. The video of Borderline came on, and I thought to myself, “this is going to be a big hit.” I was right. The arrival of autumn this early in the year is exciting. Always my favorite time. A time for change, more than spring, and when I feel the most lost and confused. The times when anything can happen. Anything will come early this year.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Welcomed distraction.

Almost 28 years ago, a man in Corpus Christi named Philip sent a postcard to a man named Herman in Guatemala. The card had some cryptic numbers and letters, along with a time and date. There was also a green Martian riding a flying saucer, and someone wearing headphones as viewed through an open door. I can’t even imagine what this card was about. Perhaps the exact time and place of a future invasion from Mars? The person wearing the headphones is radioing the Martian? Okay, I guess I can imagine. Phil wrote “TNX FER THE CARD” in the upper left hand corner, followed by an underlined signature of his shortened first name. I’m curious about the card he’s talking about.
The sender put the initials C.A. after the word Guatemala. I figure that stood for Central America. The person that read addresses for a living down at the post office 28 years ago thought the C looked like an L, and the card ended up in Louisiana. I guess it could have just as easily ended up in California.
Almost 28 years later, a beautiful and talented lady goes to New Orleans LA on vacation, somehow comes across this card, attaches a note to it that says, “I FOUND THIS - thought you’d be into it,” and mails it to me here in Brooklyn NY. Of course I wonder where this mysterious card has been all this time, but I also wonder how she knew.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Lil help?

Can someone remind me to see the Diane Arbus exhibition at the Met? I only have another month or so to make my way uptown.


Andrea makes me wish I was a lesbian.

I feel like I’m doing irreparable damage to my body right now. I’ve been sick all week, George came by work, and talking over loud music resulted in a very sore throat, adding a new element of pain to my cough. Is this what they call Vegas Throat? We went out for food after work, and now he’s in a hotel room, packing for an 8am flight. I should be asleep, creating a healing environment, but it’s not even 5am yet.
I looked down my throat in the mirror. I wanted to check for damage. It suddenly came to me that when people ask what the video image of the inside of my colon looks like when I get a colonoscopy, I’ll just tell them to look down their throat. It’s the same wet, fleshy, curvy kinda tube. Just at the other end.
I keep thinking that I just won’t talk ‘til monday when I have to work next, but there are people I really need to talk to tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will be the good friend. The good cousin. Good “uncle.” Nephew. Grandson. It will feel good, except for my throat.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Place I’d rather be, part 1.

In a foreign country, with no one familiar around, and no where I have to be.

On my desk.

Computer etc. Bottle of water. Box cutter. Tuning fork. Sharpie. Scissors. Four paper clips. Chip resetter. Stereo remote control. Test prints. Phone number list. Four fortune cookie fortunes. Loupe. Lamp. Canned air. Light gray Indian ink marker. Anti-static dust brush. Money order receipt. Two napkins. Two mail box keys. Eight business cards. WNYC schedule. 11 pennies. Two quarters. Phone number of my grandfather’s hospital room. Seven inch ruler. Black bic ball point pen.


I think that people always get what they deserve, but I also think that some people get more than they deserve.

Older. Wiser?

I used to be able to work 20 hours a day. My paycheck would occasionally hover around 100 hours for the week. That was a long time ago. I didn’t realize how long ago until I tried to work that kind of schedule last week. I had to cancel a few shifts. Still sick. Still tired. Going to just try to sleep it off once and for all on tomorrow’s day off. Not 22 years old any more.
My doctor took a throat culture today.
Becca called me from her vacation to ask for my address so she can send me a postcard. Unnecessary. Welcomed. Eagerly awaited.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

One thing about today.

Sid had a stroke. It was very minor. I spoke to him on the phone from his hospital bed. He answered the phone exactly as my mother entered his room, simulating us visiting him together. He complained about there not being any pretty girls in the hospital to see him half naked in his kimono. Same old grandpa, but it has affected his walking and, I’ll assume, ended his driving days. Grandma doesn’t drive, never has, so this event could mark a major change in their living arrangements. Wonder what it’s like to move when you’re 88 years old.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I have friends going through some bad things. All I can think about is helping. Making it all better. It’s out of my hands. Frustrating. Makes that general feeling of being lost even more prominent. It’s cold in here, and ice cream trucks keep speeding by. I like how the doppler effect affects their songs.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

All pope radio.

It’s 43 degrees outside, looks like it’s about to rain, and there’s an ice cream truck blaring away outside.
Many years ago, the pope came to my home town. My aunt lived on the pope route, so family and friends gathered there for the usual light food/drink/cake/cookies and view out the windows, just like we did to watch the New Year’s Parade each year. This was a largely Italian neighborhood, so it wasn’t hard to get a good crowd. The thing that struck this eight year old as odd was the the tremendous numbers of Polish flags. Very confusing to me. “Polacks” were the people you made fun of. Now, we were waving their flag in one hand, and the Italian flag in the other.
A helicopter hovered over the carwash that was across the street. I figured it was because there were a couple of spectators on the roof. I think they radioed to the pope limo (this was pre popemobile) and the pope got down from his sunroof, and waved out the window. Luckily, he sat on our side of the car. Waived right at me.
Yesterday, my president called him a champion of freedom, or something like that. Unless you’re a woman who wants freedom to choose weather or not to have a baby. Or if you’re anyone who might want to use any kind of birth control. Or if you’re a woman who, for some reason, wants to be a priest. He probably wouldn’t like it if you were gay either. At least he was against the war. A lot of good that did.
So, can someone tell me what else is going on in the world?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Hot wax please.

The rain and wind are making it seem like my building is going through a carwash.
I just heard “you’ll never get to heaven if you break my heart” on the radio. I never thought about how mean that phrase is. Of course we can all relate, which is why that song was popular, but really. And the upbeat, taunting tone in which it’s sung rubs it in even more. I think I’m going to incorporate that line in my everyday speech. And maybe mail the song to someone.
Last weekend for that art show. Comes down friday. I just put the pictures from the show up on my web site. Let me know if it doesn't work.

Friday, April 01, 2005

No joke.

George showed up a little earlier than expected. If anyone knows where to find trees that have leaves on them this time of year in NYC, let me know. He needs them for a shoot.
Felt awful in the middle of work, and wasn’t sure I was gonna make it. I did, and even went by Arwen’s birthday gathering at a firetrap masquerading as a bar in the LES. Had to stop by to meet her brother. They never met before yesterday. Quite a birthday present. Excitement and anxiety were all over her face. I can’t imagine what that situation must be like.
I wanted to call Becca as I left the bar to see if she was headed home, but I didn’t have a quarter. My cab driver was named Joel Miller. He was listening to the Allman Brothers. Rare.
So, Norman, how on earth did you get here? Did you have the same dream? And if anyone should be writing on line, it’s you. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment.