DANCING IN THE STREETS

WTC Path Station, New York, NY

WTC Path Station, New York, NY

Anyone who lives in New York City or within a thirty-mile radius and has at least half a brain is anywhere else but here. Having fried my brain decades ago on drugs and mayhem I am now the victim of improper planning. Although if we had taken our vacation this week instead of two weeks ago the five of us would have probably had to spend way more time in the Tarboro Wal*Mart. Like maybe the entire week from the looks of all the crazy storms flying up the coast of Florida. But here in New York you either evacuate yourself and shut the fuck up or bitch endlessly to anyone who will look into your crazy eyes.

The Village, New York NY

The Village, New York NY

Maybe it just seems freakier than I think I can handle because I work for a paper that desires to be in the center of the vortex and is located in the overflow of the vortex. All great ideas are usually born in the Village and then move uptown. The streets are filled with "visitors" from both camps but the Village seems to be housing most of the protesters. I mean literally housing them because most arrived with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a promise of "maybe" someone's floor to crash on. So Tompkins and Washington Square Parks pick up the overnight street slack, as do all the other spectacular nooks and crannies.

DICK

DICK

The VP is here (I think his helicopter flew by my window on Sunday) but the real news is that the Bush twins are coming. Now, Kerry's kids and his step kids for that matter all spoke at the DNC, but the Bush twins are not under the same pressure to articulate their strong support for their father, (The President), at the RNC. No, no they are in town to party. Typical. Just like all the other C student trust fund fucks that come to New York in the summer and demand this town to dazzle them. Woo Hoo! How very 'Sex in the City' they must feel. No obligations except that one pesky one about "not getting arrested", but seriously, what cop is going to even get close to that nutty party train even if they were drunk, running naked past the Plaza Hotel, spooking the horses and making the FAO Schwarz children cry, cry cry.

I wonder if it ever registers in their not so identical heads that this city is just about out of its mind with pent up anger and frustration plus adding to that it is hazy, hot and humid here and the climate is ugly no matter where you are. I overheard three people at the Staples on Broadway & 9th arguing about Bush, Iraq, The (fucking) Republicans, Afghanistan, the economy, and healthcare. And I mean they were yelling at each other inside the store at 7:30 on a Friday night right there in the aisle by the CD-R and CD-RW spools, which is where I needed to be. Ah, but New York is like that. When stuff is going on it is talked about everywhere and EVERYONE HAS A REALLY LOUD OPINION.

Miss Jasmine is officially a sophomore in college. I would like to take a minute here and thank everyone who has helped and continues to support Martha, Jasmine and me in what is at times agonizingly slow process of "getting that child an education."

The Village, New York NY

The Village, New York NY

Martha is so unbelievably super cool that I can hardly stand it. She drove Jasmine to school by herself. Now before you think that I am a total fuck, which usually I am, but this time a few things actually made the decision for me to stay home instead of a road trip.

The first one is that I needed to have some medical tests were done that required me to be in one place, preferably at home, for 24 hours. My doctors are still trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me and I have been putting this off for over a month. The second one is that my child has so much shit in her life that I simply did not fit I the car. Well one of us wasn't going to fit. I do not drive, (yet... I have a driver's license) so one of the two seats had to have Martha in it. I am not in college so...

I did my tests and now we wait. I also cleaned and unpacked almost everything in the new apt. and it was awesome. I did all the laundry, even the weird stuff like extra sheets, dishrags and all of my strange lace. I 409'd everything and vacuumed up all Jasmine + cats + me = dust balls. I did not leave my 18th-floor ivory tower for two days except to take out the trash and THAT was just to the end of the hallway. Martha wins the Coolest Girlfriend in the World prize. Jasmine wins the Money Came Through and All My Shit Fit prize.

I miss her already. In fact, while I was cleaning the bedroom I turned the TV on in the living room just so it sounded like she was still here, chewing on string cheese, listening to The Style Network and reading pop-fiction.

FORMS OF EXPRESSION

Topsail Island, NC

Topsail Island, NC

I have recently started reading this this snooty art mag that comes out of Brooklyn, where most of the arrogant art scene lives these days. They're tucked in right above the neighborhood natives and family owned bakeries. The magazine is pretty exclusive but it also has just the right amount of strange bullshit in it to make me think that at least one person there is freaky enough and worth paying attention to. Way too many of us (ah, that would be artists) are so fucking eager to sell out that hardly anyone knows what it means to take a true creative risk that doesn't involve Flash, Photoshopping or an extremely over-designed layout. This magazine seems to be more of an equal collaborative effort. Anyway, I was on the subway home from work reading an article on Shit by Rob DeSalle. Specifically fossilized dino shit from the Jurassic period. While the whole article was absolutely fascinating, one sentence, in particular, stuck in my head.

"The largest fossil from this "defecation event" is about five feet long and two feet wide, and is tapered at both ends, a typical marker of a well-preserved coprolite."

See, the thing is I am about five feet long and two feet wide, and well, yes I suppose I could be described as "tapered at both ends". Made me think wow I am as big as dino shit. Awesome. I stopped reading, looked around the semi-crowded R-Train to Brooklyn, and smiled. It was fun and funny.

Topsail Island, NC

Topsail Island, NC

Obviously, I am not ready to be back from my big fat lesbian vacation. Hell no and I probably shouldn't even be in public. And my-oh-my what have I came back to? Oi, I cannot even begin to go into it. I love my new apartment, though. Love it, love it. Boxes are everywhere and in what is a complete first for me after three weeks I finally unpacked the stereo. Jasmine and I built the unit from Crate&Barrel and now the stereo is out in the daylight. Hello, neighbor!

The Village, New York, NY

The Village, New York, NY

The RNC protests start Sunday and this city is clamping down. ("Working for the clampdown But ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!") I saw a 70lbs overweight NYC cop standing on a crowded street corner, with a semi-automatic machine gun wrapped around his torso. He was picking shit out of his teeth with what I would like to think was a toothpick and watching the NYU girls walk down the street with their short skirts, flip-flops and surgically implanted cell phones. Then Jasmine told me that a rent-a-cop searched her purse the other day before he would let her INTO the Newport/Pavonia Mall. It is a fucking mall in NJ people. Let her blow it up.

The Village, New York NY

The Village, New York NY

But the real freak show has already started. The Village is starting to look, even more, eclectic would be the word I suppose, than usual. "They say" that over 200,000 protesters are coming here to scream at all of us. Deep down and walking around one can't easily tell who is a Democrat and who is a Republican so they are just going to scream at everyone. Great. Sunday, after moving Jasmine into her dorm room at 9 am in the morning, Martha and I will be driving back to New Jersey with an "Anybody but Bush" bumper sticker on our asses. Our own little silent scream on I-80.

HOME IS WHERE THE CATS ARE

Family, Topsail Island NC

Family, Topsail Island NC

I love the beach and I love spending time with my family. (No, I am not being a smart ass nor am I drunk. I really do love Sheri, Keri, Martha and Jasmine.) I didn't like so much the four days in the car and then the final bitchiness that swept over three of us at the end but I suppose that was to be expected. Cannot shove all that crazy into one small space for too long without it ricocheting all around the car. Make no mistake we can be cranky and it isn't just me. The Hurricane thing was a gas to drive through but I am most fond of the two hours we were stuck in the Tarboro, NC Wal-Mart waiting for the tornado(s) to blow the roof off that den of Satan. Every fifteen minutes one of us was in line buying something. Evil I say. Two sets of Pajamas, water, GasX, jewelry, shoes and other things that I cannot remember. All except Keri. She was back in the electronics section standing in front of the only TV out of 30 that was tuned into to weather, tornados, hurricane and general end of the earth stuff that was happening all around us. She bought nothing and I consider her the smartest.

Topsail Island NC

Topsail Island NC

I had quite the little routine at the beach. I woke up every morning and watched the sunrise over the ocean. Then I would make coffee, sit at the dining room table, eat almonds and write. The only sound I could hear was the ocean and my crunching. Then around nine(ish) Keri, Martha, Sheri or Jasmine would slowly wake-up and fill the house with laughter, bullshit, and pot smoke. It was fantastic. A few hours of that and I needed a nap. Everyone else hit the beach, Martha would put on her cowboy hat and I would sleep for two hours. Then from here on is where the day could go a few different ways. I could wake up from my nap and go for a walk, shoot a billion photos, swim in the ocean or watch the Olympics. Dinner was late, the sunset walks on the beach were crazy beautiful and every night was movie night. It was awesome and I swear to God we are going to do it every year from now until I drop dead.

I shot around twelve rolls of film, around two-hundred Polaroids, one roll of 120 film that I put in the Folding Camera but only one-hundred digital. This was a film trip. Or I am still flipped out and seem to be more comfortable with the actually "thing" in my hand. Regardless, this is going to cost the big bucks.

Jasmine goes back to college this weekend and God knows she is so done with us. To quote Miss Simon on speaking to Jasmine's headspace and my concern ..."Of course, Jasmine is over us. She wakes up being over us." ...and that is the sum of it. She is over us, until of course, she misses us.

CONTROLLING THE WEATHER

If you want to know where we rented the beach house, all you need to do is look at this map. Where the two storms "hook up" is about it. Well, that is about right, eh? Overall, it is fine and I am just happy to not be at work but seriously, really? Keri keeps sending me email to "think happy thoughts" and I always do. I always do.

I can't help but imagine that if all of us were going to the middle of the Nevada desert (like to Vegas) in August, with no water and magnifying glasses for hats, there would be a freak snowstorm happening right there on the strip by that stupid New York-New York Casino. See Keri, these ARE happy thoughts because why?? Because I am laughing and EVERYTHING, in fact, is a photo-op.

9th Street, New York, NY

9th Street, New York, NY

Already something is not working right in our brand spanking new apartment but at least we can bitch about it and "technically" management will fix it. The air-conditioner in Jasmine's room/my office/vortex-of-angst is not working. It thumps like a crazy bunny's back legs and produces room temperature air. On a day that the room is eighty-five degrees, well that's not going to work now, is it.

I started to mess around with a Google search within this here site. I have so much work I should do with this thing and that is "the plan" once I get back from the storms of vacation. I have new posts that need to be put up and I want to change some core things too. But all of that is for another time. For the next ten days, I am going to try to calm the fuck down and enjoy a little bit of this thing called living.

ELEPHANTS IN THE HOUSE

8th Street, New York, NY

8th Street, New York, NY

It all seems very fitting that Martha and I start the first vacation we have had together in over six years on a Friday the 13th, doesn't it? I think so. Fuck it, right? Jasmine was born on a Friday the 13th and well, that has been a good thing. No matter, Friday is all I can think about even if it is suppose to rain.

I had been debating with myself on whether or not I would be doing Photo of the Day while I am "on the beach" but after thinking about it for a solid minute... I say "no". I would rather take photos and nap then have to photo edit for just one week of my life. Besides almost everyone who actually READS me is going to be WITH me. It will be reminiscent of...reality. Cha.

The RNC is three weeks away. Good lord, Martha and I did not plan this very well, did we? The Republicans come here when I get back and the hassle is going to suck any relaxation right out of me. Work is going to be a nightmare. The DNC wasn't bad but it also wasn't in our own backyard AND it wasn't the "enemy" (so to speak) stomping all around a city that cares more about state and local politics than what happens inside the beltway. Most of the residents of New York City have a tendency to hate whoever is running the nation anyway, but especially now. Now, the idea of blowing up our own bridges and telling the rest of the country to fuck off and go away is quite appealing.

Graffiti, Jersey City NJ

Graffiti, Jersey City NJ

Unpacking has been ongoing and will continue to be an ongoing process. Miss Martha did manage to build a four-drawer vertical filing cabinet on Saturday night. It was some seriously advanced build-it-yourself shit and even I was a little worried. The directions were so intense that no beer was consumed until well after the last drawer was built. But it looks great, doesn't wobble and now finally we can separate all of the arty-farty crap in my filing cabinet from the important household papers. We had been using my old filing cabinet for all of our shit but we could never find anything. Or it took forever and tempers usually...um...flared, I think would be the word there. Now peace and harmony should come to us via the filing cabinet. That is the dream anyway. It is good to dream.

Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ

Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ

Unpacking the office space with Jasmine's crap still in boxes all around is another bone of contention. I understand her frumpiness about this situation. She can't unpack and refuses to be "into" this space 'cause she is moving into a dorm room (a single one mind you) in four weeks. So she is living out of a closet. Could be worse, could be way worse. We could be living in a van down by the river. When I tell her that, she rolls her piercing baby blues at me (that God and I gave her, thank you very much) and then walks away. Yeah, I'm thinking a week in a beach house cooped up with that shit just might make me eager for the political climate of a citywide Republican/National Guard take over in late August. If you are going to be cranky, be cranky about something "real" for fucks sake. Not that politics is real but it is more real than home decorating.

STORMY WEATHER TRAVELS WELL

Red, Jersey City, NJ

Red, Jersey City, NJ

The new couch came and Boy-O-Boy is it RED. Not only is it red but it had cat hair on it the nanosecond it entered the apartment even though no cat had even eyeballed it yet. The cats, of course, ran for every one of their little nine lives when the intercom rang. (Yeah, I have an intercom - ridiculous and even I'm afraid of it.) Anyway, as the three of us continue to acclimate to this living as though we are members some monarchy (the white trash part of the bloodline that's for sure) I feel like we have murdered someone and have taken over their apartment. Okay, a little severe but this is going to take me a little while to get used to. Every day I see the doorman I am compelled to show him my keys and I have my hand on my wallet just incase he wants to see ID. Hell, Martha still won't go near the windows 'cause she is afraid of heights and this living like Bob Newhart on the 18th floor has her a little flipped too. She is sticking to the center of the apartment building where the bathrooms, kitchen and her side of the bed are. Miss Jasmine naturally, is fine and thinks (correctly) that we are all nuts.

8th Street, New York NY

8th Street, New York NY

I am finding it harder and harder to go to work. With the beach thing a mere ten days away the only thing I seem to care about more and more is where exactly did I put my beach hat? I found the tent and I know where my books are. I have the laptop (for writing only, no working) but my glasses and hat is still in some box somewhere. That alone is giving me the inspiration to unpack. Speaking of, Martha said to me the other night that someone she works with moved over the weekend too and that they are all unpacked already. Whatever. Do they have a record collection, a massive home office or two computers with two separate workstations? How about a disgruntled and at times down right unbearably moody twenty-something hanging around the shadows of their day? Well?

Cooper Square, New York NY

Cooper Square, New York NY

While the irony of a hurricane hitting the beach house that we have rented has always been lurking around the dark cynical corners of my mind, I managed to catch the tail end of some weather report the other night about one coming close to the Outer Banks. Then, there is the possibility of another one that is currently hanging out in Puerto Rico, slithering up the coast while we are actually there. Cool and oh yeah, what's that I always say? Everything is a photo-op.

Best not to dwell on it all, of course until we are there. Then we can flip out at random. I suppose it doesn't matter where we all end up right? Being evacuated from a "Nonrefundable regardless of what God throws at you." beach house or the "We are poor now and have no fucking money." Super-8 Motel, two-hundred miles inland, a vacation is still a bunch of days when you are not at work. Hmm, hurricane or work? Those are my only choices? How about a bullet to the head?

Sheri baby, make sure to bring the gun-just incase.

BEER AND BAND-AIDS

Living Room, Exchange Place Jersey City NJ

So we made the move and we are in. Woo hoo! We love it and we never want to leave, at least that is the word on day two. It is quiet and the cats are totally flipped out. They are so flipped out that untouched Fancy Feast sits in a bowl just waiting for a cat to take notice of it.

Amazingly, it did not rain and the movers did not suck. It took longer than we thought but it was well worth it. Overall, there was minimal bullshit. The cable person even showed up an hour early and we have had cable since before we were finished with the movers. There were only a few scrapes; Martha cut her finger and dropped my old office chair on her foot while taking it down to the trash. My legs are bruised and I look like I had to fight off an attacker and Jasmine seems to have hurt her shoulder but overall we are pretty tip top.

E. 6th street & Cooper Square (3rd Ave)

Jasmine and I now share a room. Her bedroom is also my office. I don't think she is too happy about it all but she DOES go back to school in four weeks and she will have her VERY OWN dorm room to decorate with all of her fine-tuned angst. The bill for her sophomore year of college came right before we moved. Talk about a buzz kill. Jesus Christ, I'm going to be long dead before that shit is paid off.

18th Floor View, Exchange Place, Jersey City NJ

This apartment makes me feel like I am on vacation. I know that will pass, within time but honestly, I don't think I have ever lived like this. Except for when I was on the company dime. It makes Martha and me somewhat uneasy but that is just because we are waiting for the crap to start. It is a pathetic view of the world but one she and I have sadly, grown used to.

Ah yes, work. I didn't win the lotto, I just moved. Work is still work and I have a good two-week run of it until I can completely fuck off for seven sun-filled days. My vacation is going to consist of reading, sleeping and seeing how fucked-up I can get. We bought a beach tent, a beach towel, and summer reading books for all. I personally bought a big floppy blue beach hat and matching blue sunglasses. I am totally working the Sophia Loren, Jackie O thing with these glasses. They almost cover my face from my forehead to my mouth. I look like an aging movie star and some days, in my head, I suppose I am.

LAID BACK BIRTHDAY

I do think that Sheri had a good birthday despite the fact the both Martha and I had to work on Friday. Sheri and Keri went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Diane Arbus exhibit, which we were all going to do on Saturday but honestly, I have had enough of weekend exhibits and should probably stay away from all that horseshit until I am not so god damn sensitive. Sheri and Keri also went on over to Nassau Street for Japanese massages and Martha and I rounded out their day with Sushi at home.

It is very nice to know that I can still make Sheri laugh her ass off with my tall tales and even after all these years she still lets me be my most boisterous self with almost little to no eye rolling.

On Saturday, Martha and Keri got a Sharon Stone Sphere era haircuts and Sheri bought four new tires at Pep Boys. I suppose there are worse birthday presents to buy yourself. Sheri and Keri got a flat tire outside of Baltimore on the way here. Seeing as this was the same tire that Martha and I followed to the beach last August when we first noticed that it was a little low, I am surprised it lasted this long. I am even more surprised that they drove on the spare for another three hours but what the hell do I know, I don't even drive.

Here is the difference between us and them. A flat tire would have flipped me out. I would have lost it and it would have been the most detailed, long-winded story of survival known to man if it would have happened to us. Sheri and Keri, not so much. Keri's shirt was dirty and Sheri was not fazed at all. I would be a raving lunatic, Sheri not one bit.

I did not leave the apartment from Friday night until Sunday afternoon around 12:30 when we all drove over to Pep Boys to pick up Sheri's car and say good-by in the parking lot and even though I slept almost all of Saturday away, quite a few of my inside activities were delightful.

I spent a wonderful few minutes ogling over this. The article on purses is great but the multimedia slide show is so much fun. I also enjoyed a quiet morning deep reading Keri's Davis Drug Guide for Nurses, studying up on all my medications, Martha's medications and medications I want to be on. Just like a candy list. To me, the thing reads like the Godiva Chocolate Guide that is complete with Live Assistance Mon-Fri: 10am-10:30pm EST; Sat-Sun: 10am-6pm EST. The Nurses Drug Book comes with a CD and has the 'Do not crush, break, or chew caution statements' for each drug. A vital thing for me to be in the know about.

The four of us hung out mostly in my teenage bedroom/office, telling stories, shooting Polaroids, 120 film and a few silly digital. I worked on a small number of things with this here site. Silly stuff like, reformatting the Journal section, designing a new Holga section and trying to write this weird little story about my 21st birthday. Martha bought me the most beautiful tulips when she was out and we all agree that her new haircut is the total shit. She does look great and all weekend I kept mistaking her for Sharon Stone.

On Sunday, I finally did my nails my favorite blood red, it was a wonderful girly weekend, and when it came time to go, Keri thought she was going to puke. Seriously, head between knees type of shit. I had to give her (diet) Sprite and pretzels. I take this as the highest form of complement. But the real fun thing was Sunday night a really, really bad Sharon Stone movie was on. So of course, Martha and I suffered through The Quick and The Dead, for the second time in our lives. We actually went to see that thing in the theater, if you can believe it. She claims to have no memory of it, oh but I do. Bad movie, very bad movie. But Sharon Stone was nice and why that didn't kill her career, I will never know.

STILL ON A DEAD LINE
I am so not looking forward to Tuesday. That is the day that I am having the yucky test. Also known as 'Catheter in My Groin Day', I think I can honestly say that I would rather be at work and Tuesday is deadline day. While I am not really sure what all they are planning on doing to me, Keri told me that I am going to have to keep my leg straight for 4-6 hours until the vein heals together. Otherwise, I might pop it open and well I guess it would be a blood fest. That is kind of scary. Not the blood part but the assumption that I'm going to be able to sit still for any length of time even if you decorate it with 'you might bust out a vein and bleed to death'. I have no attention span and forget simple shit that was told to me five minutes ago. They better just go ahead and tie that leg down. And oh yeah, I have a list of drugs that I want them to give me for this stupid test. I don't want to know a damn thing that is going on.