Monthly Archives: April 2003

4/10/03 Brooklyn, NY Today, my

4/10/03 Brooklyn, NY

Today, my dear blog, is our blogoversary. Exactly one year ago tonight I wrote from my dad’s excellent digs in Napa Valley, and made a solemn pact with myself that I’d write in you every night for a year. And without exception – even during the throes of despair, or in the ecstasy of life-affirmation, or stuck in Cut & Shoot, Texas, or swimming the delirium of Percoset – I have still talked to you every night. I wonder, blog, has it been worth it, for you and I?

The reason we started our relationship was simple: I wanted to keep a daily diary of going on the antidepressant Celexa. After a few weeks, however, I started realizing how important it was to actually force myself to write every night, and I could feel my slightly-atrophied writing muscle becoming erect once more. Since then, my dear blog, youve gotten me into trouble: you accidentally “outed” one of my friends, you made my dad upset, you pissed off Tessa’s family, and because you are infinitely searchable, you’ve ruined my senatorial campaign for the year 2024.

Tessa and me, April ’02

4/9/03 Brooklyn, NY Nobody ever

4/9/03 Brooklyn, NY

Nobody ever said being a sensitive liberal would be easy.

It’s almost impossible not to get caught up in the American triumphalism following the fall of Baghdad; I actually swelled a little when the statue came down and Iraqis flooded the square to pound his face with their shoes. And the pictures well, some of them are downright charming (like this one or this one). The changing of the guard in Baghdad looks like what happened in the 70s when my parents accidentally got a stoned babysitter

4/8/03 Brooklyn, NY One of

4/8/03 Brooklyn, NY

One of the animators for the Pink House movie came over this morning (by the way, I know it seems cheesy to keep linking to the movie site, but any p.r. is good p.r.) and he is ordinarily one of the sweetest, most understated guys you’ll ever meet but his rage at the war, and specifically the Bush administration, was a study in hidden fury. I saw wrinkles, furrowed brows, twists of sentences – that I never thought he’d be capable of. He never got out of control; his anger was well-documented and came with footnotes, and it was impressive.

It felt great to hear another person say these things, because it truly seems like the rest of this fat, sated country could give half a Christ about it. And I’m not including the internet in this, because let’s face it, the net doesn’t carry 1/9th the emotional weight human contact does. There are plenty of places to go on the web for exquisitely-well-written manifestos of left-leaning rage, but you really need to see the saliva of your fellow man to be reminded that the whole thing isn’t some kind of dream.

It also made me wonder what had happened to my own fury, because once the war started, I found it hard to talk about it. I pretty much retreated into our movie, my freelance writing career, another script, and buying stuff for my bike. Today I saw the images of the Iraqi boy whose arms had been blown off by American bombs, and all I could think was “jesus, please spare my family from the reprisals of this.”

But I don’t want to march against the war. I am resting, saving my strength. I’m dedicated to one cause only: ousting George Bush in next year’s election. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic or swooningly histrionic when I say this, but it’s the only thing that will save this country. It’s simple. Everything else is just bickering, futile jabs into the sky, windmill tilting, frosting and gravy.

I spoke to Colin today, me in my Brooklyn apartment watching the ice freeze on the trees, and him in central Iraq, barely able to walk from the chemical suit and the 120-degree heat. Sometimes it’s nice just to talk basketball, which we did.

4/7/03 Brooklyn, NY the view

4/7/03 Brooklyn, NY

the view outside our bedroom window (click for bigger)

Prince had a song on the Under the Cherry Moon soundtrack (you know, the one that had “Kiss” on it) called Sometimes It Snows In April. I always think about that song this time of year, mostly because it always snows in April, especially in Minneapolis, where Prince is from. But I think I speak for all New Yorkers when I say this shit has GOT to STOP. The first snow of the season was on November 2nd, and I know because I bloody well took a picture of it. That’s more than five months of snow, and easily six months of it being too goddamn cold.

Now, I grew up as a wee lad in eastern Iowa, and you’ll rarely find winters as sucky as those were. And I know I’m 35 now, and crochety, and so far removed from youth as to think that the weather is an interesting blog topic. But whatever, I’m finally beginning to understand why old farts all move to Florida. Today I had to walk two miles through blinding ice needles flying at my retinas just to pay my phone bill

4/6/03 Brooklyn, NY It was

4/6/03 Brooklyn, NY

It was a little break in the action, today was, a tiny shot of pale sunlight before another goddamn blizzard hits us tomorrow. Even though it was about ten degrees below Nice outside, the entire town of Brooklyn flocked to Prospect Park in order to soak up as much ultra-violet light as possible. People have really had enough of winter around here. If tomorrow’s storm is bad, expect to see a slight surge in domestic violence and suicides in the Northeast.

I got involved in another bit of obsessive minutae: after my sister Michelle raved about how much easier biking was with toe clips, I decided to try them out. Fortunately, Chapel Hill is home to the bike Mecca of America: Performance Bike Shop, a place I never noticed because it was right next to the pizza joint where I drove pies for a year.

Anyway, everything there is insanely cheap, and it’s some of the best in the business, and everything was 40% off so Tessa and I bought the “clipless pedals” and the “SPD

4/5/03 Brooklyn, NY Since Daylight

4/5/03 Brooklyn, NY

Since Daylight Savings Time is taking away the hour usually reserved for writing to y’all’s truly, I’ll keep this short, but I would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Richard Milhouse Nixon for giving us Daylight Savings Time in the first place. Damn good idea, Dick I bet you had no idea how many happy basketball players you made when you allowed us to have sunshine after work.

Before leaving Charlottesville, we stopped by to see my cousin Dylan at the local alterno-shop. They had an exquisite selection of water pipes and rolling papers, as well as an incense stick the size of a small tree branch. Some of the pipes were going for $350, which seemed a little out of the range for some of these college boys. One kid came in and was fondling one such pipe with such awe and reverence that even the most bleary-eyed and cynical of his friends called it “righteous.” It was rather sweet, like a boy longing for the red bike in the window.

with Dylan at “Roots, Rock & Reggae”

The ride back to New York was immeasurably sweetened by plugging my iBook into the stereo system and listening to my mp3s of Ambrosia, Supertramp, the Beastie Boys and the 5th Dimension. I think Finger Lickin’ Good can solve any problems the New Jersey Turnpike has to offer.

road trippin’ 2003-style

4/4/03 Charlottesville, VA We pulled

4/4/03 Charlottesville, VA

We pulled into Charlottesville just in time for a quick coffee with our friend Temple, who is in charge of acquisition (and pretty much everything else) for Dave Matthews’ film company ATO. I thought ATO was a bad choice for a name, since it is also the moniker for a fairly generic bunch of fratboys at the Alpha Tau Omega house precisely the kind of place Dave would play in the early, early 90s

4/3/03 Chapel Hill, NC Well,

4/3/03 Chapel Hill, NC

Well, it’s spring in Chapel Hill, and that used to mean one thing: the NCAA basketball tournament. But if you’ve been following sports news at all, you’ll know this week has been especially painful in North Carolina, and I’m amazed I was down here to witness it. Yes, yes, there’s a war going on in Iraq. But basketball is a religion in this state, and to me as well, so it’s a necessary sabbatical before putting the world back together.

In a nutshell, our coach of three years Matt Doherty

4/2/03 Chapel Hill, NC A

4/2/03 Chapel Hill, NC

A photojournalist named Brian Walski took the above picture of a British soldier in Basra, Iraq, and it ran in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times. Today, he was fired, and I’ve added several arrows to the image to show why. This is the great thing about the internet there are always 14 people out there obsessed with accuracy, and apparently they all alerted the LATimes to an obviously-Photoshopped picture. The above image is actually a combination of two different photos (you can see them both here) and in his war-torn haste, Walski either figured nobody would notice, or else that all brown people look the same.

The red arrow shows the same bent knee twice, the violet arrow shows the same Iraqi civilian twice, and the blue arrow is the most obvious duplication of a dude in the background. He did it for reasons of “composition,” trying to make the picture better by faking an interaction between the soldier and the man carrying his baby. Indeed, the fake is a more powerful picture, but not that much more powerful, and certainly not worth losing your job over.

Not only that, but people win Pulitzers for photographs. If this pic had done so, Walski would have had to provide a negative or at least an original digital file – and none exists (although perhaps he could have cobbled something together). The problem with shortcuts in art is that you’re always found out. Some artists are thrown into murky ethical waters (like the Realist painters who were discovered to have traced photographs) and some are hailed as masters (like Ansel Adams, who burned & dodged & fucked with his photos endlessly).

Walski would have gotten away with it if he hadn’t been careless, but I imagine being in the middle of the Iraqi desert with a laptop has got to be somewhat ungrounding. The problem is, I think I do a fair amount of altering on this blog too: I change some names, some venues, and occasionally I have screwed around with some photographs. The name and place changes are done to protect various privacies, especially back in January when we were full-throttle raising money for the film. There are also libel issues to consider, I guess, but the legal ethics of blogging are a nascent issue at best.

And I do “Photoshop out” flaws on people’s faces I don’t think a particular zit needs to be enshrined forever, and I’ve taken the shine off a few subjects. But there is one altered photo I’d like to cop to right now. It was taken back in January, when Chopin the dog and I were playing on the beach near Santa Cruz. I posted this picture:

…when the original image was this:

Thats my brother Steve in the bottom image, also taking a picture of us, and I just didn’t feel as though he fit the whole “a boy and his dog” vibe I was going for. So I’m offering a mea culpa to all those involved, and if the Pulitzer people are out there, I pray they can overlook my hubris and my control freak issues and keep me in the pool for this year’s Prize. What’s a few “ones and zeros” between friends when we’re talking about Great Art? Go team!!!

P.S. If I ever alter a photo like that again, I’ll tell you.

P.P.S. Oh yeah, that time stamp right below this is usually wrong. It’s almost always 3am when I do these.

4/1/03 Chapel Hill, NC I

4/1/03 Chapel Hill, NC

I was reminded by Sean that four years ago today, I was knee-deep in directing my first film, called “The Rescue of Autumn.” It was a short piece, about fourteen minutes long, but shot on some gorgeous 35mm stock that was way better than the material deserved. The actors were great: Seth Shelden, Sean and Jordana all performed admirably, as well as my sister Michelle (as a deaf Scrabble player) and UNC alum Amy Amerson