Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Name Forgotten and Name Not Given (l-r)

The Japanese-looking dude with the camera (it's inevitable that anybody with physical features of those who originate from the Pacific Rim with a camera will end up being described as "Japanese-looking. Popular culture stereotypes is mostly at fault, most egregiously, and humorously, in Rosemary's Baby. Hailrrh Satan! But I think this parenthetical exercise has gone on long enough) was ignoring her completely as he stood amidst the garbage bags on Union Square East taking pictures.

"Yo, take my picture!"

It was like she didn't exist, like it was A Christmas Carol and she was trying to interact with the scene being played out in front of her.


He kept ignoring her, but I obliged her request. "What's your name?" I asked her.

"No," she said back.

As I looked through the viewfinder of the YashMat I saw my nameless lady in red clothesline a random white woman who was too shocked to do anything but give a smile and hope she'd survive the ordeal.

It was a short ordeal for the white woman whose name I've since forgotten. It all happened so fast. The picture was taken, and the woman who I would not annoy at any risk walked away with purpose.

"What just happened," asked the recently released and slightly shaken woman.

New York just happened.

Just, happened.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

St. Vincent's Graffiti

"My children's lives were saved here, Best friends children were born here, Best friend died here."

I'm not sure that last one I'd consider a fond memory of a closed institution, but who am I to argue with how one chooses to remember a place that is no more:

I was by the former St. Vincent's today. They've since removed the signs and painted the wood a dark green. Or it might actually be a dark brown. I can't tell because I'm color blind. Maybe I should just say that they painted it some dark color that isn't black and we'll leave it at that. So ends the NYC tradition of the spontaneous memorial, until the disgruntled locals get out and start all over again...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Apex Tech

No, I'm not an alumnus, yet I've always admired the Apex Technical School:

It makes me think of when I was a kid, sick at home on a schoolday, especially if all I had going on was a fever, since I could be sick yet not be too out of it to sit in my parents' bed and watch TV all day. The highlight would hopefully be to see a Sanford and Son rerun. Channel 5 always showed an hour of I Love Lucy, and Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie always seemed to be paired together, maybe on channel 9.

But nothing defined daytime TV more than commercials for the Apex Technical School. Where else could you learn refrigerator repair, air conditioning maintenance, auto body work, and all in six months! Better still, when you finished the course, the tools were yours to keep! You don't see Columbia giving you anything when you graduate except the side of a sheep and a crapload of debt. At Apex Tech you could learn practical skills, not just be able to look at old bones and argue whether something walked bipedally or not 5 million years ago.

Though when I was a kid, it never occurred to me who those commercials were aimed at. I had no concept of somebody in their 20s just sitting around the house unemployed, wondering what to do with their lives now that Studio 54 was closed. I never thought the day would come when I was lying around the house (not sick, not in my parents' bed, not even in their house) seeing Apex Tech ads and then realizing, "OH! THEY'RE TALKING TO ME!!!!"

Yet I never enrolled. Life took me elsewhere.

Hunger and fatigue are in a fight for my soul. Maybe not quite a fight, maybe they're just playing dice. And maybe it's not my soul, maybe it's just my body. What does it crave more, sleep or food. God. Why can't I be one of those fridge-raiding sleepwakers? Maybe if I went to Apex Tech I'd be able to repair refrigerators in my sleep and really use my time more efficaciously. Or do I mean efficiently. Is efficaciously most efficacious in that sentence?

I think sleep is the frontrunner....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Williamsburg Water Tower

Taken back in my limo driving heyday, when I thought I'd get known as the limo driver who produces "art" with his camera. HA!

I always dug this shot, grain and all.

I admit it, I'm in somewhat of a "mood" right now. Maybe I shouldn't mention it. Maybe that's not what blogs are for. You know, people going on the internet talking about their "moods." Who would want to read that! This blog thing will never take off! I've got my finger on the pulse of the internet baby....on the pulse!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On 46th (I Think)

This is one of those shots that looked a lot more imposing in person, yet I don't think I was able to translate it to film:

Well, it's not completely awful. I think. I hope. Maybe. Peut-être.

Yes, you've guessed it, it's a tired saturday night...But hey, food has arrived! Things are looking up!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dumpster Alley

I'd hate to find this at the end of a rainbow, unless it was filled with gold, or chocolate, or even those gold foil covered chocolates that Jews find so tasty even though they're made with crappy chocolate. Then again, I never turn down some chocolate gelt when it's thrown my way:

I don't remember exactly where in Chelsea this was, just in case you wanted to investigate and actually find out if it's a dumpster filled with chocolate or not. Great, now I can't get the idea of a chocolate-filled dumpster out of my head. You know, I think it's just about that time of year to turn on the air conditioner. Crazy, I know.

If you should be reading this (and I daresay why not), and are wondering where your picture is. Well...I don't know if you read some posts down about me taking some shots with some old film and having the backing paper stuck to it and wondering how to go about developing it. Well, that was the roll I was using when I took your shot.

I developed it yesterday and got nothing. I didn't even get something half-destroyed yet "interesting" so it could count as "art." Such is the fickleness of that damned old film.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Past Comes Alive

Here's one of those VP 620 rolls I developed. That is, all the shots that's fit to print.

This appears to me to be some kind of school scene. Like some kind of class perhaps:

At first I didn't notice the boys in front mugging for the camera, but I can respect that. I ruined most of my bar-mitzvah shots much in the same way. And I'm just noticing that boy sticking out his tongue leaning on the tree on the left, behind the other boy who might be yelling "cheese." I like that girl in the center just standing there with her arms folded.

And here we have a principal-type, perhaps waving goodbye to the kids. Then again, he may be saying hello to George Lincoln Rockwell:

We may never know.

I wish the cars were clearer in the background of this blurry shot, but looking at the profile of the one on the right (and other evidence on this roll), I'm thinking this was taken in the 60s. She seems like a nice woman, no?

I like her ensemble.

Then we have this lovely woman. I'm guessing she hadn't yet heard of the dress shield:

i'm thinking that might be a Ford station wagon in the background? Some research is leading me to believe it's a mid to late 60s Fairlane. Or maybe it's a Country Sedan. Either way, it's definitely dating this roll to the 60s, and I'm going with that mid to late era, even though people in middle America (or wherever this was taken) could still look like they were out of the 50s.

I would guess this next one was taken indoors:

And yes, I'm digging the glasses.

This one I did the least amount of photoshop post-processing with:

And here's one where the kids actually somewhat look at the camera:

I like the look of the girl with the thing tied around her head.

The next shot was too dark to do anything with, but the shot after that produced something that I'm not entirely sure what happened:

I'm not sure if there's a reflection or a double exposure going on or a little of both.

Next up we're looking through a window, with some serious bleed through from the backing paper:

I can't tell anything about the car in the foreground other than it's definitely from the 60s, and maybe even the way early 70s. And maybe that's a VW Microbus in the driveway?

The ultimate, or last shot of the roll was shot, so we (we? maybe I mean the royal "we") leave you with this group picture:

Wait...does that kid second from the right look like he might be black? It's about time some diversity showed up on this roll.

I seem to have moved past my Wolfe Gilbert phase with all of its borderline racist, yet appropriate for the time lyrics. But now I'm onto something much much worse. I must be getting punished for something.

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Why me God? I mean, if it has to be Jimmy Buffett, why can't it be Why Don't We Get Drunk And Screw? Even Margaritaville would be fine. But Cheeseburger In Paradise?

The horror.
The horror.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You Deserve the Best

And that's why you keep coming back here day after day, right?

I feel like I've been slacking big time lately. I could say I've been really busy lately, which is true, yet...oh forget it. This will just degenerate into a ramble that I'm not prepared to write and you'd be unwilling to read.

Though I've finally started scanning and adjusting one of those old tymey rolls I developed last week, so hopefully I'll have it up shortly and....okay, there's no exit strategy for this post. I think I need to sign off before I say too much and Obama replaces me with a different general.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Clover Delicatessen

I still don't exactly know what eyebrow threading is, but it kind of scares me:

In case you're wondering about the drama unfolding on the sidewalk, well, it wasn't any drama to speak of. The child didn't fall down backwards. He was just getting up. He and mom (presumably) had just finished some kind of business that required them to sit on the sidewalk. Maybe they were having some kind of think tank discussion about the oil spill and bucking for a spot in the RAND corporation, I really don't know. But sometimes when ideas come to you, you just have to sit down wherever you are and think it out.

For some reason, I can't get Waiting for the Robert E. Lee out of my head. This might be the start of a Wolfe Gilbert phase, I don't know. Is that in any of the medical books? Maybe if I lobby hard enough I can get it into the next DSM.

It's the good ship Robert E. Lee,
that's come to carry the cotton awaaaaaaaaaay!

Monday, June 21, 2010


That's the noun I'm talking about, not the verb:

I was always fascinated by those old school NYC architecture shots taken by Steiglitz or what's her face or whoever else was doing pictures of buildings back in the 20s and 30s. They could make something look so imposing or majestic and most of the times both of those things.

I like taking pictures of buildings, but no matter how cool I think one looks when I see it in the street (well not "in" the street), what I see with my own eyes never quite translates to film, even though I've looked through the lens and lined up the shot.

Like with those old pictures, the buildings didn't even have to be iconic for the photos to be powerful. Or even those shots from the great NYC building picture taking spree they did in the late 30s when the city took a picture of every building in the 5 boroughs, for the purposes of tax assessment. You can order those pictures from the city archives. I have my building's picture from that survey framed on my wall.

There's something about seeing the art in the utilitarian. Maybe Warhol started it all when he told us that a can of soup isn't just a can of soup. Maybe after that we began to look at our world differently, and saw art in places we never thought to seek it out.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Broadway and Prince

Another one from the ZX-M archives, or, "someone spent too much time out with an old friend he wasn't expecting to see but was very glad he did and got to spend some really quality in person time with him instead of having inappropriate exchanges via text message or on StupidBook":

I always thought that dude in the center had somewhat of a pained expression on his face.

Oh and speaking of pains....

Remember like the other day (I think) I mentioned that I had taken some shots with some Verichrome of an unknown age (I got it unboxed). well, I unrolled it to put into a reel, and....well, the backing paper stuck to most of the roll. I still got it on the reel and now it's in the fridge. But here's the question. Do I really try to get the backing paper off or not?

I've developed film before with the backing paper stuck to part of the film and have gotten some pretty interesting results. Though I've never had this much of it stuck before. I'm thinking I'll soak the hell out of it (maybe for over an hour), then get really agitated with it, and then pour the stuff out top off so the gunk doesn't clog up the fancy plastic top thing that keeps out the daylight. Then maybe I'll give it the running water treatment before closing it up and developing. And I'm sure some of the paper will still be stuck or hanging around or doing god knows what in that tank once I start pouring chemicals into it.

Or I might just say to hell with it and develop normally, and see what accidents befall me.

Funny, I tell people I'm primarily a writer yet you'd never know it from reading this.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Down the Bar

It's what the camera saw, sitting on the bar:

All this writing of late has gotten me plum (plumb?) tuckered out I tells ya. I needs me a nap I reckon. I don't even gots a non-sequitir by gum.

Beeman's gum?

Double your pleasure double your fun?

How come my bologna doesn't have a middle name?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pork Shop

When I saw a place called "Pork Shop" just a few blocks from Times Square, I thought it was a completely different kind of establishment:

Did I have egg on my face! Actually, I left there with nothing on my face. I was so crestfallen I didn't even take advantage of the "Special Pig Toes." I wonder how they differ from the regular pig toes. I was too ashamed to ask at that point.

Weird thing happened today. Or maybe not so weird. Actually, it was somewhat expected. Where to start, where to start. The beginning is usually a good place.

When I first decided to get this site/concept going, I had no means of promoting myself other than word of mouth. That is, the words coming out of my mouth. I figured that instead of hoping that people would remember heynicecameradotblogspotdotcom by me saying it repeatedly, I decided to get business cards made up. But they're not just any business cards, they're these cards where one side is a full-bleed picture. The other side is a partial picture of a camera mit der words underneath, telling you where you can go.

For the full-bleed picture side, I decided to use pictures of the people I had taken pictures of. Was this morally or ethically right to use someone's picture on my cards to advertise myself? Well, I'm advertising my work (such as it is). I'm not making any editorial comment about the person on the card. Well, there are comments on the website about the people I've interacted with, but nothing that the person would find objectionable (I don't think) or untrue. But...the people I put on these cards I never mentioned the site to, since it didn't even exist when I was taking their pictures. That's how early on it was. I knew I wanted to do a site, but had yet to go through the painstaking process of coming up with a url and putting it into the blogspot search engine to see if it was taken already (I know, tell me about it!).

So today in conversation with a woman who was an artist (we were both groaning about the impending squeeze Bloomberg is putting on the artists selling in the parks), I gave her the only card I had left in my wallet. She immediately recognized the person as a friend of hers. I said to her, "be a dear and please don't mention it to him."

Odder than that, this gentleman and I share the same first name. So when I gave her my card, she thought it was his card! Though it would have been his card if he had changed the rest of his name and became a photography enthusiast instead of an accomplished guitar player (as I found out). I think she even thought it was irresponsible that I had his picture on my card, and that someone might think he was me! Though I think anybody who would look at the card and look at me, that is to look at his picture and look at me, would realize that we're hardly close to being doppelgangers.

I assured her that he wasn't the only person I had on my cards, and let her know that if she were to see my other selection of men, some black, some homeless, some not even men, she'd realize that I wasn't trying to pass myself off as someone else, let alone someone else I didn't even know anything about!

As for the moral/ethical side of it, she felt that if I use his picture on my card, that I should have his contact info on the back of it as well. She told me she even wouldn't mind me taking her picture if I used it on a card and also plugged her artistic endeavors. I nodded politely while she said this, but no. That ain't gonna happen. I'm more than happy to plug people's projects in their entries on my site, but my card is for my business. I ain't gonna confuse the issue with more tiny writing in a confined space on a small piece of cardboard. But all of this is neither here nor there.

I decided some time ago that after this last run of cards is through that I'd can the whole people on cards thing. This city is too small a world to be doing this before someone finds you out. Now am I doing something bad? I still don't think so. Even so, it'll be just easier to have some of my other work gracing my cards than people I don't know.

I guess my biggest fear wasn't getting caught, but getting some kind of beatdown because I used someone on the card. I'd like to think this won't happen, yet you never know when you're going to catch a beating for your art. Just the same, I'd like to avoid it.

Then again, you never know how people are going to react when they find something like this out. They might be enraged, they might not care, they might even be flattered. What really are the rights when you take someone's picture with their consent on the street with no information exchanged or agreement made? I mean, it's a first amendment right to take anybody's picture on the street, assuming you're standing on public property (as I understand it). I mean, what are the rights when it comes to what you can do with said picture?

I think I just have to remind myself that I'm not doing anything wrong by the person in the picture. I'm not misrepresenting them, nor am I trying to sully their image. I'll keep telling myself that until my new cards are in.

I developed two vintage rolls of VP620 today with bangin' (yeah, BANGIN'!) results (as far as the negatives look). I judged the film to be from the 60s judging by the tackiness of the tape holding the film to the backing paper. I've noticed that pre-60s tape is usually completely dry. I used my faithful Ilfosol-3 at 20 degrees celsius at 6 minutes. When I saw the results of the first roll I nearly soiled myself with joy (well, it wouldn't have been "joy" that would have been doing the soiling, but you get the picture...). The second roll, while probably the same age (they came separately), looks a bit fuzzier, though that might be from the camerawork. I'll be posting the results once I get everything scanned and adjusted (as need be).

Also...this means I can finally get around to developing some film from the 21st century that I actually shot. I know I have at least one person picture that I actually took on vintage film (I forgot if it was Verichrome or Verichrome Pan), so I'm curious to see how that came out. I should hopefully get it done over the weekend.

In a bed, in a bed,
by the waterside I will lay my head...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

St. Vincent's Today

Well, this picture isn't exactly from today. It was taken a few weeks ago, though I don't think much has changed since:

I don't like the idea of not having St. Vincent's nearby. I recall with great fondness the two occasions I walked there, each time with blood gushing from my right hand, just nonchalantly letting it swing by my side, leaving a trail red ooze behind me, and the stares of people approaching me as they realized a freshly wounded person seemingly without a care in the world was coming their way.

The walk to Beth Israel just won't be the same.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hailing at the Helmsley

She caught one after a few tries:

So I'm watching that new show on Bravo, it's the new Top Chef/Make a Dress show but with artists. They're cut line is awful.

"Your work of art didn't work for us."

What it should have been is:

"You know what they say....easel come, easel go!"

It's bedtime.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tank Crew

I was minding my own business standing in front of the Mitzvah Tank taking a cell phone picture to send to a friend of mine who is a huge fan of the MT when one of them saw me and asked, "are you Jewish?"

"No," I said. I really hate lying to these guys, but if I had said "yes" they'd have had me wrapped up in tefillin and davening just like the other dude I saw all wrapped up as I made my initial approach to take the cell phone picture.

"Can you take our picture?" one of them asked, noticing the YashMat hanging around my neck. This was the second of two shots, with them in slightly better focus than the first. I do like how Schneerson is peeking over their shoulders. Big Rebbe is Watching YOU!

I almost gave them a card, but stopped myself because if I'd have done that they'd have seen my last name and would have known they were lied to.

I'm sorry guys. Even though I was a star bar-mitzvah student with all the best intentions it didn't really carry over into my adult life. But who knows, maybe I'll catch up to you guys someday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Contemplating the View

I can only wonder what I was thinking back then in what was most likely the summer of 1999, or maybe 2000:

I still have the shirt, though it's faded some.

Tomorrow we should be back to our regularly scheduled programming, as opposed to these trips into the past.

If me then could have spoken to the me, that's a pointless exercise.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Le Petite Fleur

In bronze:

I can understand why they called him little. But I'm not sure anything about FH LaGuardia is flowerlike. Maybe they should have called him "The Little Dumpling." That would have been much cuter, and he'd have gotten loads of support from his Chinese constituents.

This photo goes back to my Pentax ZX-M days, circa 1999-2001.

The Little Dumpling That Could.

I think there's a story in that somewhere.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

West Village Graffiti

Way over west, on the side of a wall of a meat joint on Ganesvoort (I'm pretty sure it was Ganesvoort):

I think that $1,000,000 bill in her mouth might be counterfeit. Unless, you know, it's like part of the art to have an authentic $1,000,000 bill on the side of the wall there. You know how artists are with their whole connection thing and all that other bullshit that you read in artists' statements. I hate artists' statements. Here's my statement: I TAKE PICTURES. I'm not trying to decontextualize recontextualize metacontextualize or any other of those words that I'd only hear spoken by the kids at Columbia who came off sounding like they wanted to come off sounding smart in a sea of all smart people. I take pictures. That sums up what I do with a camera. I'm not trying to claim to be anything more than I am, just some jerk with a camera pointing it at things and people.

It's over Johnny.

I think I really mean it this time. The goddamned thing just won't scan. Hell, it won't even give me a shitty scan. It just...sigh.

It's time for me and the ScanJet G4050 to move on.

And no, this isn't going to be like those breakup cycles where the couple keeps on breaking up and getting back together and being addicted to the pattern of the angersadnessjoy of repeatedly getting together and breaking apart...I'm moving on.

I must be brave.
I must be brave.

I am every woman.
Neither one of us wants to be the first to say goodbye.
You put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Circle of Life

The people in the pit go round and round:

My own days in the pit are long gone. I'm I'm at a show (which is extremely rare nowadays), I'll be content to stand in the back and dig the tunes without all the bloodshed up front. Actually, I got out of even flirting with the edge of the pit early on, maybe by the time I was 20. Gone are the days of my father looking at me the morning after a show with my two black eyes and bloated lips and him wondering if I was in a fight and me telling him, "No Dad, the show was great!"

Though when I was 31 I decided to get back in for old time's sake at a friends' show. Things were going just fine bumping around the spin cycle when I saw it coming. It was a forearm heading straight towards my face. There's something to be said for that feeling when you know you're about to have a collision with something and there's nothing you can do about it.

Meaty forearm meets mouth.

You know, getting hit in the face when you're 31 is a completely different experience than getting hit in the face when you're 19. It's not that getting hit in the face at 19 is a joy or anything, but somehow that forearm smashing your spongy lips into dense tooth enamel just doesn't have the same romance that it did 11 years earlier.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


"That's an original man, that's an original!"

Kenny said that to me having noticed the YashMat just as the little green man lit up letting us know it was okay to cross Lexington at 42nd Street.

"Can I take your picture?" I asked as we walked.

"Yeah," he said, but it wasn't really just "yeah." It was more of a statement that I wasn't sure if he meant that I could take his photo right there, or like, "yeah, you can take my picture with that, you can take anybody's picture with that because that's an original man, that's an original!" Trust me, the possible subtext was there.

Once we crossed he kept on walking and I stopped for some reason. Okay, I'm remembering. I stopped to take some shots of the Chrysler building. And then I caught up to him. Or maybe he caught up to me. Somehow we ended up on the sidewalk together talking about cameras, and after telling me he had a Minolta on him he said, "Get it out of my knapsack."


"Just put your hand in the big zipper compartment and take it out," he said as he turned his back to me. My first attempt ended up with my hand somehow getting tangled in hisAM New York vest. My second attempt got into the right compartment, yet I somehow had my hand also going through the little loop up top that you would use to hang the knapsack on a hook. I wonder what people passing by on 42nd thought of us in this near-comprimising position. I felt the big plastic camera and pulled it out. He held it and smiled, telling me that he got it for only five bucks at a photo shop that was going out of business.

"Well," I said, "film's out now. Everything's digital. Can I take your picture?"

After I took the shot I was about to give him a card, but didn't. We just shared some parting pleasantries and I went on my way, feeling instantly bothered. Why didn't I give him a card?

I was about to give him a card, but I didn't. Why. What was I afraid of? Was I afraid of what the middle aged negro might think when he saw my site? Afraid of what he might think when he saw his picture on my site, after not telling him that it would be on my site? Afraid of someone who would let another man put his hand down the back of his knapsack? Afraid of a man who was nothing but nice and genuine and happy to see a man with a twin lens reflex hanging from his neck? Someone who also had a film camera on his person? If it were a chick I'd have given her my card without hesitation.

I had already turned the corner having instantly regretted my decision, yet I didn't turn back and give him a card. It was too late. He was too nice not to get a card.

I'm realizing that this is now two out of my last three posts that deal with me having issues in dealing with other people, issues of being open to other peoples' openness.

There might be a pattern here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two Pics, One Cup

Of course I forgot your name. I remember that it began with a G, and I thought to myself that it was a pretty cool G name at that, but I don't remember and I apologize. I never learn when it comes to these things.

I'm also pretty sure that's not Pepsi in that cup:

We were introduced by my old schoolmate Josh, who just happened to be there, and who is also featured in this blog. The location is Tompkins, during one of the punk shows in the park. I didn't even know it was going on. I just decided that I'd hit up the ol' East Village on a Sunday afternoon and just happened upon the gathering.

No long waxings for tonight. I'm trying to think of where to go with "waxing off," but nah...I think it's time for me and my couch to get to know each other a bit better...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mia and Jimmy

I was breezing by this group of five or six young people by Bethune and West when one of them said, "Would you like a flower?" I tried not to make eye contact (even with my sunglasses on) and gruffly walked by. I was in a mode that was somewhere between, "NYC Man," and "Too Cool For School." One of them said something about me just taking it just to make them happy and then I could throw it away when they were gone, but I carried on until I heard someone say something about the YashMat. And then I had to stop.

She told me that "Jimmy" is a nickname. She's not like that hit song, "A Girl Named Jimmy." I didn't ask why they were giving flowers away, but I took the flower they had offered me (and not the one that Mia, I hope that was your name, was holding). It was red, and I didn't throw it away, but stuck it behind my ear where it sat for the rest of the afternoon.

I really need to get over myself. I really need to remind myself that maybe the young people offering strangers flowers aren't freaks, weirdos, or cultists ("cultists?" what year is this?). Maybe they're just sincerely nice people who unlike me, haven't grown up with the idea that strangers are to be met with suspicion and a wary eye.

I wanted to talk to them more but they were done with me, the flower/photograph exchange complete.

That's what I get.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Post Office Rear

I almost called this, "Playing Post Office," until the autofill reminded me that I already used that title. Talk about being a creature of habit, or maybe just someone with a one track mind:

You know what really grinds my gears? It's not being able to find some pictures from last year's gay pride parade to rescan. That is, to find the negatives from whence those pictures came. What makes this more frustrating is that I know I ain't the most organizized person in the world, yet I thought I had done a relatively good job of keeping all of my negatives properly sleeved and binderized since I started this whole taking pictures thing a year ago.

I found my first pics through the Diana F+ and everything, yet just a few rolls of some homosexuals and their rainbow flaggotry (yes, "flaggotry." you know, mit der flags.) remain elusive. Like they've been secreted away somewhere naughty.

That reminds me, I saw the "Big Gay Ice Cream" truck today. I'm still trying to figure out why ice cream made by homosexuals is better than all that straight-made ice cream I've been eating all these years (well, probably 90% straight, if polls are to be believed, but I've always had a "don't ask, don't tell" philosophy when I buy ice cream.). Oh, and I'm not going for any humorous puns or jokes. There's just too much material to work with. Nuts? Whipped cream? Anything dealing with fudge or brownies or chocolate or a cone? It's comedy overload waiting to happen.

I wonder, will this be the new industry to be associated with homosexuals? Will ice cream man climb to the hallowed ranks of hairdresser, antiques dealer, or some theater-based profession? Will Chelsea and Greenwich Village become the new ice cream capitol of the world? Will Ben and Jerry finally do it (if they're not gay already, I really have no idea)?

I wonder what the status of gay marriage is in Vermont...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

She's Got a Bike

And she can ride it if she likes, that is, if she gets it fixed:

I haven't been on a bicycle since 1987. Getting a car negated the need to pedal around New Jersey to get places. In the city I've become quite fond of walking (even before I decided to walk every block of Manhattan), but you ain't getting me on a bike in this town to save your life.

I just don't see it having a happy ending. I don't have the situational awareness to be bombing down some avenue pedaling my little feet off, even with the assurance of some kind of helmet — most likely what Jack Nicholson had in Easy Rider. I've driven way too much in this city to ever want to ride a bike in it. Drivers are just too nuts. Hell, bicyclists in this city are a goddamned pain in the ass too — except for stationary bicyclists, of course.

And now I hear it's a new trend with the awful hipster crowd not to have brakes on your bicycle, and they even have some sort of stupid nickname for it that eludes me at the moment (and I'm not trying very hard to remember it. crap I just did.) They're called, "fixies," as in fixed gear.

When I was a kid, ALL BIKES WERE FIXED GEAR! But we didn't call them "fixies," we called them BIKES. And if the chain broke, you had better enough sense to take one of your feet and jam it against the rear wheel before you wound up going headlong into a garage door. I didn't learn that trick until I was a teenager.

The one time I can remember dropping a chain it was the fall, so I aimed my Schwinn (or maybe it was my Huffy, which weighed around 80 or 90 pounds — or so it felt to me), at a bag of leaves, thinking it would be akin to landing in a pile of foam.

I'm sure Dr. Michio Kaku could describe it better than me, but the bag of leaves abruptly stopped the bicycle, yet I kept on traveling forward through both time and space. I probably didn't land far from the bike, but this fish story grew so much I can't tell you much else besides that I had the wind knocked out of me, and was probably crying, hurt a lot less for all the commotion I was making.

But no, you ain't gonna be gettin' me on no bike in this town.

No way no how.
Not now, not never.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More Construction

Also in the West Village, I think somewhere near Little West 12th, if not actually on LIttle West 12th:

I bet sometimes reading these entries of mine is like waiting for ice to freeze so you can then put it in a big CBGBs pint glass and fill it with Coke Zero and sip it through a Subway straw. No, wait — that's what I'm doing right now.

Look on the bright side, I could still be talking scanner stuff, but I'm not only because it's been a well-behaved technological marvel. Now look, I'm sure it'll totally blow up on me now that I'm giving it big ups.

Do people even use, "big ups" anymore?

Friday, June 4, 2010


Peeking through one of those "do not enter" doors over by 14th and 10th Ave:

Loud planes still give me the creeps. If I hear something outside that sounds out of place I'll mute the TV, or stop whatever it is I'm doing and listen until it fades safely into the distance. It's residue from what I heard that morning.

It was unnatural. Mechanical. The apartment shook. Windows rattled. The sound reverberated off the pavement and between buildings. You don't think about that when you're at an airport watching a plane land. There the sound just dissipates in all that open space. And yet, for all of the racket it caused, it just faded away after passing overhead.

A few days later the rains came. It was a torrential downpour booming with thunder — hammering, cacophonizing on the roof of my apartment. I had just come home from Mars and had stripped out of my wet clothes. A fighter jet screamed overhead and my naked body crumpled onto the couch, also screaming, crying, wanting it to be silent again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Elegy Written in a City Churchyard

I lied. No elegy was written, but a photo was taken down at St. Paul's:

Yesterday I went over to see my friend George, to give him a gift. It was a matted picture I took last year of his two dogs, Scooter and Jett. He told me that he ran into an old acquaintance of ours, a guy we still both instinctively as a "kid" even though he's probably 35 years old. But that's what happens when you meet people when they're a teenager, and you're a whoppingly old and wizened 22. This friend of ours is still keeping it real. He still believes in punk, the scene, the community, and keeps it alive. It's a genuine thing for him. On the other hand, George and I...well...did we stop caring? I don't know. I also can't speak for George, just myself. Maybe I'm just over the whole live music/band thing in general.

As much as I was saddened at the closing of CBs, I don't miss it. It was such a vital part of my life, yet I don't feel an emptiness with its absence going on nearly four years. There are a lot of fond memories of bands seen and people known, but no yearning to have it back. Though I refuse to walk inside it today. I'm afraid, actually. I'm afraid it's going to smell the same. I don't mean that as a joke about it being a shithole, I'm talking about a triggered sense memory, something that still emanates from the wooden walls of the joint. Like in the way all K-Marts smell the same and how when I walk into one it smells like the summer of 1987 when I got my first "real" job working at one, and a month later was fired from my very first job — but that's for another time.

So instead I carry the memories of CBs with me, and share them with those I experienced them with. I'm lucky that most of those people are still around, though it's hard to believe that we were ever there at all. We can look at our mutual friend who's still keeping it real, and to look at him there's no question that he's fought in the punk rock wars. But as for me and George, you'd never know. We don't have any holes or ink in our pristine bodies (relatively speaking, of course). We talked about another, much closer friend of ours who also walks around looking like a regular white person involved in corporate America. You'd never know it to look at him.

It's not just CBs, but this whole scene we were a part of, this thing that died in 1995. Or did we let it die because we took it for granted? I know I took it for granted. Maybe I just assumed that there would always be this little group of people downtown playing music for each other, hanging out, and just plain having fun. You didn't think about being (almost) 40 one day. You didn't think about what life would be like some 20 years later. You were just happy to be there.

Am I wallowing? I had a non-fiction writing teacher who would say that I had a tendency to wallow in my writing. Though I never quite got what she meant. All I could think was, "I'm not saying, 'woe is me,' so how is that wallowing?" I guess I still don't exactly know the literary definition of wallowing.

I also don't exactly know how to write myself out of this post, that is, to write some kind of ending. These posts never quite go the way I expect them to, even though sometimes (like today) I might be contemplating how to approach an entry long before I sit at the computer, it never quite turns out the way I expect. Things I was planning on mentioning, you know, like jokes or some colorful metaphor that would horrify most people but only raises in me an immature titter somehow get left out. And sometimes I'm not entirely prepared to follow through with where something turns out to go, either because I'm tired, or just not entirely ready to discuss it (though that might be to all of our benefits).

Okay, it's getting close to midnight, and I'm still just writing myself further into a corner and not helping my own cause much. Maybe I'll try to leave with some kind of non-sequitir, something to cleanse the palate until tomorrow's entry comes along. How about.....


À demain...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Devil in the Details...

This looks like it was dug up by Max Von Sydow:

I feel like I have something to write. Something more than, "oh look the Mets just lost." Wait, I about....

How long ago was it that I first spoke of walking every street in Manhattan and coming home and marking off the streets with a sharpie on my Hagstrom map? Well, here's the left page of Map #4:

You can see I have Greenwich Village pretty much covered, though I have to push myself Easterer to get that true river to river fill. You can also see I've been slowly but surely taking care of midtown, though downtown has really been neglected Those tentacles you see extending south from Houston really don't lead to much filling in. When the downtown page begins to look a bit more traversed, then it'll get introduced in an update. I do like the way that West Village looks, though I still have to hit up Downing Street from Houston to Morton to have it fully complete.

I think Edwin Starr put it best:

I got to keep on walkin',
I got to walk on...

But I gots way more than twenty-five miles to go.

There's miles to go before I sleep I tells ya...MILES!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


At least it was a hotel once. I think that's the corner of Clarkson at West. I was just down there again recently and took more pictures of it. Is there anything suggestive about that sign, you know, like an upside down thermometer. Or maybe it was their sly way of telling those in the know that they charged by the hour:

And as I wonder about the suggestiveness of the signs I take a moment to clear the alleged brand name Viagra spam out of my mailbox. I'd like to see them team up with the people who run those scams in Africa who say that they need your bank account number to transfer in millions of dollars and they'll give you a cut for your trouble. Maybe they fill your bank account full of boner pills instead of cash. They used to run that scam in physical letters before the days of email. My father would come home with envelopes covered in these exotic stamps from exotic countries, and the letter inside was very official and regal looking with a raised multi-colored coat of arms printed on this very fancy watermarked paper, yet it was all the same bullshit about some Nigerian prince who was reaching out to the old man because he was the only person in the world who could come to the aid of royalty.

And no, the old man never fell for it.

"The old man?" I'm beginning to sound like Jean Shepherd.

Oh god I just blashphemed. I just made a WAY unworthy comparison between myself and the man who gave us Flick, Schwartz, Scut Farkus, and a spinning top that still might be spinning today somewhere in the sewers underneath Indiana. If you want some fine reading, get off this site and pick up some Shepherd.

Or maybe some Pinkwater. I can't say enough about Daniel Manus Pinkwater. Hell, he's the author of the only book mentioned in my profile here, Fat Men From Space.

Douglas Adams goes without saying.

And thus ends today's edition of "Literary Corner."