Friday, February 29, 2008

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dissolute

Vicky-with-a-"Y"
Gone (to Chicago)
But not forgotten

(Your call, Dave.)

Kyklops has a great line-up here. (K, remind me someday to tell you the story about how I once met Diana Rigg.)

Bryan has posted a picture that hits a little too close to home. (Bryan, remind me someday to tell you the story about the night I came home with my leather jacket slung across my shoulders only to find out the next morning that it wasn't my leather jacket, but a pair of somebody's pants.)

Dave is up now with his shot. (Dave, remind me someday to tell you the story about how ... oh, wait, never mind ... I already did.)

Bud has tumbled in. Love those paintings on the wall. They so match the decor.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Little Office

... Where all my thoughts become words. And, before you ask, yes, I know where everything is.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Levy's Door

Weekly Photo Challenge: Slogan

Our refrigerator. Thank you, Bob. Next week's challenge: Dissolute.

Be sure to catch Kyklops' "tortured Engrish". Bud's up, too. And Bryan ... what can I say - other than your own question, "Tastier than what?" Mike has a great shot taken in Manhattan. And Nolacleophatra presents a slogan I wouldn't have touched with your ten-foot pole. Candy Sue has a couple she's posted along with a late lychnobite from last week.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Looking at the Brangelina House from My Balcony

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved the rain. I don't know why. Maybe I should hire an analyst and try to find out. I'll have to check and see if my insurance covers that.

I remember getting chills every time there was a rainstorm and the radio would play Gogi Grant singing about The Wayward Wind or some generic baritone belting out They Call the Wind Maria. The best times I had were when I'd run outside in my diaper and splash in the ditch in front of my house.

Thunder and lightning didn't scare me. They only made me feel powerful, like a wizard commanding the skies.

Thank God my parents had raised two boys before me and let me loose to face the dangers of the elements without a fear.

So what has changed since then? Not much, I think. I've been lucky enough to age like a tree, adding layers with each new year.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Imagination

Imagination can be a terrible thing. Maybe I should say it's both a blessing and a curse. No, right now, it's a jail cell. In my private life, it's leading me into dark, unfriendly places where I do not wish to go, but where I trudge to anyway. I'm imagining worst-case scenarios which only expand in widening ripples that go beyond the level of reality I really have to deal with.

That doesn't make much sense, but I'm not at a place where I can be specific as to what is bothering me. However, this is not to say I am not functioning. I'm a perfectly capable, fully-functioning depressive. A depressive with a vivid imagination.

Why is it that for most people depression results in a loss of attention, activity, feeling, all that stuff, while, for me, my imagination burns hotter than usual?

Does that make sense?

Let me try to explain it this way. This past weekend, I was set to hold auditions for Paul Rudnick's comedy, Regrets Only. This is the play To Do Productions will be opening in April.

True to form - well, to my form - I did not begin to read the play until Friday morning. Now I had loaned scripts to actors who were interested in reading for parts, and they'd been ringing me up to say how hysterically funny it was. But me? Well, by the end of the first act, I was in tears. There was nothing funny to me about anything in that script. It was painful to me, and it made me angry.

And I don't believe I'm wrong. There are funny lines in it, but the play is not a comedy to me.

Anyway, the auditions went well. Quite a few people came to read. A lot of them were people who had never worked with us before. All of them - well, 90 percent of them (make that 75 - no, 90 percent) - were good. Apparently our little reputation is beginning to take root and sprout.

Tonight, I believe I have a cast.

Now I have to tell all the rest of those actors I have no place for them in this production. Of course, that means that they will get on their cell phones to their friends and tell them I'm no good, and their friends will believe them, and they will tell their friends that I eat babies' hearts for brunch.

So by tomorrow night, no one will love me. Which is only right, because I am a truly worthless human being. No, not even a human being. I don't deserve that dignity.

I am a worm.

No, not a worm.

I am the dirt beneath your feet.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Before I Forget

Last night, I completed the Phoenix on my right arm. Well, Henry completed it. Or kind of completed it. He started talking about adding a background to it (!) sometime down the road. What the hell can he have in mind?

It's hot, though; and there is no burn today. I could probably survive in the big house with this baby.

Pictures, I hope, later ...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lychnobite

By day, he sleeps under cover of shuttered darkness only to rise in the empty hours between deep darkness and predawn to satiate his lust for Internet Hearts: the Lychnobite.

Bryan's is up. Don't miss Kyklops' failure. D and Bud have posted theirs.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Regaining Some Strength

A long time ago, I remember reading something by William James that said:
Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
Today, this morning, now, I am willing myself to stand back up. I don't know what the future holds for me. It really is of no concern since I cannot completely control what lies in store. I will just do the little things that I need to do as the time comes for me to do them.

In my life so far, aside from the Pilgrim's Prayer, there have been two other mantras that have floated to the surface of my thoughts in times of trouble: Julian of Norwich's majestic pronouncement that "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well" and Beckett's naked plaint, "I can't go on. I'll go on."

Those three mantras make up my defining beliefs.

I don't like sounding precious, but I've committed myself to this space. I find solace in exploring my life in words that help me understand the moments that encircle my life as I grow and age.

I don't know if a day will come when I'll find myself fit to tell the story of the past few days; but if it does, I hope to be able to tell it as truthfully and objectively as possible.

In the meantime, I'll go on.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me. I'll never forget your kindness.

But, damn, I hate being weak ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Uncertainties

I'm not doing too well today. Something happened yesterday to cause me to reevaluate my thinking about people.

Can it be true that people are not kind, that they are not caring, that they are not good? Why is it that people will stand behind a regulation rather than take simple steps to ease a person's real suffering and helplessness?

My spun-glass vase of beliefs has cracked.

I think I need to close my doors and windows for a while and try to bring my world back together. I need to be alone.

No one knows what the future may bring, but at least we can have an inkling. I don't anymore. That scares me. It scares me more than I think it should, but it does.

Please think well of me and wish me luck.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Dangling Conversation

At Walgreen's, aisle 9.

Little Old Man to Little Old Woman: "Don't buy the Charmin. My fingers go right through it. Get me the rough stuff."

Here? Why Here?

Law enforcement officials say a U.S. government official and up to four Chinese nationals are being charged with spying on the United States.

The Associated Press has learned they are being accused of spying and giving U.S. military secrets to the Chinese government.

A news conference has been planned for 1 p.m. (CST) at the Justice Department in Washington.

In New Orleans today, FBI agents raid an Uptown home. It is not immediately known if there is a connection, but a local FBI spokeswoman said a news conference was planned in Washington this afternoon.

I Didn't Sleep at All Last Night

Joe got lucky, is why.

But first, let me digress. I spent the evening watching bits and pieces of the Grammy's while channel-skipping between it and some psychic-detective programs on BIO and an investigative report on ID about that little blond chick who went missing from Aruba.

There was nothing on last night.

Did anybody else watch the Grammies? Cause I got questions. I mean, at my age, I'm no longer up (or down) on what is hip (or hot or cool or phat or whatever). I like different stuff.

But I really have some questions. Like, when did Tina get old, man? Those legs ain't working like they used to. And did she have a facelift? And pairing her with Beyonce? That little girl is an amber-colored Donna McKechnie without the full technique. Well, at least, the old pro still had the pipes.

Speaking of old, why was Ringo there? All that "fab" falling from his lips sure showed me how old I was. At least, my feelings about Cirque du Soleil were reinforced. It's creepy.

And did you know Kanye West's mama just died recently? Wasn't that her in the background, flapping her wings? Dear sweet Jesus, don't ever let me dry-hump my dead mama like he did his. On an up note, however, I want that coat he was wearing.

Then, finally, there was Amy Winehouse. I'd never heard her music. I'd never seen her perform. I'd only ever seen really bad pictures of her. Last night, though, I thought, that she was a sweet-looking girl. I liked her street-fair ink. I thought she had a nice voice. I liked her music. She reminded me of a ragamuffin Barbra Streisand (sorry for the redundancy). I wanted to take her in my big strong arms like all the other dudes on that stage did and tell her everything was gonna be all right, baby, papa's here to take care of you.

But maybe that was just the enabler in me coming out.

Finally, at ten, I called it quits and trundled up the stairs to bed. Where it was really hot.

Let me explain.

A few years ago, our building went high-tech with central air and heat. The people who installed those things put our electronic gadget downstairs next to the front door. Normally, that should not be a problem. Except, you see, living in the French Quarter, the chances are really good that the place you live in is a few hundred years old; and the people back then didn't have that pink insulation stuff. So this kind of placement is not a wise move in these late times, what with all the global warming and shit.

So if we set the thermometer to 70 degrees, it stays 70 degrees downstairs, but it'll get to 90 or more upstairs. And that's what it did last night. I was miserable. I kicked the comforter off. I kicked the sheet off. But since I can't sleep unless I'm covered up, I just tossed and turned in a sweaty, soupy morass.

So I went downstairs and turned on the TV again. I can't sleep without the TV on. And soon I did. I mean, I fell asleep.

Until around one in the morning when my next-door neighbor Joe came home from wherever he had been that night. And he was not alone. He sat outside in the patio for a while and passed a good time with his friends. But, you see, living in the French Quarter, the chances are really good that the place you live in is a few hundred years old; and the people back then didn't have that pink insulation stuff, so you can hear what people are saying outside your living room window. And, since Joe was talking some good shit, I stopped watching TV and started listening to him. I listened to him for about an hour till he said it was getting on to time for him to hit the sack. And I turned my attention back to what was flickering on the television set.

I dozed off soon after.

Until the knocking started. Not the door. The walls. The walls! Joe and his girlfriend were doing it again. I didn't know that when he had said good night earlier he had literally meant to "hit the sack".

Joe and his girlfriend are in their late twenties, so they go at it pretty frequently. You'd think it would be fun to be Joe's neighbor, but here's the thing.

Joe and his girlfriend are white; and if you and your girlfriend are white, you know what it's like living in a tiny apartment, always aware that there are neighbors on the other sides of those walls, neighbors who'll be pressing their ears into little glasses pressed against those walls, listening to your dirty words. So you don't say those words. You just do it.

Joe's problem - or, rather, mine, is this: Joe sleeps downstairs in his living room on a little sofa bed he has pushed up against his right-side wall. What's the problem? His right-side wall is the left-side wall of my stairwell. And, living in the French Quarter, the chances are really good that the place you live in is a few hundred years old; and the people back then didn't have that pink insulation stuff, so you can hear it all really good when your neighbors are doing it.

So I'm just lying on the barcalounger, listening to a hip-hop suite of knock, knock, knock-knock, KNOCK, knock-KNOCK, knock-KNOCK ...

Once I finally begin to catch on to the rhythm, it all goes eerily quite. When you're young and white, it doesn't take that long.

This late at night (or, rather, this early in the morning), there's really nothing on on TV - even with over two-hundred cable channels; so I just sit there, waiting to hear the faint sonorities of Joe's snores.

When they finally start snuffling through, I pull myself up and tramp off into the kitchen. I find my old wooden-handled hammer and walk back into the living room. I climb the stairs where I search for the little nail that has dropped out of the wall and onto the carpet, and I rehang my poster of Anita Ekberg dancing in La Dolce Vita.

Sorry, Joe. Did I wake you?

Friday, February 8, 2008

'S'up with That?

Blogger is acting all crazy and shit. Is it just me?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hazard


Kyklops has logged his entry here. Dave and Bud have theirs up, as well. D, too. Mike in Manhattan is playing.

Next week's challenge: Lychnobite.

Heh-heh, heh-heh, heh-heh.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Things to Do in NOLA 'Fore You're Dead

NOLAFunGuide.com
Krewe’s Picks of the Week

Exhibit: Fait Accompli by Gulf War Veteran Eade Opening Reception
Saturday, Feb. 9, 7pm
Terrence Sanders Gallery

936 Royal St

http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6670

Tango Fire
Saturday, Feb. 9, 8pm
Tulane
University
6823 St. Charles Ave.
Dixon Hall
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=1413

US Open Taekwondo Championships
Sunday, Feb. 10, 7:30am
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Blvd.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6393

The Gabriel Alegría Afroperuvian Jazz Sextet
Sunday, Feb. 10, 8 & 10pm
Snug Harbor
626 Frenchmen St.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6900

Honeydripper
Monday, Feb. 11, 7pm
New Orleans
Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA)
2800 Chartres St.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6564

Ambie Awards for 2007
Monday, Feb. 11, 7:30pm
Le Chat Noir

715 St. Charles Ave.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6700

Better than Sex - For (wine) Lovers Only
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 7pm
Wine Institute of New Orleans

610 Tchoupitoulas St.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=5279

New Orleans Film Society
Presents “Cat Dancers”
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 7:30pm
Contemporary
Arts Center
900 Camp Street
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6859

Spirits Tasting: Classic Malts of Scotland
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6:30pm
Swirl

3143 Ponce de Leon St.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6498

Mississippi River—Pathway of Culture
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6:30pm
Williams
Research Center
410 Chartres St.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6402

The Garnier Fructis Style Bar is Rolling Into New Orleans
Thursday, Feb. 14, 11am-11pm
Harrah's Casino

8 Canal St
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6695

Jazz Underground Series: "Songs from the Heart" featuring Germaine Bazzle
Thursday, Feb. 14, 7:30pm
The Underground - Danna Center, Loyola University

6363 St. Charles Avenue
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=5388

Adidas
Presents “NBA All-Star Jam Session”
Friday, Feb. 15, 4pm
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

900 Convention Center Blvd.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6404

Seven Days of Paradise
Friday, Feb. 15, 8pm
New Orleans
Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA)
2800 Chartres St.
http://nolafunguide.com/event.php?id=6566

A Little Creole Beefcake

Multi-Eyed Alien Reveller

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The Ole Fart at Mardi Gras

Living in the French Quarter, I hate Mardi Gras. I hate the French Quarter Fest, Louis Armstrong's Birthday, the Super Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and Presidents taking dumps in Jackson Square.

That last should be reserved for pigeons, drunks, and gutter punks.

But I have to tell you, I had a pretty nice Mardi Gras this year. I wisely stayed within a four-block radius of the old homestead and didn't pick fights with people half my age. I actually acted my age and had fun.

I took some pictures with my teeny-tiny camera - the one that's easy to tote, rather than the big one that makes me look like a real photographer-with-a-capital-P but keeps getting heavier and heavier every minute it hangs around my neck.

The people I encountered were nice and having a ball in the beautiful weather. Everything was copacetic. Amazingly, too, the drunker I got, the more attractive I seemed to become to all those people who kept trying to cross the street rather than presume to try to hug and kiss me. I even let people take pictures of me. Probably not a wise move. But Mardi Gras was never meant for wisdom.

Everything was lovely.

But now we are two days into Lent.

I love Lent. It's my season. It's the one time of the year when everyone is expected to live their lives as I experience mine. Being on top is nice, even if it is for only forty days.

Did I mention I hate Easter? All those damn parades ...

Just Good Looks

Money and Good Looks

Masquers

Yep, Still Standing

I don't know ... something about him is beginning to turn me on. His insouciance, maybe?

No Comment

So I come home last night and find this waiting for me. The picture, not the dude. Someone thought I might be interested. Sorry. Not my type.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Lundi Gras Photos


Faster Service ...

... If you show us your dick ...

And Jesus, Arriving in the Early Hour, Called Out, "Where Be Zulu?"

Whereupon He saw the crosses and turned His face to the shadows and hid amongst the crowd. "The zealots still be 'round," he spake. "Rather than die to the world, they will crucify Me again. No way. Uh-uh."

From One Third Son to Another

"Nobody puts Baby in the corner."

(To see the NYT's slide show of the Giants' changing room, click here.)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pictures at an Exhibition

So the reception for my little photo exhibit was last night. It was nice. Good company, good friends. Even a mercy-purchase. I had a wonderful time.






Friday, February 1, 2008

Weekly Photo Challenge: Breakfast

Choices, choices, choices at the new Pakistani grocery up the street, A Z Convenience Store. Can't I just have it all?

We have a friend down here, Big Dave. Big Dave doesn't blog, but he reads L'il Dave's blog all the time. He sent a photo to me that he wanted to submit as part of the challenge.

Herewith, Big Dave's Bacon Cocktails:

Yum.

Kyklops has weighed in with a nifty picture of possible Japanese breakfasts. Me, I think I could learn to love that little country. It's got everything.

Next week is your call, Dave.
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