Sunday, September 24, 2006

I was way due for a picture change, so I chose this one that I took last night at dusk. No make-up, no fuss, just au' naturale this time. To view a larger version click on the picture and it will take you to my Flickr account.

It was a warm night, so I decided to scale the fire escape to my rooftop. I laid on my back and looked up at the sky. As I took the shot, a lone balloon sailed up into the air. The roof was still warm from the day's sunshine and soothed me into a relaxed state.

When I'm high up, in this case three stories, I can't look at the sky too long before becoming terrified. It's so huge, endless and unknown, and the thought of that can bring me to have to look away for fear that if I gaze too long it will seize me and toss me into its vastness. The same thing happened to me on the Eiffel Tower, where the fear wasn't in looking down, but looking up. You hear all the time, "Don't look down," when someone is navigating a high space. Well, I do better if I don't look up. Same with the Empire State Building, and when they were there, the World Trade Center towers.

I used to live in a building that was on the same block as the Empire State Building, and many times went to the rooftop to marvel at the city around me. Macy's was cater corner from my building, and Broadway and Sixth Avenue intersected in front of me. The Empire State Building, being 102 stories tall, towered above my 35 story building. I could see every landmark building from that rooftop. The Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the World Trade Center Towers. Three major thoroughfares intersected in front of my building; 34th Street, Broadway and Sixth Avenue. I lived there for about two years, then moved to 13th and 5th Avenue.

empire state building Empire State Building in FogIf I was on the roof during the day, I'd look up at the top and see tiny heads peering over the side. I'd wonder if they were looking at me and saying, "Look, there's a person on that rooftop," the way that I used to do as a tourist when I spotted a tiny spec on a rooftop far below. That was usually followed by, "I wonder if they can see us up here." There are serious guard rails on the ESB, but one can still peer through. So to you future visitors to the ESB observatory, if you see someone on a rooftop and wonder, the answer is "Yes, we can see you."

Both pictures I took from the same spot from my rooftop. They are scans of a regular photographs, so the quality isn't that great. The photo on the left shows how the Empire State Building towered over us, as I was about 35 stories up when I took that photo. The photo on the right was taken during a low cloud day. Same shot, no Empire State Building. Well, it's there, but completely cloaked in thick low hanging clouds. Compare the two shots by using the gutter line on the right as a guide. Every single day the view up there was different. I never got sick of it.

Looking downtown, this was the view I saw. Of course, that view looks different today.

apt_view

All photos can be viewed in larger size if you click on them. It was weird to pull them out of my photo albums, as it seems so long ago.

But here I am, many years later still rooftop dreaming.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We had the premiere for our show on Friday, September 8. Since then, the first two episodes have aired, and for On Demand subscribers, possibly three. We also learned that HBO renewed the show for another season. It will be the fifth and final season of The Wire. I brought my camera, but didn't take many pictures. Events like that are crowded, and you can either choose to talk to people you haven't seen for awhile or shoot pictures. I did get this nice shot of Robert Wisdom and Marc Steiner though. We were talking and I just decided to take a shot.

Robert Wisdom, Mark Steiner

I didn't get any of me, though if I do say so myself, I looked hot. Prada skirt, Ferragamo knee high boots, hair working just perfectly. Yeah baby, I was working it. It was fun to see everyone again and marvel that somehow I became a part of this. Not because I didn't think that I could, but because it's so opposite of my own background. On the way in I hugged a big, sweet bear of a man who worked as an advisor on the show, then introduced my mother. It was obvious the man and I had a rapport and had worked closely on the show. They chatted like people who just met would. After the premiere, at home, I told her he was a former assassin who had served almost twenty years in prison. Her skin tone lightened a couple shades. But, being my mom she recovered quickly. Of course, that might have been helped by the cosmopolitan she was drinking as well.

Despite the show renewal, I'm still on the job hunt in Los Angeles. I've used it as a motivator to ramp it up even more so that when the show rolls around I'll have a choice. To be honest, I'm cautiously optimistic. Job searching is a slow, frustrating process. But, it's a process I must go through if I want to make a change.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I didn't want to write this entry from my apartment, distracted by cats and the comforts of home. So, I write it in the coffee shop; a place where active lives converge at a point and intersect before they depart. I'm comfortable, sitting at my favorite table by the window. My iPod is on, and I have a choice of listening to that or to the chatter over the jazz playing from the speakers. Outside, a woman sits with her dog as others come to pet it. I have a choice of getting up, walking outside and petting it myself. Or, I could stay here and continue to enjoy the scene. I could also leave and drive anywhere that my car will take me. All are choices that are available to me, and are limited only by my imagination and the laws of physics. I could see a movie, drive by the water, take my paints, canvas and an easel and paint outside. I can take a walk, or a nap, or climb the fire escape to my rooftop where I can sit, hug my knees and watch the giant, billowy clouds float over the cityscape. So many choices, and I've only named some of the smaller ones.

On September 11, 2001, the choices for over three thousand people were denied them by not just terrorists, but murderers. The only choices they had were to die by fire, smoke, or jumping to their deaths. To fight back once they learned the plane they were on had been turned into a missile, and to make final calls to loved ones. The murderers made the choice for the world to watch or listen in horror, helpless to do a damn thing but cry out in disbelief.

My flight attendant sister was safe. A few days later, I'd learn that a letter addressed to me was on one of the planes that hit the towers. My name, address had burned in that hellish fire, or, like the same invitation that was found by a stranger, been lost in the chaos on the ground.

On the evening of September 11th, after a day of watching the news, I lost it. Maybe one day I'll post about it, but right now I just can't bring myself to share it. Many would say I was justified in losing it, and those I've told have said they would have done the same thing in my situation. However, it wasn't them who did it. It was me. Losing it and acting on it. I'll say this much; that the little piece of shit who almost hit me with his car will probably act differently next time he's confronted about it. After I lost it, it was me knocking on my neighbor's door at midnight, waking him in a fit of tears to confess what I'd just done, and break down on his couch about the horror I'd seen on television. God bless him, he sat there in his robe and let me get it out. He didn't judge, just understood and hugged me as I cried in his arms. The next day, he left a bouquet of flowers with an American flag ribbon attached at my doorstep.

This will be my last post on September 11th about September 11th. Like I've said before, I'm a different person since that awful day. I detail this, and the story about the lost mail which made USA Today in the below links. I also ask for you to watch the videos I've chosen. Three different takes on that day, one being an actual last minute recording of a man trapped in the World Trade Center whose choice was stripped of him on that horrible, awful, terrifying day. Watch them until the end. Of course, it's your choice, as you are lucky enough to have one.

December 12th, 2004 My Visit to Ground Zero in 2004. Includes picture of me there.

September 11th, 2004 America, Interrupted.

September 11th, 2002 One Year Later, and a tail of hijacked mail that got delivered.

September 8th, 2002 Before the first anniversary, thoughts of Them.

July 4th, 2002 Independence Day.

May 1st, 2002 An Unwelcome Companion.

April 1st, 2002 A Fireman's Daughter's Tales From Ground Zero.

March 11th, 2002 From Letters to Rob. Six Months Later.

November 11th, 2001. From Letters to Rob. One month after the attacks, I took refuge on set of The West Wing.

Videos:

Call from Kevin Cosgrove from inside the South Tower on September 11th 2001 just before collapse. The video is synched to the time of the call to illustrate the events. Warning that it may be disturbing to some.



David Letterman's first show after September 11th. I remember watching this and being very moved by it. It was sad to see the usually funny man David Letterman in this state, but he expressed himself eloquently.



This man heard Live's song Overcome on the way to work when news broke in about the first plane hitting the North Tower. Since the song always represented September 11th to him, he combined it with video footage his wife taped from the news. The result is very powerful and an appropriate ending to this post on September 11th.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I just read the news about Steve Irwin's death. Some may know him as The Crocodile Hunter. I am just so sad over this. It was a freak accident and he was doing what he loved, but he was a positive, good force who shared his love and knowledge of many misunderstood animals with the world. Rarely does one who loves what he does so much, so successfully infect others with that enthusiasm. And, at the same time does such great work as an advocate for animals.

Whenever I had a blue spell, The Crocodile Hunter was a great remedy. Watching Steve, one can't help be affected by his energy and love of life. Such a tragic, sad loss. He was far from done here on this earth. I can only hope those that he inspired can carry on the work he did with rescuing and protecting so many endangered species. And, educating us humans about the creatures with whom we share the earth.