Wednesday, August 31, 2005

All Too Surreal

Though I came to the office today, determined to focus on my pressing deadlines and not the idea that my brother is dead . . . I'm finding that incredibly difficult. My mother just heard on the news, a woman talk about Ocean Springs, the town where Robert lives - there are 400 dead. The only way in is by boat and there are snakes everywhere.

This isn't just a disaster, it's seems biblical. I'm waiting to hear about frogs raining from the sky.

The lack of communcation is a frustration for everyone - with cell phone towers down, no land lines, no television or Internet, it's come down to waving white flags and word of mouth.

We have no idea what the status of Rob's well being, the house, all his properties. The irony is, he wanted to stay behind for the experience of it all. Last we spoke, he was already admitting that the next time a hurricane visited, he would be rid of that urge.

In New Orleans, things are even bleaker. The scene in the Superdome grew increasingly out of control and so, everyone is being shuttled off by bus convoy to the Astrodome in Houston, where it's about 101 degrees. Lousiana Governor Blanco said matter of factly that they had no choice but "to abandon the city."

I sit here in my ergonomically-correct office chair and fidget like I've never fidgeted before. Meanwhile, I get client calls demanding to know why we are not getting more broadcast coverage for Sony's back to school products and I can barely move my lips to say, "I don't know."

It's gotten to the point that I am getting phone calls from friends of mine from out of state, friends of Rob's that I haven't seen since the wedding and increasingly panicked calls and emails from my mother. My father's cell phone doesn't work because he got his phone down in Mississippi, so his service is down as well.

I feel so ineffective and useless here - even more so than usual. My heart aches with worry and my guts are hot with fear. People suffer loss every damn day and why should I be any different?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Damn You, Katrina

Trying to focus on work is useless. How can I when Hurricane Katrina is pounding the Mississippi coast where my brother, sister-in-law and darling nephew reside? My brother has suddenly become one of those fools you see on TV who stay behind to "protect the house." Good lord, who in their right mind thinks they can match the overwhelming force of an enraged Mother Nature? Water may look innocent enough in a glass but it comes at in you in 20-foot waves and 150 mph winds, it will be merciless.

Cell phones are useless in this situation and it's all I can do to wring my hands and watch CNN. I'm not good at this sort of thing and will surely have an ulcer by day's end.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It Was Inevitable

Ah . . . my first drunken blog entry. In decades to come, fumbled social efforts such as these will be looked back upon as quaint. Tonight, it's simply a heartfelt effort at explaining myself. The final result will not reveal the many instances when I went back to re-read and re-type, fixing all the fumbling misspellings, the careless grammatical applications, the punctuational omissions. I am one of those rare birds stradling the state lines of history - those who recall writing college senior essays on typewriters and yet, spent their thirties checking email obsessively.

Thus far, the evening has been spent tossing back fruity cocktails with a high quaility friend, Valerie Liberty. No, she does not make her living in burlesque but rather, in software. She is the originator of one of my favorite quotes: "Y'know, 98"% of things in life you have to do anyway. Why not do them with glee?" This is a perspective I grab for when I feel myself becoming surly - in other words, often. She has volunteered to make my birthday cake for my 40th birthday in December. I am so touched by this gesture and it's only August.

I would be truly lost without my friends. I love my family but I am something of an enigma to them. I think they see me as angry, frustrated and alarmingly independent. When it comes to my boyfriends and lovers, I am equally mysterious. My friends, however, are my saving grace. They have to love me no matter what. - it says so in the contract. When it comes to the Compadre position, I am extremely choosy and my standards, impossibly high. And yet, I somehow find them, or rather, they find me.

Along those lines, I got a phone call today that lifted my spirits to no end. It came from my pal, Tony, who is blazing literary trails in New York. Though we are nearly 15 years apart, he is a soul mate in the truest sense and he is one of the greatest gems in my crown. Neither of us are easy to understand, which is precisely why we have such a base understanding.

Why can't I have this luck with romance? Perhaps I am not one of those who experiences this type of love in life. It's not available to everyone. Those people who claim that "there's someone for everyone" are the same folks who believe the government knows what they are doing and all worthwhile philosphies can be summed up in a Hallmark card, Bible verse or Dr. Phil episode. Life is not black and white; for some of us, it's mostly grey and messy as all hell.

Marinated and maudlin as I may be, I still believe there's uncharted territory in these parts for me. I recall, after describing the 10th or 15th dating disaster to a close friend, he replied sarcastically, "Well, clearly, God has something very special planned for you." Is that how it works? The widest trail of disaster gets you the biggest pay off?

Then again, maybe all I need are my friends, some animals and keeping the family (however confused they may be) nearby. Love, after all, comes in many forms, not all of them red and heart-shaped. Sometimes, they are simply shaped . . . like 40th birthday cakes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Eye Sharpens

In my ongoing tradition of self-obsession, I'm soon launching a website, ClizBiz, that will showcase evidence of worth in my life thus far. Originally, its intent was for prospective employers to see the reaches of my talents but it may have dual usage - also serving as a handy reference tool for whomever is penning my obituary.

In preparing the photography section, I have been going through all the photos I have ever taken in my life. To my great distress, I now realize that what few skills I have in this department are quite recent. The year I took off and explored 13 countries in both hemispheres? Yeah, not so into it. The years I covered the music industry in Hollywood? Couldn't care less. It seems only my newest adventures have earned proper exposure.

Last night, while flipping through 57 rolls of film taken during the year abroad in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii, I came up with a whopping four prints that just may qualify as barely decent. I can detect the rare flashes of interest in composition or a scrap of thought given to lighting but most are just a blur, literally. Omigod, it hurts to look at them. Thankfully, the two pygmy elephants that charged me on my 29th birthday came in loud and clear - as they did in the flesh . . .

Makes me wonder - did my standards elevate or did my eye merely sharpen? Did I just not posess the patience it took to not just look but really see? The beginnings of this lesson came one day while scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The closer I got to the seemingly quiet reef, the more I could see it was bustling with activity! It looked like some sea-life version of Times Square on New Year's Even and I almost missed it.

I do know that after several months, I put down the camera; instinct told me I was shooting out of habit, not of any artistic joy. One tragic day brought me a step further as I watched my beloved Canon EOS Rebel plop into the San Francisco Bay. Sure, it hurt like hell but my new city demanded an offering, so this was my hunk of flesh.

When I finally returned to photography several years later, I had new sight and fresh patience. Magic began to seep in to the frames now and again, almost always on the very last frame. I guess the older we get, the sharper the vision until one day we can see so clearly . . . we eventually go blind.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm Back . . . in Several Pieces

It's hard to sum up nine days spent on a horse, riding the open range and marveling at my life - suddenly without cell phone range, Internet access, newspapers, radio or television. It was gloriously quiet without the blood-curdling grate of the day's news summary.

Instead, the nightly soundtrack included the gurgling river running outside the door, the blonde nibbly mouse ever-curious about what treats we might've packed and the distant howling of coyotes, baying at the full moon. Morning came and the music changed: Roosters crowing, dogs barking, horses nickering, peacocks screeching, ducks quacking and the new baby goat, Riley (born while I was there,) wobbling into the yard on new legs, making tiny squeaks and getting a lay of the land.

When we climbed into a van on Friday night and headed out to the local rodeo in Dubois (pronounced Du-bowz, in some anti-French effort,) someone flipped on NPR and it was all I could do to plug my ears and sing "Jingle Bells" off-key in defiance. Trouble in the Middle East? Shocking! Iraq not going well? Who knew? As far as I could tell, the world hadn't fixed a thing in my absence. Lazy bums.

Symbolically, to kick off my week of well-deserved ignorance, I managed to lose my eyeglasses within hours of landing in Jackson Hole. Cozied up alongside the Grand Tetons, surrounded by elk preserves and whatnot, the beauty is hard enough to grasp without everything being fuzzy. I type this now with an old pair - split in half at the bridge - sitting precariously on the helpful chub of my nose. My bottom lip is burned to a crisp, as are both my shoulders. My inner legs are green and purple with bruises, earned by clinging to the body of Apollo, an excitable Arab gelding with an extended trot. My nails have all broken off and my credit card is maxed.

In other words, I've never felt better.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hell Hath No Fury

Finally! As the bodies have continually piled up, I have asked the question over and over: Where are the parents of these dead soldiers? When do they start noticing? Why aren't they enraged? At last, they have awoken and cannot be shunned away as easily as pesky so-called 'journalist.'

The Bay Area's own Cindy Sheehan (Go, Cindy!) has had enough and she's channeling her grief with laser sharp focus, interrupting the luxurious five-week vacation of a tan, rested Dubya, who understands exactly how she feels (cuz he's that kind of guy) but . . . well, y'know, the problem is that . . . well . . . HE DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT.

Already, the right-wing puppets (O'Reilly, Drudge, etc.) are branding her a "traitor" which fills me with glee. Posessing a black, shriveled heart can serve you quite well in politics (see W. above) but sometimes, it can let you down. I am wringing my hands in anticipation of the show. These blockheads will quickly realize that there are certain things sacred in American society and mamas of heroically dead soldiers who fight in illegal wars of aggression certainly top the list.

What a great vacation gift! Perhaps the citizenry will start to notice, 'Hey, that guy at the podium . . he's . . he's not wearing any clothes!" This is my dream. And then they will all start eating one another in one giant, cover-your-ass implosion.

Everyone has their dream and this is mine.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

38 Hours And Counting

In less than two days, I will be on my way to a place where there are just five people per square mile. Home of the Bucking Bronco and birthplace of Vice-President Dick Cheney, where word is, he began life as a human. This is a place where the bars have saddles for seats and the men don't order Cosmos and discuss hair care products. God, I can't wait.

Regardless of Wyoming's macho rep, I discovered that it was the first state to grant women suffrage(1869,) primarily so they could get enough votes to be admitted to the Union. With that momentum, they kept going: first female bailiff, first female justice of the peace and the first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross in 1925. So there.

Meanwhile . . . I crave orange dirt and blue skies, where the term 'IM' is a preface for a personal description and Blackberries are for eating with vanilla ice cream. And horses. Lots and lots of horses.

Ah, the grassy smell, the prevalent dirt, the curious upper lip, the high-pitched whinny, the muscled power - it's something I crave to be near every day. Someday, I will. My pre-pubescent pony phase may late but it's mighty and it's permanent.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Hear that? It's my Blog Cherry popping!

Gross, I know but history-in-the-making can be so messy! This blog is dedicated to the very good looking and incredibly talented Harold Burson interns of Summer '05 - San Francisco! Here's to you, ladies!

Later, when I've become an underground celebrity and have my own beachfront property in the Blogosphere, I'll give all the credit where it's due. Until then, I think I'll lodge some complaints about the panty colors at Old Navy - booooooring!


(Enjoy the unfettered joy of this initial posting - it will quickly turn dark and caustic . . . . )