Monday, February 28, 2011

365 Project - Day 59 - "Frustrated and Tangled"

February 28, 2011 - "Frustrated and Tangled"

I just need to get it out:


Tomorrow it will have been a week since I had to leave work and rush to the ER.

I've seen an MD and a neurologist... twice.
I've completed a full round of steroids.
I've had my nerves shocked... literally.
I've had needles poked into the muscles of my hand, forearm, bicep, triceps, shoulder, back and neck.
I've had my hand locked in a brace.

... and the result of all of this? No answers... and things are now worse.

What started as pain and numbness in my right hand, with occasional pain in my right forearm - has now become excruciating pain, pins & needles and burning sensations throughout my entire right arm and hand... right shoulder... neck... right hip... right leg... right foot...

My hand is all but useless to me. I can't write. I can't hold my SLR camera... it's too heavy. I can use my compact camera, but I can't feel the shutter... and have no control over the pressure - so I'm pressing the shutter without wanting too... and not pressing it when I want to. I can type... but not for long - and I'm constantly having to go back and correct things.

I can't sleep at night. I get electric shock sensations down my neck and back... and my leg just randomly jerks and kicks. When I move my arm it feels like a rubber-band snaps inside. I can't sleep... and I'm freakin' exhausted!

The nerve and muscle tests told us very little. The "issue" is not in my arm or hand or leg. What is going on in those places is just the result of something else - but no one knows what that "something else" is! The neurologist says it's either a brain issue... or an upper spinal-cord issue. He wants me to have the MRI - but there apparently are no openings, and we're having a hard time getting it booked. But even when it does happen... will it tell us anything?

Who knows!?!

In the meantime I'm stuck with muscle-relaxers that make me so out of it I'm completely useless... and weak pain-killers that just don't help at all. I can't work... I can't really do anything! Thankfully I have wonderful bosses and co-workers who know what is going on and are supportive... but it just makes me feel even more horrible that I'm not able to be there and that everyone else is having to cover my work... my ass.

I'm so freakin' sick of the pain!

I feel like I'm stuck in some tangled mess... not able to free myself...

I just want this to end!

* * *

Sunday, February 27, 2011

365 Project - Day 58 - "Biscotti"

February 27, 2011 - "Biscotti"

Still not feeling well.

Actually, I'm feeling worse. The pain and numbness that was just in my right hand is now flowing throughout my right leg as well. The "cold" sensation went away... but now I'm getting "burning" sensations. (I'd rather have the cold!)

Tomorrow I go to the neurologist for an EMG muscle/nerve test...

... but today, I just need to get out of the house and distract my mind.

So I'm sitting at Molten Java sipping a Mocha from an oversized mug...

... and munching on a triple chocolate biscotti.

Mocha and Triple Chocolate Biscotti...

Because "chocolate" makes EVERYTHING better!

I may be in pain...

... but Life IS Good!

* * *

Saturday, February 26, 2011

365 Project - Day 57 - "Al's Diner"

February 26, 2011 - "Al's Diner"

We're in Chicopee, Massachusetts today for my daughter's dance competition. Had to hit the road by 6am in order to be here in time. After two dances we finally get a break, and can head over to the historic Al's Diner for a late breakfast.

I love diners... especially old, historic diners. Al's has been around for over 50 years now. A small... classic... "rail-car" style diner. Just a few booths... and some stools at the counter. Short-order cook working on a grill in full view. Coffee... eggs... the smell of bacon filling the place... a countertop worn down where thousands of plates have rested... friendly people... conversation.

A wonderful breakfast... a wonderful day.

My daughter went on to earn four "High-Gold" and two "Platinum" trophies for her six dances.

A wonderful day!

Life is good!

* * *

Friday, February 25, 2011

365 Project - Day 56 - "Uncomfortable"

February 25, 2011 - "Uncomfortable"

The title pretty much sums it up!

* * *

Thursday, February 24, 2011

365 Project - Day 55 - "Waiting Room"

February 24, 2011 - "Waiting Room"

Sitting in the waiting room at my neurologist's office...

... looking for answers.

* * *

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

365 Project - Day 54 - "Self Portrait with Migraine"

February 23, 2011 - "Self Portrait with Migraine"

I feel outside of myself.

* * *

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

365 Project - Day 53 - "ER"

February 22, 2011 - "ER"

Spent most of the day in the ER today.

My right hand has been "cold" since Friday. This morning it switched from "cold" to "cold and numb" to "cold and numb with pins and needles".

Then my forearm started to go numb... then more pins and needles.

Then my upper arm.

Then shooting bursts of pain throughout my arm... ending in my fingers.

Then no feeling in my hand.

Tried to write... but my thumb and forefinger couldn't control the pen... so it just came out as scribbled gibberish.

Called the doctor... and he said to get to the ER immediately.

Worried that with my heart history it might be clots... or a stroke.

Waiting in the ER.




Things are busy here today!

A man reeking of cigarettes comes in complaining that he can't breathe.

A pregnant woman comes in complaining that her ass hurts.

An old woman fell on Friday... but decided not to come in until today.

One of the downtown crack-hos comes in speaking all sorts of crazy... goes through triage... sits for a while... then runs out.

Holly arrives... and we wait.




They call us in... but there are no rooms or beds... so they put me on a gurney in the hallway.


A nurse comes... has me try to squeeze her fingers. Apparently I can do it find with my left hand... can't do it with my right.

She leaves... and we wait.

A woman down the hall is screaming.

An old woman in a bed near me starts complaining about how she doesn't need to go to a nursing home.

All hell breaks loose when a Trauma code gets called... and there are no free stretchers. Turns out a young girl was hit by a car after getting off a school bus. Some girl was talking on her cell phone while driving... and just hit her.

Doctors running around...

Lots paramedics...


Women wearing boots clicking their way down the hallway.

I'm still waiting...





Grab my iPhone and snap a few shots of the hallway.


Things begin to calm down a bit... and the doctor comes. Kind of cute... and with the same name as a famous broadway composer.

Checks me out... worried it might be a stroke, but not all of the signs are there.

Same squeeze test - can do it with my left hand... not my right.

Check... Test... Thought.

All signs point to nerve damage and inflammation.

Steroids and Muscle Relaxers...

Need to go to a specialist in two days for nerve testing.


Nurse comes to settle information, and hits my leg with the computer cart.

Have to sign the little computer thing... but can't seem to hold the pen right.



The ER is packed to the brim.

I need coffee...

... and rest.

* * *

Monday, February 21, 2011

365 Project - Day 52 - "Another Journey By Train"

February 21, 2011 - "Another Journey By Train"

I don't know why.

Well... THAT is not exactly true...

I DO know why...

... I'm just not telling!


* * *

Sunday, February 20, 2011

365 Project - Day 51 - "Kodak"

February 20, 2011 - "Kodak"

A simple-shot...


The bellows of one of my antique Kodak Brownie folding cameras.

* * *

Saturday, February 19, 2011

365 Project - Day 50 - "Other Worlds"

February 19, 2011 - "Other Worlds"

I like finding other worlds, hiding in places they don't think I'd look for them...

* * *

Friday, February 18, 2011

365 Project - Day 49 - "Moon Blooms"

February 18, 2011 - "Moon Blooms"

White roses to celebrate the Full Moon...

(life is good!)

* * *

Thursday, February 17, 2011

365 Project - Day 48 - "Shiny Shoes"

February 17, 2011 - "Shiny Shoes"

I'm bored today. I need to find an image... and the only thing catching my eye is the light shimmering off of Holly's pair of shiny, sparkly Converse.

So there it is.

* * *

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

365 Project - Day 47 - "Sexy Bulb Bags"

February 16, 2011 - "Sexy Bulb Bags"

Don't worry... I'm not losing my mind or anything...

It's just a high-contrast blue-tint B&W photo of a bag of onions.

That's all.



* * *

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

365 Project - Day 46 - "The Great White of Valentines"

February 15, 2011 - "The Great White of Valentines"

I love sharks... but you probably already knew that.

(Everybody knows that!)

So imagine how excited I was when I saw this awesome shark bust which my friend Jessica sculpted for me for Valentine's Day!

It's a Carcharodon carcharias!!!

A "Great White"!!!

My guess is that it's a 25-footer.

You know how you know that when you're in the water, chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail.

But enough of that... ISN'T IT AWESOME!?!

Oh... here's another shot...

* * *

Monday, February 14, 2011

365 Project - Day 45 - "Valentine's Day"

February 14, 2011 - "Valentine's Day"



And more hearts.

Happy Valentine's Day!


* * *

Sunday, February 13, 2011

365 Project - Day 44 - "Sixteen Candles"

February 13, 2011 - "Sixteen Candles"

Tonight Holly and I celebrated Valentine's Day one day early, by going to see one of my all-time favorite films - "Sixteen Candles" - on the big screen.

Molly Ringwald... Michael Schoeffling... Anthony Michael Hall... John Cusack... Joan Cusack... Gedde Watanabe...

The underpants...

The floppy disks...

The Donger...

The Bohunks...

The red Porsche 944 Turbo...

"If You Were Here" by The Thompson Twins...

Birthday cake while sitting on top of the table...


And... of course... JAKE RYAN!!!

(Because we ALL love Jake Ryan!)

Life is good!

* * *

Saturday, February 12, 2011

365 Project - Day 43 - "Life's Shadows"

February 12, 2011 - "Life's Shadows"

Another wonderful day spent in Manhattan!

Wandered around the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market...

Cappuccino and Italian cookies at Manganaro's...

Wandered around the Antiques Garage/Garage Flea and the West 25th Market...

Amazing lunch/brunch at the Life Café... with a couple of pints (yes, "pints") of Champagne...

Quick wander through Tompkins Square Park on the way to Sophie's Bar...

Pickle-Back Shots...
A couple of games of Pool...
Pistachio nuts...
A conversation about what constitutes "REAL Punk music" while listening to The Ramones...

Dinner at Veselka...

Fried Pierogies with sour cream, apple sauce and sautéed onions...
Obolon Lager...

Catch a cab to Grand Central...
Train back home...
Head to One Bar (formerly "Cousin Larry's") in Danbury to listen to our friend Justin play with his band Phoenix Tree.

(Very) Late-night run for burritos on the way home...

Wonderful day...
Wonderful life!

* * *

Oh... and the image: Shadows cast on the tile floor by the chairs and tables at the Life Café in the glow of the afternoon Sun.

* * *

Hipstamatic App Photos - Are they "really" photography?

Here's a great blog post on the New York Times about the use and merit of Camera Phones (especially the Hipstamatic App) in the world of photo-journalism, and photography in general...

"Through My Eye, Not Hipstamatic's" - by Damon Winter

* * *

Friday, February 11, 2011

365 Project - Day 42 - "Little Buddha"

February 11, 2011 - "Little Buddha"

Little Buddha... bouncing up and down on the dash...

(Life is good!)

* * *

Thursday, February 10, 2011

365 Project - Day 41 - "Cornicello"

February 10, 2011 - "Cornicello"

In ancient times, the Cornicello was worn by followers of the Roman/Italian Goddess of the Moon. Some say that originally this was the Italic Goddess Mephites... and later the Goddess Diana (known as "Artemis" in Greece). Meant to resemble the curved horn of the African Eland (all horned animals were viewed as sacred to the Moon Goddess) - the Cornicello, which means "Little Horn" is traditionally carved from red coral (coral, coming from the ocean - whose tides are ruled by the Moon).

When Christianity took over, some began to associate the Cornicello with the Virgin Mary - a natural progression, as she took up the role of the Goddess to many Pagans.

Regardless of it's origin and associated deities, the Cornicello, or - more simply, "Corno" - has been worn by Italians for protection, and to ward off both the Evil Eye, and Evil Spirits for centuries.

Simple traditions... uniting new with old... present with past... descendant with ancestor.

* * *

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

365 Project - Day 40 - "Dance Yrself Clean"

February 09, 2011 - "Dance Yrself Clean"

For some reason this image makes me think of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands...

"Dance Yrself Clean" by LCD Soundsystem
(From the album "This Is Happening" - 2010)

(Click HERE to listen to the song)

Walking up to me, expecting, walking up to me
Expecting words, it happens all the time.
Present company, accepted, present company
Accept the worst, it happens every night.

Ah, present company, excluded every time.
Ah, present company, the best that you can find.

Talking like a jerk, except you are an actual jerk
And living proof that sometimes friends are mean.
Present company, expected, present company
Just laugh it off, it's better than it seems.

Ah, present company, excluded in every way.
Ah, present company, makes me wanna stay.

Killing it with close inspection
Killing it can only make it worse
It sort of makes it breed.
Present company accepting
Presently we all expect the worst
It works just like a need.

Ah, present company, excluded in the night
Ah, present company, included in the fight.

Ah, ah, ah, ah

Don't you want me to wake up?
Then give me just a bit of your time.
Arguments are made from make outs
So give it just a little more time.

We've got to bring our resources
I wanna play it 'til the time comes
But there's a string of divorces
You go and throw your little hands up, okay, oh
I miss the way, oh

I miss the way the night comes
With friends who always make it feel good
This basement has a cold glow
Though it's better than a bunch of others

So go and dance yourself clean
Go and dance yourself clean, yeah
You're throw remarks into pieces
Baby, they're arguments, the pieces

It's your show, it's your show
It's your show, it's your show
It's your show

Work a little bit, girl.

Every night's a different story
It's a thirty car pileup with you.
Everybody's getting younger
It's the end of an era, it's true.

And you go
Stop, stop, stop, stop
Stop, stop, stop

Break me into bigger pieces
So some of me is home with you
Wait until the weekend
And we can make our bad dreams come true.

And it's a go, yeah, it's a go
And if we wait until the weekend
We can miss the best things to do
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Go and dance yourself clean, oh
Go and dance yourself clean, yeah
And you throw remarks into pieces,
Maybe they're arguments, the pieces, oh

We should try a little harder
In the tedious march of the few
Every day's a different warning
There's a part of me hoping, it's true.

* * *

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

365 Project - Day 39 - "Life Collage"

February 08, 2011 - "Life Collage"

One thing you might not know about me is that Photography is only a small part of how I express myself creatively. Long before taking up photography I was most likely to take up a sketching pencil... an ink pen... or a paint brush.

My favorite medium - other than Photography - would be mixed-media collage work (which, to me, also includes some found-object construction/sculpture). In fact, for a big chunk of my artistic life, Collage was my preferred medium... and I'd work on projects every single day, much as I do now using a camera and a laptop.

Graphite... Colored Pencils... Ink... Acrylic Paints... Photographs... Magazines... Newspapers... Found Objects - all found their way onto my work table... onto sheets of Bristol Board paper... or on the pages of hard-covered sketchbooks, where they'd be paired with poetry or essays (two more of my creative outlets).

And so tonight I find myself pouring through three such notebooks...

I find myself "remembering"...

... and asking myself "Why the hell did you stop doing this?".


I stopped shortly after the birth of our second child... using excuses such as "It's just too hard to find the time"... or "I simply don't have the 'oomph' to do it." (I was a full-time stay-at-home dad at that point... taking care of a toddler and an infant).

But those were just silly excuses.

Maybe it's time to change that.


* * *

Monday, February 7, 2011

365 Project - Day 38 - "Prince"

February 07, 2011 - "Prince"

Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

Prince - "Welcome 2 America" Tour

One of the single most freakin' amazing shows I've ever seen!

The set-list:

1) Laydown
2) 1999
3) Little Red Corvette
4) The Beautiful Ones
5) Controversy
6) Purple Rain
7) Raspberry Beret
8) Cream
9) Cool (The Time cover)
10) Let's Work
11) U Got the Look

Encore #1:

12) Nothing Compares 2 U

Encore #2:

13) Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover - performed with Cee Lo Green)
14) Let's Go Crazy
15) Delirious
16) Dreamer
17) When Doves Cry (just the intro)
18) Kiss

Encore #3:

19) Sign "O" the Times/Alphabet Street
20) A Love Bizarre (Sheila E. cover)
21) Pop Life/I Would Die 4 U/If I Was Your Girlfriend
22) Insatiable
23) Scandalous
24) Adore

Encore #4:
25) Mountains
26) Shake Your Body (The Jacksons cover)
27) Everyday People (Sly & The Family Stone cover)
28) I Want To Take You Higher (Sly & The Family Stone cover)

The opening act was Cee Lo Green (of Gnarls Barkley) - who did an amazing set... and who later came back out (Encore #2) to sing the Gnarls Barkley hit "Crazy" with Prince on guitar.

The show was at least 2 1/2 hours long... maybe longer.

The energy was EXTREMELY high!

All I can say is: FREAKIN' PHENOMENAL!

(Life is good!)

* * *

Sunday, February 6, 2011

365 Project - Day 37 - "Going Pro"

February 06, 2011 - "Going Pro"

New day...

New computer.

I finally have an Intel-based Mac (a 17" MacBook Pro)... which means I can finally use the newer programs and Mac OS which I wasn't able to use with the PowerBook G4 because it was a pre-Intel Mac.

So today will be spent transferring programs, images, music and files from the old laptop to the new.

A job which I definitely do not mind doing!

Life is good!

* * *

Saturday, February 5, 2011

365 Project - Day 36 - "Lost In a Sea of Bubbles"

February 05, 2010 - "Lost in a Sea of Bubbles"

I'm in a bar in Stamford... celebrating my Sis' 40th Birthday.

Good conversation...




A few games of pool...

Good music...

Guinness and Sam Adams...

Watching hot women play pool...

More Guinness and Sam Adams...

Did I mention the women playing pool?

More music...

More Guinness (I'm done with the Sam Adams)...

A barfly in her 50s... bleach-blonde mullet hair... overly tanned skin... tight gray jeans... boots... a low-cut shirt... lots of silver jewelry... a smoker's voice - taps me on the shoulder and asks me to dance. I politely say "Thank you... but no".

I laugh it off... and go back to the pool room. The barfly soon follows and corners me again... slurring her words... asking me to go to the band and dedicate "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton to her. My wife and everyone else stands laughing as this woman hits on me.

And I ask myself: How the hell did I get to THIS point!?!

It doesn't seem THAT long ago that I'd have younger... much, much more attractive girls (and sometimes boys) hitting on me every time I'd go to a bar. But now it's this, is it?

Finish my Guinness... say our goodbyes... and head home.

A wonderful night of celebration... and realizations...

Life is good!

* * *

Friday, February 4, 2011

365 Project - Day 35 - "Ice Sky"

February 04, 2011 - "Ice Sky"

Even the sky is encased in ice these days...

... and it's simply beautiful to me!

(Life is good!)

* * *

Thursday, February 3, 2011

365 Project - Day 34 - "Imbolc"

February 03, 2011 - "Imbolc"

Candles freshly dressed in oils...

... ritually blessed and consecrated...

Welcoming the return of the Light!

* * *

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

365 Project - Day 33 - "Circles"

February 02, 2011 - "Circles"



More Circles...

... and even MORE Circles...

* * *

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

365 Project - Day 32 - "Time"

February 01, 2011 - "Time"


I have a pocket watch that I bought almost 20 years ago from a Russian vendor at a flea market. It has the Russian Imperial Crest on the lid... and an image of St. George slaying the dragon on the reverse...

... and it ticks...


... so I keep it on my nightstand so I can hear it throughout the night...


... I find it comforting..

... to hear time pass like that...


* * *