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LAST 10 MINUTES print heading

LAST 10 MINUTES

Monthly Archives: August 2009

Last Sunday in August

Pulled over in tears under the tracks in Rahway.  Cannot listen to a moth story by Anthony Griffin of a two year old with cancer.  Cannot not listen.  It was about doing what you had to do with a mask on.

August.

Yesterday it never stopped raining, after I dropped Stephie and Jackson at the airport.  Stayed inside trying to figure out what to do with a rare weekend alone.  Got the paper and some coffee and fell back asleep.  Pool was closed.  I was alone with too much, and yet everything I loved was gone.  Felt like life has been become a grand editing project. Went to get something to eat and found all these bugs flying around the pantry.   Spent the next two hours emptying the pantry, editing all the teas, hot chocolates,  pastas and cereals.   Organized the jars and jars of sundried tomatoes, raspberry preserves, and tapanades.   Found the culprit in the back on the bottom shelf – a bag of bulgar ripped and spilled.  Got out the vacuum and sucked it up.

Got a call from a friend making a small film in a furniture warehouse in Rahway.  Said I would come down and take some pictures.  On the trip south  the Moth Radio show was on.  Was so taken with how great it was.  Two funny stories I listened to driving in the rain, following the GPS that always makes a mistakes then corrects itself.   As I was getting close to the location, a story was introduced as, “the saddest story we have ever broadcast.”   A comedian, Anthony Griffin started telling a story of having to maintain his career as a funny man while his two year daughter was dying of cancer.  It was brilliantly told.  I pulled over, in the rain, under the train tracks, and just sobbed.  Even though I knew it was pushing all the buttons – I found myself thinking of how I came to this story.  How Jackson had made everything I do different.  It is all so much about him now and that singular focus gives me such joy.   From my first moment of consciousness in the morning I am listening for Jackson’s first rustlings, the opening salvo of mutterings from his short stack of vocabulary.  Jackson has needs right off ( a diaper, brushing his teeth, getting dressed and fed) and they are all my pleasure.  I have needs, too – shower, shave, a couple of pills that compliment eachother, also getting dressed and fed.  The first hour of the day is clear and easy, a well edited, well organized pleasure.  When I walk out the door, the choices begin. Having Jackson gone makes a free weekend all the more stressful.  Any structure is gone.

Today, sitting in bed alone on the last Sunday morning of August, there is nothing that has to get done, yet…so much I COULD do.   It is early but the morning is not silent – the din of crickets from the open windows being whipped around by the ceiling fan.  The sun is kept at bay behind the closed shutters.   I turn on the clock radio and Janos Starker is in the middle of playing Bach Solo Cello Suites from the little speaker.   I want to hear the whole thing, so I turn on the Sonos System  and start it streaming over a real stereo.  I decide to write and grab this little laptop (it is  sad having your laptop laying next to you all night where you wife generally sleeps).  I want to write, but I also need to organize my day.  Everyday has become way too much of an editing process.  I need to edit so I can create.

These are the choices for today:

If I slip past this writing document onto the internet, which web pages or emails do I read? News (HuffPost, Daily Beast, NY Times, Swampland, Salon, The Week), blogs (Tethered, Mike Daisey, the 42 blogs Jeremy sent to check out…), The NY Times multimedia profiles I want to catch up on, Mediastorm’s latest offerings,  Pina Bausch’s posthumous schedule, What Bruce played last night, Vanity Fair/Banana Republic short films. I could check out my “friends” on Facebook who are coming out of the elementary school woodwork. No, stay focused.  I need to write for my poor neglected blog.  I need to do another, “Dear Papa” letter.  Later I can clean out the house – my closet, the basement,edit out the clothes Jackson has outgrown – everything in-between.   Find time to read the two books by the bed.  The 8 magazines.  I am hungry. The Sunday Times is waiting in the driveway.   I am up too early.  Write.

I could go into NYC which is a short train away – what art do I need to see, what dance?  CocoRose live on Wednesday night?

After the Bach on my Sonos music system I have the following choices: Pandora, Last FM, every radio station and radio show in the world (generally on Sunday’s I check out WWOZ (New Orleans), WYEP (Pittsburgh) or maybe WFUV.  I can stream Rhapsody which has pretty much every CD ever recorded. Then there is the 1 terabyte drive attached to the system with every CD I ever purchased…when I used to own music.  I can work on the songs for summer mix, now that it is almost fall.

I have the DVD of Godard’s, “Band of Outsiders” on the dining room table which Jessica Love suggested I see. I met a producer for “This American Life” at a kid’s birthday party, and she gave me a volume with all the TAL TV shows – I really want to watch the whole two seasons.  There are hundreds of other choices playing on Showtime, HBO, Sundance, IFC  – streaming or on demand. The the dozen or so DVR recordings – 78% full.   There is the box of DVD’s I have not looked at in years.  There are all the movies playing in theaters – the new QT?  The September issue?  I want to save those to see with Stephie.  Jeremy insists I need to see “Mad Men” from the beginning.

I should take out my bike on go on the road in the reserve that they close on Sundays, stretch at home, yoga, swim, the gym.

I should shoot at the community pool later – the divers floating in the sky.  I always get panicked shooting there at the end of summer – Labor Day – NEXT WEEKEND! it shuts down and summer is suddenly over.  Shlomi wants me to shoot on his film set again in Rahway.    Then there is Leah who keep wanting me to do headshots of her son, Sam.

I need to really look at my personal work and edit pictures from the summer, especially Jessica Love.   Need to wrangle the pictures of Jackson.  Need to share all the beach shots, and parties, and weddings. Need to update the portfolios online with all the new work.

Need to write for my blog.  Need to explain why almost everything is impossible to write about.  Clients make me sign non-disclosures insisting I not write about – or even mention them.  Even the amazing stereo system I beta test bans me from writing that I test for them.   Can’t even start explaining  my relationship with the conservative talk show host, or the book for the ex-governor of Alaska. Cannot tell you how excited I am about my new relationship with a big software company.  Cannot cross my fingers enough about the movie poster, the sunglass assignment, and upcoming ________ shoot.   Embargoed about sharing the images for magazines I have shot.  Blinders.  Hand’s tied.   The editing issue has met road.

Need to go through the basket that has been sitting for a year in my office of stuff to go through and throw out past history.  Need to edit the address book online.  Need to get 784 emails out of my inbox.  Need to organize the garage, the basement, and get my writing room on the third floor together.

Need to plan my shoot for Jeni’s Ice cream, need to organize new test shoots, need to plan the “What I do” video, need to speak to Aszure and plan our next project.

Renatta wants me to call her.  I should check in with my brother in Boulder, plan the trip to Aspen, see about tickets to meet Stephie & Jackson in Nashville later this week.

What should I eat?  Should I fire up the grill for one – or pan sear the salmon?   Is there anyplace to go out that I would want to sit alone?  Is there anyone I should go and see?

Lent our power washer to the neighbors.  Ruined whatever peace there was.

My mother was here last week for her 81st birthday.  She said, “I am going to be old one day, maybe I should get ready.”

I think I am going to take a little nap….

08.30.09 Posted in Uncategorized

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The Great Critt Graham

My great friend Critt Graham passed away this last weekend.  We had worked together over ten years on many corporate assignments.   Getting to work with Critt was always inspired and fun.   He was open to everything and never stopped trying to see the world in new ways.   I will miss him terribly.

Critt had a crazy way of saying “hello” that somehow came out as a drawn out “yellow.”  I wrote this to be read at his funeral tomorrow in Atlanta:

Critt was always up for adventure.  Wherever we went – and we went around the world together at least twice – he was always looking for something new.  Whatever the room- and this included many corporate conferences rooms – we turned into our creative playrooms.   Whatever music we played – from  Hank Williams to Tom Waits – he loved.   Critt was always the biggest heart in the room, and always the most generous.

So while I am alittle mad at Critt for going on this next life adventure so early, this is how I picture things are going for him this week.

Critt wakes up.  Another strange room away from home, but he never asks, “where am I” – he gets to be the great Critt Graham for all this life and now…. the next.
He takes a good shower.  Lots of hot water, good pressure, the big waterfall nozzle is really high up.  Lots of room in the shower for a big guy.  Puts on a fluffy white rob – super happy it is his size, they are rarely big enough.  This is a good sign.  Shaves close – really good razor,  plenty of fresh blades.

Critt gets dressed.   Puts on the favorite suit he had made in Hong Kong on a Compaq annual report trip. Black of course. The monogram reads, “Ritt Raham.”  His favorite fountain pen is tucked on the inside.   The right jacket pocket is full of napkins he has drawn on.  He reaches way down to slip on the brown shoes he bought in Milan then had dyed black.  Checks himself in the mirror and thinks, “Well…considering all that is going on….I am looking pretty good.  Let’s go meet the man.”

Critt has never been intimidated.   Never had a room, no matter how full of big important people he couldn’t work.  Sometimes by saying almost nothing.  Sometimes by doodling away, multitasking long before blackberries and iphones, working ideas around the block and back again.  Often just by being the nicest guy anyone had met.

So he knocks at the gates.  Big gates.  Critt is big.  He is good.

No answer.  Knocks again.

“Yellow?  Yelloooooow!”

Now the thing about heaven is that you are transparent. They can see right through you.  If you are a big liar, they can see all your lies piled up.  If you have a bunch of secrets, they see them all.   So Critt arrives and they are all….speechless.   They have never seen anyone like him, let alone someone even named, “Critt.”
“Heh guys, come check Critt out! Have you ever seen anyone like him?  All heart.  Seriously 100 per cent heart.  I see a brain there, but the rest is all heart.   We have to give him the royal treatment.”

Then a little fight breaks out in heaven.  Everyone is pushing and shoviing, wanting to be with Critt.

Critt was thinking he could finally retire and paint birds from above or at least bird’s eye view, but no luck.   He gets out his appointment book and starts filling it up.  It is just now, it goes on for eternity.

Down below we are all gathered here.  The biggest heart in the room is missing and that totally sucks.   All the fun we had doing corporate work – of all things – is gone.

If someone could just reach up and turn on the sprinklers we would be fine.  Critt planted seeds in all of us.   Our inner “yellows.”  He would not be happy if we didn’t make the best of everything.  Didn’t try out the newest technology before it was even ready.   Didn’t look at every scene like a picture we needed to make our own.

Critt’s was all heart.  We were all so lucky to share it.

08.05.09 Posted in Uncategorized

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