20110913-112539.jpgThe kitty cat whimpered from her carry case as we drove along to drop her off at Goin’ to Grandma’s. I was a little concerned boarding her for three weeks but we’d done this last year and she handled it well. Still, I can’t help but worry for the well being of a pet. The dirt road was bumpy and before long, her whimpers got deeper and kind of throaty.

Then she puked.

The lady at the kennel was sympathetic and cleaned out the carrying case. We said goodbye to the kitty and headed out for our ninety minute drive to the airport. We’d been planning this trip to Germany since January. Three flights, two layovers and we should land in Berlin tomorrow at 4:00 – just in time for cocktails!

It’s hard to get away from work for three weeks. I really have to make an effort to let everything go. Last year, we went to Spain, France and Italy for three weeks. It was heaven. Ray and I were able to disconnect from everything.

I have discovered that Americans don’t take enough time off. Even if you can’t afford to go somewhere, you should get away from work and take time for yourself. I work with people who get annual notifications to take some of their vacation or they’ll lose it. I can’t imagine what that’s like. I’m always struggling to save vacation time because I take it so much.

So here I am, blogging at the airport just about to embark on an exciting journey. My plan is to blog and post images/videos as we go along as opposed to waiting until we get home. Stay tuned…

The hardest part about being an artist is the media in which you choose to express yourself. As an artist, I see life in technicolor and have this overwhelming desire to express to others what I’m experiencing. Whether it’s photography, video, music, writing, acting, dancing, singing (all of which I have dabbled in), the challenge is expressing not only the event but the internal emotional state of mind of the person having the experience. Take a look at the photo on the upper left. I shot it last night during an amazing summer storm. To you, it’s stunning. To me — ok to me it’s pretty fucking awesome but it’s not awesome enough. It doesn’t encapsulate the smell of the desert rain, the surround sound of thunder reverberating across the high plains and the overall visual excitement that one can only experience with depth perception. The split second captured in the photograph is much better in realtime being viewed with two eyes than looking at a flat static image.

There’s no lens that can see what our eyes really see, no microphone that hears what our ears really hear.

There’s no device to record the sensation of the little hairs standing straight up on the back of your neck when your two eyes and two ears experience several bolts of lightning and claps of thunder rolling across the expanse of the high desert plaines.

If I could come up with such a device, I’d be a very wealthy man.

But this artist must keep expressing himself or he’ll die. That is one of the biggest things I have discovered about myself. The true core of my soul is to act as an on-the-spot reporter of life. I have this uncontrollable urge to not only see what’s happening around us but to express it from my own biased point of view. I’m going to show you what happened…to me.

Film at 11.

May is Motorcycle Saftey And Awareness Month and even though Ride To Work day is officially June 20th this year, there was a group of us at my work who decided to do it today.

I work for local county government. Every Tuesday morning, we have a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Today in support of  the employees who are motorcycle enthusiasts, our board has an agenda item to approve a proclamation declaring May to be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Awesome!

We’re going to have a Motorcycle Safety and Driver Awareness presentation by Ride Arizona Motorcycle Training Center and then gather together for a photo.

I think it’s really cool that my workplace is supportive of its employees who ride. This is rural Arizona. If you’re gonna ride your bike to work, you may as well live here.  The photo below is me driving home on “my street” (which is a 7 mile private road).

My friend Eric posted this on his blog and I stole it. I’m not going to try and make this sound original. I completely ripped it off – changing the answers to my own of course.

4 Things I need to spend more time on in my life:

  1. Helping others
  2. My relationship with my mother
  3. Exercise (never ending)
  4. Appreciating the little things

4 Things I need to spend less time on in my life:

  1. Regretting the unchangeable past
  2. Hating anyone or anything
  3. Staring at a computer screen
  4. Worrying and being fearful of things I have no control over

4 Things I wish I could spend more time on in my life:

  1. Inner peace/spirituality
  2. Making music
  3. Riding my motorcycle
  4. Doing anything creative

4 Things I love about myself:

  1. I’m left-handed
  2. I’m fairly easy on the eyes
  3. My stature
  4. My big huge…heart

4 Things I hate about myself:

  1. I’m too hard on myself
  2. I’m incredibly self centered
  3. When I get really angry, I cry (HATE that)
  4. My low threshold to pain

4 Things I love that I used to hate:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Exercise
  3. Pool volleyball
  4. Myself

4 Things I hate that I used to love:

  1. Disney movies
  2. The greater Los Angeles area
  3. Sugary soda pop
  4. Politics/politicians

4 Things I look forward to:

  1. Growing old with Ray
  2. Summer
  3. Evening and/or weekend cocktails with friends or with Ray
  4. Having my Alone Time

4 Things I dread:

  1. Performing (YES performing! Scares the crap out of me.)
  2. Winter
  3. Conflict of any kind
  4. Aging, wrinkles, getting gray

4 Things I once believed in but no longer do:

  1. Our political system
  2. Organized religion
  3. American cinema
  4. Consumerism

4 Things I believe in that I didn’t use to:

  1. My own inner strength (You can be your own best friend? Who knew?)
  2. The placebo effect
  3. Mind over matter
  4. Love

4 Things I love to do but I’m bad at:

  1. Golf
  2. Sing
  3. Act
  4. Write

4 Things I hate to do but I’m good at:

  1. Technical troubleshooting
  2. Photo retouching
  3. Changing a flat tire
  4. Running

4 Things I did that I am ashamed of:

  1. Make my mother cry (On several occasions)
  2. Stole lots of money from my family (Bad kid with a drug habit)
  3. Got permanently expelled from High School
  4. I spent way too many years hating myself for being homosexual

4 Things I did that I’m proud of:

  1. Completed a four-year college program in three at the age of thirty-three
  2. I was writer/director Frank Darabont’s assistant on his film The Shawshank Redemption
  3. Played a gig at the world famous Roxy on the Sunset Strip with my former band “November”
  4. Took care of my father when he was dying

4 Things I didn’t do that I regret:

  1. A very close friend of mine was suffering from HIV complications in 94. When he got really sick, I couldn’t look at him. I avoided him and then he died. I never got to say goodbye.
  2. Start exercising while my body was producing its maximum amount of testosterone (Much different trying to bulk up at 45)
  3. Become a professional performer – I never even tried
  4. Save money for retirement sooner

4 Things I want before I die:

  1. A better world
  2. About 50 more years of being ambulatory, great skin and lots of sex
  3. Ray with me for those 50 years
  4. I want the people in my life to also have a happy wonderful long-lived life experience

Ray and I moved into our house almost five and a half years ago. We didn’t have a dining room table. Our house has a mid-century/contemporary feel to it.

One day when the house was under construction, while visiting Ray’s mother in California, we were sitting around the dining room table talking. I looked over at one of the captain’s chairs (the set has two) and noticed that the chair had some really cool angles going on. I had never noticed that before.

Since I can remember, the dining table at Ray’s mom’s house was covered with a huge tablecloth. The upholstery was some sort of tan woven vinyl and the wood was dark brown. I never took notice of it.

Suddenly my interest was getting the best of me. I lifted up the heavy over-sized tablecloth and saw this:

I motioned to Ray and mouthed, “Look at this!” Ray took a look and then did a double-take. Ray’s mom had a totally cool dining set! She was also 89 years old and slowing down. We decided to hold off on buying a dining room set. What’s the rush?

Fast forward five years. Ray’s mom is still here but bedridden and really, really slowing down. We’ve been using a nasty old folding banquet table with cheap white stackable plastic chairs. I was starting to get impatient with our “temporary” dining set.

Once again, we were visiting Ray’s mom. I sat down on one of the chairs and noticed it was very wobbly. I took a look at the chairs and discovered they were all on the verge of collapse. I got worried. Ray talked to his siblings and they agreed that it would be OK to take the set. Ray’s mother had been bedridden in the back room for a year. It was better to take the table and have it repaired than to have it break.

During the time we were waiting for the dining set, we had noticed that there were a few other pieces of furniture that would do well in our house. Two rocking chairs and a bedroom set.

A couple of months ago, we rented a truck and drove the dining set, bedroom set and two rockers from California to Arizona. The bedroom set was in mint condition.

Coincidently, it’s the same bedroom set that Major Anthony Nelson has in his room on the I Dream of Jeannie television series.

The dining table and rocking chairs needed some work so we took them to Dadd’s Refinishing & Upholstery in Sierra Vista.

We just got everything back yesterday. Ray and I are both very pleased with the work. The table was completely stripped and returned to its blond color. (Ray’s mom had it stained dark brown in the 70’s – because that’s what you did back then.) All the chairs were refurbished and are sturdy again.

The rockers were reupholstered and restained. We put one in the Master bedroom and one in the guest room.

We finally have a dining set! We finally have a bedroom set! For five years our bedroom was nothing but a king-size mattress & box spring on a frame flanked by two outdoor folding tables as night stands. It looked like a dorm room.

I am very thankful to have this furniture. It’s nice to keep it in the family and it really goes well with our home – which now actually feels like a home.

I know, it’s kind of stupid to get excited over furniture but for some reason, it just makes me feel a sense of completion. Our house is finally furnished.