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Monday, March 29, 2004

Item 1: Received a paypal payment for $230 but I'm still waiting to find out what prints it is for since my paypal link doesn't save that info in my cart.  If you are the buyer and are reading this, please let me know.

Item 2: I did get my sister's car and was going to go to Brooklyn this morning but there was no gas in the buggy and I spent about a half hour trying to get gas with a woman from New Jersey in front of me at the pump who had the car turned the wrong way and couldn't move around because there were too many other cars, trucks and various vehicles in the gas station, so by the time I got gas and headed out, I looked up First Avenue and decided there was too much traffic to go downtown, or uptown, or anywhere and still get back to get a parking spot at 10 a.m. so I just decided to go wherever the traffic was going and ended up photographing the 59th street bridge.

I was happy to have my trusty orange filter with me since the sky was disgustingly blue and there is a nice smokestack nearby blowing out huge plumes, and as I was setting up I realized that the cable cars to Roosevelt Island were doing their thing -- so I waited for them to make some sort of composition in the frame...

I'm always a little wary of photographing bridges these days as I expect to be picked up for questioning, not to mention I had left the car around the corner in a No Standing Zone so I would take a couple of shots, leave the camera on the tripod, run around to see if the car was still there, run back to see if the camera was still there, take another shot and do circular routine again.  But all went without incident.

Then I went through the same thing trying to drop my taxes off in the Fedex office.  Double parked, I looked around and as I was getting out of the car, a meter man saw me and wiggled his finger at me with his pad at the ready.  I said -- I'm just going in to Fedex -- just for a second.  He wiggled his finger and said something that I didn't understand so I got back in the car and waited for him to walk off, pretending to get ready to leave, and when he was out of sight, I removed my seat belt and ran into Fedex and dropped off the stuff for the accountant.

When I returned to the car -- there were two meter readers approaching from opposite sides.  I grinned at them, hopped in the car and got the heck out of there.

Parked the car at 10 a.m.  and waited for it to become legal at 10:30 a.m.  While I was waiting, a car pulled into the spot in front of me and as it backed up -- about a quart of liquid splashed out of the left rear corner.  As the woman, who had apparantly never tried to parallel park, went back and forth, more liquid spilt from the car.  I didn't know if it was gas, or if her trunk was filled with water.  Maybe she had an aquarium back there.

When she finally brought the beast to a rest, I got out and told her that her car was leaking.  She seemed very flustered about something -- but it could just have the trauma of parking -- and said the car wasn't even hers.  I told her that no matter who's car it was, something was leaking.  She and I bent down and looked at the puddle and stuck our fingers in it, trying to determine whether it was gas.  She still had the car running.  I suggested, after smelling and feeling the liquid that it was gas and that at the very least it would be a good idea if she turned her car off.  I had this vision from The Birds where the gas station blows up in mind.

So what does she do, she gets back into her car, and with her door open, starts going back and forth again to get closer to the curb.  At this point, I couldn't back up anymore because another car was behind me, so I turned on the radio and got out of the car and waited for her to do something really brilliant like light a cigarette or blow the buggy up.

Finally, she got the car parked about one inch from the curb, and at that moment, two more women came running from somewhere and then they all began to touch and smell the liquid beneath her car.

From what I could gather, the car had been in an accident several weeks before, and they had been wondering why it had been going through gas so quickly.  Seems as if they've been spilling it all over the city.

Could be we have as much to worry about from New York drivers as from the terrorists, but I must say that it helped make time go -- wondering whether we'd all get blown up on 79th street.  That sort of suspense, is the device used in just about every Hitchcock film ever made.  Get two people talking at a table.  Boring.  Put a ticking bomb beneath the table and let the audience see it but not the participants.  Result: excitement.

Get a guy sitting in a car waiting for his parking spot to be legal.  He's listening to something idiotic on the radio, probably a sports call-in program.  Are the Yankees ready for the season? Bang?

The cops arrive and someone finds the camera equipment.  Hey, wasn't that the guy photographing the 59th street bridge? 


3:06:15 PM    

Every year, at the beginning of the year, when I have a chance to make a fresh start, when I am like a kid starting a new grade in school I tell myself that I will enter all my vendor invoices into Quickbooks as they come in, or at least once a week so that I don't have to do it at tax time and every year this vow is broken during the first week.

But I did get my taxes completed today, at least in some shape to send to the tax guy.  The best I can manage is a Profit and Loss Statement in Quickbooks.  I have not yet figured out how to do a reconciliation and I can't reconcile myself to that. 

And every year, I have the same stupid questions: yes, I have paid estimated taxes, but do I put them into the profit and loss statement and if so what sort of expense are they.  Is the government a vendor?  What are they selling me?  What am I buying?

I guess I'm buying protection, and let's leave it at that.

At any rate, when I had all my vendor bills spread out into neat piles on the floor, the cat did his best to help me out and sprang on them scattering the papers into the air and then he tried to rearrange them and I can't say he did a bad job, but it wasn't alphabetical by human standards anyway.

In fact, the cat seems to think that these funny little papers with figures on them for film, chemicals, papers and the like are some sort of prey -- and sank his teeth into a couple of B&H Photo bills, but found them devoid of taste.

Well, it's four o'clock in the morning.  I'm thinking I'd like to be in Paris in the Palais du Sumthing Royale eating the end of a baguette and smoking a French cigarette.  Sitting in the courtyard of a King with my feet up on one of those monumental water fountains with the wooden chairs arranged around them and no Americans in sight or earshot.  Did you ever notice that when you go to a foreign country and you can't understand what anyone is saying, how much more intelligent they sound?  Until you pick up the language and find out they are just as petty as you are?

Maybe -- just maybe -- when the universal translator comes (a la Star Trek) -- it will do more than just translate -- it will have a setting for poetic mode and you can listen to anyone you want in the Shelley or Wordsworth mode?  Or press one for The Bard, or Two for Rimbaud.  Home come no one at Microsoft is working on that I wonder -- the literary translator? 

Especially with all the inane cell-phone conversations you are forced to listen to these days on the street -- that would be the perfect antidote. 

4:12:29 AM    

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