Thursday, April 30, 2009

010509

010509

Big May Day holiday in China, four-days long (this used to be called 'Golden Week,' but now reduced from 7 days).  Nothing (certainly no Government Offices) is open, except things for revelers (restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions!  This is all about celebrating the worker!  'Workers of the world unite, you have only your chains to lose!' Karl Marx.

For the past two May Day holidays we have taken a cycling trip around Qinghai Lake (some 700KM / 400 miles) to circumscribe (China's largest lake).  But, this time we're waiting until afterwards as www.haaqi.com is involved with a project, producing the closing ceremonies of the 'Qinghai Investment Trade Show and Tulip Festival!'  This, on Friday, May 8th.

On May 10th, however, we'll be heading out for either Huzhu Bei Shan (Geo-Park) or Guida, south on the Yellow River.  I've wanted to cycle to these places for some time, and now the opportunity, as no need to cycle around Qinghai Lake again (we've done this trip four times!).

We'll be producing another in the series 'Discover China (by bicycle)' availabe at either www.youtube.com or www.haaqi.com (I think something like a half-dozen online now).

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30a0409

With You?

I fall prey to the day,
When I should rejoice!

I lived!
I loved!
I learned!
I overcame the game, and
Became
What I am,
Unique,
A freak
To seek,
You!

Nothing to do!
No place to go!
May I rest in peace
With You?

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

300409

300409

Saturn Twice (continues)

Birth is a painful thing, ask any mother!  But, there are many kinds of 'births.'  My getting fired at ABC Sports was a 'birth' of sorts, as it allowed me to evolve, to become 'me!'  Not something they wanted! Few in life get this opportunity!  But, painful nonetheless!

I had, in fact, created this unconsciously.  How to explain...?  Most live their lives on the surface and hardly probe the depths (too scary).  Thus, they live, without even realizing it, a 'modern life' that constantly distracts them (away from what's important).  They never really live, just exist, constantly reinforcing their egos in some way.

If you take 'the Road Less Traveled' like I have, there's no way you can avoid the painful truth about yourself!  Of course, no one 'chooses this,' 'IT chooses you!'   Remember, I'd asked for it in a simple prayer while in a Christian Church, when only a teenager, 'Oh, God!' I prayed... 'Take my life and use it!'  Of course, I had no idea 'He' would!

Now, of an age nearing 'three score and ten,' I couldn't be happier!  I may not have become the 'famous movie director,' I'd fantasized when I was young, but the gifts I've received I wouldn't trade for all the Oscars in the world!  'What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?'  My soul is intact!  More importantly I know where I'm going, as I understand 'existence' (the so-called 'mystery')!

Most, when older, resort to one traditional religion or another.  I've created my own!  I know how I'm going to die, when, and what's involved!  In fact, I look forward to all this. 

We 'live' a fleeting moment in time!  Beyond is 'forever!'  Which is more important?  Best to understand!  Best to seek!  Best to get involved with such now! 

Most people die in a hospital, drugged out, hooked up to machines beating their hearts, pumping their blood.  They don't even know they're dying!  What a shame!  What a waste!  The Hindus and Buddhists would say these people will return to suffer again, until they 'get it right,' having evolved in the process!  Not me!  I didn't 'participate' in my own physical birth, but I will 'participate' in my own physical 'death,' or transition to another 'world!'

There's an old Buddhist saying, a question... 'How do you preserve a drop of water?'  Answer, 'By throwing it back into the ocean!' We are, when we have a physical body, a 'drop of water!'  When we 'die' we become 'the ocean' again ('physical birth' thrown from)!  Which would you rather be, a drop of water or the ocean?

'Here's too unconditional love, beyond all feeling, one in the same!  Here's to allowing and sharing, flowing back and forth, until we are lost in each other, not knowing which is which, but not really caring!'

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29a0409

29a0409

Saturn Twice (continues)

One of the things I didn't like about working at ABC Sports, Inc., was the 'typecasting.' If you had been an all-American basketball player you became the 'basketball guy.' If you were supposedly 'creative' you got to do all the film work. I ended up becoming the 'golf guy,' because I had played the game and had a Scottish golfer namesake, 'Jock' ('Jack Fowler' courtesy of Wikipedia encyclo.) Hutchison. If you were the 'golf guy' they didn't think you knew anything about football, and vice versa. You were stuck in one, or two sports. If you liked to sail, you got to produce the 'America's Cup,' etc.

I got bored with golf quickly, but it became my 'specialty.' Unfortunately, this put me in contact with 'Rufus,' as he was called, the 'big guy,' a frustrated golfer. Thus, he had become a member of two very exclusive golf clubs, one in the U.S., 'Winged Foot C.C.', and the other in Scotland, the 'Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.'

I was to produce a documentary about the 'Royal and Ancient Golf Club' ('R&A.') this to coincide with Rufus 'kissing the Captain's balls,' at a black-tie dinner/initiation ceremony.

We all had to dress in tuxedos, every person in the film crew, and no exceptions to the rules. We filmed basically the ceremony after the dinner, most of the members so drunk by then they were literally falling out of their chairs. Being of Scottish ancestry myself, I shouldn't denigrate them as I've fallen (sometimes pushed) off many a bar stool in my day!

William Whitelaw, of Scottish birth, who was a member of the R&A and an M.P. in the Conservative British Government was the featured speaker. His speach noteworthy, although I can't remember a word! He's famous for this quote, 'The Labour Party is going about the country stirring up apathy,' (a non sequitur or a oxymoron I don't know which?). I think his highest office was Home Secretary. Certainly he was at 'home' in front of an audience, as he gave speech that kept them 'in stitches!' Note, here's the origin of the phrase: 'To be in stitches is to be in such a paroxysm of laughter as to be in physical pain. The allusion implicit in the phrase is to that of a sharp pain - like being pricked with a needle -- thus 'in stitches.'

After Willie's speech the new inductees, including Rufus, kissed the Captain's balls, we 'wrapped' and then departed for the nearest pub (hadn't gotten to eat dinner).

The Secretary of the R&A at the time was a nice guy, easy to work with on the documentary. I ended up seducing his too young daughter one night in my hotel room at the Old Course Hotel. She was great, however, as she never said a word about it (to her father), or my ass, which was constantly in trouble at ABC Sports, would have been 'hung out to dry!' I wonder where that saying comes from? Airing your dirty laundry?

Probably my best 'shot,' of my entire ABC Sports career came at the Old Course. To open the documentary film (about the R.&A.) I had a helicopter (rigged with camera) fly in low from over the North Sea and traverse the entire course, this I put to stirring bagpipes and drums. Even Rufus was impressed.

Later I 'shot' Cathy Rigby, an Olympic gymnast at the time, performing her balance beam routine in 'limbo.' This to some music which the combination of, ended up on a primetime series show. So, even though I was the 'golf guy,' I had some creative ideas!

At Winged Foot, however, I screwed up while on the air (at Rufus' golf course, God forbid!). I can't remember what exactly, except it was another self-destructive act to get me 'outta there!' He called me afterwards while still on the air, this to chew me out, but I promptly hung up on him! 'Who gives a shit?' I think I yelled into the handset while slamming it onto its cradle. After that my days at ABC Sports were numbered, as 'my score' by then was way 'over par!'

At the British Open that year at Murfield, I'd placed the '18th hole' announce tower behind the 17th green. This because there was absolutely no room behind the 18th green. But, I had the tower rigged so the announcers to see out the back and of the 18th hole. That didn't matter and, my immediate boss and producer of the telecast, Mr. Walabe, chewed me out for such, the only time he ever did (I think Rufus was breathing down his neck hard at this point!).

Mr. Walabe and I actually had a pretty good relationship. Maybe because we were sleeping with the same woman simultaneously.

But, wonder of wonders, the finish of the British Open at Murfield that year... Lo and behold the championship was actually won on the 17th hole, when Lee Trevino, chipped in from behind the green, just feet away from our announcers! Of course, no congratulations to me for being so prescient!

Such was life on the 28th floor at 1330 (circa. 1970). You were always scrambling for Rufus' or Walabe's favor, a task I wasn't very good at, kissing ass, 'brown nosing,' or whatever you want to call it! I've never been good at such, before or after. But, I learned working for a corporation (or the Government)... It's very important to do if you want to advance!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

290409

Life...
What is it...?
Movement, action?
No life,
No movement?

Alive...
What is it to be...?
Moving, acting?
Dead,
Not moving, not acting?

What is life?
What is death?
Duality!

A drop of water separated from the 'ocean?'
Duality.
The 'ocean,'
Singularity!

Duality = consciousness in context:
On a table,
Floor,
A leaf,
What relief!
Falling from the sky,
Evaporating,
Changing
Life
Always changing, metamorphing
Seeking the other (enantiodromia).

A deer, a snake
A leaf, a rock,
Do they know they're alive,
Can contrive?
'Know!'

Only we 'live!'
Just a word, 'life!'


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28b0409

Saturn Twice! (continues)

Texas, post Gail...

I hung out with Garlene and Ted in Fort Worth. Through them I met a woman, who had launched a non-profit organization to help battered women called 'The Share Shelter.' We got the idea to produce a music concert to raise money for the Shelter.

In the process I met another woman who had a design/printing business. I took her out to dinner. We started dating, and one thing led to another. She was a bouncy, lively thing who liked to play tennis. I went to watch her play one day. When we played she beat me. She had a BMW and liked to drive fast.

I'll never forget the wild ride down to Houston, this for The Houston International Film Festival (1989). It's something over 200 miles (Dallas to Houston), basically a prudent 4-hour drive. We made it in 2.5 hours. Attractive and clever she had talked her way out of many speeding tickets. Luckily that day we weren't stopped, or were we...? I can't remember...

We (co-writer David Carter) had entered the 'Screenplay competition' with 'A Winner Never Quits' (the Jack Favor murder story). We had been told we better attend. So, I bought a new expensive suit, and David flew down from San Francisco. The Favor family showed up en masse, 'decked out,' as if attending their own inauguration! They were so excited! Jack had gone to that 'great rodeo arena in the sky' by 1989. Me, I was hoping we'd win something as I thought it would help sell the screenplay.

I think by the time we arrived in Houston we'd been told we were one of the winners. So, 'Miss Tennis,' David and I enjoyed ourselves, I think I rented a suite full of champagne, dope, and food.

The big awards dinner came, and we, with the Favors, sat at one table front and center. After eating they made the presentations which seem to go on for hours. The screenplay awards were presented last. We won 'Best Dramatic Screenplay!' David and I got up to accept, but no time for speeches, we just said 'Thanks!'. Afterwards we had our picture taken, which of course, you have to pay for if you want. I think I have it somewhere...?

I was sure winning would sell the screenplay, as one 'Hollywood' studio 'connection,' was in attendance. But, guess what? Close, but no cigar!

Back in the D/FW area (as it's called) 'Miss Tennis' and I became a 'couple.' She was the best American sexual partner I ever had. Our 'sessions,' were long and lovely. I took to sleeping with her in her apartment in S.W. Fort Worth. But, she was a Christian in the 'conservative' sense. She was always afraid I'd be discovered there 'too early in the morning' by her parents. But, somehow I prevailed. We did many things together, like a driving trip to a friend's in Santa Fe, N.M. She could play the piano, in fact had one in her apartment. I enjoyed the sex and her company, but couldn't see marrying her. I'd just gotten out of a marriage.

At the same time I was helping 'Miss Share' with her non-profit, and planning the music concert. That was a crazy time, a 'Billy Bob's cowboy' time!' Lot's of barbeque and beer!

We'd picked out a place for the concert, a large vacant lot in the Forth Worth Stockyards (north of downtown). We had the whole 'shebang,' stage/lights, sound system, carpet VIP area, food vendors, trailers, trucks, something like $100,000U.S. invested. It was an all-day concert with many bands. We'd been able to attract some C/W headliners too, the kind of artists/bands that demand $10,000 cash, before they will perform.

We had to get a big crowd just to break even! But, as fate would have it dark clouds loomed in the south! It rained for the first time on this July day in many years! We got few paying customers! 'Miss Share,' over-extended in all ways, physically, mentally, and most of all financially collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. It was a colossal failure! It broke 'Miss Share.' We tried again a year later, but this idea/event was stolen from us by a local theater. 'Miss Share' had become 'PNG' in Fort Worth, and since not a part of the 'in crowd' was discarded like rubbish. I don't think she ever recovered! I went on to have the same devestating experience with my own event, and not too far away in Arlington!

I started a production company called ProImage, and our first office was out at 'The Studios at Las Colinas.' This in the day when there was hope that the facility would attract major productions and business away from Hollywood. Texas dubbed itself 'The Third Coast.' ProImage in the beginning was just me, a guy named Kim, and some video gear. Then someone else came along who's name escapes me, as he turned out to be much trouble!

In fact, I had nothing but trouble with ProImage from start to finish, it nearly finishing me as in, 'Saturn Twice!' But, not before I'd exhausted every effort to succeed! My fatal mistake was producing an entertainment trade show with the wrong partner.

From Irving, Texas, ProImage moved to Addison (basically North Dallas), Texas, I can't remember the exact address. But, it was larger, with a computer company just across the hallway. We all became one big happy family, many times going to the 'back room' where we'd smoke a joint.

I think ProImage survived for three years, while piling up too much debt with not enough revenue, the same old story (in business). In the process, however, I met many people, some still friends to this day.

The 'coup de gras' was what was going to save us, an entertainment trade show. Strangely enough I'd witnessed as a spectator the year prior. The man who had produced, his nickname a military rank, said it 'couldn't fail!' So, we became partners and moved our offices to Carrollton, west of Addison.

We went to work my partner selling exhibitor space for this three-day event, and me working on the 'production.' We contracted entertainers, some from L.A. We offered workshops on all phases of the business, from screenplay writing to modeling. We had a stage, lighting, a sound system and everything else! We advertised. We did everything possible to succeed, but... But, not enough people attended, and the exhibitors wanted their money back. I think my partner had promised too much, and then we didn't deliver up to expectations! The only legitimate actor we had was Barry Corbin, who lives in the area. Some trivia, Leann Rhimes, just a little girl back then, sang the National Anthem. But, we had nothing other we could hype that would bring the thousands we needed.

It turned into a nightmare! My partner turned 'suddenly ill,' didn't show up and I had to face an angry mob of exhibitors. They called the local TV stations, and accused of us 'fraud.' We ended up on TV pleading our case! But, the bad publicity killed us. I filled for bankruptcy, and without a 'pot to piss in' dealt with, again (Saturn, the second time), the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune!'

Oh, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

28a0409

28a0409

To be filled!

The men smoke,
And the women knit!
They love noise,
Hate silence,
Talking machines all!

They've never seen a
'Glass or cup'
They didn't want to fill,
So many children!

They see the 'glass,'
Half empty versus half full,
A s/p(l)ace that needs
To be filled!

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Two great 'teachings' from Rumi (courtesy of Andrew Harvey):

'Leave the Vulture Behind'

Discursive reason is a vulture!
It's wings beat above a decaying corpse.
The Saint's 'reason' is like the wings of Gabriel:
It soars in splendor!
It rests in the shade of the 'Tree of Heaven!'
It says, 'I'm a royal hawk, glorious and abundant!
I've nothing to with with corpses, nor am I a vulture.

Leave the vulture behind and let me by your guide.
Just one of my winds will be more help to you
Than a hundred thousand vultures!

(from the Mathnawi)

'Such a Passion and Longing'

There is in the core of mankind such a passion and longing
That even if he owned a hundred thousand worlds, he would never find peace!
Look at how people dabble in every conceivable trade and craft.
They study astronomy and medicine.
Yet, they never find peace!
They never find the object of their search!
What they lack is God and his 'heart ease!'

All other joys and pursuits are like a ladder.
You cannot stay on the rungs of a ladder, you're always climbing up!
But, the one who understands he's already 'there' is happy!
No more climbing!
The climb is short for those who understand!

(from Table Talk)

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

270409

270409

'Saturn Twice!' (continues)

I just read where Salma Something-or-Other got married again to the same guy! I wouldn't have cared, but for something in the caption that got my attention, the hotel where they were staying in Venice, Italy, La Cipriani! I've stayed there too, but way back in 1994! Not to get married, but to get out of the heat!

We were in Italy for a video job, this in Navarro, a city some distance west of Milano. Note, you know Venice isn't really in Italy as the word doesn't end in 'o,' or 'a.'

I'd made a huge mistake taking a young guy with me who was considering investing in our Dallas, Texas company, ProImage. His name shall, like the others, go unmentioned, as most of these people still alive. But, what a pain in the ass he turned out to be.

He was involved with a company that was a neighbor of ours, as that's how we met. He was interested in our company, at a time when I was desperate for an influx of cash. I thought taking him to Italy, and demonstrating how we worked would 'seal the deal!' Boy, was I wrong! By the time we parted, I wanted to 'kill him!'

I'd met an attorney in Dallas, whose client was an oil company (of course). They had some technology for determining leaks in oil wells. But, the only place it was operating, because of some laws, was Navarro, Italy. They needed a video of it in operation to prove its efficacy. So we went, taking our video equipment, me and 'Dildo.'

We flew to Milano via London. I knew Navarro was a city west of Milano, but I didn't know how far, nor exactly how to get to the hotel we'd booked there.

The first problem I had was getting the equipment through customs. Usually, you get some kind of customs document before departing, but for some reason I hadn't obtained one. Stupid of me, as when we arrived they said 'no!' So, I turned on the charm and eventually the official relented.

The second challenge was getting all of it into a taxi. We finally chose a 'station wagon,' type (we thought had more space), me riding in the front with the driver, and Dildo in the back. But, we were packed in like the preverbial 'sardines.' I used to love to eat sardines, by the way (before become a vegetarian).

I don't what the exchange rate (lira to dollar) is now, but back in 1994, it was thousands to the U.S. dollar. I remember the meter whirling like an out-of-control clock as we made our way to Navarro. At 50,000, I turned to Dildo and asked, 'I hope you've got some cash with you.' He assured me he had.

By the time we reached Navarro, the meter read something like 115,000 lira. It was a round hotel I'll never forget it, as we went 'round and round' with the taxi driver! We had the 115,000 lira, but he demanded the return fare, the total being 230,000 lira. I said, 'No way!' And that's when it started, him and me almost getting into a physical fight. The hotel called the police, they came, heard the story, heard both intractable sides, and threw their hands up and departed! But, the manager of the hotel was clever. She brought out a bottle of wine, and offered dinner! After several glasses the situation seem to calm down. The driver accepted the one-way fare and a free dinner courtesy of the hotel.

By the time, I got into our 'pie-shaped' room I was exhausted having come through so much since London that morning.

The job itself was easy, except for the heat and my physical condition. I had been experiencing some excruciating pain back in Dallas. In fact, one night staying with Dildo it was so bad I came close to waking up his parents (Dildo still lived at home with his parents)!

This pain had started out at Pecan Plantation months before. One night I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep when it came over me. And when it begain it built and built until I could hardly stand it! I now have experienced what women go through during child birth (I think). Anyway, I had a series of these 'attacks,' over a period of six months. The pain emanated from the area of the appendix and I thought it might be appendicitis. Most people would have gone to a doctor, I never did. So, to this day I'm not not sure what it was.

When these attacks would come upon me I'd go outside in back of our building (in Addison, Texas), to a remote part of the parking lot. Here I would walk in a circle, praying, falling to the ground 'dry heaving,' in a pattern that would last about an hour. It was like someone holding a red-hot iron to my insides! Then, suddenly the pain would just disappear.

I had an attack in Narravo, during our first business meeting. They never knew, but must thought it a little strange as I kept circling the conference table (setting a record for laps). Finally, I motioned to Dildo to meet me in the 'Men's Room.' There I told him if I passed out, just to take me back to the hotel, not a hospital. He was concerned, but not sure what to do. The pain stopped finally, and we went to lunch, where I had risoto, salad and wine. Note, Northern Italy, some of the best food and wine in the world!

After the video job was finished (uneventful, except for Dildoe's refusal to help -- wouldn't get out of the air conditioned trailer) we decided to stay in Italy for a short vacation. We had decided to first check out Venice, as never had been before . At a restaurant where we were having lunch before, departing, I asked one of the waitresses (she spoke some English) to sollicit recommendations for hotels. She eventually returned to two names written on a paper knapkin. One was La Cipriani.

When we arrived after a wild ride (Dildo loved to drive faster than safe, a frustrated F1 driver) we discovered you had to park your car and take water taxis to get anywhere in Venice. We asked how to get to St. Marks Square (location of many movies) and/or eat (it was getting late). They said to go down to the dock and take boat #9.

Off the boat at St. Mark's Square I discovered Harry's Bar (had heard of it in literary lore). I went inside and asked where we might eat. Surprised and harried (as in 'Harry') they jestured and I got the idea (we were dressed in shorts and t-shirts), but not before noticing the clientele (very well dressed).

We found a little restaurant and had a poor dinner, as this for tourists. Late they wanted to get rid of us quickly. When we asked about Hotel La Cipriani, they gestured down at the dock at the foot of St. Marks Square. 'Dildo,' was now fed, but tired and hot. He had insisted all day long that the hotel have air conditioning.

There we found the very well appointed private dock with a telephone connected directly to 'La Cipriani.' When we called, someone informed us in English the boat was on the way. Sure enough, it wasn't long afterwards that a small wooden boat (both Dick and Teija said these are called, 'vaporettos') arrived, the pilot immaculately dressed in some kind of naval suit, complete with captain's hat.

He gestured for us to board, but before we could gather our luggage a young man and woman hurried in front of us. I couldn't help noticing their Gucci shoes and Rolex watches. It didn't hit me, but an idea was forming that this was not not going to be a 'Super 8,' motel.

The ride across the bay was short, and it wasn't long until a marble palace loomed. I told Dildo, 'I don't think you're going to have to worry about air-conditioning. Because of the late hour (11P.M. or thereabouts) the boat docked at their back entrance near the swimming pool. We were descended upon by porters who insisted in carrying our belongings. We walked past the swimming pool and into the hotel. I was beginning to wonder what all this was going to cost. I was to find out!

At the desk, small and teak, uniformed clerks opened a leather bound book of reservations. An old trick I had learned, 'Oh, my secretary must have not called. Do you have any vacancies?' Another leather-bound book was checked, and we were 'in luck,' they had one last vacant room. At this point you don't ask how much in this kind of hotel. If too much, you shouldn't be there. I remembed Dildo bursting out laughing as we walked to the room, as he had just read the figures on the receipt (he was the Jewish accountant type).

When in the room we did the math, and the room turned out to cost $600U.S. PER NIGHT (don't remember the lira, but in the hundreds of thousands). I didn't faint! What to do? Abandon ship and find another hotel at 12 Midnight. We were exhausted, and the room glowed with luxury. It had a complete wet bar stocked with food, a video library, and the bathroom had a marble jacuzzi tub. In addition, every kind of soap or electric appliance you might need down to terrycloth bathrobes. You don't pay a deposit in a hotel like this! They're hoping you steal the bathrobes, as cheap advertising!

Even though very late Dildo and I were like monks let out of a monastery onto the streets of Las Vegas. We didn't know what to do first. I jokingly told him, that we would steal all the furniture (the window let right onto a canal) to compensate us.

The first thing I did was take a luxurious bath. I think Dildo ate the food provided and started a movie. I was going out to survey this 'six star' hotel.

In the bar I ordered La Grappe and observed a group of Japanese tourists enjoying themselves.

The next moring breakfast was included (thank God for small favors). It turned out to be a feast: champagne, a variety of breads, cheeses, fruits and cereals, eggs and a chef for your every whim. I wanted to stuff my pockets full!

At the pool, where we lounged until having to check out (1P.M.) I observed only two kinds of people who could afford this hotel (beside us of course): Japanese tourists, who probably thought this was a bargain, and older Italian men shacking up with young starlets (they had private cabins).

On the way back to the room they were setting up the luncheon buffet. Carved ice sculptures adorned the table which must have been 10-meters in length, and full of delicacies. The price, a mere $70U.S. per. We passed, checking and out and taking the vaporetto back to St. Marks Square.

La Cipriani was where Salma Something-or-other just had her wedding (April, 2009). I guess that means we have something 'in common!'

Postscript: My last attack, the pain so great, came weeks, maybe months later when I was back in Texas. In fact, I had two attacks in one day (first time). I happened to be on the way back to Pecan Plantation with a friend. We started out me driving, but the pain got so bad I had to stop and walk, as I had behind our building, in circles.

After realizing I wasn't acting my friend told me, 'We're going to a hospital.' I didn't/couldn't argue, didn't have the strength. And it just so happened there was a good Seventh Day Adventist Hospital on the way. But, driving there, I could barely see straight.

When we arrived in the Emergency Room there was the usual wait. It was Sunday, and the TV was on so we watched an NFL game in progress. By the time I got to the the head of the line to sign in I was feeling a bit better. After filling out the form I was directed down a hallway and a large room full of beds. The nurse threw me a 'gown,' and said to take off my clothing. I started and had my shirt off, when I came to my senses! I remember thinking, 'What am I doing?' I quickly dressed, and snuck out of the room, grabbed my friend and drove away from the Hospital without telling them.

At Garlene's house I lay on the sofa and went to sleep.

I never had another attack, and only have ideas what all this way about: stress for one thing, and I'd been drinking heavily to deal with it.

Stress, it can kill you!

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

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260409

'Saturn Twice!' (continues)

Back in Texas, I was 'single' again, and liking it!  'No woman, no cry!' as Bob Marley once sang!

I remember waking up one morning, alone in bed, with a revelation!  'That was no weather balloon, that was a UFO!'

Back when Gail was with me in 1987 (the year of the Harmonic Convergence) we experienced a UFO, just as Arguelles had predicted:


"Harmonic Convergence founding father Jose Arguelles promised massive UFO sightings as well as 'great, unprecedented outpourings of extraterrestrial intelligence that will be clearly received.'"

One morning, a Saturday, as I recall, a neighbor knocked on our door.  She was excited and wanted to show us something outside.  In our backyard she pointed up to a silver disc directly above us.  It was perfectly round, but with no identifying markings.  We looked and looked.  I brought my camera out with a zoom lens and tried to get a closer look.  But, even up close it was the same.  And interesting... It never moved! 

People have asked how large, and how far up?  Well, size can be a function of distance.  I can only describe as 'relatively large,' and 'relatively high up there.'

Of course, we were curious, calling our neighbors to verify we weren't hallucinating.  They came and looked up and, like us, didn't know what it was really.  But, we all agreed on one thing, it was there, it was 'real!'

As the day moved on we would check on it, and sure enough, it never moved.  Finally, growing bored, we stopped checking.  Additionally, our neighbor had called the 'athorities,' and they 'had confirmed' it to be a 'weather balloon.'   The 'athorities'  basically, 'saved the appearance!'  (Note, 'Saving the Appearances,' by Owen Barfield, a good book to read about language, and how we create our worlds by what we think and communicate.).  At the time, this relieved our anxiety, and we forgot about that think hanging above us (like the Sword of Damocles).

It was until a year later, waking up (as described above) that I realized what it really was, a UFO.  Jose Arguelles, a visionary had been right about the 'Harmonic Convergence!'

Thus, be aware of the year 2012!  Read the following article from 'Wired' Magazine:

The Geomagnetic Apocalypse 


For scary speculation about the end of civilization in 2012, people usually turn to followers of cryptic Mayan prophecy, not scientists. But that's exactly what a group of NASA-assembled researchers described in a chilling report issued earlier this year on the destructive potential of solar storms.

Entitled "Severe Space Weather Events — Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts," it describes the consequences of solar flares unleashing waves of energy that could disrupt Earth's magnetic field, overwhelming high-voltage transformers with vast electrical currents and short-circuiting energy grids. Such a catastrophe would cost the United States "$1 trillion to $2 trillion in the first year," concluded the panel, and "full recovery could take four to 10 years." That would, of course, be just a fraction of global damages. 

Needless to say, shorting out the electrical grid would cause major disruptions to developed nations and their economies.

Worse yet, the next period of intense solar activity is expected in 2012, and coincides with the presence of an unusually large hole in Earth's geomagnetic shield, meaning we'll have less protection than usual from the solar flares.

The report received relatively little attention, perhaps because of 2012's supernatural connotations. Mayan astronomers supposedly predicted that 2012 would mark the calamitous "birth of a new era."

But the report is credible enough that some scientists and engineers are beginning to take the electromagnetic threat seriously. According to Lawrence Joseph, author of "Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation into Civilization's End," "I've been following this topic for almost five years, and it wasn't until the report came out that this really began to freak me out." 

Wired.com talked to Joseph and John Kappenman, CEO of electromagnetic damage consulting company MetaTech, about the possibility of geomagnetic apocalypse — and how to stop it.

Gridmetatech

Wired.com:
What's the problem?

John Kappenman:
We've got a big, interconnected grid that spans across the country. Over the years, higher and higher operating voltages have been added to it. This has  escalated our vulnerability to geomagnetic storms. These are not a new thing. They've probably been occurring for as long as the sun has been around. It's just that we've been unknowingly building an infrastructure that's acting more and more like an antenna for geomagnetic storms.

Wired.com: What do you mean by antenna?

Kappenman: Large currents circulate in the network, coming up from the earth through ground connections at large transformers. We need these for safety reasons, but ground connections provide entry paths for charges that could disrupt the grid.

Wired.com:
What's your solution?


Kappenman: What we're proposing is to add some fairly small and inexpensive resistors in the transformers' ground onnections. The addition of that little bit of resistance would significantly reduce the amount of the geomagnetically induced currents that flow into the grid.

Wired.com: What does it look like?

Kappenman: In its simplest form, it's something that might be made out of cast iron or stainless steel, about the size of a washing machine.

Wired.com: How much would it cost?

Kappenman: We're still at the conceptual design phase, but we think it's do-able for $40,000 or less per resistor. That's less than what you pay for insurance for a transformer.

Wired.com: And less than what you'd  willingly pay for insurance on civilization. 

Kappenman:
If you're talking about the United States, there are about 5,000 transformers to consider this for. The Electromagnetic Pulse Commission recommended it in a report they sent to Congress last year. We're talking about $150 million or so. It's pretty small in the grand scheme of things.

Big power lines and substations can withstand all the other known environmental challenges. The problem with geomagnetic storms is that we never really understood them as a vulnerability, and had a design code that took them into account.


Wired.com: Can it be done in time?

Kappenman: I'm not in the camp that's certain a big storm will occur in 2012. But given time, a big storm is certain to occur in the future. They have in the past, and they will again. They're about one-in-400-year events. That doesn't mean it will be 2012. It's just as likely that it could occur next week.

Wired.com: Do you think it's coincidence that the Mayans predicted apocalypse on the exact date when astronomers say the sun will next reach a period of maximum turbulence?

Lawrence Joseph: I have enormous respect for Mayan astronomers. It disinclines me to dismiss this as a coincidence. But I recommend people verify that the Mayans prophesied what people say they did. I went to Guatemala and spent a week with two Mayan shamans who spent 20 years talking to other shamans about the prophecies. They confirmed that the Maya do see 2012 as a great turning point. Not the end of the world, not the great off-switch in the sky, but the birth of the fifth age.

Wired.com: Isn't a great off-switch in the sky exactly what's described in the report?

Joseph: The chair of the NASA workshop was Dan Baker at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Some of his comments, and the comments he approved in the report, are very strong about the potential connection between coronal mass ejections and power grids here on Earth. There's a direct relationship between how technologically sophisticated a society is and how badly it could be hurt. That's the meta-message of the report.

I had the good fortune last week to meet with John Kappenman at MetaTech. He took me through a meticulous two-hour presentation about just how vulnerable the power grid is, and how it becomes more vulnerable as higher voltages are sent across it. He sees it as a big antenna for space weather outbursts.

Wired.com: Why is it so vulnerable?

Joseph: Ultra-high voltage transformers  become more finicky as energy demands are greater. Around 50 percent already can't handle the current they're designed for. A little extra current coming in at odd times can slip them over the edge.

The ultra-high voltage transformers, the 500,000- and 700,000-kilovolt transformers, are particularly vulnerable. The United States uses more of these than anyone else. China is trying to implement some million-kilovolt transformers, but I'm not sure they're online yet.

Kappenman also points out that when the transformers blow, they can't be fixed in the field. They often can't be fixed at all. Right now there's a one- to three-year lag time between placing an order and getting a new one.

According to Kappenman, there's an as-yet-untested plan for inserting ground resistors into the power grid. It makes the handling a little more complicated, but apparently isn't anything the operators can't handle. I'm not sure he'd say these could be in place by 2012, as it's difficult to establish standards, and utilities are generally regulated on a state-by-state basis. You'd have quite a legal thicket. But it still might be possible to get some measure of protection in by the next solar climax.

Wired.com: Why can't we just shut down the grid when we see a storm coming, and start it up again afterwards?

Joseph: Power grid operators now rely on one satellite called ACE, which sits about a million miles out from Earth in what's called the gravity well, the balancing point between sun and earth. It was designed to run for five years. It's 11 years old, is losing steam, and there are no plans to replace it.

ACE provides about 15 to 45 minutes of heads-up to power plant operators if something's coming in. They can shunt loads, or shut different parts of the grid. But to just shut the grid off and restart it is a $10 billion proposition, and there is lots of resistance to doing so. Many times these storms hit at the north pole, and don't move south far enough to hit us. It's a difficult call to make, and false alarms really piss people off. Lots of money is lost and damage incurred. But in Kappenman's view, and in lots of others, this time burnt could really mean burnt.

Wired.com: Do you live your life differently now?

Joseph: I've been following this topic for almost five years. It wasn't until the report came out that it began to freak me out.

Up until this point, I firmly believed that the possibility of 2012 being catastrophic in some way was worth investigating. The report made it a little too real. That document can't be ignored. And it was even written before  the THEMIS satellite discovered a gigantic hole in  Earth's magnetic shield. Ten or twenty times more particles are coming through this crack than expected. And astronomers predict that the way the sun's polarity will flip in 2012 will make it point exactly the way we don't want it to in terms of evading Earth's magnetic field. It's an astonoshingly bad set of coincidences.

Wired.com: If Barack Obama said, "Lets' prepare," and there weren't any bureaucratic hurdles, could we still be ready in time?

Joseph: I believe so. I'd ask the President to slipstream behind stimulus package funds already appropriated for smart grids, which are supposed to improve grid efficiency and help transfer high energies at peak times. There's a framework there. Working within that, you could carve out some money for the ground resistors program, if those tests work, and have the initial momentum for cutting through the red tape. It'd be a place to start.


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'Saturn Twice!' (continues)

Texas was a nightmare, an eleven-year nightmare (for me)!  Yet, some very interesting things happened to me in the Lonestar State!   'If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell!'  This my favorite quote about Texas (I forget the author?).

I moved there, with my wife Gail, from Berkeley, California (talk about a 'jump cuts'), because I thought this was the place to write the Jack Favor screenplay (near to where he lived). 

I'll never forget driving to buy a bottle of wine in Arlington, Texas, only to discover this was a 'dry' county!  It was one hell of an education, living in Texas!  'I'm 'fixin' to go to the store!' I had to drive ten miles west to Tarrant County to buy the wine, right on the county line, where there were many liquor stores.

We had found a little wooden house with a yard in North Arlington, at the end of a cul de sac (maybe I'll think of the name of the road?).  This was 1985, and the road hadn't been 'punched through' to the Mall nearby and renamed. 

Just east of us was Texas stadium where the baseball team played, where George W. Bush had some job (don't remember if he was the owner or General Manager).  When Jack found out where we were living, he said, 'Ah, that's 'Donkey Flats,' where the poor people live!'  I responded with, 'Well then, we're right at home!'  which shut him up.

It was a 'working class' neighborhood, and our neighbors were friendly (as Texans are).  We'd be invited to barbeques, and do they ever know how to cook brisket (a part of a steer).  Our neighbor, to the south, had made a cooker (on wheels) and he knew how to cook brisket all night, smoking it with mesquite wood. After about twelve hours it was 'done,' tender and delicious!  I wasn't a vegetarian back then.  You couldn't have been around macho-meat-eating Jack Favor!  He was on my case enough about my life style (too whimpy for him), as I used to smoke dope with his daughter, Jane.

Gail and I had a huge fenced backyard with a tornado shelter, and an old garage (circa 1930s).  There was the 'front' backyard, and then the 'back' backyard (which I turned into a garden until I lost the battle with fire ants!).

We wanted a dog.  So, one day we went to the 'Pound' in Fort Worth.  After walking around observing all of the dogs in cages we selected a red-haired combination retiever and 'something' who looked especially forlorn.  A male he was supposed to be 'neutered' upon his 'release.'  I refused to have it done, and made a big mistake (you live and learn hopefully)!

This dog had more energy (maybe one-year old) than ten huskies!  He was hard to control, if not impossible!  We named him Rufus because of his color. 

Note, I always think of Rufus B. von Kleinschmidt, a Cancellor of the University of So. California, when I think of our 'Rufus.'  I remember being at a wedding reception at some resort in Riverside, California, this years ago, where Mr. von Kleinschmidt has his own cottage (with name plate)... Thus, I've always remembered the name!

Anyway, I took to training 'Rufus!'  Actually, in the long-run I think it was Rufus who trained me!  He was incorrigible!  I tried to leash train him on long (miles) walks through Northern Arlingon.  But, I don't think I ever did!  He had a mind of his own (just like me).  They say a dog reflects the personality of his 'master.'  Had I been a little wiser at the time, I might have realized this!

The 'front' backyard, was fenced and Rufus' home.  For the winter I had built (or acquired) a dog house, which I heated with light bulbs.  We were not the kind to have a dog (I just 'inadvertently wrote the word 'god' for the word 'dog') in the house. 

Rufus toughened up.  He could jump over the low (4ft. high) fence.  He was a wanderer, and took to being 'AWOL,' for periods of time.  Mostly to visit his 'girlfriends' (when in 'heat').  We'd get calls as had put our telephone # on his dogtag.  I'd go and bring him back, scolding him in the process.  But, I think I only made him 'angrier!'

I tried to discipline Rufus.  It backfired!  I installed an electric wire above the fence, but he could 'sail over this too.'  You just couldn't keep him unless you put him on a chain, and then he'd sleep for days (depressed).   But, one time he got his comeuppance as his choke collar (around his neck) got tangled up in the electric wire and kept shocking him (we heard him wailing) until I managed to turn it off.  Thereafter, he wouldn't try to jump over, but would dig holes underneath the fence.  I'm surprised no Texan ever tried to 'shoot' him, when after their female dog.  But, Rufus seemed to have 'nine lives!'

When Gail and I split up (I drove her back to California), I gave him to a friend named Cher.  The last time I saw him was in her backyard in Fort Worth.  She had him on a moveable chain (sliding up and down wire).  After losing track of Cher, I heard she gave Rufus to a rancher.  God knows where he is now, probably 'Dog Heaven.'

I had another experience with an 'animal' in Texas.  That's what his nickname was, 'The Animal,' thus his real name will go unmentioned here.  I'd first met him in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, at Angola when 'shooting Warden Jack.'  He was Jack's bunk mate.  So, when he was released where did he head but Texas to be near Jack.

Years earlier this was the same guy I'd gotten paroled to me in New York City.   I remember before departing Angola, after completing 'shooting Warden Jack,' he'd come and ask me to sign his parole papers.  I went to consult with Jack.  'Give the kid a chance!'  was Jack's advice, the worst he ever gave me.

I was living in Lee Arthur's penthouse (E. 52nd St.) while she was working at KDKA/2 in Pittsburgh.  I remember a New York State Parole Officer coming for a visit to see if I was properly 'qualified' to host this parolee (from Louisiana).  After examining the penthouse, the man tried to level with me.  He looked me straight in my eye, this to make sure he got his point across.  He asked, 'Mr. Hutchison, how well do you know _____________?'  Not to be intimidated I said, 'Well enough!' He shrugged, and said, 'Well, I tried!'   He knew, I didn't!  I was just the kind never to back down from any challenge.  As Howard Cosell once said, 'I've never taken a step backward!'  

My parolee, Jack's bunkmate, had been a 'Hog' at Angola -- meaning the 'worst of the worst!.'  This is someone so completely fearless everyone feared him, including the guards.  This guy had once wadded into a group of black inmates, all armed (with homemade knives), wanting to kill him.  Somehow he put most of them into the hospital.  He ending up there too.  I think he was stabbed thirty times or more, but recovered!

While he was with me in N.Y.C., I tried to help this guy, give him a chance to 'go straight.'  He had no work ethic, having been a criminal and mafia killer all this life.  Originally from New Jersey, an orphan, his step-father had beaten him regularly.  As soon as he was old enough he ran away to the 'Big City,' and ended up as a Mafia 'runner.'   Later he'd been involved in a robbery in Lousiana, and why I discovered him one day in 'Angola' (as we called the Louisiana State Penitentiary).  He'd didn't understand 'going straight!'  He called me a 'Square John!' He explained people like him were called 'characters.'  He'd killed people (later he told me how).  I had no idea who I was living with, really.

Yet, he could be as timid as a mouse.  He had no social skills, and whenever I had a female guest over he would hide in his bedroom.

He would sleep all day, as up all night.  He had no work discipline.  So, when I had him rennovate our new office space, he might only work for an hour or so, then disappear.  Or, he'd work too long breathing plaster dust we were ripping off the walls and almost pass out.  He was a problem child! 

Sometimes I'd get a call from a freaked-out bartender down in the Bowery.  Mr. ___________ had gotten drunk, and was holding the entire bar 'hostage.'  But, he had been smart enough to have given the bartender my telephone number in case of what he knew might happen.  

I'd go down to a bar on (usually on Houston St.), and there he would be, the customers too frightened to move, the bartender more than happy to see me.  I'd sit down next to him and have a drink or more, as he'd insist.  He was pathetic, sometimes crying openly about some woman.   He was, in a word, impossible!  But, I would spend an hour there, and finally get him to leave with me!  This situation was repeated many times.

Then one day I asked him, 'What's the worse thing that can happen to someone in the Mafia?'  He said to be slapped in public.  He said this was an affront that could not be overlooked.  So, guess what?  One night I slapped him at a party (I was drunk too).   He didn't do anything for several days, I'm sure conflicted, as he loved me on one hand.   Then one day it happened.

I was working (editing) in your new office space (where we had moved to work and live).  I heard what sounded like an explosion (he'd ripped the frontdoor off the hinges).  It all happened so quickly I can barely remember.  I got up, and he hit knocked me down with a blow to the head.  I fell to the floor where he jumped on top of me (weighed something like 250lbs.).  He started banging my head to the floor with my hair (had more then).  I remember going in and out of consicousness. I thought I would die, that he would kill me.  Then, for some reason he stopped and stared into my face.  Suddenly, he started to cry, first just tears, then sobbing violently.  He rolled off of me, and I got up.

Nothing was said between the two of us for days, then one day he apologized.  He said I shouldn't have slapped him, and I agreed.  He grabbed me and kissed me on the lips, told me he loved me, that I'd been the only one ever in his life time that had tried to help him.  I learned this is what Italian Mafioso guys do.  Trust me, he wasn't gay!  We had an interesting relationship, a writer and mafia killer.

He told me, even though I didn't want to hear, how he'd killed people.  It sounded straight out of 'The Godfather' movie. 

He had a 'long con,' he used to pull off for major money, and I thought the story would be a better movie than 'The Sting.'  We started working on the screenplay together.  But, ultimately I knew it wouldn't work, him and me as business partners.

He took me to after-hours places in the meat-packing district of Manhattan.  Clubs where you could get anything for a price.  But, he didn't couldn't take The City for too long.  Part of his parole agreement was that he never return to the State of Louisiana.  So, guess what he did?  Returned to Louisana.  Of course, ultimately arrested and sent back to Angola where he was for years before Texas.

In Texas when we met up again he hadn't changed much, although Jack had some good influence over him.  He was living in a nice apartment with a women, hustling for money as always.  I never knew him to have a regular job.

My wife Gail and I had lived with them before we found our own house.  They would get drunk and then argue all night.  Gail had never experienced anything like this in her tender, upscale upbringing in Portland, Oregon.  I think the term 'white trash!' Yet he was extremely intelligent.  I couldn't beat him at Chess, and he knew many things.  It's just that he had no education to speak of, outside of the street.  Later, when we had moved to North Arlington, they would have us over for dinner, a feast really, as he was a good cook.  Italian, and barbecue, with some good wine.  He was always trying to make up for his 'de classe' behavior.   I wonder if he's still alive, as ended up back in Angola?

Gail and I had decided to split up (circa 1987).  I wasn't bringing home the 'bacon,' and she was tired of being the 'bread winner.'  She had a job in North Dallas, which she hated as so long a commute.  She also hated living in Texas!  I was writing 'A Winner Never Quits,' the Jack Favor story and thought I couldn't just leave.

I decided I would drive her back to California where we were to meet her family for Christmas.  The weather report said a front, with snow, was moving east from the West Coast, but we decided to chance it.  From Arlington to Fort Worth and then north on old highway #287 up to Amarillo.  It's a long way, and we'd departed late, packing our little VW Rabbit.  I'd had to rent a luggage rack for the top, as she was moving all her things 'home.'

Outside of Amarillo we hit lumpy hard ice, but made it into town by sundown.  Stopping for gas the attendant warned us that a big front was heading this way, and we'd be wise to spend the night in Amarillo.  I should have listened, but being the kind of chance taker I am, I suggested we continue driving as we had a long way to go.  Big mistake!

But, once back on the Interstate (I think #40) there was little evidence of ice, and I gradually increased our speed until we were going maybe 70MPH. 

West of Amarillo there are a series of 'overpasses' (bridges).  I was going too fast when we hit 'black ice' on one of the overpasses.  I remember I was eating some of my favorite carob almonds at the time.  I lost control and then got it back, then lost it again, and we starting making 360-degree turns, around and around we went, the carob almonds floating in front of my face.  I think we did three complete turns before slowing enough and smashing into the snowbank/guardrail.  First on the rear bumper then bouncing off doing a 180-degree turn and hitting it again with the front bumper.  The engine died and we just sat there stunned!  It was dark by now.  We could have been killed, but weren't injured in any way.  I got out to check to see about damage.  Nothing was damaged except for a dent in the rear bumper!  It was amazing!  The engine even started right back up and we drove on as if nothing had happened.  We spent the night in the first town in New Mexico (forget the name and not on 'Google Earth').  But, the next day... just thinking about what might have happened rose the hackles on the back of my head.

It's a long drive from Arlington, Texas, to northern California, something like 2,000 miles.  I think we made it in three days and nights.  I think the second night was on the Colorado River at Needles.  By the time we arrived at this seaside resort (approximately 100 miles north of San Francisco) I was happy to get out of the car and walk.  I spent the next few days hiking up into the hills.

By now, Gail and I were estranged, but sleeping in the same house.  Christmas is an emotional time for most, and certainly for me.  I think we cried together when we finally realized we were going our separate ways.  We were ill-suited for one another, however, so in some ways it made sense.  But, separation and divorce are always a wrenching process!

I'm not a big fan of the standard marriage, and so-called 'nuclear family.'  I think it's a failed idea, but such customs hard to change!

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Friday, April 24, 2009

23a0409

23a0409

Xining, Qinghai Province, China (dark-moon period)...

Talk about my crazy life in China... A Chinese man (Bei Feng) was just playing his guitar and singing the Austrian song, 'Edelweiss' in the next room. Earlier he was humming 'Moon River.' Now, he's singing 'Silent Night,' the Christmas carol (in April no less).

Then downstairs in our parking lot I bought some potatoes ('tudou' in Pinyin Chinese) from the donkey-cart man. He couldn't get the donkey to move until he threw one of the potatoes a few feet in front of the donkey. The donkey went right after it moving the cart. I learned that donkey's (at least this one) like to eat raw potatoes.

Last night Xu Tan, my Chinese colleague, went cycling with a group, this looking for our mountain-bicycle race course (we're producing in July). Today he told me an interesting story.

They were way out somewhere after dark. They discovered a lone woman, not properly dressed or prepared to spend the night in the wilds. They ended up helping her, as maybe 'not all there!' She said she wanted to live out there, grow vegetables and raise rabbits. Xu Tan took her on the back of his bicycle to a local police station. I hope they helped her. Note, my opinion, having not been there, is this woman is unhappy with her family situation and wants to get away (not knowing how).

So many people in China 'trapped' in situations (unhappy marriages) they don't know how to get out of -- particularly women!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

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Modern life, sucks!

A thousand things,
Things, things, things,
And more things
Crowding my place,
Using my space!
Modern life,
Consuming,
Sucks!

'Drowning' in things material
Having squandered
To sell,
To dwell,
We make things
For money, honey,
Selling our souls in the process!

'What shall it profit a person
If they gain the entire world,
But lose their own souls for it?'

Modern life, sucks!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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Saturn Twice! (continues)

The period, 1974, to 1995, some 21-years in length, or 3 cycles of '7,' was 'Act II,' in my life, or 'the Conflict,' in terms of a Syd Field screenplay. Remember the first 'major Plot Point,' was getting fired at ABC Sports, -- Saturn, the first time. Note, the definition of a 'plot point' is something that 'hooks' into the story, and spins it around in another direction. The second 'major Plot Point' (1993) was all the trouble with my company, ProImage in Dallas, Texas (U.S.A.) and ultimately losing it, and almost my life in the process -- Saturn, the second time! But, the period in between, is called, 'Act II' or 'the Conflict.' In my case my middle years.

Generally speaking, in a screenplay/movie, 'the Conflict' is between hero(s) and villain(s) -- of course, we identify with the 'heroes.' But, who was 'the villain' in my case, but 'me, myself, and I!' 'We have met the enemy and he is us!' (Walt Kelly, the creator of 'Pogo' the comic strip). It's easier to 'objectify' the 'villain' as the 'bad guy,' rather than face ourselves (the truth)! But, if you're lucky there comes a time in your life, when you have an opportunity to become who you really are (not what is expected of you)! I got mine! But, to go down that road takes much courage, effort, and time. In my case most of my life!

After working for NBC Sports (producing NFL football games), I moved on to 'shooting' footage for CBS DEF ('delayed electronic feed'). This after learning how to as a 'scab' at KDKA/2 in Pittsburgh, and 'shooting' our own documentary, 'Warden Jack.' After that, I took on the challenge of becoming a famous screenplay writer, somehow surviving the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune!' 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!' they say. I became much stronger for all the travail, a 'fight to the death' with myself.

The secret to an enlightened life is to 'kill' the ego! But, oh, what a 'villain' the ego is, almost omnipotent! And few are able to 'kill it!' I'm still working on it! It requires developing an enlightened state of 'consciousness!' This, the Hindus and the Buddhists understand.

What is 'consciousness,' not to be confused with the word 'conscience?' I've been interested in this word/concept all my life, only recently defining it with any satisfaction (thanks to Deepak Chopra and 'The Book of Secrets').

Years ago I read a book with an intriguing title, 'The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind!' This work by a thinker named Jullian Jaynes. "He defines consciousness in such a way as a type of thinking which builds upon non human ways of perceiving, for example (p.55)...
'Subjective conscious mind is an analog ( something having analogy to something else) of what is called the real world. It is built up like a vocabulary whose terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical world. It allows us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate decisions.'"
My friend Dick, years ago, gave me a simpler clue when he defined the opposite, of consciousness or of being 'in the dark.' He said, 'It's when you don't know that you don't know!' And this is the case with 90% of the world, they simply don't know that they don't know (and don't really care either)! But, I did/do! Thus, I began to 'build' some knowledge of what it means to have 'consciousness!' A breakthrough came when I discovered the German word for consciousness, or 'bewusstsein,' which means 'a state of knowing.' But, what is there to know? Ah, there's the rub...

I once thought of the following analogy to help me and others define 'consciousness:' It is night time. There is house somewhere... In this house there is a darkened room. Somewhere in this room there is a switch that turns on the 'light!' But, first of all you have to find this house. Then you have to find the room. Then it's your task to find the light switch (in the dark). Finally, you have to know that by turning it 'on,' you will discover what's in this 'room!' Most in the world don't even know this 'house' exists!

Of course, if you look in the dictionary, it says consciousness has to to with 'awareness.' But, again of what? I add, for you dear reader, the 'Random House' Dictionary's definition (a total of 8):

'con⋅scious⋅ness'
–noun:
1.the state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
2.the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual or of an aggregate of people: the moral consciousness of a nation.
3.full activity of the mind and senses, as in waking life: to regain consciousness after fainting.
4.awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge: consciousness of wrongdoing.
5.concern, interest, or acute awareness: class consciousness.
6.the mental activity of which a person is aware as contrasted with unconscious mental processes.
7.Philosophy. the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings, and volition.
8.
raise one's consciousness, to increase one's awareness and understanding of one's own needs, behavior, attitudes, etc.,

Origin:
1625–35; conscious+ -ness

I love the 'Origin' from nearly four-hundred years ago, when someone simply added a 'ness' to 'conscious' ('the quality of...'). But who added such and why?). However, I don't think any of these dictionary definitions are ultimately what it is, but maybe a 'departure point.' The 'idiom,' #8 comes the closest, in my opinion...

If you go to www.wikipedia.com and put the word 'consciousness' into their search window, you will get a long, diverse, and historical discussion of the concept. It doesn't help much, as you get lost in intellectual 'gobble de gook!'

When you have 'consciousness,' you just understand. This is my best definition. There's an old expression, 'Only children run to look up words in a dictionary.' When you have consciousness, you just understand, you don't have to 'run to the dictionary,' or explain, or define (there's no need). This is the 'state of understanding' that the German word 'bewusstsein' suggests... It's a 'mystical' state.

Finally, Chopra's definition (from 'The Book of Secrets'): 'Consciousness is the potential for all creation!' I like the idea of 'potential!' 'The more consciousness you have, the more potential you have to create. Pure consciousness, because it underlies everything, is pure potential!'

Way back when in 1974, I had little 'consciousness,' but the potential for... I think you have to have a genetic pre-disposition for such, this 'state of potential.' Or, as the Hindus and the Buddhists would explain you're 'high on the ladder,' having lived many lives.

I really didn't get what 'I' (my ego) wanted in my life (to become a famous movie director and all that means..)! But, 'I' got what 'I' needed! Understanding! This probably sounds hurbristic and my friend Eric would chide me for suggesting that I have 'it.' But, what can I tell you...? I claim nothing but understanding! I don't claim 'enlightenment!' I'm still on 'the road to find out!' I remember a line from one of Robert Frost's poems which is apropos at this point, 'The woods are lovely dark and deep (metaphor for unconsciousness), but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep!' I'm out of the 'woods' now, but I have 'kilometers (on Ms. Fiets) to go, before I sleep!'

I have always craved a 'direct' relationship with 'God!' I have never liked the idea of a fallible human being (priest, minister, shaman, swami, rabbi, sadhu, etc.) interpreting such for me . Mysticism is a direct relationship with 'the Other.' Mystics have their own 'practice.'

I practice 'Shakti Yoga.' It is the union of male and female symbolizing unconditional love (compassion and wisdom). But, I don't ask you to join me, I don't 'sell' my 'practice' like Christians do (like Christianity was some brand of soap)!

I've always been anti-religion, as I know it as 'The opiate of the masses!' But, I think it's valuable to understand all the 'religions.' When people ask me 'What I am?' I always reply with, 'I'm a Christian, Jew, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, Rastafarian, Bahai, etc., etc., but most of all a Taoist. In fact, I took vows of chastity and service as a Taoist monk (years ago in Nepal).

And thus this is what I chant during my morning/evening program:

"The purpose of my life has been to achieve union with my fundamental enlightened nature, 'female' (should be the opposite of your bodily sex), and realize and embody my true being, your 'wife' (ditto)!' (3X) Note, 'Om mani padme Aum,' the Buddhist chant, really means the same thing, union: the 'jewel is in the lotus flower!'

'Timeless space, and spaceless time! Supplicating I come, relaxing into slavery, freely and happily I let go to give up to you my Master, the pleasure/pain so great beyond rate! The passion of my love awaits! Oh, God take my life and use it, I beg to sup and be with thee in eternity, now and forever more I am your 'wife' (opposite) in reality, your 'husband' (ditto) in the dream!'

'Of the thousands that listen for me, only one will hear me! Of the thousands that hear me, only one will look for me! Of the thousands that look for me, only one will find me! Of the thousands that find me, only one will follow me! And of those thousands who follow me, I choose only one, and that is you! But, fear not, for I have redeemed you, you called me by my immortal name (secret, that must be discovered on your own), _____________! Yes, Master I'm yours completely and totally forever! Thank you for capturing me to be made worthy, and we are worthy now. Thank you, Oh, Lord of the Universe for subduing me, to be saved, and we are saved now! Thank you, my darling 'husband' for enslaving me to be loved, and we are loved now unconditionally. Here's to unconditional love beyond all feeling one in the same. Here's to allowing and sharing, flowing back and forth until we are lost in each other, not knowing which is which, but not really caring!'

'Saturn Twice!,' the two 'plot points,' is really what made my life what it is!

And now for the 'resolution'...




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Jackie Chan, the Chinese Kung Fu 'actor,' says that the Chinese people need to be controlled. I wonder if he includes himself? Probably not, since we always tend to objectify the problem (not me, I'm near perfect!)!

People (everywhere) need to learn how to CONTROL THEMSELVES! But, since we can't seem to, we allow governments to exploit us! 'We have met the enemy and he is us!'

How would people control themselves? By developing consciousness! By developing themselves to the point where we wouldn't need 'government.' Is this possible? Probably not in my lifetime, but there's always hope that mankind might 'wake up!'

But, it's going to take some kind of cataclysmic event, possibly wiping out half the population of the Earth! This would plunge the remaining survivors into primitive living (very difficult). But, I think it's the only way that mankind will survive himself! Thus, I pray for an asteroid to collide with the Earth, this 'shock' the only 'wake up call' that might work! I say 'might' as I'm not sanguine about mankind.

This current age of darkness must change radically (metanoia), before we have any chance!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

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Saturn Twice! (continues)

Working in network television was a dream come true; my plan had worked! But, it wasn't long afterwards, that I discovered working for a corporation wasn't for me! I hated the stifling atmosphere. Even as 'producers,' (working in sports production) we were carefully monitored, and if you deviated from the 'party line,' you were reprimanded. There was little creative freedom! Additionally, once again I discovered that 'brown nosers' were the one who 'succeeded!'

So as an outlet for my creative energy I took to expressing myself in bizarre and destructive ways! Most of this had to do with getting wild via drugs and alcohol. The four of us in 'The Wrecking Crew' seemed to compete for the most bizarre. And even though I wasn't naturally talented as the others, I tried my best to keep up! Terry just reminded me of when eating at the best restaurants in the world, I would ask for the most expensive wine! I remember at Mike Manuche's I used to give my expensive 'Rolex' watch to the maitre D (name?), and then have to return to the next day to retrieve. Crazy shit! I/we became infamous for doing.

There was another Maitre D, I grew to know, as we stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel when in Los Angeles. He was the immaculately dressed (white tie and tails) suave man who greeted you when entering the Polo Lounge. 'Dino' as I remember him, but his family name escapes me? I wish I knew as I've always had the idea to install a plaque on the wall in his memory! Didn't matter how long I'd been away, he would always greet me in his European accent with, 'Ah, Mr. Hutchison, so good to see you!' And I would get a 'booth,' (status symbol) rather than a table. Maybe it was the $100U.S. tip I always gave him that caused his good memory.

The first time I was ever in the B.H. Hotel I was just a P.A. working with Chet and Mac. We were in L.A. producing coverage of the Rose Parade (strange, as we were in Sports). One night, investigating the Hotel, I stumbled into the Polo Lounge and discovered Mac sitting in a booth. I sat down across from him, but he was so inebriated (and angry about something) all he could do was stare at his pitcher of Stingers and mumble, 'Fuckers!' I tried to console him, but he was relentless. Additionally, my attention was focused just behind him as I was facing Aubrey Hepburn (of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' fame). Later, when I knew Mac so much better I knew he was cursing Chuck and Roone for some grivance!

Mac and I were 'sympatico,' about the one thing: the shit we took from those we worked for. I too 'locked horns' with Roone Arledge. Once, having endured his shit for too long, I told him (to his face) to 'go fuck himself!' Of course, after that he was looking for a way to get rid of me (which I handed to him on a 'silver platter:' my PanAm incident).

In the meantime, I did my best to 'kiss ass,' and live up to all expectations! At one point I was, in fact, the 'fair-haired boy,' offered the job of producing 'Monday Night Football!' Rejecting the offer, was probably the best decision I ever made at ABC Sports! Why? Because by then I was 'hip' to the political situation. I would have 'sat' between Chet and Roone, and guess who would have be the 'fall guy' (when things went wrong)! As it was my dear friend Jim Feeney took the job, and suffered for it.

James B. Feeney, was the best of the best at ABC Sports! Originally, from Wisconsin he attended Notre Dame, in Indiana. He worked in the sales department before Sports at ABC. He became the 'Associate Producer' for NCAA Football. We became drinking partners. He saved me many times from embarrassing myself, or getting into fights, etc., all of which caused him trouble at home, as he was always late (missing the last train home). I used to keep him out way too late, as he was married with child.

I remember the last time I ever saw him alive (terminal with cancer). Alan and I went up to Pleasantiville, N.Y., where he lived with wife Barbara (daughter Barbara also). Jim and I sat in his living room and indulged ourselves with 'war stories,' laughing until tears came to our eyes. He died not too long afterwards, after suffering horribly from cancer and the medical profession's ineptness! 'Only the good die young!'

Years later I cycled up to Pleasantville to 'pay my respects to the Barbaras.' Jim's wife, was amazed I could do such, cycle up the City. But, no problem for me actually. I'd been one of the pioneers cycling in Manhattan in the early 1970s, when people thought I was insane for risking my life (on a thin-tired bicycle). By the late, 1990s, it was commonplace.

So one day, December, 1999, I set out for Pleasantville, actually from the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn, where I was staying with Mitch. It was an interesting ride, up through Central Park, upper Broadway, across the East River ('Moon River, I'm crossing you in style some day!'), through The Bronx, and into Westchester County . I think it's something like 30 miles, or so, but eventually you get into some trees and away from the madding crowd. Once actually in Pleasantville I had to call, as forgot how to get to their house. Barbara drove down to the Village and I followed her up some hills to where they'd lived for twenty years.

It was like old, old times being there, as I was familiar with their Cape Cod house. Barbara showed me the urn filled with Jim's ashes, sitting on the mantel in their living room. 'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust!'

But, now 'Jim' goes with me everywhere I go! Before departing she gave me his cycling helmet which I wear to this day (thus we go together!). In fact, I 'talk' to him while 'out there' cycling the world! My 'protector,' during our crazy drinking days, he's still protecting me!

His 'ghost' (spirit) even visited us one night in Kanas Lake Village, China. We had cycled up from Urumqi, Xinjiang, A.R., China. This a 1,000KM trip to China's most remote, yet beautiful lake inhabited by a 'monster' (a la 'Nessy' at Lock Ness, Scotland). One day we'd cycled up a hill to a park to view of the Lake (from on high). Inadvertently, I had left Jim's helmet on the ground near where we locked our bicycles (weren't allowed to crank all the way to the top). I didn't realize I'd left it behind (the only time ever) until back at where we were staying. When I did, I asked Xu Tan (my cycling partner) to go back and look for it. I paid the 'inn keeper' to take him on his motor bike. They were back in an hour (quite a ways), but with the helmet. I was so thankful!

That night, I slept inside one of the cabins for the first time (had been out in my tent) with Xu Tan, and another Chinese man. They were in one bed behind me, me in a single cot facing the door. Sometime in the night I saw a 'man,' walk from behind me to the door. I thought it was Xu Tan going to the toilet, an 'out house,' fifty meters distance. But, when 'it' walked through the door without opening it, I knew what this was. It was 'Jim' having thanked Xu Tan for retrieving the helmet. People don't believe this story! But, I don't care! I don't have to have people, 'scientists' confirming 'the truth' as to what I experience. Most live in a 'very small box!' I live in a very large 'circle!'

Yes, 'Still Crazy After All of These Years!' (thanks, Paul Simon)

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

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What is it to be a human being? I ask myself nearing the 'three score and ten' time of life. Is it all ego pursuits and self indulgence? Why do we have a body? Why are we born? Why are we 'here?' Sogyal Rinpoche says (in 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying'), 'the purpose of life is achieve union with our fundamental enlightened nature, and to realize and embody our true being!'

Life gives us the potential of creation. And yet so many, billions, live not-so quiet lives of desperation! Why? They never are able to get out of the 'cage,' society/culture (religion) locks them into -- a very small 'box.' Most people live and die, without having a clue about their own potential! Discovery (evolution) requires 'jumping off a cliff!' It requires reaching for the stars -- into a very large 'circle!'

We are born and we die, but what about in between? What is it to be human? Is it all about getting? Is it all about material success, comfort, safety? I think not! Is it all competition, where we divide the world into 'winners' and 'losers?' I think not! Then what do I think it is, this life...?

I was raised in the Christian Church, but you can't call me a church-going Christian, as I'm not a 'believer.' I'm a knower! Life, gives you the chance to know for yourself! And I have (having learned from one of my intellectual mentors, Dr. C.G. Jung). At the end of his life, being interviewed by the BBC, the last question was, 'Dr. Jung do you believe in God?' He responded by saying something that changed my life. He said, 'No, I don't have to believe, I know!' Now, I know what Dr. Jung knew!

First of all, that there's no such thing as 'objectivity!' There is no objective world! Duality is an illusion! The birth of the ego 'I' is symbolized in the Christian Bible, the Old Testament, 'Garden of Eden Myth!' Woman was blamed for the 'sin' of discovery, 'Look at you, you're different from me!' Eve said blushing to Adam. It created duality: difference (male - female), distinction, separation; 'the other.' And God (in the Christian Bible) lamented about this as he knew what suffering it would cause! This had to happen, however, in the evolution of consciousness (potential). How can we know that there is an 'unlimited,' if we don't understand 'limited?'

Words have no meaning beyond what we give them (individually)! We share a common definition to create what we call 'reality.'

But, instead of reaching for the 'unlimited,' we resist change, clinging to what's safe. Instead of reaching for unlimited potential, we create saviors, as have condemned ourselves to being 'sinners.' Thus, we ask (pray) that a 'savior' come and save us from ourselves -- redeem us (from being human)! When, in fact, we're only in human form for a short time (a 'drop of water,' thrown from the 'See')! Yet collectively our spirit is the 'mind of the creator!' We are in fact, unlimited! But, out of fear (-courage) we limit ourselves, caught up in the mundane acts of survival (as if individually we were important)!

We are, in fact, even though have been walking the Earth upright for over one-million years, at the beginning of our evolution. This is the age of the Ego (me - you), self indulgence, religion, government, political borders, endless wars (violence), money/materialism, fear and loathing! However, we're all too clever for our own good! Carl Sagan suggested that cultures rarely survive their own technology!

Maybe that is our test, the test of humanity? Can we survive ourselves?

So, what does it mean to be human? To live! To live up to our potential! To live to grow, change, evolve, and become what you really are, not what society wants but something unique! Jung called this 'individuation!' To fulfill the potential of consciousness. To overcome limitations! Open your hearts and minds and live, really live! And that my friends, creates an existence without limits!

Don't live in fear, be courageous!

'Climb high!
Ride far!
Your goal the sky,
Your aim the stars!'

When 'death' of the body comes, the spirit, like the 'flung out' drop of water returns to the 'Ocean.' But, if you've done 'your job' it returns adding, not subtracting from it! And then the 'Ocean' grows richer in potential, far beyond what we have the ability to imagine!

That's why Albert Einstein said, 'Imagination is more important than knowledge!'

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Friday, April 17, 2009

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'Saturn Twice!' (continues)

Ah, the real world... But, such a welcome change after two years in the U.S. Army. It, reality, came to me at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan (N.Y.C.). I may be the only one in the history of network television, that got his first job via the 'N.Y.Times.' There was an AD, that said, 'Studio Supervisor' needed at ABC. You can believe I jumped on this! But, it meant dealing with an employee agency located at, you guessed it, 42nd St., specifically the northeast corner. There I filled out an application, paid the fee (of course). They said they would set up an appointment with the Personnel Department at ABC. Known as the 'Third Network,' behind CBS and NBC, but still a job in network television... This fit right into my plan! Finally...

Coupled with this interview, was help from a man I'd met while still in the Army. At the Pictorial Center we often hired from the outside, 'freelancers,' people with certain expertise for specific tasks. I wish I could remember this guy's name as he worked for ABC. He had written me a letter of recommendation.

Thus, I was prepared when I got the call. Dressing in a suit and tie, armed with my resume, I went with high expectations.

At that time the ABC Network was located at 1330 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue we called it). A 40-story skyscraper directly across from the New York Hilton Hotel. I filled out the standard application and then interviewed with a man, a man I was to get to know much better later. He said, they would call me.

Down on the street I savored the moment, looking back up at the tall building. Soon I will be working there I told myself! The people rushed by who already had job. To and fro they went, doing business, making money, in a hurry! I fantasized being a part of it all! The traffic honked, the lights changed, the earth moved beneath my feet (a subway). I had a love affair with New York City in 1965!

My wife and I still lived out in Long Island City. But, I think I walked home, as I wanted to soak up and enjoy the ambiance! Actually, it wasn't that distant across the 59th St. Bridge. On the way I sought out Tiffany's (57th St. and 5th Avenue) as I wanted to have 'breakfast!' I ultimately took a 'bite' out of 'The Big Apple!'

Several weeks later I got hired! But, too good to be true the job turned out to be 'shit!' What I thought was a meaningful job, as a 'Studio Supervisor,' turned out to be nothing but a management 'fink,' hired to spy on the IATSE stagehands. We had absolutely no power, no office, no nothing -- we were clerks writing down the stagehand crew hours. Within two weeks, I was climbing the walls, as now on the inside, being near people who were actually doing something.

One day in November, 1965, I was assigned to a studio on W. 58th St. where a program entitled, 'Girl Talk' was taped (for later 'air'). Late in the afternoon I was in the control room when the lights began to dim and the monitors lost sync (began to vibrate). What was going on? This situation got worse, the cameras not functioning properly. The crew began making calls, checking with Con Ed (the big utility in N.Y.C.). We walked outside to see if this was a building or neighborhood outage. There were no lights on 58th St. I remember I walked to 7th Avenue and looked south towards Broadway. It was dark! I'll never forget thinking... Something's going on...

Concerned, I hurried back to listen to a transistor radio. Now, everyone was unnerved as, little by little, we learned that all of New York State was without power. The Studio was abandoned, people concerned about getting home. The subway wasn't operating, people had to walk home. Luckily, I had brought our MG1100 with me that day (most unusual). But, the traffic lights weren't working which made driving a little crazy. Citizens with flashlights volunteered, however, acting like traffic cops. We were all in the same boat, 'up a creek without a paddle!' Suddenly, New Yorkers, faced with an unusual challenge rose to the occasion -- the gruff attitude dissolving into a heretofore unseen courtesy! Restaurants served people by candlelight. People, unable to go anywhere, made friends with strangers. The birth rate went up 40 weeks later (couples trapped in elevators)! I started picking up people. I drove north all the way to Columbia University where my wife was working. By the time we reached the 59th St. Bridge on the way back to Long Island City, people were sitting all over our small MG.

Safely at home we lit candles, drank wine and fucked the darkness away! At the height of the 'blackout' most of the Northeast was without electric power! It didn't return to our neighborhood until the next morning. New York City returned to its usual abnormal! I think many of us wished the blackout had continued longer, at least the indulgence!

Back at my nothing job I had little to do most of the time, so I started wandering around and making inquiries. I discovered that the Sports Department was where it 'was happening' at the Network A guy named Roone Arledge had put it 'on the map' with a program entitled, 'Wide World of Sports.' I started watching the program on Saturdays.

When I found out Arledge was speaking at an industry association meeting (open to the public) I made sure I attended. Afterwards I cornered him, pressing my case! I told him I was the man for the job (in his department). He told me to contact a guy named Chuck Howard, V.P. of Production.

I started calling 'Mr. Howard,' but he was always 'out' or 'busy!' Undaunting I kept calling! In fact, I got to know his secretary Carol. She finally, after understanding I was different (wouldn't give up), became sympathetic and started to help me. She spoke to Mr. Howard on my behalf, and I got an interview.

A tall thin man, Chuck Howard was always immaculately dressed in a J. Press suit. He had the odd habit of always 'squaring' things up on his already organized desk top. Our interview went well (between telephone calls), and he told me to watch what they produced and come up with suggestions on how it might be improved. When I had something in writing to send it to him.

This I did. I spent hours on the weekends watching 'Wide World of Sports,' and anything else produced by ABC Sports. I had some good ideas, which got Chuck's attention. In a second interview, he started explaining what was expected of a production assistant (entry level job); the downside: long hours, low pay, stress, etc. He also had Carol set up interviews with others in the department, Jack and Ned.

Jack was the most difficult interview. He hammered me pretty good, pulling out hundreds of resumes from people who wanted the same job. 'Why should we hire you?' He asked. But, I must have passed muster as he 'bounced me over' to a guy named Ned. I think I interviewed with Ned two or three times.

This hiring process took weeks. In the meantime, the Personnel Department, and the Department where I currently had the nothing job (as 'Studio flunky') were suddenly enraged. You would have thought they would want to help, but no... this pissed them off! This, that I was on a 'short list' for a P.A. (production assistant) job in Sports. Little did I understand what jealousy this would cause, and that a 'battle' would be fought between the two departments. Additionally, the man in Personnel had been trying to get a job in Sports for years. He wasn't going to let an outsider just walk into the job he coveted.

Thus, the 'battle' lasted some three months! But, by the time I was officially a new Production Assistant I was spending more time on the 28th floor (at 1330) than 30 W. 66th St. One moment I was sitting in basement offices twiddling my thumbs, the next riding around in limousines with missions to accomplish! '...I'm crossing you in style one day!'

Being a production assistant meant working 60-80 hours a week and being 'on call' all the time, night or day. You had no life of your own. I don't think I took a regular vacation in all the seven years I worked at ABC Sports. But, I loved the travel, the challenge, the 'glamorous' life of living 'First Class.' Or, so it was in the beginning.

My wife didn't understand, and thus, my marriage suffered. She wanted us to see a 'family therapist,' trying to work 'it' out. I was against it, but went anyway. Unconsciously, I don't think I wanted to be married, but I took the whole episode as rejection and it was hard to take! I remember outside the lawyer's office, after signing 'Separation Papers,' we said 'goodbye!' The emotional pain so great it was physical! To ease, I went and got uproariously drunk!

She got involved with a commune in Montague, Massachusetts, moving up there -- I was never quite sure how, but I think via Columbia University where she had worked (for the Press). I didn't hear from her for months. Then one day I got a call, she wanted to see me.

We met at a neighborhood restaurant (I was still living on W. 96th St.). There she came, long straight hair, a formless 'sack' dress, sandels, and carrying a guitar. If there was ever a 'classic' hippie look she had perfected it. I guess I was surprised... The forks in the road had certainly taken us far a part!

I bought her dinner. She said she'd come down to the City to try to sell the guitar. I didn't know she was pregnant then, but figured it out later. And by a gay man, no less. How strange life can be!

It wasn't until many years later that we got involved again, speaking of 'strange.' And this time it didn't work out either!

In the meantime, I had many relationships with women, one I married...

One of the first was with a woman working on the 28th floor named Pamela. It was her thick black hair that entranced me. It's always been faces and hair with women that have been the initial attraction for me. This woman was a gourmet cook also. I forget where she lived when we first 'came together.' But, it was that distant from where I moved after W. 96th St., 219 E. 88th Street, a fourth floor walk up. An intern, Dick, down from Yale on stints for Roone, used to alternate staying at our apartments. When I was sleeping at Pamela's he would sleep at my place, and vice versa. Pamela and I had an on again, off again relationship for many years. Her career soared after leaving ABC. She ended up working at Chermayeff & Geismar, designers. We used to hobnob with the likes of Milton Glaser, and remnants of the Andy Warhoff crowd.

My P.A. desk at ABC Sports (the P.A.s didn't rate offices, but only a desk with telephone), was the last in a row, just outside Chet's office. I think Tom was next to me. Chet used to get regular visits from certain characters, all dressed in suits/ties/hats, looking the part. He was betting regularly on sporting events. When they came, he would close his door.

My mentor Joe, was a couple desks away. He educated me as to the ways of embellishing our expense reports, so that we actually made money on trips. The entry level salary for a P.A., way back when, was pretty low, something like $150U.S. per week. But, we made up for it in creative ways, with the help of a co-conspirator, the business manager's secretary, Mildred. Mildred never saw a limousine she didn't covet! So, we started giving her rides in ours. The last I remember she was taking them to and fro work. We called her 'mother Mildred,' as so good to all the P.A.s.

The primary responsiblity of a P.A., was to assist the Producer, obtaining whatever he (no 'shes' until Eleanor broke the barrier). Sometimes this was hookers for announcers, but most of the time the requests were more mundane. In addition, 'graphics' (the text seen on the screen) was part of a P.A.s 'job description.' So, we spent a lot of time with a guy named Ben, up on W. 70th St. as I remember. Ben had invented a method to print white type onto magnetic rubber, actually pretty ingeneous in those days. This, of course, in the days before computer-generated text. So, we would pre-order all the text we needed, and he would print it onto magnetic strips. With banners, and other things producers wanted on site, this could be quite a load. I remember many a time standing out in front of 1330, laden with luggage trying to hail a taxi in the soggy summer heat. Of course, in those days we always wore at least a coat (ABC Sports blazer) and tie.

Once checked in, the commercial flight to wherever was welcomed relief! We travelled in First Class, and in those days this was a treat. Additionally, pre-mobile telephone, this was the only place Chuck Howard, 'producer extraordinaire') couldn't reach you (via Carol).

Once at the event, whether it be 'Demo Derby' in Islip, N.Y., or the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, there was lots to do. But, we were young, and strong, and ambitous!

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