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Top of the World

Posted on September 11th, 2018

Dave!As I said last year, pretty much all I have left to say on the subject of 9/11 can be found here. Now that my mom is gone, that's even more true since it's her story too. And so I'll just be linking to that entry from here on out when it comes time to remember the tragedy of the terrorist attacks.

Except...

When I was going through my mom's stuff last month I found this...

Observation Deck Ticket

She saved her ticket stub from when I took her up the "Top of the World" at The World Trade Center on that day.

Mom saved a lot of stuff from our travels. Tons of stuff. I'm finding things like matchbooks and coasters from restaurants to brochures and pamphlets of activities we did to receipts and ticket stubs like this one. I had asked her why she'd want to save all this kind of stuff and she'd explain that it was just souvenirs. One day she thought she'd want to look back and remember all the things we did when she was too old to travel any more.

It's sad that she never got that chance. But kinda cool that she was so busy visiting new places that she never had time to look back on old travels while she was alive. Well, except for the photo books I made her. She'd look at those often. Many times while showing them to other people. Where the first words out of her mouth would be "Are your hands clean?"

Observation Deck Ticket

Funny how I didn't start out as much of a picture-taker, but the books kept getting thicker and thicker as I was taking more and more photos. There's no book for 2006 because I helped her buy a car instead of taking her on vacation that year. I think I ended up taking her with me on a work trip to San Francisco or something, but it wasn't the same.

One of these days I really need to look at these again. And create a book for all the miscellaneous trips we took from 1994 to 2001 that I never got around to. Most of these I haven't opened in years. And one of them I can't find. Her book from Cambodia and Laos (Southeast Asia Vol. 2) has gone missing.

Even if I don't find it, I'm sure there's a matchbook from Cambodia around here somewhere.

   

Nine-Eleven-Seventeen

Posted on September 11th, 2017

Dave!Last year I took a blogging break for several months. I was at an all-time low in my life, and sitting down to write in a blog... which was usually therapeutic... became a form of torture that I didn't want to endure any more.

But I came back to write a post on 9/11.

Then subsequently dropped off the face of the earth again for another month-and-a-half.

I've asked myself more than once why 9/11 was the trigger which compelled me to write something serious after two months of nothing. I never have an answer. Maybe it was because I had a personal story which I had been holding onto for 15 years and it was finally time to let it go? Maybe I just missed blogging? Maybe 9/11 is such a scar on my soul that I couldn't not write something on that day.

Maybe.

What I wrote was an entry called The Last Night of the World.

I think it will probably be my last word on the subject. For this blog, anyway. Don't ask me why... I honestly don't know. It's just a feeling.

Because while I can never forget... would never want to forget... this is how I choose to remember here.

Maybe I'll feel different about it one day. Maybe even next year.

Maybe.

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Categories: News – Politics 2017Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

The Last Night of the World

Posted on September 11th, 2016

Dave!I had been to New York City four or five times previously for work, and had done all the "touristy" stuff I wanted to do. Then one trip I decided to take my mom with me so she could see the big city, which meant I ended up doing all the touristy stuff all over again. Since I was not a Broadway fan, I had never seen a show and had no plans of doing so... but my mom thought a trip to New York would be incomplete without "The Broadway Experience" and so I relented. Problem was... good seats at a show were expensive, and I didn't have the money for good seats. I fretted a bit about my mom's first Broadway show being seen from the back of the theater, and mentioned it to a co-worker. She told me about TKTS, a place where you could get half-off same-day shows that had seats left. I was also told that the Times Square location could get a bit nuts and I should try the location at The World Trade Center. And so the next morning, off we went... where I got us third-row seats, center-stage for "Miss Saigon." Since we were already there, I suggested we visit "The Top of The World"... which I hadn't planned on doing since we had already been up The Empire State Building. It ended up being a pretty great day... got to see NYC from the top of the Twin Towers... went to a couple cool museums... ate lunch at the Stage Deli... visited Central Park and the world-famous FAO Schwartz toy store... all topped off by the lavish stage production of Miss Saigon.

Years later, 9/11 would happen and I'd be forever grateful that fate took us to The World Trade Center for theater tickets so my mom got to see The Top of The World. She wouldn't have another opportunity.

And this is why I can't think of The World Trade Center without hearing "Last Night of the World" from Miss Saigon in my head, and the irony of it all is not lost on me.

World Trade Center from Empire State Building

On top of the World Trade Center

World Trade Center from the Statue of Liberty

Fifteen years later. The song still haunts me.

   

Spirit

Posted on September 11th, 2015

Dave!And so today a sculpture titled The Spirit of America... a tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks... was commemorated in my tiny home city of Cashmere, Washington.

And I cannot find the words to express how much I hate it.

And given that "hate" is a word that I try to avoid using when at all possible, you can probably guess just how serious I am about the situation here.

From what I understand, the sculpture was originally going to be placed in our State capitol of Olympia, but the city rejected it. Then it was going to Kirkland... then Issaquah... but they both rejected to it as well. For reasons I can't even hope to comprehend, my city said "Okay! We'll take it!" and now here we are...

Cashmere Washington 9/11 Memorial The Spirit of America

Cashmere Washington 9/11 Memorial The Spirit of America

The four people depicted in the sculpture... a fireman, a flight attendant, an office worker and a military guy... are smooth and realistically rendered on their top half. But then, as you pan downward, they char and blacken as if being consumed by flames...

Cashmere Washington 9/11 Memorial The Spirit of America

What the hell?

Seriously, what the hell?

I would hardly call this a "tribute"... it feels more like a grotesque mockery of those victims who lost their lives. With that in mind, I find it detestable and disgusting, and am horrified that it's now a permanent fixture in my home town. Even putting all that aside, could there BE a place that's least affected by the events of 9/11 than a tiny city all the way across the country? I mean, obviously all Americans are affected by 9/11, I would never debate that... but having a monument here feels entirely disrespectful to those who actually lived through 9/11 half-a-world away. Is a Pearl Harbor memorial next?

Now, before people jump all over me for "misinterpreting the art" or start calling me "unAmerican," let me just state for the record that I am sure the artist's intention were good and noble. I have no doubt whatsoever that his heart was in the right place. But I am absolutely certain that I am not the only one who will "misinterpret" the piece as people being burnt in terrorist effigy. To be completely honest, I don't know how else to interpret it. And for that reason I'm pretty broken up over this case of good intentions gone horribly wrong being just minutes from where I live and work.

Outside of actually being at Ground Zero, where a 9/11 memorial is entirely appropriate, it seems the proper way to pay tribute to those who lost their live is to remember them in our heads and hearts.

Whereas here people were thinking with their hearts... but seem to have left their heads behind.

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Categories: DaveLife 2015Click To It: Permalink  9 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

9/11

Posted on September 11th, 2014

Dave!


   

   

World Trade Center from Empire State Building

On top of the World Trade Center

World Trade Center from the Statue of Liberty

   

   

   

   

   

Remember?

Posted on September 11th, 2013

   

   

   

   

As if I could ever forget.

   

   

   

   

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9/11×11

Posted on September 11th, 2012

Dave!Honestly, I tried to come up with something better than I wrote last year. I tried last night. I tried this morning. But I just couldn't do it. Everything I have to say I said 365 days ago, so I'm just going to reprint it and hope that the me from the past can speak where words are failing me in the present.

Originally Posted on September 11, 2011

I deleted my blog from ten years ago so I can't tell you with any certainty what I was doing back then. I might have a vague idea over a span of some weeks or months but, if you were to pick an individual day, I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what was happening.

For every day save one, of course.

I was working as a consultant and running late for a meeting on the morning of September 11, 2001. I didn't have time to turn on the television, nor did I have time to turn on my computer. I went directly from my bed to the shower to my car for the 20 minute drive to work. When I arrived, I vaguely remember some talk about an airplane crash as I walked through the lobby. But, for all intents and purposes, I was completely unaware of what had happened three hours earlier at the World Trade Center.

It wasn't until I walked into the conference room and saw the television replaying footage of The Twin Towers collapsing over and over again that I knew of the horrific events unfolding in New York.

And, like most everybody else on the planet, that news coverage became my life for the next several days.

As the tragedy would become our lives for the next ten years.

Because those iconic structures may no longer be with us... but they're not gone either. I watch a rerun episode of Friends, and there's the Towers in an establishing shot. I pop in my DVD of Eddie Murphy's Trading Places and the Towers are there. I read an old Spider-Man comic book and there they are again. I look through old photos and...

World Trade Center from Empire State Building

On top of the World Trade Center

World Trade Center from the Statue of Liberty

But that's me.

For those directly affected. For those orphaned or widowed. For friends and family of those who lost their lives. For those who now suffer from the debilitating effects. For those whose lives were forever changed. For so many people, I'd imagine it's quite different. They don't need a TV show or a movie or a comic book or a photograph. Their reminder is everlasting.

As is their pain.

I'm sure at some future date when all the people who were alive to remember the world before 9/11 are gone, perhaps the nightmare will start to fade.

In the meanwhile, we remember.

Because we need to remember.

Because it's impossible to forget.

Because our hope for peace must prevail.

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Categories: DaveLife 2012Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Questioning

Posted on September 10th, 2012

Dave!They say that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, but in my case it's just not true.

The batteries in my Mickey Mouse wall-clock at work died at 7:28 while I was in Chicago. And since I arrive both after 7:28am and before 7:28pm I don't see the clock being correct even once. And since I don't even know if my office exists when I am not there, I'm not going to make assumptions about what happens when I'm gone. Logic would dictate that the clock does indeed read correct at 7:28am and 7:28pm, but I'm not going to drive to work to find out.

Because I have more important questions on my mind...

  • What time is it in Bahrain since there's a Hard Rock Cafe I'd like to visit there one day? Google says it's 8:08am tomorrow in Manama, Bahrain.
  • Manama? Mahnahmahna!
  • I miss the Muppets. I wish Pixar would do something with Muppets, like a Pigs in Space movie. I love Pixar. I wonder when the Monsters Inc. prequel is coming? Ugh. Not until June 21st of next year. I think Monsters Inc. is my favorite Pixar film. But I loved The Incredibles too. Why don't they make a sequel to that film?
  • Ooh! What was the name of the woman who played the sexy voice of Mirage in Pixar's The Incredibles? IMDB says it was Elizabeth Peña of I Married Dora fame. A show that ended with the lead character flying off to Bahrain.
  • Why in the heck am I so obsessed with Bahrain now? Probably because I haven't been there.
  • But isn't it odd how I'm thinking of Bahrain and a totally unrelated question leads me back to Bahrain? Everything is connected, I guess. Or all roads lead to Bahrain.
  • And wasn't it Bahrain where Chandler was moving so he could get away from Janice on Friends? No... that was Yemen. Another place I haven't been. I haven't been to a lot of places because I keep going back to the same places.
  • Well, not all places. How many years has it been since the fortune teller I visited in Hong Kong told me that I'd be back to Hong Kong in a year? It was 2005. And since I haven't been back yet, he's off by seven years. so far.
  • I guess predicting the future is a crapshoot. They never get it right in the movies. Have any movies got it right? Not really. Not even Strange Days from 1995... and they were only predicting four years into the future for 1999.
  • Argh. Who was the actress in Strange Days that I don't like? Not Angela Bassett, she's awesome, but the other one? Ah. It was Juliette Lewis that played the toxic waste bitch that Ralph Fiennes was obsessed with.
  • How in the heck did Juliette Lewis become a thing? Holy crap! She was in I Married Dora, which means all roads really do lead to Bahrain!
  • Ah Dora. It seems like only yesterday that show was on. What was I doing yesterday? I was flying back home from Chicago with a First Class upgrade in the Mickey Mouse plane.
  • What was I doing one week ago? I was mourning the loss of Michael Clarke Duncan and waxing poetic about American Cheese.
  • What was I doing one fortnight ago? I was worrying about a cat that's been wandering around my parking lot. I've named her Spanky.
  • What was I doing one month ago? I was flying to Portland for friends, free hummus, really good ice cream, Batman, and a zine show for Thrice Fiction.
  • What was I doing one year ago? I was preparing for my trip to Australia and admiring Kate Winslet.
  • What was I doing one decade ago? Blogography didn't exist. My previous blog that I was writing back then is gone. So I don't know what I was doing. It was a Tuesday. It was also the day before the one-year anniversary of 9/11. At some point I'm certain that I was deciding which of the five photos I've taken of the World Trade Center I was going to post to my old blog in the morning.

Which means nothing has changed, because that's what I'm going to be doing right now.

Well, that... and planning a trip to Bahrain.

   

9/11×10

Posted on September 11th, 2011

Dave!I deleted my blog from ten years ago so I can't tell you with any certainty what I was doing back then. I might have a vague idea over a span of some weeks or months but, if you were to pick an individual day, I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what was happening.

For every day save one, of course.

I was working as a consultant and running late for a meeting on the morning of September 11, 2001. I didn't have time to turn on the television, nor did I have time to turn on my computer. I went directly from my bed to the shower to my car for the 20 minute drive to work. When I arrived, I vaguely remember some talk about an airplane crash as I walked through the lobby. But, for all intents and purposes, I was completely unaware of what had happened three hours earlier at the World Trade Center.

It wasn't until I walked into the conference room and saw the television replaying footage of The Twin Towers collapsing over and over again that I knew of the horrific events unfolding in New York.

And, like most everybody else on the planet, that news coverage became my life for the next several days.

As the tragedy would become our lives for the next ten years.

Because those iconic structures may no longer be with us... but they're not gone either. I watch a rerun episode of Friends, and there's the Towers in an establishing shot. I pop in my DVD of Eddie Murphy's Trading Places and the Towers are there. I read an old Spider-Man comic book and there they are again. I look through old photos and...

World Trade Center from Empire State Building

On top of the World Trade Center

World Trade Center from the Statue of Liberty

But that's me.

For those directly affected. For those orphaned or widowed. For friends and family of those who lost their lives. For those who now suffer from the debilitating effects. For those whose lives were forever changed. For so many people, I'd imagine it's quite different. They don't need a TV show or a movie or a comic book or a photograph. Their reminder is everlasting.

As is their pain.

I'm sure at some future date when all the people who were alive to remember the world before 9/11 are gone, perhaps the nightmare will start to fade.

In the meanwhile, we remember.

Because we need to remember.

Because it's impossible to forget.

Because our hope for peace must prevail.

Tags: ,
Categories: News - Politics 2011Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 249

Posted on September 10th, 2011

Dave!Bet you never expected Bullet Sunday on Saturday! NOBODY expects Bullet Sunday on Saturday!

And didn't I just do a Bullet Sunday a couple minutes ago? Time, she is a flying. Probably because I am leaving for vacation in ten days. It's going to be a real struggle to get caught up with work and get myself organized by the time I leave.

   
• Adapt. And speaking of getting organized for my trip... for years there's been this one plug sitting unwrapped and unused in my Apple World Travel Adapter Kit...

Apple World Power Adapter Kit

I know this sounds kind of silly, but unwrapping the cellophane from that plug was a pretty emotional experience. This shit is about to get real, yo.

   
• Heroine. A couple weeks ago, the "Great House" on Sir Richard Branson's private island caught fire. Apparently a storm created by Hurricane Irene caused a lightning strike that burned the place to the ground. Nobody was hurt, but it was a beautiful structure and it's sad that it was destroyed. Sad, but not very interesting. I'll get to the interesting bit in a minute, but first a few photos from Necker Island...

Necker Island

Necker Island Pool View

Necker Island Bedroom

Necker Island Window View

Yes. Yes I know. What a shithole.

If you've got tens of thousands of dollars, you can rent a room for a night. That would put you in good company, because it's a coveted hangout for celebrities, royalty (Princess Diana was a guest), and the über-wealthy. One famous visitor who was there when the fire struck: Kate Winslet. Who, after making sure her kids were okay, ran back into the flames so she could carry out Branson's 90-year-old grandmother...

Kate Winslet

Beautiful, talented, and heroic.

But that's not the interesting bit. Winslet's ex-husband, director Sam Mendes, was supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 77, which was hijacked on 9/11 and crashed into The Pentagon. For some reason, he wasn't on the flight. One month later, Winslet was on a plane where somebody claiming to be a terrorist stood up and said that everybody was going to die. It apparently turned out to be a hoax of something. After that moment, Mendes and Winslet made a decision never to both be on the same flight together so if something happened, their kids wouldn't be left parentless.

I swear, just when I think there's nothing about the 9/11 tragedy that can surprise me, something utterly surprising comes along to prove me wrong. Until I read about the fire on Necker Island, I had no idea that Kate Winslet's life was touched by the terrorist attacks to this degree. But, then again, I suppose all our lives were in one way or another. Has it really been ten years?

   
• New? As a huge fan of Zooey Deschanel, I have been eagerly anticipating her new buzz-heavy TV show, New Girl, set to debut later this month. So imagine my surprise when I downloaded the first episode from an iTunes "sneak preview"... only to find that it is complete and total shit...

New Girl Poster

Holy crap did I hate this unbelievable turd of a show. Hate it.

How in the fuck they managed to take an infinitely adorable and likable person like Zooey Deschanel and turn her into a pathetic, annoying, unwatchable character is simply beyond my ability to fathom. She plays Jess, who is advertised as "Simply Adorkable" but I sure wasn't seeing any of that. When she gets dumped by her boyfriend in the first two minutes I was barely surprised. I was already annoyed with her after the first ONE minute. The story then takes the laughable (but not funny) "surprise turn" by having her move in with three single guys. Hilarity most definitely does not ensue.

Zooey's supporting players aren't much better. Deputy Leo (from Veronica Mars) plays a douchebag. And I'm not being judgmental here... he's literally a douche. His character is such a big douche that they have to make a "Douche Jar" for him to donate a dollar every time he does douchey things. Which is all the time. One of the douchey things he does is take his shirt off when he meets a girl because he thinks he's God's gift or something. His character's name is "Schmidt" which is used in place of "shit" in conversation to be funny. Ha ha ha. Not. Next up is Damon Wayans Jr. who plays "Coach," a fitness trainer with rage issues. The character has zero depth and is given nothing interesting to do. I can only guess that Wayans gets down on his knees every day and thanks the television gods that the brilliant Happy Endings got picked up for a second season so he doesn't have to come back to New Girl and play such a pathetic one-note character. I pity whomever they get to replace him. The last of Zooey's new roommates is "Nick" (played by Jake M. Johnson) who is somewhat likable and interesting (mostly because he's the only character with any depth to him) but ultimately not enough to compensate for everything else going wrong with this horrible show.

I cannot imagine that New Girl will last a full season. Even with Justin Long coming on-board as Zooey's romantic interest. It is so awkward, annoying, and blatantly not-funny that I have no idea who is going to want to watch it. Personally, I am hoping for a quick cancellation so the amazing Zooey Deschanel can go on to something better. Something much, much, better.

   
• Indebted. Is it possible to hate a movie to the point of despair, yet still love it at the same time? That pretty much sums up my take on The Debt, Helen Mirren's new film as directed by John Madden...

The Debt Poster

The movie is based on a 2007 Israeli film called HaHov ("The Debt"), which I can find nothing about, because any attempt to search for it on IMDB redirects to this version of The Debt. The story revolves around a former Mossad Nazi-Hunter named Rachel Singer (Mirren) who's past comes back to haunt her 30 years after a mission in East Germany went terribly wrong. The movie jumps back and forth between 1966 and 1997 as Singer recalls past events that changed her life, and their consequences on her future.

The problem with the film... the only problem, really... is that it is boring. Mind-numbingly boring. Stick your head in the microwave boring. Gouge out your spleen so you have something to do boring. I was dumbfounded at how incredibly slow, unnecessarily plodding, and just plain BORING this movie was. Far, far too much time was spent rehashing the past for no particular reason at all. Yes, there's a nice twist in there, but the set-up was so hideously drawn-out that I just didn't give a shit when we got there. They could have easily cut 75% of the hot boring mess from 1966 and used the time to make an interesting film about Rachel cleaning up that mess in 1997. That would have been an amazing, thrilling, exciting film. Instead you get mere glimpses of Mirren being kick-ass cool, which is simply not enough to save The Debt from the bland, banal, repetitive disaster it is.

Except...

Holy crap was the acting good. Helen Mirren didn't get nearly enough screen time, but her every second in the film is amazing. And it doesn't stop there. Jessica Chastain, who played the 1966 Rachel, had a role that demanded her to be tough and capable, but with a dark vulnerable side that defined her. She was absolutely mesmerizing. The biggest surprise had to be Sam Worthington, whom I had dismissed for his not-so-engaging performances in films like Avatar and Clash of the Titans, but he really got his shit together for this film. His accent kept lapsing into Aussie casual from time to time, yet his performance was rock-solid. Jesper Christensen's turn as a Hannibal Lecter-ish Nazi war criminal was also worth watching.

So there you have it The Debt is a boring-ass film you hate to love because the performances were too damn good.

   
• Fini. And now, after two bullets filled with disappointment, I'm going back to organizing my crap so I can be ready to pack my suitcase next weekend.

   

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