Version 5.0

I was up until about 5:45 in the morning working on the photos for today's update, but the thing is, i was really working on the photos for tomorrow's update. I didn't realize i was going to have to break it into pieces until it was about 4:30 in the morning, and you know, it's a school night, so i can't be seriously up till 5 and 6 in the morning doing the edit. It's just not practical as i have to wake up at 6:30 to get to work on time. But i did it. What happened was, i started to think I was getting somewhere, i had been using the photoshop canned color labels in bridge to at least break the photos into events, or days, and sequencing them that way, but the thing is, that even with the 1.5 GB DDR2 SDRAM in my little 2.1 GHz G5 processor (that's maxed out by the way. Only now are they getting the nut bags big enough to hold 3GB worth of balls) that with so many photos, you know, over 500 of them, and coming in at 20mb each from the Faux Pinner Cam, the recycle on the window when i closed a photo caused the files to jump all over the place, and so i started just grabbing any photo that would open to do the edit.

THE POINT IS: Long about 4 in the morning, i realized though i had more than grazed the tip of the iceberg of this project, i still had at least several hours to go. And now, that put me in a situation. Because i knew I had to do something not just anything but something that was at least relevant, and spoke to my absence for so long. So i started scrolling through the prep folder. Scrolling and scrolling to see what would be found. What i could do to pull this whole thing together, and do so before the sun came up and i would have to leave for work.

The common thread? The Twins. Or rather, the absence of them. And as i went through the photos i was finding a smattering of WTC fueled photos that spanned the entire month of July, and then as you know, it was early morning September 11, and here i am sitting at my desk wondering what to do. What can i do to make a statement about where i've been? what i've been doing? what is it that i could say that would not only pay hommage to those who cannot work on their websites, but at the same time, not be like, porn stars sucking golf balls through garden hoses, doing Jaeger Shots of the tits of She-Males? I mean, In some ways, a few of the victims of 911 and the collapse of WTC 1, 2, and 7, as well as the folks in Shanksville, and on over at The Pentagon, Sure. Some of them would have liked the raunch of dTown Fare. But you know what? That's not how i want to do it.

"HA HA!!! Remember that big post dTown put up on September 11? the fucking parties man! wow. that guy is fucking crazy! jesus, Hey! Dave! come take a look at these pix man! looks like everyone and their mother is making out with each other at this party!!! WooooHoooo man! I gotta make that my desktop today!!"

No. That's not how i wanted my September 11 post to be. September 11 is a day that will forever pierce my heart. I will always remember it as the time my tears ran out. I haven't cried since, but for maybe 1 or 2 occassions where i was capable of squeeking out a tear or two. When they came, i tried with all my might to open the water works, but they just aren't there. They're all dried up. Looking back at how much i cried at that time. Crying all the way home on that Greyhound Bus from San Francisco knowing The Boys were gone. Crying while pouring over my portfolio, my tears just dripping on the pages of photos of girls and places and cool things i've seen along the way. Someone snapping a (surely poignant) photo of me from another row on the bus as i completely broke down looking at pictures from The World Before September 11 crossing through city and state. The outpouring of grief and support. I mean, we were on the bus that said, "NEW YORK CITY" on the little headline marquis. There wasn't a shitty little gas station or truck stop we could roll into without people coming to see us, to ask us if we were okay. To let us know they loved us, no matter who we were, they loved us. And it was the saddest, most horrific trip in my life. Driving cross country has always been one of my guilty pleasures, but this? No. It was anything but a pleasure to be crammed to Standing Room Only in a Greyhound bus bound for New York City on September 12, 2001. (EDITOR NOTE: hmmm. September 12. I'm seeing a pattern here) We were not allowed to bring our bags on the bus. (for the first 2 days anyway) And there was no place to put them even if we had brought them. And none of us were Greyhound Riders. We were all completely out of our elements, and just dying to get home. Hungry for any bit of news, anything at all, at any roadside cigarette shop, or mini-mart we would all struggle to find a tv or radio or anything that would have some news. The giant expanses of sky over Montana and the big northwestern states, with no contrails whatever. No airplanes at all, no matter how long you looked, or how far you scanned the horizon, there was a stillness. A quietness that stretched from The Jersey Shores to the Faralon Islands, and i would gamble that silence was felt around the world in those few days.

The nightmares started immediately. Will my girlfriend be okay? Would Lurlina be safe in our apartment just down from the U.N. ? How is she? How on earth can i get in touch with her to let her know i'm coming? i'm on my way. I'm coming as quickly as i can.

The terrible smell from the bathroom of the bus which was already full before we even got to Sacramento. The intense security everywhere we went. None of it was fodder for dreams of fluffy white sheep skipping along through the meadows of Northern California.

The fear we had for our own safety on the bus as the drivers were all working double and triple time with no breaks, no rest. At night swerving in the roads from exhaustion, each of us taking turns to go up and just talk with the driver to keep his eyes open. At one point he got very surly, because he was exhausted i'm sure, and actually yelled at us to leave him be, though we were frightened for our very lives as the bus would swerve across the median, or ride along the braille dots across the freeway. Reno. Salt Lake City, and then Chicago. Seeing the Sears Tower, and having the fear that maybe there would be something terrible to happen there, though in our hearts we all knew that it was really about The Twins. That's all they ever wanted was The Twins, and they got them. The vulnerable boys from the 70's. I never imagined they wouldn't be there when i was old, and now they were gone. GONE.

The steel exoskeleton rising from the smoldering ashes, twenty stories high, bent and twisted, yet still like the Phoenix of folklore, rising from the twisted ruins of millions of tons of concrete, glass and steel. Chicago was when i finally reached Lurlina on a phone. Surely you all remember how hard it was to get a connection to New York on the phone, but i reached her. I was in heaven for a moment, just to hear her voice, to know she was okay, and to tell her i was on my way, i was hurrying as quickly as i could. And it was there on the phones in that Chicago bus depot where I was suddenly surrounded by at least a dozen of Chicago's finest, Guns drawn, pointed at the floor around me, the officers yelling for me to hang up the phone. To get off the phone "RIGHT NOW" and the fear, dripping in icy tentacles from my forehead as i stood my ground. Insisted there must be a mistake, I'm on my way to New York City, and i've just reached my girlfriend who is alone there, and crying, and i'm trying to comfort her. It did not matter that i had my American Passport. My California Driver's License. My business cards from New York, they had heard from someone in the terminal that they thought I was a terrorist. They needed more proof that i was me. They were getting antsy, and their guns were out. They wanted me off the phone, and they wanted it now. I would not do it. I would not hang up until they explained to me why. I did not want to get gunned down in a Chicago Bus Depot while on the phone with my girlfriend. I told them I was afraid of them, for god's sake, they have their guns out, and not enough to have them out, they are pointing them toward my feet, my legs. Why would i hang up the phone? this is the only person on earth who knows where i am right now. How could i even consider hanging up when i could be just murdered right there in the bus station? A crowd was gathering, but at a distance of 50 feet. Like i was in a break-dancing circle, but wide enough to allow some cops with their guns out. I said i could prove to them i am who i am.

They wanted to know why i was taking pictures in the Bus Depot. They wanted to know why i was wearing camo cargo shorts. Was i in some paramilitary group? What's in my pockets? (more film) What's in the bag? (more cameras and lenses) Hang up the phone and take us to your bus right now.

I told Lurlina that i was sorry. that i really had to go, but i would be okay. I will take the officers to my bus. They will see my things, they will see my portfolio. They will see my promos, and this will all be over. I'll do my best to call her again before leaving Chicago. I'll try my hardest, i promise. But if i can't, Please don't worry, because i will be there tomorrow. And i will hold you. I will kiss your tears away, and we will be together, safely, and see what must come next.

I remember being scared i would be shot leaving the bus station. Two cops on each arm, and the rest in a little parade behind us. And of course, as fate would have it, I went to the wrong bus. You see, in chicago we were switching to an Express bus to Manhattan. But i was so freaked by the guns, and the whole 911 thing, the TV's showing over and over The Twins collapsing into history, the giant american flags at half mast, People crying and panicked every where i looked, and i just went straight to the old bus. And how unfortunate when i got there, that my stuff was not on the bus. No one i recognized was on the bus. It was a different bus altogether. The same bus number, but going somewhere else.

That was a tense moment. I tried to explain that i had forgotten that we were switching buses. I mean, they had to give me a break. It's not every day you finally reach your girlfriend after the entire world has come tumbling down, when suddenly you're surrounded by city police with their guns out, and coming straight toward you.

They conceded it was probably stressful, but were still unsure who i was. They wanted to see my things. We found a Greyhound person, and they directed me to the correct bus. They escorted me to the bus, several of the cops still had their guns out, though they were no longer pointed at my ankles.

When we got over to where my new bus was, i saw a swarm of activity. SWAT trucks, HAZMAT vehicles. Cruisers parked with the doors open and no-one inside them, parked right on the sidewalk, lights flashing. I realized all the ruckus was for me. A possible terrorist because i was wearing U.S. Military Issue cargo cut-offs, and i was taking photos in the bus station.

We found my things. They saw my promos. They wanted to see my portfolio. Thankfully it had my name embossed in the leather cover. They all wanted to take turns looking at my portfolio, but i told them that i think i had proven myself, and would really like to try to get back to my girlfriend on the phone, to let her know it was a misunderstanding.

They told me that i had to wait. They told me that the reason they took this so seriously was that apparently in the 40's some japanese folks had been photographing the inside of bus depots in Chicago, apparently planning to stage an attack there. I told them that was over 50 years ago. And that this was a moment in history that a photographer would have absolutely no power to ignore, to put the cameras away. They took my promos, one for each. I think one even wanted me to sign one. I took their photos, and i tried to reach Lurlina. But there was no luck.

I remember getting back to the city, and smell. The smoke, the smell, and the terror and fear in everyone's faces. How everyone had been crying, and the coat of dust over the city.

I remember going down to "ground zero" with my Uncle Angel, who had an office at the Trade Center for many years, and being in absolute shock at the destruction. Seeing the other buildings completely shorn in half. I had no idea the geography with The Twins gone. It was surreal. Nothing made sense. WHERE did those buildings GO?! I could not speak. It wasn't like, when you pretend you're dumbstruck and can't speak out of respect, I was completely dumbstruck. I could not speak. No words would come. It was devastating, and the smell of death permeated everything. The ash and dust, everywhere. People crying, I was crying and speechless.

Yes. That was one hell of a time. Hearing those giant military 18 wheelers with their military treads humming along the FDR at all hours of the night. The only cars on the roadway. The sirens. The dull, throbbing, low moaning of the sirens. Not the high pitched get out of the way sirens you hear every day. These were the sounds of a city in grievous pain. A mourning, lowing sound. Like a mortally wounded animal is how Lurlina described it. It gives me chills still to think about it.

And somehow, thinking back on that day, all the photos of missing people, the steady stream of trucks with body parts in cooler trailers going too and from the hospitals at 34th street where i was living. Never ending lowing sirens and flashing lights, crying and wondering why this happened. How it could happen. Where were the fighter jets? How was this unforeseen?

No. somehow naked people making out and partying on just didn't seem appropriate for today's post, and that is when i struck upon the idea to corral my most recent photos of the downtown area, put them together, and notice the remarkably blue skies, just like they were on September 11, only 5 years ago today. Just another beautiful day it was, and never again have we been the same. Well, at least I haven't...

So now, that i've got that off of my chest, I will go back to my big edit. I will try to get the images up there for you, in honor of my being Fired from shootdigital, at Point Blank Range, (right in the face) on September 12, 2005.

Be good to each other, and tell your friends you love them.

And hey. I love you.

dTown | 64˚ and breezy | listening to large jets flying overhead.