Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapter 82 - December 27, 2012

It's pretty bad when you go to your local emergency room and the staff says, "Hi Brian!" Hi everybody. Kind of a bummer, but I had a seizure last week. It's one reason why I didn't blog with you last week. That, and it was Christmas. Anyway, everything's OK. A seizure is kind of like a reboot. I talked a little bit about it before,  but things like stress can bring on a seizure. I'm under a lot of family stress. Anyway, it's kind of like dropping a computer. It'll reboot and reorganize. It's weird going through a seizure, cause I don't remember anything. One minute I'm on my yoga mat with my therapist, the next moment, I'm in the emergency room at the hospital. I didn't remember anything. Probably a good thing.

One thing that might be really helpful to someone is my mother carries a prescription for Valium. It's in a syringe form and it's administered as a suppository. Kind of gross, but it'll be very helpful. Anyway, ask your doctor about this. It can be very helpful. It shortened my seizure and helps me.

We also had a great Christmas. Some friends came by. I saw a lot of my family. It was a great day. You know, I'm kind of tired of talking about my condition. Let's tell a few stories.

My friend here included some cartoons of Capetown. They are from a commercial photographic shoot I did. I remember one day we got done shooting early, so I went for a run. Not a good idea unless you know where you're going. Anyway, I ended up in an area that wasn't so good. Especially for a skinny white kid with long blond hair. I guess you'd refer to me as "Cream puff." Anyway, I got lost and next thing you know, some guy starts chasing me. It was a good work out. I managed to find the hotel. I didn't run after that. But running was a great way to find locations. I used to do it all the time. I found great spots for my shoots. I remember one time I got done running, I went down to the bar at the hotel to grab a beer and it was in the Bahamas. The light was fantastic. How convenient. We ended up everyday, at the end of the day, at the bar on the beach. Oh, yeah, there was great music too. Anyway, it was a good spot to shoot. I wouldn't have found it unless I went for a run.

I'll tell some random stories. I said it before, but I'll say it again, when you're in a state like this, it's good to think about stories to keep your mind preoccupied. When you're like this, it's easy to freak out. People often ask me, what's it like, how you are. I often tell them, it's kind of like being really wasted. Kind of like how you would feel just before you pass out. Luckily, I had a lot of training in this area. Hey, some people pay a lot of money to feel like this. As long as you go with the flow, it's OK. Sorry, I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but I'll tell a few stories.

I used to stay with a friend of mine in Australia. He was a really good windsurfer. He said, "The wind's blowing really strong from the south. Let's go to Bondi Beach and windsurf in the waves." We went down there, made it past the shore break, went out into the open ocean. He was well far in front of me. I followed him like a young idiot out to sea. All of a sudden, I see him turn and come back towards me hauling ass. He said, "Go back, go back! Sharks. Big sharks!" as he went past me. I thought Oh my god. So I turned around as carefully as I could, but everywhere I looked I imagined fins. I was kind of freaking out. Anyway, I started heading back to shore. It's really difficult to hit a certain spot when you're on a windsurfer. Especially when you're afraid of being eaten. Anyway, I managed to get back to the beach. It was tough. I got beaten up by the waves pretty bad. Anyway, I got back to shore. I got washed up on the shoreline. I was throwing up saltwater. I was a mess. My friend came over to me, he said, "Did you see the big shark?" I looked up at him, I said, "No." He said, "Yeah, that's because there weren't any. That's to get back at you for the fake spider you put in my bed." The bastard got me. We were always playing tricks on each other.

That reminds me of another shark story. I was photographing a model jumping off a boat into the ocean. I was shooting swimwear. I was on the bottom of the ocean wearing a scuba outfit photographing the model as she jumped in the water. The shots were pretty cool and working out great. All of a sudden, I didn't see the model anymore. There was a big noise on the boat. I thought, "What's going on?" and then that big noise got louder and louder. I looked around and just behind me was a huge shark just checking me out. Well, I was a little scared to say the least. I slowly made my way to a big coral head and tucked myself into the coral. The shark came over, checked me out and swam away. I stayed in my spot for a while, and finally came up to the boat. Didn't say anything. Grabbed a beer from the cooler and just said, "OK, let's go home." I had to check my wetsuit after that. That's for sure. What a way to end the day.

My friend here asked me if I had any other shark stories. I've got so many. One time I was in Australia. I was just learning how to windsurf. I pulled up in my 4 wheel drive Jeep while my friends were standing around at the beach. One guy had a pair of binoculars out. They were looking out to sea where we windsurf. I walked over and sat on my board and sail and then walked over to them. I said, "What are you guys looking at?" they were all looking out to sea. The guy with the binocular kept looking out to sea. He said, "Mate, there's a shark feeding on something out where we're about to go." I said "Oh." I turned around, got my board, put it on top of my car, rolled up my sail, put everything away and went home to have a beer.

My friend here will include some cartoons from the past. I don't know if I explained, but these are cartoons I did when I could draw. I hope you enjoy them. She will include the link to my next project. Talk to you next week. Love, B. Nice

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chapter 81 - December 18, 2012

Olaf the Wonder Cat. My friend here asked me, "Who is Olaf?" (See previous Blog.) Olaf was my friend's cat. He used to torture me on a regular basis when I would visit my friend in Paris. He's a good friend. He made the mistake of saying, "When you come to Paris, look me up." Little did he know, I went to Paris the following week. I looked him up. I looked him up. I think I called the guy every day. I didn't know anyone else to call. Anyway, it was fun hanging out with him. One time he got a big job for a big magazine. Oh yeah, he's a photographer. Anyway, he got a big job, and he said to me, "Will you be the assistant?" I said, "Sure, no problem." But the guy was so damn excited, he showed up for the job without his cmaera. I brought the cameras to him and we all had a great shoot.

No good deed goes unpunished. Sorry to be a bummer, but it's kind of true. I stopped recommending models because of the following stories. I got booked to do a fashion shoot in the Bahamas. They didn't have a model. I said, "I know the perfecct girl for the job." Well, they booked her. She was perfect for the job. But the first day was terrible. I said to her, "What's going on? You seem so distant." She said to me, "I just found out I'm pregnant." I thought...great. Well, is that good or bad? She was totally freaked out. She didn't know what to think of it all. She just stood there like a rock for all the pictures. Needless to say, I never worked for that magazine again. Another time I recommended a girl for a big commercial shoot. We were in Puerto Rico. The girl was not there. She had a vacant look on her face the whole time. I said to her, "Are you all right? What's wrong?" She said, "I just found out my brother died." It was eerie. All the film, it looked like she was looking right through you. One of the scariest things I've ever seen.

Sometimes booking a girl for a job can work to your advantage. I was in Los Angeles working for a Japanese client. They wanted to go out to dinner to a specific place. Well, this specific place needed about a 6 month in advance reservation. I thought great, what am I going to do, but we showed up. I thought what the hell, let's just give it a shot. I showed up and asked for a table for 6. The maitre'd said, "Do you have a reservation?" I said, "No." They looked at me like I was from another planet. All of a sudden, the hostess, she recognized the girl I was with, the model. They knew each other from school. Next thing you know, we're at the VIP seats at the sushi bar. We had a great meal. It was a great night.

I'm a little frustrated right now. Waking up is really difficult. It's hard to go from deep sleep to being awake. It's tough. I guess I'll reflect on what I did this week. It's important to get vertical as often as you can. You know, stand up. I have a thing called a Sure Lift. It helps me stand. It also helps me get onto the floor. On the floor I can do stuff like yoga. Do cobra, etc. I talked a little about that in the previous blog. They're all small and simple things, but they all add up. You gotta stay active. You know, everyone's different. A friend of mine just had brain surgery. She went in on Tuesday, went home on Friday. Amazing. Everyone's different. Everyone's outcome will be different. It was strange. I went to the hospital to see her. It was the same hospital I've been admitted to 3 times. It was strange going there as a visitor. It was kind of funny. We were in the lounge just having a chat. The nurse came in and said time for your medicine. I automatically opened my mouth like a bird. The nurse was talking to my friend.

I'm gonna tell some random stories. When you're in a state like I am right now, it's always good to think of the past. Think of stories or preoccupy your mind with things that are pleasant. Hey, it's better than staring at the wall.

One time I was in Paris. I had just gotten there. I was lucky. I started working right away. Anyway, I was on a photographic shoot with a famous magazine. The whole crew was new to me. The morning went really well. We broke for lunch. A two hour lunch. We sat down at a great restaurant. I said to my assistant, I'm a little nervous. This is all new to me. I don't know anything about wine. The guy handed me a wine list that looked like a weapon. It was huge. Anyway, I said to my assistant, "I don't know what wine to get." He said, "Breean, it's very simple. You're looking in the wrong column. Don't look to the left. Look to the right. Look for a big number. That's the wine to get." He was right. It worked.

I used to love to scare the shit out of my assistants. It's kind of twisted, but funny. One time I was on vacation on a photographic shoot. We hired a big generator to power my lights. Anyway, the generator cut out. My assistant went down to check it out. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, we were shooting at my parents house. Anyway, when my assistant went to fool around with the generator, I thought ah ha! this is the perfect time to get the M-80 fireworks I found in one of my drawers. (An M-80 is a firecracker with a quarter of a stick of dynamite.) Anyway, I lit the M-80 and tossed it under the generator. The reaction was priceless. The guy dove for cover when it exploded.

Another time I actually got in a lot of trouble. I had a fake snake in my bag of tricks. We put it out in the grass. The model I was trying to scare had a phobia of snakes. She ran into the location van and wouldn't come out. I got in a lot of trouble.

I guess I'll end this where I started. I was talking about my friend in Paris. I met him in Australia. A makeup artist friend of mine said, "Will you guys meet up?" She thought it would be helpful for the Parisian guy to meet me. I said, "Sure. No problem, just meet me at the cafe at the end of the beach." Well, I forgot to ask what he looked like. I arrived the next morning where I was supposed to meet him. The whole place was packed with people. Then I noticed at the far end of the cafe, a guy pasty white, dressed in black, long dark hair, wearing dark ray bans, not talking to anyone. I thought ah ha! French photographer!

I'll talk to you guys next week. Remember, stay positive. Love, B. Nice

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chapter 80 - December 11, 2012

Wow! Chapter 80! My friend here and I have been doing this for a while. Pretty cool. I hope it really does help someone out there with traumatic brain injury. That's why I'm doing it. Anyway, this past week, my sister had a party at her therapy stable. It was a party for all her volunteers. Nice party. Anyway, I was talking to one of the volunteers and she said she follows the blog from time to time. She said to me, "I didn't know you have a sense of humor like you do." I wasn't sure how to take that, but I guess it's good. You know when you go through something like this, TBI, you have to have a sense of humor. You have to laugh about it. Have a laugh. You know, I was thinking some really depressing stuff. I've seen death. I've heard death. I've saved people from death, and I've fought off death many times. The point is, you gotta make fun of it all. Make light of it all. I guess that's how I deal with everything.

I was going through my previous blogs and toward the end I kept using the word "was" about a good friend. Like, he 'was' a good friend. I should change that to is, because it could sound like the guy's not around anymore. He's around, and he is a good friend. I have another friend that I could use was about. He's not with us anymore. He was a good friend. One day I came into his room and he had a really nice Samsonite suitcase on his bed. I looked a little closer and the whole damn thing was filled with weed. Not a good look, especially when he's in my apartment in Sydney, Australia. I said, "Get that thing out of here, are you crazy?" I said, "What are you doing with that thing in my apartment? You have to get out of here and take that suitcase with you." The guy was an interesting guy. Talk about a stoner though. One day, he came back to my apartment in Sydney, Australia. I used to live in a big apartment building right on the beach. All the apartments looked at the sea. Anyway, he went to my door, opened up the apartment door, sat down, turned on the television, went to the fridge, got a beer, sat down, started going through magazines, went to the bathroom, and as he was peeing he saw a big jar of Vaseline, then he saw a big dildo, and some other sex toys. He thought to himself, man, Brian is into some rally kinky stuff. Then he went into the bedroom and started looking around more. Then he thought to himself, wait a minute, this isn't Brian's apartment, looked around some more, and thought this is definitely not Brian's place. Then he went to the front desk and found the right apartment. A year later, I was in the new apartment, he went to meet me at my apartment, walked in because the door was open, grabbed a beer out of the fridge, sat down, started to watch some telly, and then all of a sudden a woman walked in with some groceries. It wasn't Brian's wife he thought. Well the woman dropped all of her groceries and just started screaming. He was all confused. Started looking for windows doors, anything to get out. She started to try and beat him. He ran outside screaming. I came home to a scene of chaos. He walked into the wrong apartment again. Great guy though. I would always have fun with him.

Today I went to to the Mall to do some Christmas shopping with my mom. We also stopped by the phone store because my phone was trashed. I got very frustrated, in fact, I'm still frustrated. It was kind of like a marker for me 'cause I was there a year ago. I thought by now I'd be much better, you know, walking and stuff, but my advances are so subtle, it's all so frustrating. I have to practice what I preach and stay positive. My friend here typing this reminded me that I couldn't even sit up straight a year ago, so I guess, yeah, I'm getting better, but it's so damn slow. 

One good thing that happened to me this week was that I crawled a little bit. I was able to do this for a couple of reasons. One of them is I'm getting my strength back, strength through training is so important. When you're like this, go to the gym as often as you can. You've got to get your strength back. Next thing I have to work on is my balance cause my balance is a bit off right now. You know, eventually, your insurance and your therapy will stop, but you still need to train. Just because your insurance stops doesn't mean you should stop training. You're going to have to do a lot of it on your own. I'm kind of there at the moment. I do a lot of stuff on my own. It takes a lot of self determination. You really have to keep at it. It works. You know you put the effort in, you get positive results.

You know, I spend most of my day just sitting in my wheelchair. I guess you'd call it meditation. I guess I'm doing what most people try to achieve. Peace. What a high price to pay to get to this level. Anyway, my friend here will include some cartoons I did in the past and the link to my next adventure. Talk to you next week. Love, B. Nice

P.S. One last thing:  what do you think of this? I'm thinking of starting a new business. It's called, "I'm With Him..." I notice when you're in a wheelchair, it opens up a whole new world. I get greater parking, great seats at restaurants, great service when I travel, it's really easy to talk to girls. I've got some really good pick up lines. The point is, I could open up a whole world to someone that's with me! In other words, I could hire myself out. Just another crazy thought. Of course I'm just kidding...right?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chapter 79 - December 5, 2012

Hi Everybody. Can you believe it's December already. Time goes by when you're having so much fun! I'm kind of being sarcastic, anyway, hey, I was looking on my previous blog, and the last cartoon is a true story. I was in the Keys in Florida. I was shooting a photographic job in my favorite place in Islamorada. Anyway, I got done with my photographic shoot early. I had time to go for a quick windsurf. I was going to meet my friend Hubert in front of his house. Well when I got there to meet him, the manager of the resort told me Hubert was in the hospital. I rushed down there and they told me a damn fish went right through his leg. Talk about surf and turf! Anyway, I obviously didn't go windsurfing that day.

So now, here I sit, with my little dog. We have a french door in the kitchen. The little dog is always sitting by the door looking out. He's looking at the squirrels get fat on the birdseed. The damn dog shakes so much, he'd be a great drink mixer. All I got to do is make a harness for him, put a drink holder on it, put some ice in the drink holder and voila! I have a good Margarita mixer. Kind of sick right? That's the kind of stuff I think about when I'm stuck in the wheelchair studying a dog for a couple of hours.

Last week was Thanksgiving. It was pretty cool. We had my whole family here, except for my little one. Boy did I miss her. Anyway, we had a good thanksgiving. And I was thinking it's a good time to really give a thanks. Like for example, I'm thankful I'm still alive. I'm thankful to have such a great family and friends. I very thankful to my friend right in front of me who's typing this all for me, and I'm especially thankful for all the constant small advances I'm making. For example, just the other day, I sat on the floor, and I sat up in Lotus position. I did Yoga and sat up with my legs crossed. I had a little help getting there, but I sat there on my own for, I don't know, 5 minutes? Felt great. It was the first time I sat up on my own. First time in 2 years. Then I fell over. Anyway, it's a good time to be thankful.

This past week, I had a lot of small advances. Like I said before, I feel my body starting to wake up. It's kind of good and bad. You feel your hands more, but you also feel the pain more. You feel like you're getting worse, but you're actually getting better. My eyesight is getting better. It's slow, so damn slow, but I'm getting there. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm getting there. Like I said before, when you're in a bad way, try to think of other things. I would often think about things that happened on photographic shoots. The following stories I feel a little awkward about, but I'll tell you anyway.

I was assigned to shoot a beauty story for a well known magazine. I was supposed to shoot in the Bahamas. Well, like a young idiot, I booked my girlfriend. She was definitely not right for the job, but you know, hey, it sounded like a good idea at the time. Anyway, the art director said to me, "Hey, we have to shoot an extra shot and tack it on to the beauty shoot in the Bahamas." Well, the shot, what I was to do, had to be cast so they brought in the model, you know, my girlfriend. They said to her, here put this on and the photographer, Brian Nice, will do a picture of you. Oh yeah, they didn't know the model and I were going out. Anyway, they said, "Brian will do the photo of you for the art director." Well, the photo was very specific. I had to do a butt shot. And they handed her a G-string. The looks from her to me ranged from instant death to why are you doing this to me? And even worse. I took the photo and I said, "Oh she's terrible. We've got to book another girl for the butt shot." This did nothing but make my assistant laugh, and her, the model, my girlfriend, want to kill me even more.

We often book models for the body parts. For example, we would photograph a girl and have another girl come in with her hands. I was to do a shoot like this. We already had the girl for the head shot, but I needed to book a girl for the hands. The girl that was to do the head shot had terrible hands. Anyway, I was doing my casting, you know, looking for girls with nice hands, and it got to be rather late. The casting was over and I hadn't found anyone. All of a sudden, a doorbell rang, late at night. A girl showed up wearing white gloves. She said, Hi, I'm here for the casting, sorry I'm late. Well we sat down, I said, "OK, let me see your book." She did have nice hands. She did have nice legs. She did have a nice butt. She did have nice everything, but her face. Sorry to be rude, but that's the way it is. Anyway, on the last page was a photo of her topless, and then a close up of her chest, bare. She said to me, "Do you want to see them? I get many compliments on them all the time." I can feel my ears burning. I must have been bright red. I looked up to her. I was about to say something when she whipped off her gloves and started modeling her hands. She was talking about her hands! Thank God!

The following story took place in Paris, France. I was photographing for an assignment with a famous lingerie label. We were shooting in Monte Carlo. It was a good shoot and going even better. Anyway, we got done and the client that handled the company showed up. He wanted to see the Polaroids, examples of shots we did from the day. Anyway, I opened my diary to show him the Polaroids and all I found was underwear in my book. My assistant put the models underwear in my diary. Even worse, the model came over and said, "Oh, there's my underwear," and ripped it out of my book. It was all a little awkward. I don't think you could have planned it better if you tried. The head client looked at me and he had a very serious look on his face. He looked at me and he said, "Bravo Breean, Bravo." I got my assistant back. 

I mentioned this before, but it really does help to think of other things when you're in a bad way. Think about things that make you happy. For example, I have one friend who was an awesome windsurfer. I used to follow him like a young idiot. He would say, "See those waves over there mate? Follow me, we're going to big surf." Or he'd say, "See that big tanker over there, we're going to duck in behind it and windsurf past it." I'd be like - OK. And being a young idiot, I'd just follow him. Actually, have you ever see an empty tanker before, up close, it's amazing. The blade in the back is like the size of a 4 story house, with water falling off of it. It's unbelievable. Thank God I didn't fall. Anyway, I would think about little adventures like this. I would think about it all the time. He was a good windsurfer, a good friend and a good photographer.

Below is a drawing I did of something I'm not so proud of. Imagine this - imagine having a really good dinner in the Caribbean. We were all on a photographic shoot. We got done with dinner. We're walking back to our rooms. Well, the pier into the ocean looked beautiful at night, so we walked to the end of the pier. The pier went down about 20 feet into the dark ocean. It was a beautiful night. We were all standing there. I was there with an editor I had never worked with. It was a dark night, but the water looked really sharky. I looked over at the editor and pushed her in. She screamed, "OH my God you're crazy!" and I jumped in after her. I helped her to the ladder, and we climbed back up onto the pier. Everyone started running away from me for some reason. That's it.

Not much else to report. I'm still working hard sunrise to sunset. I continue to get better, and I really, really appreciate all the nice emails I get. Everywhere from Australia, Paris, everywhere. Thank you so much. You guys are great. Anyway, it's back to work for me. I'll talk to you next week. Love, B. Nice

Oh yeah, my friend here will post some more drawings from my diary and she'll enclose my link to my next project.