Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chapter 91 - February 26, 2013

February 26?! Man, time goes by so fast when you're having fun. I'm being a little sarcastic. I'm gonna dedicate this week's blog to my sister and her kids. Man, they really help me out through the rough stuff. It's fun to see them. They bring light to the situation I'm in.

Hi everybody, another week goes by. It's been a pretty full week. You know, I'm doing this blog because I've had a pretty full life. When it was time to possibly check out, I wasn't so freaked out. I'm doing this blog to basically help someone. There might be some people that this will help. I've gone through a lot of stuff and it might help them. Just the other day, a girl, a young girl emailed me and asked for some advice. I was happy to help out as much as I could. I'm not a doctor or in the medical field, but I gave her some advice of things I went through. Pretty cool. It made me realize it's good to meet people that have gone through something similar.

The other cool thing that happened this week was I got a Stair Chair. It's basically a chair that will bring me up the stairs to the 2nd floor where my bedroom is. I no longer have to camp out in the living room. I've been sleeping in the living room for about 2 years now.

Other than that, those two things, I've just been doing therapy sunrise to sunset. I woke up today, my dad said to me, he said, "What's the word for today?" I looked at him and said, "I'm going back to bed." Just kidding. Although I really felt like it because today I really feel like hell. You know, you've got to work through it even though you feel like shit. You've got to work through it. Remember, it's all about attitude. I'd like to benchmark where I am because it's good to look back to where I was. These benchmarks are basically for the future. You know, right now, my head is really tight, and my throat is really tight. I feel like I'm wearing a motorcycle helmet. My hands are numb. My feet are numb. It's difficult to talk. Still can't walk. I'm going to water therapy where I can walk in the pool. I'm also learning how to go up some stairs. I'm getting ready for my trip. I've been practicing driving too. Just kidding. So basically, everything is pretty much status quo. Enough of the Traumatic Brain Injury stuff. Let's tell a few stories. You know, it's always good to remember the past so you can forget about the present. Here's a few stories, some things I went through in my life.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to name this blog. It's going to be called, "Painting, Supervised Cooking, Squirrels, and The Greatest Bar on Earth." 

Every day I paint with my father. I do a watercolor of a heart for my daughter, a star and a circle. It's actually fun and good therapy. And then I do some cooking with my mother. I love cooking. I can't actually cook, but I watch her and tell her what to do. You know, like a real chef, like, "Put that over there, right now!" It's fun to tell your mother what to do. The whole time the painting and cooking is going on, I look at the squirrels on the bird feeder spin around and around trying to get at the birdseed. Very entertaining.

The greatest bar was a bar I used to go to all the time. That was the name of the bar, "The Greatest Bar On Earth." It was at the top of the World Trade Center, right next to a restaurant called "Windows on the World." It was a great bar. What a view. I remember standing at the windows thinking, man, I'm glad they didn't actually knock these things down in '93. It would have been a disaster. Little did I know what was to come! Actually, I used to go up there all the time with my ex wife. The bar is kind of symbolic I guess. It was fun while it lasted, until it all came crashing down, like my marriage. My friend said, "Very dramatic." Remember, I'm just a big girl crying at butterflies and kittens.

I'm going to make a fashion photographer's confession. Remember, I was a fashion photographer. I had one client I used to work for all the time. Well, I shot a job for them in Australia, and I did what we call, "Extra long clip test." The lab basically checks five frames before they process the film. It all looked good to me so I said, "Write N on everything, normal." Well, the guy in front of me ran everything plus 2. (That means 2 stops.) Well, if you've ever taken an N and turned it sideways it looks like a 2. So they basically ran my film like his. 2 stops over. In other words, they really fucked up my film. It all came back very light. I mean real light. That was the whole job. I talked to the art director after he freaked out, I said, "Listen, we got 5 good frames, and they ran the whole job on those 5 frames." And to top it off, of all the images, the client liked the high key images and used them for advertising. I got lucky on that one. So you see, out of a bad situation, good can come. You just have to look a little harder.

Here's another random story. I once had a summer job. I had to rent out boats. Well, a bunch of girl scouts showed up at my boat rental and they wanted to take out a few boats. They must have been like, I don't know, 14 or so. Anyway, I got them some boats and sent them on their way. The day went on and you know, I basically forgot they were out there on the lake. I forgot until I heard some distant screams. I heard all the girl scouts screaming and rowing back to the boat shed as fast as they could. They got to the boat dock and jumped out of the boat like a cat in water. They all started jumping up and down, shaking their hands, they were freaking out.  I thought, what the hell's going on. Well, I guess they found Ivan, the guy that drowned earlier. One of the girls put her oar in the water to row and it hit the body. Needless to say, they were freaked out. The police were thankful they found him though. People used to die like flies where I was working. It wasn't my fault. I just rented the boats. A lot of people would drink and swim off the boats. The lake was very dangerous. It was spring fed with cold water. And the days would get very hot. Oh, yeah, this one time, I sent 2 guys and a girl out. I remember because I had to throw in some extra life jackets. Well, a guy came back with the girl. One guy was missing. The couple, they were in shock. They kind of sat on a log. They just sat there. I said, "What's wrong?" The woman said to me, "My husband, he's dead." Apparently, there was a love triangle going on. The two guys got in a fight. One guy clocked the other guy over the head with an oar and he sank straight to the bottom. Nice job. The police came and took the couple away. 

Let's lighten it up. I have some great assistant stories. I could do a whole chapter on photo assistants, but I'll just tell you a couple. Well, one time, I had an assistant. He was a little homophobic. Anyway, all the guys in the crew had to share a room while we were waiting for a connecting flight. We were in Mexico. It was an editorial job. Not much money. Anyway, we had to all share a room. I said to the photo assistant, "Just share a bed with the hair dresser." He said, "No way man. The hair dresser likes guys." I said, "What do you think, he's going to assault you or something?" The photo assistant would have nothing to do with it, so to prove a point, he slept on the coffee table. Have you ever seen someone try and sleep on a coffee table. Very entertaining. Anyway, the photo assistant has changed his ways, but I thought it was amusing at the time.

Another photo assistant I had didn't like the room he was assigned to. This was in Mexico, by the way. He didn't like his room so what did he do? He talked to the production manager and got himself a house just down the street. Judd Law, the actor, had just been there. So they were cleaning up the house. I didn't know about all this. I went for a walk down the beach with the client and I look over to see my assistant on the sun deck with a bottle of chilled wine listening to music.  My client said, How come I'm not staying in a place like that? The stories go on and on. I've got so many more but I won't go into it.

Anyway, enough of the random stories. I'm going to sign off. My friend here will once again put my link in for my next project and she will include some cartoons I did. They're from the past. I used to keep my journals in cartoon form. I hope you enjoy them. This is B. Nice signing off. Love you guys. Talk to you next week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chapter 90 - February 19, 2013

I'd like to dedicate this blog to my assistants. One in particular helped save my life the day I had my injury, brain bleed.

Hi everybody. You know, I always tell these stories because I've laid on my back for about 4 years now. It's good to remember things to get you through the tough stuff. I'm going to name this week's blog, "Promises, Cherrypickers and the Authorities."

I'll tell a few random stories to begin.

There's a few things I really can't tell you. One story I won't tell because I made a promise not to tell. I will tell it involves warriors and a war party hunting me. Have you ever been hunted? It's not a comfortable feeling.

There's a couple of stories I can tell. The next story involves a cherry picker. I was in the desert. It never rains in the desert right? Well, not when I went there. It was like the first time in ten years that it rained where I was. I was on a commercial photographic shoot. I was supposed to photograph a girl from above. I was going to be on a cherry picker. It was a big production. A commercial job. Well, it was raining and the client was freaking out. He started to say, "What are we going to do?" I said, "Just wait a minute." I went back to my room and closed the door. I said, "Holy shit, what am I going to do?" I started freaking out. I said, "Calm down." I turned on the TV. I turned on the weather channel. I saw it was sunny in Puerto Rico. I said, "Ah Ha! Let's all go to Puerto Rico!" I went out and I confidently said to the art director, the client, I said, "We're all going to Puerto Rico." He calmed down. He said, "OK good idea." I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Well, we got on the plane early that morning, and we were shooting by the afternoon. On the way to the beach, I saw some house painters using a cherry picker. I gave my assistant $100 cash. I said, see if they would come over for about 2 hours and hang out with the cherry picker. They showed up and the shoot went great, thank God. I had a good margarita that night.

Well, the next story, I really can't tell because I don't want the authorities knocking on my door. No one got hurt, it's just that, well, I can't tell you.

One more story I can't tell you because I don't kiss and tell. Not to anybody. That's it. 

I'm going to talk a little bit about Traumatic Brain Injury. You know, when you're like this and you have a Traumatic Brain Injury, you can't let the rest of your life go by. Just this morning I went to the dermatologist. I had to get my body checked. I wouldn't be surprised if I survived a brain injury only to be taken by a bad mole. Anyway, the checkup went really good and I'm fine. The point is, keep everything up: the dentist, other doctors, etc.  My friend here pointed out, I probably really couldn't go before. And it's true. It was a lot of effort to go right now. Imagine a few months ago. No way I could have gone. So that right there is progress. I keep going on and on how I feel like I'm not getting better, but little things like that are baby steps. It's easy to become frustrated cause you're living your injury day to day, but people, they come by every once in a while, remark how I'm making progress. It's another good reason to have visitors stop by.

When you're in a condition like this, it's really good to have a project or keep busy. The other day we joined AAA and they sent me a bunch of maps and books. I can't really see but I have the stuff read to me. It's basically a bunch of stuff to get me ready for the big trip coming up. I'm going to go see my daughter and go out west. It should be a fun project. I'm also doing it to show people, even if you have a brain injury, you can still stand up to challenges. I guess before I had challenges like records for running, surfing big waves and dangerous stuff. This will kind of be the same thing but in a different light. I mean, hell, it's just a challenge to sit up. That reminds me, I want to tell you guys something I just found out. You know, when you get up from sleeping, it can be real difficult. You know how you feel a little groggy when you wake up from a nap, well, holy shit, this is crazy feeling like I do when I wake up. It's tough to wake up. So don't be surprised if you feel like hell when you wake up and you're like I am. Nothing surprises me anymore. It's all uncharted territory. Every day I feel different. Hell, a bunch of big elephants could walk by, I wouldn't even flinch. So basically, don't be surprised by new things.

Anyway, that's about it for this week. Not much else to really tell. If you have a brain injury, keep working hard. I'm going to have my friend here link my trip I'm planning for and some cartoons I did back in the day. I hope I can get back to doing cartoons. I miss it almost as much as I miss playing the guitar. Talk to you next week. Love, B. Nice.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chapter 89 - February 13, 2013

Hey, my friend here just reminded me it's almost Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day everybody.

I'd like to dedicate this week's blog to my two friends who are helping me put my trip together. They're going above and beyond as far as putting everything together. Check out the link. It's pretty cool.

I'd like to name this week's blog. I'm going to start naming chapters anyway. This week's blog is going to be called, "Bears 'n Boobs." Let's start with the Bears.

I was on a commercial shoot somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. We were taking 4-wheel drive vehicles into the mountains. I was in the lead vehicle when I came across a big bear just sitting in the road eating some berries. I said, over the walkie talkie, "I'm going to get out and get a photograph of me and the bear." I heard the ranger who was with us say, "Negative. Negative. Do not get out of the vehicle. Negative. Negative." The guy was freaking out. I just said it as a joke, but when we got to the top of the mountain, the park ranger explained to me that some tourists get mauled. They really do try and do group photos with a bear.

The next bear story I have is I was on a commercial photographic shoot on the outskirts of Aspen Colorado. We were at a beautiful Bed & Breakfast. It had a beautiful view. The owner was some young kid who just graduated from school. He didn't know what to do so Mommy and Daddy bought him a Bed & Breakfast to run. Poor baby. Anyway, he was flirting with the models all the time on the first day. Well, we also accumulated a lot of trash on the first day. He brought all of our garbage out on the porch. The guy had more money than sense because the garbage attracted a lot of bear. Anyway, there was this one big bear that showed up the next day, so what does the guy do? Mr. Macho breaks out his gun and shoots the bear. It was a beautiful bear. Anyway he hauled the bear off to the garage and covered it with a tarp and called the park ranger. The park ranger shows up, sees the bear and freaks out. The ranger was pissed off. He said to the young kid, he said, "You don't shoot a bear. You call us first. We trap them and move them. We have a special trailer for that!" While they were arguing I went over and put my hand against his paw. He was huge. Each claw was like the size of my finger. He was still warm. Anyway, enough of this downer stuff. Let's talk about boobs.

I was going out with this girl. We went to the movies one night. It was a hot summer night. She was wearing a tube top. Anyway, we got our tickets early so we went to the magazine store to look at magazines. We were at the rack reading magazines, her back was to me and there was a guy I saw over her shoulder. The guy was bright red with sweat coming off his forehead. She said, "What are you looking at?" And she turned to me and said, "Some people are so rude." I looked down, her tube top was all the way down. Her breasts were sticking out like two torpedoes. She didn't even know that they were sticking out. I would have liked to see the surveillance video on that.

Another night I went out with the same girl to have a dinner. We were at the restaurant having a few drinks. Actually we were quite loaded. At dessert we started taking pictures of us. The guy next to us offered to take our picture. We said, "Yeah, that's a good idea. Thank you." The guy was Italian. He was with his wife. Anyway, the guy took our picture and then he said, let me take another picture. We said "Sure, go ahead." He had a big smile on his face. He said, "Let me take another." His smile got bigger. His wife looked really annoyed. He said, "Let me take another picture." She said, "OK that's enough." She grabbed the camera and gave it back to us. I didn't know what was going on until I got the film back. The shots of us were nice, but the whole time my girlfriend's boobs were hanging out. Who knows why she didn't feel it. No wonder why the guy was smiling so much.

The next story I'm not quite clear on what happened but this is my perspective. I was on a commercial photographic shoot. One of the girls I was working with really liked the horses we were using in the shot. Well she reached over a fence to pet one of the horses. You know that little piece of flesh under your chin. Well, she leaned over and got electrocuted right there. She threw her hands up and then her boobs got electrocuted. She got thrown back onto the road. She was lying there on her back, totally stunned. All the cowboys that were there started cracking up. They couldn't contain themselves. They had to hide behind the barn they were laughing so hard. Yeah, but she was all right. A little stunned but all right.

I'll talk a little bit about Brain Injury now. My friend here read the previous blog and I was talking a little bit about attitude. To stay positive and joke around or make light of your situation is so important. I mean, who wants to hang out with a grumpy person? You know, a nurse is more likely to help you and hang out when you're a positive person. It's really important. I always say, "Patience is a virtue." But, you know what, all virtues have their limits. I have to practice what I preach. Be patient. It's always something like this week, my right side and my speech is really difficult to deal with. But I plow through it. Keep doing therapy. Remember, your job is therapy. Your job is to work hard at getting better.

Well, that's it for this week. I hope you guys have a good Valentine's Day. This is Mr. Nice signing off. I'll talk to you next week. Love, B. Nice

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chapter 88 - February 6, 2013

Hi Carl. Hi Marilyn. I get a lot of emails from people that were in my past. If I could, I'd email all to say "Hi" individually. But, I can't, so I'll just say a general "Hello!"

Hi everybody. Another week goes by. I was just at my outpatient hospital. You see, I go every day to the hospital to do rehab. Every time I push my wheelchair down the hall, on my way to rehab, people say things like, "Hi Brian." "What's up Brian?" "Have a good day Brian." My father, who takes me there, remarks on me knowing everybody it seems. I say to him, "Well, yeah! The first time I was here for 5 months. The second operation, I was here for 4 months. I'm still an outpatient. What do you expect?" I should get a freaking condo here. It's like my second home. Nice place though, Helen Hayes. They have great therapists. Speaking of hospitals, I'd like to say something. You know, my friend here was reading my last blog to me, and I forgot to mention, when you get in the hospital, it's so important to have someone hold your hand. I'm talking about when you're in ICU (Intensive Care). It's really important to have someone hold your hand. That, and you need someone like your coach or your point person to keep reassuring you that everything will be all right. Have that person tell you what's next. Those things, and the things I talked about in the previous blog, really helped me.
This past weekend I got to see my little one. It was only for one day, but man, it was great to see her and hang out with her. Kids grow up so fast. My sister's kids also came over, and they all hung out. I wish I could play with them. I guess watching them play is the next best thing, and a little less exhausting. I said it before, but I'll say it again. You know, I'm doing this blog to help other people. There might be some information in here they could use. You know, help them out. I'm not a doctor or anyone connected with the medical field, but I'm just talking about my experiences. You know, from my point of view. Anyway, it might help.

I've been doing a lot of water therapy. It's so helpful. I can walk in the water. It's fantastic. My mom was taking photos the whole time. I forgot, but when she showed me the pictures, remember my eyesight is not so good. She was showing me the pictures and I look like I've got freaking implants. I said, "Mom, who's that chick?" It was me! The instructor was holding me in a way that made me look like I had a big rack. I looked quite sexy. Other than the water therapy, I've just been working hard at building my strength and my core as well. Core strength is what's so important. One good way to build up your core is you have someone like my mother drive you to therapy. Her nick name should be Mario Andretti. Enough of the medical talk. Let's just tell a few random stories.

This week I saw on the news how they had an earthquake near New Guinea. It reminded me of a time I was on a shoot in New Guinea. Anyway, I was photographing a model. She was on a rope bridge. It's basically a bridge made out of rope. She was in the middle of the bridge. I was on the land. A huge earthquake happened. Rocks were falling around me. Trees were falling over. I just laid down on the ground. She looked at us like we were aliens. She didn't know what was going on. The bridge was going up and down, but it was before the earthquake anyway. Thank god the bridge didn't fall apart with the trees it was tied to. Cause, if she fell, it would have been instant death. Hey, anything for a great photo, right. When I think about what we did, I can't sleep sometimes.
I've got lots of situations I went through that won't let me sleep at night. One time I was doing a swimwear shoot on Bondi Beach in Australia. It was a big advertising shoot. Lots of talent, a few location vans. You get the idea. It was a big produciton. Well, we all got there, had some breakfast, and it started raining. I called the airport because I had the number for the tower. The guy at the airport said, "Oy Mate, how'd you get this number?" I said, "My friend at the fire department gave me the number." Well, I could hear the guy cover up the phone with his hand. I could hear him shouting out, "Hey I got some yank on the line who wants to know the weather." Then I heard a voice say, "Tell him to look out the window," and then the phone hung up. Well, after I called the tower and basically got no response, I decided, in my infinite wisdom, I decided I'll just call the shoot off. We'll reschedule it for a few days later. I was being a New York photographer. Well, the guy that owned the company I was shooting for flipped out. He said, "You can't call the shoot off!" I said, "I just did." Funny, I never worked for them again.

I'm going to finish it up. Make a short one this week. I've got link here for my drive across America. I hope you get a chance to check it out. When you're like this, it's good to have a project. Something to look forward to. I'm really messed up, but you know, this will be a different type of traveling for me. You know, it all comes down to your attitude. Stay positive. I'll talk to you guys next week. Love, B. Nice.