Thursday, September 27, 2007

It Depends

It Depends
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

"...the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances."
—Martha Washinton—

September 27, 2007, New York City:

It Depends

Funny how the world tilts on perspective;
how happiness teeters on how you see your situation,
how miserable you can be, if only because you see it that way.

I keep thinking to myself, “You’ve got it good, you’ve got it good.”
But yet, I’m not entirely convinced, I keep thinking, “I could have it better.”

I pass people in the halls at work, and I think, “What am I doing here?”
As I told Stephanie last night, “If I had my way, I’d be hanging out at Walden Pond, alone.”

Funny how unhappiness happens when we deal with others,
when we constantly have to compromise what we want,
sometimes, if only, to get others to shut the fuck up.

I have to work—I have no choice, lest I cruelly and crudely and selfishly decide
to leave my life of obligation; and yet, even after realizing, everyday anew,
that I’ve got to pay my dues, and thus, I accept it by getting up and trying
to get to my desk on time, so I can sit there for the next 8 hours, typing away,
surfing, compulsively checking my e-mail, picking up the phone on occasion,
(punching out poems like this every once in a while, to exorcise the gloom)
trying to get things done, pretending that albeit it's not fun (at all), at least,
I’m getting paid; and yet, after realizing what I’ve got to do,
it's still kind of hard to just do it, without sighing a little,
lamenting, moping, feeling down because I’m not doing
what I rather be doing.

Maybe, I’m the one who ought to just shut the fuck up.

After all, the truth is—I’ve got it good…don’t I?

“That depends on what your definition of 'is' is”.
—Bill Clinton—


Forthcoming! (someday) 25 Lessons: The Art of Living, to be published by Cyan Books soon...

Until then, I’m happy to share with you the original 25 musings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Less is More

Less is More
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Best seen LARGE. If you are a PC user press F11 for the full screen effect.

Less is More

I was disloyal this weekend.

For the first time—I cheated. Yes, I was a downright and dirty whore.

Because, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a loyal and simple point-and-shoot man.

But this weekend, I let go and borrowed my friend’s digital SLR, the Canon EOS 10D.

For the last three years I’ve used Canon’s A60, A70 and most recently, the A520—all cameras that you can buy now for less than $150, whereas the EOS originally retailed for about $1,500, which does not include the costs of lenses that can cost more than the camera themselves.

Although, at first, I felt shameful, clumsy and quite awkward, I quickly acclimated and thoroughly enjoyed the discovery process of getting to know the first SLR I’ve ever used.

I was using this powerful camera, because I couldn’t use my own; because, once again, I’d gone and broke it as a result of tipping the bottle one too many times, and subsequently losing control of my usually extraordinary reflexes.

As irony will have it, I find it quite amusing that although I take myriad risks—close call with cars, taxis and busses, taking it into the water, balancing it on building ledges, and taking it into the rain—my equipment survives legitimate peril, but can’t withstand the forces of good times and getting drunk.

Thus, for the second time, I’m sending my camera into the shop to see if they can repair the damages of my excesses. And thus, I’ve tried out something new in the interim.

However, ultimately, I think I’ve to got stick with my cheap point-and-shoot equipment. It befits my style of photography, my budget (i.e. poverty) and philosophy of life as well.*

Besides, I feel much better knowing that if I were to bruise or lose my P&S, the price tag for my follies is significantly less expensive than if I were to invest in the equipment upgrade that so many-many people have urged me to pursue.

Yet, I remind myself that with more power comes more responsibility, and ultimately—less fun.

I like to have fun.

I also like to travel lightly.

and worry less,

and take the work that I love—less seriously. Every time I take it seriously, I find that I don’t have as much fun. And as I’ve stated already— I like to have fun.

Moreover, I like to be free of the worries and woes of greater responsibility, for god knows that with two wonderful boys, I have enough already.

In sum, I like the freedom that a cheap and light and less powerful point-and-shoot affords me.

And although I had fun fooling around with a much better model over the weekend, my fling confirmed that I am just a simple point-and-shoot kind of guy; a man with simple needs—bare bones and skin, a glass of water on the night stand, a nice breeze wafting through the window, and my winsome lover at my side—simple needs for a simple kind of guy.

Life just doesn’t get much better than that.


Granted, there is definitely something to be said about luxury though.

Because in addition to experiencing luxuries like the Canon EOS 10D, this weekend I also went to visit a friend who lives in a new luxury condominium in Hunters Point.

And I must say that being a guest in a gracious home made me feel like—I live in a crackhouse.

Of course, that is a bit of an exaggeration.

But a quick comparison might make my point:
Perfect hardwood parquet floors compared to the peeling, splintered planks I trapeze over daily; furniture that matches, obviously bought and not just picked up off the street like my random collection of discarded things to sit on; framed chrome prints of her and her mentor’s work, unlike my scrawny peeling-off-the-foamcore, hand-mounted with the copy-paper printed off-the-office-printer photos that I have covering the cracks on my walls; new appliances and marble countertops versus 20-year old chipped linoleum tops that are constantly covered with the soot that blows in from the window. And so on, and so forth. Surely, you get the picture.

I mentioned the disparity to my wonderful new flatmate Jane! and she immediately reminded me of how much I love living in our apartment. For it has character, it is wholly comfortable, it is homey and welcoming and it is filled with love, happiness, creativity, freedom and good times. And these are far greater luxuries, especially when you have been deprived of them for a long time.

Thus, it is no coincidence that I met the friend that lent me her camera, because I had shamelessly advertised myself on Craig’s List as a:
PoorArtisticGenius DesirestoSpend WealthofCreativity,Love&Affection

It’s true you know. For although, considering my situation I am rather impoverished in so many ways, I am filthy rich in others—great friends who I love-love-love to party with; wonderful flatmates with whom I have enlightening long conversations; two beautiful boys that I love more than anything and anyone in the world; and a great sense of purpose, an overabundance of happiness, confidence, heightened awareness and knowledge about life and the world I love and live in, all of which I aim and strive and would love to share with others.

How could anyone want much more than that?

The more flesh, the more worms;
The more possessions, the more worry;
The more study and contemplation, the more wisdom;
The more charity; the more peace.
— Rabbi Hillel—

(Of course, once I win the lottery this may all change; for sure, I'll be singing a different song. But for now, less is definitely more...)


It so happens that as I was scouring the internet this afternoon contemplating a replacement point-and-shoot, I came across a great site that presents the same argument I make (i.e. it’s not the size that matters), but from a professional and technical point of view.

Kudos to Ken Rockwell for his online piece A $150 Camera vs. a $5,000 Camera. I highly recommend that you read this article, as well as his site in general:

Forthcoming! 25 Lessons: The Art of Living, to be published by Cyan Books soon...

Until then, I’m happy to share with you the original 25 musings.

Read more essays, stories, musings, poems and prose like this at Literary Central!.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Night My Camera Died

The Night My Camera Died
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

New York City, September 19, 2007:

The Canon techinicians wrote "Cause of death unknown."

But I knew.

I knew the truth, I knew that it was a homicide, and that I was not innocent.

Involuntary camera slaughter actually; I was a tad drunk, thus, I really didn't know what I was doing.

I find it so ironic that I will subject my camera through much worse than any postman has ever experienced, and it will always survive unscathed.

But then I tip the bottle, just a little too much, and bang! boom! pow! Somehow, I drop it or drown it in a pool of pilfered vodka...

Oh well, one should not ever be too attached to material possessions...or anything for that matter. Life and love are always fleeting; only fools ever beleive that it will last forever.

Monday, September 17, 2007

To Live A Life Uncommon

To Live A Life Uncommon
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Best seen LARGE; If you use a PC, click F11 full the full screen effect.

To Live A Life Uncommon

It is not easy to live a life that is true to one self, that fulfills our potential as distinct individuals.

Since the inception of my role as my parent, which I guess one could pinpoint as the conception of our first child, Enzo, I have had a fervent desire to ensure that each one had an opportunity to live a life uncommon, one that was not beholden to a trite passage through life.

Ironically, it is fairly difficult to achieve this when you’re constantly reminded that you’re bound to fall into the black hole of mediocrity yourself, so that, if ultimately you can’t escape, you can’t expect that those who you tow along will end up leading much of a different destiny themselves.

Nonetheless and allthemore, I am trying, I am vying to free myself of the shackles of all that I’ve learned and been indoctrinated to do, so that, much like Howard Roark, the uncompromising hero of The Fountainhead, I might pursue a life that is true to one’s purpose in life; one that if met, is essentially extraordinary for everyone who can free themselves of the oppressing expectations, demands and ideals of others.

From the onset, I feel Enzo, the oldest, has demonstrated that he is duly headed upon this course. Everyone that meets him often comments that there is something special about him, that his curiosity and questions belie a force of intellect that are unusual for a child.

As his father, I’ve done my best to usher his potential, and feel that it is incumbent upon me to facilitate extraordinary experiences that will cater to the innate abilities of both him and his brother, Nicky the Brave, despite the circumstances that often thwart all parent's well-meaning intentions.

My forthcoming book, 25 Lessons: The Art of Living, is in and of itself an attempt to make life extraordinary for my children, both by way of attempting to convey a bit of the wisdom that I have learned along the way—to relay some of the mistakes I’ve made, so that they don’t have to make them all themselves—and also, by way of example, so that by showing them how I have exerted myself, I have retaken control of my own fate, and in turn, hopefully, will provide the means by which they—never have to lose control of their own.

It is not easy though. Albeit the manuscript for 25 Lessons has been finished for some time, there have been interminable production delays, so that the release date has moved from Spring of 2007 to August to October, and now to February 2008.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, that a certain emptiness hasn’t overcome me because I had pent up so many hopes and dreams into the rocket launch of my first book, the momentous occasion that I often imagine could prove to be my winning lottery ticket, the ticket that will allow me to pursue my passions, my art, my true work.

Nonetheless, I’m doing my best to cope by trying to be “objective” about this situation and accepting, with a smile, the fact that I must return to the rock quarry of corporate life, at least for a while, at least for another six months.

And in the interim, I’m doing my best to remind myself that at least I’ve got a book deal, and that the book is essentially finished now, and that this, in and of itself, is no small feat.

Yes, I must remember that I am very lucky, that it is now only a matter of time, and that meanwhile I need to get back to trying to make life extraordinary by other means—if only by seeing that there is something pretty extraordinary in almost everything.

Enzo has often reminded me of this important lesson. And, I believe, children in general inherently have the power to see beyond our adulterated perceptions, to perceive how extraordinary common life really is.

That’s why their fascination with the little things often abets anxiety and frustrates the parental agendas that urge us to get somewhere or get something, done, on time.

That’s why when they pretend to be superheroes they are essentially embracing our innate abilities to fulfill our greatest potential to actually be our own heroes.

Alas, it is only when we are battered down by circumstance as adults that we lose faith in ourselves. That is why I often smile when I realize that my children are my superheroes, and that their innocence and organic mirth are the powers that serve to rescue me from myself.

As I will share below, “…we need to nudge ourselves off the road every once in a while, to take a detour without fearing to get lost.” Thus, I have to believe that these production delays are my nudge off the road to so-called success, and that they will prove to be an opportunity to enjoy life a little more, play with my children more often, and ultimately, that they will prove to be a delightful detour in the end.

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
—Ayn Rand—

In celebration of my little superheroes, I want to share another excerpt of 25 Lessons: The Art of Living, if only because sometimes some things need not wait; if only because life does not wait for anyone.

Excerpted from Lesson 4: Take the Long Way Home

When I used to commute into the city each morning from New Jersey, I walked a different path to and from Port Authority, to my office at Park Avenue and 26th Street. My objective was not only to ward off boredom, but also to become intimately familiar with the city.

Sometimes, I’d walk straight across one of fifteen numbered streets between Port Authority and my office, and then head straight down one of the seven avenues: Eighth, Seventh (Fashion Avenue), Sixth (Avenue of the Americas), Broadway, Fifth, Madison or Park. Other times, I’d zig-zag between all the possible combinations of ways to get to and from work. By any and all means, I always seemed to come across something new and exciting.

At the end of my workday, I would wander back to Port Authority to take the bus back to New Jersey. Located at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, Port Authority is right at the edge of Times Square and at the periphery of “Broadway,” New York’s theater district, so there was always a lot of action going on around that area.

After my separation, I drew on my understanding of the city, of its hidden nooks and treasures, to feed my passion. I also discovered that many of the places I had seen on my way to and from work, were hotbeds for photography. Times Square, especially at night, proved to be a particularly favorite playground for me.

… No matter where you live or work or go, there are treasures to be found everywhere. We only have to make an effort to look for them; sometimes it is simply a matter of opening our eyes and senses to see the beauty that envelopes our daily lives.

A good way of achieving this is by trying to see the world through a child’s eyes. To do so, you must let go of all the things you must do, and simply explore without an agenda, without the compulsion to keep track of time and place, without a care to divert you away from appreciating all the glorious details of the environment that glimmers around you.

On occasion, we must remind ourselves to think and run and play as freely as we once did, when we were kids, when, as children, we often took the long way home or spun in circles and made odd noises until we got so dizzy that we could no longer stand up straight, so that we spilled ourselves silly onto the grass, and with our arms splayed apart, we watched the clouds congeal into giant animal crackers up above until we caught our breath and our equilibrium again, so that we could do it all over again without a second thought as to how sick we might feel afterward.

I am fortunate to be a father of two wonderful boys who inspire me on a daily basis in this manner. As much as parents serve to guide their little ones via their own errors and experience, children likewise serve to prompt us to let go every once in a while, so that we might truly enjoy and appreciate life. Watching my sons play, I am constantly reminded that kids get in trouble mostly because their organic way of being does not naturally fit into the rigid outline of an adult agenda imposed upon them.

Reviewing photos of my children often reminds me of the adage that, indeed, our little ones become big ones all too soon. It is impossible to over-appreciate every minute of their blossoming, especially when, as adults, we are so eager to regain that blissful state of ignorance and freedom.

Ironically enough, it is the inherent qualities of a child that lead us to the wisdom we often seek as adults. “Wisdom begins with wonder,” Confucius once said, and it is curiosity that puts us on the path toward such enlightenment.

Far too often, as adults, we forfeit the precious traits that are inherent in us as children—all in the name of fear, conservation, propriety and apathy.

And often, for good reason.

But just as often, we do not risk enough, we are not willing to step out of our safety zone, to try something new, to just waste time in the name of frivolity—to take the long way home.

As a result of succumbing to the requisite pragmatism of adulthood, we stay stagnant, we diminish our potential, we stop growing, and we proceed down the straight and narrow path until we become bored and unhappy.

This is why we need to nudge ourselves off the road every once in a while, to take a detour without fearing to get lost. If anything, we must welcome the opportunity to see new things, meet new people, have adventures, and most importantly, learn. And by learning, grow wiser via youthful ignorance, precocious restlessness and relentless inquisition about this and that, and this again.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we suffer the consequences of our behavior; but other times we find that our circumstances afford us an opportunity to cut a different and unexpected path.

For instance, having the opportunity to live at the little church is a good example of how my all-too common circumstances allowed me to draw upon my individual initiative and develop a unique solution. Like so many others before me, I could either have given in to the notion that divorce was the only real recourse and completely moved out, hired a lawyer, split up the assets, determined custody, and said goodbye. Instead, being that I wasn’t yet ready to do this— to simply give in— I made an effort to realize another solution tailored just for me. In the end, the extra effort paid off because I realized and was reminded of and was turned on to a wealth of awareness about my life, my self, and my passions.

It is true that if it were not for the pioneers who preceded us, we wouldn’t have been able to see beyond the thrush. In other words, our predecessors can help us by clearing the way, and thus enabling us to spend more time paving a path toward success. However, such success also depends upon whether or not we can continue to pioneer on our own, to risk, to innovate and, on occasion—to take the long way home.


More stories, musings and poems about and written for my sons:

To Live A Life Uncommon

There’s Always Something (Ode for a Son)

Nicky The Brave (The Spine of Life)

Like Father, Like Son (a paternal self-fulfilling prophecy)

I Love You, Dominic

Three Familiar Faces (Lesson 6: If…)

I’m A Father (Designing My Little Architects

Just The Two of Us (Papa Loves You)

The Quiet One

The Boys (Collection of Photo Sets )

It is Good to be Reminded

Why Me?
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson—

It is Good to be Reminded

Sometimes, we need to be disparaged,
belittled, made to feel really small.

And, we need to be ignorant
of all the whys, wherefores and the
how this hurt came to be.

Because we need to be reminded—
we likewise have the power to hurt,
to pick at people with our ideals and agendas,
to make little ones feel smaller,
and bruise the hearts of big ones too.

For I can tell you:
It takes a lot more strength and courage to love,
to uplift a soul, especially when we cannot expect
them to love us as well, as much, or even—at all
in return; and especially, when you have to
offer them the other cheek.

A super man does not tower above others.
Rather, he is strong enough to sit beneath them
to wash their feet, the cleaning cleansing their souls;
he must forfeit control for the sake of regaining
a truer sense of self, one often lost along the way.

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
—Gospel of Matthew 5:38-42—


Note: The imagery and verse above intentionally blend Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch as conveyed via Thus Spoke Zarathustra, along with the ideals proselytized by the classical teachings of Christianity.

As per the poem, I personally believe that it is much harder to unconditionally love, than to fight, defend or offend. I believe God is Alive, but as the love that emanates from within, not as a force outside ourselves. We each have the power to overcome the shortcomings of popular ideals and the constructs that constrict our ability to achieve our greatest individual potential; a potential that for me includes loving unconditionally, an unhampered expression of our idiosyncrasies and individual creativity, as well as the development of one’s own personal values, ones much like those expressed by Emerson above, and ones that do not necessarily reflect those of the moral majority.

Photo Credit: This photo was taken at the Cathedral of St. John The Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on September 1, 2007 by Hughes500 /Christian Schierig, who was visiting from Düsseldorf, Germany. The color manipulation was done by me. The opinions relayed above do not reflect his own. You’ll have to ask him yourself.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Straight or Curly?

Straight or Curly?
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Straight or Curly

Tonight I recieved the following text message from Karen, one of my best friend's girlfriend:

"You got on the TODAY show this morning, you asked if you could take me home!"

A month ago on August 18, we were at a BBQ in Brooklyn together and they videotaped my reaction to Karen's new straight hair style. She has naturally curly hair and I have a thing for curly hair BIG TIME (My estranged wife has gorgeous long curly hair ). So, when I saw that they had straightened her hair I screamed, "Ahhh! What did they do to your hair?"

Admittedly, after watching this video and hearing myself scream I thought, "Uh, maybe the banner across the screen shouldn't say 'Curly or Straight?' but rather 'Straight or...Gay?'"

Apparently the producers of this segment liked my reaction enough to use it and suddenly I became one of the people that are "closest' to Karen.

When Karen and the three other women who underwent this radical hair change were being interviewed this morning, the hostess presumed that I was her boyfriend and apparently Karen blushed as if she had been caught committing some indiscretion. She told me that the whole stuido laughed in response.

Click HERE to watch it online at on the TODAY show, it is listed under Video from TODAY, "Are you happy with your hair?" (Thursday, September 13, 2007).

So, it was The TODAY show this morning, let it be OPRAH! tomorrow...

(Of course, I'll have to work on my deep sultry voice first...)


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Luvin' (in Duh Club)

Luvin' (in Duh Club)
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Luvin' (in Duh Club)

Albeit I was tokenly tempted to tell one of my best friends and his hot girlfriend to "Get a room..." I was actually happy to have them acting out their frustration right next to me last night while we were partying in the club at some rap CD release party we had been invited to.

My pique was not for lurid reasons by any means, but simply because I felt and feel that love, lust, and desire are wholesome and great things to have and experience and act upon, especially when you are in a relationship.

I was sincerely happy for them both, and wtinessing the manifestation of their happiness and affection made me happy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Originally uploaded by lorenzodom


Sometimes, I think I know where I’m going.
Sometimes, I believe I know what I’m doing.
But often, lately, I’m not so sure.

I quit sex, drugs, alcohol, and overeating for a day, last week.
It was one of the most tiresome days of my life of late.
I realized that being good is not so great, for it is rather tedious and boring.

Alas, I have always had this problem with ennui
and apathy and being purposeless and "good." I constantly
have to make up shit to do, if only to make myself
feel better.

Maybe its because I feel that life is inherently meaningless.
We fool ourselves into believing otherwise, assigning random importance
to people, places and things we obsessively do, just to console
our otherwise empty souls.

Yesterday, I read, “Only talented people fret mediocrity.”
I’d love to think I’m talented. Shit, I often find myself believing
that I’m really a disregarded genius, a legend in his own mind.

I don’t mind the delusions though. If anything, grandeur is at least
entertaining, it makes time pass faster. And by embracing
my eccentricities, I bide away at life; until, chewing to the core,
I tear away at the outer bore that I was otherwise destined to be,
and find
who I am,


Friday, September 7, 2007

Something Going On

@ The Havana Room 007
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Something Going On

In the midst of the revelry last night, a fellow drinker leaned over to me and mentioned that he thought this particular new hire at Bloomberg that I am pictured with here was the “hottest of the bunch.”

Granted, she is attractive, but to be honest I thought most of the women at the party had something going on. Whether it was an accent, a smile, infectious enthusiasm, or an agility and confidence at the microphone—each one of these women turned me on some how, piqued my sleepy soul, moved me to watch them for a moment from my corner of the bar.

I’m sure one could easily blame it on the mojitos, but I really believe and felt and thought that there was something about many of these women that was quite attractive.

Sometimes I think it is just a matter of letting go of one’s ego, overcoming an aesthetic arrogance that we are all prone to immediately base our judgments of others upon, and letting yourself see more than with your eyes, more with that veteran heart and old soul that we all eventually have when we get older, and wiser.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reading People (a veteran heart, an old soul)

The First Day of School: Third Grade
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Reading People
(a veteran heart, an old soul)

You live long enough, and you learn
to watch, to listen, observe;
you learn how to read people,
especially when their words misalign
with how they’re saying it.

You learn how to weigh sighs,
You realize they’re all just as human as you,
You begin to see through the feigning, the vanity, the façades.

You begin to perceive with what you know—
the wisdom of a veteran heart, and an old soul.
You begin to see beyond
the youth of your senses.


(R&O thank you for the inspiration)

Rose, Olive & Me

Ain’t No Escaping

It's A Beautiful Morning (Outside My Window)
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Ain’t No Escaping

There ain’t no escaping getting older.

Some mornings it seems that my only respite
is that I still have a healthy libido.

Otherwise, I’m feeling it:
Heel spur
Back aching
Vision blurred
Painful stress in my shoulders from
the tidal wave of emotions of the X
the unbearable weight of bills
the never-ending excuses from my publisher.

After shaking it all off—
stretching a little, combing my hair, having my second of coffee
I feel better about myself and despite the lingering signs of age
I gauge that I’ll be okay—
I still get those looks from strangers on the street,
I still can punch out verse upon a whim,
I still can capture those decisive moments,
I’ve still got my libido.


(R&O thank you for the inspiration)

Rose, Olive & Me