Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm An Obama Mama!

Last night we watched Barack Obama give his speech at the Democratic National Convention. It made me so emotional I felt like an African American grandmother in a black baptist church. Every word he said, every pronouncement he made, Jonathan and I were shouting out from our sofa, "That's right!" "That is so true!" "Finally someone is saying it!"
I felt relief, inspiration, love, hope.
I made our boys watch it. Theo built trains, and Benji put his head in front of the screen to try to get attention, but still, we made them watch something historic. When they are journalists, or writers, or playwrights, or activists, or just Dads in the future, they will be able to say, my parents made me watch Barack Obama's speech at the National Convention in 2008!
If McCain wins this election it will mean that Americans really are stupid. It will mean that appeals to racism, hatred and petty issues win out over people's true self interest, and the interest of our country. It will mean that fear wins out over hope. Because the Bush administration, and the McCain administration to follow, promise to reward the richest of the rich, and screw everyone else. If the 99.9% of Americans who are NOT the richest of the rich cannot see that because they are so scared of a black man, or so blinded by a single issue like abortion, or fear of gay marriage, then we really will get the government we deserve. I pray this does not happen. O God, I pray.
I want to do something to take back this country. And I want to do more than give more money. I would rather give money to the homeless person on the corner, or to a kids program or a school or a library. But I would like to help win the election. Should we go to Arizona -- me, Jonathan, Theo and Benji --or some other swing state and pound the pavement before election day? I need to know I did everything in my power to help Obama win. Otherwise I will not be able to live with myself.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Creators vs. Consumers

In five days Theo will go to orientation for his first day of kindergarten and Larchmont Charter, West Hollywood. That this school is opening is a feat of will, hard work and perseverance. Last fall Marya Francis and Jay dreamed of starting a school in their neighborhood that would be as amazing as the Larchmont Charter School. They approached Larchmont, and its founders, and asked for help. Less than a year later, they pulled it off. Through the amazing help of the Larchmont board, Lindsay Sturman, and a handful of educational visionaries, they managed to write a charter, shepherd it through the endless bureaucratic maze of LAUSD and flex some political muscle, get major grant money, hire an amazing principle, and find a place to put this baby school. Best of all, this charter school, like its parent school, has a real sense of social mission. In an era where test scores count above all, and teachers curriculums seem to be overseen practically to the minute and semi colon, Larchmont is trying to show that they can come up with a more free and creative curriculum that will raise test scores for children of EVERY socio-economic group. It is a bold mission. I went to public school, and I believe so deeply in public schools. I believe that they can work. I also believe that good public schools are the foundation of a democracy. They make children with more money and education at their disposal meet children with less, and it teaches them compassion, and how to move freely with all people of the world. For children with less, it gives them higher goals, more opportunities, and makes sure everyone has a shot at greatness. It insures that money, or a lack thereof, is not a barrier to or guarantor of success. For the people who are founding this school (me being one of them) this school is nothing less than the next civil rights movement.
So it is interesting to watch it move from dream to reality. Parents have been amazing. They are pitching in money, time and effort. They are attending meetings and have agreed to do carpools. They are asked to do so much more than at a regular public school. And there are no guarantees. There are no guarantees this will work, this will last, or it will succeed. There is just a dream, and a LOT of energy, passion and good will.

Some parents are turned on by this. But there is another breed of parent. They approach their children's education like consumers, not creators. They want to critique, but not participate. They are nervous. Scared. Demanding. Quick to sense things going wrong, and to demand extra care for their children. None of us except the principal really knows what we are doing. We are not a private school promising entree into great colleges, or really anything. If we want it to work, all of us, every single parent, has to jump in and believe and do our best. We cannot attack the principle or interrogate the teachers. We need to just come, and give what we have to offer. At the very least our children will see us trying to make the world a better place.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I don't know why, but my family never hung pictures. There were no pictures of us, hanging on the mantle. There were no pictures of ancestors, hanging in the hallways. There were no polaroids, hanging on the refrigerator door. We didn't even have albums. All pictures went into a giant cardboard box that was hidden away--filled with everything from tiny black and white pictures from my grandmother's childhood, of unnamed relatives we will never know, to us. My friends houses were filled with pictures--they were choc a bloc everywhere. Tacky portraits (it was the Seventies after all) cute baby pictures, baby shoes dipped in metal to preserve them. The houses were living memorials to those who lived within.

I didn't mind so much when I was little. But sometimes I wondered. Didn't my parents like what we looked like? Were we trying to keep secrets? I never saw my parents wedding album until I was 11, digging around in the attic. And there it was, stuck in the bottom of some box. Maybe my parents thought it was arrogant to put up pictures of yourself. I don't know...

We live in the age of photos. We practically think of ourselves in photo shoots. The world has changed. But I do want my boys to be surrounded by pictures of those they love, and who love them. I want them to look up and see their history, and the history of their families. I want them to see how they were loved as babies, and how the family features spread across cousins and aunts and grandmothers. We take so many pictures these days that sometimes I feel myself shoving them into a drawer, blindly following my family tradition. But I want to change. I want to have a photo wall. I want it to celebrate Theo and Benjamin and the growth and change in our family. I want them to see their cousins and aunts and uncles who can't be here--to remind them the world is full of people that love them, even far away. I want them to feel their life is celebrated--even as it is happening. So today the boys and I will start picking out pictures for our photo wall.

They will be funny and silly and serious and beautiful. They will be all different sizes and all different frames. They will be big and small and old and new and digital and film. And they will change.

Today, we will start. We will build our wall.

The Kingdom of Ilaria...Oops, Illyria

Saturday night we went to see Twelfth Night at the Barnsdall. It was glorious. A free performance, outside, on the lawn, looking over the whole city. The crowd was intimate--filled with practically homeless old people, Silverlake hipsters, and people like us who dared to bring small children because it was FREE!!! I could remember almost nothing about the play from high school--except that I loved it, and it featured cross-dressing twins who reveal their true identities at the end to great comic effect. On the way over Jonathan, who retains all factual information forever, said all he remembered was that it took place in the Kingdom of Ilaria. Hey, that's me!

It turns out it is actually the kingdom of Illyria. But it sounded just like me. "The characters who inhabit the land of Illyria are not creatures who do things by halves. Rather, they are the sorts of people who are given to obsession, addiction, flights of fancy, love beyond reason--delusional romantics, one and all. If the moon is the seat of insanity (as the term lunatic suggests), Illyria is a place where it shines full night after night.

O glory be, it's me.

The play summary concludes with this:

"As the play ends, however, we may find ourselves left questioning whether we are better off when we wake from our fantasies, or if they are the very things that allow us to bear the rest of our lives in all their mundanity and wonder."

O this could be a quote about Hollywood. To live here, in this city where anyone with an outsize dream aspires to be, is both the most uplifting and depressing thing there is. Every restaurant and coffee shop is full of aspiring actors, directors, writers and businessmen. It is heaven. It is inspiring to see people shooting for the stars, and daring to DO it. But then it seems every older person in a sad, dingy apartment is a failed actor/director/writer who never quite made it, and now lives this semi-pathetic life performing at children's birthday parties, and alluding proudly to a shaving commercial they made in the Seventies. Is that not hell on earth?

Which is better? I know which one I am.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Beginning of a Vision...

Before Theo was born, when I was seven months pregnant, Jonathan and I were in London visiting my brother. We sat in a coffee shop (Pret a Porter) on a rainy day and brainstormed what we wanted to make sure we taught our child. We made a huge list, which I have somewhere, and we read it again when he was born. But now that he is older, and he is about to start kindergarten, I think about it all again. I want to define my vision--not as NOTS, but as a positive vision. So here is the start of a list, of things I want my boy to learn, both in school and out. The things I want him to know by the time he is 18, and he takes off into the world. (And I do believe these things are taught at home, at school, through friends, on vacations, and everywhere...but I, as the mama, am the ultimate coordinator)
I want him to learn to care about his community, and to believe it is duty to improve it, to give to it, and to make the world a better place. I want him to learn to know that he is blessed, with a family, an education, money, and US citizenship, and it is his responsibility to give all he can to help others, not to just use his talents to benefit himself. I want him to love the earth, to love nature, and to take care of this world for future generations--better than we have. I want him to love music. To learn to play it and sing it and dance to it, not just as a passive consumer, but as a human being who is moved by music, no matter how talented (or untalented) he himself might be. I want him to be creative, and to never ever lose the creative impulse, because that is what makes life rich. I want him to learn to read,to learn to write, to learn to express himself powerfullly, to influence people through writing and words, and to know the power of words always. I want him to know how to learn. I want him to respect learning and to love it for its own sake, not because it gets him into Harvard or Yale or gets him a good job. I want him to know that joy, of commanding a subject. I want him to learn humility. To know that it is his responsibility to always do his best, but that many of his victories and accomplishments (and there will be many) will be built on the work of others--to never lose sight of that. I want him to find his passion, to believe that is important, to search for it and be true to it and to follow that impulse because it is a gift, and ultimately no one else can tell you what your passion is. You are on your own. I want him to be comfortable in the world--whether walking in the wilderness alone, moving among those who are poor, and unlike him, or moving among those who are rich, and unlike him. I want him to love the ocean. I want him to be kind. I want him to know how to stand up for himself, and for others. I want him to be strong, and not sell off his talents to others for less than they are worth. I want him to be principled, and have standards within him that guide him and help him navigate this crazy world. I want him to know how to love others, to show that love, and feel love, and feel comfortable in both directions. I am not a Waldorfian, but I want him to be sheltered enough that he cultivates his own imagination, before he is hijacked by popular culture. I want him to be a creator and an activist, not a consumer. Above all, I want him to always, always think for himself. Whatever the cost.

Addicted to Chess

My parents were not interested in what unique gifts my siblings and I brought to the world. It was a different time. They were interested in what your responsibility was as a parent. What SHOULD you teach your child, to be a cultured, healthy, well-rounded, smart, socially acceptable person. I guess that included table manners, learning a sport you could do for the rest of your life, reading a lot--of the right things, taking piano lessons and playing an instrument. It was a recipe for creating a good person, and looking back, I am grateful. I think everyone should learn a sport, music, to love to read, to be good at math. But I did not feel seen. I did not feel like my parents were searching for each of our individual talents, and then trying to cultivate them. Educational philosophy has come a long way since then...
But for me, one of the great joys of parenting is to see what emerges from my children. It is magical to watch interests, bents, and genetic predispositions take over. I, too, want to make sure my children get a little bit of music, a little bit of sport, a little bit of art and lots of books. But as my children get older, especially Theo, it is just wild to expose him to various things, and then watch in wonder as the interest takes off.
He has done sports, he has taken violin lessons (his initiative, his desire). He has cooked, and drawn and painted and been given more toys than any child should have, all designed to bring out some developmental stage for hyper-education minded parents like me. He likes letters, and he can read a little bit.
But the thing that really got him going was chess. I never played chess at all. My mother bought a board for my brother once, with flat pieces and arrows drawn all over that were meant to represent the moves of each piece. But even as a child I thought half the magic of a chess board was the pieces--the queen, the king, the knight, the rook and the pawns. I didn't know what they were, but a real chess board is a beautiful thing. So one evening, Jonathan (who knows how to do everything at least pretty well) taught Theo chess. I was skeptical. The boy is 5. The only child I had ever heard of who played chess at five was Bobby Fischer. I loved the movie, but that didn't end so well...
But within an evening Theo had memorized the moves. No flat instructional cards required. He loved it. He would play game after game with Jonathan. He would set up the board on our living room coffee table so it was ready to play at any moment. He played Jonathan after work, and taught me how to play, too. He started playing against himself at night in his room. When we went on vacation at Stinson the only toy we brought aside from two bedtime books and three matchbox cars was the chess board. Every adult who passed through the door ended up getting a chess lesson from Theo. It was like a chess camp run by a five-year-old. As we grilled zucchini and sausage and corn, and drank wine, he had Jen or Sandy or Rob at the chess board, congratulating them on good moves, and, if it was a bad move, asking: "Are you sure you want to do that?"
He cannot get enough.
Yesterday I took him to the Santa Monica library on Ocean Park for a chess club outing. The library runs this spectacular program to teach chess to children. It is free, and it is cool. You go in and there are five to 10 chess boards, with kids ranging in age from 5 to 18. There are mothers and grandmothers, too. The program is run by a bearded, chess-playing librarian called Mel, who looks like he just climbed out of the waves two blocks away. He is high on chess. When I brought Theo the first time he congratulated me, and told me it was important for ME to play chess, too. He said research at UCLA (based on his program, of course) has taught rambunctious boys that their actions have logical consequences, and that they can play out their rebellion against their Mommies on the chess board rather than by smoking pot. Helps with the Oedipal complexes, too, he added. Cool. I was in.
He played with Theo that day, and then Theo played against a cocky, home-schooled seven-year-old who lied to Theo and coached him to move his queen, and then took it. Within two moves Theo had check-mated him with a rook. The kid couldn't believe it. I almost threw him in the air I was so proud of him.
Yesterday I took him back. A woman walked in with bleached hair, a tie-dyed shirt and a girlie leather purse. "This is Christie," Mel said. "She is a certified Chess instructor. Play with Theo," he said. She defied every expectation of the nerdy male chess coach, but she was awesome. She encouraged him and taught him the basics of the game. Within 10 minutes I could tell he had moved beyond my knowledge, and probably his father's, too. He was in heaven. She kept looking to me. Is this too much? I have so much I want to teach him. I said I didn't know what he could retain. I told her just tell him everything. See what he can take. He sat so quietly I didn't even know if he liked it. He was almost silent. And he thought long and hard on every move. When we had to leave after an hour he cried.
I felt euphoric. I had hit the jackpot. I felt a sense of wonder. There is something so awe inspiring and incredible about watching your kid hit their interest and go into the zone. I know every child has that place. That interest. That thing that just fires their imagination and makes them go and go so that time slows down and disappears. I think that is our job as parents. To keep searching for that thing. I found one!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Something to Think About

Last night one of my favorite people in Los Angeles came over for dinner. Her name is Anna and she is a reader, an intellectual, an artist, a teacher and a mama. She is also a fantastic cook. I had her over to drink wine and make Neapolitan pizza. She will be teaching art to the children at Theo's new charter school. She has talked a lot to our principal, Kristin Elson. Kristin is one-of-a-kind. She has taught teaching at community college, started a Montessori charter school in Victorville, for no pay, done educational research for the Rand Corporation, written grants, published academic articles, and taught in both private and public schools. Now she will run our charter school. One of the things she said to Anna when she was interviewing her was: parents define how they raise their children more by what they DON'T allow them to do, than what they do. In other words, we decide our children can't watch TV, can't see certain movies, can't eat sugar, shouldn't eat transfats, shouldn't drink from plastic bottles, etc. All of these things are so important. I try to do them, too. And yet, how much harder it is to try to come up with a positive overarching philosophy for how you want to raise your child. How much harder to define what you want them to stand for, what you want them to believe, what you want them to shoot for, dream about, and achieve. How much bolder you need to be to define your vision, and stick to it. What is my vision? I need to figure that out...

Bipasha, This One's For YOU!

Today I am reading over my mommy transcripts, editing them down for my book proposal. As I read them, some of them move me to tears. One woman I met was named Bipasha. She is American, the daughter of two Indian immigrants from Calcutta who moved to this country to make money and give their children a better life. Once their children (Bipasha and her brother) were grown, they moved back to Calcutta. Bipasha is an amazing woman: a film editor, an entrepreneur and businesswoman, and one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. She has two small children, is married to a hot cinematographer, and is trying to hold it all together, just like the rest of us. The only difference is her perspective. Although she is 100% American herself, she travels back to India frequently to see her parents, and sees children and motherhood through the eyes of a different culture, which perhaps for the first time feels gentler. Here is her quote:

"In Hinduism they believe children are Gods. I think up until the age of four they believe they are so innocent and pure and you know that they are the closest thing to a God on earth. They believe children are a reincarnation of God, and they treat them that way."

What would America be like if we treated children like Gods? Would we pay for better teachers and schools? Would we do a better job of saving the environment? Would we make sure all children had health care? Would we want mothers to be with their children more of the time? Would we value mothers more?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why I Write

The real reason for this blog--though I have never mentioned it here, is to promote, give thought to, and go off on tangents about my book. I am writing a book. It has been my secret project for more than a year. My baby, my fantasy, the thing I have to do. I am calling it "The Mommy Dilemma: 100 True Tales of Motherhood." It is an oral history of twenty first century mothers, done in the style of Studs Terkel (a guerilla with a tape recorder) and his modern-day equivalent, the super-cool Po Bronson. This book is born of passion. It is the book I wanted when I was working, when I felt trapped between wanting to work as hard at my career as I had before, and wanting to spend time with my boys, who I felt were a gift to me from God. I felt there were two options: work full-time with a nanny (or child care) or stay at home (BOOOOOORING!) I felt I was neither. I was inspired by the women of my co-op. They were so creative, so comfortable without lots of money, most of them making the decision to live in smaller houses, with a LOT less money, so that at least one parent could be with the child. But they were also an incredibly creative group of people, who live outside the structure of corporate America, and all that that entails--good and bad.
And so I set out to find women. I have interviewed 30 so far. There are laid back stay at home mothers. military wives who home school their kids, and hedge fund managers who are the man of the family.
The women I have met are so amazing.
This project is my therapy, and my deprogramming from journalism. It is a chance to give back to the world, to do my own research, to uncover my own trends, to take time with interviews and not take a stand just to be controversial or provoke for more hits on the web site. Through my interviews I am uncovering trends I never read in newspapers, see on TV, or see reflected in popular culture. I am also gaining strength from talking to these women, hearing their stories, and seeing how many different ways there are to do this. From time to time I will talk about one of the amazing women I have interviewed, and why they made me laugh, or cry, or feel like dancing.
But today there was a story in the NY Times that I want to talk about. According to a new census bureau report 20% of women between 40 and 44 don't have children. That is double the percentage of 30 years ago. Women are having children later, and women with more education have the least children. These are the women I am talking to. I read the stats--and they present itas more and more women are choosing not to have children. But I do wonder. I think more women do choose not to have children--and this is a good thing. It means women have other ways to value themselves. It is not all women can do. On the other hand, I wonder if some of that 20% wish they were having children, but can't because men take so long to decide they want to settle down that by the time they get married women have about a one minute time window to get pregnant. And by them they are at a point in their careers where they are really taking off.
I don't know how to read census numbers. But they are fascinating. I wish I could talk to some of those women. Maybe I need to include a chapter on women who chose NOT to have children, in my book about the mommy dilemma. Because, when you are a kick-ass professional woman who has worked like a dog to get respect and a good salary the decision to have a child or not really IS a dilemma. Maybe the biggest dilemma of all, if you really think hard about it. Which most of us don't even dare to do until we have that baby in our arms.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bathtub Blog

Five stolen moments. One thought. This past week I sat with the estranged sister of my dead friend. I liked her. She told stories of her childhood. Of her stingy father, and her mentally unstable mother. To both my friend and her sister the father is the looming presence--the strength, the tyrant, the voice in their heads. Both are angry for different reasons--my dead friend, and her still living sister. But the weirdest thing was that when they talk about themselves, each other, or the mother, they all sound like they are channeling the father. His opinions are their opinions. His pronouncements, his judgements, his views of each of them are what they carry around as truth. Even though none of them seem to like him very much. And so I wonder: When families tell their stories, define themselves, make their mythology, is the strongest person's story the only one that matters? No matter how warped, how awful, does the strongest win? Does their truth become THE truth?


This is from an installation of globes at Crissy Field in San Francisco. There were about 30 globes decorated by artists, all intended to inspire us to take better care of the earth. I was inspired. There were roof top gardens and exhortations to just hang your laundry out to dry in the breeze. Requests to turn out your lights, ride your bike, turn off your computer, compost, and eat local veggies. To recycle, to plant a tree. Tomorrow I go to a composting party. I will work to make the world a better place. I will take my money out of money market accounts that support bad corporations that destroy the environment and people's lives. I will teach my boys to love the world and take care of it. I will plant trees, ride my bike, and do some eco-activisim in Nat's memory. I will compost!

One of My Happiest Places On Earth

Stinson Beach. Bolinas Lagoon. Jen and Rob. Dinner under the stars. My own shooting star. Boogie boarding the giant waves. Searching for sand dollars. Making necklaces with Minna. Organic Raspberry ice-cream from Strauss family farm. Red wine in giant northern California wine glasses. Hot tubbing. Mists and fog and red woods. Golden hills. The Dipsea Trail. Muir woods. Stolen blackberries and blackberry pancakes. Fried oysters and Amnesia IPA. Beta testing for Tcho. T-shirts from Buzz. Bo 4 Bo '08. Seals. Leopard sharks. Isabel Allende and the Sum of My Days. Natalia's ghost. Sandy. Fossilized sand-dollars. Benji finding feathers. Hunting for shells til our pants fell down. Mosquitos. The Spit. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves. The light on the hills. My boys. My love. Heaven.

Dancing on the Dipsea

Do They Love Me?

YES! They do!

Jonathan shot these pictures while were up in Stinson Beach, hiking the trail to the Pan Toll ranger station. It is an enchanted forest, filled with giant ferns, towering redwoods, hanging moss, fairy bridges, and shafts of golden sunlight. We came across a fallen tree bridge--it looked strong, but shook when you got on it. Would I fall to my death? Or survive and feel truly alive?

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Case of Stolen Identity...

I was taught that if you were honest and a good person, people would treat you well. But the new American credo seems to be: if you are polite and a good person, you will be taken advantage of. Our whole economic system seems increasingly to be premised on making ordinary people jump through so many hoops to get their money, their health care, their refunds, their pensions, their retirement, or money they are owed, that eventually, they will tire and the corporations will win.
This is my crazy story.
Two months ago, my wedding photographer emailed me and said she hoped I was being paid by Color Me Mine ( a pottery franchise) to have my picture hanging in their store. I laughed and said, What are you talking about? She said my picture was hanging in a store in Glendale. I didn't know? I said it probably wasn't me. She said it definitely was. Now this is not just anyone. This is one of the best photographers I have ever known who is literally able to capture--in people she has met only once -- a soul's quintessential look. She is astounding. She has the eye. Still, I pushed her. I said were you driving by? She said no, she was walking. And it was definitely me.
When I told Jonathan he said we had to go and check it out. We drove over to Glendale. There, in the corporate headquarters of Color Me Mine was a giant blown up mural of me, with a mother, a father, and a girl. We were huge, larger than life. And it was me. I was a little blurry, the pixels had been blown up so big. I was painting a flower pot. I did not know the people--the woman the man and the girl -- and yet they looked strangely familiar. Had I seen them on the streets of LA? Did I know them from some movie? The weirdest thing was, I have only been to Color Me Mine twice in my life: once nine years ago in Santa Monica to paint a plate for my ex-fiancees sister's wedding, and once six years ago to paint a mug for my husband. So it was me, with people I did not know, painting something I had never painted. I looked, fascinated. We stopped a guy on the street to see if he thought it was me. Put your head down, like you are painting, he said. Yup. That's you. It was me. My hands, my shirt, my hair, my eyebrows. But--not my chin. It was slightly different. Like I had been photoshopped. That made me feel bad, like my chin isn't good enough. Like I had to be improved upon. It just so happened that that month the New Yorker wrote a piece on the world's best airbrushing company, secretly in demand by every major photographer. No one ever runs as they are, was the point of the story. Even the most beautiful people are enhanced. And we are not just talking airbrusing out a zit. We are talking moving arms, plumping lips, thinning thighs, rebuilding.
But strangest of all, I did feel like the people in the African tribes who say that if their picture is taken the photographer will steal their soul. It was me, but it wasn't. I was out of context, slightly off, I felt discombobulated.
I called Color Me Mine. They said it wasn't me. And made me feel like I was a predator for even wanting to know. The woman in the picture looked so much like me I began to wonder if maybe my grandfather had sired a daughter in Glendale, and she had had a daughter, who looked EXACTLY like me. My long-lost cousin/twin. If so, I wanted to find her.
They shut me down. Their CEO refused to call me back (he was at lunch at 10:30...) and their marketing director was cold and confrontational. But she said she would find the modeling release, even if she couldn't tell me anything.
My photographer coached me. She said demand the modeling release, the name, AND the name of the photographer so he can match the model with the picture. She said send a strongly worded letter. That is why people have modeling release forms. What they did was illegal.
So I sent my strongly worded letter. This morning I got a call from Tara Barnett. She said the name of the model was Nancy Lane. I asked for the photographer's name. She said she couldn't give it for privacy reasons. I said, for the privacy of the photographer? She got irritated. What did I want? They had spent enough time on this. (They hadn't spent any time.) I said I wanted the name of the photographer. I could hear someone in the background. She put me on the line with CEO. He got on the phone and said the picture was of a woman named Nancy Lane. He said they could not get the name of the photographer without going into the archives, and they would not release the name to me. Only to my lawyer, since I had threatened a lawsuit. So I said, you just remember the name of the model? But not the name of the photographer? He said yes. He said it was from memory. He said they had not gone back into the archives. The picture was from 10-11 years ago. He said he would only release the info to my lawyer. Not to me.
We got off the phone and googled Nancy Lane. Model. A porn video popped up, with a woman in a bikini caressing her breast by a pool.
But here is what is strange. It looks like me. They will not look up the picture. The CEO admits he did not look it up, he just remembers the name of the model. None of it makes sense. And it does not prove anything. People complain Americans are litigious. But they did not pay any attention to me until I mentioned the word "lawyer" in my letter. They are angry, but will only deal with a lawyer. Which is really their way of pushing one more step, to see if I will do it. So I guess I will. But I cannot believe they act so self-righteous. Even if I am wrong, why not just admit it. I am not doing this because I cruise around looking for stolen images of myself. Each thing they do and say only seems to imply their guilt. But they want it to be legal.
So I guess we will take it to the next level.
Then, on Friday as I was driving through the Valley I looked up and saw myself again! I was life-size in a Color Me Mine window in Studio City, with a beam running through the middle of my face.
I am determined to find myself, or the woman who looks just like me.
Tonight we will go and gather the evidence.