Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

For years I hated New Year's Eve. I mean how could any experience compete with the hype. That perfect kiss at midnight? For years I went out searching. Invariably depressed and disappointed when the stars refused to align. High School was torture. College not better. My post-grad years miserable save for the one when I was waitressing and pouring drinks at a comedy club. That suited me, joking with my peers, popping open bottle after bottle of champagne bantering with the poor stiffs who'd paid for their evening's entertainment. I moved to NYC and joined the swarms huddled from the cold, trudging around looking for that perfect party. The depression heavier in those great looking crowds. One year wasn't too bad, spent snorting coke and staying up all night talking with my good friends, the then couple, Tom and Renee. The next year was abysmal. So in 1981 I stayed in. Friends kept calling, trying to drag me out. I couldn't possbily be serious...How could I really stay home on New Year's Eve? Wasn't I going to be way too depressed? I stuck to my guns. Drinking, eating cookies, watching TV, and listening to James Brown still a better alternative than the annual loneliness and embarrassment. I woke up Jan. 1, 1982 feeling refreshed and with no regrets. Six weeks later I went out on a first date with the man I'm still married to. Dec. 31, 1982, in my tiny tenement apartment, with a bottle or two of champagne, I toasted my great good fortune! I was home, on New Year's Eve with all I needed. Finally, that magic midnight.

Since then, once and awhile we've gone out for a low key something or other. Mostly we've stayed in. And that's been fine. Wonderful in fact.

Happy New Years!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 Year End Movie wrap up

I'm not big on Ten Best Lists. And I really hate the Oscar predictions - it's just all so reductive. The oscar pundits take space and energy away from so much other deserving fare. But since some of you always ask me what's worth seeing - here's my year end tally. It's more than ten, but not 100% inclusive. I see a lot of films before they're released or even in festivals alongside purely festival and mainstream work just not worth including. As I was working on this, I was just struck by how many movies there are out there. So many I haven't seen that I'm interested in, and I'm still a hard core moviegoer! How can civilians possibly keep up?

Half Nelson - tour de force acting. great. really loved this.
Science of Sleep - magical, romantic, a truly creative world grounded in real emotion. Didn't want it to end.
Babel - loved this too. epic. visceral. Don't get why people didn't get this more. It's how my mind works.
Shortbus - surprisingly charming, wonderfully natured, full of humanity
Idiocracy - funny as hell. brilliant ideas.
The Queen - beautifully done. love the intimacy inside the public life.
Pan's Labyrinth - Tremendous accomplishment. Feels like an old time classic.
51 Birch Street - again deeply moving in ways that surprised me. beautifully constructed.
Borat - hilarious. complex in what it's saying about us now.
Dreamgirls - pure entertainment. Terrific translation from stage to screen. Some critics criticized the music..Duh, it's the movie version of a real musical! And Eddie --whew!!!
Clerks 2 - hilarious, moving and original. I loved every second.
The Devil Wears Prada - Meryl Streep a delight.
C.R.A.Z.Y. - obscure canadian film. one of the best on families ever. great style.
LOL - raw but dead on modern social moires.
Lion in the House - True tearjerker, very much worth the time.
Fast Food Nation - Admirable.
Scanner Darkly - Funny and mindblowing in parts. Even better on second viewing.

(ok it's clear from my brief descriptions - I love movies that "move" me. Funny and poignant I guess what I'm looking for.)

Films I've Haven't Seen yet but I'm dying to:
Dead Girl - curious from all the year end lists
The Bridge
Sherry Baby
Stranger than Fiction
Pursuit of Happyness - my son says I'll love.
Just Like a Son (kurt cobain)
Deliver Us from Evil
Letters from Iwo Jima

Missed but will try to catch up with:
The death of Mr. Lazarescu
Sleeping Dogs Lie
United 93
The Refugee All Stars
Iraq in Fragments
My Country, My Country
Duck Season
Lives of Others
Marie Antoinette
Last King of Scotland
Army of Shadows
Road to Guantanamo

Didn't love at all contrary to critical opinion
Old Joy
Little Miss Sunshine
Inland Empire

Enjoyed just not most favorite

Apocalyptic - wall to wall native faces - a feast for the eyes visually. Story inconsequential, it's just Braveheart redux.
Casino Royale - He's hot. not crazy about the poker or love story
Quinceara - enjoyable. surprised it wasn't more popular.
Shut Up and Sing - moving, intimate, a peek inside the eye of the storm
Rescue Dawn - harrowing
Departed - fun to see the Boston guys playing Boston
Children of Men - not the greatest story but the bleak vision of the future terrifying. What i worry about.
Blood Diamond - Not perfect but gripping, thought provoking and Leonardo sublime.
Talledega Nights - funny
Tales of the Rat Fink - very inventive
Prairie Home Companion - fluid, entertaining, made me appreciate the show
Jackass 2 - ok, so I laughed.
Jam - really moving, transcendent doc on SF roller derby
Infamous - loved Capote, loved this. Great story, why not different interpretations? -like with symphonies.
Tristam Shanty - enjoyable romp
Clean - obscure rock n roll drug fallout but pretty great traditional art flick. Strong lead and very fine Nick Nolte.
Friends with Money - surprised how much I liked this. Particularly the husband character everyone assumed was gay.
Dave Chappelle's Block Party - funny, good music, good time
Wassup Rockers - charming enough
49 Up - continuation of this fascinating series. My generation.
Breakfast on Pluto
Black Dahlia - for the look alone. lush.
Guide to Recognizing Your Saints - you've seen it before but appealing performances
Host - entertaining and foreign
District B13 - breathtaking stunts
Thin - upsetting but very close
The World - provocative original foreign film
Inside Man - solid
Thank you for Smoking - amusing
Ballet Russe - was this 2005? Superb and deeply moving. About more than dance,about time and what's worth doing.
World's Fastest Indian - I really loved this. Hopkins reminded me of my Dad.
Match Point
War Tapes


I've maintained for some time that Diet Coke is one of the most addictive substances around. I started drinking it in the last decade, kind of amused by my friend Tracy's addiction. If you look around, you'll see that people who drink Diet Coke, drink a LOT of Diet Coke. They don't just have it once and awhile. Not only is it the favored drink of us bigger folks, and the perpetually thin dieting ones, I notice it often in the clutches of my non-alcohol-drinking alcoholic friends.

I gave it up on November 14th. My accupunturist suggested it, but I was ready, feeling like it was causing some ill effects. Secretly feeling like it was making me even more hungry. So I gave it up. And now I think about it everyday. I don't feel better. I constantly want one. Sometimes I even dream about it. I dreamed I drank one and panicked. It doesn't seem to feel easier, though I keep putting it off one more day. I've switched to water and tea.

That is until yesterday. Yesterday the air was heavy and humid. I'd been up late the night before, several nights before, and just couldn't get into gear. I wanted a Diet Coke. All day long. I put it off minute by minute. Eventually, out for dinner before Blood Diamond I ordered one. It tasted great!

In this recent Newsweek article, Dr. Nora Volkow, who's dedicated her life to studying addiction said, "I've never met anyone who thought they would become addicted..."
The article continues to report, "...brain science is proving that we all have the potential to become addicted to something: drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, gambling, even food. And while we may think that being addicted to food is not as bad as being addicted to heroin, researchers are learning that all addictions are more alike than was previously thought. Becoming an addict is more a matter of chance than we ever realized; mix the right combination of genetics and life experience, and anyone could find himself addicted to something."

I can't find the reference but I have this vague memory from the original Whole Earth catalogue. In an entry about addiction, it talked about how your addictions ground you. Give you a reason for being. Like if you had your cigarettes, it was ok to leave the house. You had all you needed, in the palm of your hand. (I've often that was part of the ipod's initial appeal - it was the same size as a pack of smokes for all us ex-addicts. You see the syndrome everywhere now with phones and blackberries...)

I quit smoking 21 years ago after 16 years of loving it. I quit for the first time in 1978 cold turkey. Maintaining for about a year and half until the compulsion kicked up it's ugly head. It was simply too loud to ignore -- though I tried. I remember thinking, this must be like what the drive to murder feels like. I quit again using group hypnosis in 1985. I still miss it. The desire remains though I don't dare. Addiction's a bitch, even in these rather benign forms. Thank God I didn't have the chemistry for the harder stuff.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Goodbye to James Brown...the Greatest

Ahhh James Brown... How you enriched my life.

I loved, still love, your music. There's nothing like it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Txmas

From my house to yours. Thanks to all of you've who've been stopping by this blog. I really appreciate it. Like the salsa, this has turned out to be more fun than I expected.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Laura Nyro - How can the young be unfamiliar?

I'm often surprised by how kids half my age, have heard all the same music I've heard, yet in only half the time. There's a taking for granted of a certain musical canon. Until now. Last summer a director was over who'd recently made a highly acclaimed doc on singer-songwriter Townes Van Zant. I mentioned one of my alltime favorites, Laura Nyro. She said, "who?" Who? I couldn't understand how a woman who'd devoted years to a film about a songwriter's kind of songwriter, wouldn't be familiar with the great Laura Nyro. I wrote it off to her being a Southerner.

It came up again last night with a grad student who'd gone to both prep school and college in the Northeast. No name recognition whatsoever. And later with a serious music fan/writer - a guy who prides himself on having heard everything. Vague recollection maybe. And to make matters worse, verified again today by two other young music lovers. How could this woman, who was so profoundly influential in the 60's, and who sounded so fucking great, be so unknown? She provided the soundtrack for my life for a long time. When she died too young from ovarian cancer, I tracked down the obit photo in Rolling Stone and bought an original print because she so utterly embodied what my adolescent angst felt & looked like. A truly unique blend of white soul.

Sometimes I listen to which will match any song or band with other music like it. When I plug in one of my perennial favorite bands, XTC, I'm delighted for hours with similar complex rhythms and harmonies. When I try Laura Nyro, it doesn't work, because there's no one else like her. It's not just the politics. It's not just the female voice. She was a total original.

Maybe the music doesn't carry. Maybe it was specifically of its time. But for this moment I'm going to try to turn some new people on to her.

Recommended CDs
Gonna Take a Miracle - w/ Labelle. - Talk about soul! My favorite track Nowhere to Run.
New York Tendaberry Totally heartbreaking. One of my favorite records of all time. "Sidewalk and pigeon. You look like a city but you feel like religion to me."
Stoned Soul Picnic - The Best of Laura Nyro

A YouTube taste

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Addressing envelopes

A friend I asked for an address update couldn't believe I was thinking of sending holiday cards. This was my response:

Oh it's such a weird old habit. I started way before I had kids -because I just love communication I guess. It was my one stab at artwork - I'd handsew rubber airplanes on home-made cards or go crazy with glue and glitter on Hong Kong glossy postcards. Eventually the kid photo thing took over and it became a narrative. The xmas after the documentary opened I didn't bother - figured everyone had had enough of our family. And I almost didn't this year - figured the kids were too old and that email kept me in touch enough. But I don't know, I got one or two I liked in the mail. Then I realized that the last one I sent out had W. at a newly aged 13 and now he's a man over 6 feet. Figured I needed the closure on his aging. So I rushed a little photo concept together. Hopefully it'll look OK when I get it back from the printer tomorrow and I'll mail it out. I took some hours to weed through my address book. Awed and overwhelmed by the decades' worth of names. Somehow I still came up with roughly 200 that seemed xmas card appropriate this year. It almost seems old fashioned and retro in this day of instant communication. I'm going with the throwback notion.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Holiday Showcase with my new friend

Last night I went to a Holiday Showcase for my dance studio. Dress was "semi-formal," with a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres at a nice South Austin hotel. Walking in, it felt like a High School Reunion. The dress was fancier than I expected. Hell, I should have known better, this is Texas! My clothing range varies little - different shades and textures of simple black touched off by a varying intensity of makeup and earrings. That's it. But this crowd was quite swank and good looking.

I went with my new friend from class. The one who'd caught me on Sxsw Presents and then googled me. Which I found to be way more charming than creepy. It's a very familiar new-friend pattern for me. She's one of the cutest girls at the studio. I'd noticed her dancing before I recognized her at Sunday yoga. I mentioned the yoga, she mentioned the TV, and now she's the one I talk to. I watch all the guys hit on her, and ask her to dance while I'm standing by, and it feels very familiar. Only now, not only am I not single and available too, I haven't been in decades. But the syndrome feels the same. I don't know how she feels about being single. She asks more questions than she answers. But she's lovely, and we have a good time when we talk. I kept feeling like I should shoo her off to one of the cute young guys there, but she seemed comfortable hanging with me. One of these days I'll get her story.

I was primarily interested in the showcase to see the teachers. They did not disappoint. Real dancers, real beautiful lines and grace. But what was the surprise was the students. More women than men, of varying ages. Of varying ability too, but joined in their desire to perform publicly. Which means to be seen. Early on, my friend A. leaned over and asked, "Think you'd like to do that?" The answer was emphatically "No." I really don't like to be looked at. Why? I don't know. I performed as a child into early teen years, then stopped. I really don't like to be looked at, at all. To be known, yes. To get credit, absolutely! But to be looked at, definitely not. It feels like a different breed entirely, those who crave the spotlight. I recognize it, I truly can't relate.

Tommy the elf

Looks like my pal Tommy's taking over my blog! But this was too hilarious to pass up:


He makes an extra cute elf because he's already been through the Scanner Darkly animation process.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Background on the giant girl

The YouTube video was the first I heard of the little girl giant and/or the Sultan's Elephant. Turns out it was a piece of street theatre in London. To read more about it...

The little girl giant woke up one morning...

Just saw this on my friend Tommy's blog. It's beautiful....

The little girl giant woke up one morning, got a shower from the Sultans Elephant, and wandered off to play in the park....

For a much clearer, better quality video, here

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just say Hey I Wanna

One of the new bands I've been really enjoying this year is The Long Winters. My favorite song on their cd Putting The Days To Bed (Barsuk Records) is (It's a) Departure. For the longest time I was just attracted to the rockin beat. Finally today I started hearing the words which totally cracked me up. Just love them:

It's familiar
but not too familiar
but not too not familiar

It's a new craze
Hey Good Girls do you wanna?
Just say Hey I wanna
Just say Hey I wanna

It's a Departure.
It's a Departure
It's a Departure
It's a Departure

It's a new craze
Hey Good Girls do you wanna?
Just say Hey I wanna
Just say Hey I wanna

I like the old days
but not ALL the old days
only the Good Old Days

It's a new craze
Hey Good Girls do you wanna?
Just say Hey I wanna
Just say Hey I wanna

Hey Good Girls do you wanna?
Just say Hey I wanna
Just say Hey I wanna
Just say

Hey Good Girls do you wanna
Just say Hey I wanna

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Decoding the B.S.

Who am I kidding? In the last week I bought some new $50 earrings, spent hundreds of dollars on some new make-up, bought $12 refrigerator magnets and some $20 candles, am thinking about three new Eileen Fisher shirts, and bought a couple of new Cd's.

Yes I put up the xmas tree today but not without the annual fight with John about it. I do it alone because he couldn't care less. And he was the one raised by Christians. Our first xmas together I dragged home a tree by myself on NYC streets. In subsequent years I got my daughter to help - her eye great in picking out a good tree. Feeling all warm and holiday spirited earlier in the day I ask, "Want to help me get a tree?" "I have to go to Book People" comes the non sequiteur answer. "It's 4pm, they're open late." "Not on Sunday." "Um, yeah, every day except Thanksgiving." The hostility escalates. "Don't get it today." "Don't complain." "I'll come if I have to but I won't be happy and excited about it." "I'm not interested."

I head off alone. I run into several friends with their families at the Austin Optimists lot. Today clearly the day everyone has decided to buy their tree. The guy who ties it to my roof says, "You got someone to help you take it off when you get home? It's heavy!" "Sure" I say. But instead I do it myself. Take it off the car, drag it up the stairs, and center in the new larger stand. For years John's contribution was not in buying the tree but in taking ages centering it just so. Complaining and fussing all the while. Eventually I just threw it up without him. "The eye doesn't like perfection" Cecile used to say. I do it myself. It's a gorgeous tree. It looks great. I'm pissed. I'm communing with my dead Dad who used to trim our tree on xmas eve while listening to Sinatra. Telling me how to place the ornaments 'just so." Many years ago my kids used to help, but I was too territorial myself. I ended up buying them their own little one to decorate however they wanted. I like to trim mine the way I like to trim mine. This year I throw on Sinead O'Conner's "I do not want what I haven't got" which is one of my favorite records and I remember being the perfect tree trimming soundtrack last year.


More creativity or junk?

From today's New York Times Arts & Leisure section by one of my favorite journalists. Jon Pareles is a tremendous music writer with great taste and enthusiasms - still going strong after decades. I used to get a kick out of running into him on the streets of NYC. "What're you listening to?" he'd ask as his way of saying hello.

2006, Brought to You by You by Jon Pareles

"The promise of all the self-expression online is that genius will reach the public with fewer obstacles, bypassing the entrenched media. The reality is that genius has a bigger junk pile to climb out of than ever, one that requires just as much hustle and ingenuity as the old distribution system."

A quiet holiday season

Angela D. my delightful Sunday yoga teacher said today,
"A couple of years ago my family made a list of what they loved about this Holiday Season and what they didn't. We agreed we loved lights, eating cookies and making cookies. What we didn't like was the pressure to consume. So we jettisoned what we didn't like, and now just concentrate on what we do."

My sentiments exactly: celebrate with lights and cookies.

I'd been thinking about this on my own. How can you not this time of year? Before I hooked up with John, Christmas Eve was the most depressing night of the year. I couldn't reconcile the fantasies of ultimate celebration and warmth with my reality. Years later, far happier, I'd stand in line at Balduccis (the amazing gourmet food market in NYC in the 80s) to just absorb the vibe. I rarely had much to buy, even in the years we hosted a ragtag dinner for friends and stragglers. Instead I'd stand and marvel at everyone else's machinations. What were they cooking? How many were coming by? Who were these people? I was both alienated and excited by the proximity.

In the next phase, when the kids were little, I knocked myself out giving them gifts I hoped they'd love. They often didn't. Which made me feel terrible. So little by little I stopped buying. Our extended families, spread all over the world never even started exchanging gifts. I'd watch others rachet up, shopping like crazy, sending off packages at the P.O., loading up on wrapping paper, and feel out of step. I'd ground myself by trimming a tree with 100-year-old family ornaments mixed in with cheap toys I picked up and made in a hurry my first xmas in NYC with John. I'd send photo cards pretty much on xmas eve, not buying the pre-printed ones, instead glueing snapshots onto cards adorned with markers and glitter and individual notes. But now the kids are much older. I don't have a good, recent image of the four of us. And I guess constant email has changed my need to reach out. Hesitantly, regretfully, but tangibly.

So our celebration gets smaller. I try not to feel like I'm being left out in the hustle and bustle -- which is a completely stupid and unproductive syndrome I fight against everyday. I work to assuage the guilt with feelings of gratitude towards our loved ones, and peace that we need little outside of each other. I play Christmas music. The blue & green lights are up on the porch. The tree will go up this afternoon. That's pretty much it. A Christmas party here and there. Some friends by for cocktails. Mostly a kind of quiet. A relief from want.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Heading South

Thursday night we caught the last Austin screening of Heading South, a new French feature directed by Laurent Cantet, who previously made the very fine Time Out. We'd read only raves from the NYC opening and were highly anticipating this tale about women of a certain age vacationing down in Haiti to consort with young local native boys. It's a terrific film that I wanted to like more than I did. I was confounded by too many open questions. John said, "questions are good." He was intrigued not frustrated. I was frustrated but intrigued and engaged nonetheless. Much to ponder in terms of age, desire, power and economics. For more info, check out this terrific review by the very excellent critic, Marge Baumgarten.

On a personal front, it threw me back to that sailing trip around the British Virgin Islands for my father's 60th birthday in 1980 with my just-about-to-be-married sister and brother in tow. As I think I've written before, my sister dubbed the ordeal, "Hell in Paradise." She took up a platonic flirtation with a great looking Canadian windsurfer on a neighboring yacht. His female best friend fell for my Dad. I was stuck fending off the unwanted attention of a native guy. I was really fat and completely uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt like this guy's specialty was in wooing girls that looked like me. And I hated him for it.

salsa continues

A month later I'm still dancing. Now up to 3 times a week, two one-hour classes each trip. Salsa 2, samba, cha cha 2, and cha cha shines. I'm totally engaged. Still not that good, but good enough to be intrigued and motivated. I go because it makes some sense. It's exhilarating. It makes me laugh. But also because it's a challenge. Some things are a challenge with no payoff. I spent eight years of my childhood skiing and hated every second of it. I spent much of my high school years sailing and gardening. Neither took. Dancing is just the right amount of challenge for me, like with yoga and pilates. I have to work but the payoff is both immediate and rewarding over time. These disciplines remind me of how differently our brains function. Some things I get so quickly. Movement isn't one of them. I have to concentrate. I need a lot of repetition. But once I get it, a whole new world opens up. This is still outside my comfort zone but I'm enjoying it so much I keep going. Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays. It cuts into my movie going time. But it's the priority for this moment. This feels like what I need to be doing. It feels like a wake up call.

I'm clearly a regular now. I see the same faces week after week. We smile in recognition and pleasure. Still barely know names from our name tags, and definitely don't know anything else. The conversation remains solely on the moves and helping each other get better. The better dancers inspire me. I really don't know how long it'll take for me to look good. I get the steps, I keep good time. I need more time to get the attitude and style.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No, don't elope

I was talking to a young friend recently about marriage. She said she'd probably elope. When, if, whenever. Usually I'm a total libertine. I couldn't care less if one marries or not, has kids or does not, enjoys whichever sexual gender. But this got me pissed off. "We'd have a big party a few weeks later," she said. "Not the same," I replied.

I didn't wear a traditional white dress and god knows I'm self conscious to the hilt, but I still swore my vows in front of 125 people we cared about, and who cared about us. Yes, it feels goofy as hell but it's also sacred to stand up in front of your family and crew. My sister eloped, married at a tiny ceremony with just my Dad and their best friend, and I'm still pissed off about that. It was painful not to be with them. Similarly, another close couple eloped @ 8 years ago - fine for them, but it still bothers me not to have been a part of it. Their marriage meant a lot to me. They renewed their vows more recently - in the form of a surprise birthday party at a somewhat exotic locale - but we couldn't make it. It just wasn't the same.

I'm surprised at my irritation but still feeling it strongly a couple of days later. Yes it makes sense to try to make your wedding as personal as possible. No you shouldn't just do it for your parents or let them run the show. Make it special. But include those you care the most about. In what I know could be construed as the pot calling the kettle black, I feel her desire is selfish. I care about this girl, I'm close to her guy. My wedding, no, not the best day of my life, but a sacred, sterling moment. I remember every single person that was there. I remain grateful to them for the few hours they chose to share with us as we formally tied our lives together.

over and over and over again

In a long term marriage certain things get repeated over and over again. I remember my therapist back when I was in my early 20s, and seriously involved for the first time said, you work on things and he works on things and then you get to the place where you bump up against the things that neither one of you can change. For me the mantra I keep repeating is, It's not what you're saying, it's how you're saying it. I've been saying it over and over and over again. I wish I didn't have to.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fascinating story about hoarding hermit

Once again courtesy of Wiley over at News of the Dead, a great link:

If the house on Washington Square could talk

A death resurrects a historic home and reveals a secret life.


"I've seen this before. Recluse lives in a house stuffed to the gills. It's a person with resources and means, educated, and living in squalor with animals living in the house. It's so familiar," said Lin Team, an Austin real estate agent and board member of the Preservation Society of Austin, a group that monitors historic properties. "It's a strange phenomenon."....

It's not clear when, exactly, Reed Mathews slipped deeply into strangeness. .....

Both hoarding and obsessive journaling are indicative of a type of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), said Michael Telch, psychology professor and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders at UT.

"Hoarding is a senseless thought or idea that something bad will happen to you if you throw things away," he said. Though Telch declined to make a diagnosis of a man he'd never met, he said the urge to continuously document one's daily life with exhausting detail is also "consistent with OCD, a recording compulsion with senseless work or action that has no value. But, if you don't do it, something bad will happen."

The Dumpster diver

Steve Sisk, a junk collector, spent 14 hours digging in one of the Dumpsters at 3001 Washington Square. He never met Mathews either, but he thinks he understands the way his mind worked.

"I have OCD, too. You have to, to be in the junk business. I don't throw anything away," said Sisk, standing outside his own home on East 53rd Street. "I have my collection of fishing lures and Atari games. You get fixated on stuff, and it becomes a natural energy that just takes over. He never threw things away, too. I found used toilet tissue in a plastic bag."