September 18, 2008

Book Signings, Laura's Blog and Our Night with Omar

A sample from Route 66 Railway: The opening page spread for the history chapter, with images from Gordon Glattenberg (right) and Howard Ande (left).

THE BOOK: It's just come off the presses, and I should see a set of completed pages this Monday to approve. The dust jacket showed up last week and is dazzling. We're so close! Advance copies are to be shipped from Singapore on Sept. 25 (cross your fingers), and the bulk shipment is scheduled (cross them again) to arrive at LARHF in mid October. For more info, check out the book site at and read the author's shameless blog.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: If you live near Central California or the Bay Area, the first big signing event will be at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas on Friday, November 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. It's part of the Oldtown Salinas First Fridays Art Walk, and the center will be open to tour.

Omar Vizquel, future Hall of Fame shortstop and art star.

LAURA's RX: My wife debuted her new blog, "Prescription for Fun," and the latest post is about a grand evening we had in San Francisco on September 4. Caldwell Snyder Gallery held a reception for Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel, and during the course of the evening, we met and took pictures with Omar, Rich Aurilia, Peter McGowan, Brian Sabean, and best of all, broadcaster Mike Krukow. Plus Laura and I were interviewed for a Giants pre-game show, which should run this coming week. Check out the photos at her new blog, HERE.

El hangs with broadcaster/former pitcher Mike Krukow at the reception.

THANKS, BUT NO THANKS: For those who recall the accident last December, Costco sent us a membership renewal. Uh, we'll pass.

September 11, 2008

Remembering September 11

Interfaith healing service, San Jose, 9/14/01

How many Americans stopped to watch the news this morning? How many went to work, spent the day in meetings, kept tabs on Wall Street . . . how many gave the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks a passing glance, then went back to life as usual? Of course the country can't grind to a halt, but why is there no real pause? People seem all too willing to push this terrible date out of our minds.

We were at a "back-to-school" event at Monte Vista Christian last night, where we made the rounds of all Kat's classrooms, following her daily schedule. (Of course the periods were a LOT shorter, but we still had to hurry between bells!) When we arrived at Mr. Gott's Social Studies classroom, rows of huge black and white September 11 photos were laid out on the long tables. As we sat, the image that faced me was of a lone man against one of the towers, falling to his death. He had a graceful pose . . . one leg straight, the other knee bent, almost like a dancer. I couldn't stop staring.

Mr. Gott asked us not to reveal what we saw to the kids. When they walked into class this morning, they were greeted by those images posted across the walls; black velvet draped the door and the areas not covered by photographs. It turns out Kat was transfixed by the same image that held my gaze last night. But all the images are powerful. They speak of a moment we never expected, and will never forget. Thankfully no major attacks have happened since (for that we should thank our government, politics aside). But we know it's a matter of time before it happens again.

Watching the news today, and reading anniversary stories in the LA Times and elsewhere, caused me to think back to when it all happened. I pulled out a few slides I'd shot on the day of the attacks, back when I worked for the San Jose Downtown Association. That morning, as Dan Rather's radio voice told us the World Trade Center was no more, I arrived at Gilroy and hopped on a northbound Caltrain. I should have driven home instead, but by the time sanity prevailed it was too late. During lunch we walked around downtown in a daze, and picked up an extra edition of the Mercury News (remember extras?). I don't remember taking the photo of the newspaper carrier, but I bought a paper.

Three days later, San Jose held a midday inter-faith service that brought people together in a way I'd never seen before. A row of patriotic ladies caught my eye (top), and I was able to snap a few pictures while trying not to be crass. The day's Mercury News also captured the feeling of the week (look, a newspaper selling for 35 cents!).

Today Kat, Laura and I talked about 9/11/01, and Kat told us what she recalled from seeing that day as a six-year old. We talked about the towers, the people that jumped, the Pentagon attack, and the sacrifice of the NYPD, NYFD and Flight 93. We did our best to keep the memories alive of the Americans who were lost seven years ago. I hope others did too. As I write this, we're watching a History Channel special that is flooding us with memories. Footage from 9/11 should be required viewing every year, so we never forget. We owe that much to those who lost everything.