Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Finals

Okay luvs.

Here are the fruits of our PHTHRD labour.

To remind you, we were given no information on what or who or how we'd shoot until a couple hours before the shoot began. Then, once the party started the teams got to work with only 2 hours to complete the themes.

Ours were:
The R of LVHRD
Dewars-isms. Flagrant commercialism. I guess Mr Dewar's was quite the witty wordsmith, so we had to interpret one of his quotes, I'm embarrassed to admit I've forgotten it, it was something about being wicked but not wanting to stop...

Here are the results:

Please go here to vote. I wanna win, we need your help to make that happen!
Thank you!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Sleep don't visit...

I've been quiet lately. Here, there and everywhere. Here is an image I took right before I saw the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. As the plane took off, we curled through the most extraordinary cloud formations. Indescribable beauty. I scrambled for my camera but, just as I brought the camera to the window, the battery died...and I cried and cried. I couldn't show anyone. It felt like dying and I cried more.

This one I took at lunch with Milla. I am blessed (or cursed) with a camera that makes a picture of exactly how things look. Every time.



Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some Brave Apollo

Weird connections:
I'm putting up this post and singing along with the David Bowie song that's popped up on the Itunes. Kate looks over my shoulder sees the Russian boys and says, "hey, let's call this Some Brave Apollo" -the lyrics to the Bowie song. I google the song, only to realise it's called Big Brother, and guess what I'm reading right now, yup, 1984.

Strange. I love it when that happens.

So these are our Russian Boys. Kate and I have been trawling Brighton Beach and Coney for a particular breed of boy. You know him when you see him. It was SO difficult. Kate and I are so bad at approaching people, it was making us very nervous and then cranky. By the 3rd day we were better at it. But I still get a pang of nerves thinking about going back out there.

It felt like being a horny dorky teenage boy on the hunt. We'd just walk around the same few beaches in ever decreasing circles. Kate'd say. " 3 o'clock". And I'd look but not see anything and then she'd be like, "No no, the other way", and then the next thing you know we're the furtive creepy creeps with the camera on the beach hovering around a group of young boys.

Getting a wicked tan though.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Umm, my head hurts.

I've gone from monk life to punk life.

Last night was brilliant. Busy, crazy, but we got great shots.

The people were lovely and the energy was wonderful.

We got too goofy to take a proper team shot, but here's the crew:

Caroline in her wonderonesey and B. Jungles.

Kate and I, sweaty, I mean glowy, as usual.

We'll let you know how and when to vote.



Monday, July 23, 2007

It's time for battle, yet again.


Tomorrow night is PHTHRD.

Richie Rich will MC.

The venue is gorgeous (that's all I can say).

Dewars and Sapporo are sponsoring.

Our team is in place.

We just need YOU.

Either buy a ticket and partake in all the lavishness.


Make sure you vote!

Wish us luck.



Sunday, July 22, 2007


The pics haven't been colour matched yet..apologies.

Don asked about me schnoz. The black eyes developed a bit later, they are quickly disappearing though, which is sort of a bummer, I was enjoying the quizzical looks.

I haven't trained all week, just eaten everything in sight and indulged every vice from which I've abstained these past few months, to the extent that I have actually made myself sick. Clever.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cordon Bleu

I dunno why they look so blurry...? Anyway, pics are rolling in.

This is Micro Deb, Gaius and me.

Did I mention that Micro won her first fight by TKO in the first 30 seconds? Yeah, knee to the liver, knocks a bitch DOWN, it was unbridled fury!

And Gaius, he really is a neomythical warrior, the look on his face when he won the finals, was breathtaking, sheer power on the verge of tears.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Killah Instinct

Con Con says she thinks she has all the necessary footage to make a soap opera episode of the weekend. The story has it all: friend vs. friend, romance, tears, broken bones, doubt, starvation, rival schools, victory and friendship.

There was a last minute shuffle of the entourage, Joe Joe had to bail cuz he got a big money job for Target and Caroline’s brother also had to opt out, so Caroline came in Joe’s place. With her addition, Team Killah comprised Con, Kate, and Lisa. They showed up early at my house on Friday, where I was suddenly 4.5 lbs overweight? In my sleep I must have breathed in some fat air or something.

Anyway it was war on my weight: fasting and wearing the sauna suit with jump rope breaks at the rest stops on the way. Kate brought a tailor-made Boxing Mix for the ride and we set out. Half way through the trip I weighed in at 139.6 -Exactly 1 lb off of weight.

8 hours later we finally arrive at the Worst Western. I try to weigh myself one last time only to have the machine crap out on me, at this point I can only hope I’m at weight.

There’s a long ass line for weigh in. I’m excited, can’t help but look at all the girls trying to size up possible opponents. Finally I’m in -strip off my clothes, eagerly step on the scales, and the guy says, “Hold up, slow down, you got on too soon, that’s bad luck.” I do not need to hear about bad luck. I weigh in at exactly 137.

The entourage is by the pool, in full Killah regalia. I’m hyper, delirious and eating like it’s my job. We pile in the car, dolled up, and head to some trendy neighbourhood in Richmond. We end up at a fantastic restaurant, I eat more food than I have in weeks, then promptly crash and burn.

Saturday morning, I dress in my lucky pink shorts, my pure, clean, brand new white sport bra, throw on the 5 Points sweatshirt –gotta represent- and head down for breakfast. I feel utterly centered. I have visualised every step of the process, and everything feels good and manageable, I’m not nervous, I feel ready for anything. Anytime I get a rush of nerves I summon up my Ice Cave –which for me, strangely, is the song Blinded By The Light. I change the lyrics slightly in my head, “She got down but she never got up.” That’s what I intend to inflict on my opponent.

I find out my first fight is against my classmate Macro Deb. I can’t believe it; we thought this wouldn’t be allowed. There’s no way around it, we can’t change weight classes and there simply aren’t enough of us in the 138.6 class -Just four girls, 3 of whom are 5 Points. This sort of sucks.

We head over to the Showplace. It’s grubby and quite empty, even though there are 3 rings set up and a lot of schools from all over the country.

My teammates are an exceptional bunch, all with interesting stories, all with different reasons for doing what we’re doing, and all totally ready and enthusiastic and supportive. Most of us were a bit clueless: when do we start warming up? When do I suit up? That sort of stuff. I can’t help wondering if I’ve adequately rehydrated and refueled and I keep peeing every 7 minutes. It’s pretty chaotic, things are starting very late, no one knows what’s going on and we’re all trying really hard to keep our nerves subdued.

I still don’t know who the other girl in our weight class is, so I keep sizing them up, some are huge, some are tiny, they all have cornrows.

I go to watch Tal fight. He steps in the ring and is clearly way more in shape than his opponent. The bell goes off and he’s just a flurry of punches, stepping forward as he round houses to the head, first left then right -the guy’s not blocking. He knocks the guy to the ground in the first 30 seconds. From then on the guy is renamed Spaghetti Legs. Tal just keeps throwing and by the 3rd round is just chasing Spaghetti all over the ring. Needless to say, it was a unanimous victory. YEY! Excellent start.

Macro Deb and I are politely avoiding one another. There’s no malice, but it seems like we have to start separating ourselves from each other and our allegiance. I ask myself whether I should fight this regularly, or tone it down. I realise that I have to treat this like any other fight. It’s the only thing to do, friend or not.

Since there’s a conflict of interest, our Krus can’t corner for us, so Tal is appointed as my corner man and Micro Deb works for Macro Deb.

Walking up the steps to the ring, my heart rate rises, the second I step into the ring, the nerves subside, my focus is acute, I can’t help but stare right at Deb.

I find myself throwing a lot of knees, getting her in clinch and just throwing left then right. It’s weird, I’m usually a right round house to the head kind of fighter, but this is different and it’s where I prefer to be. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to look at her, maybe it’s just adapting my abilities to the demands of the individual fight, either way, I knee again and again and accidentally knee her to the head. I’m given a warning by the ref. But I do it again, it’s not intended but pulling her into my knee, her head seems to automatically come down. She hits me to the nose; I feel liquid come out but don’t see blood.

Watching the video, I see that I’m fighting tentatively. I’m not landing round houses and am wide open to head punches. I lack the fury. I land a few face shots, and see her head tip back, but she comes back strong, she’s pressuring me well.

I stare at Deb at the first rest minute. It feels bad to emit my fight focus on her, but I need to, I don’t even know if she notices.

The second round is a little tougher. I’m certain that the 2 Debs know to go for my nose, I can’t blame them, you have to seek out your winning edge, and busting my nose is a good idea, I rarely cover. It feels like Deb is doing nothing other than going for my face. I front kick her to the head, it lands, she comes back with a flurry and I know my chin is way up in the air. At some point I feel my nose go, but it doesn’t feel too different from any other hit. I take her back into clinch, she feels like a rag doll in my arms, I just swing her around, and throw knees.

Having Tal in my corner makes me feel safe, but it also makes the whole thing confusing, it feels like sparring at school only it isn’t. There’s blood all over my face, all over my white bra, all over his sweatshirt cuffs. His only advice is “go all the way, use your reach”.

The last round I come out with a front kick then go straight into clinch, I throw about 6 clean knees, wishing she’d just go down. In the video you can see us throw combos and then kind of let them trail off. This is a real fight, but one with a conscience, it’s not unfettered, even though I know we’re both trying really hard to go full on. I throw a sweet left kick to the head. A few seconds later she houses my nose again. I taste a lot of blood on my lips.

The bell rings and we immediately hug. I’m fucking glad it’s over.

Tal takes off my headgear and is trying to clean up my face, I ask him how bad my nose is and he gently ignores the question.

I win. I’m happy. My first fight. It’s over.

With my gloves off, I feel my nose and realise it is very wrong. It’s crunching, and by the look on Kate’s face, very fucked up. I find an EMT; he shoves some pliers-y things up each nostril and confirms a break with anterior bleeding. He asks if I want him to set it -yes. So he holds onto my nose, pulls it with all his might then shoves it back up into my skull. I start yelling, “Yessssir” and “Give it tomme good”. Sudden Tourette’s Syndrome. He resets it 3 times. It was actually pretty comical.

I go to the bathroom, flush the toilet and cry cry cry.

Then I come out to watch Kris fight. If she wins, I will be fighting her, another classmate, in the finals, if she loses, I will be fighting her opponent. The girl is tall, taller than me which is something I hadn’t counted on, usually I’m the one with reach. She’s also from The Wat –unofficially our rival school. She takes Kris into the clinch a lot, Kris struggles to get out but once out, throws clean legs and punches. Still, this girl loves the clinch and keeps reeling Kris back into it.

Kris loses, and I’m now nervous.

I don’t know if I want to go on. The broken nose scares me. I think of that myth about splinters of a broken nose lodging in one’s brain. I think that I may have lost my focus. I think how lame it would be to stop, that I still don’t know what it feels like to fight a stranger. I feel like I want out. But I feel like I’d be a failure. On Friday I knew, without a doubt, that I was ready, that I was doing this for no one other than myself, but now I’ve lost all that clarity. I’m afraid; I’m worried what people would think if I quit. I’m worried I’d fight for pride.

I have a full on break down in the car with my girls, crying like a baby. They are so supportive, they are so comforting, but we all know only I can make the decision.

So I go to the pool. Bikinis make everything better.

Of COURSE, who is at the pool? The people from The Wat. Not the girl I’m fighting, but her classmates and the notorious Kru Phil Nurse. They’re boisterous and conspicuous. I need to ice my nose and I’m swollen so badly but I don’t want them to see how f’ed up I am.

I call Gavin and Kevin and they tell me I should fight. Kru Steve says there’s an 80% chance my nose will get knocked out again, and that the school wouldn’t be “too bothered” if I forfeited. At dinner I can barely eat, but I know that if I’m going to continue, I have to. Tal says I’ll regret it if I don’t fight. I have until morning to decide.

Sunday: 7a.m. Without thinking I put my pink shorts back on. I look in the mirror and my face is so messed up. I look like one of those lizard cyborgs in Sci Fi shows, the bridge of my nose is huge and my eyes look retarded. I stare at myself, and realise that I WANT to do this, that my nose is fucked so I might as well just go kamikaze.

No one looks at me. Not the Krus, not my entourage, not my teammates, not the other fighters. I look rough. At The Showplace things feel different. I’m quiet, struggling to get focused. Trying to look tough and together. It feels like people are worried about me fighting again, I realise I don’t need them to think I can do it, I know I can. Steve tapes my hands. We don’t talk much. With my gear on I hit myself in the face a couple times. I have to accept the fact that my nose will get bashed, and hitting it myself I realise it won’t be that bad anyway.

I ask Macro Deb to tell me my weak points from the fight the day before. I ask Kris to tell me how it was to fight the girl (her name is Chantal) -to give me some insider clues. The last thing Kris tells me is that Chantal refused to shake her hand –that, I think, is not nice…

I don’t feel like warming up, but I do. Chantal is at her team’s area, shadow boxing. I eye her, she’s skinny, she has reach on me but not by much, I don’t see muscle tone, she looks sheepish, but I can’t let that fool me. She squirms a little as I patently stare her down.

By now a lot more people are wearing Camilla the Killah t-shirts.

There’s no going back, I’m in the ring, Kru Steve is putting Vaseline on my face and telling me to come out hitting, that there is no time to wait, to keep my chin on my chest and throw front kicks to her lungs and straight rights to her throat.

I stare at her. She lacks focus. Her teammates are flamboyant and noisy.

I’ll tell you right now, the only thing I remember was watching her face, full of shock and confusion, fly backwards as her ass hit the ground.

The recap is from watching the video; otherwise it’s all a blur.

I go from utterly static in my corner to stepping right out and throwing a string of punches. She keeps going backwards, not throwing a thing, and I just keep on, she’s caught totally off guard, we go into clinch, and I chuck her to the ground. There is an amazing feeling of power, a real injection of adrenaline when you knock someone to the ground and instinctively you kind of stand over them, raring to go, a little puffed up, literally being held back by the ref –it’s galvanizing.

So she gets up and I instantly send her back down to the ground with a front kick. She gets up AGAIN and after an exchange of hits we go to clinch and I throw her BACK on the ground. I kept the pressure on her the whole time, all she gave me was clinch and even then it wasn’t great, her knees never landed, and I could rest while she panted away, plus, I was stronger, and eventually, always threw her out of the grip. Most of the time was spent knocking her into the ropes, watching her bounce off right back into my right. We wasted a lot of good fighting time hanging around in her lazy clinch. But whatever, she didn’t hit my nose once.

Kru Steve is an incredible corner man, instilling me with confidence, guidance, and implicit comfort. He was direct, telling me cleanly what I needed to do. My instructions were to front kick, a lot, then fake a front kick and come in with an over hand right. Suffice it to say, Steve knows what he’s talking about.

I won, unscathed, jubilant.

So the girls piled into the van, and we set off for home. I kept chuckling, it felt good, satisfying, and to think I almost didn’t go all the way.

I donned my medal the whole way home. On the way we stopped off at a beautiful little crab shack I know in Maryland and I put away a bucket of beers -we even got a couple of molten chocolate cakes on the house.


Gaius the Handsome and Micro Deb also took home medals. Everyone fought relentlessly, win or lose. The entire weekend was inspirational. Extraordinary. I can’t stress enough how much of a team effort the process was. I would not have been capable of any of this had it not been for the encouragement, advice, love, help and dedication of everyone I know. I’m really sad it’s over.



Tuesday, July 17, 2007


So, the competitions continue, but now there's a little less contact. My nose says thank you (and BTW it is in fact straighter now than before, sweet, free nose job).

So Kate and I have been invited to compete in LVHRD's photo duel: PHTHRD.

Phew, never ends.

It'll be us against 4 amazing photogs:
Phil Toledano

Alison Grippo
Nate Smith
Michal Nafziger

The locale, as is LVHRD's way, has not been disclosed.

All we know is that we show up at a swank loft with our equipment, our brains and whack out three shoots in front of a slew of partying coolios. LVHRD provides the models the clothes the theme and the BUZZZ.

I hate being observed when working, so this surely will get me over that fear.

We'll be working with the always-chic Caroline Priebe, as stylist. She's just as, if not more, competitive than us. As she says, "we're in it to win it".

The pre-party is tonight at Madame X. Dirty.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Friday the 13th. 7.a.m. Operation Raisinette

This was the first pic of the trip. Me, greased in Albolene, ready to don the sauna suit for the duration of the 7 hour drive to VA.

Whadya want first? The good news or the bad?

All right, so.

The bad news: My nose is broken and I look not too unlike Eric Stoltz in Mask.

The Good News...


Mooohhahahahahha! Hehehehehhe!

I can't stop giggling.



There is so much awesome footage, so many intense emotional moments, it was an extraordinary weekend.

But you'll have to wait for the story, the video and the pictures.

I'm tired and have some relaxin' to do.

I’m in love with the world.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fastidious and precise ...

So, I have my hair braided. I look like a brown Viking. It's already coming undone.

I was off weight by 4lbs this morning but after spending the past half hour jumping rope on my roof in the sauna suit (read: over-priced rubbish bag with sleeves) I'm only 2 away. I can sleep easy.

My fight-mate Micro Deb would appreciate these stats:
Height: 5'7.5".
Body weight: 140lbs.
Body fat: 15.6.
Body water: 58.2.

So it looks like I can handle dropping some water weight and not be too screwed. Thank goodness weigh-in is the day before the fight. Pass the Pedialyte.

Acupuncture has healed my shoulder. Arnica has masked my bruises. Neosporin has closed the cuts inside my nose. Bikram has taught me to breath and let loose. Gavin has had me clean and pressing 85lbs and chucking big ass kettle bells. Tal has been my partner in pad work and armchair philosophising. Jose has been my leg sparring nemesis. Macro Deb, Kristin, Kathryn, Nathalie and Micro Deb, the coolest, most inspiring, dedicated, sparring partners in town. Kate has been dear enough to listen to me talk of nothing NOTHING other than boxing for the past I dunno 8 weeks. Con has been the T-Shirt Master. A massage tonight will seal what has been the most marvelous, revelatory, life changing few months of my life.

There's nothing more that can be done other than rehydrate, eat, suit up in my shiny pink shorts, strap down my boobies, slip in my mouth guard and let everything I’ve been doing come out, fly out and hopefully knock out.

Goodness. I'm excited.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Didn't Con do an amazing job with the shirts!?!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fast feet.

Damn, these girls can shake it.

Notice how freaking huge the sound stage is.

Walk it OUT.

Thank you, you know who, for sending this.

Kiss kiss


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


At the Kutztown Folk Festival. Liewer Gott Im Himmel Drin Loss Uns Deitsche Was Mir Sin!

With love,

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007

She sells sea shells..

Kate and I went to the seashore.

Sounds like play, but we were scouting for a new body of work we're messing with. Didn't even bring our bathing suits!

I know the last post was a bit vague, and I had originally intended to explain it more completely but then writing it felt a bit trite. I think private realisations are, well, private and when committed to writing, sort of stop making sense and are full of the truisms that tend to sound pretty stale.

Plus, I intentionally wanted to depersonalise this blog, but then I went back to Nerve and saw how some of the bareness in it really suited me and my strange exhibitionistic, manic ways.

Anyway. I don’t have to be such an absolutist about everything.

So, my crisis was typical, as were the realisations that came from it, but I’ll try to explain what felt like clarity and understanding.

I spend a lot of time seeking out beauty, love and self-betterment. They're some of the things that make me feel most alive. I suppose when any of them are off kilter, I go off kilter, add to this my sometimes impossibly high standards and I’m often caught in a rapturous struggle.

When I see the word BEAUTY written, I feel my heart flutter. My work gives me beauty -I get to become an expert in it, study it every day in multiple forms.
But I also see the uselessness of beauty -the stupid meaninglessness of it.
It’s this duality, my ambivalence, which at low points, tortures me. What I adore, what I seek, what makes my blood flow also makes my blood boil.

So my crisis was thinking that what I do is pointless, that the pursuit of beauty is a weak and soulless search, but then I was skipping through a friend’s digicam, someone who is far from a photographer, someone who is a self confessed anti-aesthete, but in among the bajillion snaps both of us would, on occasion, take pause because even in him, his “untrained” eye, he had the capacity to make beauty, every so often, there was an image that was constructed in such a way that it was empirically beautiful. That is when I understood, that was my moment of clarity. Not only are we all capable of creating immense beauty but when you experience it, you know it, you feel it, it shakes you and moves you and is evident. Understanding that made me see that beauty has a profound impact on humans, a positive, serious, real impact. And then I didn’t feel so pointless.

I think when you lose love, as I recently have, you lose a chunk of beauty and trying to be good seems like it wasn’t good enough.

Which leads me to the self-betterment stuff.

I spend a lot of time and money on it: therapy, muay Thai, Bikram, massages, acupuncture, chiropractic etc. I’m always trying really hard to be “good”, and feel really bad when I’m not. At the same time I get totally grossed out by the utter self-centeredness of all of it -there’s that freaking ambivalence again.

Anyway, somehow, I realised that
since we don't know what is going to happen and since this is probably IT, and all we have is now, then our only job on this planet is to be the best we can be –cheesy, yes. The extension of that purpose is to cause a chain reaction of good things spilling forward from ourselves to the world. This is how I can come to terms with the what's-the-point-why-are-we-here thing.

I wish this didn’t sound so hokey.

I suppose what it all comes down to is attempting to live with integrity.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

I could not appeal to the same human heart whose elementary response I knew nothing of

So I was having one of those good old-fashioned existentialist crises. I thought I was too old for that sort of stuff, not because I’m wise or know anything, but simply the nature of my crisis was so facile and lame I might as well have been back in 9th grade French class reading Camus for the first time.

But then the volume turned down as my hormones subsided, and I had a brief and certainly, fleeting, moment of clarity.

I love it when that happens.

Dismantle it, put it back together again.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bad Medicine

I freaking love acupuncture.

That woman palpated me (mmm) poked me (ahhh) and then kazam! My back/neck spasm is gonzo.

Then she sent me to the coolest pharmacy, in Chinatown, where I bought tinctures and plasters with names like Red Flower Oil and Wood Lock in gorgeous ornate packaging, to soothe my aching joints and wish away my bruises. I also got 7 little hand made packets of raw herbs that stink a lot, I have to make tea with them and they're supposed to get me in top form for the bout.

So that's good, body feels good, training is good, I'm just about at fight weight, and once I get my hair braided, I think I'm all set to kick some ass.

I even think I'm in a good enough head space that I will indeed be able to forgive myself if I lose.

Must remember, it's the experience, not the outcome, that's important.

I feel really lucky to have my crew of beautiful, supportive people caravaning me down there -another adventure!

Less than two weeks!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Last night...

I saw a documentary about Caravaggio. Sauvage! A murderer! I was reminded of this...

Lately, I am overcome by a desire to roll in the grass tearing at my clothes as I curse the fates.

As always,