Cheap Shots

As a result of continuous cheap shots being made in the dark (anonymously that is) I have switched my comment settings to "registered users" only.

Its sad I have to do this and I'm sorry if you are not a registered user and want to leave a comment. Feel free to email me (the link is on the right hand side of the page).

Thanks for following my blog. Constructive discourse welcome.



“Lets take the ferry to Southworth. Some friends of mine are having a dinner party and they want some people from the Seattle artist community to join in.”

I agree to go, put on some nice jeans, a plaid button up shirt and head down the stairs to meet Nathan on the corner of 12th and 43rd. I wait for him to arrive and while doing this spot a photographer crouched down taking pictures of something in the bushes. He walks by me and I ask him what he is shooting, “Cityscapes” he says. We talk about digital vs. film for a few minutes and he encourages me to use the “raw” setting on my camera when shooting images.

I thank him for his advice as I climb into Nathan’s car. We drive to West Seattle, look for and eventually find parking (for zone 3 permit holders ONLY) near the ferry terminal. We pay the fee and walk onto the boat. The ride over takes 40 minutes.

A light but steady rain falls on us as we walk along the road that leads to the old farmhouse. I have forgotten my raincoat.

The simple, white homestead comes into view. 10-foot high fence posts flank us on the left; they are naked and ready for chicken wire to be nailed to one of their 4 rough sides. This will soon be an orchard.

We approach the door, give a light knock and are welcomed into the house. Afternoon turns to evening and the feeling of home deepens. I laugh, drink dark beer from a tap punched through the door of an old refrigerator and thoroughly enjoy every minute of my time spent with the Moras family and their guests.

Sometimes home is a complete strangers house you find while walking through the rain.


House Of Pancakes

You used to be able to walk in, sit down and order up a big plate of hot white flapjacks. But they fired Jack and tore down his house of pancakes. Now it’s a parking lot for UW teachers and administrators. I walked around the empty parking spaces and remembered the time I sat in a booth with my cousin and his girlfriend and their newborn baby boy. It was pouring rain outside while Ben talked to me about building a house for his family. A house deep in the woods. Redwoods to be exact.

I cut off bite size pieces of pancake using the edge of my fork and listened to the rain pound steadily on the steeply pitched roof.

But that time has passed now. Now is the time for cars and parking spaces, not people and comfortable eating-places.


Midnight Fudge

A subdued bluish hue hums quietly outside the kitchen window. The house is still with the early morning drowsiness. The animals are sleeping. My father sits at the breakfast nook hunched over a pile of fudge he made 3 nights ago. Mom owns a small gift shop in town and dad makes fudge for her to sell in her small town store.

Sometimes he stays up late mixing all the necessary ingredients into this sweet southern confection. This morning he cuts slabs into bite size pieces. His co-workers will be handed little white boxes full of this midnight fudge.

I watch him. Watch his glasses and how they rest near the edge of his nose. Watch his face glow in the early morning light. Watch his hand and the knife it uses to slice away pieces from the whole.


27 Years

“What’re you takin’ pictures of?” He knew the answer to the question before he even asked it.
I replied, “The bank, the sky behind it and the water tower beyond it.” That much was evident. I told him nothing he didn’t already know. He gave me a sideways glance through the open window of his police car.
“You live ‘round here?”
“Well I used to. I’m living in Seattle now and I wanted to take some pictures to remember the town by.”
“Oh. Well I just drove by and saw you takin’ pictures of the bank. You gotta be careful what you take pictures of these days.”

There was an awkward silence as I waited for him to interrogate me further. It was cold out and the sky was dark, heavy with the promise of precipitation. A wind blew across the vacant Dollar Store parking lot behind me and after a minute he asked what I was driving. I pointed to the red truck parked in front of the bank. He told me to have a good day and drove off slowly.

It was Christmas day in small town Cornelia and I understood the boredom that drove this officer of the law to pull over and inadvertently ask me just what the hell I thought I was doing taking pictures of a bank in a post 9/11 America and on Christmas day to boot.

Make no mistake; The South is not simply another part of the United States, it’s all together an entirely different country. One that has become increasingly foreign to me the longer I’ve lived outside its visible and invisible borders. A vast network of kudzu covered walls hold in the ideological, political, cultural and religious views of an entire society.

This is the one day a year when box store parking lots across America are nearly empty but for the occasional discarded receipt or plastic bag blowing across the desolation like a wind driven tumbleweed. Huge swaths of oil-pocked asphalt lay barren at the feet of these consumer driven kingdoms.

The sky above broods ominously as I capture a few images and am accosted yet again by a police officer wanting to know what I am doing standing in the middle of an empty Wal-Mart parking lot. In a capitalist society police are paid to protect property instead of people.

Today is my birthday. I’m 27. And on this day of what should be celebration I feel lost, alone and alien in a strange land. I’m ready to go home. I’m ready for Seattle.



Strange happenings and strange places, oh the stories I find myself in.


Passing By

I wake to the sound of a large dog barking loudly just beneath the northeast facing window of the room I am no longer asleep in. She is a German Shepard named Glory, a gift my father received four or five Christmases past. His father worked for one of the first K-9 units in America and as a result grew up with two big German Shepard’s stalking about the house. My father dreamed of having his own Shepard and at 50 his dream came true.

Now Glory has full run of the 8 acres my parents live on. Her best friend Pepper, a black and white Dalmatian, was put to sleep earlier this year after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was my best friend too. A few hours after Glory wakes me she stands outside watching me in the truck as I prepare to drive around the place I once called home. She looks devastated and lonely. I don’t want to leave her but I do anyway.

Driving down the thin black strip of asphalt that is my parents driveway involves passing these three memorials: a tall metal pole that was erected shortly after 9/11, an American flag dangling from the top (because my father is “proud to be an American”), an empty fenced in field that once held an old white horse we named Flick (sometimes I would talk to him late at night, telling him stories about the stars that burned above his muddy little pasture), and a moss covered wooden bench which for a time provided shelter for a family of wasps (wasps which decided I should be stung after I unknowingly took up residence above their residence).

The little red truck leaves the neighborhood and passes a familiar house and the woods behind it where I first learned to love kissing. She was the most beautiful girl with bright green eyes that lit up every time she saw me. Her family would invite me over for dinner and we’d sit at the table and steal glances at each other when we thought her parents weren’t watching. I don’t know if we were in love then because I still don’t know what love is now.

Now I glide down roads I know only from years past. Past fields, past old farmhouses and new subdivisions, past small towns getting bigger and roadways getting wider. I see the “old” life struggling beneath the weight of the “new” life, the “bigger, better, cheaper, longer” life. The life where you work harder, sleep less and see you’re family seldom in an effort to attain more things and less of what really matters.

Trees, barren and grey, line the motorway as 197 continues on into the mountains. A “Highway Adoption” sign from the side of the road boasts that Yvonne and Ted T. are the proud parents of this stretch of tarmac. The T. stands for Turner. The same Turner who owns half of America’s media and the largest bison herd in existence. He slaughters the bison for his chain of restaurants. I’ve heard they serve fine whiskey.

Further along four dilapidated buildings huddle together and all take the name “Jack’s Place”. I pull in and get out of the truck as two men climb into theirs. I walk past the truck and from inside one of the men asks in a thick and comforting southern accent if he can help me with something. This must be Jack. I say I’m just looking for a snack or something to chew on as he leads me to the front door, opens it and turns the light on. Inside, three metal racks hold a sparse assortment of dusty goods. Candy, some shrink-wrapped beef jerky, and probably a few bags of pork rinds somewhere if I had taken the time to look around. But Jack stands at the door waiting for me to find what I want so I make it quick. While watching me choose he tells me about how cold it was last night and how he was just leaving to cut firewood. It was going to be cold again tonight.

I rule out the candy and the shrink-wrapped beef jerky and head straight for the dark cooler. The selection is minimal but I find a glass bottle of IBC root beer and make my way back to the register. He says a dollar will “settle us up”. I pull the wrinkled bill from my pocket and lay it on the counter where he instructs me to. The money stays on the counter as I walk back outside with him thanking me for my business, a hint of hard alcohol escaping from his breath as he locks the door behind me.

I hang around after he leaves and sip my soda. Looking at this ramshackle kingdom Jack has built I observe that one of the buildings has been converted into three separate hotel rooms. Red doors with mailbox style numbers stare back at me as I finish the root beer and take a few pictures. Jack’s Place grows on me and I find myself wondering how much it would cost to stay in one of those rooms for a couple of nights.

But Jack is away cutting firewood and I don’t want to wait around for him to come back so I move on. The sun falls on me in splinters as my fathers little red truck carries me through the cold quiet hills.


Toward Darkness

The world is flat. I can prove this by looking out of the little round triple paned plane window that sits just left of my shoulder. I watch the darkness gather before us as we hurl 590 mph toward the east, toward night and the lights coming on in towns and cities far below. The world ends just at the edge of that blackness.

I don’t care what scientists or satellites may say, the world is flat.


In Response To

This is a first for me. Directly responding to a blog comment in a post is not something I have done before. I may not do it again after this.

In the last few days I have had “anonymous” comments left by people who do not identify themselves by anything but a pen name, giving me no context in which to respond because I do not know whom I am responding to. This is a consequence of having a blog in which I allow anyone to view and anyone to comment on. And I am ok with this.

Now onto the “challenge” and my response. Someone going by the name of “Inquisitor” left two comments both full of questions to which I may not have the kind of answers they are seeking. Here we go.

“I've read several of your blogs and often say to myself...so what? What's the purpose? Why are you doing this?...It's like your spinning, void of direction, why? What is your focus?”

First off I would like to welcome you, Inquisitor, to the postmodern era. Welcome. Life is not as it appears and cannot simply be summed up by a “vision statement”. I believe that those who offer answers and ways of “direction” for your life are not to be trusted. They are salesmen trying to diminish the complexity of life into a five-step success plan. My focus, if you must know, is to lose focus. Lose control, lose myself, and lose my mind. “Its only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything” states Palahniuk.

“Any creation or artistic expenditure has a purpose… What is your purpose? Where are you going with this? Why are you doing it? What is its goal? What is YOUR goal?”

Often that creative “purpose” you speak of is to create something that society cannot immediately deem “purposeful”. I do not create for the sake of others. I create because I must and I create for myself. If you derive some fuzzy feeling or inspiration from what I have put forth please understand that this is only an unintended side effect of my creative musings.

“Your posts leave me empty...famished, but with the TASTE of possibility. I'm hungry feed me with more than self-masturbation, self-inventory, hopeless despairs about the state of the world, and self-edification.”

It’s a very Western idea (and in this context I am intending “Western” to serve as an insult, so by all means please feel free to be insulted) to think that art or creativity should give you the viewer something in return. If you are “famished” and looking for “possibility” perhaps you have come to the wrong place. I am no sage, savior or prophet dispensing advice, hope or ways to better live life to the hungry masses. There are enough places for you to find what you are looking for and that is not what I have created this space to be.

Walk into any church, self help seminar or bookstore and you are bound to find something to fill you up if what you are seeking is only to sate the hunger pains you experience. I say stay hungry for the questions and forget the supposedly fulfilling answers that are peddled on street corners like so much cheap sex.

Of course you will find “self-masturbation, self-inventory, hopeless despairs about the state of the world, and self-edification” on my blog, that’s partly why it exists. On top of that I give you the reader the complete right to interpret what I write any way you like. Where you see only “hopeless despairs about the state of the world” others might see hope. Yet again I will restate that this blog is not a place for you to find hope or whatever else it is you might be looking for.

“Where have you come from? What were u made for? Who are u doing this for? Show me what you are made of, or are u too soft in the comfort of your life with less hardships?”

So this is the last set of questions to which I will respond. Where I have come from and what I am made for are wholly unanswerable questions as far as I am concerned, so I will not answer them. As far as “showing you what I am made of” goes I can only ask you this question in return, is it possible to show something like that over a blog? Is it wise or advisable to “show” any of myself to someone who doesn’t leave anything more than an ambiguous pen name after their deeply personal questions? And what do you know of my life? “Less hardships” is a completely subjective statement. Less than what or who?

In closing I would like to say thank you, Inquisitor, for the questions asked. They made me think, which is what I believe you intended them to do. Kudos to you for that.

And now a “challenge” for you. Stop looking for the comfort of prepackaged answers to hide within. Learn to live with the questions. Learn to love the questions not for the answers they may or may not lead to but for the questions themselves. Stop looking and start watching.


Saturday Morning

I wake up, take a shower, eat a breakfast of granola and yogurt with a cut up orange on the side and then jump on my bike and head over to Wallingford. Its on to the bank, the coffee shop where I drink two cups of coffee, send out a few emails, talk to a long lost friend and edit a photo or two.

The sun shines directly in my eyes at times but I sit long enough for it to move behind an old brick building. I find some good house music, download a full set by D.J. Aaron Joseph and put off going outside for just a little bit longer.

Now my time at this wooden bar is coming to a close. My butt is sore and I need fresh air.


One Question

High school dropout kills eight then turns gun on himself…

Proof that those who dropout of the American school system are prone to mall shooting rampages. Thank you Big Media for your heartless, soulless, and compassionless reports on everything from hurricane battered cities to the hollowed out and desperate citizens of countries the world over. Thank you for your complete absence of humanity when reporting stories that involve nothing but humans and the way they are trying to live out, or cease living out, their existence on this planet.

I have heard that some of you who read my blog do not understand or like posts like these. Posts where I call into account the massive dysfunction of corporate media and the journalists they hire. I make no apologies for these entries.

At one point I was heavily considering a career in photojournalism. That was until I realized I would be pouring my heart and soul into a career that was owned by a corporation. A corporation which cared nothing for me or what I thought.

In the newspaper business you don’t shoot stories, you shoot advertisements. Real peoples lives and stories become the selling point of whatever paper you are working for. This is not fiction. That “high school dropout” was a real person. He was really someone’s son, someone’s friend. He was really living in an entirely insane and disconnected culture, one that eventually led him to pick up a gun and end not only his life but also the lives of eight others.

Talk to me about what is wrong with the American people? Why do we walk into malls, schools, homes and businesses with weapons and mow down 3,5,11,19 people and then turn the gun on ourselves? Michael Moore talks about it in his film Bowling For Columbine. And no offense Mike but there is something more to it than just the availability of weapons in America.

So I will ask you, the reader, what is wrong with us? How did we become such a disconnected society? Why do we live life the way that we do?

Do we need to work 40,60,80,100 hours a week? If you answered yes then why? What are you working towards? A bigger house, car, t.v.?

I will honestly and sincerely ask you this one question:

What are you living for?

Outside The Egyptian

The 49 had come and gone and still she leaned up against the cold brick of the Egyptian, what bus was she waiting on? The midnight hour was quickly burning itself out like a disregarded cigarette butt with the owner hurrying across the street while it smoldered down to the filter.

And now she stood at the edge of the broken curb looking up the street, looking at the taillights of the bus that just pulled away. If she missed her bus I couldn't tell because she showed no emotion. Then there was that couple smoking cigarettes, those two in the alley just behind the bus stop woman. Why was he dressed like something from a 1940's diner scene painting? His trench coat, slacks and shoes were all complimented by the plume of smoke swirling around him as he inhaled nicotine and exhaled character.

Who are these people and why are they standing on a sidewalk and down an alley at 12:30 on a cold night in early December? Why am I standing here?


Something Different

I love films. More specifically I love films with great cinematography. I watch films and wait for the shots where I move to the edge of my seat and whisper, amazing! Since returning to Seattle i have been experimenting a bit with shooting scenes that remind me of something I might see in a film. This is no surprise to me as I tend to look for light went shooting images and cinematography is all about lighting.

Here are a couple of images I edited in the standard 16:9 wide screen format you would normally see film shot in.

American Apparel

NE 45th ST. and University Way; 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, December 4, 2007.

Where did you sleep last night?


Saturday and Sunday (a.k.a. the weekend).

A few photos from Seattle's wintry weekend. The snow has melted and rain has moved in. Lots of rain. Rivers or rain. I wont go into the whole Forrest Gump spiel on rain ("we been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin' rain... and big ol' fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath."). O.k., maybe i will go into the whole Forrest Gump spiel. You get the idea.

And now for some pixelated pieces of the weekend.



Sunday. Tangletown. Zoka Coffee Roasters. People here, people there, people everywhere. How many can we pack in this place? You would think this was the only coffee shop in Seattle. Its cram time, end of the fall quarter final exam time, getting ready to hop on a plane, bus, train or bike to go home and see my family time. Snow turns quickly to rain. Too quickly. Seattle went from a winter wonderland to a boggy marsh in no time.

I know I’ve ingested too much caffeine when I can’t even think straight. I can’t think straight. My eyes flit from computer screen to café scene. Young women huddle together around worn wooden tables. There are men here. But they fade into the background amidst all of this estrogen.

Coffee, rich and dark, permeates the air. Lattes, espressos, drip, French press, on and on goes the list of ways to get your fix. I am now officially rambling. End post.