For some time now, i’ve been meaning to share my music column with this blog’s readers. I started writing as a kid and wrote my first published article from my hospital bed at the age of twelve. I started and published my first music print fanzine when I was sixteen and well, the rest is history. Back in 2016, as a music blog I co-created was coming to and end. I was offered my own column writing for a website that I was a major fan of since it’s print days. I’ve headed up the column for a year now, writing reviews and doing interviews. Having my own column has given me the opportunity to expand my taste in music, reach out to and engage people who have inspired me with their art and even given me the courage to start writing my own stories. Below is a link to my column, as well as some of my recent interviews for the site.
United By James
An interview with John Lisa (Seeper/Serpico)
An interview with Peter Horvath (GreyHouse / The Anderson Council
An interview with Joe Gorelick (The Hasbros, Red Hare, Garden Variety)
An interview with Fair Panic’s Torry Anne Daines
I had just arrived at my boxing class when my trainer asked me about my goat shirt and where I picked it up. While I was readily eager to share my love, appreciation and understanding of goat’s contributions to society. I could not recall the name of the market where I picked it up. “Oh, you know that art market they have in the airplane hanger.” was all I come up with at the time. The truth is, that since moving to Seattle in June of 2017. I’ve left most of, it not all of the weekend driving to my wife. Though much of my driving during the week has me within the Columbia City, Downtown and West Seattle areas. The weekends usually take us far beyond the areas mentioned. And while I retain minute details of the places we’ve visited. I can rarely remember the names of the towns, cities and businesses. Having visited the same market just a week ago. I still never bothered to remember the town, military base or the name of the market. Who knows, maybe it’s a subliminally intentional thing. If life has taught me anything. It’s that, the less you know…
I took this image as we entered the market. Let me know if you recognize the place.
As we parked the car about a block from one our favorite breakfast spots. I noticed this awesomely cool pick up truck parked in one the nearby drive ways. While I have definitely gotten away from the pratice of taking my camera with me everywhere. I haven’t lost the desire to stop to capture a moment or document something that I find particularly inspiring or eye catching. Whether you notice or not. I did a little cropping ss to obscure the license plate. I took this one this morning at around 9:30 am. with my iPhone. As of late, perhaps due to the size of my new camera bag and array of lenses to choose from, I’ve gotten lazy. That or I’m just not thinking about picture taking when I’ve got Johnny Cakes and bacon on my mind,.
For years now, I’ve tried to make meditation a part of my every day life. Quickly, I moved from one of those people who thought “How can I possibly find the time in my busy schedule?” to “How can I not?” Since my early attempts, I’ve used basic breathing techniques to conquer panic attacks, anxiety and overthinking while cultivating a sense of peace and mindfulness I never imagined possible.
Earlier today, as we boarded the Ferry from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle. I found the perfect opportunity to meditate. With nothing but the sound of waves crashing alongside the boat, the subtle breeze wafting through the car window and the gentle rocking of the car due to the ferry’s pushing it’s way across Elliot Bay. I found myself removed from the thoughts of the days, weeks and months that have crowded my head and battled for space and permanence in mind. The feeling was of warmth and peace. I became so completely calm and at ease. That I hardly noticed the ferry attaching itself to the dock. As I heard the announcement of our arrival over the loudspeaker. I nodded over to my wife to notice that she too had fallen into the spell. She sleepily asked, “When we could do it again?” I was quick to reply, “As soon as we can.” as we headed home from our day’s trip.
The more I learn about and inevitably embrace meditation. The more I want my friends and loved ones to join me. The most important thing I’ve learned in all this is that you really don’t need a special room, place, pillow or chant to enjoy it’s many benefits. All you need is a few minutes to allow yourself to check out and unplug. I highly recommend it.
Having seen my share of iPhone and Samsung commercial spots talking up the wonderful images you can create with their new technology and reading various articles predicting the beginning of the end of SLR’s as we know them. I’m somewhat surprised by how well I was responding and reacting. After hearing “Do you think you can set up a studio in this room? Or “Do you think all your photo gear will fit in this closet?” during our years trying to buy a condo. That and the fact that I’m holding on to a dozen or so film cameras. I found myself feeling more relieved than stressed.
And why not? How often have we wished for a magic wand to clear away all the clutter and extra stuff that takes up our closets, our shelves, floors, the space under our beds. Forcing us to foolishly rent storage space and make hard decisions about what stays or goes. Though I haven’t gotten into the disease / disorder that, as it progresses, wrecks havoc on my balance and ability to walk. The practice of carrying around a camera back full of gear is becoming a major issue. What if all of that could fit in the back of my pocket? Times change and the media we use to create art changes with it. I clearly remember the resistance I had when switch from film SLR’s to Digital. And though I put up a good fight. I was and still am feeling the rewards. More and more these days I’m reserving my camera, the myriad of lenses and my add on flash for more demanding moments. While keeping my iPhone handy for when my wife texts me or I see something like what I’ve posted above to capture for future consideration.
I love Seattle, living in Columbia City, our apartment, our neighbors and living within spitting distance of Columbia Park, the Public Library and Seattle Lake. Each of which I don’t take for granted, but don’t take advantage of nearly as much as I should. As I’ve grown to understand and embrace the importance of time, how it’s spent and how to make the most of what we have. I’m finding more focus and a new found ability to properly manage it. As someone who’s dealt with anxiety, panic attacks and depression over the years. I’ve done more than my share of worrying and overthinking. Thankfully though, I’ve learned and I’m still learning how to manage if not control my thoughts. Putting things in perspective, as opposed to letting them build up and let them effect me in a negative way. I feel that in changing my environment, I became more open to shifting the way I see things. Something I see as a major positive. The pictures below were taken over the weekend at nearby Lake Washington.
After a day at Alki Beach, we were as hungry as we were pink. So a trip down Hudson Road to Marination Ma Kai sounded like a good way to fill our belly’s before the short trip home to Columbia City. Marination serves up Korean / Hawaiian fast food that is both fresh and delicious. Featuring both out and indoor seating. We enjoyed our tacos, sliders and fries while enjoying the best possible view of Seattle available. From Queen Anne to Downtown Seattle and the West Seattle bridge. I’ve been trying to make a habit of bringing my camera with me on outings. Today’s sun drenched weather proved it to be a good rule of thumb. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. And although I rarely use one. I brought one of my tripods along, just in case. Though much of the conversation between my wife and me focus on an eventual return back east. I feel incredibly grateful for being given the opportunity to move and live out west. It’s been incredibly rewarding. A time I will not soon forget.