A Chance Meeting.

When my wife asked if I’d go sweater shopping with her, I immediately agreed. Knowing how much time she invests in trying to make sure I’m happy, it seemed as if my wish that she finally do something rewarding for herself had finally arrived. Having become used to accompanying her to a mall or outlet, I was a bit puzzled when she got off the highway and began navigating her way down a winding, dirt road. Was this a well crafted surprise or perhaps a pit stop where jugs of apple cider and sugar coated donuts await. Judging from the barking dogs and strange looking beasts that flanked us on both sides, probably not. It was then when my wife pointed to a small hut and said “That’s where I’m going to look for a sweater.” Being that I already own four sweaters and try to limit my shopping to bacon and records. I took a moment to enjoy the farm and meet its inhabitants. Enclosed within a wide open field were twenty or more Alpaca spread out over what looked like a pretty big field. Like many of the farm animals I’ve come across while traveling, Alpacas are pretty chill and seem more curious than bothered by visitors. Within a few moments, a number of them gravitated towards me, perhaps to say hello, or more likely to see if I had brought presents. Then,  just as I began to move closer to the fence, the one pictured below came around the corner like a boss. I don’t know how she got out, but the man who ran the farm told me she was quite the escape artist.

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Keep on Keepin’ on

I’ve been tuning in to the History channel’s TV show ‘American Pickers’ a lot these days. And while many of the characters and destinations featured on the show could easily find their way to an episode of ‘Hoarders’. Digging through a families history as opposed to unearthing years of unattended cat feces somehow appeals to me.

As a kid growing up in the shadows of Shea stadium, the junk yards guarded by attack dogs and pop up automotive repair and parts shacks just a few feet beyond, I became enamored with old trucks, their histories and the miles they accumulated while making their rounds. You see, everyone and everything has a history as well as a unique story to tell. For myself, I’ve always felt a responsibility to document and whenever possible preserve it. Knowing full well, that nothing is permanent.

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Tea Cups Light the Way

I was enjoying my Chi Tea and downtime at Rochester’s Minnesota’s Forager Brewery when I left my seat for a quick bathroom break and tour of the facilities. Most of what I found was a designers wet wet dream. Form the cool architecture, extra nooks and crannies and magazine inspiring design, I was inspired to fire off a few shots from my camera. As I’ve grown to love shadows and contrast, I find myself leaving my flash in the bag, if taking it along at all. As I made my way back to my seat, I noticed these tea cups / lights hanging from the ceiling looking quite artful. As my days as a studio photographer seem to have come to a close, I’ve found solace knowing I’m still inspired to capture and document my surroundings.

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A Hitchcock Moment

After flying into Minneapolis and securing our rental car, we quickly proceeded to our favorite record store Electric Fetus. As we parked the car and headed in, we noticed that  the flying germ factories were amassing and hoped our windshield would be spared. After some intense crate digging we returned to ur car only to notice a somewhat  ominous scene. It was as if all those birds had gathered on that nearby rooftop to form an unholy alliance and inspire on those unfortunate and defenseless humans below. Lucky for us, we managed to escape with no injuries or poop to eventually banish from our rental car. As for the town and the parking lot, I never checked the news to find out what horror might have descended on the town folk. I was just thankful that we made it out alive.

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For Lack of a Better Title

Every month, my wife’s company chooses someone to be on stand by, just in case something goes wrong, or someone needs help with something. While the assignment doesn’t require the person to show and sit alone in the office waiting for the next big meltdown. It does ask that the appointed worker have internet access if called on. When she got the job this weaken, the strong possibility of rain made it feel as if we weren’t going to miss that much. We agreed to stay somewhat local while making a stop at the downtown Seattle library. After a stop in Rat City for breakfast at Biscuit Bitch (Our first time in over two years and our first in Rat City.)

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we headed to the 4th Avenue library in Downtown Seattle. Though I’ve been to the beautiful glass landmark numerous times before. I’ve never really explored much of it’s spacious and beautiful decor. After a trip to the top floor where you can get maximum returns of the 3D view of the city and bay, we headed down to the 8th floor where I spent a couple of hours digging through CD’s. For the first time in a long time. I actually felt like a photo journalist. I couldn’t help but want to go back alone and just explore.

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Left Behind; The Beauty in Things we often Overlook.

I was only seven years old when I wandered onto my first construction site in Jackson Heights, Queens and just weeks after that I watched a close friend fall to his death at the same site. Though tragic in every way, it never deterred me from hopping a fence or overlooking any signs that bore the words “NO TRESPASSING!” As an adult, I discovered a passion for photography and though that passion consumed me. My love and appreciation for things like construction sites, junk yards, factories and the numerous locations that are often deemed “Off Limits.” Left Behind-15Having a camera and a desire to document my surroundings led me to many destinations. A few years ago, I attended a Q&A in downtown NYC where the author of a book whose title escapes me would speak about his experiences shooting his factory themed images for his book. Imagine how disappointed I was when he talked about getting permission and a time frame to capture the images for his project. “What a jip!” I thought. This guy got an all access pass and chose to shoot from the cushy balcony. Where was the rush of adrenaline coming from? Where was the risk? Undaunted, I returned to my passion and that rush that comes from not knowing what will happen next. That feeling you get when the hairs on your neck stand on end and tingle. While I’m too old and too sick to climb fences, outrun police or feel the breath of an angry guard dog on the chase,. I’m still holding out that there’s a gallery exhibit or even a book in the future. And while I’ve begun to gather and post pictures on my social media page, I know I still have a long way to go. Here’s a link to some of the images I’ve come across. Left Behind

My Visit to the Mayo Clinic.

MC-1After months of hard work trying to obtainn medical records and test results from hospitals in both New Jersey and Washington state. I was finally able to secure my appointments at the Mayo Clinic, book a hotel and flight to Rochester, Minnesota. It was a frustrating process that took months.  A frustrating time where I often questioned whether or not I would be around long enough to to walk through the doors of the storied institution.

Due to the fact that my first appointment was at 7:30 am Tuesday morning. My wife and me flew in on Monday, which gave us an entire day to wander around and explore an area we had never been before.

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Though I didn’t feel that going to the Mayo Clinic would help me find any new answers or a magical cure all for the progressing issues I’ve been experiencing. I arrived open minded, knowing that I would be seeing the very best doctors and getting the kind of concentrated care I had never before experienced. I’d also be giving my wife the peace of mind she more than deserves.

From my first appointment on Tuesday morning. I felt as if I was experiencing a level of care like I had never before seen. The answers of my questions were addressed and answered with a a great deal of detail and explanation. Before my first appointment MRI B-1ended, the initial three I had scheduled had morphed to six and by the time the days second one was over, I had learned more about my condition in a few hours than I had in the two years since being diagnosed.

As the week wore on the amount of appointments, test and waiting began to wear me down both physically and emotionally. After a blood and urine test, an MRI and a CAT scan the doctors all agreed that the calcification my my brain was creating my balance and speech issues, but questioned whether or not a I had FAHRS. Though not  concluded, it seems as if the radiation for a brain tumor I had as twelve year old might be the culprit. Where I had felt so positive during my first couple of days there. the last two days there left me with a much better understanding of my condition but so many more questions than I arrived with.

What’s most bittersweet about all this is I will be returning for another round of appointments and tests in late September. Not to be negative but, I sometimes with that the original diagnosis and death sentence I received (a month to live.) when I was twelve, would have come through. I, nor my family and loved ones, would have to experience and suffer from all the bullshit that followed. And while I’d describe my trip to the Mayo Clinic as very positive. I wish I’d be returning home with a more detailed and defined outline of things.

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