Communication and the Lost Art of Listening

Listen-1Everybody has a story to tell. Rich or poor. Young or old. Black or White. We all come from diverse backgrounds and have lived different lives. Yes, we’re all related to this earth and one another to a certain degree and share a common bond, but in so many other ways, we are unique. As I get older, I’ve tried to become less of a talker and more of a listener. Though it’s taken a lifetime, I’ve come to understand and embrace that the only time we learn is when we listen. So, after years of talking, I look forward to the hopes I can become a better listener.

Sleeping in has it’s Rewards

Though we decided on a rather lengthy road trip, my wife’s oversleeping, the traffic and our appetites that seemed to grow as we sat in one car jam after another. We decided to again, stay somewhat local and save our trip plans for another weekend. After mentioning four breakfast options, we agreed on trying a place in Rat City that we had yet to dine at. BBQ-1Truth be told, I think my wife knows exactly what she wants. She’s just waiting for me suggest it. If after numerous tries, I don’t mention it, she will suddenly swoop in and say it. With empty stomachs we headed to 16th Ave. and had a mood altering breakfast at a place called Noble Barton. And while I usually save my reviews for Yelp, we could not have had a better experience if we tried. Everything from our super friendly waitress to the overwhelming amount of bacon made our decision to stay local one worthy of a golden award followed by a long speech and a lengthy speech. Due to the fact that it was colder than usual, we didn’t stay in the area for long. Aside from a two block walk to the Salvadorian bakery, our stay was short. Depending on how early we rise, we plan on heading to Tacoma from breakfast, record shopping and copious amounts of coffee. We’ll see if our desire to go crate digging will overcome that of sleeping in and a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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“Are You a Photographer?”

I was sitting in Columbus Park enjoying the fall colors when a familiar face approached with her dog. As she stopped to say hello and perhaps follow her dogs lead to see if I had any treats in my bag. When she saw my camera and my exceptionally large lensCamera-1 she asked “Oh, are you a photographer?” I paused and might have even stalled before answering  “I used to be.” Explaining that I used to work as  a photographer and did a lot of studio photography back east. It was the first time we talked outside of the confines and time frame of our elevator or hallway and I did my very best to hold my own. Though I don’t work in a studio anymore and don’t really advertise my services the way I used to, due to my heath. I’m rather pleased to know that those issues have done nothing to diminish the passion and drive I always had for photography and what inspires me on a daily basis. So, looking back to that random question. If asked again, I’d most likle reply, “Why Yes, I am.”

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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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

Out and About

When my wife and me first moved to Seattle, I recall an exchange where my wife lamented, “I think we’re going to run out of things to do pretty quickly, here.” Though I thought of things quite differently at the time, I accepted her lament while seeing it as a challenge to find new adventures while exploring the limitless places and things I had never experienced having lived my entire life in one corner of the east cost.

Little did either of us know just what kind of adventure exploring new towns, cities and locations would be. Within time, we found new restaurants and coffee shops where we’d spend enddless amounts of time filling our stomachs and fueling our passions.We found an apartment we loved and visited Portland and Vancouver, BC for the first time. On the days or weekends we decide to saty somewhat local, we are never far from one new adventure or another. Yesterday was a good example of such when following an excellent breakfast at Redwing Cafe and some random clothing shopping. We found ourselves in the somewhat familiar territory of Rat City. (Don’t judge the town by it’s cover.) After some really good ice cream and a few healthy rounds of Gallaga at Full Tilt Ice Cream, we went next door to Pho An’s tasty Vietnamese joint to pick up what would be our dinner. In the end, it doesn’t matter how far you travel. Adventure is what you make it. What matters most is who you do it with and what you make of your time together.

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Always take your camera with you when you go to piss.
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Artful candles inside Tilt-A-Whirl
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Mural outside of Pho An’s.

A Sudden Change of Plans

Griffey-1.jpgAs the Labor Day weekend approached, my wife and me began making plans about where to go and how to take advantage of the three day weekend. By Wednesday of the week we narrowed it down to two concentrated plans of action. Plan 1 involved a three hour drive to the Pacific Ocean for a day at the beach. Plan 2 was a three hour trip to Vancouver, BC for a day of exploring the nooks and crannies of the city’s expansive Chinatown.

However, after a Friday night of my not sleeping ans my wife’s preference to sleep late on Saturday, our plans went through a series of shifts and changes. As much as marriage has become a constant rerun of my wife asking “What do YOU want to do?” I’m rarely prepared to offer any answer beyond “Eat bacon and go record shopping.” I proudly trumpet my attempts to come up with an exciting., detailed plan of action.

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Luckily, no significant plans were made and we were able to stay somewhat close to ourhome base. With stops on 4th Ave in SODO as well as the international center, we were able to get our food shopping taken care of while allowing me to stop and take in that giant Ken Griffey Jr. mural. All in all, it was a laid back three day weekend that allowed us to stay close and take advantage of the great things that are close by and  within reach.