Art is my Weapon

For as long as I can remember and most likely longer, I’ve always been surrounded and inspired by art. As a kid, my mom worked as a secretary for a huge advertising agency and would often bring home art books and have artistic nudes (Two of which I still own and proudly display in my own home.) hanging for all to see. Whether intended or not, it set me on a course that still inspires me to create, build and make things that I feel might be impactful.

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It’s worth noting that my Mother’s early influence and my trips to her midtown office, where I’d often find myself sitting in with the companies art department. It was those moments and exchanges that would play a major role in my early development, as well as becoming a major influence on my wanting to write and inevitably become interested in picking up a camera in order to document my surroundings. Many years later as childhood led to adolescence and adolescence led to adulthood., I can’t help but notice how much art and the desire to create still drives me. Now that my Mom is following my blog, it might be time to thank her and tell her that I understand and even partially agree when she says, “We’re a lot alike,.”

Last Words and their Indelible Impact.

I was living in Midtown Manhattan when my grandmother was hospitalized. The smart as whip, quick witted person I had known my whole life was quickly fading. and though I could not accept it at the time., was not returning home or even graduating to one of those old age homes that, at the time, had only seen in movies and on TV. With trips from the Broadway office where I worked quickly becoming a challenge. I decided to stay with my Dad in Staten Island, just blocks away from the hospital she had been admitted to.

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One weekend morning.as I held her fragile hand in mine. She turned to me and in a weakened voice inquiring about an incident I hadn’t thought of in close to twenty years. Referring to a second grade incident that I took the blame for but never played any part in or even witness. “Why did you throw that girl’s snow boots out the window?” Those words, the last she would utter before passing away served as a heavy burden I still carry today. Of all the things I did. The bloody noses and black eyes I gave out to those who came to me looking for a fight. The times I mouthed off to teachers or questioned the religious dogma we were being force fed. The one she took to the grave was the crime I never committed.

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While I still look back, dream and write about my childhood and growing up. Rarely do my dreams include the angel who played a pivotal role in my growing up and becoming a man. The few times she’s showed up in my dreams, her role mirrors that of her real life presence. Through thick and thin, my grandmother was always that of a care giver and a peace maker. Whereas she always comes up in conversation with my Dad and Step Mom. I often feel that I never had a chance to thank her for her infinite kindness, hard work and guidance. I promise to always be grateful and appreciative. Oh, and just a reminder. I never touched her boots.

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So Much for Anonymity.

Whenever someone likes one of my posts, leaves a comment or decides to follow the blog, I receive an email notification from wordpress. Though this has become standard for some time. I admit enjoying the sense of anonymity that comes along with the comfort zone that accompanies the feeling that I can share a thought, opinion or experience with people I don’t really don’t know. untitled (38 of 49)So, imagine the surprise when I checked my email this morning only to find out that my Mother was following me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and feel so lucky to have her in my life. That said, she does not and never has respected my rite to privacy and personal space. I have to admit, I had a lot of feelings regarding her visits and initial decision to click the follow button, including putting an end to the blog and refraining from continuing to post my darker, personal biography. In the end though, I’ve decided to stay the course and write whatever the fuck I want.

 

If These Walls Could…

I was planning to email my Mom with some pictures of the framed pictures we put up in the bathroom, but since she is now following the blog, I might as well post them here.

(These images were taken at a local Vietnamese restaurant / billiards hall. I refrained from using my flash so not to disturb the flow of the game while giving the players their respect and anonymity.)

If you’d like a clearer view of the pictures featured here. You can see them Here .

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As a kid, art had a very prominent place in our home. Though we did not have much money to speak of. My Mother’s knack for decorating and her relationship with the art department at the company she worked as a secretary. provided for many opportunities to bring home art and advertisement  poster prints. While my wife in completely foreign to the idea of art in the bathroom.  It’s something I became used to seeing by the time I was just starting elementary school.

Independent Bookstore Day

In support of Independent Bookstore Day, a celebration of books and the independent spirit that comes with owning, operating, working or choosing to shop in one. We headed to Tacoma to join in all the fun. Everything from the old school printing presses set up in the adjacent parking lot to the record, book and comic shop was so much fun. Though we missed the opportunity to take home the tacoccentric Tacoma shirt. We stayed in a line long enough to make one our own take home prints on one of the Wayzgoose! Letterpress machines. After that, it was off to Wooden City Bar for Pizza , Foss Waterway Seaport and a long look at the Tacoma Bridge before heading home. And though the rain the weather girl promised did come. It was hardly enough to put a damper on our plans.

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My First Full Out Record Store Day Participation.

About a year prior to my moving to a neighborhood just a few blocks from Times Square. A friend of mine convinced me to spend New Years eve freezing my ass off in a spot secured hours before the mercurial ball fell, welcoming the new year with new hope, a clean slate and number of resolutions that would surely broken within a matter of days, if not hours. Though I never would repeat the act and seldomly go near that tourist trap in my eight or so years as a Hell’s Kitchen. I had earned the right to say. “I did that.”  Bone shivering cold and tinging extremities aside. It was somewhat of a right of passage from adolescence to adulthood.

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As 2019′ Record Store Day quickly approached and the weeks turned to days. I did everything in my power to convince my loving, supportive and determined wife that I did not want or need to partake in such shenanigans. . Still, in the end. It felt as though she was, not only interested, but determined to go through with a plan. Regardless of proper and scientific research. In the days that led up to the event, she sent me the RSD release list and even sat down to go over my picks.

Friday night came and after arriving home from dinner. We set our alarms for 6:00am. In the back of my head I imagined either sleeping through the alarms droning or my wife flat out inability to get up that early on a weekend morning. Surprisingly enough, neither occurred and we were on the road in time to arrive just two minutes after the store’s scheduled 7:00 am opening.

As we approached the store, drove past the awaiting crowd and noticed that the line to get in stretched around two corners. An admitted sufferer of agoraphobia and one who lacks the needed patience to stand in line. I quickly remarked, “Fuck this, let’s go get breakfast. Without much debate,  we turned the car around and headed back to our home base where we experienced a first, in that we were the first customers to enter our favorite breakfast spot. After copious plates of french toast, eggs and bacon. I was convinced to give it another try.

Upon returning to the scene of the crime. The store had opened and the line was now half the original size. As we inched closer to the corner and our opportunity to enter. We began to see customers emerge from the store with bags spilling over with records. My wife teasing me about the store  being empty by the time we finally gained entry. Still feeling anxious about our choice to join the crowd. I couldn’t help but imagine the line that awaited inside.

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When we finally did make it inside. There was indeed a line wrapped around the first floor leading to the stairs that bring you to all of the gleaming, shiny records. As I tried to navigate my way to the end of the line. I not only lost my wife but felt myself being swallowed by the limited pressing horde of vinyl junkies. However, after a few calls and texts, we found ourselves navigating our stairway to nerdville. Once there, we quickly split up, quickly grabbing copies of things on our list. IMG_5019While I was quick to scoop up the last copy of the Devo Box Set. My wife did an exceptional job scooping up most of what remained on the list. From there, we headed downstairs to join the checkout line and sped off to nearby Georgetown where we ended our record shopping day by indulging in Japanese styled hamburgers. And while I promised to never get swept up in Record Store Day mania. I can pound my chest while proclaiming “I did that.” And while I promised myself to lay off buying anymore records for a while. I’ve already planned to return on Monday to pick up the remainders from that original list. Until then.

 

Admitting you have a Problem.

Most collectors have their stories, their telltales about the day they sold their records. Even my Dad lowers his head in shame whenever he recalls the day when some old man carted away a rather robust album collection that included catalogs from artists such as Frank Zappa, Tom Waits and Leon Russell.

My story is a simple one. A few months prior to getting married and and a per-marriage honeymoon to Japan. I decided to sell what seemed to be a massive collection of first pressing hardcore/punk records and demo cassettes. While my current record collection dwarfs that of the two crates of LP’s, two boxes of ‘7 inch records and crates of old hardcore demos. Due to the fact that Discogs was still years away from existing. I took to Ebay and began posting a few records a day. To my surprise, the money was good and everything I posted sold. Quickly, I went from two posts a day to seven. Demos I was either given of piad a buck or two for were going for upward of forty dollars and singles I purchased for no more than three to five dollars were selling for upward of a hundred. Within a few months I had sold almost everything. I had money in my pocket and extra space in my closets. Being somewhat nostalgic. I put aside some records that held any sentimental value. Then, just before my fiance’s and my trip to Japan, I gave in and put those sentimental pieces up for sale. The bids quickly rolled in, as did offers from Asia and Europe. Those records brought in hundreds of dollars a piece.

 

Following a visit to a vinyl junkies home some years ago. I began buying, crate digging and reacquiring records  at a quick rate. The obsession included bi-weekly trips to local and not so local record stores as well as  ordering ordering new release online from my favorite record labels and distributors. In just few years, I’ve dwarfed the size of my original collection and continue to add to what is quickly taking up every space and crevice of our current home.

This weekend, as we planned trips to both Olympia and attending a nearby record show at the Armory here in Seattle. I began to develop a sense of anxiety in regards to what I would find and take home. How much money I would spend and where those supposed records would be filed. In the end, I’d attend said record show as well as visiting two record stores. (Rainy Day Records in Olympia and Sonic Boom in Ballard.) And while I carried two hundred dollars in cash to the record show. I left with nothing. In the end I picked up four records this weekend. (Three at Rainy Day and one at Sonic Boom.) As The day came to a close. My wife reminded me of the quickly approaching Record Store Day. Talk about being an enabler.

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This weekend’s haul. Two stores and a record show. I definitely kept things in check.
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The original Kallax I bought to house my vinyl records, books and odds n’ ends. An estimated 3,000 CD’s are lurking nearby.
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The closet (The bottom row of 7′ inch singles on top of the Kallax. Boxes of LP’s on the floor.