Tuesday, June 20, 2006

from a conversation I had recently...



Photographers live in the past.

We take ourselves out of the moment to record it for posterity. Witnessing, but never fully taking part.

Then, after the fact, we examine and rearrange the events, hoping to make sense of them. By then, however, it’s too late. The past is gone and it doesn’t really matter that we figured it out in the first place.

I’ve realized that the several years of my life I’ve obsessively documented are now hollow memories and not as fulfilling or comforting as I thought they would be.

As I peruse these photographs from time to time, I see Brothers, Friends and Lovers. I see the places I’ve gone and places I haven’t been to in a very long time. The one thing I don’t see is myself. I am absent from these events, and consequently, I am absent from the memories as well...

I still carry a camera pretty much everywhere I go, but now the life experiences come first and the photos come second.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Short Note...



Re: Public Breast Feeders:

Unless you brought enough for everybody, maybe you should put that away.

Reflections on the Unphotographed Life



My Doctor once told me, tapping his temple; "Some images are just for you... for up here."

Those images are some of my best work, and I jealously guard them.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Wide Load...



I entered the crowded coffee chain at 10AM, to discover that it wasn’t really that crowded, just jammed up by 2 people, each with doublewide strollers. This husband and wife team had managed to put a complete stop to traffic flow. The store was smallish, and had a couple of displays that were taking up valuable real estate (though not as much as these Peterbuilt Prams). As people shuffled in, and tried to move into the line, the prams held their ground.

Do these people have any concept of what they’re doing? Can’t you park those damn things at a meter and have one of you go in? Oh, wait. Neither of you knows what you want even though you both see this menu every day of your work week. So if you could fuck with everybody’s life, while adding 15 minutes to my coffee buying experience, that’d be great.

While you may think it’s quaint to have a stroller the size of your husband’s H3, nobody else does. That Baby doll tee from Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t give you a pass, either. I don’t care how MILF you may think you are; you’re standing in the way of my coffee. So take off those shades, hang up the phone, turn off the iPod, make up your FUCKING mind, and get that progeny-riddled monstrosity out of the store!! MY LIFE IS LEAVING ME!!!

These goddamn strollers take up the ENTIRE width of the sidewalk, but then to bring them into a store?

“Excuse us...Excuse us.” over and over again in that condescending overly polite way stroller driving Mothers have around here. Clipping ankles and running into people as they muscle their way through, never stopping.

Maybe this an example of “I’m on vacation, so the rules of polite society don’t apply to me.”

Sir, I can see that you have your vacation pants on as well as your vacation sandals, and your very brave vacation hat. That’s great. I’m happy for you. None of this exempts you from the ire of people who aren’t on vacation, however.

Try this exercise: for 10 minutes a day try to think of someone OTHER than yourself...


now try harder...


The woman’s mega stroller is 6-point turned into a hallway, completely blocking access to the other room as well as the pastry case, while the other super mega stroller continues to block access to the line and wonders what he’ll order.

I move around him into the line, with a sigh. The barista asks me what I want, and I manage to suppress the urge to say “a tire boot for the SUV behind me.

I understand the need to air out the little people with a wistful slow walk through the narrow streets of Old Town, but a little consideration, if you please. For example, there is no need for your mate to walk abreast of the stroller. You don’t move fast enough for the locals, so just like on the escalators: stay to the right, so we can pass you...hell, stay to the left for all I care, but taking up the entire width of the walk is unacceptable.

This may come as a shock to you, but not everyone in Old Town is on vacation. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.

So, I get my muffin and latte, turn around and nearly topple onto this fucking pram, as this idiot has all but pulled up to the back of my ankles, blocking me in. I stop, look down at the stroller and look up to him square in the eyes.

“Hey man, you need a CDL to drive this thing?” This guy doesn’t have the space to turn around or even move to one side and just stands there with a vacant expression on his face.

One frustrated sigh and eye roll later (a look reserved just for the tourists) I step over the front corner of the pram and stalk out muttering something about inconsiderate yuppie bastard tourists.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Most Dangerous Pastry...


She had asked for a Rice Crispy Treat.

Dammit. My heart leapt into my throat. The tag on the tray said Marshmallow Bar. Can’t she read?

I couldn’t let her call it a Rice Crispy Treat, not with those rumors floating around. We never paid for the right to use the brand and if THEY caught wind of it, we’d be in trouble.

I must have had a deer in headlights look on my face because she repeated her order.

“Rice Crispy Treat?” she said, pointing.

Those elves are treacherous... I mean they’re Evil. He’s not called Snap for show. That little guy is a knee breaker and he’s crazy.

You ever wonder WHY the Original Boo-Berry went off the market? It’s because they never found him, not after he started talking smack about Snap and his brothers. (Subsequently, they pulled a "Darren From Bewitched" and "reintroduced" him.) After that, Cap’n Crunch had to house all of the General Mills guys in his Vitamin Fortified Compound in the West Indies.

“How ‘bout a Marshmallow Bar?”
“No, I’d rather have that Rice Crispy Treat.”

Part of me wanted to know how those power hungry imps could have a lock on the whole crispy rice and marshmallow fluff combination, anyway. That’s like Microsoft trying to copyright the letter M.

“Are you DEAF? RICE...CRISPY...TREAT.”, she signed.

There’s a reason you’ve never seen Cocoa Pebbles Treats, you know. Flintstone has a family to think of. After The Cap’n left, Fred replaced Dino with a Veloceraptor. Barney and Betty took Pebbles and Bam Bam and fled to Mexico.

“Ma’am, we don’t HAVE any Rice Crispy Treats...HOW ABOUT THIS MARSHMALLOW BAR?”

I had heard that Crackle had subcontracted alot of their Copyright Enforcement work to Tony The Tiger and his Cereal Assassin Squad.

“That’s a RICE CRISPY TREAT! Are you going to sell it to me or not?”

In the back of my mind I had wished that I had the money for some kind of protection. I had turned down Quisp’s offer. It had been a little steep, but looking back, I’d pay twice the price. The more this woman insisted, the greater the risk to my well-being.

Fucking Corporate wanted to sell these stupid pastries, not me. I tried to tell them about the risk of such a venture.

Nobody ever listens to me...

“Ma’am, don’t make me ask you to leave. This is a MARSHMALLOW BAR.”

The Keebler Elves had wanted to branch out into the breakfast business a while back. Their tree mysteriously burned to the ground one night, along with their cereal plans. My shop would be next if this lady didn’t shut her cake hole.

“Fine. You call it whatever you want, but it’s still a RICE CRISPY TREAT!”

I winced as she produced her cash. She sneered at me, grotesquely chewing a huge bite.

I thought of all of the strange clicks and beeps on my phone and the mysterious cars slowly driving past the store.

As the glass door closed behind her, a nondescript black van pulled up to the curb. A furry orange arm with black stripes pulled her inside. Funny how his claws never looked that big on TV.

Her half eaten marshmallow bar skipped across the pavement, as the slider door slammed and the van screeched off...

I pulled my passport out of the drawer, and my emergency duffle out of the closet. I locked the front door and left the closed sign to lazily swing side to side on it’s nail.

Maybe Belgium, or Prague...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Don't take any wooden nickels." and other non-tips from TagTown USA



The world is essentially divided into 2 types of people: those that tip and those that are cheap oxygen wasting mouth breathers.

This is the type of person that a corpulent childhood friend named Albert would have described as “School in the summer time... No class.”

You know who you are. And so do we. We notice you, and we still smile because it’s our job. But on the inside we’re doing unspeakable things to you... and that’s why I’M smiling.

When I moved here from West Michigan, I thought I had left a city plagued by the cheapest lousiest people on earth.

Not so.

Bearing their lanyards as a badge of distinction (as if I’m impressed), sauntering up to the counter while talking on the cell phone (hands-free blue tooth sci-fi ear piece, of course, you neophyte) and browsing a menu they’ve looked at a thousand times before. The vacant open mouth stare I know so well. Then they order the same thing they always do.

“Uuuuuuuummmmm... hum... well I’d like- No we can’t have that report by Monday- Grande 3 shot extra hot decaf half organic, half soy sugar-free hazelnut mocha...oh yeah with extra whip.”

Paying with a $20, they absently pocket all of the change, using the phone call as a dodge and avoiding all eye contact, as if we don’t notice. I would probably shove this silly drink up your ass if the first pennies you’d ever made weren’t already taking up all of the anal real estate under your khaki’s.

The other big tip dodge is the credit card and gift card. If you are paying with a card, you still look like a cheap asshole for not tipping on your Venti 5 shot double blended light ice extra caramel Crappuccino.

That ringing you hear is the clue phone...pick up!

Another non-tipping favorite is the guy who orders a small coffee in a large cup. When you come back for that $.50 refill, you feel great don’t you? Do you think that you’ve put one over on us?

By the way, when you come in first thing in the morning with yesterday’s cup to get a refill...

Again we smile, but on the inside...

What you don’t seem to understand is that we keep you awake for your mind numbing shitty desk job. YOU NEED US. What else are you going to drink? The coffee in the office? I didn’t think so.

So, the next time that latte of yours isn’t doing its job, and your eyelids are drooping, think about whether you tipped or not. I could’ve absentmindedly hit the decaf button (which can happen...).