Saturday, January 30, 2010

Houston, we have arrival.

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was - I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen seconds.

I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.

I was halfway across America,
at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future,
and maybe that's why it happened right there and then,
that strange red afternoon.

-This is an excerpt from On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

I've always wanted to read this book and very nicely my sister gave it to me my last day in Baltimore. I've been reading while on the road myself, how unique and uncoincidentally true. Anyway, this piece absolutely ringed true while I was laying in my new bed, in my new room, in my new apartment, in Houston, Texas. I can completely understand where he's coming from when he says these things; although from the context of where he was and what he was going through, is much different than the cross country road-trip I was just did with my dad. There wasn't extensive hitch-hiking, getting stuck in pouring rain on the edge of town with no money, no food, and no ride to the next town. We had a nice car, plenty of money, ate like champs, and most nights... except for one, a nice hotel to sleep in. But I digress, it's a great book so far and I look forward to diving more deeply into it now that I've reached my destination. I feel like I know what he's talking about when he talks of the dividing line of the east of is past and the west of his future. For everyone that knows me... has always been informed of the West Coast, and that it is my ultimate destination. Not really sure where, when or why, but it always been the ultimate goal and something I've been working towards my whole life. It's this urge to explore, try new things, and be open to everything; new experiences, new feelings - both good, bad, sad, and happy - it's these experiences that mold you as a person, and I want to bed one who has lived in different places, met local people, experienced what it is to be there. And so this moment in his life is a revelation - a new beginning which is absolutely scary and exciting at the same time. I feel like this might be my beginning to new adventures, new opportunities, and a broadening red horizon...

I'm hanging out in my new room listening to the new Vampire Weekend album
Contra, pictured above with yours truly, and reading... well I was reading but I read that part and thought, man that would be a great blog post to get me to start writing, so I read a few more pages and decided to take a break and throw on a slab of vinyl. Now I'm laying on my new bed, which isn't as comfortable as my own bed in Baltimore, but will absolutely definitely do. It's a good size room with moderate closet space and it's own bathroom!! Yes, I have my own bathroom. It's even got a shower, more closet space in it, and the other usual bathroom staples. It's really nice actually, and since I was the first one at the place, I got first dibs. The other one is nice because there is a lot of closet space, and a balcony off the room. Though the balcony has an excellent view of the parking lot.... and it does lead to the other bathroom, which is a shared and community bathroom. The place is very nice and I look forward to living here the next three months.

Three months. Like Jack said, sometimes you just get these out of character, out of head experiences. It's crazy sometimes how things end up, and I never really pictured this. But here we are. My dad is taking a nap at the moment but I believe we are delving into some BBQ for dinner. It's his last night in town and we are going to try and enjoy it as much as we can. It's very cold here at the moment, which is unfortunate, but will hopefully warm up soon. I heard we're supposed to get a lot of rain in the next week, which is another strange change of weather. The on going joke is we brought it with us from the Northeast. I've got some pics for you from New Orleans, which was awesome, that I will post sometime soon, (hopefully!).

I'm looking forward to getting to work and starting to feel comfortable in my new work surroundings. Getting grounded, with regiment and regular schedule. I've never really driven for extensive periods of time across the country so that was definitely a new experience. There is much to do around my new home and every kind of food you can imagine at your fingertips. Mongolian grills, french houses, tex-mex everywhere, steak houses, cajun boyou joints, BBQ, fried chicken and gravy, it's all here! I'm very happy and grateful at the moment... looking forward to exploring, meeting new folk, and as always of course continuing to learn, find out more about myself, and living...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kaelte by musicandphotography

at the station by musicandphotography

Both of these images struck a chord with me when I first saw them. I first saw the one in color with the guy who definitely looks like he's Swedish or something. It is a captivating image and most times I have to tear my eyes apart from it because I get lost in so many different elements within it. First of all his scarf and hat are just gigantic and look incredibly warm - because it obviously is a very cold setting. The look he is giving into the camera is very striking to the core. You wonder what he's thinking about or what is so serious? The framing of the shot does an excellent job of centering him in focus with a very interesting background that is out of focus. The tracks on the left side of the frame lead your eyes back to him, as well as the lines from the lights at the top. This platform reminds me of some of the MTA subway stops in Astoria, Queens, and outter Brooklyn. There are a bunch of outdoor, raised platforms that are very cold during the Winter time and look a lot like this scene. The colors are just great too. Just an overall excellent image that I find a strong liking to.
The second image is one that I found pretty recently and reminds me of the first image of the guy. Both center a person among the happenings of a transportation depot. This one is in black and white with the center figure glowing like an angel. I think it represents visually very well something that I think about a lot when I'm in train stations, airports, etc. All these people going from one place to another, rushing around in such a hurry, only worrying about themselves... and why are we all rushing around so much? Why are you going from there to here? You can't help but look at those around you and wonder who they are, where they're going, and why. Sometimes it can be a pleasurable experience, but it can also be depressing or disheartening as well. I feel this image shows the latter really well. Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people running around traveling around and you are there, just stuck, stuck on your feet without movement but so much running through your head. All these people around you who are not your friends and are too busy to give a damn, have a chat, or give you a smile... it can be quite an experience... and I think this image shows that very well.

There's a branch of vitality that has everything to do with death, with mortality and the absolute end of a simple existence. Without the understanding that there's no escape hatch when the lights start to dim and where the embalmer makes his bread, one is unfortunately disillusioned and cannot successfully live it up. Without embracing the fragility of life, the capacity to experience richness in life is lessened. Death legitimizes life, to some extent, and some of the most interesting thoughts come when death is broached and really examined with a fine-toothed comb. The thought of death is so suggestive of tragedy and such a languid supposition that it never really feels like it's breathing our air, but when it's put into the right contexts and those carpe diem birds start chirping as if they've just bathed in the mystic prowess of promised daybreak, death is as lovely and invigorating a concept as anything. It can be the same as a crisp autumn morning, maybe with exhalations coming out white, but still toasty only because thinking of death and one's eminent demise can force a person to truly get to living, as flowery as that may sound.

Philadelphia's Dr. Dog, five men with a healthy stake in both polarities -- life and death, show an exorbitance of life in their songs of throwback musicality and irreproachable three-part harmonies, but there are just as many instances of what's to come some day. Death is a valuable tool for making living sweeter, just as salt is used on tequila and limes are used with Coronas, and Dr. Dog - though they aren't real doctors - prescribe both ideas in large doses on We All Belong, the group's full-length follow-up to Easy Beat, a hazy snack of impeccable, sundried offerings that are rarely timorous, but instead exhibit so much hot-bloodedness that it's easy to discern that they choose life over lingering on what will be. There's a lot of old soul feeling to what they do, as if they were young men filled to the lashes with the spirits of thousands of mild-mannered grandfathers, who'd experienced all of the 50s and 60s as young men, with fires in the pits of their stomachs and unwrinkled skins. It's as if they're on both the front and back ends of lives - with the youthful swagger and exploratory gene as well as the realization that days are numbered and the time's ripe for reflection and kicking and screaming before kicking the bucket.

-Sean Moeller

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I saw this sign and thought it was really cool. I didn't know what Montmartre was so I decided to do a little research and put the puzzle pieces together. Montmartre is a hill in the north Paris in the 18th Arrondissement. Many artists had studios here in the surrounding town around the hill, which was based around the white-domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur. Artists who worked around these communities include Salvadore Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh.

So this person, whoever made this, must have gone to this sacred area where there is or was an abundance of creative talents and ideas floating around town in search of something that they were missing. Have you ever had a place, a person, or something that you've always placed in high regards and always got something positive out of being a part of it? Then one day you go there or do something with them and it's not there anymore? It can be a devastating blow and can turn your world around. A reevaluation often comes shortly after this happens and new priorities or things are set. In the short term it sucks, but you know what? In the long run you will most often always appreciate whatever it was that happened and realize it became a benefit to you.

Sometimes you can't try so hard to make something work, or looking for something that you can't really look for.
You have to just let it happen.
Let it come to you.
That is something that I have come to realize over the past few days. I've also realized that I am comfortable and confident in my shoes in my work environment. I am miles ahead of where I was a few months ago or more. I think there are good things to happen in the future and I have made it through the darkest and most difficult time of the journey. Everyone has to put in their dues and start from the bottom. Don't get me wrong I am still closer to the bottom than I am to the top, or even the middle, but I have put in some time and am almost at my one year. I am already being given opportunities and hopefully increased responsibilities will follow. So here's to new adventures, new people, and a new city!

Oh and how random is the ate cheese part at the end of that? I love it, I mean, who doesn't like cheese? I don't think anyone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I think one of the really neat things about art and music is its ability to transport your thoughts and mind to somewhere completely different from where you currently are. I get lost when looking at a photograph and start examining all the different attributes within it and how it makes me feel / what it makes me feel / why it makes me feel that way. I've found some amazing photographs on deviantart that have had an impact on me and I would like to share some of those with you as well as why I like them, what they make me think and feel. Since I'm not able to create my own photography right now (which I have a feeling would resemble the stylings I will slowly be showing you over the next few weeks) I am going to use some of these photographs from gifted photographers posting their beautiful work on deviant. I will be featuring their photographs and placing a link under each photograph where you can check out more of their work.

This one caught my eye for many reasons and was one of the first ones I saw by this particular artist. Actually what led me to finding a lot of these photographs was that I found one artist in particular that I just really liked the work she was doing. Probably many of the photographs I will be showing you are hers. For some reason for my first post I am not actually using one of hers but this one is one of her "favorites" from other artists that you can gather on the site; of course my favorites list actually has many of hers. Anyway, there's a lot going on in the this photo which is a gorgeous black & white. I get the feeling of a Saturday or Sunday afternoon downtown... grabbing some coffees, a biscotti, no rush. Nothing to do and nowhere to be, just time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city, pleasant conversation, and watching all of the people strolling by on the street and coming in to grab some coffee. It's a cafe with street seating which I've always really enjoyed and you can see people hanging out at the cafe tables watching the people go by. It reminds me of a lot of cafes I walked by while getting from place to place in New York City. I was always in pursuit of one thing or another and never had the money to be able to relax and sit back and enjoy an afternoon of coffees and conversation. It are these thoughts, and feelings that are brought up by this photograph and make me want to take part in something like that. It really accents the buildings on the street and what's going on in the background, out there in the city. The silhouette masks the girl beautifully who is enjoying her coffee and spending time with friends.
It fills with me envy actually. I often wish I could enjoy the simple pleasure of meeting up with a friend / friends for coffee in the morning, downtown in the city.
Starting off the day with good conversation, laughing...

it allows you to keep perspective.
Take some deep breaths. Stay mellow and grounded.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

For Emma, Forever Ago

This is the album art for the first pressing of Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. This album has reached a new status in my book, or should I say / iTunes library and recently acquired / Record Collection. The album is phenomenal and only sounds better on vinyl. It kind of came out of left field as I've had this record for some time and didn't give it much time or play. Through several different places (this one blog I read on a regular basis I see she listens to the album a lot, and also mentions it a lot as well. Also I really love the track Brackett WI by Bon Iver, which is on the Dark Was The Night compilation...) so I decided to revisit the album. And I am really glad I did. I started doing some research on the album and Just Vernon, who is Bon Iver, traveled to upstate Wisconsin to stay in a cabin and write the album in solitaire - and consequently recording it as well. This first pressing, which was recorded in the cold winter months of Wisconsin, was only supposed to be the original copy of the material and it was supposed to be re-recorded in a studio. Well it was so well received both by friends / family and listeners alike that they kept the same recording and re-released it with the new album art. Anyway I just wanted to mention that because it has definitely reached a new status for me and if you haven't given it the time it deserves to tickle your ear hairs, I suggest revisiting it.

It is a Tuesday, middle of the month. My last week at my current company for a while. I am started to get filled with this energy and enthusiasm that often lacks my normal life / day / work week. It is a feeling that takes me out of my current situation and lets me think and look at things differently. I can look at the whole picture rather than all of the little things that affect me in a daily basis. I am filled with encouragement and opportunity. Excitement and something to look forward to. That feeling of knowing you are going to experience new things, new places, new cities, sip new coffee, and talk to new people. Check out new restaurants, meet new people with accents, experience another style of life in a different part of the country. It is exciting to me at least and it is a breath of fresh air. I will definitely be sure to talk some more, as my life lately has been filled with tying up loose ends here and getting things together. To be honest, I haven't really gotten much together yet but all I really need is clothes, and my turntable and records (duhh). This has been something that seems like just a long time coming that was never actually going to come. Now it's here. I really hope it opens up some new doors. I have put in some time and now hopefully I can take some strides and start creating some opportunities, contacts, and new experience. If nothing else I will experience a different style of life in a new part of the country.

I will try to document and write when I can and take pictures of the roadtrip through Nashville, New Orleans, and wherever else we go! Lots of talk when I start there too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's lunch time on Friday, 12:54pm to be exact, the week after the holiday season. I'm listening to my iTunes and eating a healthy lunch. I've made a point to start eating a lot better and be conscious and actually care about what I'm eating / what it does for me. So right now I'm eating baby carrots and garlic hummus, and some pasta salad with vegetables [asparagus, cherry tomatoes, red onion, carrots, mushrooms, celery, feta cheese, whole wheat pasta] that I made earlier this week. Of course drinking it with water, no more soda. It's been going pretty well. It's nice to care about what you're eating and I don't know, it makes you feel better too. Now I just need to get onto a regular exercising schedule and I should be alright. I hope as my life transitions to TX I will be able to continue this path. Also no cigarettes either.

I've read a few things online about good things to eat and snack on, and also you know what's interesting? It said it's better to eat little things throughout the day than it is to eat a lot of things at 3 distinct times during the day. I remember I used to make fun of "grazers", as we used to call them, at the Clipper. I always thought it was worse for you because you'd be eating all the time. But as I'm learning a few choice decisions on what those few things are that you eat can do good things for you. The whole thing is because it keeps your metabolism in check and actively working instead of forcing a bunch of stuff at it at once and then dieing down again. So one of my smart snacks is going to be like baby carrots and hummus, and last night I made some almonds with a ginger roasted coated topping thing and have that with me at my desk, so if I get a little hungry I can have a few and be good. Drinking lots of water is important. Limiting alcohol intake is a big one too, that's one I need to be conscious of and choose wisely. I started drinking my coffee black which has been kind of an interesting adjustment. It's actually not that bad once you let yourself start to get into it. I love it actually. I just love coffee in general.
Outside of that I've been working at the bar a lot, which will be ending soon. I think my last day there is next Wednesday. I think I will be able to come back when I get back from my Maryland hiatus. I was at this bar earlier this week that has open turntable nights on Mondays. I was talking music and my vinyl collection with this guy and he wants me to spin on Monday nights. I've never done this before but it sounds intriguing...

I've been f-ing around with the borders, text background [light grey], and I designed a new header for this page. It's been really frustrating trying to design this page so that it looks good on all browsers but I think I've reached a point where I'm going to have to just settle with it. I changed it around so that it looks appropriate on Internet Explorer and looks OK on Google Chrome. It looks different on my MacBook [which is what I was always basing it on before]. How does it look for you? What do you think of the new header design? It was one of the first times where when I went into Photoshop to design something, that at the end I actually had a piece that mimicked what was in my head. Which was really nice. And also the goal of photography as well.

I shaved last night. Probably the first time I've shaved in a few months. It hurt a lot but I'm actually enjoying it at the moment. The one guy I work with said to me something about whether I was in the witness protection program or something. He's like, you're always changing - Beard - No beard - Glasses - No glasses. I've been like this for a while now and it got me thinking. Why do I do this? When did this start? I think it started the first time I shaved off my afro back Sophomore year in college. Hahaha it's so funny to think back on this event. Dude it was REALLY an event. My afro at the time was my life. It was who I was and I was getting rid of it. So when it happened I was like a completely new person, totally reborn. It changed everything for me... I felt different, people perceived me differently, or at least I felt the feeling that people perceived me differently which is what it's all about anyway, your own perception and how it makes you feel. So this was when it started. Then as time went on my beard grew in fuller and thicker and heavier and quicker so I was able to change that around at the same time. But why do I do it?? I don't know, is it a self-confidence issue / where I change because I don't like the way I look? I don't think so. I think it's just an outward expression of what it is that I'm feeling on the inside. That's closer to it I think. I think I just like change and whatever it is I'm thinking at the time or how I'm feeling is what I'll wear / do / look like.
I think another influence has been John Lennon as well.

One of the coolest things that I like about John is that he changed his appearance all the time as well. Long hair - short hair - glasses - no glasses - beard - no beard - different styles of facial hair and length.
I think it's cool and I feel like it's also a reflection of one's personality too. If you're an open person and whatever; I don't know, maybe that's not exactly right. But I feel like it's someone who isn't hung up on anything. Doesn't take too much stock into a certain type of personality trait / or appearance trait / or trate, or something like that.
I just got distracted with a work related thing and totally lost track of thought and where I was going / what I was saying. I should finish up my pasta and get back to it anyway.