Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Perception of Words

Thanksgiving Revisited
For as far back as I can recall, words have always intrigued me. The power of their use, and misuse, is something that we continually take for granted in our modern and increasingly abbreviated world. How odd it seems that the omission of one word from a sentence can change its entire meaning. History has shown that the improper use of words can create perceived conflict and hostility among otherwise friendly peers, misunderstandings that led to unnecessary feuds that spurred wars, death, destruction, and sadly years of chaos. Just simple words, mere letters and shapes arranged in a particular order.

Metaphor, sarcasm, and hyperbole are all weapons we employ on a daily basis. So accustomed to their use are we that more often than not we aren't even aware of the subtle layers, patterns, and complex history that has gone into the evolution of how we communicate today. Myself, I'm a smart-ass. Anyone who has talked with me at any great length knows I am painfully sarcastic, to the point where my often dead-pan delivery can be perceived as rude, harsh, coarse, or asshole-ish. Still, to those truly close to me, I am also known to be one of the most honest, sincere, and verbose people they know.

I am continually inspired by those who communicate well. The proper use of words is indeed an art form. Politicians, advertisers, religious leaders and those who have managed to survive in the toughest of times can all attest to that. Knowing what to say, how to say it, and perfecting the timing of the delivery are all facets of this complex game of communication. Those who play the game well can make non-believers into leaders of a movement. They can educate, inspire, and in the worst of situations, create doubt, fear, and promote hate.

In this current period of texting, instant messaging, and refusing to answer calls from numbers we don't recognize, I see a continued and increasing lack of proper communication. With all of our technology, which can transport words and their ideas across the planet in an instant, we seem to actually be communicating less, and no one seems to notice or care. I wonder what Johannes Gutenberg would say if he lived today. Would he be as confused and frustrated as I am about how our words for conveying emotion have devolved into emoticons and abbreviations like "LOL"? Or, more likely, would he be found in a Starbucks with his iPhone in it's scratch resistant case updating his Twitter account?

When I was in junior high school I began to memorize poems and verses from the bible in larger quantities. Not all of them are still retained in my noggin, but there are still many I can recall that continue to inspire and define me. Also, I collect quotes, be them from great moments and icons of history, a drunken stumble and play on words from a friend, or a profound song lyric that inspires repeatedly. I often wish I was a better writer, or that I could commit to creating a body of written work instead of the massive amount of visual art I have made in my life.

While living in Seattle for half a dozen years, yet still driving the eighteen hours or so back to California almost seventy times, I began to see traveling and the road as metaphors for so many different aspects of life. There are too many to recount here, so instead I will leave you with one of my favorite poems about the road, one that I recite to myself at least once a week. I would be more than satisfied having the last stanza being etched upon my tomb stone, that is if I can't think of something terribly witty and sarcastic enough to put on instead:

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it's queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"I promise I'm not a manic-depressive."

I decided to bookend this blog with two photos taken in the exact same spot, the edge of my bed, with completely opposite intentions. I'm a guy who loves duality, what can I say?

To quote the singer/songwriter Sting, "I promise I'm not a manic-depressive." After rereading several of my blogs and Flickr posts of late I had to stop and take a deep breath, realizing I sounded like such an Emo whiny baby. Actually, for the most part I like to believe myself to be a fairly focused, level-headed kind of guy. That being said, I figured it was time to post a blog that wasn't so negative or deep or over-analytical.

At the start of each new year I fall into the cliché of hope: hope for a new perspective on life, new beginnings, new career opportunities and maybe even new relationships of various kinds. I'm aware that the change of digits and numerals on a wall calendar or on your phone is really quite arbitrary and all in our minds, but this is me at my most optimistic.


I like pretty flowers, making faces at both smiling and crying babies, warm tomato soup on cold days, old quirky movies like "Harold and Maude", a clean camera lens, drinking wine with friends and whiskey with strangers, meeting like-minded people in places I've never been before, meeting close-minded people on tough days, and listening to mopey, thoughtful, romantic music. I enjoy an almost-cold bottle of water, clean sheets, lukewarm showers, pretentious people who aren't aware of how silly they are, children asking questions, natural light, and dark, shocking humor that is witty enough for me to want to repeat. I like honesty, sincerity, politeness that isn't always nice, your concern without your worry, care without pity, and being speechless in the face of a truly wonderful surprise.
Your sweet, genuine smile.
I like music old and new, both bad and good, slow and peppy, whiny and soulful. I like quiet movies with intricate plots as well as watching things go "cracka-cracka" while a faulty hero does his best.
I like you. No, not you, the person behind you.
I like me, and I think you would, too, if you got to know me. I like not being liked though, also. Being liked by everyone is just boring, don't you think?

Anything else you want to know, feel free to ask.


Monday, February 2, 2009

LOVE, Part Two: Sucker


Okay, it's obvious: I'm a sucker for women. Not all women, per se, but those truly special ones that have the ability to take your breathe away, if even for a moment. Sure, it can be a pretty face or a subtle glance, and these are common. Even more exciting though are the women armed with a wonderfully sarcastic quip, a dirty little glint in their eyes, or simply one of a thousand other unnameable things that make your heart sing or your legs turn to Jello. Yes, of course there have been maybe one or two in this life that have truly knocked me out, thrown me for a loop or whatever other cliché you can think of, and those are the most extreme example. However, this general interest and widest of wide variety in tastes of women never ceases to remind me of how human I am.

These special females in question can range from the obvious good girl with a dirty side to the blatant loud-mouthed and confrontational broad who doesn't take shit from anyone. In my 31 years they have come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and demographics, and sadly all manners of involvement in the judicial system. This is not to say I've gotten involved with all of these women, or have had the desire to, yet these select women have all gotten my attention in their own way.

Thankfully, for the crutch that this ability of having my head turned so easily can be, it has also helped me considerably as a photographer. I find myself often in a situation where I am needing to find even the smallest attractive or redeeming value in someone that can be pretty odious and annoying. Sometimes it may be found in a movement of the hand, the shape of a neck or the fabulous snort when laughing (no, not you Hollie!), but in that moment that person can seem fascinating and lovely.

Still, this is not the same as those very special one or two ladies who have kicked my ass, or better yet, who I have allowed to have my ass kicked by. There are those special women who have so many qualities that challenge, inspire, frustrate and infuriate, hurt and down-right crush you that you just can't get enough, you always go back for more. Because you're a sucker. At least I am.

And here's the song that reminded me:

John Mayer

Sometimes, I wish that I was the weather
You'd bring me up in conversation forever
And when it rained, I'd be the talk all day

Oh, sometimes I wish that I was a cold beer
I'd rest assured that you would hold me near
I'd be guaranteed to be just what you need

And there could be no other way, 'cause you're so, you're so lame
Your tired words are all, they're all the same
Yeah I would walk and I'd surely walk away
If I wasn't such a sucker for you

Sometimes, I wish that I was a bong hit
You'd let me in and you would love every minute
And tell the room the things I did to you...

Oh and there could be no other way, 'cause you're so lame
Your tired words are all, your tired words are all the same
Yeah I would walk you know I'd surely walk away
If I wasn't such a sucker for you

I see your world with rosey-colored glasses on
Wanna right what I see wrong
I could never have that power over you

Someday, I'm gonna pack up and leave this town
I'm gonna get my own things goin' on
And when I do, I'll forget
I'll forget
I'll forget about how, how you're so, you're so lame
Your tired words are all, your tired words are all the same
And I would walk you know I'd, I'd walk away
If I wasn't such a sucker for you
I wasn't such a sucker for you
I wasn't such a sucker for you

Yup, that says it all. Good night.