I took this photo while I was at school today. In fact, I’m still at school. My friend Kris and I will be attending a scholarship dinner tonight in Abbotsford, so we decided to stay late, get some work done (or in this case, some photography), go to dinner, then go home.
This is a “lug” on the side of a conga drum in our band room. I, once upon a time, wanted to be a drummer. What I found was that my feet work or my hands work, but they don’t like to work together. Yes, I can walk and move my arms, but anything more demanding than that and all heck breaks loose. So I accepted my lack of coordination and moved on. My obsession with things that make loud noises, however, has never been stronger.
Anyway, I’m off to Indian food for dinner. Or, in other words, I’m off to show my stomach who’s boss and ingest more butter chicken and rice and naan bread than I really should.
These are my son’s jeans. They are worn out – in the knees, anyway. My wife, with her wonderful sensibility, has relegated these jeans to only certain jobs, like washing the car, working or playing in the yard, and (maybe) visiting family on the weekend. Definitely not church or school functions.
For me, they bring me back to my style of clothing in twelfth grade. My “uniform” in my grad year was worn-out, torn jeans and offensive t-shirts, somewhat hidden under plaid, flannel shirts. I looked like a refugee from a Nirvana concert. Yup, so cool.
Oh, and this week’s photo challenge on WordPress is Worn. Check it out.
I am not the person who likes to put himself in front of the camera. I smile uncomfortably. I rarely get a shot of myself that I appreciate. I blink at the inopportune moment. I don’t like photographing myself.
So this shot, above, is a departure from the norm. I set up the shot, changed the aperture, shutter speed, white balance and got the focus just right and handed the camera to my friend Ali. She snapped my shot of me, pointing at the Nirvana exhibit window treatment at the EMP.
I have to admit to a certain geeky joy, a geeky emotional response to my high school grunge heroes. That smile looks painted on, but is as real as could possibly be.
What teenager, indeed.
Sub Pop Records was responsible for a lot of loud teenagers when I was in high school. From Nirvana, Muhoney and Soundgarden to modern acts like Fleet Foxes, The Shins and Postal Service, Sub Pop has managed to make itself a reputation for signing and promoting bands that are familiar, in that when you hear their songs you think, “Wow. I love this. Who is this?” and at the same time think, “Why don’t I hear more music like this?”
It’s like they have some kind of underground magnet that helps them find their bands; something that locates amazing musicians, singers, songwriters that don’t feel like they’ve been pumped out of some popular music factory. They are, thankfully, not in the business of mindless pablum that passes for popular radio fare. They are, thankfully, responsible for thoughtful, soulful, genius acts of wonder. Thanks, Sub Pop, for making me a loud teenager, even at 37.
I find that taking photos of other photos is a bit weird. Someone already took a brilliant photo, and I’m piggy-backing on their genius. At the same time, I want a record of my own experience. In this case, my fellow teacher and friend Kris asked me to accompany him to the Experience Music Project in Seattle today. To my delight, EMP is showing an exhibit called Nirvana; Taking Punk to the Masses right now and it is an account of my high school experience through the music of the time. The end of the ’80’s and beginning of the ’90’s saw the advent of the grunge music movement and I felt like I’d moved back 20 years.
I was surprised by how emotional the experience was. If you’re in your 30’s and actively participated in the music of the Seattle music scene from twenty years ago, I highly recommend that you see this.
I need to declare this. I must be forthright.
I love my Dr. Martens shoes.
There. Now that it’s out in the open, I want to extol their virtues.
1. They’re comfortable.
2. They look nice.
3. Uh…did I say they look nice?
Anyway, they’re my favorite shoes. I used to have a pair of 8 hole Docs when I was in high school. They accompanied me to such concerts as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Jesus and Mary Chain, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Waterboys, and Tragically Hip. It’s as though my memories of music and live concerts are inextricably joined to my Docs. They went with me everywhere. I finally wore them completely down about 15 years ago. I replaced them with the shoes you see above. I went nearly ten years without Docs and now that they’re back in my life, they will never leave. I’ll never let them go. I love them.
I took the family B out to Cheam Lake Wetlands yesterday. We’ve finally had some rain-free days, so I thought we should take advantage of them. We had set out to visit Bridal Veil Falls, but the park/trail was closed, so we improvised. The walk around the wetlands was great. There were a lot of photos I would have loved to have taken, but they were only accessible via hip waders. This shot was taken from a floating bridge. It was, in fact, taken 180 degrees rotated from this vantage point. Please feel free to stand on your head or flip your laptop upside down to see it the way I originally saw it. When I was processing it, I felt that it needed the rotation. The reflection looked so much more appealing from this perspective.
The title of this post, by the way, refers to what could possibly be the greatest music video ever. I am a Star Wars nut and this video is just amazing. Check out the Scattered Trees.
It’s funny how some photos, or the tangent on which some photos take me, trigger memories. The title of this post is the title of a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I heard them on stage at the 1992 Lollapalooza concert in Vancouver. It was at UBC Thunderbird Stadium. I wasn’t there to hear them; I was there to hear Jesus and Mary Chain. I thought of myself as a real punk kid back then and the fact that I was going to see this band at this festival, a band very few of my friends had heard of, made me think I was incredibly cool. It turned out that there were a lot of people who wanted to see them – they were on the mainstage after all.
The Chilis took the stage as the headliners at the end of the night. Their show was great. So, eighteen years later I take a photo of an underpass. One year after that, I process that photo and it takes me back to the summer of 1992. Weird.
The entire quotation is, in fact: “Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone.” It was written by Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet and writer. It stands out to me from a video I once saw of a poetry reading and interview with him, only years before his death. I remember it making an impact on me, specifically because there are those moments when, even when one is surrounded by others, one may feel completely alone. There are a couple of types of solitude, however.
There’s the kind of solitude that is not desired – think loneliness.
Then there is that solitude that is self-imposed, and even enjoyed. I found, over the past few days, a certain kind of enjoyable solitude. Those moments when there was no one to talk to, no one to ask for anything, no one needing anything. Just me.
In order to ensure this state of silence and solitude, I left my iPod at the hotel, my laptop behind and turned my Blackberry to “silent”. Unless I felt the need, I was alone. And what I found was that my thoughts have long been ignored. I don’t spend enough time by myself thinking, planning, brain-storming, relating, even plotting (not in a Pinky and the Brain kind of way). I want to fill my head and time with useless endeavors, with mental dead-ends, with noise so that I feel busy. I found myself figuring out ways to finance a Master’s Degree, appreciating the utilitarian, if not beautiful, architecture of SFU and thinking of what makes my children so amazing. In silence and solitude, I found many things I was ignoring.
Maybe we all need a bit of silence and solitude.
When I was young, I wanted to learn to play guitar. I wanted to be the guy who the guys wanted to be and the girls wanted to be with. I, however, learned to play the trombone. Yup, the trombone. The guy who can make comical sounds by moving the slide up and down. The guy who, regularly throughout a concert, has to exercise the spit valve because the bottom of a trombone slide fills up with residual saliva while the player plays. Ooh, that sounds sexy. Probably my favorite part of playing a trombone was the ring around the lips that’s formed by slightly improper embouchure. My lips looked like a small donut when I was finished a concert.
I’m pretty sure that all the guys in the audience wanted to be me. And the girls, well, I married a trombone player. It turns out they make really good kissers. Haha, take that super-awesome guitar man. How good are your lips?
This is Mark Hall. He is the lead singer of Casting Crowns. They played the opening night of the Break Forth conference in Edmonton last night. What I love about this photo is that it matters not what he looks like or what their music sounds like – he is clearly the lead vocalist of a rock band. How do I know this? He has employed the fist pump.
The fist pump is one of the many essential elements of fronting a band. If you front a band and do not employ the fist pump, I think you can be replaced. Isn’t that one of the rules? I’m not sure, because I’ve never fronted a band, but I’ve attended a good number of rock concerts and every single one of them has included a fist pumping lead singer.
Can you think of other rules by which rock bands must abide?
I made my favorite of Jamie Oliver’s recipes tonight, Perfect Roast Potatoes, and it calls for Clementine peels. I did not know what a Clementine was until I made these potatoes (I’ll show you what they looked like in tomorrow’s post…oooh, suspense!). It turns out they’re “a variety of Mandarin Orange” and they’re super sweet and delicious.
As for the photo, I desaturated all colors except orange when I processed this shot and I liked the way it looked. Also, now I’m hungry for Clementines. Oh my darling, Clementine. Do you think they were singing about the oranges? “Thou are lost and gone forever, Oh my darling, Clementine” (because I ate you, haha).
I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Montreal looking over a great number of photos I’ve shot over the last six days. I’m in Montreal for the Canadian Student Leadership Conference. The graffiti above is in one of the hallways in Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School. The conference has been awesome, except for one thing…
I’ve been getting a bit sick of the music that’s been played at the conference for the last three days. Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”, Flo Rida’s “Club can’t handle me”, and Ke$ha anything. If I never hear these songs again it might be too soon. The kids love the songs, but I think even they are starting to feel a bit tired of the DJ playing the same songs again and again. I know I am.
Ooh, is that Coolio? If you don’t know Coolio, look him up, you whippersnapper. My daughter and I were listening to a CD on the way to the lake – a compilation of hip-hop songs from the late ’80’s and early ’90’s – that has Coolio’s “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New) on it. Besides Coolio, it includes songs like “MistahDobalina” (Del the Funkee HomoSapien), and “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” (Tribe Called Quest). My daughter thought the songs sounded hilarious – me, it took me back to my job at the mall in 1989 selling clothing at Bootlegger (a Canadian chain of young adult retail stores). It took me back to the following list of things that I hope are never revived by the fashion industry, music industry, or, well, any industry:
1. Baggy pants with high waists. Seriously?
2. Big hair put in place with Final Net. No one thought that much alcohol under that much pressure was a bad idea?
3. Polka-dot rayon shirts. Silk shirts. Wha…?
4. Fido Dido. Really?
5. Vanilla Ice style. Worst abomination of a song using a Queen and David Bowie sample. And the hair and dancing…argh!
6. Suspenders. If you are not wearing clown pants, dress pants, or are a lumberjack, these are not necessary.
7. Tight pants and loose baggy shirts. Yechh…
If you would care to add anything to this list, feel free to drop response.
Oh, and the photo, it’s a sunrise on Cultus Lake. It was just something I shot after listening to music from my youth.
This was a definite highlight of my Vegas trip. Outside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, from 8:00 until midnight, is a musical fountain and draws hundreds of people to the shore of the lake every fifteen minutes. I don’t know why it is that I can be so mesmerized by lights and water set to the tune of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, almost emotional even. Perhaps it was the fact that I was extremely tired after a long day of flying and then wandering Las Vegas all day. Perhaps I am just amazed by simple things. I know, the kind of computer programming that must be required to pull this off, the ridiculous time and money that must have gone into constructing this, but the result is something simple – lights and water and music. And I stand amazed.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved Converse All-Stars. I associate them with all things cool and I have owned a few pairs. The ironic thing is that I hate wearing them because I find they’re unbelievably flat, and aid not one bit in holding up my arches (man I feel old when I write that). I would get home, take them off and feel a great sense of “aaahhhh…” I love Chucks but I hate them.
These Chucks were worn by Tim Neufeld, of the band “Starfield,” who I saw last night at Harrison Resort. Chucks belong on guys in bands, or hipsters (who probably don’t wear them because they’re no longer ironic) or high school students. Not 36 year old dad-teachers.
Pentax K20D; Sigma 70-210mm; f4; ISO 1600; 1/8 sec.