Archive | June, 2010

Luck Be A Lady

30 Jun

“Man, it’s the equivalent to the surface of the sun out there.”, I muttered to a friend of mine. Even by Las Vegas standards, the summertime heat was unrelenting and ultimately unforgiving.  “I heard it is supposed to get up to 115° today.”, he fired back. We took a look at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and made our way back to the sports betting lounge. We had been there for a few hours now drinking beer, watching sports, and betting on the World Series. My pick? The Kansas City Royals. At that time, they were a 750/1 odds of making the World Series. Like a true, hardcore fan, I plopped an even $50.00 down on the table and made my wager. You see, I was feeling lucky that day. No, I wasn’t on a roll at the Blackjack table. I hadn’t hit the jackpot on the slots either. Everyone inside the Bellagio Casino could see my glow. They knew I was a man who couldn’t be wronged. My swagger was on. There was no stopping me.

To some, the 181st day of the year bears no meaning. It’s just another random day on the calendar. June 30th to be exact. That year, it fell on a Saturday. As I sat in the cold, air-conditioned lounge, my mind started to race. Thoughts of every kind of nature filled my tiny brain. Lost in thought, I failed to notice the cocktail waitress ask me if I wanted another beer. “Dude, are you ready?”, my friend, Tim, asked. “For another beer?”, I replied completely baffled by this line of questioning. “No, dumbass.” “It’s time.”, he belted out in an almost fatherly kind of way. Without hesitation, we got up and made our way to the elevators.

The unmistakable sounds of the elevator seemed to soothe my racing mind. I leaned up against the wall and counted each and every floor. With each beep, the 14th, 15th, and 16th floors whizzed on by. People would get on, exchange pleasantries, and quickly exit just as they had entered. Up next, the 17th floor. This was my stop. No turning back now. I exited left and made my way to my room. Methodically, I  showered, dressed, and adjusted my bow-tie for the 100th time. Everything had to be completely perfect. This had to go off without a hitch. At this point, errors were not to be tolerated.

I made my way down to the lobby. The concierge must have noticed the lost look in my eyes and gently pointed me in the direction of the revolving doors at the entrance. As soon as I my foot hit the pavement, I could feel the heat snatch the breath straight from my lungs. “Now, what do I do?”, I thought to myself. No sooner than the words exited my mind, a white limousine pulled up. The door popped open and I could hear a familiar voice inviting me in. One foot after the other, I climbed in the limousine .

My eyes were having a hard time adjusting from the harsh desert sun to the poorly and dimly lit cabin of the limousine. I could hear a giggle or two and make out a few faces staring back at me in the darkness.  Out of nowhere, I could feel a hand reach out and grab mine. “Are you ready for this?”, she whispered into my ear. All I could do was nod my head in agreement. Without warning, the limo came to a screeching halt. I could hear the others loudly proclaim, “We’re here!”. One by one, everyone was ushered out of the limo and into the blazing sun. As I followed, I could see a huge sign above the building that seemed to hover like a halo. T-R-O-P-I-C-A-N-A was spelled out in all its glory.

All around us, I could hear cheers and whistles from friends and patrons alike. As we made our way through the lobby and casino, the cheers got louder and the applause was borderline thunderous. Before I knew it, we were back outside. The smell of fresh flowers filled the air. Suddenly, the heat was barely noticeable. I could hear someone calling my name in the distance. This was it. It was my turn.

I made my way down a path that lead to a giant wooden gazebo. There was a man standing there. He was tall, wore wide rimmed black glasses, and had thick dark hair. He gave me a wink, a head nod, and began to smile. As he did this, I turned to see the crowd that had gathered behind me. My mom was there. So was my little sister. I could see friends and family for what seemed to be miles and miles. In the distance, I could hear music. The kind of music you have heard a thousand times, but never really paid much attention to. The melody was a gentle reminder of why I was there.

And there she was. I could see the top of her face as the sunshine peered down on her. One by one, she scaled the steps towards me. Her simple white dress sparkled in the sunlight. I could feel my heart racing just as fast as my mind was. I reached out and took her hand. I could see the nervous tears filling her eyes. The man, who was still standing behind us, started to speak. I am sure whatever he had to say way all fine and dandy. I, however, was concentrating on this beautiful woman in front of me. It had been a whirlwind romance. We didn’t care what anyone had to say. We didn’t care what anyone’s thoughts were on this day. As public as this display was, we were in our own world. Just the two of us, hand in hand. A few minutes had passed. The man behind us was done with his speech. “By the power”….”The State of Nevada”…”Yada, yada”. “Blah, blah, blah.” “I know pronounce you man and wife.” “You may now kiss your bride.”, he blurted out with a resounding pitch. As I reached out and grabbed my new wife, I knew that this moment was more than special. We kissed, we hugged, we laughed, but most importantly, we loved.

The 181st day of the year still give me goosebumps as if I were back in that desert sun. We were just two kids in love. We were hellbent on creating a life of learning and loving each other. After nine years together, that rings true more and more every single day. And to my wife, I am still that snot nosed, chubby kid who asked you to marry him. I still see you with those very same eyes. Nothing will ever change that. Happy Anniversary, my love. I love you more than words will ever show.

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Jamie and Josh Trash the Dress

27 Jun

I had the most awesome honor of photographing Jamie and Josh’s wedding in early May. About a month ago, we went out in search of some unique places to “Trash the Dress”. So where did we end up? A dark alley in the West Bottoms and a cemetery of course! These two were an absolute blast for me to shoot. The happiness and love they share made it a super easy “job” for me to photograph. Come and take a look for yourselves.

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This Week @ MamaPop

25 Jun

In the interest of pure and blatant self promotion, I will be posting the links to my weekly articles over at MamaPop. This is a community service just for you. You can thank me by actually clicking on the links and reading my posts. Seriously, do I have to beg? Much like TLC, I ain’t too proud. So, please, please, please! Your support means the world to me. It helps my ego button get the stroking it needs. Yes, I just said stroke.

Tuesday’s post can be found here: Crazy Ladies With Money – What Happens When They Die?

Thursday’s post can be found here: “Jersey Shore’s” The Situation Has Another Job

My Dirty Little Secret

22 Jun

I have a dark, dirty secret. You see, I have been hiding this for a little over three months now. In the past, I only did it a few times. Just once in a while out of necessity. Never for pleasure. I would show up, pay the man my money, and then drive off. I got what I needed. This was very efficient. Nobody was harmed. No rules were broken. During the last decade, I could count on my right hand just how many times I caved to the pressure. Until recently, I could keep the urge to get a fix under control. Then out of the blue, I found out that my wife had been sharing this exact  same secret. The very same thing I had kept buried deep inside for so long. I saw the look in her eyes when I discovered this about her. This was all too familiar. The desire, hurt, and embarrassment oozed from her voice as we discussed this openly for the first time. It was such a great relief that we could share this secret. Through this, we came to realize we were not alone. In fact, we had multiple friends that were much more deeply hooked than we were. They had been using heavily for years. Without boundaries. In front of friends, family, and even their own children. Instantly, we knew that our habit, our obsession, was actually more common than we thought. This brought us great pleasure. A sense of serenity filled the air around us. No matter what others would say, no matter how much they would try to break us down, we knew we were right about this.

One night in late March, we ventured out on a cold, dark Midwestern night to score jointly for the first time. Sitting side by side in the car, we could feel the tension rise. We knew what we were about to do. There was no polite way to do it either. As I pushed the ignition button on our Prius, I knew there was no turning back. We both looked at each other and knew that things would never be the same.

As we drove up, I thought to myself, “This can’t be the place.” “There are too many lights and way too many people around.”, I uttered in disbelief. I could see the panic fill my wife’s eyes almost instantaneously.  Within seconds, she started to tremble. “Do you really want to go through with this?”, I asked in a concerned tone. She couldn’t even muster the words to answer. All she could do is shake her head gingerly in agreement. “Okay then”, I replied as I opened my car door. Hand in hand, we cautiously walked towards the building. We were careful not to look any strangers straight in the eye. We didn’t want to be noticed. And by the look of things, nobody else did either.

We were greeted at the door and promptly rushed to another room. This was completely different from any other time before. In the room, sat a chair, a desk, and an older computer. Next to the computer was a phone and a scratchpad with some notes scribbled on it. A clock was neatly hung on the wall and with each tick, became deafening to the point of insanity. Above us, we could see the flickering of a set of old tungsten lights. You could hear the electricity bouncing back and forth between the  filaments. “This is taking forever!”, I yelped. “Maybe this is a mistake.”, my wife quipped.  Just then, as if they were listening, a man appeared. “Come with me.”, he whispered in an ultimately eerie tone. Without hesitation, we followed. Through a maze of hallways and back doors, we were quickly ushered into another room. I took my wife’s hand and squeezed it tightly. I could tell she was scared. Truthfully, so was I.

More waiting. More anticipation. We were almost completely fed up with the whole experience. Then she walked in. We were instructed to sit at the desk with her. She brought out a series of papers, pens, and a nicely wrapped package. This was not how I had done this in the past. What was with all this pomp and circumstance? “Initial here and here.”, she ordered. “Make sure you sign and date at the bottom of the page.”, she demanded in a robotic haste. No sooner did the date get scribbled on the page, we were ordered to step outside and await further instructions. She handed us the package and ordered us to wait in the hallway until everything was ready.

Ten more minutes had passed. Like I said before, this time was totally different from all the other times I had run out to get my fix. Suddenly, there it was. We could see it through the window for the very first time together. It was so shiny and beautiful. We were attracted to it like moths to a flame. At that moment, we knew that we had made the right decision. I opened the little package the woman in the room had handed me. Inside, was a set of keys. One set for me and one set for my wife. As we made our way into the service bay, we both let out a huge sigh of relief. In front of us, was our new minivan.

MamaPop

15 Jun

So, for once, my insanity has actually paid off for me. Today, I feel like that fat kid who finally got picked first for the dodgeball team. Could this be a trap? Maybe. Anyway, say hello to the newest writer for MamaPop! Now you have not one, not two, but three whole places to read the messed up shit that runs through my mind. If you are not familiar with MamaPop, get your asses over there now. They cover all the pop culture news and celebrity gossip you would ever need. The best part? You get to read some great stuff from some very talented writers all wrapped up in one tiny little nugget.

Click on the shiny MamaPop badge to be magically whisked away through the internets to the MamaPop website. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Click HERE for my first post. Click a lot. Click because you love me. Click because you hate me. Just fucking click.

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Click, click, click, click, click, clit, click, click, click. (Which one is not like the others?)

Look What I Found in Mulvane, Kansas

14 Jun

Being a photographer gets you behind the scenes access to all the world most exotic locals. Case in point? Mulvane, Kansas. I spent some time photographing an adorable family at the old train depot in the center of town. A great time was had by all. Take a gander for yourself!

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Big Kids, Toddlers, and Babies! (Oh, My!)

13 Jun

Last weekend, I spent some time with two lovely families for a combined shoot. In typical Midwestern fashion, Mother Nature decided she wanted to play a nasty joke on us and brought the pain through the tune of 100 degree heat. Thankfully, the kids didn’t care. Come and take a look at Leslie and Angela’s Family Adventure.

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