Archive | October, 2010

And Elsewhere

29 Oct

What? What’s that? You want the links to my articles around the internets this week? Well, then. You’re in luck! Please to enjoy the fuck out of my MamaPop and Draft Day Suit articles for the week. Also? Make sure you check out my post and auction benefiting The I Survived Project. Only a few more hours left to bid on two wonderful photography packages from yours truly!

This week at MamaPop:

Tuesday’s Post: How I Met Your Mother Season Six Recap: Episode 6 “Baby Talk”

Thursday’s Post: America’s Next Top Model Cycle 15 Recap: Episode 8 “Zac Posen”

This week at Draft Day Suit:

Thursday’s Post: Want Good College Basketball? Check Out The MVC This Year

 

 

 

And last but not least, you really need to pay attention to this link!

My Lame Ass Attempt At A Bake Sale (A benefit auction for The I Survived Project)

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30 Days Of Truth: Day Six

27 Oct

Day 06- Something you hope you never have to do.

Sure, we all have those things we never want to have to do in life. As a parent, I can’t fathom the thought of buying a bouquet of flowers to lay to rest on the grave of one of my own. I, for one, can’t stand the thought of spending anymore than 37 seconds in a prison. I never want to be set on fire. I never want to drown. And most importantly, I never want to be forced to eat onions. Ugh. I shudder at the thought of a rogue onion attack.

But all of these things combined (the dead kid part excluded),  none of them compare to the ultimate thing I hope I never have to do. Something I am so fearful, so skittish about, I don’t even like to utter the name.

I hope I never have to go to Disney World. Yes. You read that correctly. Motherfucking Disney World.

The happiest place on Earth? No, I don’t fucking think so. The mere thought of having to spend ANY amount of time at that place single-handedly makes me want to hurl all over the place. If you know me well, you know my intense hatred for clowns. Well, imagine this hatred and then multiply it by ten. What do you have? My feelings towards Disney.

The Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Mickey Mouse? Yeah, that’s what nightmares are made of. I hate the hokiness. I hate the fake smiles, the hidden antisemitism, the pure racial stereotyping.  When the subject of Disney World comes up, I think of the smells of urine and vomit covering the park like a fresh blanket of putrid snow.

Yes. I know. This is some fucked up shit. And I am totally aware this subject probably is better suited for a session with a therapist and a large dose of psychotropics. I get that. But as my children get older and Disney keeps pimping out commercials on Nickelodeon, Sprout, and every other fucking network known to man, I know the subject is going to come up. And you know what I’ll say? “Go ask your grandma.”

30 Days Of Truth: Day Five

26 Oct

Day 05-Something you hope to do in your life.

Since my high school days, I have hidden and buried any and all of my so-called creative abilities from everyone I knew. I hid it because in my mind, it wasn’t the logical choice for me. Everyone around me was either working or on their way to college for something tangible like a business degree or something in a “real” field like architecture. So, not to be left behind, I concentrated on slowly but surely educating myself in the sciences. Eventually, I got my first job at a huge laboratory when I was only 17 years old. And for the last thirteen years, I have done nothing but clinical laboratory science as my bread and butter day job.

Well, that is, until I couldn’t keep it inside anymore.

I could feel it building inside of me. In the middle of the night, I would get up and scribble something in a notepad. Just a few words, a few sentences of a short story that had been running through my mind. The urges just kept coming. I had to let these things out. Before I knew it, I hated everything about my day job.

The years kept passing by. Calenders full of 365 days flew by as if they were minutes. Still, there I was. The day job still intact, still there mocking my logic. A daily taunt of entrapment. I was turning 27 that year. The year when it all began.

My sister let me borrow her Canon Rebel for a vacation to La Jolla in 2007. It was the first time this landlocked Midwestern kid had ever seen the ocean in person. At this point, it had been 11 years since I had picked up a camera. I remember the last time I put my love away. I was 16 years old. She was a Canon SLR. Nothing fancy, but just the right tool for my photography class. Every picture I took that year fanned the flame inside me. But without notice, I abandoned her, my dream for what I thought was greener pastures. As soon as I brought my sister’s camera to my eye, I knew my life was about to change.

The creative urges were too great to extinguish now. I couldn’t keep them in any longer. The war raged between my left and right brain. A constant flood of thoughts and conflict consumed my mind on the daily. I ran out and bought the latest DSLR I could find. I was determined to make myself a photographer if it was the last thing I ever did.

A year passed and my photography business exploded. Suddenly I was the proud owner of a LLC. I had a working, blossoming business on my hands. Still, something inside was still tugging at me. I felt that photography alone wasn’t going to be enough. It was going to be the fix I needed. I had something I had to get off my chest. Stories that flooded my mind so long ago, had to be told. Well, stories and random thoughts that flew across my skull with reckless abandonment anyway.

So, here I am today. Not only do I have my photography business, but I now write for three awesome sites and my own blog to boot. I am starting to feel like I can make my creative side my full priority. Allow myself to breathe a little. Well, that is until I clock in every morning at my day job.

There it is. Staring at me in the face. A stark reminder that I still have so much work left to do. The time clock and that yellow time card punch me in the gut as I calculate just how much time I waste here. But I am working on it. I keep telling myself that it will all work out in the end. And this is where I have hope. The hope that is still there fuels my soul. I know that one day, I’ll be able to laugh about this. Yeah, laugh. I sure hope so.

My Lame Ass Attempt At A Bake Sale

25 Oct

There are very few things that I actually feel passionate about. Sure, I can get behind most charities, most good causes, and I’ll even buy those damned magazines the neighborhood kids are selling to fund their little league teams. I try to be just as charitable and giving as the next guy. But every once in a while, I stumble upon something that makes me question just how good of a person I really am. It’s not a question of self worth per se, but more of a gut check, a question of just how far I would go for someone else. Truly a “I don’t think I could do this if I tried” type of moment, if you will. When something makes me ask myself that question, I know it’s something worthwhile. And as I was introduced to this latest project, I knew that not only would it be so very important. I knew, in all actuality, that this was beyond phenomenal.

Just like any other day, my inbox is filled with all kinds of wacky and insane emails. I weed through the hilarity with precision. But as I clicked and read this particular email, I was taken aback by just how real it was. Right there, in small Courier New print, was an outline of someone’s life. An outline laid out in front of me and to a handful of others to see. This was her plan. Something that had been bubbling inside of her for years. She had finally identified her calling in life. And there in that email, she was sharing it for all of us to see.

Anastacia didn’t just send out and ordinary, mundane email that day. No, it was more of an opus. A collection of thoughts, ideas, and experiences that most people haven’t and will never deal with in their lifetime. But instead of dwelling on them, instead of keeping everything inside, she wanted to share her life. And as painful as it was, she wanted to share her darkest and most haunting experiences with the world. Deep inside, there was a hope that if she did this, she could help someone else going through the same type of hell she went through, In fact, she no longer wanted to do this, she had to.

It’s funny how a simple email can make you think about yourself. But the one Anastacia sent me that day, made me stop dead in my tracks and wonder just how good of person I truly am. A split second later, I knew I wanted to help in any and every way possible. Anastacia knew what her calling was. And as a friend, I wasn’t going to just sit back and just watch her.

The I Survived Project is something that you need to pay attention to. It’s a documentary about one of the harshest topics around, sexual abuse. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s unapologetic with the truth. Thankfully, I have never had to deal with sexual abuse personally. I thank everything holy and unholy that I’ve never had to experience these types of atrocities. But you know what? I know plenty of people who have. And it sickens me to have to type “plenty”. Now that I am a father, I look at both my children and hope that they will never have to go down that road. Matter of fact, I am going to do EVERYTHING within my power to ensure that they never have to go through things that Anastacia and millions of others out there have had to deal with.

So today, I give you my lame ass attempt at a bake sale. No, I didn’t bake shit for you to buy. Really, all you would get from me is a bad batch of pot brownies anyway. I have something way better than baked goods.

Starting today, I am auctioning of not one, but two family portrait sessions. Each session will include, 1-2 hours of on location photography, a full gallery on my website (studioeightonesix.com), a DVD with ALL the digital files including full duplication rights, and a $50.00 giftcard to tinyprints.com just in case you want to get some holiday cards printed. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to The I Survived Project. Every. Single. Cent. See? I told you! So much better than baked goods. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and bid! Bid high! Together, we can help make this documentary a reality.

(Obligatory legal type notice: Of course some restrictions WILL APPLY. Please see the auction for details!)

There are two identical packages up for auction! Now get to it!

Listing one: Family Portrait Session Benefiting TISP

Listing two: Family Portrait Session Benefiting TISP

 

 

 

 

And Elsewhere

22 Oct

Its been another week of awesome posts all over the internet for me. I so love my whore-ish ways. Anyway, I want to keep spreading the love. So as I always do, I give you the links!

Tuesday’s Post: HIMYM Season Six Recap: Episode 5 “Architect of Destruction”

Thursday’s Post: ANTM Cycle 15 Recap: Episode 7 “Francesco Carrozzini”

 

And over at Draft Day Suit….

Thursday’s Post: Wiener Grabbing?

A Wandering Maddox

21 Oct

Another great shoot with an another adorable family. This time I followed Maddox and his parents around while he inquisitively wandered around the grounds of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Come and take a peek at what he found.

Check out the images on Flickr or on Facebook!

30 Days Of Truth: Day Four

20 Oct

Day 04- Something you have to forgive someone for.

My mom said it was cold that day. A typical day for the brutal Midwestern winter climate. As he shut the door, my little sister began to cry. She was only a few months old at the time. At the ripe old age of two, I became the man of the house. With my defenses already up, I knew I had a job to do. My mother and my sister needed me now. It was time to be a man.

I know what you are thinking, “How can a two-year old be a man?” I don’t recall much before the age of  five, but my mother tells the story well. There are pictures to prove it. The old weathered photographs tell the story with an unapologetic bluntness. It’s 3:00am, my pure blond  hair disheveled by hours of resting on my Sesame Street pillowcase. I sit on the couch trying my damnedest to assist my mother with the nightly chore of raising an infant on her own. As she passes my sister to me to rest on my lap, a huge smile breaks through the darkness of the night. My mother, with her heart filled with a wicked balance of hurt, sadness, and unwavering love, brings a tiny camera to her eye. I could hear her count down and direct me to say “cheese!” In an instant, that memory was captured forever. My cheesy grin, my sister on my lap, the happiness I felt inside, all permanently displayed on a 4×6 piece of Kodak paper.

The tiny two bedroom apartment in Davenport, Iowa was more than just a place to rest our heads. In all actuality, it was the beginning of us. The whitewashed walls and  brown shag carpeting had no clue what type of force had just been born. From that point on it was just the three of us. No time to look back at what just happened as he shut the door on us. No time to dwell on things we couldn’t change.

As I got older, I started to ask questions. “Where is he?”, I would sheepishly ask my mother. Her response was always the same. Always lighthearted and straight to the point. “He’s gone. It’s just us now, TJ.” Oddly, this was super comforting to me. I knew that I was in the best hands possible. I knew that no matter what, everything was going to be just fine.

The years passed by and as quickly as he left, my memory of him faded. From time to time I would stumble upon an old box of photos. The smiles were strikingly familiar, a person frozen in time for me to have some basis of my biological history.

By the time I was a teenager, I became more and more forgetful that having a father around wasn’t the social norm. My mother fit the bill quite nicely. She had already taught me how to throw a ball, how to shave, how to spit, how to treat women, and ultimately how to love. Caught up in the intricacies of life, I had already learned from my mother how to be a man. She was my best friend, the one person I could count on, and as I stood up to recite my vows in front of hundreds, she was also my best man.

When I started to write this, I intended to forgive him. Wash away many years of wonder, doubt, and hatred. But as I sit here, pounding on this keyboard, I realize that forgiving him would mean that I was missing something in the first place. Forgiving him would be anointing him a kind of power that he doesn’t deserve. I’ve been privy to heartache, divorce, and all kinds of emotional roller coasters. But I always had stability. No matter the circumstances I always had love. I had a mother and a sister that through thick and thin, would prop me up and idolize me in ways no other human beings could. My childhood was a happy one. I never needed anything else. I always had a roof over my head and a smile on my face. Wanting or craving anything more would just be plain greedy.

And to him, I don’t forgive you. Actually, I thank you. Leaving us was the best thing you could have ever done. Don’t believe me? Well, I have the pictures to prove it.

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