Congratulations to my dear friends Heather & Brandon on the birth of Cooper!
Autumn brings many pleasant things. The apples come off of the trees, ripe for eating. Cider begins to flow and find its way into the stores. I begin mulling my cider and baking pies. The leaves turn to fire and drop to the ground. The trees become bare and everything in this world begins to die. Autumn is the season of bounty and waning, of that final passionate explosion before the cold stillness of winter.
I just opened a GoFundMe campaign to finance some digital gear and kick off my commercial photography career. Check it out!
Hi! I am an amateur photographer based in Rutland, VT. For more than a decade, I’ve been shooting non-commercial artistic work.
For the last few years, I’ve been shooting exclusively in 35mm film. For the personal expressive work I do, it’s the best option. However, to break into modern commercial work (portraiture, weddings, events, models, etc.) a digital set up is necessary. That cost of entry is more than beyond my reach.
My target camera is a Nikon D5200 dSLR and a pair of appropriate lenses. (Other required gear such as case, tripod, and batteries I already own for my film camera and can be used with this one.)
I’m a full time single parent stuck in a minimum wage job and under a significant amount of personal debt (accrued as a single parent living on such an income while receiving no child support). We live paycheck to paycheck, scraping by. My goal is to climb out from under that debt, but with my current income this is impossible. Were I to begin gaining commercial photography jobs, I could work myself out in just a few years and then begin transitioning over to this work full time. I have the eye, the skill, the training, and the experience to make this commercial endeavor succeed, but I lack the start up capital to launch the ship.
It took a fair bit of convincing for me to do this GoFundMe campaign. I’m not a fan of asking for help (often to my own detriment), so I’m including reward levels to provide services for the donations. Check out the various reward levels!
(Note: I am also open to recommendations on cameras if the one I am looking at is known to others to be inadequate or simply not the best choice.)
This piece originally appeared on a previous website of mine in 2005.
My crew of friends and I have many stories that we have collected over the years. All of them are true and some are downright incredible. This tale is one of my favorites.
I hate being woken up by my telephone. I have a tendency to damage the eardrum of whoever is calling. I now turn the ringer off when retiring for the night. My closest friend, John, was the recipient of my telecommunications wrath this particular afternoon.
“Are you done yelling now?,” John chuckled back at me. I used to throw darts at him for waking me up, so yelling doesn’t really phase him. “We’re going to GG’s grave. Are you coming?” Of course I was.
GG Allin was a legendary punk singer. He was notorious for starting fights with the audience, defecating on stage, and beating himself severely while performing. In all probability, he was the only true rock n’ roller who ever lived; he knew no personal boundaries, nor restraint. Allin is buried in Littleton, a small town in the northern region of New Hampshire. There was no question that I was going.
John picked me up about fifteen minutes later in Rob’s ’95 Ford Escort. Along with us were John’s girlfriend, Hollie, our closest compatriot, Rob, and associate in mischief, Matt. John put some music on for the ride.
“Hey, Hollie,” I said, “has John shown you Quechee Gorge yet?” Hollie was visiting from her Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania home with no knowledge whatsoever of the green and mountainous Vermont landscape.
“Are you afraid of heights?,” I asked, with my noted sadistic gleam.
Hollie just looked at me in a nervous sort of manner and shook her head, “Yes.”
I looked at John and chuckled, “We have to stop at the Gorge, man.”
He was more than willing. When we arrived, it took five or so minutes to talk Hollie into walking out onto the bridge. She took a couple of photographs from it and scurried back to the car. Rob and I spent a few minutes spitting off the side before we both became bored and resumed our drive.
We hit the outskirts of White River Junction, a town that, to others may seem a tad pretty, to me has always looked like a wasteland. We ran into traffic delays that would rip out the heart of a New York City commuter. We didn’t know it at the time, but a high speed chase between police and a boy named Eric Johnson had, just hours prior, resulted in the death of a Vermont State Trooper. We were rerouted and detoured through the city.
New Hampshire is a state that I have never been fond of. I’m not entirely sure why. The New Hampshire leg of the trip was uneventful and boring. I openly, repeatedly, and obnoxiously blamed the entire state for this. It wasn’t until we arrived at our destination that anything noteworthy happened.
Once we entered the town of Littleton, we were assaulted by countless stares. These weren’t the normal, “Who the hell are you?,” stares; these looks bore a particular flair of malice. John concluded that they must know we’re in town to see GG’s grave. Year after year, absolutely crazy and relentlessly crude people migrate to this small New Hampshire town to see the grave. They drink profusely and defecate at the site. This results in numerous arrests. No doubt, the locals are quite sick of it. I was convinced that there was no way they could know why we were there, but when we found the graveyard, I saw how the townsfolk knew. We had written some of the more obscene song titles from GG’s career in the dust on the side of the car.
This cemetery was larger than I expected. Though John was looking for landmarks he’d noted from the documentary footage of GG’s funeral, we were all lost. After ten minutes of exploring gravestones, John found it. He found the grave of rock n’ roll’s most infamous legend: GG Allin. We all stood in front of it, staring as John read the epitaph aloud.
“For my mission ends in termination, vicinity of death.”
Here we were, standing at his grave. We took photos of the stone, and of us around it, while Hollie videotaped. It was almost like a religious experience. This man was the embodiment of the human animal. He followed his every urge and instinct, no matter how taboo, without one sliver of care for the thoughts, opinions, or judgments of others. He was, in that sense, the most pure man who ever lived. He was tainted by neither self-consciousness nor self-repression. The fact that GG Allin was so successful in doing this himself is inspirational. This strikes a deep chord in me. I strive to rid myself of society’s pre-established morals and ethics to leave room for just my own sense of right and wrong.
GG Allin had a fetish for urinating on his audience. He once said, “My body’s the rock n’ roll temple, and my blood and body fluids are a communion to the people.” This led to many canceled shows, near escapes from authorities, and even an appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s talk show. In true GG fashion, the people who make the pilgrimage to his grave in turn urinate on it. This has become a custom, of sorts. It should go without saying that we did the same.
GG Allin hated, more than anything else, authority. He loathed anyone and anything that attempted to control him. This included the United States’ government, as he spent three years in a federal prison for an assortment of charges. To honor GG, John decided to burn an American flag over the gravestone. As the flag burned ferociously, two Littleton Police officers arrived.
The first officer took the video camera and gave it to the other officer. They acted very routine, like they’d grown bored of throwing kids out of the cemetery. It wasn’t until ten minutes of lecturing about public urination had passed that they noticed the flag remains. Both officers grew extremely angry and yelled about it, threatening to lock us up right away. John, noble misfit that he is, spoke up. He confessed to burning the flag and took the heat off us, placing it onto himself. The officers cuffed John and put him into the cruiser.
Now, you should know, before they found the flag’s remains, John had decided that it would be very bad if the policemen had discovered the bag of marijuana in his pocket. To prevent this from occurring, he subtly slipped the bag out of his pocket and shoved it down the back of his pants. Once arrested and in the cruiser, he thought back on the last time he’d been brought to jail.
The last time John was arrested was the result of miscommunication between Rutland’s Diversion office and the court. Diversion had eliminated a court date and forgotten to notify the court. When John didn’t go to his nonexistent court date, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. While trading insurance information with another driver during a minor accident, he was cuffed and brought in to the Shelburne Police Department. They eventually transferred him to Chittenden County Correctional Facility where he was strip searched, so he assumed all jails conducted strip searches.
Here was John, alone in the back of a cruiser, once more facing discovery of the bag. What was he to do? Still handcuffed, he managed to unbuckle his seat belt, pull the bag out from the back of his pants, toss it onto the floor of the cruiser, and kick it under the front seat where it was never found.
As the first officer drove John away, the second asked if any of us had a driver’s license. Despite the fact that it was Rob’s car, he has never had his license. It was only Hollie who was legally able to drive. We quickly found out, while leaving the cemetery, that Hollie was the poorest candidate to drive, because she did not know how to operate a standard transmission vehicle. After a very bumpy succession of stalls and restarts, Rob took over and we drove into the main strip of Littleton.
It was a cold evening and none of us were dressed for it. I borrowed a long-sleeved shirt from Hollie that was suffocatingly tight, Hollie put on a sweatshirt, Matt bared the cold, and Rob wrapped himself in a bright blue blanket. Looking ridiculous, we walked around town, because we had a few hours to kill while the bail officer made his way to the police station. When John emerged from the jail, we all raced to the car and drove out of that place.
The ride was very quiet. John, Hollie, and Matt sat in the front, while Rob and I occupied the back. Rob is not a person who handles boredom well. I turned to look at him after we had driven awhile, to see only half of his body. The rest was climbing out of the window while the car sped somewhere in the vicinity of 70mph. Surprised, I tapped his leg.
“What’re you doing?!,” I whispered.
He just smirked and then climbed onto the roof. No one else noticed. Matt, sitting quietly by the window, heard a knock. He looked over to see Rob staring back at him from outside.
John became inquisitive and Matt just said, “Its Rob,” as if it were all perfectly normal. Rob began hollering at the wind like there was no tomorrow. We could barely stop laughing.
Once more in White River Junction, Rob had taken over driving and decided to pull in to a gas station just off of I-91. When he left the interstate, he cut across a few lanes and went straight to the pump. A State Trooper pulled up to us and began our final official lecture of the evening. When he finished, he looked us all up and down and asked, “So, where are you kids hiding the drugs?”
More than a little paranoid by now, John nearly lost it. The trooper was joking, of course, and went on his way. The look on John’s face was absolutely priceless.
The following weeks held a few newspaper articles and one radio discussion about John’s incident. The town had tried to make an example out of him and the prosecutor pushed for a year of jail time. A well-written letter by myself to the American Civil Liberties Union about his flag-burning case put a swift rest to that notion. In fact, just mentioning the ACLU was enough to reduce the sought-after punishment from jail time to a small fine and a condition of good behavior for one year in the state of New Hampshire.
GG’s brother, Merle Allin, contacted John to show his support. A few months later, one of GG’s old bands, The Murder Junkies, held a reunion show in Littleton. The same group of friends went and got the chance to hang out with Merle and the other band members, as well as big GG Allin fan, Chad, from the increasingly popular rock band Camp Kill Yourself (CKY). A lot of fun was had.
Of the countless stories our crew’s adventures have accumulated over the years, the tale of our visit to GG Allin’s grave is one of my favorites. I am glad to have told it.
10. It is 81f (feels like 84f) and sunny in this period. [AccuWeather]
9. Old blog posts are being perused and scavenged for potential future material.
8. I’m not actually being lazy; I am merely wishing I were.
7. There isn’t enough coffee in the universe.
5. Vermont Public Radio’s Saturday afternoon line up is really good.
4. Being asocial is “cool”.
3. Coffee good.
2. I could go for a Tomb Raider session today.
and numero uno…
Sometimes a guy’s just got to sit around in his undies.
I was bored and found this old blog entry from a previous site of mine. Seemed the thing to do to re-post it here.
I am of the opinion that job hunting should be approached like any other type of hunting. You disguise yourself to match your surroundings, so as to not alarm the herd. You focus on finding the best targets, letting nature run its course and eliminate down to the one right prey. You track this prey, first in the classifieds and then in the field, sifting through Help Wanted signs. Approach the prey with care, being sure not to alarm it to your true nature of money-coveting, allowing it to think you have an actual desire for the work. When all is ready and the kill is sure, strike at the prey swift and true with resumes and clean applications. Make sure your weapon of references is solid and strong. If all goes well, you will have tagged yourself a nice job to field dress and take home.
I presently lack all direction in my life. I am in a mire, a moment of stagnation, completely stuck in a loop, and I wish to break out of that. Unfortunately, the view from this merry-go-round is obscured and I cannot see where to hop off. I know there are a number of paths and each of them could end in ruin or revelry, but that first step… I’m not afraid of that first step, I just don’t know where it is. I have a goal with no discernible path. What does one do to find that path, that direction? Who could be my compass? What could bring my bearing? Where do I place that brave first foot forward?
It’s really not easy to break in to something when you don’t even know what you’re breaking in to. Until I can find direction, I’ll simply throw the wrench in every direction. I will charge forward with reckless abandon! I will throw my eggs in every basket! Woo!
I need to update more often.
Summer is settling in like a wretched, sticky mess of humidity. Today, I am glad I do not have a non-human mammalian companion. Muggy days and furry friends do not mix so well.
Last night, I watched the 2013 film How I Live Now [IMDB]. World War III films which plot from a personal perspective rather than as a typical war film both rattle and fascinate me. My immersion while viewing is sometimes intense. I had nightmares for a week from The Day After (1983). I, like many others, was riled up on Red Dawn (and relatively disappointed by the remake). How I Live Now, based on Meg Rosoff’s 2004 YA novel of the same name, follows troubled American teenager Elizabeth “Daisy” off to spend the summer with her cousins in the English countryside over the backdrop of tense negotiations with an unnamed foreign nation. Behind the innocence of the city-raised Daisy discovering the wonder of rural life is the overwhelming anxiety of the adults working within unavoidable and lucid futility to construct peace. Eventually, the peace falls to a terrorist attack and subsequent invasion, which the children are subjected to. This film quickly goes from summer romance and coming of age to war terror and heart-wrenching survivalism and is wrapped up in the end with the expected tattered strands. It concludes more surely than The Road, but then it never quite hit that unreachable level of despair throughout. I recommend this one and gave it the full five stars on my Netflix account (though I imagine a later viewing, once the initial play through has been digested, would warrant 4 stars — 4.5 if that were possible). If you (whoever reads this drip of mine) happen across that film, comment below what you thought.