Saturday, March 22, 2008

Max on the couch

Pepper (Day 8)

Battery In The Wild

On a recent walk I was surprised with the quantities and kinds of trash I found along the way. Given the way rain and water tables work some of the articles I saw could end up releasing chemicals into drinking water. Chemicals like freon and mercury. The photos taken on this walk will be tagged with 'You Will Know Us By Our Waste'.

I had been thinking of this title since I'm in charge of trash duty in my house. Inevitably, the cartons serving as a temporary home to our purchases reveal what is going on in our lives i.e. diaper boxes & mini DV plastic wrapping mean there's a baby in the house.

Similarly, trash on the streets, yards, and woods of a town not only reveal what is consumed, but reflects a strange attitude that presumes the garbage owner has the right to leave trash the land they don't own.

This story is not one I want to do (I like abstract and nice looking photo's), but until I've seen a resolution (I've emailed the local authorities) to the pollution (that one was free Jesse Jackson) I think I'll have to continue with it. Of course the photos you see aren't a reflection of reality. For starters, there were a lot more budweiser cans than I cared to photograph. And there's no way to replicate the dissapointment of seeing a pleasurable walk and a warm spring day go down in quiet flames.

The name of the town will be omitted for now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good Films

I was part of a Start on the Street festival in Worcester in 2006. There were lots of things I learned, but one thing that stood out was people passing through wanted inexpensive goods. The smaller it was and the cheaper it was the better. People were selling paintings for $100 a pop and not selling anything. On the contrary, my friend Stacy sold cards for a few dollars and made over $100.

There was a man at the bazaar who had nothing to sell, but was looking for volunteers at a film festival he was running. His name is Robert Newton The film fest was called the Mass Bay film festival and intended to show the _most_ obscure masterful films that Rob had come across. He said he screened 100's of films before selecting the ones approved for the festival. My wife and I had the most enjoyment out of indie films so we signed up.

And hardly anyone showed to the screening where we sold tickets. The movie that played was called Shakespeare Behind Bars, and I only caught half of the film. I did gather the documentary revealed the humanity of those behind bars, how each person who was imprisoned had a troubled upbringing. The documentary progresses and shows the jailbirds really struggling with stepping outside who they were to act in a shakespeare play. With the stigma our society has on jail and those locked up, this film really does well at erasing the vast distance between the viewer and the prisoner.

Another movie I got to check out was the Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea. The film highlights the folly of toying with a natural resource.

The best film of all that I viewed, and the one with the largest audience was The House of Usher. The angles, tones, and pacing of the movie was second to none. After the film finished the director was on hand to answer questions. There was quite a bit of silence after seeing such a masterful movie and seeing that it was directed by the woman who stood before us. Someone asked her how long it took to make the movie (shot in Massachusetts). She said it was planned well and done in a few weeks.

All of these amazing movies and opportunities to hear from directions and actors (Steven Tobolowski) in person was all because of Robert Newton. He is the guy with blond hair in the pic. This was taken in Bocado's in Worcester, Ma during his kick off party for his site called .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pepper (Day 4)

3 cheers to new *green* beginnings...

I noticed seeds were sprouting on an old pepper I purchased. In the same soil I attempted to grow kumquats and grapefruits (I figured my cube environment could do it), I started growing the pepper. I did place it in the center of the pot, but the faster growing sprouts showed up near the edge keeping in line with the rule of thirds.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

We're Back

If I see this happen again I'm moving the pics of the current stories I'm doing (Worcester, Java Hut) elsewhere.

Sorry for any inconvenience. Carry on!

No pics momentarily

This is a first. The place I'm hosting my pics from says my bandwidth has exceeded it's limits. doh!
My pics aren't lost, but I'll see if I can get them back up soon! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Live Music

Being a new parent and home owner I end up missing (and don't have the time for) a lot of music shows. Domestication has it's benefits, but it comes with a price.

Fortunately, I made this show. The last night Dave Johnson played at the Java Hut he deviated from playing with his band to using his electric guitar to lay warm ambient layers of sound mesmerizing everyone in the audience. People listening were hooked enough that when he would stop a "song" the room just didn't feel right. In a matter of minutes, Dave had brought back a feeling, that had been previously pioneered by the Tangerine Dream during the 1970's, and gave it to those consumed in conversation and listening.

The Java Hut had a knack for musically mining the town of Worcester and hauling gems onto its stage on a consist basis. This night Dave played for my first exhibit at the Hut called 3. Dave and his wife are the elements in the group called Against The Green.

Annie and the Cowboy

The row of syrups in the top left are called Monin syrups. The problem with Dunkin' Donuts is they are too cheap to stock their shelves with the good stuff. Even Starbucks doesn't have that caliber syrup. But the Java Hut did.

Here are two stars that served up excellent espresso drinks and meals. I was really impressed when the Cowboy handed me a foamy hot espresso that was from a HAND PUMPED Rancilio espresso machine.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Java Hut Series: Portuguese Girl

Taken on a Sunday night. The poets that stood on the stage didn't realize the party I brought to poetry slam night would talk for weeks on end about the mastery of their delivery. It wasn't just their words (which were amazing in their own right) it was their swagger and life they brought to their lyric taking the poems to inspiring heights. There were too many names to remember and we using the poems to refer to the masters on stage. We referred to the girl (in a distant blur on stage in this pic) behind the mike as the Portuguese girl, because of her smooth skin and pleasant face.

Photographs are eerie in that they are the opposite of reality. They stay fixed as people and places change. So to say 'this image summarizes the Java Hut' is a lie. Even all the pictures I have of this cafe can't summon the experiences and the chance people took every day when walking in. Monthly art exhibits and friendly customers guaranteed one's way of life would be challenged by the images on the wall, random conversations that would shatter what you thought of life, or the crazy awesome music selection playing over the speakers.

This is the start of a new series on the Java Hut. It'll be discontinuous since I was only part of a fragment of the Hut's life, but I'll post links so Hut lovers can put the pieces together for themselves. I was a part of the music scene and the art scene for a brief moment and I can't imagine what the Hut devotees are going through now that the Hut is gone.

The Worcester community has been tossed a bone, and given the Q coffee house on Chandler Street, but it cannot replace the Java Hut.

I try not to post similar pictures, but for this story 'more will be more' for memory's sake.

Other links found round the web about The Java Hut: - thanks Cowboy! Pics span 2000-2008 - scroll to the middle of the page. - pics of jazz jam session inside and outside the java hut - go near the end of the page - pic from the last night at the Hut - poetry slammers mug - flickr links to java hut pics (~90% accurate)

If you know of any more links to pics taken in the Hut, mention them in the comments and I'll post 'em here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Rice School

I've always had trouble reading. That is until I found blogs to my liking and books within my interests. I'd say Sarah Hatter's blog is one of the better well written blogs I've found in the past few years. I'm almost done with 'On Photography' by Susan Sontag, and although it is written in a linear format, she still packs a punch with references from the early phases of photography to now. Turning the perspective of the medium every chapter as each generation casts it's vote on what is beautiful.

I didn't notice this the first 8 times I saw this pic, but there is a small and ominous 'no trespassing' sign on the brick school.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Taken from the parking lot across from the new court house on Main Street.

Girl at the helm

Image painted on the door of the ladies bathroom at the Vernon Street hotel.


This man is persistent and he has faith. I've taken this exit (I think it's 12) off 290E several times and I've seen homeless people and signs telling commuters not to give money to homeless people. Eventually those signs are torn down and homeless people return to beg. This gentleman's sign says, "HOMELESS PLEASE HELP FOR ... GOD BLESS YOU. THANKS".

It seems fitting that someone has placed a Martin Luther King Jr. sticker on the left.


It's important to separate man-hours from dog-hours, clock-hours, or computer-hours.
This was seen across the street from the new court house on Main street.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Light inside the boat at Vernon Street Hotel

Dave Johnson invited me to an open mic in Vernon Street hotel a few months ago. I showed up after a company party and ordered a really really bad beer. I thought ordering Sam Adams on tap was fool proof. Well I was the fool after Dave told me they don't regularly clean the tap lines. They exchanged my rotten beer for a bottled Killians and proceeded to walk into a ship.

It wasn't a spaceship (although I kinda wish it was), but a wooden ship forged to the side of the hotel. The person who hosted the open mic called himself Angry Dick, but I'll refer to him as Rich. Mr. Rich told me the ship was one of the first places in Worcester used to book meetings, shows, and other events.

In the ship, each booth had the light seen in the picture and the booths are separated by curved slabs of wood. The entire area smelled like old beer and wood.

Unlike the open mike's I was used to at the Java Hut (20-30 people itching to get on stage), this open mike had 4 people play total. Rich, some other dude, dave, and penny. These performances were tossed into youtube somewhere, but I couldn't find them.


Fog over Ames Pond

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lights in North Attleboro

Taken at the extravagant showing of christmas lights called Lasallete. I fought to get a good outdoor picture, but the night was too dark for me + my camera. These candles helped my camera out a lot.

Cacao Shells

The decor at the L.A. Burdicks store was off the hook. There were stacks of pheasant feather swirls on various surfaces. This Cacao wreath was the most stunning piece. The last time I've seen a Cacao shell was on my honeymoon in St. Lucia at a chocolate plantation. The wreath is beautiful on it's own, but seeing the Cacao left me with a quiet comfort of knowing burdicks chocolate came, not from a hershey's preservative packing conveyor belt, but from the purest source -- the seed.

Cannellé Bordelais

Alyssa and I stopped at L.A. Burdicks flagship store in Walpole, NH after our January Vermont vacation. This Cannellé Bordelais is meant to be dipped in a hot beverage, but it's sweet crunchy exterior & soft fluffy interior was good enough for me!

We've gone to the L.A. Burdicks in Cambridge and the one that used to be in Northampton, but this one had the most spacious seating out of the three stores. Chocolatiers are really hard to come by on the East Coast and the seconds chocolates (champagne, caramel) and other treats were cherished to the last bite.