I’ve Always Loved Healdsburg

For as long as I have been visiting California, I have been visiting Healdsburg. I remember coming here as a kid, going to Oakville Grocery for the most amazing sandwiches and then heading west to Armstrong Woods in Guerneville.

If you haven’t visited Healdsburg California, you really must. It’s like one of the picturesque scenes from the movie Pleasantville, only more wine, color and public displays of affection.

After my court date, I headed up here for some time at The Flying Goat, one of my favorite coffee shops for a fantastic cappuccino and some wifi time. Unfortunately the wifi didn’t work out so I was forced to head over to Starbucks for actually functional wifi.

I got a lot of work done there, more than I’ve gotten done in a single day since moving back to California! It felt great knocking so many tasks off my todo list. Afterwards I met up with Kayla and proceeded to pour a venti mocha on her driver’s seat… Yeah, that happened.

So while she worked out, I washed, vacuumed, shampooed and otherwise cleaned her car. I mean, after making it smell like chocolate (and not in a good way) it was the least I could do.

Later dinner at her aunt’s house, where I am being graciously hosted for the night, with Matt and a fantastic bottle of French wine.

The photo up at the top is of my little work station here at Kayla’s aunt’s house. It’s just about perfect for me and my laptop, the heater on the left is keeping me warm as I type this out and the lamp provides a perfect blanket of light across my keyboard.

Now it’s off to bed for me. I’m hoping to get an early start to the day, get some more work done before meeting up with Kayla back at The Goat around 9. After that, we head south to San Francisco!

The Final Critique

I’ve never enjoyed a course subject as much as those in the photography portion of my degree. I’ve made so many amazing friends through the course, learned so much about photography, improved my skills in ways I cannot even measure and built relationships that I expect to last a life time.

Leah (@tigersluvpepper), Katie, Justin Rodier, the Maggies, Sarah, Kelly, Maggie, Allison, Nick, Paul… These are just a few of the incredible photographers, friends and course mates I’ve enjoyed in this series of classes.

Of course, none of this would have happened if it weren’t for our Professor, Joe Johnson. His elephantine knowledge about photography, philosophic look on life and love for the subject he teaches becomes more and more evident semester after semester.

Rarely do you find a professor who shows as much interests in his students as he does in his own work.

The close of this semester saw the graduation of several of my peers in the class. Some I’ve enjoyed the company of for years, others just a single semester. After our final critique a handful of us headed to Uprise Bakery/Ragtag Cinema Cafe for drinks, conversation and a chance to make our final goodbyes.

It was a brilliant feeling meeting up outside of class. We told stories previously untold, shared our plans for the future and enjoyed what would be the last few hours together for some of us.

While I will miss many of my classmates who have moved on to bigger and better things, I’m just as excited to join up with the rest of the class in January when we start back up.

Thanks for making this such a memorable semester.

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Ocean View

The ocean catches my eye from my window 22,000 feet in the air flying south from North Carolina.  Even at this distance the ocean seems to call me, each wave draws me to its salty shores.

I feel most comfortable when I am near the ocean.  My grandfather is a native of the Cayman Islands where the majority of my paternal family still lives.  These small Caribbean Islands represent what I feel to be the most beautiful beaches and waters you can find.  Clown fish crush the red, white and pink coral into beautiful sands and the crystal clear waters invite you to snorkel into a totally different world.

In Texas, where I grew up, we were never more than a couple of hours from the water.  My grandfather owned a beach house on the waters of Crystal Beach.  These waters, unlike those of my paternal grandfather’s home, were not tranquel.  The sands were not pink and white and the shores were often littered with dying jelly fish, seaweed and tar slicks from the oil that naturally oozed out of the cracks, deep within the Gulf of Mexico.

The waters were so dirty that snorkeling was impossible.  The waves seemed to give up as they approached you on the edge of the water, failing to make much of an impact on the sand.  Wild life was limited to seagulls, jellyfish and the occasional crab.

It was still water.

In Hawaii where my family has a condo, the waters are clear, they are big and they are fun.  The waves attack the sands of the beach with vigor providing ample energy for surfers and are able to strip beaches of their sands entirely.  One of these beaches is called Mystery Sands, one day there is sand, the next rock and reef.  What beauty and power, mystique and excitement.  The wildlife here, like the Cayman Islands, is abundant.

If only there weren’t so many tourists!

When I moved to Missouri, living for the first time away from any major body of water, away from any ocean, sea or bay; I began to realize how much I loved and missed the ocean.

Then I moved to California, just thirty minutes from Bodega Bay, how wonderfully reminiscent.

Now, the waters were freezing and the mixture of the Russian River made some areas brown from the usual dark blue and the sands so hot you could barely stand to go barefoot for more than a few steps.

It was still water, beautiful, icy and crashing against the dark rocks of the Northern California shoreline.

Very rarely in our lives do we voluntarily put ourselves in control of mother nature and I can find no better example than the ocean.  What other force do we find a sport to challenge with sports such as surfing, boating and skiing?  In a world where we all seem to be grasping at any chance to take control, the ocean is our only escape.

We are forced to cover ourselves with lotion to protect from ultraviolet rays from the sun, we worry about rip tides pulling us far into the open water.  There are sharks, there are Portuguese Man-of-wars, there are sea urchins.  There are biting fish and probably the worst, those damn bunches of seaweed that seem to gravitate to your bare legs.

At every twist and turn, we put ourselves in harms way trusting the ocean will take care of us, and if it chooses otherwise, to whom are we to complain?

I think as humans we secretly crave to lose a bit of control, to put our lives in the hands of others, to not have to worry about what we do and instead relax and let nature be our guide.  In world full of doubt, where everyone is trying to get the one-up on their neighbor and it seems nothing is certain; it is sure nice to have the ocean.

It is always there, it is always changing and yet it is always the same.

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Am I Really That Busy?

It’s weird. I have had so many people comment to me about why we haven’t hung out this summer very much or at all, and almost everyone has claimed that it was I who was too busy that caused the problem.

I don’t believe they are just trying to pass on blame to me, I feel they really do think that I am busy all the time, but honestly, I’m not. I’m only getting 11-15 hours of work a week and that’s pretty much all there is with me. I have been waking up early, 6:46am this morning, and going out to run errands, making up errands just to get my mind off the fact that I have nothing to do.

I had all of these great plans and they all seem to be falling through. New York to do photography never went far, my contact never made contact… Monaco is still on hold waiting for the photographer there and the landlord to figure out if it will work out for me to do it.

My days have been pretty darn productive, dentist appointments, getting two quotes to get my car fixed, set up my new apartment’s phone service, DSL service, electricity and gas… I have taken trips to Booneville a few times, to Jefferson City and to the Lake since school was released… Pretty soon I leave for Austin and Houston. I will be getting Lasik (hopefully) and moving my stuff down here to my new apartment.

I will be officially in my new apartment on the 17th of June and then I will be gone June 22-25 in Indianapolis. Then I get back in town and… back to the airport for my trip to Washington DC where I will be hanging out from June 27 to July 9. I hope to pick up some shifts at Starbucks while I am out there, make some money. Then I’m in Columbia setting up my apartment until late July and until early August visiting California for my birthday.

I am going to be just incredibly busy travelling but my time here in Columbia is pretty mundane and lonely. So if anyone wants to hang out, give me a call cause… life sucks when you are alone.

I have had a few fun times in the past week. Just the other day I went out to Jefferson City and hung out at my friend Scott’s house. We just sat around, talked, had a good time. His friend Amy was over, I love her! She is hilarious. They were doing work around his house before I got there, doing some beautiful landscaping. He showed me the before and after pics of his place, looks just amazing.

We made dinner… well actually, they made dinner and I watched. It was very tasty, chicken wrapped in bacon and around cream cheese with green beans and roasted potatoes. I had a few, strong, vanilla vodka’s and diet, awesome, maybe a new favorite of mine! Then we all cuddled up on the couches and watched National Lampoon’s Family Vacation.

It was a good time. I hope to hang out with Scott a lot more.

In other news, check out my old apartment in San Francisco now apart of Google Maps Street View!


I lived there!!!  Lord how I miss that apartment and Seth.