Wandering around Main Street in Northampton, MA on a bright Sunday afternoon.
Popping in and out of shops... looking for "something"... but not sure what.
Then... while waiting for Holly to finish browsing so we could exit one store and move on to the next, I notice a shimmering rainbow on a shelf. The culprit? A brightly colored box made of curved bits of plastic... reflecting the bright sunlight pouring directly on it from the huge storefront window.
A box of colors... reflecting in a split-second of light.
March 22nd. 6:30PM. Lenny and I went to the Windmill Diner on Route 7. I had coffee and a cheeseburger with melted yellow cheese. I think that was a good selection. Lenny had black coffee and a turkey burger dish. He could have had anything he wanted.
* * *
Oh... and then we went to AMC Theater to see "Taxi Driver" - in celebration of it's 35th Anniversary. I abso-freakin'-lutely LOVE that movie. I've seen it at least a couple-dozen times... in fact, I just watched it on TV a couple of weeks ago - but this was my first time seeing it on the big screen.
And I just couldn't resist pulling out my Canon G12 and snapping a few shots from the hip while the film was playing. Sorry Mr. Scorsese! I mean no disrespect... and I'm not making a dime off of this - I just couldn't resist! Your film is just too damn awesome!
In Our Shoes is a project to raise awareness of the problem of bullying in our schools, communities, and online. All middle school and high school students who feel they have been bullied are invited to submit a pair of shoes to the project. These shoes may be decorated or written on in whatever manner you wish, and you may submit them along with a 4X6 card telling your story. No names are required, and information is kept anonymous. Your shoes will become part of a display that travels to area schools, churches, or other organizations to help people visualize the experiences of children and teens affected by bullying.
In Our Shoes is an initiative of the youth of King Street United Church of Christ, Danbury CT and is a Signature Partner of the Connecticut Conference's Youth & Young Adult Ministries.
The shoes in this photograph were part of a display at the Brookfield Theater for the Arts during the run of their production of "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead", which deals with the subject of bullying.
While there were approximately two dozen pairs of shoes in the display... this pair stood out as unique. Why? Because unlike the other pairs of shoes on display, which were each created by students who had themselves experienced bullying and chose to share their story - the person behind the story of THIS pair of shoes was not able to tell it herself. As a result of being bullied, Alexa chose to end her own life... just three days before she would have started high school. Her family chose to share her story by decorating these shoes in her honor.
Seeing them brought tears to my eyes. I was bullied throughout all of middle-school, and most of high school. At first it was because I was overweight... so I starved myself until I was under 140lbs. Then it was because I was "too skinny"... "too effeminate"... "too faggy"... "too gay"... or because of the way I dressed... or the way my hair was... or because my voice is higher than most males... or because of who I was attracted to... or what girl or boy I was seen kissing or holding hands with... or what sort of things I liked/collected/drew/painted/listened to/read/looked at... or whatever.
Basic verbal "teasing" became having books knocked out of my hands... garbage put into my bag when I wasn't looking... hate-words being written on my belongings... phone call threats... confrontations in school stairways and corners... smacks... hits... punches... threats of serious injury and even death.
It got so bad... and so "dangerous"... that the crisis counselor at my high school suggested that I leave the school and enroll in the adult program, for my own safety... which (for that and a combination of other reasons as well) I eventually did, just to get away.
There wasn't a day I didn't think about suicide... or trying to at least self-destruct! Then I met two people who completely changed my life... my (then) girlfriend Janice - and my wife Holly. Two people I loved dearly... who showed me that life was worth living.
Everything changed. Now I'm almost 20 years out of high school and have two children of my own, one of whom is currently in junior high. I will do ANYTHING to ensure that my own kids do not have to go through the same hell I had to go through!
But in many ways I had it so much easier than kids like Alexa. I had the blessing of having certain people in my life who helped me to see that it truly does get better. Alexa... and too many others just like her... didn't have such blessings. While I know that there were people in Alexa's life who truly loved her... for some reason it wasn't enough to help her feel as if she wasn't alone... it wasn't enough to convince her that it would get better.
"She Is Dancing" by Brian Kelly (from the soundtrack to "Basquiat")
She is dancing, He is dreaming.
She is dancing, He is dreaming.
She is dancing, I'm dreaming again.
And I'll love you, forever. I'll love you, 'til the end. Your beauty lights a candle, I hold in my hand. You can see this candle burning, It only burns for you. And in my eyes it's light becomes, The meaning for me of you.
Went to Molten Java tonight to relax... unwind... and listen to the wonderful music of My Dad's Truck.
I remember going to some of their first shows... back at Seattle Espresso... something like 14 or 15 years ago. I love the energy of their shows. It's obvious that they love making music together... they truly enjoy doing what they do - and it comes through in their performance.
Tonight was no exception. A wonderful set played to a packed coffee house.
People see the brace I've been having to wear on my right hand/arm and feel inclined to ask "What happened?". I can't even begin to count the number of times it has happened to me over the past few days. It gets exhausting trying to explain it over-and-over again... so I've taken to making stuff up, just to have some fun with it.
"A Teabagger found out I'm pro-choice, and tried to kill me!"
"My friend tricked me into going to a Neil Young concert... and it was so bad I tried to kill myself."
"I was attacked by a marmot."
"Repetitive Strain Injury from too much Facebooking"
"I botched the landing on my Uneven Bars Routine"
"I put my hand in the air... and waved it like I just didn't care."
"I tried to high-five the Queen. Apparently you're not supposed to do that!"
"THIS IS WHAT YOU GET IN MY HOUSE WHEN YOU SPILL PAINT IN THE GARAGE!"
"I went to the audience-participation screening of '127 Hours'"
"This is what happens when a Wiccan tries to receive Holy Communion!"
And my personal favorite...
"I entered an arm wrestling contest in an Okie bar in San Francisco. I got to the semi finals celebrating my third wife’s demise and a big Chinese fella pulled me right over."
This is an original 1960s Diana camera manufactured by the Great Wall Plastic Factory in Hong Kong. It's in near-mint condition... apparently only ever used once or twice... and still in it's original box, with instruction booklet and unopened plastic strap.
The Diana is a plastic fixed-lens medium-format camera, which shoots 120 film, giving you a mere 16 images. Originally it was meant as a novelty item... and was shipped out in cases of 144 cameras, which retailed for around 50¢ each. Professional photographers quickly took a liking to Diana, however - drawn to the blurry "dreamlike" quality it's cheap plastic lens provided to the images.
Diana cameras were only made for about a dozen years. Later versions included a separate flash-unit... as well as the ability to choose between shooting 16 pictures (each with a 4.2cm square negative) or 12 larger 6X6 cm images.
A few years ago, as the Lomogrophy movement began to spread (based around the Russian Lomo LC-A 35mm camera) - photographers started seeking out other plastic cameras (such as the Holga 120) for the effects their plastic lenses and light-leaking bodies offered. These cameras - known as "toy cameras" - became more and more popular... and thus, harder to find. Originals in working condition usually sell for between $75 and $100... sometimes more. That is, if you can find them!
As a result, the official Lomographic Society decided to create the "Diana F+" - a perfect replica of the original Diana camera with optional flash. The cameras were an instant hit... and today you can buy the Diana F+ in a variety of colors and with a large assortment of accessories. There's even a "Diana Mini" which uses 35mm film and takes smaller-framed shots (I purchased one of those last year). Unfortunately they no longer sell for a mere 50¢. A new Diana F+ is $50... $95 if you want it with the flash... and $240 if you want it bundled with all of the accessories.
But THIS Diana isn't a replica or clone... it's an original... and I can't wait to load it with some Kodak 120 VC film and see what dreams she can capture!