last night, i came across an old issue of GO magazine that i swiped off of my flight to phoenix for my friend electa's wedding last year. i remember reading THIS article about the true value of a messy desk, and thinking 'wow, greg is going to hate reading this.' greg, my boss at the time, had to look at my cubicle everytime he went in or out of his office and made a comment about on 99.9% of his trips. i think he even used to test me, by asking me for things that: a) he knew i had and b) he figured i wouldn't be able to find because of the "mess." he absolutely HATED that i could always find exactly what he was looking for. after returning to atlantic city after my trip, i proudly photocopied the article and stuck it in every person's mailbox in my department, being that it had eventually turned into the weekly meeting joke of the week, for 23 weeks straight.
it's funny how often i read articles in business magazines and management books about this topic. and i've come to realize a few things about myself based solely on these articles:
1-i'm more efficient than 72% of my peers. (because i don't waste time cleaning!)
2-i'm more creative than genetic equal should they be a neat freak. (hence, the clutter!)
3-i'm ironically more systematic than 34% of the american population. (gotta have a system to... organize the mess?)
now i realize that this doesn't go for everyone in every profession. i guess i'm just lucky that my field breeds creative, swashbucklers. it's a bit more accepted, well, by people other than greg. i'd probably do a 180 if i walked into my accountant's office and saw that his desk was a certified disaster area in need of an immediate call to FEMA, but i walk into a chef's office and see a pile higher than mt. ranier, i feel at home...
"organized people are just too lazy to look for things."
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
i took this 'silent self-portrait' at a watchtower on an island north of atlantic city where i used to live. it was taken at the same time as the gq photoshoot.
i don't think that i could have found a more appropriate caption for this photo than the quoted wisdom of ansel adams...
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
since as far back as i can remember, well at least as long as i've cared about and understood politics, my friend electa and i have had differing views about just about EVERYTHING political. so last week, before the primaries began for the big "decision 2008" i posted this old article in my blog on myspace. she's conservative, i'm liberal; but we agree to disagree on many a topics. many people say that you shouldn't talk politics with your friends; that it can ruin relationships. as someone famous once said something like 'i may not agree with your opinion, but i respect your right to have it.' something like that... that's how we always treat each other in these discussions, and i enjoy our debates. but after that post, she left me a note jokingly, "stop trying to push your beliefs on me..." this is for you electa, not to you, but for you...
dear conservative voter,
i am a liberal. the funny part is, liberals have this reputation for living in never-neverland, being idealists, not being sensible. but let me tell you how i see the world: i see america as one nation in a world of nations; therefore, i think we should try to get along with other nations. i see that gay people exist; therefore, i think they should be allowed to exist and be treated the same as other people. i see ways in which women are not allowed to control their own bodies; therefore, i think we should give women more control over their bodies. i see that people have awful diseases; therefore, i think we should enable scientists to try to cure
them. i see that we have a constitution; therefore, i think it should be upheld. i see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in iraq; therefore, I think that iraq was not an imminent danger to me. it seems so pragmatic to me. how do you see the world? do you really think voting against gay marriage will keep people from being gay? would you really prefer that people continue to die from parkinson's disease? do you really not care about the constitutional rights of political detainees? would you really have supported the war if you knew the truth, or would you have wanted to spend more of our money on healthcare, job training or terrorism preparedness?
i am an american. i am lonely. i feel that we, as a nation, have alienated all our friends and further provoked our enemies. i feel unprotected. most of all i feel alienated from my fellow citizens, the conservatives, because i don't understand what you are thinking. you voted for a man who started a war in iraq for no reason, other than to pad his pockets with oil blood money, against the wishes of the entire world. you voted for a man whose lack of foresight and inability to plan has led to massive insurgencies in iraq, where weapons are disappearing into the hands of terrorists. you voted for a man who let osama bin laden escape into the hills of afghanistan so that he could start that war in iraq. you voted for a man who doesn't want to let people love who they want to love; doesn't want to let doctors cure their patients; doesn't want to let women rule their destinies.
i'll never understand why you voted for this man. i'm terrified of the things to come; the mess that ANY candidate will have to clean up. are you terrified? i don't think you are. i don't think you realize what you have done; and if anything happens to me or the people i love, i blame you. i just wanted you to know that.
recently i've been doing a lot of thinking about my life and have realized that my life can very literally be described as chaotic. not in the way most people use the term, but in the very scientific form of the word. some of you may have seen the movie "the butterfly effect" and not even realized that it's based on a really, very confusing, theory of chaos.
you have to understand that history is not just a matter of dates and of places, of dusty old names in textbooks and museum vaults; it is a matter of choice, for every one of us.
every decision that we make sends a ripple of probability racing away from us, a wake of "what might have been" and "could have happened" veering away from our path, like jagged cracks in the snow pack before an icebreaker. everyone looks back on their life at one time or another and asks, "what if i had been here instead of there, if i had bet on red instead of black?" you play with these thoughts until you tire of them, but there are some thinkers who claim that for every choice we make, that the choices that we don't choose break off into their own history, isolated but somehow parallel to ours. i'm not really sure what to make of that. if every decision that we make is played out somewhere, does anything that we do really matter? you could go crazy trying to answer that question.
what i do know, what i am sure of, is that choice breeds life- and often, death. there's a line in a william shakespeare play, i forget which one it is, where someone says, "time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides." that phrase resonates in my mind. the reality is, i don't think those words are not meant to comfort, i think that they are meant as a warning.
and what i've learned from all of this, simply put, is that before a great vision can become reality there may be difficulty. before a person begins a great endeavor, they may encounter chaos. as a new plant breaks the ground with difficulty, foreshadowing the huge tree, so must we sometimes push against difficulty in bringing forth our dreams.
i wrote a poem a few weeks back during this "chaotic epiphany"... here that is:
Pathways weaving crossing and touching,
They go on for miles leading to nothing,
Searching for my own among the thousands around me,
Trying to figure out where I should be,
Remnants of a broken past,
Litter my path with shattered glass,
Each step painful and weary,
With a hope of peace nearing,
Dark and winding is the path, easy for me to stumble,
My heart needing to be loved and to be humble,
Getting lost in the eyes of others and the cares of the world,
They make their broken promises that break my soul,
Wishing for a glimmer of light in the horizon,
A hint of a promise of eternity rising,
Goals shifting from my head to my hands,
My glory, my song, has struck it's first chord,
Now, a walk, a way, a life, a real-life living sacrifice,
A new day arises leaving that breathless night,
Mine is mine, and mine is not right,
God give me the strength, a will to fight…
Monday, January 28, 2008
so i was watching oprah the other day, listening to thirty-something year olds crying over how they couldn't live their lives the way they wanted to because they're parents had gotten divorced after they got out of high school and they're lives just fell apart. their comments about waiting for a parent to show, always feeling like you're in the middle of your parents... essentially living a double life. i say to these 30 year olds... imagine what it's like to have the same things happen to you when you are just three years old... not understanding, not comprehending any answers that you could possibly be given... not that it would keep these things from happening to kids in the future, but maybe, just maybe, if lovers got married for love as oppose to that being the "next step" in their relationship, it would happen a bit less. after all, if goldie and kurt have lasted without the rings... why can't we? because...
we are a speed-obsessed culture. when the newer, faster, smaller model comes along, we toss the old one without hesitation. we cream our jeans when we read about a quarter-inch-thin laptop with dual processors and 10 hours of battery power. we go to the store and there's a waiting list. and in that instant the decision is made: we will get that laptop. and we do. we show it off to our friends. and for the first week we even wash our hands before we use it, to keep the keyboard clean. but in a month we'll be used to it. in six months, it will seem slow. we won't care when we drip our venti, triple, light soy, sugar-free caramel, caramel macchiato with half a packet of splenda on the keyboard, causing a short. in a year, we won't carry it on the plane anymore because it will be embarrassingly obsolete.
so imagine trying to have a relationship in this environment. and by that i am referring to the arcane concept of the long-term relationship. a marriage, even. imagine living in this culture and not walking out the door at the first sign of trouble. the second you hear "we need to talk" or "i've been thinking," you hit the DELETE key. do you know the chances of celebrating your 50th anniversary? something like 5.6%. don't believe me? google it.
successful, long-term relationships take two things that we, as a culture, have mysteriously become programmed to avoid: hard work and persistence.
we want our relationships to be great, and great all the time. on their own. work-free partnered bliss. as soon as issues occur, we think, "this one's not right for me." or, "we're growing apart." of course, the world is filled with psychos, and sometimes they are attractive and we end up married to or dating one. which is a pity. and in this case, leaving is a very good thing. but most often we're just coupled with another normal person and experiencing normal problems, and leaving is the easiest idea, not necessarily the best one. i think part of the problem is that we marry too quickly. we fall in love, and then trust our hormones and brain chemistry and we get engaged. before we really know what we're getting into.
our national divorce rate hovers over 52% (google again...). even i, with less than stellar mathematical skills, realize that percentage is most certainly an F in american relationships. and it's because we're viewing the first marriage not as the final exam but as the homework. the trainer marriage, the warm-up. the one where we can make all our mistakes. so that we can nail it the second, or third, time around. but guess what? the statistics (google, yet again...) don't show that. in fact, the statistics show the jaw-dropping, sphincter-clenching opposite. they reveal failed first marriages, followed by failed second (61%) and failed third (73%). god, i love google.
so though i'd like my water to boil faster, and though the computer i bought nine months ago is painfully slow, and both of those items will soon be delivered to a landfill where they can infect the environment, in my yet to be found relationship, i'm willing to sacrifice speed for quality.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
this picture was taken about 2 years ago at the longport jetty, looking over at ocean city. the closest place that i had to any solace in the 51st state of south jersey. the changing of the tides was most evident at that place... calm one minute, monsterous waves crashing the next.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
i used to spend a lot of time at the waterfront of port imperial in weehawken, nj during my high school years. alexander hamilton park offered a scenic view of the skyline of nyc, and the many out of the ordinary scenes of the untouched waterfront were great for photographing as well. a few of my friends back then used to accompany me to take pictures for our photography class in h.s. one of those people, diana, pictured in this photo, accompanied me quite a few times. i remember on one occasion we tried to walk up the 7 stories of stairs that took you from the waterfront to the park at the top of the cliff... we made it 2 or 3 stories and gave up, but it's a memory that i think of often. after moving away for a while, it had been quite some time since i returned to the port. on a recent trip 2 weeks ago, i was saddened by the numbers of townhouses that now obstructed the waterfront itself. the view from the park is just as beautiful but the waterfront will never be the same.
at the exact spot where i took this photo of diana, now stands a 2 bedroom townhouse that is for rent, at a mere $5200 a month. i'm happy that i have the photos to remember those times, and am even happier that i have recently reconnected with diana through the miracle of myspace. we lost touch when we went off to college, but i'm happy to know that she has recently gotten married, and is happy and healthy. this one is for you di...
Friday, January 25, 2008
i don't feel the need to say anything on this one.
thank you pink, for saying it for us.
Standing here, the old man said to me:
"Long before these crowded streets, here stood my Dreaming Tree."
Below it he would sit, for hours at a time;
Now progress takes away what forever took to find.
And now he's falling hard,
He feels the falling dark;
How he longs to be beneath his Dreaming Tree...
- dave matthews
i found this old picture of my poppi, my dad's dad, in an old photo album last night. it struck me and i immediately had to post it. i wish you could see the expression on his face in the photo, unfortunately my scanner isn't the greatest. his face is glazed over and he's showing the smallest hint of a smile... i listened to before these crowded streets this afternoon and had to repeat this song as it always hits me. divine coincidence.
google "sleep" and that's one of the first pictures that comes up. i promise i'll get back to using more original photos from myself and others that i know, rather than the generics found on my beloved google.
"sleeping to dream" is a beautiful song that expresses a feeling that only jason could possibly put into words. i highly recommend his music, if i've never whored him to you before, i'm doing it right now. check him out on itunes or HERE.
until tomorrow my friends, thanks for reading and good night! (even though it's 3am!)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
i do believe that my sister, woof, took this picture herself. a 'self-portrait' maybe, of her gazing into the wilderness that she loves so much. or i could be way off, it could have been taken by a gelfling named materhead in the parking lot of a wal-mart. some things, we may never know. whatever the case, this one is for you my woofer.
the song, "american child" is by john denver. a singer who has truly meant a lot to all in my family. so many of his songs have strong meaning to us and will always be something that we share. this, describing ro so correctly. the song continues...
can you picture the time when a man had to find
his own way through the cold?
to come back again to all that you've been,
can't you see that its time to come home?
to the flowers and seas and the rivers and the trees
and the earth who's the mother of all...
a promise once made - will it shine, will it fade,
will we rise with the vision or fall?
for the record here, there are few things in this world more disgusting or that bother me more than warm coca-cola. first off, i'm a pepsi man myself so coke has a handicap from the get-go, but the only whiskey i'll drink is gentleman jack, and i'll only drink that with real coke. so the scales are nearly balanced, until you sip a nice, warm coke... what is it that the coca-cola does to you that makes you grit your teeth together only to have to listen to that awful noise echo in your cranium? other warm "cola" products such as pepsi, rc and hell, even sam's choice don't have that effect! so what is it about coca-cola that makes me want to shoot myself in the little toe??? warm coke: my newest pet peeve i suppose.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
this photo is absolute genius for so many reasons. it captures such emotion and provocative heartache. and because of that, it spent months as my desktop background. the artist, sheila, is a multi-talented artist out of ny/nj. do check her out HERE.
the quote is from the best made for tv movie of all time, 'sybil.' sybil first aired on tv in november of 1976 and starred a young sally field as sybil and joanne woodward as the quoted dr. cornelia wilbur. if you've never seen the movie, i highly recommend it, as it's a harrowing look into a woman with 13 full-fledged personalities.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
so i'm not sure if you're anything like me, but being the 'off the cuff cuisine' chef that i am, i try not to let anything go to waste. you know, when you bring home some bk or mickey d's, and after consuming your poor excuse for food, have ketchup packets or sauce shots left over that you throw in the door and forget about. same goes for chinese food, and you know they always give you enough sauce to put out a fire at the pentagon with your order. you throw them in your refrigerator door and forget about them. then one day you're trying to impress some last minute guests that have decided to stay at your place for dinner and all you have in your 'gourmet' kitchen are some ramen noodles, frozen veggies and some leftover grilled chicken from last weekend's cookout. the makings of a superb, on-the-fly stirfry. but wait, OH SHIT!, how are you going to make a sauce for your stirfry with no sauce? you look in the fridge and all you see is a bottle of ketchup, french's mustard (i use the term mustard loosely when describing french's), and a jar of pickle juice. oh no, what to do, what to do. then you bust open the butter holder, that invariably has never seen a stick of butter in it's life, and VOILA! soy sauce, duck sauce, hot mustard! packets, but instant chinkychow sauce nonetheless! each one of those packets, collected over time, came from a meal, inevitably eaten over conversation, an argument or during a lone lunch of self-reflection, came from a time and place in the past. as are our lessons learned. we learn through the years how to cope, how to inspire, how to teach, and how to live. we don't always remember those lessons, as we throw condiment packets in the fridge we throw life-lessons into the back of our heads, until one day we find ourself in a situation where it becomes relevant and we pull them from the back of our minds as to not waist the advice and lessons of the past. the moral of this story, and the linking of it to my blog- our life experiences are our 'soy sauce packets,' our hidden links to our experiences of our past...
e·piph·a·ny - noun - a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. [www.dictionary.com]
the epiphanies that we experience in life, questions or situations that we find ourselves in, and don't know how to resolve, can most often be solved my raking our brains in search of a 'soy sauce packet.' an answer to a question. a solution to a problem.
and so this, this blog, is simply an ever-expanding culmination of soy sauce packets in my butter box or lessons learned, and the epiphanies or predicaments that have helped to make room for more butter in my fridge...
and a HUGE shout out goes out to electa francis baker-thompson III for "leasing" me the title.
not sure if anyone is looking for property in the poconos, but this prime piece of real estate is for sale. it has all the premium ammenities you could possibly need, with the exception of the two missing outer walls. and the internal walls that would divide a normal house into seperate rooms. and it's not confirmed, but i assume that it also lacks indoor plumbing. as you can see from the photo, it may also need some work done on the roof. but really, it's in move in condition if you have a few tarps laying around. also, as a signing bonus you get the car that's parked in the mud driveway next to the house... most likely a 1979 ford pinto wagon or similar. it's had that cover on it since '83, so i'm sure it's in great shape too! and think about it, you can use the car cover as a temporary roof while you're working on the electrical wiring. i know you can't see the phone number in the picture, but if you're interested, let me know and i'll get the number and more details for you!
i wish i could take credit for this awesome photo, but alas, i cannot. i found it HERE.
the song, i just heard for the first time since... high school maybe??? "home" by blessid union of souls, sure you remember them, they had that hit song "i believe" back in the mid to late 90's. classics they are; after hearing it on the radio i dug out my old album. yes, yes, a classic indeed.
Monday, January 21, 2008
as much as i hate to say it, as the photographer of this photo deserves all the credit in the world for this shot, i don't know who did it... i found it on the internet some time ago...
the lyrics are from one of the only johnny cash songs that i intentionally downloaded on itunes, "hurt", and one of the last that he recorded before he passed away.
check out johnny's website HERE.
this photo is from a series i did called "vices." one of the last times that i used my slr camera...
the song? why that's ryan adams, not bryan adams, from the song "dear chicago."
you can check him out HERE.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
this photo was taken in the backyard of my sister's house, "the nichols menagerie", in dandridge, tennessee during the thanksgiving festivities of 2007...
the song, "how 'bout you" is by the yonder mountain string band, a group i never would have heard had it not been for my sister living in the "nichols menagerie."
take a gander at the yonder HERE.
the photo was taken by my friend john of a sunset in california, from the front seat of his car...
the lyrics are from the song "God shines His light" by another friend of mine from California, Dallon.
check out dallon's beats HERE.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
the photo was taken from the driver's seat of my car while heading down 42nd street a few days ago...
the lyrics are from the tune "goodnight new york" by one of my absolute favorite bands of all time... zach macko & far north, from their new album "the doorway"...
check them out at www.zachmacko.com
Monday, January 14, 2008
it happened at a bar in hoboken, which we'll call "the path". it's a busy friday night, and there is a great band playing upstairs. my female friend and i head downstairs to the bathroom, of which the men's room consists only of a couple of urinals and the ladies room of 2 stalls. the line for the ladies room is characteristically long, and the men's non-existant. (mostly because men don't bother washing their hands or arguably because we don't have to take the time to sit.) i return from the men's room to find my lady friend, who we'll call dubbz, as that's her name still standing where i left her, and the three ladies in front of her are banging furiously on the locked door. after a few minutes of this and quite a bit of trucker-style girl talk, the door is unlocked. inside you hear the moans of what sounds to be two chimpanzees humping like there's no tomorrow in one of the two stalls. that was funny, but the most entertaining part of this story involves the other stall. it consisted of a bowl, packed, not full, packed with a hefty helping of toilet paper. god only knows what else made up this bowl of stew, but it was plugged up to the brim and slowly dripping to the floor. the yelling ensued, the banging on the apparent 'double occupancy' stall continued. when finally and without warning, in walks "pancho the peruvian cook." donning nothing less than the traditional chef whites and apron and a pair of kitchen tongs. at this point, i don't think i need go on, but i will. with nothing but moans and moist-suction as a soundtrack, pancho digs into the toilet with his tongs, most likely previously laden with fried food particles, and scoops out the larger chunks of stew into an awaiting garbage can. he flushes the 'stewpot' and climbs the stairs back to his post in the kitchen. i can only hope that he threw out those tongs, though i'm sure we'd be lucky if he rinsed them under some cold water. i've never eaten in 'the path' nor will i ever after this incident. as for the chimpanzees, i never got a look at the two brazen skanks in the stall, although i would have loved to see their faces as they walked from the stall into the crowded hallway of angry ladies in urgent need of the stewpot...
the positive to this story: dubbz and i met some cool people while waiting for pancho and the chimpanzees to free up the bathroom as we shared instant cammraderie with the other folks in line, joining in the banging and chanting in the hallway...
UPDATE: (1/3/06) i was kindly reminded by my lady friend dubbz as to two parts of this story that i left out...i don't know how i forgot but i did.
1- during the banging on the stall while the chimps were banging and pancho was working on the stew, the other lovely ladies in the bathroom were tossing wet paper towel balls over the stall onto the humpers...it didn't stop them though...i guess that viagra stuff really works! go pfizer!
2- perhaps the most poignant part of the story, again not sure how i forgot this, blazened upon the stall wall in the ladies room were the words, and i quote: "THE ONLY BUSH I TRUST IS MY OWN!" i couldn't have said it any better myself. and it fit so well with the situation...