Just Say Shook

In Dreams


When you're a child, you always think the monsters are right outside your door, trying to get you. You hide in your bed, quiet as a mouse, and hope they don't hear you.


When we grow up, we learn that sometimes the monsters are real.

Can't Sleep
Stress. Wind. Energy shots. Whatever it is, I can't sleep. At least I have this project to keep me company.


Fuck it, I'll go to work. At least I can sleep there.

Been a Long Time Since I Rock n' Rolled


You never forget how to ride a bicycle. If you fall off a horse, you just have to get back on. You have to crawl before you can walk. Baby steps.


My life is an open book. If you know me, you'll understand. If you don't, I couldn't care less anyway.

Why


I would not consider myself a religious person, but I believe in God. I find myself basing my actions in life in fear of what He might think, knowing that he sees everything, We have nothing we can hide. When I do something "wrong", I feel guilty. But since I am a fallible human being, I do wrong again and again, and live in a continuous state of guilt.

The Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul


There are times when you wish, just for a moment, that those eyes couldn't see. That way you could live in a state of blissful ignorance to what is going on around you.

Held Beneath the Surface


I think most of us know the sensation. Held down, gasping for breath, trying desperately to grab on to something and get away from whatever that thing is that's holding you down.

What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate


I hide from you because I don't want to talk to you or see you. You frustrate me. Leave me alone. Go away. Stop. Enough. I can't take this. What part of "GET OUT OF MY LIFE!" do you not understand?!?!

Untitled


I hate the days when I wake up from a nightmare, only to find that I've been awake all along.

The Butterfly Effect
We all have it in common. That day when things took a sudden detour and changed the course of our lives forever. Whether for good or bad, we will never know, because we don't know what "could" have been. All we can do is imagine what life would be like if we had only known, only changed one little thing, or only said something.


We can't spend our lives regretting, because nothing can be done to change it. But that doesn't stop us from thinking about it. We can only believe that this was the way things were meant to be, and deal with it accordingly.

Sit


True Love is your dog staying by your side, no matter where you go. Happy Valentines Day, everybody!

I Am So Glad That I Am Me


The throaty, phlegmy laugh at the derivative nonsense on the tv. The self-congratulatory "look at me" phone calls. The continuous chewing of the fast food dinner. These are not "voices in my head". These are "voices in my house". Voices that should be saying "Maybe I should clean that up" or "Maybe I can take responsibility for my past actions".


I'm glad I am who I am. I am not perfect (WAY not perfect), but I accept responsibility for my flaws and my actions. I am so happy that I am learning to focus on progress, no regress.


Thanks for tolerating me in my "exploration", everyone. You have meant the world to me, you have been my "rock", and I will continue to lean on you for every day of my life.

LABEL


Words, on the surface, don't have to necessarily be racial or sexual to be a label or a slur. It all depends on the context.

I'm Outta Here!


Lonely night in the LOT terminal at O'Hare. My insecurities made me get here WAY too early, but I felt better than rushing, and I was able to get a picture. And I got questioned by TSA to boot! First time getting hassled by "the man" for this 365! Next stop, Warsaw.

Sometimes It Takes a While to Get There 


Sometimes the things that you think are going to be easy end up being the most arduous journey of them all. You start out doing what you think is right, but for some reason, things don't turn out the way you think they are supposed to. But you don't give up. You adapt. You take the problems, and turn them into advantages. You make it work, and you are happier for the results.

Good For Something


No matter what some may say, I have found that I can serve a useful purpose.

The Big Empty


No people
No drama
No bullshit
No emotion
No stress
No feelings
No nothing
Somedays, that sounds pretty damn good

The Road Ahead


I could have called this image so many things. "One Day at a Time"? Nah, too "rehab". "The First Step"? Accurate, but I think today was more than just 1 step. Today encompassed a huge step. Is it forward, backward, or sideways? Time will tell, but I plan to make it a step forward, which is why I chose "The Road Ahead". Change is coming, and I have no choice but to meet it head on.


To Kathy and Bethany - I did not steal your "everything out of focus" fun. There is a VERY fine plane of focus if you look real hard. :)


And if you're creeping on here, that's fine. I am not specifically addressing you.

Writing on the Wall


Or, in this case, on the door. This is the door in what was my daughter's room for most of the time we have occupied this house. Years ago, after I had painted her room, she asked if she could have a section of wall to have her friends sign when they came by. I agreed.


It didn't take long for the room to be covered…autographs, nasty (but harmless) jokes about classmates and teachers, etc… on all 4 walls, the ceiling, and yes, the door. If they would have been able to write on the rug, they would have.


The walls have been painted over, but I always had an affinity for the door, and said that if I ever left this house, I was taking the door with me. Looks like I will have a chance to do just that.


At this point, I am basically a tenant, a ghost in my own house. It doesn't feel like mine anymore, I feel like I am just keeping it warm until the new owners come and claim it.


All those years I have been shooting abandoned houses, and I always wondered "What were they thinking as they left this house? How sad was it to lose what they had? What dreams did they leave behind?" I'm starting to understand how they might have felt.

(Learn to) Enjoy the Silence 


I have to learn to enjoy the peace and quiet. I'm so used to the dysfunction that I don't know how to deal with the quiet. I really want to learn. because when I allow it to be quiet, it's nice. Shorty is such a good dog. He deserves better than me. I'm really glad he puts up with me.

"Gary is My Nizzle"


According to Urban Dictionary (always a reliable source), the word "Nizzle" can mean different things, depending on who you choose to believe. Some definitions are racist, some definitions are disgusting, and some definitions are more demure, pedestrian.


When I saw this t-shirt at Goodwill, believe it or not, it said something to me. "Gary is my Nizzle". When I see the word "Nizzle", I don't think racial. I think "homeboy", "homie" or "brah" in an endearing, kindred spirit way.


Your Nizzle always has your back. He understands when you do things that everyone else thinks is crazy. He doesn't judge you, and he doesn't question. He just accepts it because he knows that is what makes you sleep better at night.


"Gary is my Nizzle". I am my own Nizzle. I understand why I do the things I do. I wouldn't expect anyone else to understand.

I Spy


Now where was I? Oh yeah. As some of you may have noticed, this year and this project have gotten pretty personal for me. Sorry if I am boring you, but it's just what I need to do for myself (selfish, aren't I).


This is my garage. Ordinary, I know, but the things in it all, in their own little way, hold important memories for me. Years (or maybe only months) from now, when I look at this picture, I will take note of all the little details, and I'll remember the good times that correlate to any particular item. It will be sort of a scrapbook of memories, all in one picture. I just have to hang on to the memories.

Tone on Tone


I love this setting. That's it. Too goddamn tired today for a story. I've had way better days.

Chillin'


Just relaxing tonight and enjoying the Father's Day gift that Qualex (and Eli) got me. It's nice to relax in front of a television that is (to me at least) more enjoyable than going to the theater. No loudmouths, no teenagers, no cell phones, and no commercials.


I am watching the movie "Moon" with Sam Rockwell. It's fantastic, and if you've never seen it, see it. I have a real affinity for this movie. I don't know why. Weird...

Happy Birthday to Me


At some point in life (like around age 53), "Happy Birthday to Me" jumps the gap from fun to fire hazard. I didn't even have the energy to LIGHT the candles, I sure as Hell wouldn't have been able to blow them out. And just a hint…birthday candles are designed for cakes, not pizza pies.


And while I'm at it, I might as well use this for my "Happy" entry. You can't tell by the picture, but this really was one of the best birthdays I've had i a long time. Busy, but the day was drama-free.

Why Bother


So the weekend ended on a shitty note, and that usually spells disaster for Monday.


Today was trying from the start. Bad sleep, a lot of stress, and it followed me all day at work. On the way home, I figured the perfect cure for my malaise was to shoot some abandonment.


Went to a house that I've been to many times. Parked my car in the usual spot, a residential street directly across from the abandoned house. Grab my camera, and proceed to walk down the street.


"What are you doing?" says the woman from her driveway, who is holding onto her young daughter. "Just going to take a few pictures in the abandoned house across the street" I reply.


"Why?" she asks. I start to explain the 365, but she interrupts. "We have a serious neighborhood watch here, and I don't know who you are. If you don't leave, I'm calling the police. People have been trying to abduct our children around here." From the car in her driveway, Grandma says "Just call the Police." Out comes her phone.
Normally, I would just be like "See if I give a shit. Call the Police." My luck, today I forgot my wallet at work. No license, no ID, no nothing. I don't need the hassle. I said, "No problem. Sorry to bother you. I won't park on your street." She calls the Police anyway as I'm leaving.


It's days like today that I just hate people. Not all of them. Just all the assholes I run into.

Daniel, Class of 03, and Me, Class of 80


I knew my travels today would take me out near the neighborhood where I grew up, so I packed accordingly. Orange hat and High School yearbook (Senior year, of course). As I was taking a self-portrait, Daniel walked by and asked what I was doing. I explained the project, and asked if he wouldn't like to sit in for a picture. I asked his name, I thanked him and shook his hand, and he thanked me for letting him into my project. He then went off to coach his Pee-Wee football team.


Daniel was extremely friendly and personable, and I think that is obvious by the expression on his face and his body language. I, unfortunately, do not appear so "engaging". I have the appearance of the crabby old man that is just waiting for the damn kids across the street to walk on my lawn so I can yell "GET OFF MY LAWN!"

Long Shadows


When I think of "long shadows", I don't think happy thoughts. At best I think Film Noir. At worst, I think a lot worse.


Sometimes the Photo Gods are smiling. Like when you know you need a prop, so you look around in the abandoned storm cellar, and you find the rusted out old blade. Convenient.

365 Days of Costco Pizza


As we near the final few months of our 365 project (sounds like a commencement speech, doesn't it?), I had started to think beyond December 31st.


The last time we did this (7 long years ago), I kept shooting for MAYBE a month. After that, I put down the camera, and did not really pick it up again in earnest until September of last year.


That is way too long. I can't let that happen again.


So I'm throwing ideas around in my head, and the first 1 is 365 Days of Costco Pizza. I know, sounds boring. But I could see it be both creatively AND gastronomically challenging. I am looking into Kickstarter funding as we speak. Please stay tuned for more details.


This was just a joke. But that pizza is no joke. Damn, it's good!

It's Been a While


Before work. It always seems like it's "before work".


I can see the day ahead, and I don't like what I see.


Life can be a real kick in the teeth when you come face to face with reality and understand that you've been deluding yourself all these years.


I don't want one person to tell me to "cheer up" or "it's not that bad". Please just understand that I HAVE to have this bitterness and depression now. That's the only way I can get through it, is by dealing with it, and NOT by pretending it's not there.
I haven't been this bitter in a while. Funny, I feel like my "old self" again.

A Dog and A Man


A dog is called "Man's Best Friend" for a reason, but only a "dog person" would understand that.


Shorty is 15 years old. He never was the sharpest tool in the shed, but he is now also stone cold deaf, and walking isn't as easy as it used to be. But every night when I come home, I come to the front door and look in the side window. Without fail, he is waiting at the front door for me. He certainly didn't hear me pull up, and I don't think I smell so bad that he can smell me through walls. But he senses me, just like he always sensed when we were taking him to visit my son down at college.


I used to think he was senseless. Turns out his Sixth Sense is the one he's most in tune with.

Shut In Shut Out


The voices were back today. I know them well. The angry ones. They don't come around often, not near as often as they used to. But they still let me know that they are there, waiting for me to be weak and let them take over.


I've been through that before, and I don't like it. So I know how to handle, how to quiet them, and finally, how to make them go away.

Alone at a Wedding


I had the privilege of attending the wedding of some young friends who live out of town. While weddings and young love have not changed, circumstances in my life have. This was the first "road trip" since the Big D (not Dallas), so the whole experience seemed different. Rooms and meals seem quieter. At first the silence is peaceful, but then it just seems odd. You never realize how much you can miss the chaos that can surround you.


At some point, I want to share these experiences again, just with someone who wants to share them with me.

Alone at a Wedding 2


Grilled cheese donut with bananas, peanut butter, and mozzarella, all smothered in sadness!

Alone at a Wedding 3


Alone at a Wedding 4


At the wedding. I felt strangely out of place. I only knew a handful of people, and since they were in the wedding party, it left a lot of time surrounded by strangers. Although friendly, I found it difficult to "connect", as it seemed that everyone over the age of 18 was a "couple". I found companionship with my camera.

Alone at a Wedding 5


It's amazing how much room there really is in a hotel room. I guess that's why they call them "rooms".

*sigh*


The middle of a lonely night. Can't sleep? Just sit and be sad.

The Handyman "Can"


Leaky toilet at my mom's house means my brother and I meet up to play "handyman". Changing the toilet is no problem, but the leaky pipe in the floor? That's a problem. So it's time to call the plumber and start getting estimates. Thankfully, mom has a back up bathroom downstairs, so it's just an "inconvenience" for now.


As I packed my stuff up to leave, I couldn't quite get my mom's attention to say goodbye. Hell, the dog wouldn't even say goodbye. Now I know how my mom feels around my nephews.

16 Years


I'm not sure if it's amazing, sad, melancholy, bittersweet, or some combination of them all. But somehow, 16 years seemed to get packed up almost overnight. What seemed to take forever to accumulate took mere moments to discard, give away, or store for later reminiscing.

Moving On


As I prepared the final move out of the house I have known for 16 years, I felt I NEEDED to do "one more shot". I did so many self-portraits during my 365, and each of them was memorable to me. Each one was cathartic, and it helped me through a very intense, rough, and personal time in my life. So I felt I needed to do something that I would remember just as much.


This is not a "knock" on the institution of marriage, or on my own marriage. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But if you know me, you know that I tend to give human characteristics to inanimate objects. Usually it's just toys, but I felt the same way about the wedding dress. It's 0-2, and I didn't want to just throw it away. So I used it to help me make one last "memory".


I will look at this picture for years with fondness. Fondness for the memories that were made here, and fondness for the times (good and bad) that my family had in the house.

Not Sad Just Cheap


I've had enough excitement for one road trip. From getting chased out of a roadside massage parlor to being detained by Florida State Police, I was ready for a quiet evening of Hardees and "Cops" on TV. At least I didn't have to get frisked or escorted out of town.

No Title, Just a Long Story


Today didn't start off so great.
At 5:30 am, I tend to be a little more "sensitive", even after that second cup of coffee. So as I was dropping off breakfast, I was feeling very overwhelmed and very under-appreciated. And I let pretty much everybody know it.


I contemplated doing the "tough love" routine. Distance myself for a while. But then I realized that I would most likely be depriving myself as much, if not more, than anyone.


There's no sense in stopping doing something I get satisfaction from to try to "teach someone a lesson". That's just being petty. I'll do what I do, at the pace that I am able to do it. And if it goes "unappreciated", so be it. It is appreciated by ME, and that is the only person that who I can control.

Second Family Portrait 


When we did our last 365 3 years ago, I was going through a very difficult, emotional, and personal time in my life. I found that I was able to express and deal with my emotions through my photography. That brought me to a new level of respect and appreciation for what I do.


New 365, and what I think is a new outlook on life. As I look at those images from 3 years ago, I like them, but I'm glad I am not dealing with the darkness that it took to create them anymore.


I'm sure that there are only a few people that actually read these ramblings of a middle-aged windbag, and I'm OK with that. I write them as much for myself and my own sense of professional pride as anything else. If I didn't write, it would only serve to give me one more thing to feel guilty about (right, Kathy?).

Half a Man


As someone who still struggles with depression, I understand as well as anyone exactly how shitty this time of year can be. You see everyone around you happy, and you think to yourself "Why can't I be happy too?"


Depression doesn't make sense. I KNOW there are people that are a lot worse off than I am. Doesn't change a thing. It's just how this brain is wired. You're not happy - instead, you're jealous, and because you're jealous, then you're angry and guilty. It's a VERY vicious circle.


Trying to explain it to someone is like an addict trying to explain why they just can't quit. Someone can say "Stop doing that" but it doesn't matter. Just the same, someone can say to me "You should be happy! It's Christmas!" And just the same, that doesn't matter either.

Hurry, Heinz


I would have thought that I would have matured by now, but no. 57 years old, and I still find the stupidest shit to be funny. Like going into the Jewel on Saturday morning and explaining to the manager that I HAVE to take a picture of myself in front of the Heinz 57 sauce TODAY because it's my 57th birthday, and it's the only day it makes sense (?) to do it. And then realizing that they only have 2 bottles of 57 sauce, so I have to do 20 exposures, patiently moving the sauce along the shelf, and watching people thinking "What the Hell is the psycho in the birthday hat doing?!?"


Worth every second I spent on it because I had fun!

Can You See the Real Me?



I've been divorced for 5 years now (almost), and I have been trying online dating for a few years at this point. When I say trying, I mean "not succeeding". As much as women SAY they want honesty, and it's not looks that matter but the person inside, I don't find that to be the case. This is NOT a knock on women, but that's who I (try to) interact with, so that's all I can attest to.


Looks DO matter. This obviously goes both ways. And when you rely on a razor-sharp wit and a dynamic personality to get through life (like me), it's hard to get that across in a "profile description".


So fuck it. I have always tried to be honest, because I don't want to waste my time any more than you do. You want honesty, you got it. For better or for worse.

"Have You Been Tested?" 


Like being single at 57 wasn't already a giant pain in the ass. Now this?!?


Dating? Forget dating. "First dates" are pretty much like talking to someone through prison glass. Don't get any closer than 6 feet. Please sterilize yourself before you touch anything. When was the last time you washed your hands?


Forget flowers or chocolate. Now, the way to a woman's heart is with toilet paper and antiseptic wipes. How romantic.

3000


The last time I did a 365, I was going through a very turbulent, personal, emotional time. My "rock" at that time was my dog Shorty. He wasn't just my dog, he was my friend and my therapist. He helped me in ways he never knew, and I'm glad I took pictures of him during that year.


<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/26178772@N02/22603449108/in/album-7..">www.flickr.com/photos/26178772@N02/22603449108/in/album-7..</a>.


I lost Shorty a couple of years ago. While there is no "replacing" a dog as special as him, Addie is just as special to me in her own unique way. Like Shorty, she is my friend and my therapist. I know that, no matter how shitty my day is, all I have to do is get home and know that she is REALLY happy to see me. Makes everything else kind of inconsequential.

I Got the Birthday Bleus


"Birthday Bleus" as in bleu cheese, that is! How could I have ANY other kind of blues, even if it IS my 58th birthday?!?


Dinner was my choice tonight (homemade cheeseburgers on the grill, stuffed to the gills with bleu cheese} with cheese baked Au Gratin potatoes, and cheesecake for dessert! And the best part, surrounded by loving family.


Alex and Quinn were responsible for the dinner. Thank God, because if I had cooked my own dinner, I would end up with food poisoning. Tonight, it was nothing more than a cheese overdose!

Welcome to the Machine


I always say "Fun is where you find it." Never realized I would find it inside a washing machine. Is that what they mean by "good clean fun"?!? Oh, I crack myself up sometimes!

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