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Posts Tagged ‘art every day’

from a broken land called detroit city (365-85)

Day 86 of 365: a year in songs and photos
Song: Von Bondies, Broken Man

We picked up Pawn Shoppe Heart by the Von Bondies at Amoeba Music in San Francisco on the recommendation of Todd’s friend Nelson. I’d heard of them, but wasn’t sure if I heard anything by them, and we needed something to make tooling around in our rented Ford Escort seem…cooler. While their is definitely more choice in rock radio in California (and I did hear the Circle Jerks on the radio while there, that was a shock), after a while it all blended into the same New York sound of radio puking up the same sound it was chewing on in 1976. Stairway to Heaven? I don’t think so.

We ended up listening to nothing but this CD for the rest of our time in the car, and I’ve been listening to it since I got home. It’s one of those rare CDs I can listen to from start to finish and not get the urge to skip any songs. Not even C’mon, C’mon, which, when it played for the first time, I realized I had heard about 7,000 times (it was only later I found out it’s the theme song to Rescue Me, which I’ve never watched).

If I had to describe this album to someone who never heard it before, I would say – imagine if Danzig and Sleater Kinney morphed into one band. Well, that was my first reaction. At times, like on the bluesy, crooning Maireed, wthey remind me of the Doors, if Jim Morrison had soul, and there are times, most noticeably on Tell Me What You See, when I hear MC5. It’s a bit garage punk, a bit punk, a lot of blues and pure rock and roll. I love that they switch between male and female singing; it makes the album feel continuously fresh, no matter how many times you play it.

When I say that every moment in my life has a song that goes with it, I’m not exaggerating. Music has always been an integral part of my world and for every memory I have, there’s a song, and for every song I hear, there’s a memory. Pawn Shoppe Heart will forever remind me of driving around the streets of Sacramento, windows down, sun shining. It’s a good enough reason in and of itself to enjoy the album; that’s it’s filled with kick ass songs gives me reason to love it, and put it in my “desert island albums” list.

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raise the cup and let's propose a toast (365-85 and contest winner!)

Day 85 of 365: a year in songs and photos
Song: Faith No More, Last Cup of Sorrow

I know I skipped the last two days, I’ll get back to them eventually. I’m all discombobulated now.

So it’s about time I announce a winner to the contest, eh?

I took a very surprising amount of photos. Surprising for me, at least. Most people, knowing my penchant for shooting anything and everything and for shooting in continuous mode, guessed upwards of 3,000. Myself, I would have guessed closer to 4,000.

But something interesting happened on this trip. At some point, photo taking became secondary to having fun. I was having such a good time that there were whole hours when I didn’t even take the camera out of the bag! I was so relaxed, so attuned to the stress and weariness being released from my body and mind that I just kicked back and let the pleasantness of being away overtake me. I stopped seeing everything as a potential photo op and instead just concentrated on enjoying the hell out of the vacation and the company.

All told, I took 1,228 photos (about 100 of which will go up on flickr). Which means, the winner of the above pictured Genuine, Authentic Sacramento Shot Glass Bought In Old Sacramento (liquor not included, hearts sold separately) goes to………

Wait….addendum here. I know I said “without going over” but being that we all (self included) overestimated my photo taking, I have to scratch that. So the shot glass goes to…

The Savvy Savorer, who guessed 1400.

Congratulations. I’ll be in contact about getting the shot glass to you.

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raise the cup and let's propose a toast (365-85 and contest winner!)

Day 85 of 365: a year in songs and photos
Song: Faith No More, Last Cup of Sorrow

I know I skipped the last two days, I’ll get back to them eventually. I’m all discombobulated now.

So it’s about time I announce a winner to the contest, eh?

I took a very surprising amount of photos. Surprising for me, at least. Most people, knowing my penchant for shooting anything and everything and for shooting in continuous mode, guessed upwards of 3,000. Myself, I would have guessed closer to 4,000.

But something interesting happened on this trip. At some point, photo taking became secondary to having fun. I was having such a good time that there were whole hours when I didn’t even take the camera out of the bag! I was so relaxed, so attuned to the stress and weariness being released from my body and mind that I just kicked back and let the pleasantness of being away overtake me. I stopped seeing everything as a potential photo op and instead just concentrated on enjoying the hell out of the vacation and the company.

All told, I took 1,228 photos (about 100 of which will go up on flickr). Which means, the winner of the above pictured Genuine, Authentic Sacramento Shot Glass Bought In Old Sacramento (liquor not included, hearts sold separately) goes to………

Wait….addendum here. I know I said “without going over” but being that we all (self included) overestimated my photo taking, I have to scratch that. So the shot glass goes to…

The Savvy Savorer, who guessed 1400.

Congratulations. I’ll be in contact about getting the shot glass to you.

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welcome to der wienerschnitzel

Day 78 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: Descendents, Wienerschnitzel

Taken at Wienerschnitzel on Broadway in Sacramento

Yes, I finally tried the famous Wienerschnitzel chili dog, along with chili cheese fries and a kraut dog.

They were smaller than I thought they would be, which is good, being that I ate both the dogs. While the taste was acceptable as far as hot dogs go – dare I say they were GOOD, maybe even DELICIOUS, my stomach was not very happy with me later on.

At least I can cross "eat chili dogs at wienerschnitzel" off my "things to do before I die" list. Maybe move it onto the the "things I do that will make me die" list.

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i will ask the chamber of commerce how to get to haight street

Day 79 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: Frank Zappa, Who Needs the Peace Corps?

(I think I got the numbers on these right, if not I’ll figure it out later)

I went through a hippie phase when I was a teenager. I was maybe 13 at the time, heavily influenced by Ken Kesey, the Grateful Dead and a bunch of other people who made getting stoned and complaining about The Man sound like a career choice. I wanted to tie dye all my clothes, put a flower in my hair and move to San Francisco. I’d find some communal living arrangement at Haight Ashbury, get high a lot, live a bohemian lifestyle and spread peace, love and happiness throughout the world. Youth is so cute in its naivety sometimes.

In the intervening years, I put down the bong, went to work for The Man and became a capitalist pig. But I still had this desire to see the promised land of Haight Ashbury for myself, just to set my 13-year old mind at ease and assure myself that I didn’t miss my calling as an aging hippie trying to keep the 60’s alive.

All these years later, I finally got there. And it turned out to be a dirty smudge on what was otherwise a pristine vacation. Sure, the hippie, flower-power, peace and love aura still pervades the area, but it seems like a facade to me. While the storefronts are filled with peace signs and groovy art, the place still smelled, metaphorically, like drug abuse and regret. Teenage panhandlers, 20somethings with a permanent glaze in their eyes, baby boomers still dressed for their Electric Kool Aid Acid Test all co-mingle in a depressing display of empty lives and emptier futures.

I watched an obviously strung out kid who couldn’t have been more than 16 play a trumpet for cash and the 13 year old Haight Ashbury wannabe in me took a last, shallow breath and died.

We walked up Haight to Amoeba Music, bought a great Von Bondies CD which became the soundtrack to the rest of our trip and tried to ignore the panhandlers and vagrants at McDonald’s while we grabbed some coffee for the trip back to Sacramento. Lovely as San Francisco had been, it was time to get out of there.

And I’m kind of glad the last breath of hippie in me disappeared. I don’t even know why I was holding on to it.

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you'll be there when i die, tattoo (365-81)

Day 81 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: The Who, Tattoo

(this is a pretty clever song by the Who, if you’ve never heard it)

This was….the second to last day of our trip. As mentioned in the other photos from this day, we spent five plus hours in the tattoo shop (Legacy Ink Tattoo, 21st Street, Sacramento) while Todd’s best friend Nelson worked on his arm. Their friend Dustin stopped by for a while and hanging out with them was a good way to wind down our trip. We had been walking around so much that it was nice to just kick back.

Dustin and Nelson are Todd’s friends from AA (along with Nelson’s girlfriend Lorraine) and they are a kick ass bunch of people. They’re part of the reason I can’t wait to go back to Sacramento this summer.

I think I’m done uploading for today. I still have a ton of Sacramento pics and almost all of the San Francisco pics to put up. But I think I should think about unpacking…

Or maybe doing one more 365 photo..

I put a shit ton of pics up at flickr today. You know how much a shit ton is? It’s.. a lot.

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you'll be there when i die, tattoo (365-81)

Day 81 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: The Who, Tattoo

(this is a pretty clever song by the Who, if you’ve never heard it)

This was….the second to last day of our trip. As mentioned in the other photos from this day, we spent five plus hours in the tattoo shop (Legacy Ink Tattoo, 21st Street, Sacramento) while Todd’s best friend Nelson worked on his arm. Their friend Dustin stopped by for a while and hanging out with them was a good way to wind down our trip. We had been walking around so much that it was nice to just kick back.

Dustin and Nelson are Todd’s friends from AA (along with Nelson’s girlfriend Lorraine) and they are a kick ass bunch of people. They’re part of the reason I can’t wait to go back to Sacramento this summer.

I think I’m done uploading for today. I still have a ton of Sacramento pics and almost all of the San Francisco pics to put up. But I think I should think about unpacking…

Or maybe doing one more 365 photo..

I put a shit ton of pics up at flickr today. You know how much a shit ton is? It’s.. a lot.

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the people, the places, the weather, the faces

Day 82 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: Vandals, Rico

I’m working backwards here. I’ll fill in all the days eventually, but I wanted to get started with this one first.

I’m sitting here in a freezing cold New York, drinking my Peet’s coffee and going through my pictures from California and I miss that state in a way that’s almost like homesickness. Can you be homesick for a place you’ve only visited?

I fell in love with California, particularly Sacramento. This is my love letter to that city.

It’s a warm, welcoming place that made me feel at home whether I was in the agricultural outskirts or walking the streets of midtown. There’s a pace, a vibe in that city that I’ve never felt in Manhattan. Where New York City is claustrophobic and grimy, Sacramento is wide open and clean. Not clean in a scrub-washed kind of way, more like bright and airy. It doesn’t make me feel like I need a shower when I leave it. Even the parts of the city that are not so nice to live in are still pretty nice to look at.

It’s a colorful place, splattered with art and neon signs and houses dressed in pinks and blues and yellows. Bars and clubs and restaurants dot every street, yet it always feels residential. Maybe it’s the abundance of trees, maybe it’s the way everything is so spread out instead of built upwards. Maybe it’s the laid-back feel of the people. There’s no hustle, bustle, get out of my way or get knocked down feel like there is in New York. There’s no angry, horn blaring gridlock. There’s a softness to Sacramento that embraces you. From the coffee houses to the record stores to the tattoo parlors, from the Farmer’s Market to the greasy spoons, from J Street to Del Paso Blvd., no place seems foreboding or unwelcoming.

We explored every part of Sacramento. I saw all 15 or so places Todd lived, so every bar he drank in and club he played in and every corner he puked on. We drove through towns on the outskirts and within the city, other places he lived like Arden and Fair Oaks. We walked through Old Sacramento and strolled through Old City Cemetery, we hung out with his friends, ate a lot, walked a lot. I had the best guided tour of Sacramento anyone could want.

We did hit other parts of the state, which I’ll write about later, with photos. We spent a day in San Francisco, stopped briefly in Berkeley and spent a lot of time at Todd’s parent’s home in Lincoln, a sprawling land of planned developments where the streets have golf cart lanes. But my favorite part of the trip was the time spent in Sacramento.

We had already made plans to move to California when both the kids are out of high school. I’m sick of New York winters, I’m tired of suburbia and I want to live somewhere in my lifetime besides Long Island.

Three years and counting, and I’ll call Sacramento home. When you are longing for a place you’ve never lived in, when you spend five days in a city and feel like it’s calling you back, you know that place is for you.

The sun and the air
The mountains and sea
Streams and palm trees

The valleys…
The canyons…
The mountains…
The beaches…

That’s for me.

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california, here we come

Day 76 of A year in songs and photos

Song: Phantom Planet, California

I figured I’d get this last post up here now, as I’ll be pretty busy after work today getting ready and we have to drop the pup off at my cousin’s tonight (goodbyes are so hard!). We leave at 6am tomorrow for the airport.

How obsessive am I about things? I packed a memo pad and pen in my camera bag so I can take notes each day on what photos I may use for the 365 project when I get back. Obviously, I won’t be posting when I’m away, but when I return I’m going to have to make up for the missed days and post almost a week’s worth at once.

It’s not too late to enter my How Many Photos Will Michele Take in California contest!

See you next week!

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won't quit til i hit california

Day 75 of 365: a year in songs and photos

Song: Atmosphere, Trying To Find A Balance

I’m finally packing. I like to save everything for the last minute. In less than 48 hours, I will be in California.

This is my first ‘real’ vacation. Well, my first vacation that won’t include having breakfast with Winnie the Pooh. I know, I’ve lived a sheltered life. Hell, this is my first time going anywhere off the east coast!
Travel wasn’t always on my agenda because I hate flying. But your fears are easier to face when you have someone holding your hand through them.

A couple of people here and there asked why the hell I am going to Sacramento. Mostly, because Todd’s parents are there and the main point of this trip is to see them.

While Todd spent a lot of his younger years in Fresno, he considers Sacramento his home town. It’s where he lived during his teenage years (when he lived at home), where he played in a local punk band, where he came home to after months on the road, and where he ended up after he left those days behind and tried to move on with his life.

It’s also where he was living when we first met (“met” in internet terms). Our relationship was long distance for a long time (there’s only so many trips you can make to NY while trying to save money to move to NY) and as such, we spent an awful lot of time on the phone. We navigated the time difference in clumsy fashion; while I was wrapping my night up, he was going out to get some dinner. So I’d be on the phone with him while he drove through Sacramento, going to various fast food places, running errands, going to meetings, meeting up with friends. I “rode” with him from place to place as talked and he mentioned landmarks and favorite places and I made a mental map of his Sacramento, knowing that I’d be there some day. So when I get there, it won’t be just some capital city of a huge state I’ll be visiting; I’ll be looking at places I came to know through our phone rides – Del Taco and Safeway, Fair Oaks Blvd and Howe Avenue and US50 – they are sentimental landmarks to me, odd as that may be to you. I’m sure no one visits California with the intention of sight seeing a Del Taco. No one but me. My sentimentality is my undoing sometimes.

I’m also looking forward to visiting all his old haunts in Sacramento and San Francisco; for every story he has from his wild days, there’s a dot on the map that corresponds with it. Places like Lil Joe’s and the Round Corner and Gilman….all places I’ll just stop and take a shot of and move on, marking them in my little mental scrapbook of Todd’s life so I have a visual to go with the audio when we sit in a diner on Long Island on a Saturday morning and he tells me more California stories.

That’s why Sacramento is interesting to me. And just a small part of why I’m looking so forward to this trip. The personal sight seeing, the picture taking…those are awesome things. But they pale in comparison to actually getting away from everything – work, cooking, cleaning, the kids (anyone who has teenagers will understand that), the day to day humdrum of life, of being in a place I’ve ALWAYS been in, a place I’ve barely left in my 45 years…to just be far away in what seems like another world to someone so landlocked in their hometown, and to do it with my best friend….yea, I’m looking forward to this.

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