Friday, October 29, 2010

Driving In Circles

At least it looks that way from the map.  I am planning, or at least pointing in a direction I want to go next so I decided to map out where I've been the past three years.  It's a very low-tech mapping process, but it gave me an idea of where I've been and where I would like to visit next.

The route with the Blue arrows is the one I took in 2008, Purple for 2009 and this year is in Red.  I've covered most of the states but noticed a big hole in the Midwest.  Not that I avoided Arkansas, Oklahoma or Kansas, it's just that I didn't head in that direction for some reason.  I am currently in the New England area and as you can see, I've covered a lot of ground here.  The fall season is just amazing!  It's exactly what you see in all of the magazines depicting fall, except you get to wake up and see all of the beautiful color wherever you go each day.  I love it.

Soon I will be headed South.  A lot of people ask me what my route is or where I am planning to go next.  Fact is, I don't really know.  I try to think of a general area to head to but sometimes I will hear of something, or get a feeling which will make me change direction.  I feel some of the best moments on this journey were the ones where I wasn't planning and was a bit off course.  Some might call it being lost. I like to think of it as exploring a new area where I vaguely know exactly where I am.

Life is more interesting that way.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BINGO At The Knights Of Columbus

I think the extent of Bingo Hall advertising is word of mouth or a sign near the street saying "BINGO" with the date and time.  If I am lucky, I will drive by an area with a sign and it will happen to be the same day so I could go that night.  However, it doesn't always happen that way.

I looked online for some Bingo halls and sometimes, you never know what you will get.  As it turned out, I learned my lesson by going to what seemed to be a bingo night turned out to be a men's only member club where they haven't had a bingo game in years.  I know this since I certainly stood out when I arrived.  Since there wasn't a game, I politely asked if I could enter and take a few pictures and I was politely declined. 

I didn't give up the search for a legitimate bingo night in the area.  I found the Knights of Columbus hall in Norwood and it was a welcome sight.  Everyone there was nice to me and allowed me to take their photograph.  Only a few people declined and I respected that.  This woman on the left had just one number remaining before Bingo.  I think we all know the feeling.

Since there was more than one room of bingo play, each ball was carefully placed in front of a video camera so it could be displayed on televisions throughout each hall.  As far as a noise level, it was as if you stepped into a library.  There is no messing around here, this is serious business. People are there to play and everyone had their game face on.  I also enjoy seeing all of the personal lucky charms, tokens, photographs, candy and the like scattered about their personal playing space.

I look forward to more.  You can see more photographs of my personal project, "BINGO Culture" on my photography website at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MOBA The Museum Of Bad Art In Dedham, Massachusetts

The other day I had my mind set on catching a train into Boston to walk around the city and take pictures of what I came across.  I even had it on my goal list! As you might have read with my update blog, I was standing on the wrong tracks, on the wrong side so ultimately, I watched the train come and go.

Since that was the last train for a while, I decided to do something different.  I took out my handy Roadside America iphone app and came across an attraction called the Museum of Bad Art.  Perfect, I thought!

I followed the directions from the app and it took me to an old movie theatre in town.  As I walked in, there was a man standing there with a puzzled look on his face. I suspect since it was in the middle of the day and there weren't any movies showing for a long time.  I asked him where the museum was.  He said, "museum?" I said, "um..yes, the one with the bad art..."  He smiled and said, "oh, it's down there...enjoy!"

I looked across the hall and there was a small hallway with steps leading to what seemed like a basement.  Turns out it was also the way to the restrooms.  The museum was actually in the hallway in the basement to the restrooms.

I looked around and saw several paintings scattered about.  I felt a little sad thinking that works of art that people worked so hard at was shown in a museum specifically dedicated to bad art.  However, my mind changed a bit when I read the statement on the wall.  It read, "Welcome to the Museum of Bad Art, a unique institutaion occupying a niche previously ignored in the international community of art collection, preservation and interpretation.  MOBA exists to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum."

It went on to say, "The majority of art in the collection has been purchased at yard sales, second-hand stores, and thrift shops.  Some pieces were donated by the artists, and others were rescued from inevitable destruction after being entered as detritus into a solid-waste disposal system.  The principal is that it must have been created by someone seriously attempting to make an artistic statement, but something has gone horribly awry in either its concept or execution."

It was an interesting tour.  For more information, visit their website HERE.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Update On My 39 Goals For My 39th Year List

I don't believe in "bucket lists."  When someone says that they have an activity on their bucket list, that means that they would love to do it but don't really want to plan it or push themselves to do what it takes to accomplish the goal.  Because really, there is no guarantee that we will live long enough to have the time to do all it is we would like to do if there isn't some sort of planning involved.  To me, a bucket list is the to do list that never gets completed and will die with you.  Because most of the time, it's in your head anyway and not written down.

There is something to writing your goals down.  I didn't want to at first, but once I did, I felt accountable to complete them.  On top of that, I posted them here on the blog so every now and then I will get reminders asking where I stand on certain goals.

If you have a blog or facebook, I would challenge you to post your goals to hold yourself accountable for them.  You will be amazed on how people will help you achieve them or push you to get them done. Even if that doesn't happen, they will be top of mind and for some of my goals, I did them without thinking.

Keep a mixture of goals that you can do in a day and some that would take some planning.  That way, you won't be discouraged if each goal is a tremendous feat.

So as you now know, I wrote down and posted 39 goals on January 5th that I wanted to accomplish during my 39th year on this earth.  I blogged about each accomplishment for a while when I completed a goal but for some reason, I stopped doing that. I thought I would post a brief status on where I stand on each of the goals I set out to accomplish this year.

39 things I will do for my 39th year in this world:

-Read 5 books from beginning to end without skipping ahead
This might sound easy, but I have a hard time focusing on reading a book.  My mind tends to wander a bit but there've been a few books that kept my focus and I would recommend both.   I have completed "When things fall apart" by Pema Chodron and "Leave the Light On" by Jennifer Storm.  "When things fall apart" was handed to me to borrow from a friend and I picked up "Leave the light on" at a book store in Proviencetown.  I loved them both!  I love stories of addiction and recovery and books on how to be a better person.  I prefer Non-Fiction over Fiction.

- Win one photo contest
I haven't won a photo contest, but I was fortunate enough to be chosen for a few juried art shows this year.  Once at MOPLA and the other at a juried art show at the 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles.  I have found that a big key to winning a contest is actually entering one.  

- Go skiing at least once this season
Um...not yet.

- Take a picture of Max in the snow
Completed! On the drive to Yosemite, we saw snow and I remembered my goal so I placed him on the snow mound to take a shot.  I didn't get the best picture and he didn't have the best time but, CHECK! Goal completed.

- Go to a tattoo show
Not yet - However I love tattoo art and photograph it wherever I see it.

- Publish a travel article
Looking back...I am not sure why I wrote this goal.  I have been traveling and away from my home since June and have been blogging about my experiences so I could technically say that each time I post is a published travel article.

- Sleep on a strangers couch
Completed! I have a few examples for this one and only one was an actually couch.  I met 4 people for the first time face to face so far on this trip.  Deb and Kim in Canada, Lauren in Montana and Amy in Ohio.  With these visits I slept in an Airstream, a couch and the floor.  

- Skinny dip in the ocean
Um, no but jumped in the ocean off the coast Maine in October.  That's even more challenging, right?

- Try indoor skydiving
Not yet

- Complete my house project with 5 shots together in a custom frame
I visited the Race Point ranger station again in Ptown this year, but didn't document it like I did the following year.  I still plan to group these shots together.

- Sell or donate everything in my garage
Before I left, I donated all of my work clothes and suits to a non profit group called "Clothes the Deal."  There are others such as "Dress for Success."  I would recommend doing this if you have nice quality dress clothes to donate to a good cause.  I still have work to do in the garage when I return.

- Host a dinner party
Since I haven't been home, this will have to wait.

- Take an art class
I look forward to doing this soon

- Wear a dress and go somewhere fancy
Um, no not yet.

- Spend a weekend without a phone, without texting, watching tv, or any kind of human contact
As much as I've wanted to do this, I haven't as of yet.  There have been times where I didn't have cell reception, but there were other campers around so I don't think it counts.

- Watch a local play production
Completed!  I went to see "Caberet" in Boston.  Wonderful.  No photographs allowed.

- Go to Mexico
Not yet.

- Run in a 5k race
Not yet.

- Go to a music festival
Not yet.

- Rent my home and live next to the water somewhere
Completed!  I've been renting my house the entire time I've been gone and this is one of the reasons I am able to do what I do.  It just happened to turn out that I was able to stay in a beautiful home on Bailey Island, Maine because of two very generous people, Adam and Susan.

- Spend time on an island
Yes.  See above. :)

- Take pictures underwater
I finally pulled out my one time use waterproof camera and took a few pics.  Since it's film, I will have to wait and see how it turns out.

- Win the lottery (you never know...)
I, no.

- Volunteer
Not yet

- View a live show taping (preferably Oprah before she leaves)
Not Yet

- Write a book review
I'm not sure why I put this as a goal, but I did.  Once I finish my five books, I will post a review on one of them.

- Surf again
Not yet

- Ride on a train
I planned to take the train into Boston a few weeks ago but as it turned out, I was waiting on the wrong side and on the wrong tracks.  So, I saw the train I was supposed to ride on.  Instead, I visited the Museum of Bad Art.

- Take a long road trip (I think this is becoming a habit)
Currently in progress.

Last but not least...these are goals I completed at the beginning of the year that I've already blogged about.  You can click on them to see the blog. 
-Have my photographs displayed in a cafe'
- Bake a cake
- Take Max out on a camping trip with "trailie"

- Visit the Salton Sea

Since these were written, I have had many other small goals that I've completed and some that am thinking about putting on a list for next year.  

I wouldn't call it a goal but one of the biggest decisions I've made for my life was living it without alcohol.  It's been over eighteen months now and it has been the best gift I've given myself.  It's not an easy road by any means, in fact it can be painful.  I have to say that my life has changed dramatically for the better because of it.  For those of you searching and wondering if you can live your life without it, you can.  You might lose friends, invitations, weight, and headaches but what you will gain is so much more valuable and precious...a meaningful life.

What are you going to do with yours?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Max At The Beach

When I decide to go somewhere, Max usually gives me his input to let me know that he would like to go to a place where there's a beach.  I think the beach is his favorite place to be, next to a dog park.  Last year, we went to several dog parks in different states which was always an adventure.  He especially loved the dog parks in Albuquerque and Provincetown.  His favorite beaches on his journey has been Orange Beach in Alabama and the Cape Cod National Seashore.  Each one goes on for miles and if he's lucky, if it's allowed, and there isn't anyone around, he gets to be off leash.

These photographs are from a day at the beach in Cape Cod.  It was an especially windy day but Max didn't mind even though he was low to the ground with the sand blowing in his face.  He's on to me with the camera, though.  Each time I get it out to take a photograph, he usually looks the other way.

We will be heading to the Southeast part of the country soon.  I know that Max will have "beach" on his places to go but I am still up in the air about the specific destination.  Is there a place that we shouldn't miss?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Handmade iphone Photography Photo Art Boxes

I tend to get bored easily.  I am not one of the many people that can grab a book and sit on a beach and read all day.  I am excited to report that I have read two more books from beginning to end to complete my, "5 books from start to finish" goal this year.

Another goal of mine that wasn't on the list was to put together art boxes from the photographs I've been taking with my iphone on this journey.  I am happy to say that I completed this goal.  Sometimes I get ideas in my head that I have to follow through and complete before I obsess too much about them.  This project was one of those ideas.

Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE to take photographs with the other cameras I have and will continue to upload portraits, events and landscapes to my photography site, but there is something about the iphone hipstamatic app that I just love.

I had these 4x4 photographs printed on archival paper and I mounted them on 4x4 wood blocks after I hand sanded them and applied primer  with several coats of paint in either black or white.  After I mounted the photograph on the finished block, I then applied several layers of non toxic clear matte finish to give the boxes a nice texture and durability.  I am pleased on how they turned out.

Since these are my first round of boxes, I have them up for sale on etsy in my shop that you can see here:

Each box is signed on the back and I also put where the photograph was taken.  Many of the photographs are featured in an iphone photography slide show I put together that you can view HERE.

I will continue to write about my travels but wanted to mention what I've been up to.  I look forward to sharing more photographs of my adventures here soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

I have always loved the cape and I still do.

I spent some time at the tip of the cape in a little community called Provincetown.  Each town on the cape has its own distinctive personality and charm and there is something special about every community you come across.  I didn't get to spend as much time here as I did last September, but it was special just the same.  There really is something for everyone on the cape.

Most of the days were rainy when I was visiting but I took advantage of the clear breaks when they came.  I took Max for a spin in his trailer, walked along the beach, went to the bark park, strolled around commercial street and soaked in the sights.  I didn't take as many photographs as I did last year, but these are a few taken with the three cameras I have with me.  I did pretty much the same as I did a year ago.

Sometimes I like to set the timer on my camera and jump around on the beach to entertain myself.  It's actually quite the workout and good for a few laughs when you watch people passing by staring at you.  I don't mind.

Other people didn't mind the weather and enjoyed a campfire on the beach even though it was windy and in the 50's.

It was also interesting to see new signs up that tell you the mileage from PTown to Long Beach, my home base.  Just in case you were wondering, it's 3,652 miles.

I look forward to sharing more adventures coming up within these 3,652 miles.


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