First month in Redding

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The dry, golden landscape stretched out to the horizon like a sour note. Before my first visit here Redding was formless, a concept that held no people, values or history. It simply was a destination, one where I would relocate my life to in total.

That’s not entirely true.

Redding was a map location in the PC game Fallout 2. And I played that game set in a post-apocalyptic landscape with its two-headed cows and mutant scorpions, where roving bands of raiders carried chains and knives, safe in my assumption that it was all make believe.

Imagine my surprise. Continue reading First month in Redding

Okay, the real Redding is not a desolate place to live. There are giant bugs here though, Fallout 2 got that part right. I’m working and writing words here and maybe killing a few bugs here and there.

I’ve gotten used to the 105 degree weather now. There are days when it is only 100 degrees and the sun does not throw its weight around and we are all thankful for these breaks in the onslaught of heat.

I’ve been pronouncing Redding slowly for family and friends. I reassure them with, “It’s only about three hours north of Sacramento!” It’s as far away as one can get from Los Angeles while still holding on to the same driver’s license.

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Redding in Fallout 2

The name ‘Los Angeles’ is a toxic word up here. I introduce myself and feel the word hang in the air like a lead balloon.

There’s a definite adjustment period.

I’m tempted to start throwing out stereotypes, labeling the city X or Y, but I know that’s not fair. I can make observations and those are simply thoughts that have found their way to the keyboard.

* Redding is not without culture. It’s the American culture personified. It’s a heavy drink to get down, because there is little dilution to be found. Chinese or Spanish words are rare, but when I do hear them they float among the drawn out vowels and drawls.

* North State is not without Mexican influences, but they are found in neon painted restaurants, attempting to invoke some Baja California lifestyle motif. ‘I Heart Margaritas’ is the most Chicano art I have seen so far. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. Maybe all the Latinos hang out somewhere else or shop at another store.

* I’ve seen more Monster Energy Drink car decals on the sides of lifted trucks than I care to count.

And why not? People gotta know a person’s energy drink preference. There is no waiting with bated breath to know how this person gets caffeine into their body – they’ve stated so on the side of their vehicle.

“What’s that son? A Red Bull? In this house we drink Monster!”

or

“Yeah Jim, I’m trying to quit the Monster. Switching over to Rockstar, doctor’s orders.”

Expect a change of scenery in this here photo blog. I’m calling Redding home for the time being. I apologize if you put faith in me documenting the Los  Angeles landscape. Interpret this as a long detour. Shasta County is beautiful country, so something good will come out of this.

Villa Sombrero

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Highland Park, May 2015 – Film
When I asked her for a picture she laughed, and continued laughing, until I held the camera up. Then she froze and became rigid. Her laugh abruptly cut off and then resumed after the picture was taken as though there were a skip on the record.

 

 

A Winter Quest For Fantasy

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Highland Park, April 2015 – Afternoon represents warmth to Don, sitting under a tree next to the parking lot where the Chinese restaurant had to close due to health code violations. Don’s just about blind. He takes money and holds it close to his face to read the amount.  His excitement comes out in a hoarse holler, as though the money hurts his fingers. Don mentions that money gets you a ticket to Jack in the Box.

Says he wants to leave California for a score up in Kansas or Colorado. The location is always changing. Mentions money buried in a field or snug between two rocks somewhere far away.

Here lives the iconoclast

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Hermon, Los Angeles 2015

Homer Simpson was once a sacred cow. But the generation who ate/wore/quoted Simpson’s merchandise are now disillusioned adults. The gravitas associated with Homer and Bart is equal to an older generation’s reverence for Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny or Calvin & Hobbes. Those mascots of yesterday represented endless summers, smiling avatars of youth.

Inside this garage Homer is an act of vandalism and a work of art. To the owners it’s a headache. Those who grew up with The Simpsons will have countless hours of reference to the character. Saxamaphone is holy. To some children Homer Simpson was the one constant in their lives, perpetually syndicated, always reliable in his never-changing gags.

But here, sprayed on the walls, lives the iconoclast. The past generation did not worship money or God. It was D’oh. Always and forever D’oh. Homer is Dead. Long Live Homer.

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CicLAvia 2015 On Film – Pasadena, Part 2

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CicLAvia Pasadena – Everyone I asked for a picture said yes. People seemed in better spirits, more responsive to friends, family or a stranger on the street. I spoke with the nicest people who asked me, “Do you know what song this is?” And we just listened to their music blasting from boombox and cellphones tied to bicycles.

Several businesses along Colorado Boulevard offered free water. In fact businesses that opted to remain open for the day were all crowded, jostling with foot traffic and patrons willing to spend money. Occasionally a busy intersection would open up and a car would zip through, and now the automobile was foreign to the road and out of place.

CicLAvia 2015 on Film – Pasadena, Part 1 

Continue reading CicLAvia 2015 On Film – Pasadena, Part 2

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Chief

chiefChief the dog lives in El Sereno and is surrounded by brick, trees and cars. He’s usually animated, but after a long afternoon of chasing a stick or escaping from the yard he hams it up.

CicLAvia 2015 On Film – Pasadena

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May 2015 – This year’s CicLAvia course cut through Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard, a short jog through Old Town and down the road, where everyone was mostly smiling in bright colors. I walked right down the center of the street, because I knew that no matter how many dirty looks might be thrown my way I would regret not standing in the middle of that fast river of bikes and jostling crowds. These shots are actually from train and sidewalks, intersections.

Consider this part 1 Continue reading CicLAvia 2015 On Film – Pasadena

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