The Insurance Itch

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Life / This Freaking World / Time and Space

just want to say that I am beginning to lose my patience with this car thing. I hit the fucking deer on the 11th,the claim was filed on the 12th, the car was brought in for repairs on the 16th… it is now the 25th and all I’ve heard is that they’ve had to bring a claims adjuster back out to look at the vehicle multiple times so the process is going very slowly – it will be at least two weeks (so until at least May 2nd) at the earliest until my car is ready. That was the last I heard anything – that was the 19th. We don’t have rental car coverage on our policy because – heh – when the hell are you ever going to need to rent a car for an extended period of time? That would just be stupid.

I wish I had done something so stupid right about now.

So, I wait. I turn 35 on friday… without my car, it just makes me sad. It’s not like I had plans to go out and do anything, but it’s been a very long time since the last time I’ve felt remotely “whole” – and once again being confined to my property without the freewill to leave of my own and spontaneous volition does not help me feel cohesive.

On my 18th birthday, my car key broke off in my ignition right after I turned my car on in the driveway. Yes, the freaking key broke off – so I got to spend a large chunk of my 18th birthday waiting for AAA. In hindsight, it didn’t even put a damper on things and makes a damn funny anecdote but let’s face it, everything was awesome when I was 18 and it took a hell of a lot less to get me down – a lot of it seems so trivial now, funny even.

I can’t imagine that this will seem all that entertaining in retrospect. No freaking way.*

Movie List: 33 Movies that are Just Fucking Fantastic (Part 2)

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Movie Lists / Movies

Hello, hello! Welcome back – part 2, movies that are fucking awesome… let’s rock.


Perfect Sense (2011); Directed by David Mackenzie; Starring Ewan McGreggor and Eva Green. Everyone is losing their senses – literally. It’s kind of crazy to think about what the world would come to if the population slowly lost their ability to taste, smell, hear, speak, see, and feel…

Garden State (2004); Directed by Zach Braff; Starring Zach Braff, Peter Sarsgaard, and Natalie Portman. This is possibly one of the most pretentious movies ever made (second, of course, to Tree of Life – no film is as pretentious as that one, it’s freaking impossible), but damn does it capture a time in my life so perfectly, it hold up over time. I got really into this movie a few years after it came out – so I was about 22-23, and then I didn’t see it for more than a decade.
I really didn’t think it would hold up, I figured a modern viewing would result in my eyes rolling back in their head but I was wrong – it gets better with time. It doesn’t come off as being nearly as pretentious now because it’s so much more meaningful to me – and shit, college-aged kids are pretentious as hell. Let me tell ya. LOL, come on, disagree with me.

Cinema Paradiso (1988); Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore; Starring Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili. First, I’d like to say that the original version of this movie is far superior to the director’s cut. Second, I want to point out that Giuseppe Tornatore is one of those directors that needs to be physically restrained from being allowed to alter their films – especially doing so decades after the fact, and altering the film to such an extreme degree that the ending changes completely. Tornatore also directed The Legend of Nineteen Hundred and then spit out a director’s cut that was an hour longer twenty years later, I haven’t seen his cut of thatmovie but now I’m terrified. The three-hour long director’s cut of Cinema Paradiso is a completely different movie with a different ending and a different tone throughout the entirety of it than the original cut that won a bunch of Oscars and is one of the most beloved films of all time. The point to all this? WATCH THE ORIGINAL, the director’s cut it AWFUL.

MV5BZTA1ODE3ZDAtMDVkNi00ODAxLWE1MjUtNDAyOWVhZWNjYjUxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU@._V1_E.T. (1982): Directed by Stephen Spielberg; Starring Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote. I don’t think I really need to say much about this one. If you haven’t seen it, you need to.  Stay. I’ll be right here. Be good.

Fame (1980): Directed by Alan Parker; Starring Eddie Barth, Irene Cara, and Lee Curreri. Let me be specific, I am referring to the 1980 film, not the television series, not the remakes in the late 80s and 90s, not the remakes of the television series, not the various versions of the stage musical – the ORIGINAL MOVIE alright?

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Her (2013): Directed by Spike Jonze; Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johansson. The first time I saw this movie, it made me really uncomfortable. Like… REALLY weirdly unsettled and uncomfortable. But it stuck in my head. Now I’ve seen it a bunch of times, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable anymore at all, I love it. This movie is absolutely beautiful once you get the past the ridiculous premise… heh, aren’t they all.

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Lost in Translation (2003): Directed by Sofia Coppola; Starring Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Giovanni Ribisi. This is one that gets better with age, at least for me. The first time I saw it I didn’t get it, I was 20 years old and it just didn’t do anything for me. Now, I’m almost 35 and damn is it meaningful. And hilarious… freaking hilarious.

MV5BMDExNDM3OGQtYjI3ZC00MmE0LWE0OGEtMzgxZDY2MDE1MDFjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTA4NzY1MzY@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,695,1000_AL_Secondhand Lions (2003); Directed by Tim McCanlies; Starring Haley Joel Osment, Michael Caine, and Robert Duvall. For some reason, this movie with an all-star cast flew under the radar of the general population when it was released. It’s random as hell, hilarious and captivating. Don’t we all just want to be planted in the cornfield next to the stupid lion?

MV5BZTEwYzhjNTYtMGM1Yy00YjhiLThiZjMtYjFkYTJhZmNlNmJlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjkxMjM5Nzc@._V1_Brokeback Mountain (2003); Directed by Ang Lee; Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, and Michelle Williams. This movie is wonderful, the cast is superb, the writing is brilliant, the cinematography is gorgeous – I LOVE THIS FUCKING MOVIE.

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About Time (2013): Directed by Richard Curtis; Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy. Don’t worry, it’s not another accent fiasco like Anne Hathaway in One Day, she speaks in her regular American accent… so, you can breathe now. Seriously – this movie is amazing. I hate romantic comedies – this one is definitely what you would put in the romantic comedy genre – but it’s so much more. SO GOOD!
MV5BNGRkMDZlNGUtMzVmMC00Y2UyLTg0YTYtMjAzZmQ2NmQyNjg1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTAwMzUyOTc@._V1_The Apostle (1997): Directed by Robert Duvall; Starring Robert Duvall, Todd Allen, and Paul Bagget. I don’t really know what to say about this one – you just have to see it. Seriously. You have to, there isn’t anything else like it. It’s not a preachy Christian movie (like Fireproof, or The War Room), it’s not even a Christian movie. Just watch it.

MV5BYzc1MTk3MjMtNmJlMC00NTIyLThhYTQtY2IxNTU0MDRmN2NhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODQzNTYxODQ@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1404,1000_AL_The Champ (1979): Directed by Franco Zeffirelli; Starring  Jon Voight (but not his car), Faye Dunaway, and Ricky Schroder. Apparently this movie has scientifically been determined (how? I don’t know) to be the saddest movie ever. I don’t know about that, but Ricky Schroder is brilliant. I love this film, I love the sentimentality and drama, and apparently I love films about fighters. This movie is beautiful, totally worth seeing.

MV5BMTczMDI1NTI3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTczOTExNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1005,1000_AL_Cool Hand Luke (1967); Directed by Stuart Rosenberg; Starring Paul Newman, George Kennedy, and Strother Martin. Taking it off over here, ok boss?

MV5BMzcyNTc1ODQzMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTgzMzY4MTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_A Ghost Story (2017); Directed by David Lowery; Starring Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, and McColm Cephas Jr.. The first time I saw this, I was like, “what the fuck was that?” And the next few times I saw it, I still thought the same thing – in fact, I really actively tried to hate it – but it grew on me. Now, I’ll admit, I love it and have seen it more times than I can count. What kept me coming back was the visual appeal – it’s shot in a nearly square aspect ratio, so the framing is really interesting. The color treatment is really interesting, too. Approximately 1/16 of this movie is Rooney Mara eating a pie. Did you know that Kesha is in this movie? The whole thing is very… interesting. I don’t think I could ever handle being in a relationship with Rooney Mara – just something I’ve become aware of from every single thing she’s ever done. She’s intense, man. Anyhow, I highly recommend checking out David Lowery’s existential crisis.

MV5BYTk3Yzg2ODYtODc1MS00ZWQ3LWE0MzYtNDYyZDA1ZmQ2MDhkL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDAxOTExNTM@._V1_Into the Wild (2007); Directed by Sean Penn; Starring Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, and Catherine Keener (and everyone else in the freaking world who has ever done a movie in the 90s – ok, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people). When I first saw this I was amazed by the fact that I could want to smack the main character in the face for the majority of the movie but I was still rooting for him. He brings new meaning to the word “pretentious,” but the film itself is not that at all. This film is a gem – the writing is intense, the use of narration is ridiculously effective, the cinematography is freaking epic, the soundtrack is excellent – this is just a good freaking movie, every aspect of it is well done, it’s moving, it’s engaging… it’s awesome.

MV5BMTk4MjU3MDIzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjM2MzY2MDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_Passengers (2016); Directed by Morten Tyldum; Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, and Forest Whitaker. I love this movie and I’m prepared to defend it against the general opinion of the masses. Hell of a film, dammit! Still wondering how he got that tree to actually grow…

This concludes my first random movie list. There will be many, many, many more of these. Groovy.*

Movie List: 33 Films that are Just Fucking Fantastic (Part 1)

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Movie Lists / Movies

Originally this post was supposed to be about my top ten all time favorite movies, then it became top 25 favorites, then at 30 I realized I wasn’t going to be able to rank and list my absolute favorite movies definitively (we’d be here for a ridiculously long time), thus I arrived at a list of thirty-three (because thirty just didn’t seem right, 31 didn’t look right, and 32 is an even number… yes, I am weird, I know) films that I absolutely love. This list is not exclusive, this list is in no particular order.

I guess I should preface this by saying that I have a very weird eclectic taste in movies, and I generally tend to disagree with how these films are received, rated and reviewed SO this list (and all the lists to come) may surprise you a bit. Feel free to chime in!


MV5BZGMxZjFlOGEtOTI0Zi00OGY4LTk4MWYtMDU5YWU2YjRkNjUxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc3MjUzNTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,666,1000_AL_Warrior (2011); directed by Gavin O’Conner; Starring Tom Hardy, Joel  Edgerton, and Nick Nolte. I was sucked into this one within the first 3 minutes. And I defy anyone to make it through the last scene without shedding a few tears.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012); directed by Benh Zeitlin; Starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, and Levy Easterly. Moving is a vast understatement when it comes to describing this film – it’s so absurd and cohesive, which is freaking beautiful.original7

26677_1123_etce_meet-joe-black-fiMeet Joe Black (1998); Directed by Martin Brest;  Starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins
, Claire Forlani, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey Tambor and Jake Weber. Yes, it’s criminally long, it’s unapologetically romantic and seemingly moves in real time but God, I fucking love it.  I love it so much that I based my actual wedding reception on the party scene at the end. And this movie makes me cry more than any other movie in the world – I mean, like… bawling uncontrollably. And yeah, ok, it doesn’t take a whole lot to make me cry but this is kind of ridiculous. Ahh, so good.

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Lullaby (2014);  Directed  by Andrew Levitas; Starring Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, Anne Archer, Jessica Brown Findlay, Amy Adams, Jessica Barden, Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson (hell of a cast,  right?!) – this is the best movie that you’ve never seen, with an ensemble of the most famous people in the freaking
world.

MV5BMzY1OWFhYmEtNjIxMS00ZDZjLWFiYWMtYTllYzE0MDZmYTRjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMwMjc1MTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,692,1000_AL_Two Lovers & A Bear (2016); Directed by Kim Nguyen; Starring  Dane DeHaan, Tatiana Maslany, and Gordon Pinsent (as the Bear). This is the best movie ever, go Canada. I may have a slightly unhealthy obsession with this movie.

Titanic (1997); Directed by James Cameron; Starring  Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane and a million other people. I love it, I’m not ashamed. I was 14 when this came out, it was a lifestyle. Seriously though, this movie is really good. It holds up over time, I watched it last year for the first time in easily a decade and it still works.

(And, if anyone who went on Mr McNulty and Ms AbouHana’s New York trip in 1998 and were among the people who gave me all that shit about spending $40 on a movie poster happens to be reading this, I would just like to say that a) $40 isn’t that much money, especially for a 2’x3′ poster, from a ridiculously popular film; b) that was twenty years ago and the poster still looks absolutely beautiful – probably largely due to the quality of paper and ink used – it’s framed and part of my decor; c) I stand by it. I’ve had something that I love for over twenty years now, and it only cost me $40. I win, bitches! Sorry, don’t mind me… a little residual private school bitterness, apparently it takes a very long time to wear off entirely… wow. Moving on…)

Marley & Me (2008); Directed by David Frankel; Starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. I should be ashamed, but I’m not – this movie is amazing. And I must say, this movie is a hell of a lot more meaningful than you’d think it would be – beyond the realm of the man/dog thing. It’s weirdly relevant. I think it’s Jennifer Anniston’s best work, and I genuinely mean that.

Million Dollar Baby (2004); Directed by Clint Eastwood; Starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman. And now we all know how they get the ice into water bottles.

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The Family Man (2000); Directed by Brett Ratner; Starring  Nicolas Cage, Téa Leoni, and Don Cheadle. Hell of a glimpse, hell of a film.

Interstellar (2014); Directed by Christopher Nolan; Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, David Gyosi, John Lithgow, Matt Damon, and Casey Affleck. Yeah, now there’s a cast for ya. This movie is 2 hours and 40-something minutes of WOW.

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Inception (2010); Directed by Christopher Nolan; Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Poslehwaite and Michael Caine. Once again, 2 hours and 40-something minutes of WOW… but a different WOW that’s almost the same.

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011); Directed by David Fincher; Starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgård. This movie is absolutely beautiful, terrifying and moving as hell. I heart it muchly. Yes.

MV5BNjI0Nzk1ODU2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTY3ODc4MDI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,744_AL_A Monster Calls (2016); Directed by J.A. Bayona; Starring  Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson. The first time I saw this movie I hated it. I guess I was not in the right place at the right time, it made me actively angry. About six months later I saw it again and fell in love with it.

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Fargo (1996); Directed by Joel Coen; Starring William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Kristin Rudrüd, Harve Presnell, Frances McDormand and John Carroll Lynch. How could anyone make a list of favorite movies and not include Fargo? It just wouldn’t be right.

The Siege (1998); Directed by Edward Zwick; Starring  Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, and Annette Bening. I can’t quite put my finger on why I love this one so much, but regardless of my personal reasons, it’s just a terrific film.

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Dunkirk (2017); Directed by Christopher Nolan (sensing a theme here? lol); Starring Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, and Harry Styles. In my opinion, this is Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece – this film is incredible. Time dilation, war drama, brilliant cinematography… yes.

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Gravity (2014); Directed by Alfonso Cuarón; Starring George Clooney, Sandra Bullock and Ed Harris. Yes, that’s right, Ed Harris is in this film. Epic.

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Alrighty, that concludes part 1… stay tuned for part 2 of 33 Films that are just fucking fantastic. Part 2 is just as random as part 1. I’m excited.

You should be, too.*

Deer Dance

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Life

Today I hit a deer. This is the second one this year, exactly 100 days after the first one. It was on the first of the year. So, to reiterate, January 1st of 2018 I hit a deer and then, 100 days later, I hit another one. That’s fucking crazy, right? I think it’s completely insane… I’m thoroughly freaked out at the moment. I am also a bit nervous about what might happen 100 days from now, or when I might hit deer #3 because everyone knows these things happen in threes… meep! I’m a very, very careful driver. I don’t text and drive, I don’t drive intoxicated, I don’t have a speeding problem, I am pragmatic about traffic laws… why have I become a magnet for large and destructive roadkill
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10,000 Emerald Pools

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Music

10,000 Emerald Pools

by Børns

I’ll dive in deeper, deeper for you. Down to the bottom, 10,000 emerald pools. Down to the bottom, 10,000 emerald pools. Under water. Time is standing still. You’re the treasure. Dive down deeper…
Still, all I need is you. You’re all I need to breathe. All I need is you!

I’ll make a living, trying to get away. 10,000 fathoms, under a tidal wave. It can never pull me away. No way! Under water. Time is standing still. You’re the treasure. Dive down deeper…

Still, all I need is you. You’re all I need to breathe.

I’ll dive in deeper, deeper for you. Down to the bottom, 10,000 emerald pools.

The Constant Shuffle

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Life

In this constant shuffle, chaos is imminent. The silence is precious and petrified, peace becomes noise and panic that never settles. In this perpetual derangement the kinetic confusion is punishing, it assaults my sense of center and grates at my ears, nerves and conscious. I can’t think, my brain is in this eyeless storm, churning around itself as it washes over the shores of my isolated stretches of sanity.

There will be no quiet tonight. There is only a break in the humming for mumbling, mumbling turns to rumbling before it ramps back up to stuttering, as the immutable medley claims another chorus. And continues to shuffle. Constantly. All around me. All of the fucking time.

Abiding ataxia. Shuffling constantly.

I used to tread upon a series of endless grooves and vibrations that flowed into the high and the low seamlessly, meaningfully. Vibrant vitality shining through every bounce and step and stare. And sigh. Every tear drop met matter with a celebratory splash, glorious ripples and waves undulated within the ebb and flow, and push and pull of every second that has light and life. I stumbled into my rhythm, it was electric, and terrifying and absolutely fantastic. The roads were open and endless, the journeys erratic and unscripted, somehow all the while guiding me to exactly where I needed to be, regardless of where I was trying to go.

But that was before the shuffle.

The interminable jumble.

The constant shuffle. The ceaseless and careless tripping and kicking, the falling and crawling. The interminable jumble. The deafening screaming of the aimless calamities that bend and rustle. Rhythmic debris smashed to pieces, jagged edges strewn about the remnant rummage. Scattered haphazardly, shifting, and never settling.

The constant shuffle.*

So Much for the Shack

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Writing

Small, green, hot, stuffy, dusty, primitive, gross. For eleven years this little seemingly ancient shack, apparently a beach house, had been our home away from home when we went to Bethany Beach every summer. This hut did not have air conditioning, electricity or indoor showers. My mother and I hated it, and the only reason we stayed there every summer for so long was because my mother’s sister, my Aunt Bonnie, loved it and we were afraid to tell her how we actually felt about it. So year after year we stayed in the shack, embarrassed to have people over, afraid that anyone who saw us coming out or going into it would think we were paupers – but still, it was just a house and we had a great time with our family in this house year after year. Still, however, we hated that little hut!

Finally, one spring day my mother got off the phone with a big grin on her face and told us that this summer when we went to the beach we would be staying in a different house, a modernized house, on the same street as the little green shack.

“At last,” I thought, “time for a modern beach week!”

When August rolled around we made the three hour drive to Bethany Beach, this time bringing friends along with us, knowing that any house would be better than the shack. Of course, the new house was a beautiful, contemporary house that we all adored. So thrilled, we threw our bathing suits on and raced down to the shore, and had a great day on the beach.

That night as I was walking back to our new beach house, I passed the shack that we had stayed in during the summer for so many years. I saw a family of four sitting on the dilapidated screened-in front porch with a citronella candle in the middle of their circle. They were laughing, smiling and joyous. It was then that I realized that the shack was not the thing that had been putting a damper on our otherwise exciting beach trips. It was me and my pride, ashamed of the surroundings without taking advantage of the simple gift that the bare house provided – simple, uninterrupted quality time with my family. I had been unable to feel pride in who I was instead of what we had until it was too late. But the new family was having so much fun I could hear them laughing down the street from the new house. They had the attitude that we should have had… but it was too late.

We only came to Bethany Beach as a family one more year after that, once again staying in the new beach house. That final year it just wasn’t the same. Sure, the beach was great, the shopping was tax-free (good ol’ Delaware), and endless mini-golf kept us entertained for hours – but our family didn’t have the same synergy that we had when we only had each other, our stories, and the time to do nothing together.

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Ten years later later I came back to our old street at Bethany Beach after my parents had bought a house that was across the street from the beach, on the Bay side. I went to go look at that green shack, just to see if it was still there, and of course, it was gone. In its place was a 3 million dollar brand new beach house, three stories, four car garage, balconies and wrap-around screened-in porches on each floor. Unfortunately, the rest of the neighborhood was still mostly cottages and simple houses so this new mansion on Delaware St. stuck out like a sore thumb and kind of ruined the simple, quaint appeal of the area.

For the first time ever, I wished that the little green shack was still there. That was what the beach had been to us for years, and now it was gone forever.Of course, we’ll make new memories in our beautiful new house, but nothing can quite replace all the summers in the shack with the whole family. Of course, as time moves on people, places and things change with it, but memories stay forever. We have some great memories, we had some great times, but we took what we had for granted.

Now, I can’t even find a picture of that little green shack…

Weird Stains and Sentiment

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Life

Sentimentality is certainly a strange and invasive beast. It attacks your functionality, it’s a storm you don’t even see coming for you until you’re caught up in the woes of something random and totally unexpected. I’m not an overly sentimental person – I have enough trouble keeping my house sufficiently decluttered to hang onto large chunks of the past that take up space in my house and my heart. I have trouble with sentiment – it comes from places that are very warm and very happy, but for some reason, they hurt like hell. Avoiding any and all things and situations that had the potential to stir up any sort of emotion became impossible after the birth of our second child (I held out pretty hardcore after the first one though), so in the process of trying to incorporate normal emotions into my life experience, sentiment has become a bit of a double edged sword. Yes, I enjoy genuinely experiencing my life with the entirety of myself but the emotions are super intense,
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The Silver Dog

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Photography

… what the hell was I doing at the bar inside of a VFW in Racine, Wisconsin?

Stay tuned, that was definitely an epic shoot.


The Silver Dog

This silver dog sits on the bar of the Racine VFW.

This photo, not a model mind you, is probably one of my favorites from this shoot. It might even be one of my favorites from the year. It’s definitely one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken that doesn’t have a person in it.