Saturday, January 27, 2018

More Icicles

After a week filled with the stress of wondering if my car would be snowed in and I couldn't get to work, I had a nice Saturday walking around in this wild winter storm.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Kanazawa, Higashi Chyagai

I have been walking more, and have found that the solitude has helped me, so far, escape the usual cabin fever that comes about this time of year. I often take the same route, down through Teramachi, cross through Ninjya-dera, into the Higashi Chayagai, over to the Saigawa bridge, and then walk back along the river. I look for something worth shooting, but he goal is to get out and leave all my mental baggage at home.

The photo above brought some satification. Not my typical kind of composition, as I usualy am trying to get wider view with at least one human figure in it. On this day it was really cold and there were hardly any people outside. I noticed some icicles and started shooting them close up. It was nice to stop thinking about the big picture and just enjoy the little things that were only there for the moment.

Here is another one.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Winter Vision

If you do not have an absolutely clear vision of something, where you can follow the light to the end of the tunnel, then it doesn't matter whether you're bold or cowardly, or whether you're stupid or intelligent. Doesn't get you anywhere.    --- Werner Herzog

I took most of the weekend to reflect on a bunch of little things that I have been irritating me. I avoided the usual beer and did my best to get bored enough to come up with some conclusions about what kind of vision I have for this winter. First of all, I must do something about my health. I sit too much and don't get exercise. I jogged twice this weekend and took two long walks. I hope I can keep this enthusiasm once it gets really cold and wet. Secondly, I need to plan for a smooth 8-weeks of the last academic quarter of the school year. I hope to manage my time better and knock out the small tasks as they occur and keep my desktop clean. I used to work much better under pressure, but old age is catching up and I need to adjust. And finally, I plan to explore some new areas for the next research proposal, which will be due in the Fall of 2018. I still have a year to finish up the project I am working on now, which is on schedule, but I want to start incubating new ideas by reading more and hopefully coming up with something worth doing. 

Photography is also in the mix, somewhere, like it always has been. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Work in Progress

Kanazawa, Ninja Dera

Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our lives is change.    -- Daniel Gilbert

Winter is just about here, which means the crows start flocking in the evenings. I have been trying to be in the right place to frame them, but I haven't really had good timing yet. At least I am out trying, which is a change from the past few months of not really getting out with the camera. Consider my crow study a work in progress.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Shadow Boxing

Occasionally, when I consider my cumulative trials and tribulations as well as blessings and pure good fortune, I wonder if I have it in me to write a short novel. My biggest problem is that I get lost when I start playing with the strands of a plot. I admit that I attempted a few times, and once got about 30 pages of a manuscript together, but it just seemed like it was like a snake eating it's own tail. It wasn't going anywhere, so I lost confidence and gave up.

Trying to grab hold of your shadow is hard enough; making the shadow confess is a whole other level.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


All temporal things, whether material or mental, are compounded objects in a continuous change of condition, subject to decline and destruction. 
(Pali-English Dictionary, 1921)

Despite the heat, I have been trying to get out and walk with the camera. Yesterday, I re-discovered this sign on a narrow street in Kanazawa. I have shot it, and others like it, in 35mm film, but not in digital. I am not sure of the date, but I have seen the same sign in a few other places in town, or at least the top part is the same with the bottom part usualy an ad for a local business. This one is by far in the best condition. Most of them have been reduced to just black and rust and do not have any of the green or white. For some reason, I like the teeth on truck and also how the driver's hair is flowing in the wind. The leaves at the bottom also frame it in a nice way.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Hiding out

London, 1996 (Fuji Velvia, 35mm film)

Day one of vacation. Even though I haven't been to the office in 3 days, today is my first day alone. Today, it is just me and the cat, as wife and son are away for a few days.

I spent the morning out in the garden, taking advantage of last night's rain. When the ground is wet, the weed picking is easy. I cut my hands up a bit, but yanking out the roots of those pesky weeds was worth it. I planned to sooth my aching hands by soaking in the Yuwaku Onsen public bath, but on the way there, in my car, I met a road block. The river had over flowed. No cars allowed.

I turned around and pick up some food stuffs. The only thing that I don't like about my occasional few days alone each year is that I have to plan my own meals. I usually survive on sandwiches and ready-made stuff from the supermarket. When I was single, my body was used to that, but now I must admit that I crave my wife's cooking after a day or so.

Now, I am hiding out at home. It is nice to be alone to go through old photos, re-visit journals I wrote so many years ago, and to imbibe as I see fit. The photo above was from a trip to London way back in 1996. It was my first trip from Japan to Europe. I just walked around and shot film, mostly color slides. I dig the car because it seems to be something really special, but it is hidden. That is my hope for August.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summertime part 2

A long time ago, during a summer when I was in high school, I met the tune Summertime. My Uncle Josh had made a mixed tape that had the Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong version from Porgy and Bess.

The song's lesson has finally been learned. Summertime is when the living should be easy. That is my plan for the next two months. Wish me well.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Desire Lines

Landscape designers and urban planners use the term 'desire line' to describe a path that naturally occurs from pedestrians taking shortcuts from the paths that were originally designed. The paths show that the user's experience with something may reveal shortcomings of plans or lead to ways to improve the design. It is not exactly the same to apply this term to how people navigate snow, since in many cases they are just following in others footsteps to avoid getting wet, not necessarily to take a short cut. Look at this scene from my window, however, reminded me of desire lines.

A fundamental component of desire lines is, of course, that one knows where they are going. That has been my struggle the past few weeks. I have a few ideas, but not sure on how to plan the summer vacation, which starts soon. Unlike post-grad studies, with an advisor to keep me on track, I sometimes feel like I am looking for a desire line without clarity of destination.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Act as though you are already happy and that will tend to make you happy.
-- George Carnegie 

Perhaps for the first time, I have no answer when people ask me what my plans are for summer vacation. I really wasn't planning on taking a vacation and just thought I would plow through and try to get work done on my research project. Maybe a few trips within Japan to collect data, and possibly a conference in Tokyo. Before I actually traveled much for work, I used to think that taking business trips would be fun. It really isn't that great, and I find that the actual act of traveling - waiting for trains to come, finding a hotel, packing a bag - are a burden now that I am a middle-aged old fart.

Maybe all I really need are a few days of solitude with some good novels. I remember one of the best summers of my life was at the New Jersey shore. I worked at a pizza place and in my free time I sat on the beach or on the couch in the place I stayed and I read a whole mess of novels. The house had a bookcase filled with orphaned books from past summers. I remember reading Catcher in the Rye, Catch-22, Still Life with Woodpecker, Hemmingway's Nick Adam's short stories, three or four Vonnegut books, and some Kipling, Steinbeck, and Faulkner. They were all good classic summer reading list type of stuff that prep schools usually assigned. We never turned on the TV and I only occasionally checked the baseball standings in the newspaper. I was happy not really knowing what was going on in the world, unlike now-a-days. I really wish I could just not look at a computer for a few weeks.

My hope for this summer is to have many small things to make me smile. Not trying to hit a homer of happiness, just to get on base and enjoy the game. As the song goes, summertime and the living is easy.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Shop sign, Kanazawa, 2016

A long time ago, I used to sign off on any personal correspondence with the phrase, "Ok then." I picked it up from watching the Cohen Brothers' movie Raising Arizona. Over the past few years, it seems like nobody personally corresponds anymore, so I kind of forgot about it until reflecting on some things this morning.

Thinking back on my week, I feel like I grew wiser in some way. Maybe it was just clearing out a lot of old no-longer-relevent thoughts that were clogging up my works. Not saying that I have become one with the universe or reached some great enlightenment, it is just a feeling that being just OK with life is a pretty good goal sometimes. Many of my frustrations in the past have been rooted in the idea that just being average is failure. This may be why I stopped writing here on this blog for a while, or why I put my photography on hold. I was afraid to post photos that were not masterpieces and overly self-conscious about my writing. Maybe two and a half years of working on my post-grad degree dulled my creative edge, since it took most of my energy and time and humbled me with each assigned paper.

But, I am proud to report that I stayed on track with my goal of finishing the degree on schedule. That means it is time to let go of the I'm-so-busy card whenever I feel like taking photos or writing just for fun. Just getting thoughts out there, and out of my head, is good for my soul. A thousand pardons if you are expecting something special here with each post, but hopefully you will see some OK stuff.

Ok then.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Second Time In Dublin

Dublin, February, 2017

I have noticed that I am getting hits from Ireland more often these days. Maybe it has something to do with my very short visit to Dublin for a conference back in February. I really didn't have any time to get into the zone to make good photos, and I only brought my old little Richoh GR digital pocket camera. I wanted to travel light, and with all the Guinness flowing around, I didn't want to be responsible for a bag of camera gear.

The above shot of The Temple Bar was the only decent snap I made. It is way too much of a tourist icon to really be interesting, or at least from my perspective. But then again, I remember when I first saw this pub back in the 90s when I visited Dublin for the first time, I thought I had discovered it. Back then I went in and had a few pints. This time I just took a photo and had a few much more cheaper pints at another pub.

The one evening I went out with fellow conference attendees was good fun. The Irish guys I hung out with were about my same age and it really felt like they could have been my cousins. We were totally in sync with each other as far as our sense of humor was concerned and we spent the whole evening talking about much better things than language teaching. It was a good night. Despite the nasty hangover the next morning and the fact that my overcoat lost a button, I managed to get up the next morning and to the conference in time. On my way there, passing the pub where I was the night before, I found my missing button on the sidewalk. I take that for a good omen that I will get back to Dublin for a third time someday. Until then, my brothers.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I am what I am

NYC, circa 2005

I guess I should be thankful that the gods have kept me in line as of late. It is not really a straight line, but at least I occasionally feel like I am getting somewhere. Or to be even more vague with a  dash of double negative, I feel like at least I am not going nowhere. I am blaming outside forces less often these days, heading Epictetus' words, "If any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reasons of himself alone". 

For the most part, I can usually meet the expectations that other have of me. The secret of this, of course, is humility, and to keep things real. I do not try to impress anymore. Not sure if this is good or bad, or just a sign of the beginning of the end of my middle age crisis.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fly Away

When the shadows of this life are gone,
I'll fly away.
Like a bird from prison bars has flown
I'll fly away.

From the song I'll Fly Away, Alfred Brumley 

The rainy season is a bit timid this year, but it has arrived as it always does. I am trying to avoid using the air conditioner, despite the humidity. Once you get used to a cool office, going outside is harder to deal with.

Coming to work this morning, I listened to the song I'll Fly Away, which is on the O' Brother Where Art Thou movie soundtrack. What a great song. I was early and nobody was around, so I sung it to myself walking across campus. I am in no way comparing my office to prison - I am happy to be working here - just making the observation that our personal and professional obligations can sometimes lock us in to routines. It has been a while since I really took a vacation on my own and I think I am due. I promise to fly back, but I hope to flap my wings a bit this summer

Here is the song in case you're interested

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shutting windows

Last night I was out walking with the camera and managed to make this photo of a sushi place close to the Saigawa bridge. I remember when the shop was under different ownership many years ago, it was a restaurant that served a wider variety of local food, especially crab and sashimi dishes. You can't see it in this photo, but the old owners ran a larger place next door that was more for banquets. The rehearsal dinner for my wedding was held there.

I saw the open window and was planning on taking a photo of just the building when the woman walked into the frame to shut the screen. Having a figure makes it a much better photo, so I guess I was lucky. It reminded me that you have to get out there to make luck. I think it has inspired me a bit to get back into a routine of walking, which may turn into more blog posts. Well see.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Early Cabin Fever

Kanazawa' winter has finally showed its true character, after it was a bit of a tease in the beginning of the season. My cabin fever has not yet boiled over, but I am getting slightly restless from being stuck in either my office, the classroom, or home.

This is my 50th winter on this earth, my 23rd in Kanazawa, and my second with my current position at the university. Classes are still in session, but there is a feeling in the air that the school year is fading fast. There will be lose ends to tidy up, grades to finalize and submit, entrance examinations, and other things, but I should be able to decompress in March and enjoy both my personal and work-related projects. I prefer not to blabber on about work here on my blog, but for personal projects, I want to get to work on some kind of book of stories and photographs. I fear that all of my black and white negatives are vulnerable to mold and mildew or even fire or earthquakes. If I can systematically go through all of them, organize them into chapters, and write a bit about where my head was at when I took them, maybe I can create something that will last longer than the actually negatives. It sounds like a big project, but I can do it in small bits and decide my own pace, and I really don't need any money to get it going.

Above all, I want to create something that stands on its own and doesn't get scared by any attachment to my own identity. I am old enough to know who I am, and I will judge myself from here on out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dispatch from Palookaville

The past few months have been taxing and I spent most of the summer and fall trying to tame the monstrosity that my dissertation has become. I am past my 15,000 words limit, but there are still loads of loose ends that need to be tidied up. I hope to have a nice sparkling draft by the end of December. Hopefully, I can be reborn in 2017, the year of the rooster. Cock-a-doodle-do, baby.

Sitting on my ass in front of a computer has, at times, made me feel like my roots are extending a bit deeper into the quicksand of Palookaville. Photography, creative writing, gardening, rugby, and just about anything else I used to enjoy, has been mothballed. I hope that when I finally do get back to pursuing them that my soul will be intact. I have faded a bit, but I am still hanging on, waiting for the chance to make life work...or life-work...which for me has always been the same. It is not about who people think you are, it is about what you think you can do...and what you make is the final measure. The past year or so for me showed me that I can produce a good deal if I put my mind to it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Get Behind the Mule

Kanazawa, circa 2012

Today marks a full year of my full-time position. I have worked hard, and been lucky, and can honestly say that things are going well. Hopefully, after submitting my thesis at the end of the year, I will be able to slow down and make more time for stuff outside of work.

Physically, this past year has taken a toll on me. Sitting in front of a computer most of the day is not good for me, and especially when I am writing something, I tend to inhale snacks. It is a slow decline, but I noticed without the safety of a sweater to cover up, my belly pokes out a bit.

Mentally, I am all right. Making the transition was a little difficult at first, and it was hard to get a sense of my professional identity and the role I was expected to play. The euphoria of being selected for the position evaporated when I learned that being accepted into the small-culture of an academic department takes a little bit more time than I had thought. I think I have done well to stay clear of the politics, but maybe that is because I have been so busy sitting at my computer inhaling snacks. There is some stress, especially with research, but nothing that serious.

Creatively, I feel a bit empty. I am still not really comfortable with digital photography, although I do feel it is probably worth pursuing. The daily walks I used to take with my film camera are no longer possible due to work hours. The time to write anything other than academic stuff for work also became scarce. My only worry is that I will lose my soul and become a has-been, even though I never really arrived anywhere in the first place. For now, I am still holding on to the dream that the thousands and thousands of exposures I have made over the past 20 years, now all packed up in stacks of boxes, will someday yield something artistically valuable or at least be able to document the sentiment of honest creativity that I think I used to have.

No matter what, I am moving and not stuck in any ruts. I have come a long way in the past five years or so, and I know that if I keep getting behind the mule in the morning, the fields will get plowed.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

50 Years

July, 1966, Philadelphia

Last month I turned 50. To be honest, I wanted to do something memorable and thought of having a  big show of photos, with me and my old blues band playing at the opening. I also entertained the idea of putting together some kind of book of 50 photos and 50 stories. But in the end, I just had cake with my family. And, that was just fine.

As a present, my family in the states all pitched in and bought a watch for me. It is a self-winder, but very subtle and classy. Last thing I need is a big power watch on my scrawny wrist. I am not really a material-guy, but I admit that I like the watch for two reasons. One, when I look at it, it reminds me of my family and how much they cheer for me despite that I have not made the best effort to stay in touch over the past few years. The other reason is that the watch has no batteries, it gets its power from the simple fact that I keep moving. That has been my creed for a while, just keep moving. Get up and get working on something. Keep going, the gears will turn.

I had also hoped that I could write some masterpiece blog post, that would reflect on the past 50 years, but, hell, that's a lot of reflecting. All I will say is that along my path there has been a few rough stretches, and once or twice I got lost in the jungle not really knowing where I was, but they are nothing compared to all the great things I have experienced. My life, so far, has not been boring, and even though I am a bit tethered at the moment, trying to get a grip on some new responsibilities, I know that even greater things are coming. That is, if I just keep moving.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Family-Work Balance

As much as I hate to admit it, I have been spending too much time with work Not really on purpose, but out of survival. Teaching is no problem, but  the research side of my position is something that has required a bit more time in the office than I have been used to.

Sometimes I wonder if I really have a good balance with my other job, being a father-husband. I used to have so much time to play catch, take care of the garden, take day trips, have picnics, and just plain hang out. My wife and son are cheering for me, and that keeps me going, but I hope that I can get back to really letting go of work when I am not on campus.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Grace of Spring

Nishi Chaya-gai, Kanazawa. Spring, 2016

I have had an incredible Spring so far and good things just keep coming out of the blue. Not exactly sure what to call it. Karma? Grace? Luck? Shedding the final layer of my mid-life crisis? Whatever it is, I finally feel that I have arrived somewhere. Don't ask me where, though. I am seasoned enough to know that I have only reached a plateau and not the summit. I still have to keep on going, but I am less concerned with what is above or below me, and I am content to enjoy the climb.

For the next three years or so, my goal is to find a way to link art-craft-design with applied linguistics and language learning. I always thought that teaching English was my job and photography was my island of solitude for recreation. Now I am starting to feel that I can mix the two, or at least hang out with creative people and develop ways to teach English as a second language.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Kanazawa, dezomeshiki, 2016

Even though this the event was around New Years, I  just printed it today. The firemen celebrate by shooting their hoses in the air. Years ago they used to do this in the Saigawa river, now it is done on the lower grounds of Kanazawa Castle. The guys with the hoses are dressed only in loin cloths, and the trucks in the foreground are sucking water out of the pond.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi

Antique paper, rubber stamps, ink. 2007

I have had an excellent week. That's all for now. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lucky Rabbit

There is an out-of-business liquor shop in Kanazawa that has this cute mother rabbit painted on its rusty shutter. I have photographed it before in b&w, and was passing by it the other day and took the photo above. One the walk home, I think the rabbit made me think about a few things.

My creativity is fading and rusting, probably due to my responsibilities of work and post-graduate studies. Maybe this is a good thing, and a slow decline can bring me down to earth so I can start over and move on to something that will bring satisfaction. There was a time when I thought that recognition of my photography would give me that satisfaction, but I have learned that the only meaningful validation can only come from with in me, and not from the approval of others. Getting recognition, requires self-promotion, which is something that I lack the stomach for.

The rabbit also reminded me of somebody I respect who considers a rabbit spotting to be a sign of good luck. I am hoping this works for me, even if it is old and rusty good luck...I'll take it. I need all the luck I can get.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Rusty Tears

Cortona, Italy 1998

Rusty Tears

M.H. Inchiki
(roughly translated)

The gold stars left me
and the dragon lady
moved in quickly.
I try to hide
my soul
in the backyard shed
but the
metalic roof
that land in my hair
and roll down
my cheeks
until they reach my lips.
The rust tastes
just like blood.
I feel

The Laughing Heart

The Laughing Heart
Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed 
into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Now that I have finally submitted the academic paper that has dogged me for the past six weeks, I thought I would write just for the fun of it. The Bukowski poem has been on my mind, and I wonder how many more chances the gods will offer me. I have been lucky so far, and am, as Bukowski says, beating death in life more often than not.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


In front of Kenrokuen, late winter. Circa 2013.

The cherry (sakura) tree in the photo above is probably close to 100 years old. Maybe its roots are boxed in by a stone wall, or the branches have been sawed off for the public's good or safety, but it is still growing and gloriously being what it was meant to be. The very early buds were covered with snow, it was not in bloom yet, it can do much better.

That is how I feel recently. I am growing (although not always 'glorious') despite the stone walls, the necessary pruning, and occasional branch that the wind or the weight of the snow breaks off. And, if I may say so while retaining some humility, I can...and will.. do better. Just wait and see.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kingston MInes, Chicago

Winter, mild until a few days ago, is here with an attitude. Snow dumped and the temperatures dropped to the minus range. The weekend was too cold to really go out and do anything, which activated my annual case of cabin fever. I had hoped to get to the darkroom and work on some prints, but that would have involved digging the car out and then going to a freezing cold, dark, concrete room and hoping that my photographic chemicals would be warm enough to function. But, I stayed home and watch cartoons with my son and took a cat nap.

I did shift through some old prints and came across this one. I took it at the Kingston Mines Club on the North Side of Chicago, probably in 1999 or 2000. I think the guy was just jamming for an open mic song or two, since I only had a few shot of him. If was a regular in a band, I probably would have had more.

I dig his eye light. I would like to think that he is just playing rhythm and supporting the band, but he could have been soloing. I can't remember. In life in general, I used to always hope for the spotlight that the solo calls for, but my mid-life groove seems to be rooted in just keeping time and being on the backside of the stage. No more need to show off.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Kenyatta Beasly, at Big Apple in Nonoichi

verb [I]: to continue to have a lasting effect or value.

Happy New Year. Now that we are five days into 2016, I had best try to take a look back at 2015 before it slips away.

What truly resonates with me is the experience of interacting with several professional Jazz musicians and educators from New York at the Nonoichi Big Apple event. I was asked to interpret for one of the workshops. I agreed, thinking that it would just be some one-on-one stuff, which I can generally handle, especially in informal situations. Later, I heard from a few people, that it required interpreting musical terminology and instruction in front of a large crowd. This made me a bit anxious, and fortunately I was able to get somebody to assist me, Sasha, a university sophomore, who I have known since she was (literally) a baby. Actually, she totally saved me, and did more than help, she took over and was absolutely incredible.

At the time, I was embarrassed that I couldn’t really do what others expected of me. My confidence crumbled and my “failure” resonated for a week or so after the event. Even though I never stated that I was a professional or even competent interpreter, I still felt like I completely bombed.

However, looking back on that day, I can now understand that I contributed to the success of the workshop. The organizers needed somebody so they asked me. Even if I had tried to slug it out on my own, I would have had no choice but to do the best I could. It would have been ugly, but it would have been better than nothing, which is what the organizers were faced with. I had the sense to ask somebody to help me, and that made the big difference. Because of me, not despite of me, the guys from New York got a top rate interpreter and the participants in the workshop benefited. As time went by, I transcended the personal let down and could see that the I didn't really let anybody down.

 Dezron Douglas, at Big Apple in Nonoichi

What also resonates from that day is when I was walking out on to the stage from the dressing rooms. The workshop leader, trumpet player Kenyatta Beasley, was beside me and I confessed to him that I was a bit nervous. He looked at me said, “Yeah, me too”. We strolled out on the stage and there was a high school jazz orchestra, and of course they were nervous, especially their teacher. Everybody was hoping to live up to what was expected of them. Despite this, the workshop got going and nobody fell on their face.

During the break, Kenyata and I talked some more. He told me about his experience of starting teaching as an associate professor. He mentioned that at times he felt almost like a fraud, and that his confidence was not always there. This surprised me since Kenyatta was so articulate, confident, smooth, and (please forgive the trite adjective used for jazz) downright cool.  Matter of fact, all the New York musicians participating in the event, had true grace. There was no pretentious vibes of any sorts. But what I got from Kenyatta was that everybody (even very cool people) gets anxious when they walk on the thin ice of the outer limits of their confidence zone.

There was a jam session at the end of the workshop, and even though I tried to hide, I was just about pushed on stage to sing. It has been years since I sang in front of folks. Luckily it was 3-chord blues, not really in my favorite key, but I was able just belt out "Baby! Baby!" and almost got into a groove. Later the bass player, Dezron Douglas slapped my back and (in a friendly way) imitated my "Baby!" line and told me I had put some feeling into it. That compliment still resonates, and it made me think how just a few kind words from somebody you respect can really have meaning, even if he was just being nice.

The chord struck by the Big Apple brings a message that being nervous and feeling at times like you are not what others think you are is nothing to beat yourself up about. Do your best, know when to ask for help, and always put you true feelings into your work...Oh, and be cool when you can.

Photos from 35mm film negative contact prints. Haven"t had much time to get to the darkroom.