Friday, August 31, 2007

Kyoko , Chris and Pumpkin

Kyoko and her plate of unfinished fries.

This blog entry is dedicated to all those people (and there are a lot) that have put up with my blabbing when I've been sick, felt depressed, angry, confused, stupefied. You all know who you are. So thanks.

Chris, Kyoko, and Pumpkin let me vent.

Pumpkin in the the super cat flying position.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Last BBQ of the Summer

Yum... cooking meat.

Dominic, a photographer I had met at Maro shooting the Jason Meyer fashion show last year (click here), suggested a bunch of us meet up at the park and have a barbecue picnic. Since none of us work 9 to 5 or regular hour jobs we could all meet up on a weekday when the beach/park traffic was low.

Not to rub our fun times into the faces of people that do have "regular" hours but here are some pictures...

The bunch of us picnicing.

Eve and Guiliano posing on the Beach

Dominc sits on comparing camera features.

Our POV of the city with the tons of birds.

Monday, August 27, 2007

If I had a Nickel...

The Hooters restaurant in Barrie

If I had a nickel for every time I screwed up with a member of the opposite sex... actually not to brag but I wouldn't have that many nickels, under a dollar anyway. It's the nice guy combined with the lack of dating numerous women that keeps my nickel count low. As they say it's not the quantity but the quality.

A few pretty large screw ups where the girl is angry at me for days as opposed to something small like "Whoops, I left the toilet seat up.", although that can really anger the female species. Especially when they sit down in the middle of the night half tired on the toilet sans seat. There are few things that scream "You don't care" and a seat left in the upright position in one of them. It's worse if earlier, just before she sat down, you peed and missed the bowl because you were too lazy to turn ion the lights to aim. (not that I've done that - just a worse case scenario I've overheard from some of my female friends).

Turning mole hills into mountains? Perhaps. When you let down someone you really like everything seems amplified. It's like you have to multiply your normal amount of guilt times ten. So to commemorate this week's big screw up, which I still don't know the cause of, I decided to see the big nickel in Sudbury.

With a whirlwind of photo ops behind me and a long week of nothing in front of me, rather than staying at home brooding and focusing on finding what I did to upset the girl I decided I'd go for a drive. The farther away the better. Not so much to distance myself from the girl but to spend more time behind the wheel travelling to let my head clear.

The idea of driving to the big nickel came to me months ago. It was one of those "Hey, it would be cool to see the big nickel.". That was it. Just popped in there. I had even asked the girl if she wanted to go but she was pretty against the idea with the attitude of "been there, done that". Even my father said I was crazy for wanting to go, saying it was a waste of time and money. He then added that if I did go, to take a picture from the highway and keep on driving (thus saving money for parking).

I decided I'd take the trip by myself. When the idea popped into my head I hadn't planned a specific date, only that it would happen sometime in the near future. Today would be that day. I still had the rental car from the weekend of going to Hamilton and I could travel another 900 km before being charged more money.

Last night, after the dance club, a bunch of us went out for a late night dinner. It was there that I blabbed that I was going to take this trip. Ted, a relatively new Ontario resident, seemed eager to take the drive with me. He had never seen or been that far north and wanted to see the small rural towns. On top of that he was willing to pitch in for gas. Sounded good to me.

The day started pretty late. The partying and eating out late the night before meant that I didn't get going until about 3pm. That meant by the time I was alert and functioning and in the car I'd be picking up Ted during rush hour. It was around 5pm by the time I actually had the car in front of his apartment.

Once Ted was in the car the first order of business was to drop off some wedding photos I took a year ago to Steve. He lives some place in north Toronto. You can get there by public transit but it's far from where I live. It was another reason I rented the car this weekend, travelling to Hamilton and so I didn't have to schlep over to Steve's place on a bus.

Once the package of DVDs were stuffed into his mailbox we travelled to a nearby gas station to pick up a current Ontario map and some snacks. At the CoffeeTime located next door we plotted our route while eating some pre-travel food. I suppose this would have been my breakfast.

Ted soaks up the atmosphere.

Five hours later we were in Barrie taking photos next to a water tower (with large Barrie letters on it), a gas station and a Canadian Tire. Originally, I wanted to get a map of Barrie and fill the tank up with gas. That's why we were in the parking lot . It was there during a conversation with Ted that I remembered the girl that was originally slated to model for the Monster Records shoot was from Barrie... and she worked at a Hooters (see Jessica).

Ted with Stephanie, our waitress

The thought of the honey garlic chicken made me hungry. I proposed the idea to Ted. I thought it was odd that he was actually interested. I even warned him that most of the food wasn't that great. When we drove up to the drive way he had noticed the neon palm trees. There was no turning back.

Our waitress, Stephanie, was pretty friendly and a great sport allowing me to take a picture of her with Ted. As a general note to readers, Hooters is not a vegetarian friendly restaurant. This made it a bit difficult for Ted to eat there. I, on the other hand, had ordered the all you can eat honey garlic chicken special (for only $10.00). In the end I only ate one plate full, I didn't want to stuff myself so much that I'd fall asleep at the wheel while driving.

Our bill... with hearts!

About an hour later we stopped to get some gas. In Barrie, even though we stopped at a parking lot next to a gas station I didn't put any gas in the tank. I think the thought of eating honey garlic chicken distracted me. Just off the highway there was a service center with a Tim Horton's. We parked near a Gold Wing.

Somewhere between Barrie and Sudbury at a gas station

Since Ted and I decided to get our motorcycle licenses I'd been checking out motorcycles more. Seeing the varying sizes, imagining the handling, gas efficiency and if I could wipe out without the bike crushing me or getting in my way while trying to jump out of the way of a car.'s the Georgian Bay visitor's centre...

Inside the large but empty highway rest stop, we noticed a travel center. More like a travel nook. It was closed but had literature about the surrounding area in some stands out front. One sign in particular struck my eye. It was for the Bobby Orr museum. Now there was a name from the past. Number four, Bobby Orr. Played for the Boston Bruins way back in the 70s when I used to watch the game on a regular basis with the family.

...with a contest for the Bobby Orr hall of fame.

Just outside Sudbury we stopped at a motel to get some sleep. Ted thought I was driving with slower than usual response times and felt that I should stop and rest. The guy at the check in counter was watching Star Trek. He told us the rate for a room with a single king size bed was $75 and a room with two smaller beds was $73. I thought it was odd that the one bed option was more expensive. Wouldn't it be more work to change two beds instead of one?

The motel just outside Sudbury.

I personally don't remember sleeping but Ted told me that I was blabbing in my sleep. He could hear me from his bed. I asked him what I was saying but he could only make out a name and some incoherent mumbling. We woke up at around 9:00am, got in the car and continued the drive to Sudbury.

For some reason when in Sudbury I thought that we could find the big nickel by just driving around and maybe seeing it sticking out of a hill or something. We even stopped next to some train tracks to look around. Nothing. Not seeing the big nickel was like not having a lobster restaurant on every corner when visiting Halifax, another Canadian travel expectation ruined.

Ted and I at the train tracks... where I'm looking for the big nickel.

We ended up at a Tim Horton's where Ted asked for directions. Turns out we were pretty close. A few minutes later and I was paying for parking. Note to Dad: It wasn't that much. Only four dollars.

The Big Nickel... at last.

The back of the big nickel.

Ted and me for scale with the big nickel in the background

I took a few pictures. Some from the front of the nickel and some of the back. I then took a few pictures with me and Ted standing with the nickel in the BG, including the panoramic shot above (click on it for bigger version).

We then got back into the car and drove back to Toronto.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

80s Music

Dance floor at Zippers

To round off my weekend of distractions I found myself with Juliet (editor of, Dominic (photographer) and Ted at a dance club celebrating a birthday. I'm not a regular clubber so usually the only time I go to dance clubs these days is to shoot something. Tonight finding myself near a dance floor with no specific photo mission seemed strange.

It was 80s night. The songs were recognizable but somehow different. It took a while but I figured it out. All the songs we were listening to were extended versions of the ones heard on the radio (back in the 80s). The atmosphere on the dance floor was happy dance music which contrasted sharply to the gloomy Elton John music someone at a piano was playing in the front room where the bar was.

Ted, the dancing machine disappeared into the darkness while I stood off to the side talking to Juliet. "Surrounded by water and nothing to drink." she quipped. I looked around at all the well groomed, physically fit guys and thought to myself I wonder if I stood out as a hetrosexual with my gut and my bad shrub like hair which I noticed I hadn't gotten cut for a few weeks prior to getting sick. Then there were the shoes. I was wearing old beat up sneakers. Looking at other people's feet I noticed a floor of dress shoes. Not an easy thing to notice in a dark environment and not something I would generally pay attention to if it weren't for Juliet pointing down at the floor.

Something else that got my attention were two women that night. The first, a blond girl with a plain black dress and yellow shoes with speckles on them. The speckles reminded me of those sprinkles you'd top a muffin with in the shape and color. Even in the darkness of the room she seemed fairly attractive. I commented on her shoes telling her I liked them. She smiled while launching her leg into my arms so I could gt a closer look at her foot wear. Her leg was firm, silky smooth, and incredible. Oh, and she had nice shoes.

Holding her leg made me forget how it got there in the first place. The first thought was to tell her I was straight but the idea was axed when the image of her freaking out and me receiving a face slap came to mind. I muttered something I'm sure was incoherent like "Thanks, you really do have great shoes.". While bringing her leg back down to the ground she flashed me her perfect smile (she had immaculate teeth), turned and danced away into the crowd.

The second girl, a curly haired brunette, I met while dancing. She danced towards me with her hand pumping in the air like she was hailing a cab to the music. Making her way from the other side of the room to me, she asked if I could buy her a drink. Before I could say "No", because I wasn't as interested in her as the shoe girl, Ted pushed a $10 bill into my hand and pushed us both toward the bar counter. I bought her a beer.

She started talking to me but I couldn't hear her over the music and by this point I really didn't want to talk to her but I didn't want to be rude either. A light bulb went off and I said "Did you see where that guy went to? The guy that we were dancing in front of before getting the beer?" (I was referring to Ted). She smiled and pointed "I think he danced that way. Good luck.". I returned with "Enjoy your beer. Nice meeting you... and thanks.". I had managed to detach myself from her without any insult. Woo hoo!

When we left the club I felt a bit bad for deceiving the two girls but Juliet had convinced me that it was probably the right thing to do rather than to have one girl freaking out and another girl feeling bad about herself (worse case scenarios).

Cruisin' on a sunday afternoon

Playing air guitar to the Rolling Stones.

Today marked the last boat cruise of the season. This particular cruise took place on the Capt. Flinders, a three story ship, with a dance floor, a floor for food, and a upper deck for sunning and more dancing. Crammed with people having fun and good music the Capt. would float around the Toronto Islands, criss crossing the Toronto harbour for about four to five hours.

Even with six hours of sleep I still felt a bit tired, most likely from the lack of sleep during the past week. It was starting to catch up to me. I was like a zombie getting down to the docks. A bit dubious with regard to the weather, I thought it was going to rain. Heavy grey clouds filled the sky with no trace of sun.

Arriving a bit early I stopped to get a hot dog from the local vendor and by the time I inhaled the food and started walking up the gang plank the sky had gotten a bit clearer. It was still overcast but the heavier clouds had been replaced by wispier ones. This made for great lighting. No harsh shadows and a nice background with a lot of texture.

Fashion designer Lisa and model Sam on the bow listening to tunes.

One comment I seem to get a lot of when shooting events like this is "You're one lucky guy... What an easy profession... shooting half naked girls/women all day!". While shooting half naked women is a nice distraction my mind was still fixated on the odd email I received from the girl a couple of days ago.

Had I done something wrong? Of course I had. The only problem was figuring out what that was. I hadn't gotten any follow up correspondence so it was pretty obvious that the girl didn't want to talk about it. As a general rule of communication this is usually a bad sign. Then again it could be her email was down. No, I don't believe in coincidences. I wanted desperately to call her to sort things out but my voice was still in pretty bad shape.

I thought about calling her with the computer using the text to voice option. But who wants to be called by a guy that sounds like Stephen Hawking? My voice inflections wouldn't be there and the end result would be just like emailing, provided the girl had the patience to stay on the phone to listen and not think it was a crank call. As a result I was left in the dark going through a variety of worse case scenarios in my head.

As unhealthy as it is to focus on the negative and things that I couldn't act on without more information, I found myself back stepping through the last few days trying to deconstruct the events in where the results ended up being as spectacularly confounding as this. What "butterfly"1 had I stepped on in the past to create this situation?

As a kid, touching a set car lighter, or licking that frozen pipe, there's a simple action associated with bad consequences. Once figured out that A causes B you can say "Well that was dumb, I'll never do that again.". You've identified the bad action, A. It's easy to then avoid the negative consequences, B.

With women, in case you didn't know already, this is vastly different. Things can be going well, then, poof, at some random point in time everything is seriously wrong. What happened? I wonder if they just do that to keep you on your toes? Whatever the case may be finding that trigger action isn't always so easy. It may be a number of parameters that when combined in a specific order create the unhappy end results. I was still trying to figure out how anyone could get into so much trouble with someone without the ability to speak.

Between the lack of sleep the night before and the email enigma I felt pretty wiped out shooting on the cruise. It was like I was on automatic. Happy couple [click], girl dancing [click], friends drinking [click], people smiling [click], girl in bikini [click], guy drinking shot off girl's chest [click], girls rubbing sun tan oil all over each other [click]. It was all a big fat blur.

The SXE FX designs logo and also a gratuitous butt shot.

At one point I remember talking to Lisa about her swimsuit designs. Lisa is a designer and owner of SXE FX who I met through Andrew (fashion designer) Majtenyi. She was showing me her label which was on Sam's butt at the time. This took my mind off the odd email for a few minutes. My plan of keeping busy over the weekend to distract me from my current affairs was starting to take hold.

1 Ray Bradbury reference from "A Sound of Thunder"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Last bout of the season

The Hamilton City Roller Girls with dramatic lighting

I woke up pretty late today. Kind of understandable as I really haven't had a lot of sleep these last few days. I managed to get up with just enough time to drive off to Hamilton for the last Hamilton City Roller Girls bout of the season, The Steel Tank Girls versus the Hamilton Harlots.

In past games I' always thought the light levels were too low so this time I brought my studio flash, the Visatek solo 1600 B. I had bought it at downtown camera back when I had money on the advice that it could light an entire dance club if need be. Over the course of owning it I've been using it for studio shoots and have found it has been more than adequate in the lighting department and until today never had to use it on full power.

Miss Carriage of the Steel Tank Girls

I placed it in the media booth next to the videographers above the rink. Wow, what a difference it made in shooting. The flash is color timed at daylight (when used with a nikon camera). The photos turned out great allowing me to freeze the action while using ISO 200 (for past bouts without the flash I'd shoot using 1600, the photos were often grainy).

The main problem was the recycle time was too slow. While great for model shoots for sport type action I couldn't fire off a series of photos in succession. This meant I had to pick the best time to shoot and hope that was the best action shot in that time period. Pretty much what I do anyways but every now and then I'd get lucky with shooting the extra shots. Shooting roller derby is pretty much pot luck as you always hope that the girls will wipe out in front of you and not on the other side of the rink.

B.J. Hooker of the Hamilton Harlots

As with any type of genre in photography I'd like to experiment more. Unfortunately I'll have to wait until next season to do so. Perhaps by then I'll be able to get another studio flash.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Things to do when running on empty

The corner of Gerrard and Coxwell at 6:00am.

I woke up pretty early this morning at around 4:00 am. Three hours earlier I had gotten home from doing a twelve hour shift plus one hour for lunch, a total of thirteen hours. I was on set with no sleep from the the night before (see previous post). I was pretty tired.

I woke up tired to a binging of my computer. I had an email from the girl. It didn't help. I was still pretty clueless as to what was going on. My voice was completely non-existent. The sounds coming out, if I could make any, sounded like a crow "caa"ing. By around 6am I managed to cough out some crap stuck in my throat and managed to speak.

It wasn't great speech but it was enough to order a breakfast special from across the street at the local new family restaurant. Still trying to work out the girl problems in my head, I inhaled breakfast while reading the morning newspaper.

What was left over from breakfast when I decided to pull out the camera.

I had two things on my list of to dos today. 1) was to burn a photo CD of the Indigo job and deliver it, and 2) was to drop off a bag of socks with holes to Robin.

The Concrete Beach

After burning the photos onto a DVD, I made my way over to drop them off near the harbourfront. It was a bad day to wear black long pants. It was so hot. After checking off the delivery from my list I wondered around the water front for a bit then decided I would rather be back home in air conditioning sleeping.

I slept for a solid four and a half hours then woke up to pick up the rental car for the weekend. I needed it to drop off more photo DVDs up in north Toronto and drive out to Hamilton tomorrow. From the car rental place I dropped off the bag of socks to Robin, picked her up, drove over to Ted's, picked him up, then drove over to meet up with Colin for dinner.

The three of us ended up eating at Spring Rolls, a Thai restaurant located near Colin's place. Not wanting to stew alone at home I offered Ted and Robin to go out for a drive. We ended up in Mississauga for ice cream, then from there went to a roller rink.

Dairy Cream

The roller rink had a bunch of youths milling around the entrance. We I walked up to the door to enter a large bouncer stopped me from opening the door by waving his hand and shaking his head. As he was pretty large and mean looking I backed slowly away and got into the car and drove off.

We ended up on the mark-goodman trail in the west end of the city stopping at a playground and walking the trail for a bit.

A large glowing star fish

Robin and The Sea

West end boardwalk

See saw at night

Ted on the see saw rodeo

Me on the swing

Robin swings...

...then demonstrates her upside down technique

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Things you notice early in the morning

The new packaging of lifesavers holds more than the older one.

I didn't get any sleep last night. I have been on the X-shift1 all this week and had to flip it around in order to get to work for 10:30 am. For me to do that, I had to wake up at 7:30am, get dressed/shower, ride the TTC to Kipling and from there take a twenty dollar cab ride to the ReGenesis studios.

I had originally got into bed with that intention at 11:30pm. The hours ticked by. I found myself looking up at the ceiling not being able to fall asleep. My brain was going crazy trying to figure out what was going on with this girl. A received a bunch of emails that seemed out of character. Having no voice I couldn't phone her. This laryngitis thing is really getting to me. I emailed her back. But with email the person will get to it when they get to it.

1:00 am. I decided I couldn't sleep so I got up to watch an episode of the Rockford files. 2:00 am. Trying to get to sleep. 3 am. Still looking at the ceiling. At around 5:00am it didn't look like I was going to get any sleep so I stayed up for the rest of the morning. I wasn't looking forward to going to work but I thought maybe I could catch a couple of "Z"s on the subway.

On the way to work I purchased a roll of lifesavers to add to my stash in my camera bag. That's when I noticed the new one was larger than the old one. I never got a chance to go to sleep as I had to stand on train for most of the way.

to be continued...

1 X-shift - years ago I worked on the X-Shift while coloring in McHale's Navy. It was a shift that started at midnight and went until 8am.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A bird in the hand is better than a bird pooping on the head.

A very brave, but ratty, pigeon eats the last of my hot dog.

After a quick visit to Monster Records, I went tot he corner of Yonge and Bloor to grab a sausage on a bun. I had about twenty minutes before heading over to Indigo to shoot some authors of "The Secret".

I sat and ate on a bench in front of the Hudson's Bay store. My "street meat" consisted of a spicy italian sausage on a bun loaded with onions, red peppers, mustard, and corn relish (it must have corn relish) in case anyone is interested in buying me a cheap meal in the future. Hint, hint.

While feasting some local pigeons started to swoop in and hover in front of my face. Literally within centimeters from my hot dog. By the time I ate to the end of the bun I decided to take the opportunity to take a photo using the last crumb as a lure.

ps. My vocal cords are still shot.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I am not an opera singer...

The walk-in clinic at the Atrium on Bay and Dundas... OPEN!!!

Over the course of yesterday and today I had visited five walk-in clinics only to have found that they moved, were closed, or were still closed (false advertising on their hours). Thanks to Brigitte in the last phone conversation I had, I was told about this walk-in clinic at the Atrium. Not only were they open but the line was only about 45 minutes.

Let's rewind a bit. I started off by finishing my loads of laundry that I started when I got back from the beach. That's right I didn't sleep. At 10am I walked to a clinic just up the streetfrom where I live. They were still closed despite a sign saying they were open sundays starting at 10am. I thought to myself "That sucks! What if I had a more serious condition or injury?" The answer I then told myself was that I'd probably just go to the hospital at that point.

Brigitte's clinic popped into my head and along with it the idea of going for dim sum. After all when thinking about going to the doctor's the second thing that enters the mind is food. For me maybe food first then medical attention. I realized this as I told Kyoko we should go for food first then medical attention second. After all I was hungry, I'd been up all night, and I wasn't sure how long the visit to the doctor would take. We might have missed the food thing as dim sum stops being served between 2 and 3pm. Nice logic there eh?

Andrew and Isako show us the empty tin of paint remover

On my way up the hill to Kyoko's and finding out if she wanted to go I also found out that she wanted to stop by Canadian Tire to pick up stuff on sale. First she needed to get a coupon from the neighbours across the street.

While at Andrew and Isako's place we find out that they would like a can of paint remover from Canadian Tire. Everything in the universe seems to be flowing perfectly. Dim sum, the walk-in medical clinic, and Canadian Tire all located in a four block radius.

Kyoko and I stuffed ourselves at the New Treasure restaurant. I then had Kyoko interact with the receptionist at the doctor's office to keep my talking to a minimum. This is perfect. Who better to talk for someone that can't talk than a non-stop talker? Once all the forms were filled and I grabbed a seat to wait, Kyoko went off to Canadian Tire to pick up the stuff.

As I stated before the wait wasn't too long. To pass the time I found myself watching the TV. It had the odd news headline and other medical advertisements. It was a slideshow made specifically for the waiting room. I was a little miffed that the screen was a wide screen and the person that set it up didn't do it correctly as it cut off text and images meant for a standard 4:3 NTSC TV screen. "Eeediotssss!"

Once my number, 34, was called I was placed in a small medical room were I sat looking at all the medical gear for about ten minutes. Blood pressure gauge, needles, rubber gloves, biohazard bin, among other things of medical importance. The doctor eventually walked in. After a very brief conversation of what I thought I had come down with he asked me "Do you have internet?".

At first I was trying to figure out where he was going with this. "Do I have a computer related throat injury/condition?", "Is there something else wrong with me that I'm not aware of?", "Is there dim sum stuck in my teeth?". I nodded to his question.

He took a pad of paper and started writing saying "I want you to look this up.". He handed me the piece of paper. Circled and in writing were big letters forming the word "LARYNGITIS". I almost expected a bunch of muppets to jump in the room with flash cards that said "Laryn" and "gitis" on them. They would then say what was on each card, one right after another while sliding the cards closer together. "laryn---- gitis, laryn--gitis, laryn-gitis, laryngitis! yea!". After forming the magical word of the day the muppets would run out of the room.

"Are you an opera singer?" was the next question out of the doctor's mouth. The words almost snapped me back into reality. I almost looked around instinctively for the hidden camera. "Are you an opera singer?" he repeated. I gave him that squinty eyed look I give to people when I'm thinking they're nuts then shook my head. He then went on to ask "Are you a telemarketer? What do you do for a job?". I thought about this for a second and the fact that I haven't really been working that much these last few weeks. I whispered out "24 frame playback technician" as it was the last job I did.

Looking at his face and his glazed eyes I could see some explanation to the job title was in order. He stopped me before I could say anything to ask "Does your profession require you to do lots of talking?". I shook my head. Then like turning on a verbal encyclopedia he started telling me the stats on having laryngitis.

  • The throat infection (which I was prescribed medication for) would last ten days.
  • The vocal cords would take approx three weeks to heal (provided you don't strain your voice).
  • Treat laryngitis as a cold, it's contagious if kissing for example.
  • Drink lots of liquids
  • have lots of lozenges on hand
  • Don't let your throat go dry.

He then asked if I had any further questions. It reminded me of a waiter asking how everything was while you had food in your mouth. Asking someone who can't speak if they have any questions seems mean. I suppose he could have lent me his pen and pad of paper.

After that I was done. No sooner had I walked back into the hallway, I noticed Kyoko looking for me. She had a bag of stuff, a can of concrete filler, and Andrew and Isako's paint remover. We dropped off the paint remover then I spent a bit of time helping Chris and Kyoko take carpet staples out of their newly exposed wood floor.

Kyoko doing a final sweep.

Pumpkin hears something.

That "strange lady" across the street from Andrew and Isako.

Early morning down at the Beach

Part of the boardwalk that's under repair

I woke up or rather I couldn't get to sleep due to a few coughing fits. Not just small hacking but a series of short coughs followed by black edges creeping up on your vision because you're not taking in enough oxygen. Add to that vomiting, coughing up small amounts of blood and sweating like you were trapped in an electric blanket turned on high, I decided to get out of bed a take a walk.

At first I thought about going to the hospital but the long wait in line turned me off that idea. What if I wanted to go back to sleep. I decided to go later on in the day. It was about 3:30 in the morning and since there aren't that many places to walk to around where I live I made my way down to the default location, the beach.

My feet on the boardwalk

For the most part it was pretty dark. Especially the entrance as none of the lights were on. It was like walking through a forest with a paved path. With the only light creeping in from the street far away you could only make out what was in front of you for about three meters. The rest was darkness.

There were the odd couples holding hands walking down the boardwalk or sitting on the bench or doing who knows what in the darkness of the beach itself. I kept to the boardwalk and walked toward the life guard station. The odd voice came out of the black void every now and then. A girl talking about her bank account, a guy talking about a girl he wanted to marry that was dating his friend, another guy talking about how to cook steak - barbeque or frying pan, a girl laughing. It was like tuning a radio. I'd hear snippets of different conversations permeating through the darkness as I walked down the boardwalk.

The rock area

I eventually got to the rock area, a place where people (perhaps with too much spare time) balance and stack rocks on top of one another. This is when I realized I should have brought my tripod and maybe a few flashes. In order to take the shot using ISO 200, I got on my stomach to shoot while using my camera bag to steady my camera. I received a few stares from people passing by as I was there for a few minutes trying to get the right composition. "Who cares?", I thought to myself just as long as they don't step on me or worse kick me.

Looking down the boardwalk at Leuty life guard station


A bad hand puppet.

The Leuty life guard station up close

I continued down the boardwalk trying to find things to shoot. I even went as far as trying to make shadow puppets with my free hand. It was about 4:45am when I looked at my watch. I decided to walk up to Queen street and walk from there rather than to back track on the boardwalk.

On the way home I noticed movement coming from a tree trunk. Three, at least I counted three, raccoons were climbing up a tree. They were all pretty small so I thought the mother would be some where close. I slowly took my flash out to attach it to the camera when the hissing started. I looked up and there was another raccoon up in the tree hissing at me. I took a quick picture then walked away. Probably scared the poor little guy.

A raccoon up a tree