--+ A Judgement on Scooters +--

I was walking by 17th and S Sts NW and saw this cluster of Vespas. My dad had an old Lambretta scooter. It still had it's original paint, red and white. It has crome trim everywhere, including around the seat cushions. He never rode it himself; I guess he bought it for me. I use to ride it around in the fields at the farm when I was a kid. I'd forget the brake was a clutch and fly into the brush at the edge of the field.

[Can you ride a scooter and still be taken seriously? I don't think I can answer this one. But sometimes when I want to know if something is really cool or not I ask myself, "What Would Johnny Cash Do?"]


A Visit to the Veteran's Hospital

Today I had another Thanksgiving (with venison too) at the Spring's residence. David, Wes's dad, showed me an album of photos he took while in the Army during the Vietnam War. The photos and their feeling were unmistakably from another era.

[Wes is a Lineman by trade. He hangs wires and cable from telephone poles. When he sees a cable work truck parked some place or people working on power lines, he tells me (or whoever is around) what they're constructing and what kind of equipment they're using. Similarly if I see anything to do with the Marine Corps, I have a hard time not spilling everything I know about it, including assumptions. This is Wes in front of Veteran's Association Medical Center Post Theater in Winchester, Va.]



I had a great Thanksgiving in Bluemont, Va. My friends Wes and Erin have a great family. I ate at the Underwood's house; they operate the beautiful, hilltop Rockwood Ridge Farm. The man of the house, Lester Underwood tends to the farm's sheep and cattle everyday. One of the penned ewes stomped her foot at me when I got too close to her lambs. "They won't hurt you," Lester assured me. I hopped in the truck after Blaze, one of the farm's herding dogs. When we got to the pasture we made a wide circle around the flock and drove them to the barn. The dog rides in the backseat of the truck and, of course, the sheep have to walk.

[Another regularly scheduled Thanksgiving ... eat turkey and count sheep.]


/|\ Thanksgiving Travel /|\

I'm somewhere around the Virginia-West Virginia border tonight. My friend Wes, who recently started his own family, has family there. If you live in D.C. you go elsewhere for the holidays. But if you're visiting anywhere in the vacinity, this is the place to get some Turkey Day tourism. I asked a Secret Service officer standing in front of the White House what he thought. "I might notice a little jump in tourism around the holidays," he said.

[I also talked to some tourists in front of the White House. Some of them are "in town" from as far away as Richmond, Va. I hope everybody has a Happy Thanksgiving and does some real reflecting ... (reflect)


~~Guardian Angels Patrol Mt. Pleasant~~

The Guardian Angels, a group of public saftey activists, patrol around Mt Pleasant. "As a rule we don't go into an area that we're not invited to," said Mark "Bishop" Saunders, the Guardian's D.C. chapter leader (foreground). A recent invitation from the District's city council also encouraged some visitors from the New York City chapter. "If it's a verbal dispute, we break it up. If it is more serious than that we may physically detain an attacker until the police arrive," said visiting NYC chapter leader Matthew McCoy (left). Saunders added that the group's relationship with local law enforcement authorities is outstanding.

[Their motto -- "Dare to Care." It feels good to see the Guardian Angels on the streets. Bishop told me the group was started in 1979 by Curtis Sliwa, the manager of a McDonald's in the Bronx. Who said nothing good ever came outta McDonald's? McCoy will soon be leaving for Parris Island, S.C. Semper Fidelis]

}} The Fruits of Labor {{

(without leaving the privacy of home)

Around 10am I started a paper on the several levels of irony surrounding Aphra Behn's 17th Century novel Oroonoko. I ate a leftover slice of chicken and pepperoni pizza. A friend stopped by to pick up a disk of photos I took of his art work. I completed one of hopfully two interviews for an assignment to interview a photo agency, or news wire photo editor. My neighbor stuck my credit card bill in my storm door. I saw a kiwi outside previously dropped from my garbage. I placed my camera on a tripod focused out the door to the sidewalk. I took this picture about 10 minutes after I set up. I kept the camera there for about 8 hours, but was too busy at my laptop to catch anything else.

[Speaking of kiwis, my friend Jesse an American-New Zealander* came over from McLean, Va. He was going to give me a ride to my class tonight. When Jesse pulled up I was already a half-hour late for class and still working on my paper. When I finished it, I realized I didn't have any printer paper. I emailed the paper to my professor. Jesse took off. For the first time in almost a year I didn't leave the house all day.]

*Kiwi is an affectionate term for a New Zealander.


^^Sunday is My Habitual Day of Reflection^^

Chewing sticks, that's what our toothbrushes originated from. They had chewing sticks in Mesopotamia around 3500 B.C. In the 1700s they started using neck hair from swine as bristles. It wasn't til the 1930s we had nylon bristles.

[Today I was at 7-11 talking to Lee, a Somali guy that works there. We both agreed that people would have more respect for each other if religion had more to do with our ancestors. People today are the products of hundreds-of-thousands of years of genetic mixing and are the material products of their ancestors. That makes everyone interesting.

:: Hockey a.k.a. That '70s Sport ::

My friend Chef Ryan called me and said he had a couple tickets to a hockey game this afternoon but couldn't go because he was working. So me and my friend Jesse ended up going to the game. The introductory price of free included two executive suite tickets, parking pass, beer and food! We didn't know the people in the suite but they were hospitable. Do hockey player go back to the Seventies to get their mullets groomed?

[Florida beat the Capitols 3-2, in overtime. This was a great game. Fighting, aggression, and dramatic goals. This is one of the Florida players picking up his stick after a brawl.]


+-- Getting Recreation Out of the Way --+

The word pool means a collective bet and became a term for the game when it began to be played in 19th century pool rooms which were then places for betting on horseraces. Went out with some friends and played pool in DuPont. Then we made our way over to the Hill to play darts. You'll have to come up with your own interesting darts fact.

[I looked online to see if I was eligable for any education grants. I found out that I am just in time to apply for next year. I was actually looking for money for next semester.]


--== Class Interrupted by Minor Fire ==--

There was a small fire in the building adjoining Corcoran College's H St NW campus. I was sitting in class. We were just getting into this video about Buddhist dance from India. It appeared it might have been a very interesting video. The fire alarm rang. We all gathered our stuff and walked out to the sidewalk. After about five minutes we were back in class watching the video. A couple minutes later, after seven fire trucks pulled up and blocked the street off, we were all back on the sidewalk. I guess they were responding to a minor fire in the connecting building bacause we could smell smoke but afternoon classes resumed. We never got to watch that video. We had to leave class early.

[I made it to the darkroom for the first time in almost two years today. Made some negatives from my Argus Model A. The lens is more badly scratched than I guessed. It is also uncoated and seventy-five years old.]


**Getting to the Liquor Store Before it Closes**

Mike Wilson, known as Army Mike, grabs some cash from the belongings he sleeps on to make a last minute beer run. I met up with him on the way home from my digital darkroom class tonight. "The liquor store is going to close in 15 minutes," said Army Mike. I walked part of the way to the liquor store with him til I got to my bus stop. He always likes to make a dramatic exit. He took-off running backward down the sidewalk yelling good-byes and see-you-laters. When he swung around to start his full trot, I had to yell "Look out," as he almost ran into a street sign.

[Army Mike enlisted in 1976 with no diploma. Not long after his enlistment as a radioman he returned to his hometown of Danville, Va. He had a job washing dishes at a Holiday Inn. Some people there didn't like him. They poured bleach in the dish water. This irritated Mike's hands to the point of infection. When he asked for workmen's compensation he said they told him, "Prove it happened at work." His sister, Gwen kicked him out of their house in late 2001. Mike has been living on the streets of D.C. since.]

==> Lift This Work Off My Back <==

I Did a lot today but for some reason I'm still falling behind. I have a paper due for a class and I can't find the interest or concentration to get it done. I'll pull through. I talked to the photo editor of Esquire Magazine today. It was an interview for my photojournalism class. Well, now I can't find the paper I wrote the interview on. Along with that I'm missing an envelope with a $200 check and some other important papers. Wish me luck finding them!

[This picture was taken using a 500mm mirror lens. Maybe someday I'll find time to pursue an interesting photo story on towercrane operators. The angle makes my stomach a little woozy. At least the weather was nice today, as usual.]


== Photographic Intuition Leads to Cheap Booty ==

I remember going to the Swap Meet in Pomona when I was a kid. To me, the Swap Meet held the same weight as a trip to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, or even Lion Country Safari (yeah, I go back that far). Among other articles there were acres and acres of other people's unwanted junk. I remember a lot of first-purchases at the Swap Meet; a metal Honda push scooter, my three first bootleg tapes, License to Ill, the Fat Boys are Back, and King of Rock, I think possibly my first camera too. I can remember a Voltron 110 camera made to look like an SLR purchased form there and the majority of my lost keychain 110 camera collection.
My mom first took me to the Swap Meet as a 6-year-old, now I'm nearly 26 and find D.C.'s Eastern Market to be another another-man's-treasure outlet. The executor of my father's estate, Paul Dodds, once tried to insult me by telling me I spend money like a woman. (He was mad because the gravestone I bought my Dad cost more than he recommended.) Maybe I inherited it from my Mom?
Some of my favorite purchases at Eastern Market have been African masks from Mali, a strange, metal feline-representation straight out of Americana, and a too-much-meat sandwich from the produce market. My most favorite purchase from Eastern Market? ... a $5 Argus Model A camera. (It sold for $12.50 new in the late '30s.) I bought it a few months ago but didn't realize its importance to photographic history until yesterday ... in fact, until then I didn't even know it was a 35mm camera. It turns out, when it was made, way back in the '30's, it was one of the first cameras to accept Kodak's new 35mm cartridge, the same 35mm film you can buy today.

[This is my Argus Model A camera. Its body was made from the popular plastic material bakelite between 1936 and 1941. It was also around this time African art and cultural artifacts were becoming more and more popular among trendy Westerners.]

- "Only Got Time for One Game. Anyone for Tenni?" -

Ben Olsen, D.C. United Soccer Club superstar, prepares to return the tennis ball to his brother Jeremy. The two get some family time together while visiting friends in the District. The brothers, hailing from Harrisburg, Pa., play at 18th St NW in Adams-Morgan, shadowed by the Washington Monument. Both attend Temple University in Philadelphia. Their father introduced both of them to tennis as children.

[Went to eat with my friends Andrew and Maris. Went to a mall and bought some new pants. The old ones started to wear out and were deemed unprofessional by my inner voice.]


)) Cheap 500mm Fun ((

I went down to school to register for next semester, still have to go back Monday to finish. I bought a Phoenix/Samyang 500mm mirror lens for $40 today off a friend. It only has one aperture, f8. It's fun changing the iso and shutter speed to compensate for no aperture. And because I have a digital camera, the magnification of the lens is multiplied to approximately equal an 800mm lens! It doesn't focus clearly. It's a very compact lens (4 1/2 in. long) and I'm told they sell for around $70 new on ebay.

[My locker is somewhere around the strange, almost-focused point. Shoddy equipment and materials are sometimes used to create a fine arts look. (Why is that?)]


=-- Man Blows Own Horn, Feels No Remorse --=

Ted Jacobson plays his trumpet in the small park across from the Henry J. Daly Building at 300 Indiana Ave NW. He said he's there 5 days a week, from 2:30-3:30pm. He works much of the day as an assistant operations technician in a government reproduction office. Ted first started playing the instrument in 4th grade ... and he just turned 60. During his first run on the trumpet he played in several Jazz and Blues bands. After setting his horn down for some years his wife made the suggestion he should pick it up again for the musical enrichment of their children. "You know," said Ted, trying not to blow his own horn, " ... But sometimes people will walk by and say, "Thank you, you really made my day.'" Ted is a featured musician on the child music CD Growing Tunes available through Amazon.

[I don't know how long Ted was putting smiles on peoples' faces today. While me and a friend were talking with him the wind started blowing over metal newspaper boxes.]


}}Metro Man Has Honest Claim to Fame{{

This is Edward Hill a Metro analyst. I guess he was analyzing the 42 route home when I saw him earlier today. He proclaimed his real job to be making music. "I played up at Madam's Organ a couple nights ago," said Hill, referring to a popular Adams-Morgan bar. Hill also reminisced about a time he opened for country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter in DuPont Circle.

[Eddie Hill has also written the Metro Ballad ... appearing soon at a bus stop near you!]


** A Veterans' Day Reflection **

There were numerous Veterans' Day celebrations around the Capitol today. I took this photo of Army 1st Lt. Alan Reich (ret.) coming from a reception at the Paralyzed Veterans' of America. Reich is also president and founder of the National Organization on Disability, a lifetime member of the PVA, and was a Korean War-era infantryman. Uncalculable respect.

[I tried to go get a police media pass today ... the station was closed for Veterans' Day.]


~~ Joe Armstrong Says Coffee is Blood ~~

I got a lot accomplished today, which I owe partially to coffee, partially to networking. My problems seem on their way to being solved. And I heard some great news from Joe Armstrong, a contract worker for Hardesty, Inc. He said they're opening another coffee shop in the White House area. Caribou Coffee, right at Pennsylvania and 17th NW, across the street from Starbucks, a block from the other Starbucks at 18th and H St NW, and a half block from M.E. Swings at 17th and G St NW (Which has been distributing coffee to the area since 1916).

[Joe Armstrong and other crew workers carry duct work into an old investment banking office, starting the renovation for a Caribou Coffee. The shop should be operating well before Christmas.]


}} Return of the Mystic Ready Ape{{

Yesterday I picked up a old Veiwlex negative projector. The last time I saw a negative projector was in a photojournalism class at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I took the class in early '98 as a Visual Communications major. I picked up this old soviet helmet in Kandahar. The negative is a pic I took of Marine Meduim Helicopter Squadron-263's Vietnam-era mascot, Ready Ape. His name comes from the crew chiefs' verbal verification to the pilot that the helicopter is ready to start. The crew chief would stand at the rear of the helo and shout to the pilot, "Ready APU (auxillary power unit)!"

[This is the image that appears to me when I have post-traumatic flashbacks. Unlike other vets who duck for cover, cry or end up mute and go crazy, I just kinda' stare at this old soviet helmet in my living room and a fortune-telling monkey appears.]


--> We're All Happy, Right? <--

This is Andrew. He goes to the Corcoran College for fine art photography. I took this while I was on my way home from shooting an assignment at the Corcoran where I heard New York Times Photographer Stephen Crowley speak. It was a show of pictures that would captivate any photographer. I'm certain I'll be happy to have Mr. Crowley as an instructor next year.

[Behind Andrew is where the Secret Service physically detained me and forced me to delete my camera's memory card. All for snapping some pictures of them removing a psychotic homeless man (Warren) from the steam grate pictured above.]

^^ Professional Tourism ^^

For a long time now I've been trying to perfect my touring methods. It started shortly after I moved to D.C. I looked around and saw mostly tourists. As nature would have it I felt the need to fit in with the mainstream society. Now I wear a backpack, have a camera around my neck, and never leave home with less than two maps.

[I forget . . . don't seagulls like Alka-Selter or something?]


** Reflect at this Coffee Shop **

This is Joe. He is from Morocco. He works at M.E. Swing's Coffee on 17th St NW. Sometimes he makes esspresso. Sometimes he washes the windows.

[If you want real reflection ask to speak to Lauraine.]

__ Victimized Pedestrian __

Saw Solomon walking down Columbia Rd. Got this picture of him getting splashed by two girls on a bicycle while simultaneously being cut off by a car.

[Constantly in hope that I stumble across some excitement.]


>> Beautiful Weather Year-round in D.C.<<

I was exhausted from insomnia and stress today, stayed in bed til 3pm. Woke up, started laundry and walked to Adams-Morgan for some food. Of course I took some photos, that is always the object of my waking moments. I met some very pleasant, beautifully-minded diplomats from Nigeria. (Maybe Cameroon too?) Great weather!

[This is a busy intersection of neighborhoods, 18th and Columbia Rd NW.]


## Join the American Civil Liberties Union ##

I spent most of the day trying to decide how I could better react when authorities infringe on my rights as a citizen and a photojournalist. I haven't had too much time to work on it, but figured joining the ACLU was a good start.

[This is a pumpkin on my neighbor's porch. Like a Cinderella carriage my freedom turned into a pumpkin at the strike of a Nazi-fied Patriot Act.]

}}}} The Secret Service Squashed Me {{{{

The Secret Service had me erase my camera's memory card today when I took a picture of them kicking a psycotic man off the steam grate in front of the Corcoran Gallery. They actually used force against me! It was somewhat scary, not that these guys were going to do me any physical harm. (The two that had ahold of me couldn't have run a block without stopping to catch their breath.) It was scary to see the rights i supposedly have, vanish by the hand of two should-be rent-a-cops!

[I felt trapped so I surrendered my fake (or Constitutional) rights as a U.S. citizen. I was caught by surprise. Hopefully next time I'll be better prepared to argue my rights . . . if I find I have any! This cop also tried to compare his being in the Secret Service to being in the Marine Corps. He said that Al Queda was going to come after him and his family if I took his picture. Pointless Fear or Abuse of Power? Either way it's frightening!]


** Portrait of Solomon Solemnized **

Hung out with ol' Cory Riggle, a fine art photographer. We went visiting some African art exhibits for a class we are both taking. The class is okay, i don't agree with the teaching methods and ideology. They might be compared to a schoolmarm's in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. (Didn't they do away with instructors like that at the end of WWII?)

[This is Solomon spinning, he had the same instructor a couple years ago and says her old-fashion teaching is like a novelty at the school.]


!!! Remember, the Sooner a Contract is Signed the Better !!!

Today started out rocky on account of a disappearing magician. He even gave me a conformation call 3 hours prior to his 2pm meeting . . . never to be heard from again. Hopefully I will remember this as an elephant would, and learn from it! (Elephant are always learning from stuff like that.)

[Took this on 19th NW. Went to get some grub, mirrors, and a sewing machine with Solomon and Susan.]

~~ Hello November ~~

It feel like I skipped a couple months ... November already?! Here's a picture looking west down H St NW toward the construction site of a new Word Bank building. I inquired with the site manager about doing a picture story on some of their equipment operators. The woman in charge informed me that it was a publically-sensitive, government project that couldn't be photographed.

[The sky was beautiful this Halloween evening and the forecast calls for good weather all week. Highs in the upper 70s, I'll put up with that.]