May 21st, 2017

Are you ever filled with so much disdain for yourself that you can’t even stand to be in your own presence?

Being back in the area of the home of my youth, I tell ya’, if it don’t bring out the negative side of me… which ultimately leads me to direct it all towards myself… because hey, why be the odd man out?  It’s just so lowdown and pathetic.  Ah, good ol’ “home” to make one feel like a nobody and nothing.

My stay here though is prolonged until I can be able to afford to gleefully depart and be away from here, again.  And semi-serious thoughts that I have not had in about a quarter century, surely resting more towards the front of my mind than ever before… as to why continue this existence?  What is the point of my continuing to do so?  I was so much happier, saner, in mind and spirit, living hand to mouth in a van, than I have been these past three weeks back in this loony bin nut job insane asylum.

So much so, that my constant everyday thoughts are what, when, how I can again get the ever-lovin’ fuck out of here?!  Seriously, out there, the nine months when I was living in a van, some days it was basic physical survival, but god almighty if I don’t prefer that to basic emotional, mental, soulful and spiritual fighting for survival that I have to do when back fuckin’ here!  I honest to goodness just have to hand it to myself for having survived and lasted this long in my life from the root of where it is that I came from here.  Key, I am certain, attributing to my having done so, is the fact that I got the livin’ fuck out as soon as I graduated from high school, and except for spells here and there, have not lived here!  Otherwise I would have most certainly have been gone decades ago!

So very sad.  So very sad indeed.

Anyway…

In the interim hell of being back here, did get film roll three developed, and like rolls one and two, half the roll, the frames were blank, from apparent sticky shutter on my F4… so, thank goodness I did do the digital backups of shots, otherwise I would be at a loss with, well again – half the bloody roll!  So, for those who already haven’t seen these on TLJ’s Twitter, here they are:

Rising Moon Over Wyoming Prairie / Film roll 3 image No. 3 / Day 97

I like how this film version of this shot turned out, better than the digital backup one.  This was waaay back, mid-November heading from Wyoming still in Part One of the Journey, as I was heading back for the refresh back home here for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I actually didn’t pull over to get this shot, but for something that was on the opposite side of the road, a woman’s high heel shoe was sitting on top of a fence post, and pulled over to get a shot of that… which, of course, is one of the film frames that didn’t expose… and must have been after taking that, and taking this shot above, that I thought about the whole sticky shutter thing, and thus began to take backup shots starting with this one, and so the high heel sitting out in the middle of a prairie atop a fence post is gone.

Ghosts Of Journeys Past (pinhole image)/ Film roll 3 image No. 4 / Day 99

Prefer the original film version of this one too… a pinhole shot, which I am glad that the exposure was pretty much perfect (whatever it was) for it to turn out.  If I remember right, think I took the digital version first, just to get a bearing for exposure for the film shot… glad, whatever it was, transferred well and worked.  This is at Scottsbluff in western Nebraska.

Bovines In The Dusk / Film roll 3 image No. 6 / Day 108

A couple days into Part Two of the Journey, after the refresh, on my way to The Slabs.  The note I made of this shot, I labeled it as a failed shot of these bovines, as the shot that originally caught my eye to pull over and take, somewhere after Sayre, Oklahoma (I think I was still on Route 66 at this point), was the sight of this tall, waist high yellow grass, and scattered about were the tops of these black blobs just visible in it.  But, the stupid bloody cows, when they saw me walking towards them, they got all fidgety and all got up, ruining the shot I was coming to get… fuckin’ cows.  Anyway, they just started following me then, so took this shot… which I newly labeled as being at dusk after sunset, because of the underexposed look of it… but, think it was not that, and me just fucking up as a photographer and underexposing myself, because I am pretty sure that this shot –

I did take at sunset later that evening… but, maybe not, I don’t know… maybe it was another day.

End Of Innocence Revisit / Film roll 3 image No. 10 / Day 111

My scramble to recreate my End Of Innocence photo taken at this very same spot (actually, was twenty more feet or so to my left there), my only personal favorite self-portraiture shot of myself about twenty-seven years prior.  Unlike the previous bovine shot, I know for sure that the underexposure here was because I arrived late to do this shot, and the sun had just set when I finally made the hike up to the top of the mountain, North Mountain, in Phoenix, Arizona, with then needing to got my camera and tripod out and set up, and then hurried to get my disheveled self in frame for the short timer on the F4, shooting wide open because of the low light, and not placing myself exactly in the pre-focused spot.

As I wrote the day or two following taking this, I forgot, in my quarter century absence of last being in Phoenix, of how it and where it exactly was, that I climbed this mountain, and remembered and chose wrong, leading me to literally jog the majority of the longer, nearly two mile hike / climb up the mountain in order to make it to the top in time while still some daylight left to shoot by… I remember being a sweaty mess.  Don’t particularly care for either this recreation, nor the digital backups (see below)… but, what can ya’ do?

Christina Angeline Water Tank Artwork, West Side / Film roll 3, Image 17 / Day 128

Christina Angeline’s Kinetoscope, East Face / Film roll 3, Image 18 / Day 128

 

I preferred those above two original film shots, and the these two digital backup versions below (they were image backups of frames 16 & 19 on the roll of film) –

Christina Angeline Water Tan Artwork, East Side

Christina Angeline’s Kinetoscope, West Face

And so, down in The Slabs (which, as an aside, this past week, I actually was missing being down at), and just capturing the absolutely astounding artwork of Christina Angeline that she had done on an old water tank and such… and as I wrote, when I prematurely posted the digital backup versions back in December of these, they are even more spectacular in person to see!

Tattered Book On Ground / Film roll 3, image No. 22 / Day 133

When I would do my digital backup shots, I would do them the exact same way that I did the film versions… meaning, the same lens, with the color filters still on the front… for this one, I had used a red filter, and though I still can get good black and white digital conversions shooting with a red filter, this one particularly didn’t work as well… it wasn’t contrasty enough of a scene, and just came out as a bunch of middle grey tones mush… in true film black and white, it fared a little better though.  This is actually still in the very same area as Angeline’s tank art above, but taken a few days later while wandering around it again… actually think, I was out this day doing my first Discarded At Slab City shots, when I spied this on the ground, and grabbed the shot of it.

And so, that is it of roll three film images.  There were a couple more frames that did come out, but the images themselves weren’t of anything worthy… and/or, the backup digital versions came out better.

These three weeks I have been back here now (which really seems muuuch looonger!), I haven’t shot anything, aside from family shots… one of which I posted three weeks ago of my just First Communioned nephew, and then my niece’s graduation last weekend… none of which I really liked, except for these barely:

And Here Is Where I will Be When It Happens

This was taken a week ago yesterday, during her graduation party, which was held right next to the gymnasium here, where the ceremony would take place, a week ago today.  And I really like it, aside for the fact that she’s bloody out of focus!  Contrary to how it looks here, it was nearly pitch dark in here, and was shooting maxed out at 6400 ISO, and still had to have the camera on a tripod as the shutter speed was still too slow to handhold.  And could have swore that I was focused on her, but apparently not… damnit.  But, am posting it anyway, as I think the dreamy, hazy quality sort of adds to it, as it’s pretty much how we all felt around this time in our lives, of coming to an end all that we have ever really known, who knows what coming up ahead.

And I be Outta Here!

Walking out after having received her diploma and the end of the ceremony.  I remember I made a complete ass out of myself, and like threw confetti in the air as I was walking out at my graduation… at the only class reunion I have gone to, I apologized to one of my fellow classmates who had the misfortune of walking down the aisle with me, for my having done so… she said she didn’t even remember it, or cared… funny how I do though… even though, in retrospect, it really wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary… now that I think about it, wonder why I have always scolded myself for having done something as harmless as tossing confetti in the air after having just graduated?  I’m weird.

Graduate Still Life

This would probably be my only favorite image taken last weekend… though, still don’t totally care for it… think mostly because of the dirt patch along the sidewalk mucking up the scene… did think of cloning it out in post, but then, just didn’t care enough to.  This was during the receiving line afterwards, where the class was all lined up outside the school, and everyone who came to it, just came through and congratulated them, gave them hugs, shook their hands, etc.

I’m A Graduate Selfie

This one is probably my personal favorite though, when during all the commotion still going on around after the receiving line, I saw her standing off by herself, doing such a her generational thing of taking a selfie (at least I think this is what she was doing, I never have asked and confirmed it with her… maybe she was just reading a text), looking all herself and cute, it’s just sooo totally her though in this picture!  Add in her mortarboard half hanging off her head (it was knocked off during the receiving line and hugs)… this image just encapsulates her, and just makes me smile, and my heart warm.

During the Journey, I revisited some milestone, iconic photos (personally to me) that I had taken in my younger days over a quarter century prior… thought I would close by posting them side by side here:

Prior To Journey / 1991 & 2016

Okay, those two were already seen side by side here as a title card here for This Life’s Journey… but, just thought I would post it again.  Though, this one really isn’t as authentic as the two below, as the 1991 version was taken in Phoenix, and I just did the 2016 version in Omaha before I left last year… the two below, were taken at the same location as the original version.

The Summer Of My Discontent / 1994 & 2016

Casper, Wyoming… 1994 version, was me a day or two after having just become homeless for the second time in my life, and would be for another month or so.  2016 version, of course my third time of self-inflicted homelessness… I still can’t believe how portly I look in that photo!  Like I actually have a gut!  I have gained about five pounds these past three weeks since being back here, but, am still looking more like my 1996 self above than my last year version… well, except for the loss of my curly/wavy hair!

End Of Innocence / 1989 & 2016

The 2016 side, being one of the digital backups I did for the original film one above… I chose to put it side by side with my personal all time favorite self-portraiture of me, because it was better exposed and in focus than the film one up top.  That large rock that is to the right of frame in 2016’s version, is where I think I originally was twenty-seven years prior… just a hair off… like it matters though.

Okay, so that is it photos wise.

As for me, now… am just honestly looking to find a way to get me the hell out of here again!  Richard, if you’re here, you commented to me in one of my entries earlier this year, that my continuing to do what I was doing, traveling around, is what I wanted to do, and I shot you down, disagreeing with you that no, I was wanting to bring an end to doing it all… yeah, well – you were right, and I was wrong!  I would MUCH rather be back out on the road right now, than here!  I miss that – FREEDOM!  Yeah, sure it got, and was, tough at times, struggling to get by and such, but let me tell ya’ brothers and sisters – I choose that over anything that I would end up having to do here!  Because at least I was LIVING!  I was free!  I was living my life, exploring, experiencing… again – LIVING!

It’s true, when I said I was coming back here, I was set in my mind, that I was just going to settle back down again and somehow – I don’t know what, just essentially end up what I was doing prior to my leaving on this here journey o’ mine… well, a great big HELL and FUCK NO to that!

My god, this area just sucks the very life, soul, and spirit out of me!  And just as I wrote at the very start of this here entry, it just leads me down very dark personal paths… I honest to god do not know how I made it this far… and again can only attribute it to the majority of the time – I was not back here! But living elsewhere, out west.  As dead serious as a heart attack, I would not be living today if I stayed back here… I honest to goodness would have been dead, and offed myself, as I said, decades ago.

Which is sad, because this is the home of my youth, and the ones who drive me to such darkness are … well, rather not say out of respect to them and their relation to me… though, guess I am not making it too hard to decipher.  But, I knew it almost thirty years ago, when getting the hell out of Dodge was first and foremost on my mind after doing what my niece did a week ago today.

I am just a different breed than anyone else here.  That’s all and it.  We are entirely on a completely different wavelength from the other, where they can’t fathom me, and my choosing to not live my life as they have chosen to do… and that’s all it boils down to… I am no better than them, they are no less than me, but we are just totally on the other end of the planet from each other in and with things in our lives, with Life itself, living!  I choose to do it on my terms, not some preconceived, that’s-just-the-way-it-is told way that we all just must.  Sorry, I am me, and goddamnit, I am gonna continue to be me to my last dying breath… which again, I choose to do so and take – while LIVING!  Not by being this, already dead inside, ghost shell, of going through the motions doing who gives a fuck crap shit.

Naturally, of course, I am still very much me, and still do not have the SLIGHTEST fucking clue as to what, where, how, to do, go, etc., but know, to the chagrin of those here, who wish me well and want the best for me, and their intentions are true, but who still do just not get me, who it is I am, and how I will NEVER be, and do, what it is they say I have, need, should, do.  Not gonna happen.  Again, not to just be contrary, or to be like some bad ass rebel in doing so, but simply because it is not who I am, that is all.  I am me.

To sustain myself, I have been able to continue doing so by selling off this and that, here and there… but, even if I sell everything else I have, will only get me a short ways… so, am lookin’ for some temporary money-job to, as quickly as possible, acquire a little more cushion of funds, so as to then be able to take off again… if I can last that long… the three weeks already, again, seem muuuch looonger than it’s only been, and don’t know how much longer I can keep my sanity here… and may just up and leave at some random point in the future.

One thing I predicted though, and even more so seeming clear, I will be leaving again with a whole hell lot less.  Seriously, I will most likely be doing it on foot.  Burgey, was a trooper and saw me through those nine months, and got me to and fro, as well as housed and sheltered me and my belongings… but, it is on it’s last leg, and pushing it to longer, cross country trekking, I don’t think it’ll be too long before it goes out on me, who knows where, and that’ll be it.  Don’t have the funds to get him back up to a comfortable feeling to me state of it running, and not only even that, afford the ridiculous insurance on him again, which I again have, thank the maker, been driving him since the end of last year, uninsured, without incident!

So, leaving again, I will literally have whatever I can carry on my back, and that is it, and will be hoofin’ it… or, biking.  Everything else, what is even remaining, will be gone… including Burgey, and hopefully for as much money I can get off of it all.

To go live what kind of existence and life?  Again, hell if I know.  But, honestly, I again, right now, would prefer it to anything resembling what I am surrounded by now.  I would gladly, and willfully choose homelessness, living with nothing, wandering this damn planet on foot, than…

Don’t know what more to say right now… and guess that’ll be it for now, until who knows when or what.

Life is a beautiful and wonderful thing, full of mystery and light, change and unknowing… and all we can do is follow our knowing, our truth, our light, as best we can to light the way in front of us… And I couldn’t be happier and love it more!  Because, oh yes – I was sooo much happier out there than I have been these past three weeks.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family to death, which is evident as I keep doing this to myself from time to time, just for the sake of them, of and for my love for them… but, I can’t be any less than who I am, and will not, even for them.

We all choose our paths, our life, and we got to own it.  And I want to own freedom.  I want to own happiness.  I want to own growing and learning and experiencing the life/world around me.  I want to own me.  I want to love me, to think positively of me, not hate, despise, be negative towards, me, and be less than I am – for me.  I, we, don’t deserve to be that way towards ourselves, to allow others to be that way towards us.

My fellow travelers out there on your journeys, be true to yourself, be good to yourself, be – yourself, who you are.  Live the life that you came here to live, that you were meant to live, be, and do.  Love Life.  Love to live, and live to love.  Even when you may feel that you are alone in doing so, know that you are not.

Choose happiness, not misery, my friends.  It’s out there, even though it may be hard to find and see sometimes if it even exists at all… it does, just as you do… so, do more than just exist – live!  Follow your heart, and trust in it, and yourself, that it will lead you to where it is you want to go.

At least I know that is what I am trying to do.  Happiness, Life, Love, is something that you/we create, that you/I embody, and am, through and through… just got to let it, and you, all shine through, and don’t allow yourself, or anybody, or anything, cover it up and/or extinguish it.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope all is well with you, and as always, I wish you nothing but the best.

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