The wheels of time have moved me south. And today I celebrate another year among good people. I wish all my friends and family could be here today but I am happy to miss them from my new home in southern California. Here are some moments from last year. I love you and miss you all.
Jerry Chin was one of the first people I met here in Seattle 8 short years ago.
After several weeks of aimlessly wondering around downtown I acted on someone’s suggestion to explore a neighborhood called Georgetown. The borough sets just south enough of the city’s’ industrial district to keep out the amateurs and has all the old red brick and wood elements of Kansas City. It felt like home immediately. I wish I could remember who it was that made the suggestion because I owe them a proper thank you.
I hadn’t even walked the first block before I ran into Jerry riding one of his old bikes. One quick conversation exposed all the overlaps within our tiny, familiar social circles. He gave me a tour of the neighborhood and introduced me to a lot of historic Americana over the years. I’m very grateful for meeting Jerry that pivotal afternoon. The south side has been my home ever since and Jerry has always been there to greet me with a smile. Thanks Jerry.
I recently had the opportunity to compose an editorial with writer, performer and creative producer Hollis Wong-Wear. I don’t typically feel drawn to shoot fashion but on this occasion, my curiosity about the subject persuaded me otherwise. I had met Hollis before and heard her music (which won her a Grammy this year) so I knew she was a compelling artist and general Renaissance woman but I wanted to know what is really driving Miss Hollis and more importantly how far will she go?
While we could only carve out a few hours from her busy schedule to pow-wow, it was more then enough time to see that Hollis will go as far as she wants to. Behind her pretty face is a powerful mixture of confidence and discipline, and that is what drives her. Most people in her situation fuel themselves off of the momentum of their own popularity but Hollis seems to be operating solely off the idea that reality can be what you make it. She has a profound influence on people and her efforts in the music industry are just a taste of what she is capable of. So while the majority of us accept life, never to take us exactly where we want to go, we look to people like Hollis who have the tenacity to drive themselves (white walls spinning) wherever they want to go.
Styled by the beautiful Ladies of Driftwood Boutique
I may never have kids but this is one of my babies, grown and nurtured through the unconventional family of creativity. And now, we three proud parents of this concept, Mike Maniglia (Subterra films), Steve Huff (Huff Motorsports) and myself are pushing this little birdie out of the nest in hopes that there is a network brave enough to help it fly. I really believe in this project and would like to share it with all of you on network television. So if you have any contacts that might be able to help us get this show on the air please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please spread the news.
Speed Freak is a documentary TV series spotlighting the sport of LAND SPEED RACING featuring our host, STEVE HUFF (former top fuel Harley racer, land speed record holder and custom bike builder). HUFF will take the audience on an adrenalin fueled ride to the fastest race tracks on earth; From the Bonneville Salt Flats to The Texas Mile. Huff will challenge himself and his “re-designed” Harley Davidson Motorcycles on his quest for more land speed records . Each episode will chase Huff from his garage in preparation for the next race, then to the racetrack where he will race as well as introduce the audience to the current top competitors and personalities in the sport. The series will harness HUFF’s technical know-how and his respected ability to “talk shop”, with his unnerving passion for pushing the limits of man and machine. Speed Freak will create the timeless stories that speak to everyone with a taste for adventure and a fascination with the indomitable human spirit.
Did you think I fell off the map?
I tried to stay out there as long as I could, but I got cold.
I’m back now, in Seattle once again, under the piles of responsibility I abandoned six months ago. Buried with me I found a few rolls of film from warmer days last summer. I’ve only been back for a month and I already want to fall off again. Guess you can’t fall if you don’t climb… Alright, back to work:/
Sometime back in September Ethan and I rode to New York City. The goal was to see the Atlantic Ocean. I’m glad I took all these photos because I hardly remember the event. I wish my tires could talk so I could ask them if all of the food, beer, babes, bikes and babes really happened? Yes I said babes twice on purpose.
People in NYC are desensitized to the pace the city moves at; and when simple folk, like myself, wonder into this dynamic, the experience can be overwhelming. To the native it is home but to the tourist it is another planet with hungry potholes big enough to swallow you and your bike whole. I recall hitting one of them on the BQE and wondering if my tires were back on the ground yet. They were not. I came down on a toll road somewhere in Pennsylvania. Obviously I didn’t have a ticket so that charged me 30 dollars at the booth. I didn’t care though… New York is a lot like a hospital… it is always worth going as long as you are leaving.
The biker genre has been lost to the over produced motion picture gimmicks of modern day hollywood. The success of these pictures depends entirely on their poor production quality. There are a lot of motorcycle movies that have inspired me over the years, and they are all bad…. but I love them all.
Ethan and I agreed that we should “give something back” to these formative influences; so, one afternoon in Denver we sat down, borrowed some markers from Adilyn (our buddies 8 year old daughter) and made a little movie of our own (shot and edited entirely on the iPhone).
Let The Eagle Fly.
Director: Ethan Fowler
1st Assistent Director: Todd Blubaugh
Executive Producer: Tommy Monette
Casting: Adilyn Monette
My father had some amazing stories, a lot of which he never told me or anyone else, more specifically about his military career in Vietnam. I suppose it was his ability to adapt that kept him alive during the war and after he returned home; and now that he is gone, I am learning just how amazing his ability to adapt really was… from 185 consecutive night ambush missions across the Cambodian border, to fathering a family in the middle of Kansas, he could adjust well to anything.
Later in his life he started speaking publically about his career. He was very good at reaching people and wanted to share is appreciation for the younger vets returning home.
The day of my parents funeral I received phone calls from several different men who had served with my father; men I hadn’t met and that did not know each other. They said, with tears, there were some stories about my father that i hadn’t heard before. Amazing stories that they wanted to tell me in person. I look forward to hearing them.
Here is a story of my father taken from the local paper in 2006. Nearly 40 years later he is still reaching people.
And so, as I sit here on Veterans Day, trying to describe my father I find irony, being unable to realize, until he was dead, that he was a living folk legend.
Thank you, Dad.
“I knew your parents,” said the woman.
I had just pulled into a diagonal parking stall on Main street. I was running errands trying to get my Washington driver’s license switched over to Kansas so I could more easily handle some of the affairs concerning my parents’ death. In the amount of time it took for me to reach across and grab my bag from the passenger seat, she had turned her mid size SUV into the open driver side door of my father’s Chevy pick up; it was the only vehicle he ever bought new.
The police officers, one of which was her husband, huddled between the two vehicles while I stood there quietly. “I prayed for you and your sister” she said.
The deputy came back to the sidewalk and declared, “In my opinion there is no one at fault here.” I asked if we should get a second opinion. He said he didn’t see how that would matter. I got the point. He also told me that my father’s insurance had expired the month before and that the state of Kansas will suspend my license for driving without insurance. I told him that’s okay, my license will be expired tomorrow anyway; it’s my birthday.
Later while I was in my father’s former insurance office paying to insure a car I could no longer driver, I heard voices in the office saying that the prayerful woman driving the other vehicle was claiming that I opened my door into her car and that I was at fault.
I found out a day later that it was in fact the policeman husband who called in and gave the accident report to the claims adjuster, not prayerful woman. I suppose if you get the police to do it for you it doesn’t count a lie.
The lesson to be learned is that people will always do what is best for them. I should not be surprised by the prayerful woman, or the policeman, or the insurance adjusters that will no doubt file suit against me… everyone will always do what is best for them. The upper hand and the low road are all too often the same. And if taking responsibility were easy, everyone would do it.
But I can’t conclude without a little hope. So maybe this story will have an effect on someone somewhere else? Maybe one of you out there is standing at an introspective fork in the road… On one side, an effortless cobble already worn smooth by the multitudes that have traipsed it before you; and on the other you have the tiring rise of ascending mountain passes… Maybe someone will read this and take the high road. It could happen. And then people would tell stories describing their view from the top encouraging others to join them. It could happen.
Restlessness is a longing to experience anything that makes us feel as though we are actually doing something. For example, as I sit here writing this I do not feel restless because I am doing something meaningful. But if I were to sit down in this same chair and watch a movie, I would feel the solicitous flutter of butterfly wings in the core of my body. It’s a misunderstanding that doing “something” can be anything. If “something” isn’t meaningful, you might as well do nothing.
Eventually, the weight of these meaningless experiences accumulates and something in a person changes. They either find what is meaningful, or they give up completely.
It is not hard to recognize those who have made the conscious decision to stay restless. They are the ones that have the “something “ that everyone is looking for and I am inspired every time I’m given the opportunity to photograph one of them.