Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rickard Through the Veil: Frogs

Rickard Through The Veil

Sometimes people will ask me: “What do you like to do?” And maybe I will say: “I like to be outdoors.” or “I'm kind of a club rat.” But it's a lie, worse yet, a fabrication.
Mulholland OverlookI like to stay inside, with the doors locked up, the windows latched tightly, and music playing loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to disturb others. Most importantly of all, I like to be left alone. I don't like the company of others. I find it to be very much like a man in a straight jacket. Your arms are confined to mere shrugging motions, and the only thoughts allowed into your head are plans of escape. I experience every symptom of loneliness, yet I am not alone.
But I should explain, you see...
I was floating chest up in a pool of cold water. I remember asking why it was always cold? When you slice your wrists, are you so worried about the temperature? Then I thought about hot water, how good it would have felt right then, curling over my ankles with spirals of warmth. Then I thought about the cut. I thought about the rub burns from Jiu Jitsu, how after they soak in warm water, how badly they burnt. I couldn't imagine an open wound. But I could rest assured in the knowledge that I was in cold water, not because of an informed decision, or because I researched it. I did it because of a decision that a Hollywood producer made during the production of an art film I saw when I should have been enrolled in college.
Approaching The Void
I always think about how embarrassing it would be if you failed a suicide attempt. People would feel obligated to come and see you, and spend actual time looking into your face with nothing but caring thoughts because that's what brings us together. Crisis. Someone almost biting the big one, catching a wave to the undertow, the big goodbye, salutations, farewell, and goodnight.
But I wanted to be alone. That was the difference. I concentrated on the song playing in the living room. I put it on repeat, so the neighbors would complain. I didn't want to rot away in a pool of muddy corpse sludge. I wanted to have a nice looking corpse. One that people would say, man, what a handsome guy. He had everything to live for. Sob, manly hug, turn, and wipe eye with instep of thumb for maximum coverage.
I had nothing to live for. I had a job. A job is no reason to live. It's a reason to die. The water was turning to merlot around me, and I could hear old Layne crowing:
Why's it have to be thissa way?
“Beeeeee thissa wayaaaayayyyyyyyy?”
Beyond The VeilAnd at that moment, when my eyes went black, I saw my first birthday. I didn't retain the memory so young, so in effect, it never happened, but somehow, just then, I saw it. It was as if I had stored it away somewhere, just forgotten where I put it.
So there it was, playing out in front of me like an old reel to reel projector playing on the wall of my skull. The color of the eighties, and the innocence of being too young to understand the crushing burden I have thrust upon my parents just by being born. This was one of the few innocent moments in my life, and it was gorgeous. Everyone was smiling. Relatives I hadn't seen since that day were there. They hired a clown. A clown! This was a celebration of all the good things you bring. You bring life, the potential of life, and the sorrow of loss, but you don't stay that way, and suddenly... I didn't want to die. I wanted to live.
Into The VoidI wanted to change my life forever and turn over a new leaf. If I lived through this, I would never take another day for granted. I would be the life of every party, the one everyone wants to know. Of course it was already too late for that, because the room was already black, and I had passed beyond some veil which covered me in shadow. All the light in the room was getting further away from me, receding back to a vanishing point in a black rippling fog. After a few moments the walls started to shake, and before I could react the water was pulled from the tub, and became part of the singularity forming at the base of the bathroom. The world was fluxing, and I felt my head, my body, then my legs being pulled into a tiny ball of light. The light grew brighter, and brighter, until I could not see my feet, then my waist, then my hands, and it was finally like falling face first into snow, but keeping your eyes open.
And then we exploded.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

America: Stockton California

America: Stockton California

An example of the deteriorating cities of America. Stockton was one of the first cities in California to officially declare bankruptcy, but this city's decline was well in the making quite some time ago. I went to Stockton with eyes full of diamonds, and well wishes. I was sent there to film a fight which would air at a later date on HBO. I was excited because not only had I not seen a fight in a while, but I also hadn't been behind a broadcast camera in an even longer time. When I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by an electrically sealed door at the entrance to the lobby. Now, I'm not that well versed, but I have never seen this done before. When I asked the person at the courtesy desk if there was anything interesting close by that I could photograph at night I was told: “That's not a good idea. It gets pretty bad at night.” Not exactly a glowing endorsement. In fact I learned that the only places open in this city at night were the strip clubs.
America: Stockton California

So I waited until the morning came, and rose early with the sun to get some pictures when I came across the most peculiar thing. A giant radio tower, some 50 feet tall, tension wires and all, right next to two houses, and surrounded by apartment buildings. A lady saw me taking pictures, and asked me if I worked for the city. We exchanged words, and I learned that she had been finding dead birds next to the tower, and her mother was admitted to the hospital for migraines. She said the tower was put in when the city went tits up. Seems like Stockton's new gold rush is a land grab.
America: Stockton California

The thing I noticed in my walk about, was the lack of a police presence, and just how quiet the city was. Then I stumbled across the court house. It was empty. No one going in or out of the thing. It showed all the signs of neglect without the obvious boarding of windows. I later found out that among other things, the city had to let go of it's police force, and with it, it's courts, and in cases of dire emergency, they call in officers from other cities. The only security presence I found were rent-a-cops, and even they seem disinterested.
America: Stockton California

I had the distasteful pleasure of accompanying one of the photographers of this job to one of the aforementioned strip bars, in the guise of looking for a ring card girl. The humanity of these places. The desperation evident in every single eye on stage. The sheer business like attitude of some, I couldn't get out of that place quick enough. (Not a terribly big fan of these places as it is) If this was evidence of where the place had gone, and where it will soon be, Stockton in a few years will be a sink hole.
America: Stockton California
The silence, and darkness in the recesses of a place forgotten. Stockton is an interesting case study in the decline of the American city, and if it is any indication of what's to come, I pray for the future of Los Angeles.

Monday, March 18, 2013

America: Delaware

We start at home, as journey's often do. No matter how far we have come, or how great a distance we have traveled, life is a circular thing, and at one point or another we always find ourselves back at start. Time there had given me a bitter taste, but the absence of it left me wanting for the flavor.

I found myself back in Stanton, Delaware, a suburb just outside of the city of Wilmington. It's a place where people live, and do little else. A sleepy little town with plenty of trees to shade from the occasional sun, and plenty of mud to soak up the more than occasional rain. If I said Delaware appeared as a swamp, I doubt many could offer up an argument saying otherwise.

Yet you can find beauty anywhere if you want to, but you have to take the time to look. Maybe nostalgia is tainted by events of past, but time helps you forget wounds, if not heal the scars.

America: Stanton - Delaware: Abandoned Shack

I lived not far from the sight of this eerie looking shack, but never paid it much mind. For one, most of the summer it was completely overgrown, and the golf course that surrounded it must have not had it in it's budget to trim things a bit. For two, well I never noticed anything compelling about the ugliness of the Delaware swamp. There is something neglected, and sorrowful about this place that never struck me at first, but after all these years is rather apparent to me now. It represents neglect. It shows me that at one time there was beauty in this place, but that neglect, and hobby has led to its sink into the mired land.

America: Stanton - Delaware: Tracks

On a back road was an overpass which, if you slowed down, had a railroad running next to a lake. I stopped to walk the trail, and saw these wonderful colors existing in harmony next to one another, as complimentary colors often do. Delaware's economy is based on many things, but most of all shipping, as most of America's largest businesses are headquartered in Wilmington. The tracks are the veins in the body leading throughout the state, connecting us with other markets, cultures, accents, and ways of life.

I took a turn to find this.

America: Stanton - Delaware: A place for everything

A place for everything, and everything in it's place. The thing that strikes me most about Delaware is the great stretches of lakes, and flowing water that runs through it. As a native, I feel we are both blessed and cursed by it, because no matter how beautiful the sight may be, the reality is different. We do not drink our water. I know that to most, especially those of us who live in California, this is not a shocking statement, but I do not stand alone in the thinking that Delaware has some of the most polluted water in the eastern seaboard. Not a stretch of water in Delaware goes unpolluted by many of the nations leading chemical companies, none-the-least Dupont. There's a lack respect we have for our own water, and it appears we believe it to be trash in, and trash out.

Except the trash flows back into us with some pretty abhorrent results.

America: Stanton - Delaware: Trails

Another source of worry in Delaware not only comes from the ground, but also falls down upon us from the air. Our skies are often swollen with rain clouds, but the trails started popping up in the 80s as far as I can remember.

America: Stanton - Delaware: Fort or Barn

Barn. It's an old one too, from what I understand dating back a hundred years or more. It still stands in working condition (save for a roof) and well kept for a place that is no longer used, and doesn't act as any official Delaware landmark. I lived down the street for years from this thing, and never took a sidelong glance at it until I picked up a camera, and things suddenly began to take on new meaning.

So I mentioned beauty. I believe that works of poetry, and words of elegance strung together as iridescent pearls are beautiful, and to me, there is nothing more beautiful, and tragic as an organism destroying itself out of sloth, or gluttony. Delaware, the first state, is old, and it wears it's wrinkles well, but it will wither, and die like everything in life. In it's representation of our sloth, indiscretion, and indifference, Delaware is art. And art is beautiful.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Markers: Monuments to the dead

Wow where the hell have I been, you may or may not be asking yourself. Well life has, as they often say, gotten in the way. I like to say more accurately money, debt, and a work shortage has gotten in the way, but that hasn't stopped me from doing projects, just kept me from doing them as often as I would like. That's why I am picking this thing back up, and giving it another go.

A project I recently finished is called Markers: Monuments to the dead. Here is an excerpt from that project. Hopefully many more to come.

Markers - Nathaniel 1-28-1993 - 4-13-2002
Markers - Nathaniel 1-28-1993 - 4-13-2002
The age struck me the most. No more than 9 years old, and here sits a simple placard to his life, however short it may have been, in a park no doubt close to where he lived. Perhaps, even played as a child. Not too far from the tree where it sat was a park where I and my son often played when he was that age, and the memories like moaning ghosts hit you when you realize this specter of death could come for anyone, and at anytime. This marker made me feel thankful that I, and my loved ones, have survived this long.

Markers - Roma Renee Jadick 1965 - 2004
Markers - Roma Renee Jadick 1965 - 2004
One of the official placards marking the passing of a loved one.