Days 253- 255 Monday January 26th- Wednesday January 27th
After the craziness of the first day it was time to get to work helping Lucy adapt to her new home and being a well-behaved pupper in general. Lucy got in four separate fights with the other dogs that first some, some quite vicious. We were a little concerned about her aggressiveness issues and control issues. She was great around humans though she had no structured boundaries. She would jump from couch to couch, chill out on the coffee table, lick any new comer to the house until they were slopping wet, and generally get a little too excited when indoors. Most of these were little quirks that are easy enough to temper. The fighting, aggressiveness and possesiveness had to be a priority.
I got in touch with Boxer Rescue down in LA and they had a wealth of information on what to expect with rescued boxers. I figured they deal with integrating new dogs into an established pack all the time. Sure enough they were a wealth of information (AND have some amazing dogs ready for adoption NOW). Based on the information we found about how best to integrate a new boxer into the household, Bick started daily training routines. First he would work with Lucy then with both dogs together. The training went on all day every day-- in the back yard, out on the leash, at the beach, and on and on. Overall I am pretty darn impressed with how much head way he has been making in such a short time! Already Lucy is responding to a number of commands, even when she is all worked up. Lucy is doing significantly better not only with the three house dogs but also other dogs she meets out and about her own. She is finally settling down enough that dinner time isn't sucha huge hassle.
Overall I will have to say that Lucy is one special pupper. Not only Lucy but Kaya as well. At first Kaya was a little protective of her home turf and her toys. She has quickly adapted though and accepted Lucy into the pack. Though honestly there are some times when Kaya gets a little annoyed having a little sister tagging along all day. Having two annoying little sisters myself, we know how that goes!
First they run this way.
Then this way, wash, rinse, repeat, over and over again.
Obedience training: Kaya first then Lucy to emphasize the Alpha, over and over and over and over and over again.
After an hour and a dozen handfuls of treats it is time for bed. Doggy boot camp starts again bright and early at half past 5 in the AM. Walking, sitting, staying, coming, playing, treating, and on and on until Lucy gets these commands in her thick skull for good. Thankfully she is a firecracker of a learner.
I could barely sleep all night. Waiting to get Lucy was kind of like how I imagine a 6 year old views waiting for Santa but with a little more passive aggressiveness. Every few hours I would wake up to check the clock. As soon as the sun climbed above the mountains I was ready to go. I was super excited for the day to begin. I was also in an odd mood which added to the excitement. I was a little ticked off by the delay. It was really eating at me that poor little Lucy was stuck out on the cement patio for another cold night in the rain. The only thing keeping us from grabbing her immediately and taking her home was stupid politeness.
Because we simply "couldn't" run over there and rescue her, she was left to wither one last rain soaked night as best she could. This whole political correctness of what is an accepted norm and process really irked me. Because we didn't want to upset the owner (who bloody abandoned her in the first place by the way-- how on earth were we expected to respect a man who does that?) and jeopardize the adoption our hands were tied. We were forced to wait one more day. Man it was definitely an exercise in patience and self-control. There were many times on the walk over I had to rationalize my way around not punching the owner square in the face and chain him up in Lucy's place to see how he would like it. Granted I abstained, though it was a temptation to say the least.
As soon as it was noon we grouped up and headed over. I was anxious to see how Lucy weathered the night's storm. I was also a little on edge with her owner her had bailed on us the day before. Lucy was in her usual spot, the hole in the fence squirming and wiggling as soon as we rounded the block. It didn't look like the wet miserable night affected her spirits at all. If only us humans could be so laissez-faire about our own trials and tribulations! We could learn a lot from this dog I think. By the time we got up to the fence Lucy had worked herself into a goofy little tizzy. She would push her square head through the fence and wiggle wiggle wiggle. Then she would get so excited she would run laps around the old abandoned car in the driveway. Then right back to the whole in the fence to squirm and lick some more!
We waited and waited hanging with Lucy on one side of the fence and us on the other. Finally we bumped into a gentleman who was moving in to one of the lower units in Lucy's owner's rental house. He offered to call the owner and see what the delay was. With a little luck we were able to get the owner on the phone and he was heading right over. After the phone call the lady that had helped facilitate this entire thing came on out. She gave us a leash and let us take Lucy out from behind the fence to say hello in closer fashion. It was great. That crazy pupper could barely contain her excitement as we brought her out onto the front lawn to wait for the owner's arrival. At first Lucy was a little hyper and perplexed as to why she was on the leash but not going for a walk. After about 20 minutes though she relaxed and was happy just to be around people on the other side of the fence.
After an hour or so the owner finally showed up. I probably should not judge and give him the benefit of the doubt. I probably should. Honest to goodness I tried. I did. I gave it the good ole' college try and then some. When the owner stepped out of the car he walked over to us crisply. There were no hand shakes or salutations. There were no introductions or pleasantries. He walked over and immediately barked out "Hey that's not Lucy's leash. That's my leash. You can't take my leash. You are gonna have to give it back." Douche bag said my brain, face meet fist said my knuckles. Okay okay it didn't quite happen like that. I certainly didn't sock the guy though I did have one of those Alley McBeal breaks from reality where I imagined doing it (and it felt GREAT!). Actually despite his crass remark about the leash things went pretty quick and really well. After a quick chat to get as much info as possible on her background, medical history, and demeanor we were done. Lucy was finally coming home with us.
We took she and Kaya for a quick walk and then let them loose in the back yard. It was great! We let the various dogs-- four now-- get accustomed to each other for a bit in the back yard. Kaya introduced Lucy to the proper way to play tug-o'-war, Sadie showed her where to properly poop, and good ole' Tank showed her his lip stick. Then he tried unsuccessfully to put it in her ear. (Note to self: That has to stop!) A quick bath took three of us to hold her down and scrub her up and left her looking great but the three of us bedraggled, soaked, scratched, and out of breath. After that it was off to the beach and the rest they say is history-- or will be shortly...
"You gonna pet me or what camera boy?"
Lucy was locked out on this patio competing for concrete with a rusted out Plymouth Fury. The entire space was covered in poop. All in all it didn't look all too fun.
Bick & Sara made it a point to visit a couple times a day. Sometimes Lucy would be around, sometimes she wouldn't. We never did figure out where she would disappear to. When she was around she was pretty hard to miss. Her smooshed little nose and pancake of a tongue would be wiggling and dancing in the hole in the fence.
Lucy loves nothing more then hugging and licking, licking and hugging. When we finally were able to get her on the freedom side of the fence she wasted no time with formal introductions!
We took her for a short walk and then introduced her to the back yard and her new home. She was abso-frikin-lutely mystified by the hose! She could not get enough.
Tug of war with the whole crew: (L to R) Tank in white, the ummm "man" of the house; Sadie the Golden; Lucy; Kaya showing everyone how a proper Boxer tug-o-war should be.
Fetch. Lucy had no interest whatsoever in chasing a stick we kept throwing. She was happy just tagging a long w/ her new big sis.
Prelude to a nap in the sunshine. Man it must be nice to be a d-o-g!
Rub a dub dub diggity doggy.
After 3+ months of being outdoors in all the elements and laying around in her own poop Lucy's coat was in rough shape. After every visit our hands and forearms would be caked with black dingy pupper grime. We were amazed at how sharp she looked after just the first washing. The caramel coat and the golden highlights really jumped out. It was like one of those goofy make-overs you see on Oprah but for the pupper!
"Yo camera boy, a little help here bro'?"
The collar alone tells its own tale of abuse and neglect. Made out of the same fabric and weave as a seat belt, it is pretty dang hard to destroy these things. After months of squeezing her square head through the hole in the fence, Lucy's collar was worn thin. The color had faded to a pretty pathetic version of pink from day after day of lounging in the sun with no where else to go. When the light caught it right, it looked like she had a fuzzy pink mane.
"Come on pops, I'm cwean & I pwomise to never ever be dirty again. Just put the hose away, pwease."
Lucy is done and its Bick's turn for a bath says the pupper-- hey fair is fair right.
All clean and super stoked to be in the truck for a ride to la playa! Now that she is all clean maybe there is a dead seal washed up on the beach she can roll in! Boy does she love that, especially after a bath...
Day 251 Saturday January 24th
About two weeks ago now my roommate Aaron approached me with a question. He and Sara wanted to rescue another Boxer. I was totally down, no need to explain further. Sara had been taking their Boxer Kaya on her afternoon walk the past few weeks and had made friends with this other Boxer Lucy. Every time Sara would walk by with Kaya Lucy would squish her face through this missing slot in her fence and watch enthusiastically. After a few days Sara brough Kaya up the drive way and introduced the two. Kaya and Lucy seemed to hit it off well right from the beginning. From that point on sara always made it a point to stop by and say hello through the fence to Lucy.
On one such afternoon a lady who rented the upper floor of the house approached Sara. She asked if Sara knew anyone who was looking for a dog. It turns out the land lord of the house had simply left Lucy there about three or four months prior. The land lords' girl friend was afraid of Lucy and she had to go the story went. Apparently the land lord had three or so other bxers, much larger, male and much more aggressive. The aplha male boxer attacked Lucy over food one day. The land lord's girl friend was bitten by the male trying to break up the fight. Because the land lord was so attached to the male it was Lucy who go the boot. She had been penned up in the cement driving ever since.
Once Sara learned of Lucy's plight she shared the story with Bick and the ball went rolling along. It took a few weeks to iron everything out. In the interim Sara and Bick continued to visit Lucy a few times each day. We would bring her treats and just hang out. It was heart breaking meeting this loveable pupper. She shared the cement drive with an equally hard-luck Plymouth Fury vintage 1961. She basically had one tiny strip of cement along the rear of the hunk and one long narrow strip along the side of the rus bucket Fury to call her own. The entire place was covered in dog poo. The smell was quite ummmm interesting. She had only minimal interaction with any other humans other then for Sara & Bick's daily visits. Despite it all she was a ball of joyous excitement every time we visited.
Finally Sara and Bick, through the female tenent of the rental house, made contact with the owner indirectly. He was supposedly agreeable to giving Lucy up. The tenent really went out of her way to facilitate the process. She told us that the owner would be around to fix up the house for a new tenent moving in. We decided to take the initiative and ambush the dude-- of course we gave him fair warning first.
We showed up at the appointed time first thing Saturday morning. We were all giddy with electric energy enthusiastically shooting throughout our bodies. We waited and waited. Hours passed and no sign of the owner. We found a number on Lucy's collar tags and dialed it. No luck. Eventually the female tenent that had been helping us out let us take Lucy for a wlak. It was amazing how well she adapted to the leash. She really walked well! Granted she was so excited she would refuse to actually stop to pee. Instead she would hop along on three legs with the fourth sticking out to the side as she did her business. Crazy pupper! We brought her back to the house after the walk to acclimate her to the other dogs and the back yard.
After a bit we had to bring her back. It was a horrid feeling to have to leave her stuck behind the fence fending off the Fury for a place to lie down. We walked away with our spirits pretty dang low.
For the last few weeks this is how we would interact w/ Lucy-- she on one side fighting to get as much as her body out and us on the other side of the fence trying to keep her from popping her head off. Despite the small slit we had to interact through, she melted everyone's heart in a matter of minutes.
Lucy's infamous tongue, this girl has no problem covering every possible surface of your face with this thing. I've never met a dog that will go through more just to get a could lick in. "Hey no tongue, we just met!"
We were suppose to go out tonight. Instead BamBam and I had a staring contest to see who fell asleep first. I am not quite certain who won cause I nodded off before it could be determined but I think I had him by a wink....
Before hand we had tried to watch The Devil & Daniel Johnson but fell asleep half way through. It seemed like a really cool doc. I was trying hard to fight off the nods butt my eyes seemed to pay me no mind. I would be really into a scene and the next thing I knew my chin was bouncing off my chest. Finally I just gave in and submitted to the nightly inevitable.
Coach surfing takes a lot out of you when done continuously. It rarely feels like you are getting enough rest, especially if you have a "normal" life. When I say normal I mean the whole work thing, freelance thing, dating thing, documentary thing, non-partying, uber-responsibility thing. Couch surfing is a great gift of generosity. It can be a real treat when you are driving cross the grand ole US of A or backpacking across Europe or island hopping in the Caribbean or ski bumming in Aspen or beach bumming in San Diego or..., well you get the point. When each day is an adventure and each day you are on vacation, couch surfing can be pretty chill. When you gotta get up at the butt crack of dawn and go to work every day, sleeping on someone's living room floor or back porch or whatever isn't advantageous to a well rested evening. But it does the trick. You get used to it soon enough. And you are always grateful regardless. It always beats squishing yourself into the backseat of the Focus on a raining night parked in an alley behind an abandoned warehouse! Yup beats it hands down.
Day 249 Thursday January 22nd
With a free evening to do whatever I could not wait to run out and bang off a few more frames with the new camera. I was like a kid at Christmas! The last hour at work killed me. I think I photo'd everything in sight 42 times-- the keyboard, the phone, the ceiling tiles, the coffee stains on the carpet, my toes, etc. Finally it was half past 5 and I was free to play! First things first though, I had to run over to a friend's photo exhibit opening. It was cool to see everything printed in large format and hanging in a gallery. After a few hours of pleasantries and polite small talk again I was free to play! We decided to hit up a locl sports bar the Bench Warmer. It is a dive bar in a way, but not in the cool over-priced hollywood sorta' way that has come into fashion altely. It is a true dive bar in every sense of the beatnick- blue collar- beer and a shot-Working Man's Dead sort of way.
Stale beer, loud locals, wife beaters, sticky floors, cigar smoke, Rick the colorfully & comically charasmatic bartender (who knows everyone, their drink, and their wife), the best juke box in town, dark corners where patrons discuss communism/hedonism/commercial fishing (yes, no, go go go)/the Lakers/Ford vs. Chevy/Freud vs. Adler (often at the same time), and tons and tons of really crappy lighting-- it was the perfect spot to run the new camera through its paces. I wanted to push it to 11, open 'er up and see what this baby was made of-- in a very photomorphic kind of way of course!
Well okay there is me, I was there. That is a given.
Sara was there too.
And Ash-hole's tongue, trying to lick her elbow(?). Okay don't mock it til you try it!
Vice Vickford, world champion dart hurler & internationally renowned porn star was there. (At this point you are probably wondering who wasn't.)
Vice lines up his shot, quiet in the gallery please.
BamBam and his dart prowess or lack of it was also there.
Of course "Saron" made an appearance. Note: photo by someone other then me. Process of elimination leads me to think either Ash-hole or BamBam.
BamBam was there then all of a sudden wasn't quite there. See children this is what drinking Coors Light will do you for!
Pitched a new idea for a documentary. Picked up the new camera. Not a bad day, a win win if I say so myself!
Frame 1 of what may be the start of a beautiful relationship (Louie).
Day 246 Tuesday January 20th
Inauguration day, need I say more?
Day 245 Monday January 19th MLK Jr. Day
Errands: oil change, flush transmission, new fuel filter & lines, tweak the clutch, alignment, vaccuumm, wash, rinse, repeat. Pick up film (ummm excuse me, do y'all still offer E-6 processing?). Pick up chain lube, don't forget tire tubes and rags. Drop $100 at the mall shopping for "presentable" dress pants (ie. pants w/o holes, chalk stains from climbing, bike grease stains, paint marks, holes & pants w/ a viable butt, working zippers, intact pockets). Make monthly trip to P.O. box, see who wants my first born child and/or soul this month. Drive to climbing gym, park but don't get out of car, stare through windows intently, make excuse about how you just aren't feeling "it", drive to happy hour on pier, libate liberally. Laundry (don't forget to clean out pockets of miscellaneous flotsam & jetsam). Walk back to happy hour, you deserve it.
I found an old roll of Fujichrome slide film stuck in a shoebox in the back of my closet. I thought it would be cool to do a quick test roll playing around with different exposure values to capture star trails. I experimented with four and five hour exposures and really pushed the reciprocity failure envelope. That was like August of 2007 or something like that. Because I was doing such long exposures I really didn't want to shoot unless the night sky was no brighter then 2% illumination from the moon. This means I can feasibly shoot only two or three days out of each month. On a good night I could get one or two exposures at the most before the sun began to rise. So you can see how this project could drag on. By the time my 10D died I was pretty much over the whole test roll idea anyhow. So when BamBam and I took off to Santa Barbara to climb away the new year I grabbed the 1V and shot a few climbing pics.
Lower Lake, Rose Valley, 2.5 hour exposure at f2.8 on Fujichrome Velvia 50, summer 2007.
Midnight sun in Joshua Tree, 5 minute exposure on Fujichrome Velvia 50, summer 2007.
Climbing in the clouds at Lizard's Mouth. The clouds break for a quick sec and the radiant sunset streams through briefly. January 2009.
Self portrait, Lizard's Mouth. Shooting film at 1.8 can be quite the challenge. Shooting self portraits on film at f1.8 can be even more so. January 2009.
I was super excited to pic the slides up after processing. It was like Christmas as a kid! It killed me to have to wait a full day to pick them up. I guess I have been spoiled by the instant gratification of digital cameras. You shoot, you sneak a peak. Its not like the old days where you had days to wait to see if you had anything salvageable. Shooting primarily in backwoods podunk areas like Albania, Bulgaria, Beirut, and Maine there were times I had to wait weeks for a roll of slides to come back. So it could have been worse then just an overnight wait. Besides considering the fact that it had been over a year and a half since I first popped the film in the 1V, its not like I was in any sort of hurry!
Day 240 Wednesday Jan. 14th
Spent the night in the car for the 1st time since New Years-- one word: ouch!
Day 239 Tuesday Jan. 13th Bick brought home a bucket of Black Turban Snails from the boat. He boiled them up over the fire and plucked those suckers right out onto our waiting plates. They were strange at first, chewy and gritty, But give it a second to ruminate and a slight hint of lobster could be had. It was pretty darn good eating once you got used to the chewiness!
Later I slept on the couch outside again. I didn't sink this time...
Day 238 Monday Jan. 12th
I crashed on a buddies couch outside on the patio. The wind was blowing like crazy. It took me forever to get my sleeping bag to lay just so so I could crawl in and pass out. Once that was accomplished I was snug as a bug in a rug sipping tea from a mug. About an hour or two before dawn I had the craziest weirdest dream. I always have goofy dreams when i sleep in strange places. One summer as a kid back in Maine (I was about 5 or 6 and full of piss and vinegar), there was this dude Bill Dunlop who set the record for crossing the Atlantic in the smallest sail boat ever. He sailed the 9 foot Wind's Will from Maine to Falmouth, England in 2 1/2 months. Every few nights or so there would be a quick vignette on the evening news of his progress or a related story. He was a super man to me!
Anyhow back to the dream. The wind was rocking the wicker couch back and forth all night and blowing rain and moisture all over me. I dreamt I was sailing Wind's Will around the globe and was lost in a storm and about to capsize. (note: Dunlop was lost at sea somewhere around the Cook Islands in a hurricane when he was trying to sail around the world.) I was absolutely terrified. It was crying and being tossed every which way hugging the lone mast like poor Truman escaping from the Truman Show. The waves were massive and gray and super pissed off. Then I realized it had been a decade or two since I had sailed a tiny monohull. Panic set in! What the crap was I doing sailing this bath tub solo? Then I woke up and realized it was just a dream. It took my head a while though to be fully convinced the couch wasn't sinking. Go figure. Okay thats all I gots...
Yosh & Kaz down by the river- what a freaky trip! At least I still have all my eyebrows...
Day 228 Friday January 2nd
Climbed through the clouds. Slept in a cave. It rained all night. Sometime after midnight bedraggled coyotes tried to raid the cave. We wouldn't budge. Tried to sleep without much luck. Woke up soaking wet and shivering. Spent the morning climbing poorly in a burned out forest. Super RAD!
(I have received a couple friendly notes since this was posted yesterday that you miss the photos. Well since I am temporarily camera-less, I thought I would draw y'all a picture to kinda show you how things went down. This is my sketch of the coyotes trying to eat us when we were sleeping in the cave. Its not very accurate-- I think the coyote was bigger and had sharper teeth... he may have been rabid as well.)
Day 227 Thursday January 1st Ventura, CA
Woke up in the car half in a snow bank with a raging headache. Dang the sunshine! Drove down from the high desert into LA to pick BamBam up at the aeropuerto. Took a leisurely drive through Santa Monica up into Malibu. Got home and took a nap in the sun on the couch. Woke up and kicked it off again w/ margaritas, IPAs, and chile rellenos around the fire. Not a bad way to start the New Year.
Day 226 Wednesday December 31st Acton, CA
New Years. Desert. Bloody Cold. Beer Pong. Undefeated Record. Wait. Who put Jager in our Beer Pong Cups? No Mo Undefeated. And the Night Swirls Away...
I have been dragging my feet as diligently as possible these last few weeks. I think I have put more effort into continued procrastination at this point then actually just moving on with the project. I can craft an iron clad excuse to procrastinate out of vapors and other such nothingness. I can make the most twisted logic seem feasible when it comes to lazily delaying. Unfortunately this vacation can only go on for so long. It looks like the time to get on with it is now. So here we go.
This time is going to be a little different. When I first started the initial couple of months were all about learning the ropes. I had no idea how to be homeless and had a lot to learn. Granted it took me longer then expected, but hey I never said I was a quick learner! Once I got the hang out it I was really focused on documenting the struggle to survive. Its a real chore let me tell you just to survive on the streets alone let alone film and document all of it. This time around the foundation has been laid. This time around the goal is to be much more visible in the community. I hope to slowly integrate my life with those of fellowcar bound folks here in Ventuckey and Santa Barbara. The next few months are to be more about the community then my story. It is certainly a much larger and much more difficult challenge. We will play it by ear and see how it goes.
When I first started there were plenty question marks to keep me up at night. Those questions are still there, their answers seemingly more elusive. With that, off we go into the cold clear California night. A few more months, a few more sleepless nights, a few more crazy experiences to tell the grand kids, a few more baths in the river here we come. Brrrr!
*As I currently don't have one of those cool little black boxes that make images of whatever you point it at, I will do my best to keep these posts visually stimulating but I promise nothing (grin).