Category Archives: Photo Gallery

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Tonight I was sifting through files I created when I was student teaching. I discovered a collection of writing prompts that I generally used to start each class period. I took great care to ensure that the exercises helped foster connections between the students’ experiences and the lessons’ content.

For example, if the day’s class dealt with Poe, at the start of class students were asked to detail a vivid nightmare. For Thoreau, I asked students to consider various “desert island” scenarios- the familiar “if you were stranded on a desert island, you would wish for ____”. Packing to live in Florida and safeguarding personal property during the threat of hurricane are only two instances of many in which I have considered what is most valuable and most sentimental to me. I also think about this when I watch “Pawn Stars” or “Storage Wars”. As a North American, I am obsessed with things. It is flogged into us as children. The economic climate reminded me that the people in my life are more important than possessions.

With that in mind, in the interest of self-exposition, here is a list of my ten favorite things. They are not necessarily my most expensive, collectible, useful, or flashy; they just hold the most sentimental value, presented in no particular order.

1. Green Army-Style Old Navy Shirt

There are many men with a favorite shirt, and I am no different. I have owned this shirt since I was sixteen years old- eleven years as of this writing- and it will stay with me until it disintegrates. I bought this shirt with some of the first money I ever made. I think I wore it on most of my first dates. I know I’ve worn it to most concerts. It doesn’t choke me around the neck, make me too hot or cold, make me itch, nor is it too tight nor loose. I love this shirt.

2. Bicycle

I am still very much learning all sorts of things about how a bicycle is built and how to care for it. Riding keeps me alert of what’s around the corner and makes me slow down to appreciate the scenery. It is often the only chance I get a few uninterrupted hours to listen to a new album. It strengthens many muscle groups without destroying my knee. It keeps mileage off the car and gas money in my wallet. I may not know half of everything about bikes, but I do enjoy mine.

3. Optimus Prime 25th Anniversary G1 Reissue

I traded many old, miscellaneous toys for the same Optimus Prime I wanted as a six-year-old; all he was missing was the box. I watched the cartoon as a child, but didn’t follow the spinoffs and only saw the first two Michael Bay movies. I’m not a diehard Transformers fan, but this truck is as neat to me now as it was all those years ago. I didn’t take this picture and I forget where I found it, but mine has nice straight smokestacks and you get much better clarity in this shot.

4. Ayotte 12″x7″ Snare

What I don’t know about bicycles I make up for in drums. I could make an entire post solely on Ayotte, but a long story short it features some neat hardware and offers things even the local custom shops still can’t duplicate. This size is just right for my smaller stature, and there’s lots of beautiful snares out there that sound fantastic. However, in this I have the drum I want to come home to, use every day, and consider it to be my Excalibur.

5. Little League Baseball

I have baseballs that the coach gave to me as a momento for being the MVP of the day. I scribbled the team names and score on each one, but can’t remember anymore which team I was on. My favorite is actually a blank ball of the same type. This sat on my desk in Florida and is something I still toss to myself and use as a stress ball. Sometimes I pretend I’m Tim Lincecum or Dustin Pedroia. It’s cheaper than buying the T-shirts.

6. Adore, The Smashing Pumpkins

If I have to pick a favorite album this is a surprising one to many who know me well. Jimmy Chamberlin is a respected drummer and one I admire, and this is the group’s album on which he does not play. So why do I like it so? That also could be a post in itself, and maybe later it will be. For now, I really enjoy the loose narrative of love, loss, and mourning, and enjoy the solid but not overpowering playing from all involved. This album sounds like it was the one that involved the most thought, but the group claims it was actually the most rushed of their releases. This also isn’t my photo.

7. NECA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Donatello

I did faithfully watch the cartoons as a child, as am very familiar with the plotlines of the first two movies. Donatello was the one that came to Florida with me. Not my photo either, but Talyn from FLICKR already made a perfect shot.

I like that the coloring of the NECA figures evokes this image from an old calendar I had.

8. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

I brought somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty books to Florida, and of all of those and the ones I read in high school, this is still my favorite work of recent/20th century American Fiction. For me, Steinbeck elicits a strong emotional impact and enduring characters in a plainspoken manner. His writing I find much more enjoyable than Faulkner’s, for example.

9.  2011 Hot Wheels Back To the Future DeLorean Time Machine

This would have been a runaway favorite toy of mine had it been around in my childhood. I had many Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, but I remember still being all jazzed up when I got my hands on the Micro Machines DeLorean in the latter half of the 1990s. I remembered being a kid again when I saw this at the local Stop & Shop, and promptly removed it from the package and made it zoom around the coffee table when I got home. I bought two, actually. This isn’t my photo either, but uses a much better camera.

10. Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up, Dave Barry

This is a book I’ve read many times and still find amusing and inspiring. I was very interested in offbeat news as a young teen, and this is exactly what the book offers. Dave Barry’s humor is family-friendly without being too corny, and since he writes largely  as a columnist, it inspires me to express myself in writing more frequently.


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On Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene

Recently Tropical Storm Irene struck the Northeastern United States. My parent’s Cape Cod home saw little rain but high winds. Power was knocked out for them on Sunday, Monday, and the first nine hours of Tuesday. Luckily, the majority of their property escaped harm, save mostly small branches and leaves knocked down in the back yard. The secondary refridgerator, a Wel-Bilt manufactured in Yugoslavia, a nation which has not existed since the Clinton Administration, was the biggest loss of the storm for them.

Given the storm’s more inland path and the greater resources available to my immediate family on Cape, who were largely out of harm’s way, I decided to tempt fate and make sure my significant other rode the storm out safely with her dog. Here are some images I took after the storm in the surrounding area of Mansfield/Foxboro/Plainville.

This photo may be the most dramatic, and was particularly disturbing as it was along the normal route along which I walk the dog and thus very close to home.

If you squint, I think the vehicle may actually have escaped major damage. I only managed to get this shot to come out clearly, but to the naked eye it seemed that the roofline and hood contours were rather intact. For a tree falling onto a car, the damage could easily have been much worse.

The local media coverage explained that many trees had toppled due to the ground being saturated, making the roots’ grip slippery. This is not the case in the following photo.

It is the case in the next three photos, however. As you may be able to see, this tree was rooted in very moist soil and mulch. It toppled over in nearly one piece, and also away from the building it neighbors.

Although I am an imposing 5’7″, the exposed part of the fibrous root network clearly stood taller than I. That’s still impressive to me, anyway.

A final two shots of a rather large tree limb rent asunder from its trunk, and a sizeable tree turned turtle.

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Some Snapshots From the Children’s Holiday Concert, 2010

Most of you who would likely be reading this were present. I only managed to get a few clear/acceptable shots. My camera has rather limited zooming capacity.

Yes, my little brother played at this show as well. Like me, he also is relegated to the back. I actually chose drums for this very reason- I would be well-hidden.

The next concert I shall have to jump into the fray and get a backstage shot.

I include this last photo only because I was a sophmore in high school (2000) when this bass was purchased. I’m still scratching my head over not only how funding was approved for a new, remarkably expensive instrument, but how remarkably in ten years it still appears to not have a ding, dent, or scratch on it.

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Some Snapshots of Music Night

I try to play music with a friend across town roughly once a week. Here’s a few shots of what the space looks like.

This was very common when I was in high school. A pizza and plenty of room to make some creative noise goes a long way.

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The Rising Tide

A few shots from my bike ride last week. The ponds nearby are the fullest I can remember, as they threaten to wash out the road if there isn’t a sustained hot and dry spell to lower their waters.

A hyperbole, at least at this time. This is a large swath of water that did not exist when I left last October.

A little further down the street, the smaller of the two ponds. This is the one that will pose a navigation hazard if it continues to collect water. It has already sprawled into the street.

The waters of Snake Pond have also risen dramatically. These lifeguard chairs used to be set a good fifteen feet from the water’s edge.

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Asheville, North Carolina

While in Florida I broke down and bought “ If All Goes Wrong“. The film spent quite a bit of time showing the area of Asheville, North Carolina, and the band and their staff were full of positive things to say around the area. Based on what I saw, I thought it might be interesting to stop in and find a place to have lunch.

I found the concert venue quite easily.

This is where I had lunch. It reminded me a lot of Mashpee Commons.

Here’s the main drag. It was remarkably clean!

After I left Asheville, my route took me through the Appalachian Mountains as I crossed Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia on my way to Pennsylvania. 

This concludes my trip, as I did not take any more pictures on the final leg from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.

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The Last of the Georgia Aquarium Exhibits I Visited: River Scout and Tropical Diver

I also saw a traveling exhibit about sharks and their media representation, but I respected their no-photography rules. There were also security cameras everywhere.

I did not bother to document my Coke and personal pizza. There is also a play area for children, if you go with little ones.

This first section is devoted to animals that inhabit rivers from North America, South America, Asia, and Africa. There were otters here as well, but try as I might, I could not get a clear picture of them.

Alas, I did not see any fish swimming upstream.

Catfish, of course. Don’t build an aquarium in the south without them.

This is on the left when you first enter the exhibit. This is easily my favorite part of this particlar exhibit.

On to the Tropical Diver. Per the aquarium’s site, this is the exhibit they recommend visiting last, as it is supposed to be the most relaxing.

It’s Oscar the Grouch’s pet Slimey, no?

Sperm Whales love to eat cuttlefish.

This little fellow was the most difficult one to take a picture of in either the Georgia Aquarium or SeaWorld. I spent the better part of an hour to get:

Next time I’ll have pictures and an explanation of why I went out of my way to see Asheville, North Carolina.

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