“The Waffle House”

Home is Smothered and Covered

Sometimes home is a good meal, and that meal is breakfast. Waffle House not only cooks up a solid breakfast, but it is also open twenty four hours a day to serve it.

The damn near never closed doors (look up the “Waffle House Index” on Grandpa Google to see what I mean) welcome casual diners, tourists, end of shifters, slightly inebriated, and anybody else looking for a good meal and a little bit of home. The coffee may not be a fancy blend and the breakfasts aren’t classy but that is why Waffle House feels like home, no pretense. Likewise, the people of Waffle House, staff and diners, are not there to pose, posture, or post on the Twit, Book, or Insta (granted there are a few who do, but like most families there are always a few weird ones you have to deal with when they visit your house).

“Casa de Waffle”

Waffle House has many features that are attributed to home (at least the idea of it). It has good food, good people, and there is always a pot of coffee at the ready. It is a place to go to get away from the worries of the outside world. It’s not just a House, it’s a home.


“When You Don’t Know If ‘You Were Perfectly Fine'”

Dorothy Parker on Drinking, Desire, and Lost Nights

Drinking a little too much alcohol at one time has been known to induce amnesia in those who imbibe. Those of us who have been known to drink a bit too much on occasion can attest to this. Those of you who haven’t made this mistake please trust those of us who have. If you don’t want to trust us then I suggest reading “You Were Perfectly Fine” by Dorothy Parker. This short story presents the danger of a little too much drink (without the soapbox condescension).

Parker’s story is primarily a dialogue between Peter, a “pale young man” and an unnamed “clear-eyed girl” the morning after a night of drinkng with friends. She helps him piece together the events of the previous evening and assures him that his drunken behavior was not that bad and that, in fact, he was “perfectly fine” throughout most of the evening. The key event of the stoy worth noting is when she tells the man that he revealed romantic feelings for her, and that she has similar feelings for him. The man’s reaction to this turn (as shown in the last sentence) can be viewed as a warning to monitor both the amount of alcohol you drink and what you say when drinking.

“Dorothy Parker and Hamm’s”

If you take the dialogue between the woman and Peter at face value it is a humorous tale of a little too much alcohol being the root cause of some foolish actions and brash statements. But there are a few points that are worth a closer analysis. These points don’t necessarily change the outcome of the story, but they do provide a different view concerning the motivation of the female character. Peter relies on this female companion to remind him of the events and his actions of the previous night. An argument can be made that the female is making light of Peter’s actions because she has feelings for him and doesn’t want Peter to feel bad. Another interpretation could argue that she is deftly manipulating Peter. The story begins at about four in the afternoon when Peter finally gets out of bed with quite a hangover. The female character doesn’t seem to be suffering any ill effects of the previous evening. She obviously has not had as much to drink as Peter (or maybe holds her drink better), and is better prepared to discuss the previous night than Peter. Another point worth considereing concerns the title of the story. Throughout the course of their conversation she tells Peter, “You were perfectly fine,” on two occasions along with two more variations of this statement. Minimizing Peter’s actions can be viewed as something other than making apologies for a romantic interest. These statements can be seen as a means to convince Peter that his actions were acceptable, and by extension so is his supposed admission of feelings for the female character. The final point for analysis is Peter’s romantic declaration. According to the female Peter’s actions throughout the night had a collection of witnesses, yet their conversation was private. If Peter has a history of blacking out while drinking, which seems to be the case, the female could easily manipulate Peter into thinking he said something he did not. The fact that she suggests they keep their romantic exchange a secret may not be proof of manipulation but does give one a reason to question her motivation.

If alcohol has ever put you in a situation were you felt like a third person character in your first person life then “You Were perfectly Fine” will feel familiar. If alcohol hasn’t struck you with a bit of amnesia this is an interesting a study of character motivation. Parker’s ability to create characters who conceal more than they reveal is just one of many reasons why her work should be on your shelf.


“The American Dream…”

and a Mercenary Tale

The end of a dream.

I was organizing some files the other day and I came across some photos that took me back to back to a time when I was at a personal and professional crossroads. During that inbetween time of figuring out what I was leaving behind and what was next I worked as an independent contracter for a property management company. That’s a fancy way to say I managed foreclosed homes. My time at that company got me thinkng about the American Dream.

For five mercenary months I documented the failed dreams of others. I was able to keep paying my mortgage by doing biweekly and monthly inspections of homes that were forelosed by various banks. Armed with my trusty Optio X camera I shot over 25G/10,000 photos during my time as a contractor. I shot it all: from flood, to fire, to the loss of one of the main goals of the American Dream, owning a home.

It was a mix of shooting the haunted, the hallowed, the hollowed, and the abandonded. I worked to keep my little piece of the dream by being the mercenary that documented the loss of others’ dreams.

I’ve always done my best to pursue my dreams. The experience of those five months taught that all things whether corporeal like a house or ethereal like a dream come at a cost, and we have to ask ourselves if we are willing to pay the freight.

I put in my notice htree days after this shot.

“I was not proud of what I learned but never doubted that it was worth knowing.” -Hunter S. Thompson-


On Photography

“Yes, photography saved my life. Everytime I go through something scary, traumatic, I survive by taking pictures.”

-Nan Goldin-

“Shots in the Dark”

or Carrying a Camera in the Middle of the Night

Do you check to see if you have your camera before you have your keys when leaving the house? I’ve been carrying a camera of some sort on the daily for the better part of three decades now (I don’t consider my phone a camera, but I don’t judge those who do). Some people have a favorite subject or location when it comes to taking photographs. Other photographers long for the golden hour. I’ve always been a fan of nighttime, not just for photography, but also for reflection.

I’ve never been much of a sound sleeper. Wandering through the neighborhood at night is both a way of passing time (trying to “chase down some sleeps” as my Pops would say) and as a perfect time to find some good shots. Night is a time to reflect, to think, and to shoot (not necessarily in that order).

“Night Walk”

Time moves slower at night. There is more time to set up shots. I don’t feel so much like a tourist or a lookie loo if I linger at night (of course I have found myself being accosted by the local police on an occasion or few). But the night provides a quiet and a stillness that I’ve never found in the day. Shots taken during the day may freeze time, but shots taken at night preserve time. Daytime photographs capture a moment, but nighttime photographs embrace that moment.

“Clock Face”

If you are the type of person that carries a camera everywhere you go, then the next time you find yourself out after dark take a few moments to look around. Enjoy the time to reflect, think, and take a few shots.


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