Tag: travel

A Story About Alaska

Again, they refuse – not denying that I’m going to miss my connection. They know now I won’t be on that flight. No chance. None. But now it’s too late in the day and there are no options.

I sigh a long sigh and stand frustrated waiting for the boarding to actually begin.

Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

Stephen looked up at her, unsure of what to do next. She was still topless. Her wet, brown hair cascaded down her shoulders, framing her round cheeks, and green eyes. She smiled at him, as their eyes locked. Her smile dimples triggered his nostalgia. The droplets of water rolling down her brown skin, onto her bare breasts triggered his body.

A Story From Days Gone By

Sitting on a flight to Chicago. Flying United is like flying on a school bus…

Waiting for my originating flight in Montreal was a bit odd. There was no non-stop and at every gate CNN feed. Instead they had on a Canadian new feed that was mostly in French. I don’t speak French, at all… yet somehow it was still more informative than CNN.

Someone who will remain nameless… let’s just call him douchebag… asked again tonight if I could meet him in Chicago at 9:00PM when my flight takes off from DC at 9:58PM… logistics are so difficult for him.

It should be an interesting night… and tomorrow. Getting into Chicago late tonight and needing to be up early tomorrow for training. I feel like tomorrow is going to be a day of scrutiny against me… just the way things have been going for me lately. I feel like they’re looking for a reason… any reason, to shove me out the door from this contract. I’m still trying to solve the reason why. I have my suspicions, but I’ll keep them to myself.

Still, I think it’s funny. From the side of the contract I’m on, no one on the team has been doing this longer, or better, in my opinion.

The local sales rep commented, “I can’t believe how quickly and how well this whole project came together this week with no prior IT planning…”

“Well, they sent you the best they had…” was my only response.

And I sincerely believe that. Ok, that might sound a bit conceited, but those that know me know I am anything but. I will be the first person to be disappointed in myself. I have the highest expectations for me and falling anywhere short of those expectations is devastating to me. I have to do better.

But in this case, I am the best they have.

The attitude they’ve taken towards me lately has been more than discouraging in what has already been a very one-sided relationship.

Story of my life, I think.

Now to solve that problem. I don’t know if it will happen tomorrow, or Friday… but it will happen.

I’m set to embark on the next phase.

But the first couple days of this trip were pretty awesome. Montreal, a city I have always wanted to visit but have never done so. I need to make it a more frequent spot to go. Besides Melbourne and Sydney, this was by far the best place I’ve been. I think it’s the European flair and flavor that gets me. The narrow, cobblestone streets. The turn of the century architecture. The language… the people… the fashion… it was all so captivating to me. So much different than the little snow-globe world I grew up and have lived in my whole life in upstate New York.

Now granted growing up only a 15 minute drive from the Canadian boarder, the culture in Buffalo is at least a little more aware of Canada – the differences, the similarities… where it is on a map. Much more aware than the average area in middle-America at least. But the culture in Buffalo is still so much American. Rigid, self-centered, conservative…

Much different than what I have found the places I’ve visited and spent time in further north to be.

And I had a great time with the local rep for the vendor. Someone who actually said, “Hey, your first time in town, let me show you around.” Usually they want little to do with the contractors after the day is done. We went to a restaurant in old Montreal, spoke to beautiful women, watched a Canadiens’ game, had excellent wine. He taught me a little French and I taught him what a Jagerbomb was.

I actually had a really good time.

I was a bit worried about working with the guy after he asked me for the fifth time if I could fly in on Monday night, and I had to answer that Tuesday morning was the best I could offer, yet again. He seemed uptight about the job. I assured him we would be fine with one and a half days to finish what needed to be done. And, of course, we were. He was much more relaxed after the first day when he saw how quickly I could go through what needed to be done.

I’m pushing to get more jobs up there. With more notice and no trip to Chicago right afterwards, it’s a drive, not a flight. I can deal with that.

But I have to sort the issues at hand and get the jobs.

Ahhh… as Joe Walsh has sang, “Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through…”

Yeah, for the most part, life’s been good to me so far…

Ironic that I feel I can say that right now… it really is.


November 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Living In The Buff Ten Year Anniversary!!!!!! Maybe you've noticed, but most probably haven't - my current watermark updated this year to read Copyright 2007-2017.

Yes, that's right, Living In The Buff is celebrating 10-years of photography this year!

Whether it's been events, public happenings, creative concepts, portraits, or just images of everything there is to love about Buffalo, I've amassed quite a library of photography. So all summer long, I will be releasing some never before seen images, dating back to when Living In The Buff got started! I hope everyone will enjoy it, and thank you for being a fan of Living In The Buff!

A Door Opens

A door swings open
And the cold air rushes in
Ahead of the weary figure
Another cold night
A place far from home
Again feeling this pain
Amid the miles
And the faces of strangers
Alone and segregated
Another cold night
Alone in this room
Ambiance lacking substance
A bed
A lamp
A place to sit
A place to rest
Among the scattered papers
All falling like the snow
A drape on his shoulders
As his breath hangs in the air
Acrid and cold
Anguish and trying
Alone in this room
Abandoned to this existence
Abused and discarded
Another night
Another cold night
Alone in this room

The Day That Was Today

January 3, 2007

The morning began like so many others recently... no sleep, an early morning ride to the airport, and a flight scheduled to take off earlier than most people will wake up on a Wednesday.

As the plane taxied down the runway, the pilot announced, “We’re 2nd in line for departure; flight attendants please take your seats.” I knew that meant a quick release by air traffic at the destination.

We passed another airline’s flight, sitting in the penalty box. A Northwest flight, most likely bound for Detroit. A much busier and less organized airport than the one I am heading to. But I’ve been there too. Twenty or thirty minutes sitting on a tarmac waiting for the flight to be released. Sometimes it’s too much traffic, sometimes it’s fog. They have my sympathy, but I’m glad it’s not my flight.

Today is going to be a whirlwind job. A flight, five-hundred miles in one direction, grab a car, drive another hour… all to do about 30 minutes worth of work. Then, turn around and make the same trip in reverse to get home for work the next morning. Sixteen hour days have become the norm. Less than four hours of sleep have become more common.

As I finish the last couple sips of a bloody mary and the flight attendants hurriedly rush by to clean up everything they’ve previously distributed to the first class passengers. I settle back into my seat, gazing out my window. The sun is just starting to illuminate the horizon; the sky is a fire red beneath high clouds to the east. The plane turns to head down the runway in the opposite direction. Now facing west, the glow of a brilliant full moon bathes the cabin in a pale light. Against what is still a night sky to the west, the moon is a magnificent sight, quietly following the airplane as would a concerned parent watching over a child.

The jets just outside the window whine as they power up, firing and coaxing the plane forward down the runway. The pilot increases the thrust, causing me to press back into my seat. I love this feeling. Not even halfway down the runway, the plane tilts back and with a gut dropping sensation I can feel the very moment the plane has ceased its contact with the ground below.

I lean and rest my head on the hard plastic wall next to me, and watch as the lights outside rapidly become the lights below. The climb is steep. Features once recognizable, within seconds become scenery resembling the tiny model houses, building, cars and trains I once played with when I was much younger.

Some days, I still wish I got to play with them.

The tall buildings of the city to the west come into view; their lights, green and red for the holidays, standing out against the empty blackness of the calm, dark lake behind them. The full moon still shining down, enveloping the landscape, creating white streaks of light on the rivers surrounding the city. As the flight moves further south, banking slightly to the left, the moon’s glow fully illuminates the once dark and invisible water of the lake. The ripples on the surface, now fully visible - the water seems to glow as bright as the moon above it. It is an amazing sight, to see the contrast and the change as the plane climbs higher above the city I know as home.

Yet another day has begun. I try to read the new airline magazine, but it cannot hold my attention. My mind is too distracted – not by the job ahead, not by what I’m leaving behind for the day… but… by other things.

My next bloody mary arrives and still I ponder. What will my life be like in five years? Will I be here for my children? Will I ever find what I’m seeking?

I take out my laptop and jot notes. I prepare a spreadsheet I will need when I arrive. The attendant comes to let me know what gate my connecting flight will depart from when I arrive at the hub.

Still, my thoughts are distracted…

Outside the sun has made its presence known. The sky further south is now a hazy blue. The mountains below now alternate light and shadows. Their peaks, orange and brown from the sun’s warming light, while their valleys are still shroud in darkness and pockets of fog. The moon shines dimly above; losing its dominance in the well lit sky as it seeks the horizon to the west.

I pour my next bloody mary and with each passing minute am closer to my first stop. I close my eyes….


Time Traveler

Arkwright 061s_toned_cw

And I capture with a lens all of the light there is to see
A passing moment in time; a moment that will cease to be
Now a moment that will exist forever for you, and forever for me
Light made to art, by a spirit trapped but still so free

In this marvel of a jar, I can hold time tight
Everything that this moment is, by capturing the light
Time yielding its moments to an image, and halting its forward flight
To let us reflect on what was, and where we were, when the time is right

Call me a time traveler, and this box is my time machine
I am a merchant of memories; spending a currency of what is and what is unseen
What I gather and what I see in my world, and in my mind, and what has been
With love, and passion, and art and soul, I salvage your memories and dreams

So travel with me in this world, like the sands washing on to the shore
In waves always constant but never same; some in a whisper and some in a roar
Relive what once was; recapture the time, the youth, the feelings, and more
Created merely from light, to bring your memories to life, and let your imagination soar

We Are The Stories Told By The Stars

“What do you see?” I asked her.
“I see… a light. But there wasn’t a light there before.” She stated with a tone of inquisitiveness
“Stars, and galaxies” I replied to soothe her curiosity. “What your eye cannot see, the camera, given enough time, can.”
“But why? Why can’t I focus on them hard enough to see them myself?” she asked.
“Evolution has provided you with incredible mechanisms for exploring the world around you, but only for what you truly need to survive. Your eyes are remarkable, but limited. Science and technology fill in where our biology doesn’t allow us to go naturally.”
She exhaled a thoughtful, “Hmmm…” as she pondered that. She cocked her head to the right and up once again at the sky, squinting with one eye and twisting her mouth tightly.

“I want to see more,” she demanded, “how can we see more?”sky 018
“Well,” I started as I considered my own limitations with the technology accessible to me and what it would cost to get something better, “you can see more with the right equipment, but this is all we have at the moment.”

She cast a disappointing glance at my camera resting steadily on the tripod. She reached to the shutter speed adjustment and opened it up to a 30-second exposure, then to the shutter trigger, pressed it and released it. The camera clacked its shutter open for her, and began capturing all of the light that it could see.
She grew a bit impatient waiting the full 30-seconds for the shutter to finish its cycle, then for the image to appear on the LCD.

She was surprised to see blurs of bright clouds which were barely discernable before, streaking by as if racing across the sky. A bright blue night sky, filled with thousands of tiny points of light and a bright, but shadowy glow from the moon in the southern sky.
“It looks like the stars would look during the day if the sun wasn’t so bright, doesn’t it?” She asked excitedly.
“It certainly does,” I replied with a smile.
She smiled at me, very proud of the results of her experiment.
“Remember,” I explained, “the stars that you see are very, very far away. It has taken thousands, or millions, even billions of years for the light that the camera is seeing to reach it and be captured. The stars that you see may in fact no longer exist, but we are seeing them as they were millions of years ago when the light we’ve just captured began its journey.”

I could see her wrestling with this. She is very bright, but for a child her age, this is a pretty deep concept.
“So, it’s almost like going back in time then?” she questioned as if she were simply sorting out her thoughts out-loud.
“Exactly. You can almost say that you, and I are time travelers, and our camera is our time machine, allowing us to see something possibly as old as the Earth itself.”

She reached out for my hand while gazing back up to the sky, her eyes still full of the wonder of this discovery. Taking it in, sorting the data, and allowing it to fuel the fires of her imagination.

“Time travel…” she whispered, “we can travel through time.”

OK, C?

A story from my travels - March 2008.


Stuck in Oklahoma City. Weather moving through Chicago, all flights to the east are cancelled or delayed, including my cancelled flight to Chicago.

But they moved me to American Airlines. They have a flight to Chicago that is delayed, but not cancelled...

Me: "So, American Airlines's pilots know how to fly into Chicago when there is weather, but United's pilots don't?"

Ticket Agent: *blank stare*

Why does United constantly cancel flights through O'Hare whenever there is even a hint of weather?

Besides the fact United has picked some of the WORST locations for hub airports; Chicago, Denver...

Maybe when choosing an airport to fly 30-40% of all of your domestic flights from, you should pick an airport where the weather doesn't suck 90% of the time???

Just a thought.


Never mind. That flight cancelled too.

Stuck in Oklahoma, and no KC, this isn't OK.

I even tried to get a flight to Vegas and red-eye back to Philly. Best I could do was a 5:30am out to Detroit.

But I had a very helpful and sympathetic ticket agent assisting me who gave me a free hotel room voucher, a dinner voucher and a breakfast coupon for the airport tomorrow morning.

She also commented several times I was the nicest and most patient person she had to help all day.

...see? Being nice is always the best, first approach.