Tag Archives: vacation

Flickr Friday: Illuminated Star-Gazers

For this week’s edition I’ve chosen a favorite of mine taken by the bee from our recent camping/cabin trip to Western PA. The stars were brilliant and plentiful out there even if the cell reception was anything but. Guess you can’t win ’em all…
A group of us went up the mountain to a popular elk viewing post that was all but deserted at nighttime. The air was cold and full of allergens which is why you will see me rocking the bandit look in the background. While the star-gazers stared heaven bound, the bee used a flashlight to paint our persons during a long exposure shot.
The result (as you can see for yourself) is quite cool, giving the black night setting a glowing illumination so each of us can be seen in the image. A job well done, I say…

For more from our amazing (as usual) trip to rural Pennsylvania check out the bee’s photo set on Flickr.

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Hard On for Philly

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phallic, no?

I was going to title this post “Heart On for Philly” as a veiled attempt to cover up my intent and as a blatant steal from the newest Eagles of Death Metal album (because that title rocks my socks) but I went for the more lewd of the two. Well, you’re reading this post aren’t you? So I guess it worked. Now, where was I? Right. I fucking love Philadelphia. You’ll have to excuse my language but I felt the expletive was necessary to properly convey how passionate I really am for my second home. For years I took the city and its accessibility for granted, as it was never more than a 30 minute car ride over the Ben Franklin bridge from my house. That, or during the times I worked in the Olde City section of Philadelphia, a 20 minute ride via NJ PATCO, or the “Speed line” to those in the know. In my late teens it was my plan to run as far away as possible from South Jersey and its western neighbor, toying with the notion of attending college in either New Orleans or San Francisco. Thankfully, for Me AND The Bee, that never panned out as we would have never met on the steps of Temple University’s White Hall our first day of freshman orientation all those years ago, but that’s a whoooooole ‘nother story. A good one too, but let’s save that for another time, shall we?

A huge chunk of my family lives in the city, which is both truth and the perfect allusion for how I feel when I finally cross over the Delaware River from NJ to PA. It’s then that I realize I’m coming home, ever comforted by its undeniable familiarity. From the skyline to the cobblestones, the city is full of history, often overshadowed by a bigger and more boastful city in New York. How unfortunate, since so much of our country was founded in the humble structures that make up Philly’s close knit neighborhoods. I’m not aiming to speak ill of NYC, even after last night’s crushing loss to the Yankees in the World Series (we’ll fix that next year). I’m only wanting to boast about the amazing city that Philadelphia is and that so few, living where I currently do, really appreciate.

Since moving from South to Central New Jersey almost 5 years ago, and oh yeah there was that ill-fated move to North Carolina 2 years after that (another story, another time), I frequent the city much less than I used to in my college-aged heyday. When the opportunity arises to see a band play, I always scout out their dates in Philly before New York, because, frankly, I prefer traversing the streets of Philadelphia than the labyrinthine gridlock of NYC any old day. My allegiance is ALWAYS to Philly teams, during good seasons and bad, the only exception being the addition of the Pittsburgh Steelers which I have adopted per request of The Bee because he loves them and I love him. So there. At least they’re from Pennsylvania, right?

[cue crickets]

So, I left behind my beloved city and my South Jersey roots for the love of The Bee. Although I miss my old home always I have no regrets at leaving as I know I would miss The Bee more if we were so far apart. I know, “Awwwwwww”, right? Maybe we are all designed to spread our wings and fly away at some point, trying out new places in the hopes that it will be better and brighter than the dismal existence (we think) we’ve left behind. In my experience, running away for the sake of running away is rarely better or brighter, just different. I’m looking at YOU Greenville, NC.

Anywho, we are finally beginning to recover from our mini-vacation to Philadelphia as a part of my birthday celebration a few weeks back, complete with lengthy walks in the rain and WAY after dark binges at Jim’s (they have the best cheese steaks, don’t let anyone tell you different).

With that, I leave you with some of my favorite shots we took during our most recent stay in the city.

java

outside of the coffee shop where "The Waitress" works from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

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interior of Silk City (5th & Spring Garden), decorated for Halloween

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view of a rainy Broad Street from our hotel window

And my personal fave:

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photo by The Bee, of me and the color changing leaves (around 10th & Locust)

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Wildwood, NJ – Revisited

In honor of this last “official” weekend of Summer (and a long one at that, THANK GOD) I wanted to revisit this post I wrote a few weeks ago about a little known underground film showcasing one of my favorite places, Wildwood, NJ.

welcome-to-wildwood

Are you from New Jersey? Have you ever been? Most people who have never had the pleasure associate it mainly with mobsters (you’ve done wonders for our reputation, Sopranos), weird accents, bad smells (depending on where you are this is pretty accurate), and basically being the toilet seat under the cheeks of our northern neighbor the Big Apple, among many other illustrious pejoratives. New Jersey is a glorious place, being the Garden State after all… We’ve got acre upon acre of farmland dedicated to everything from growing vegetation to boarding horses. Although the 4th smallest in the nation it’s the most densely populated state meaning there are a crap load of people milling about here PLUS it’s a full-blooded peninsula however deceptive it is about its presentation (so EAT IT Florida & Alaska! We can’t all be as obvious as you). We get ALL four seasons which means we’re scraping ice off our windshields for at least 3 months a year with or without snow and cursing our broken AC in the middle of a 95 degree (plus humidity = 110) heat wave for another 3. If you can find a piece of land that hasn’t been overtaken with a strip mall, housing development or parking lot, you will surely love the scenery.

Where the hell was I going with this? Right, WILDWOOD. So anyway, I finally had the chance to view the Wildwood, NJ movie in all its feature length glory. OWH.MYE.GAHD! The larger than life hair! The hideous clothes only a true fashion victim could love! It’s all there but that’s just what’s bobbing at the surface. The movie features mostly candid interviews with women discussing everything from sex & relationships to future aspirations and past indiscretions. Those interviewed are at times both unintentionally funny and overwhelmingly relatable. It’s touching to hear a young woman speak of her dreams to become a model and an actress while sunning herself on the roof of a local motel. Two women smoke cigarettes outside their room as they discuss their reasons for pursuing work as dancers to make ends meet. They speak as feminists in the sense of reclaiming their bodies as a means to make money while admitting their subjugation in the process. Another two women, one a young mother, reminisce poolside over the wild ways of their youth, cruising the boardwalk during their teens, falling in love habitually and returning home at week’s end, their romances already a fleeting memory. There is no specific mention of actual drug use yet clearly a lot of those filmed appear to be abusing something which is dually hilarious and heartbreaking.

My depiction of this film will never do it total justice. Regardless of your connection or lack thereof to the shore town, it’s a film about people, young people specifically, and it’s easier to identify with them than seek out dissimilarities whether you’d like to admit it or not. It’s utterly raw and real and those who view it will not regret the hour spent. That’s right, it’s just under 60 minutes, so remind me why you haven’t you seen this film yet? You probably won’t find it in the local Blockbuster and my feeling on the subject is this is a “buy” not “rent”. Click here to get your copy or just call me up and we’ll make some popcorn and wax nostalgic.

Hope you enjoy the last days of Summer ’09 and in parting I leave you with some photos of our recent mini-vacay to Wildwood…

one of MANY shops specializing in ironic t-shirts and other random amusements

one of MANY shops specializing in ironic t-shirts and other random amusements

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a general view of the boards

a general view of the boards

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wildwood's most famous pier. sneaky tram car blocked my shot!

wildwood's most famous pier. sneaky tram car blocked my shot!

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purple shirt looks less than pleased to be in frame...

purple shirt looks less than pleased to be in frame...

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not a mall so much as a landmark

not so much a mall than a landmark

a birthday dinner of corndogs & tornado fries

a birthday dinner of corndogs & tornado fries

a bold statement but nothing less could be expected...

a bold statement but nothing less could be expected...

and my personal fav:

our view of the sunrise on bee's birthday

our view of the sunrise on the bee's birthday

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