Posts tagged smoking

To Add To My Smoke Stack

While studying abroad a couple of years ago I did a black and white smoke series that resulted few similar shots, of which I apparently only have in my portfolio and so cannot link you directly to them.  I’ll dig them out and post them on here as they are, in my opinion, some of the best work I’ve ever done.  I owe my Italian professor, Cosimo, many props for pulling out that kind of work from me.

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My Amsterdam, Part I: When Pigs Can Fly

smartshop in amsterdam

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I’ve been back from my travels to the motherland for a couple of weeks now. I wanted to blog while I was there. And then when I got back. But I couldn’t find anything to write! What’s that old adage? “What do you say about something you love?” Well, it applies here. Amsterdam is one of the most wonderful places I have ever been.

Flying Pig Uptown

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This photo was taken in the bar of the first hostel that I stayed at, the Flying Pig Uptown. This is the true live Neverland. The people that work here show up from some random country and just end up staying. They work at the hostel and live for free. I don’t think I met a single person inside of this hostel over the age of 25. Their lives amaze me.

The Real Cheshire Cat

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This was the house cat of the Piggies. It’s difficult to tell from the photo, but this cat is the largest cat I’ve ever seen. Though I’m not a cat person, I’d also say it’s the coolest cat. Ever. All he did was sit on a bar stool sipping drinks when no one was looking, or laying on one of these huge pillows stoned from all of the smoke fumes waiting for someone to come give him a rubdown. This cat seriously has the life.

flying pig uptown bar

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The people living and staying in this hostel were some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Even those who didn’t work there seemed to lead a transient life. The bar downstairs was the central location and I spent many hours sitting here very high and drunk. On this particular night I had eaten a space cake for dinner followed by many beers and joints. Needless to say, the bar always looked this blurry.

flying pig uptown

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I cannot for the life of me remember this dude’s name, so we’ll just call him California. We both arrived on the same day traveling alone. He was so comfortable here that he would walk around the hostel without shoes on — not very hygienic, buddy. He wrote a lot so that he wouldn’t forget all of the crazy stuff that happened. I preferred the “Let’s get shitfaced and NOT remember” route.

flying pig uptown

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This is Shauna from Scotland. She has been at the Pig for a year. Out of everyone I met and talked to, I probably had the best conversation with her. Though I couldn’t tell you a damn thing that we talked about, I walked (stumbled?) away with a very intellectually satisfied feeling. People definitely like to conversate in Amsterdam.

flying pig uptown

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Rule #5 is from Australia. I really like to make friends with bartenders. Mainly because they will chat with you and then leave you alone for awhile. Perfect company. He also knew how to roll a sick inside out joint with a finale of burning off the extra paper. My kinda guy.

flying pig uptown

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This one of my favorite photos from the trip. It captures the rapid conversations (from the motion blur) and intensity in which people listen (when they want to). This image is what it really felt like sitting in this bar. Everyone was there to make friends and have a good time. I think it’s a very unique thing to have so many laid-back and open-minded people in one room.

If ever you are in Amsterdam, I highly suggest staying at the Piggy. At least for a couple of days.  As much as I loved it there, after 4 days it felt like I might turn into a pile of goopy mush that you’d have to spoon off the floor.

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Weed = Instant Friends

Cocoa Beach

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Last week I left cold, gray, wet New York for a sunnier, warmer, palm tree filled Cocoa Beach (Florida). The first few days I was down there were spent trying to get my head screwed back on straight. I think I get seasonal depression because every time around this year, when the gray days never seem to end and just roll on one after another, I start to feel a bit hopeless. It took all of a day and a half of sunshine for that to go away.

I spent the majority of my time hanging out with my family drinking margaritas and going to delicious seafood restaurants (my father just retired and I tagged along on an old folks family vaca) . However, by the last couple of days I was itching to get back to the land of normal twenty somethings and away from the Bingo ladies, but not necessarily back to the cold.

On my last day, I was taking a walk down the beach by myself and amidst the sea of 55+ and 10- age groups, I spotted a couple of guys surfing. One of them noticed me and, I imagine, was flabbergasted to see someone relatively young that he didn’t recognize (I’m pretty sure this beach town is small enough that you’d know just about everyone in your age bracket who lives there). We made enough eye contact so that when I was on the return portion of my beach stroll, he motioned to me to come over and chat.

After we introduced ourselves and as his buddy was coming out of the water, he asked me if I smoked weed and if I would like to go smoke a blunt with them. It’s a very strange thing and something I don’t fully understand when someone can immediately sense that you are a pothead, or at least enjoy the green stuff. So naturally, I went and smoked with them (excellent weed, by the way).

In the hour that I hung out with them, we became friendly enough that I was invited over for dinner. I love restaurants, but I was a bit tired of them since I eat out the majority of the time in New York, as well. Home-grilled fish sounded amazing, as did the promise of more weed and a night of hanging out with a couple of very cool — and attractive — guys.

After easing the tension my plans brought about with the family (“But, how do you know they are ok? What do they DO? Are they in school? But, you’re by yourself!” — I couldn’t just come out and say to my super Catholic family, “They smoke weed. They’re totally chill. Lay off!”), I left for a night that will go down in my personal vacation history.

I had a delicious dinner that was cooked exactly the way that I cook for myself, read: ingredients that are as fresh as possible and cooked to enhance the flavor of the food itself, no drowning it in sauces. In fact, days later I still can’t stop thinking about the food; it made me remember how much I like to cook. Other than the food, bong hits and beers were plentiful, and these guys (and their two friends that showed up) were extremely laid back and easy to get along with.

Basically, I had a very good last night of vacation. So good, in fact, that I am now questioning my choice of geographic location. I really love New York, but the weather sucks 85% of the year , the people are high strung, and the boys, as my cousin so eloquently put it, “are like girls with dicks.” No offense to you New York boys, but WHY are your jeans tighter than mine?

I attribute this night to none other than the shared appreciation of Mary Jane. Without her, I don’t believe I would’ve felt such a strong sense that these people are my kind of people. So thanks, MJ. You pulled through once again.

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