Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Faith's back

Faith did great...all is well and she's back home.

We're grateful for DeVos Children's Hospital and an entire community dedicated to making it one of the best children's hospitals in the country.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Big day

Tomorrow is a big day for our daughter Faith.  I know that's a bit cryptic...but she's heavily on my mind today and I thought I'd put up a quick shot.

If you she crosses your mind tomorrow morning think some good thoughts for her!

Friday, July 25, 2008

random thoughts

It's been a very busy couple of weeks and I thought I'd scribble some random thoughts:

1. Grand Rapids has some extremely cool companies doing amazing things...on a GLOBAL scale.

2. I was BLOWN away today on a tour of the huge Scott Group facility on Kraft Ave.  If you ever need a custom, handmade wool carpet for the floor of your private jet...this is your go to place.

3. I'll always be grateful to the original Grand Action Committee members for getting the party started downtown about 12 years ago.  They possessed a bold and brave vision for GR and actually went about the business of executing it.  How about them apples?

4. Pedicabs are the bomb...use one the next time you're downtown enjoying a night out on the town.

5. The turkish coffee at Marie Catrib's is probably as close to running with the bulls in Pomplona as you can get in Grand Rapids.

6. I've consumed ridiculous amounts of grilled beef this summer...sorry cattle...why do you taste so good?

7. I'll be getting emails from many of my vegan friends for #6.

8. I switched from PC to Mac about 3 months ago...waaaay better.

9. Have a great weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's a Big Lake

Lake Michigan is truly an incredible body of water. Having lived near it nearly my entire life, I sometimes forget how awe inspiring it can be.

Last month I began shooting a series of photos based in part on how BIG the lake is...and in small it has made me feel at times.

I have an idea for an exhibition of large scale prints at The Photography Room a little later this year or early next. This small blog photo won't translate the scale I plan to blow these prints up to...but I was intrigued enough to share one of them here (it pictures a very lonely sea kayaker)

...and please pardon the watermark (nothing personal :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

missing vacation

Man...missing the beach today...

Monday, July 14, 2008

That's Mr. Burger to you

I had a busy morning yesterday.  After a couple hours of running various errands around town, I found myself starving.  But I had little time to eat before a 10 AM photo shoot. I really just wanted to grab some quick eggs in order to stay on the low carb diet I've been on.  

This diet often poses a problem when I'm eating on the go because most of the normal fast food joints have more grams of carbohydrates per serving than the pretzels that George Bush chokes on...I can't eat the stuff.  And if I did eat all those carbs I'd probably pass out like George did, only to find myself awakened like he a dog licking my face.

Given the time constraints I thought I'd have to go to the photo shoot on an empty stomach, so I started to head to the location.  But then...there it was...on the left side of the street...rising like a the crest of hill near downtown Grand Rapids...was a Mr. Burger.

Mr. Burger is a place I hadn't been in probably 10 years.  But as I recall they usually served breakfast faster than Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick can send text messages...(I digress) I pulled in for a to speak.

True to past form, my eggs and sausage order arrived at my booth before I did. Upon settling in I looked around the restaurant. The place was busy, and I had forgotten how Mr. Burger always struck me as a lot like high school...but Mr. Burger is high school for old people.  It's as if this is the place where all the retirees in Grand Rapids are sent to hang out.

Like high school, the retirees seem to still gather in small gangs. Over in the far corner of the restaurant was a small clique of giggly old gals talking about iron deficiency and the best arch supports.  A few booths down from them in a prime window seat were two really old guys with suspenders and trucker hats who flirtatiously chatted up any of the waitresses that strolled by (like Brett Favre, it would seem many of the Mr. Burger staff have also come in and out of retirement many times).

Next to my booth was one of those long-married couples that didn't speak a word to each other the entire time...they just quietly sipped their coffee...content to sit in their comfortable silence. And not too far away was a widower talking to another married couple about how soaring gas prices limited her trips to Walgreens, church and Mr. Burger (the holy trinity no doubt).

But no matter where they sat or who they talked to, the retirees all had one thing in common; a deep and passionate thirst for decaf coffee...a thirst much like I used to have for Mountain Dew when I roamed the halls of Northview High School back in '86.

I arrived at my photo shoot nearly on time...just 5 minutes late...still thinking about the social structure of this little restaurant where the burgers wear small top hats and curiously large bow ties...that's Mister Burger to you.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Butterball Mansion

Here's an outtake from my aerial photo shoot last week...I just took it for fun.  It shows the Butterball Mansion in East Grand Rapids (think Thanksgiving turkeys with pop-out thermometers telling you when they're done and...well...butter).  The estate has been for sale for quite some time and has simultaneously undergone extensive renovations.  I live not too far away in a dramatically...less dramatic...home about a half mile away.  I often bike or drive past the property on Plymouth Avenue (on my way to Jersey Junction for ice cream if truth be told).

I couldn't help but notice the two huge and sleek powerboats and a large, well concealed garage way in the very back of the property large enough to store them as well as additional toys.  It's a magnificent property.

I was curious to see what the asking price is and the listing at GRAR shows it's going for $2,180,000.  And although that is a sum of money I'll never get my hands on, that seems like a STEAL to me given the size of the home and location. I can't help but think that if you plunked this same home/property into suburban Chicago, Boston or Atlanta it would be $5 million or more easy.  If it were in the Hamptons in New York it would probably be well over $15 million.

So you may want to throw in a guess is the first one close to $1,900,000 gets the keys!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Aerial Images on tap

(a regatta on Reeds Lake)

I had two different clients waiting for aerials photographs but due to my schedule, weather and vacation those projects sat on the back burner for a few weeks.  Sunday was perfect so I shot some new aerials of Grand Rapids this afternoon...such a perfect day.  Two quick observations:

1. Call me superstitious but I always hire the same company when I shoot aerials (they're a good company and, you know, so far so good).  My usual pilot wasn't available when I called but I was happy when they said they could still get me flying within a couple hours with a different pilot. I was a little taken aback when the new pilot came into the office to introduce himself.  I must be getting older but he only looked to be about 17 years old.  To me it was like he should have been mowing the grass out by the hanger instead of holding my life in his hands while we spun tight circles around buildings over Grand Rapids.  He seemed official though (he had charts and stuff) and as we looked over sections of the city we would fly over, I started to gain more confidence before take-off.  My initial anxiety turned out to be be unfounded. It turned out to be a nice flight and I would definitely fly with him again...but holy cow that kid was young!

2. The high price of petroleum is affecting everything...the cost of hiring the plane increased by $65/hour from when I flew last fall (and it's not like it was cheap then).  I've never been more frustrated with government.  Our current administration has been asleep at the wheel with their foreign and domestic policies over the last 8 years. The absolute hubris of Bush/Cheney is disgusting. If winks toward the media pool and wearing large belt buckles could get the job done then we'd be in great shape, but I suspect GWB thinks that's all the job entails.  Bush came into office an oil man and he certainly did nothing to wheen us off of fossil fuels.  Let's hope the next President has some guts to truly foster a new economic model around alternative energy.

In the words of my brother-in-law's too bad we still have to wait until January to get a new bus driver.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Best Parade in America - Part 2

The best parade in America

By far the best parade in the world is right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The Hollyhock Lane Parade (in my neighborhood of Ottawa Hills) is pure Americana complete with Tootsie Rolls, politicians and KIDS!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

twitter-dee...twitter dumb

Against my better judgement I've added a twitter account...I'm skeptical but will keep it as long as it seems useful.

So if you twitter and wish to follow me the address is 

You can all look forward to periodic streams of consciousness and other nuggets while I' for groceries or stuck in traffic.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Speed Bumps...May You Rest in Peace

Just another casualty of political correctness...this sign was on the beach road by our cottage.  We drove by it nearly every day.

Gosh...all they really had to say was "Intentionally placed mounds to dissuade a high rate of speed."