James Huff at WordCamp LA 2011

For the first time in five or six years, I finally met James Huff in person at WordCamp LA. I’ve known him for about seven years. In addition to being a talented musician and all-around helpful guy, he’s a Happiness Engineer with Automattic.

Since his Gravatar is from his wedding three years ago, I demanded politely asked for a portrait. 😉

Thanks for the good times, James!

Edit: Thanks, Amy, for suggesting that I reword my post. To clarify, this was my first time meeting James.

Meet Brian

Meet Brian

The first day I went into Downtown Philadelphia, I waited at the airport for the SEPTA train to Market East Station.

An older man walked up the steps, onto the platform, and asked if this train would be going into town. I assured him it would, but not before warning him that I wasn’t a local.

Apparently, he’s lived here most of his life, but hasn’t used the public transportation system.

For the next hour, we chatted Brian told me his life story.

At six years old, Brian and his parents got into a huge car accident. His mother was 33. His father, Bernie, was a captain in the Philadelphia Police Department.

Sadly, his mother lost both of her legs from that accident. He remembered the firefighters trying to pull him out and being confused, unable to compute that his mother’s legs were being amputated within the wreckage.

Both parents recently died at 90 years old.

Brian’s eyes welled up with tears. There was so much pain. There wasn’t anything I could say. He took a breath, apologized, and continued.

Brian theorized that he was probably bipolar after that accident.

For forty years, he was an alcoholic until a horrific vision snapped him out of it. Two feathers are in his wallet as a reminder, and he’s been clean for 18 months.

During Brian’s alcoholism, he had a three-year relationship with a girlfriend, then married her for six years. They had a son and grandson. Sadly, they got divorced because “she wanted to stop partying and he didn’t.” (He hasn’t seen his son or grandson in years. Sad.)

Brian is good with numbers, so he was an electrician for a long time. Now, at 57 years old, he’s trying to get his commercial driver license (CDL) in Philadelphia to be a trucker.

Brian currently lives in Las Vegas, but plans to move to San Diego, CA. He still has two sisters, but I can’t recall if he mentioned where they live.

As Brian spoke, he was calm, peaceful, and positive on life. I was overwhelmed with emotion.

Compared to him, I can’t complain. I was heading on an epic journey around Philadelphia, with my camera, lenses, and Twitter to keep me company.

As quick as the conversation started, he arrived at his station, shook my hand, smiled, and said goodbye.

Good luck, Brian.

Note: If you’re wondering, I took his photo before we boarded the train. I wasn’t sure if he’d keep talking to me, but he did.

View photo on Flickr

He's come a long way

Portrait of Bill Ritter

Bill Ritter, guitarist and mastermind of The Scarlet Paradigm, and his own side project, William Alden Music. My title for the photo describes Bill as a budding audio engineer.

Caption: Bill recorded some drum tracks from James in the garage. I took this while they were listening to it. (May 24, 2009)

View on Flickr

Vintage art by Melissa at LMU

Vintage art by Melissa

If you’re a lover of Polaroid and similarly vintage photography, head to the Thomas P. Kelly, Jr. Student Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University.

Melissa’s gallery has been open since September 9th, 2009, and will continue be on display until this Friday, September 18th, 2009.

In case the doors aren’t open, Melissa suggests that you email her (msweet3 [at] lion.lmu.edu) if you’d like to visit.

Fantastic work, Melissa!

I’ll update this post when I get more concrete details.

Update: Gallery is called “A Retrospective on Retrospect.” The hours are from 8:00am to 7:00pm. To be safe, email Melissa to schedule a time and she’ll make sure it’s open. You can find more of her work at Flickr.


It was great seeing James Taylor last night. I haven’t seen him in over a year. He made the long drive just to see my band play at the Terrace Restaurant in Pasadena.

I’ve known him since he was in sixth grade.[1. I coached him for a year. Football, basketball, baseball, soccer. Don’t ask me when that took place. I haven’t a clue!] We’ve kept in touch ever since. I do need to make the trek out to his area (Orange County) more often, especially to get him taking more photos.

I asked him if I could take his photo before he headed home.

The photo is in B&W (grayscale) because the street lights gave off two drastically different color temperatures.