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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Some Thoughts On Change and Never Saying Goodbye...

by Steven P. Velasquez
Sept. 29, 2013


Rutherford High School - Rutherford, NJ
I'm driving up Interstate 85 between Charlotte and Greensboro, NC in my hot rental car. I'm frustrated because the cars on the highway seem immobile. A glance at my speedometer has me at 85 mph though I feel like I'm standing still. Comfortable, but probably not a good change from a safety standpoint.

The radio is filling my ears with literally ALL the sounds of my formative years as I've found an 80's station that has me in complete nostalgia mode. The thought of getting a radio signal from a satellite in space vs. AM waves on terrestrial radio? Never thought we'd see the day back then, but here it is. I say this is a good change as the clarity, selections and lack of geographical restriction are seemingly endless.


The personalities on the satellite radio are none other than the original V.J.'s of the earliest days of MTV before it became the abortion it is today (bad change). Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn and Nina Blackwood are still alive and well today and their voices (minus J.J. Jackson) unearth an unending stream of beautiful memories that are making my journey more of a movie set. The serious teen crush I had on Martha Quinn and Nina Blackwood I won't detail here. Nina's raspy voice could raise the hairs on my neck at any hour of the day. The fact that she, and her raspy voice have aged so, make her sound more like the now deceased, liberal radio host Lynn Samuels  is disturbing; not a good change (only my fellow die-hard talk radio fanatics will understand that reference).

Photo by Steven P. Velasquez
Just now I had to pull over and broadcast this before the thoughts would subside as the next song and its narcotic effects came on. They just played Bon Jovi's; "Never Say Goodbye" and it reminded me that this was the chosen and scheduled prom song for the class of 87. Due to the reference of "[losing] more than that in my back seat baby," being too much to bear for the administration, that got deep-sixed and our class settled for Billy Joel's, "This Is the Time." Hell, they could have been talking about losing their wallet, change, or a contact lens for God's sake! Compare that to the complete degradation of all things moral today where "Jiggly, jiggly, jiggly, bitches and ho's, bitches and ho's, bitches and ho's..." passes for music, and it leaves me reaching for Tylenol - and longing for the puritan's of our time; not a good change.

To my classmates:
    "You and me and my old friends
    Hoping it would never end
    Say goodbye, never say goodbye"
- Bon Jovi

Gotta run, "Danger Zone" is on!!
MTV Music Television

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Of Moments Missed

by Steven P. Velasquez
September 21, 2013

Alright, alright already. Maybe you all were right. My strategy of working almost every moment of my life was detrimental to my health and to my family. I can't imagine how many moments like today have been missed while I ran from one employer to the next, to the next - and never was any bit better off financially than if I didn't do it. I owe my daughters a sincere apology as it was the only way I knew to attempt to secure a future for them.

Well, I didn't hit the lottery or uncover a secret inheritance, but I have blocked some time out to breathe, to smile and to love. And it doesn't suck!

This morning after work, I made a "B-line" to my little one's arms. She's been more excited about my birthday than... well, anyone. All week, she couldn't wait. She was going to bake me a cake and get me gifts and she, unlike her father, followed through on every bit of it.

After she and her mother took me out to a Cracker Barrel breakfast, Steve's magic mini-van made an appearance in Belmar at the beach. We unloaded our chairs, a blankie, some books, and of course, my camera gear.

Little B will grow up with no recollection of the
boardwalk at Belmar before Super-Storm Sandy.
I'm just happy she can share in some of the same
memories I've been so fortunate to have had. Not
a year has passed yet, and the town is rebuilt - stronger.
We went right up to the water line, sat, read, watched surfers and hundreds of lunatics practicing for the Mudman X contest on the beach. We went out about knee deep in the water and with every wave, like the opening scene from "The Monkee's," turned and ran away. The wind, the waves and her contagious laughter played a beautiful symphony in my mind's eye. I lamented the moments lost as I tried to calculate how many her sisters never had because Daddy - was always at work.

After some brief frolicking, there was some unprecedented activity too. B took off to play on the children's toys and I knocked the hell out in my chair. I slept for hours! I woke up and it was 2 pm already. I was startled too because I couldn't see my daughter. Actually, I couldn't see anything for that matter. I panicked as I thought being 45 had earned me a sudden onset of glaucoma. Everything was foggy. I removed my glasses and realized that the mist from the ocean had caked across my lenses. Little B was only a few feet from me and having a great time. Whewww!

In summary, I've realized that my lifestyle requires compression. Compressed fun, compressed time off, compressed finances and compressed love. I don't have the luxury of free time like many others. So everything I do is brief, but with great intensity. Perhaps that's why I shoot (photos) as much as I do is because I'm trying to isolate those compressed moments into a choppy, but intense movie. Today has been a great scene, in "The Story Of Me."

And... action!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Forgive Me Father...

Forgive Me Father

Because I Really Want To Sin...

by Steven P. Velasquez
I finished teaching my class this afternoon and upon leaving the hospital, got sucked in by the absolutely stunning fall weather, the cool temps, and knowing that I was just a little more than two blocks away from the beach.

When I left the hospital, I was vibrating with enthusiasm and filled with happiness knowing that I was just a hop, skip and a jump away -- from a beautiful sunset and crashing waves.

My location in the world was Long Branch, New Jersey, a place I've frequented since childhood, served as a paramedic since adulthood and educated their health professionals these past several years.

I perched here on this scenic deck. There was no one here but me, me and the intense scenery, and the gulls, there's always the gulls.
My tripod was up, camera equipment scattered about a small table and clicking away minding my own business (every good story begins with someone minding their own business).
A man in a wheelchair with his woman in tow approach and begin taking pictures of each other and together (she in his lap with their little camera phone aimed at their faces, the bright moonlight in the background. Cute I thought.). They were not in my way, nor I in theirs. We initially exchanged pleasantries. We said hello and; "It's a beautiful night out isn't it?" We both went about our business.


 He, they (whatever) never once asked me to help them, assist them, photograph them - nothing!

As they're leaving, he turns and barks at me; "Thanks a lot for your help... you fucking asshole!"

I actually looked over my shoulder as I couldn't believe his venomous words could possibly be aimed at the quiet guy with the tripod that greeted him so nicely.

When I realized that I was exactly his intended target, an anger and rage filled me that I haven't felt in a long time. Perhaps he unlocked a lot of pent up sadness, anger and frustration in my life but thank God, for his sake, that I am a decent person with a healthy fear of consequence. Never in my life have I ever even remotely imagined hurting someone so unfortunate as to be bound to a wheeled chair.

I swear to God, I felt I could make the deck of this restaurant a scene reminiscent to the Aquille Lauro back in 1985. I wanted to beat the man silly with a tripod and throw him into the sea below!

What the hell is wrong with people? Because I'm a photographer and have gear, I'm obligated to offer up and take the picture of every person with a friggin' camera phone (and of course free too right? I'll bet this P.O.S. votes for... (ha ha, I won't say it)).

Forgive me father...