I’ve Been Busy

Do I have any followers left? I know that my posting has been sparse, but that’s primarily because my focus has been on freelance projects. In a way, finding more professional work and building my portfolio is exactly why I started the site to begin with. But, after building up my web presence for going on three years now, I can’t help but feel a sense loss if I’m not updating. For now, my life seems to be settling down enough that I can slowly start working on personal projects again.

In the mean time, I’ll be updating my online portfolio galleries, and posting some of the work that clients have given me permission to share. First up, I have my friends Tegan and Brian with one of my favorite weddings I have shot ever. The venue was gorgeous, sporting a beautiful church, amazing gardens, and a freaking playground for swashbuckling!

 

9-11 Memorials

I spent some time today driving around the area to see what commemorations I could find to honor those lost in the attacks of September 11th, 2001.

Helltown

A few weeks ago, my friend Ian messaged me about planning a group expedition to Helltown, an actual ghost town not too far away from Kent. , Helltown (formally Boston, Ohio) supposedly a completely abandoned town, left to rot as the paranormal set in. I did some digging online and learned that the government had purchased the land through eminent domain to add to the area’s parks, but never bothered to do anything with it. Since then, rumors of everything from ghosts, to mutants, to Satanists have grown to surround the area. It had all mostly been debunked, but it still sounded like l could get some creepy photos out of it.
With all that in mind, Ian, Paisley, and I headed out to Helltown. I was assuming that the rumors would oversell this place, but I figured I’d at least get to see something resembling a ghost town, but even that was more than we saw. The “abandoned” homes were few and far between, surrounded by what looked like a healthy, small town. Even if the town was much more inhabited  than we expected, we still roamed around the area, looking into all of the various “paranormal hotspots” that were referenced online to see if we could find anything.

While we didn’t see anything haunted, I still held out hope that I would find something ghostly on the photos once I got home. Sadly, everything I edited in post was all free from the paranormal. I guess that means we’ll just have to keep looking.

An Open Apology to Westboro Baptist

Last week I wrote a piece about the Westboro Baptist Church’s “picket” at Kent State. If you missed it, Kent State University suspended a wrestler Sam Wheeler after he made some highly derogatory, anti-gay tweets, WBC threatened to protest, never showed, but Photoshopped themselves into a photo at Kent State, and claimed they were there. A few hours after I posted my piece covering the whole thing, I received this message from Westboro Baptist’s Timothy Phelps in response to said piece.

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At first, I dismissed the comment as the WBC blowing hot air. That is until I followed Phelps’ link to his site, GodHatesTheWorld.com. I browsed a bit, and was blown away when I saw these photos from his site.

 

And so, I would like to formally apologize to the Westboro Baptist Church. Given the amount of time all this globe-trotting must take, it’s completely reasonable that the WBC wouldn’t have the time to come to the Kent Campus in person. After all, traveling to countries as diverse as Madagascar, Bangladesh, and Tanzania, and posing for stock-quality photos, must leave them so spread out and funds too low to travel to a lowly campus, no matter how much of a “bully” that school may be.

That being said, I do need to offer a small correction to this image, which was Tweeted at me.  

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See, this monster here in this image is, in fact, Godzilla. Fagzilla was a creature from Nigel Crumpington’s series of anti-smoking films released in the United Kingdom back in the 80s (see below). It’s an easy mistake given that both have purple spiky bits.big-ben fagzilla

As far as the rest of the image is concerned, we can’t let that setup go without some sort of resolution. So, I present to you, Godzilla and Sign Face…

Politely discussing their differences over tea and scones.

Tea and Scones

The Impossible Protest:The Westboro Baptist Church At Kent State

I had one of my more interesting post-graduation journalism experiences yesterday, and it was almost too surreal not to type up. I’ll get to exactly how in a minute, but we’re going to have to take a step back and give some context first.

Last week, University of Missouri football player Michael Sam came out as gay. While this was well received by his teammates, family, and America in general, it’s the unfortunate truth that some backlash was to be expected. One of the more vocal detractors was Kent State wrestler Sam Wheeler, whose Twitter feed looked a little something like this:

sam-wheeler-michael-sam-tweets

Unsurprisingly, the higher-ups at Kent State were none too pleased about those and suspended Wheeler from the wrestling team. And that’s when the Westboro Baptist Church got involved. True to form, WBC took to Twitter and put out a press release denouncing Kent State as “bullies,” and announced a picket of the university in protest. Because, well, that’s pretty much what these guys always do.

After a brief internal debate on whether or not to give this group any more attention, I decided it was better to be shooting than staying home, and made tracks to the university. I found a place to camped down on the eighth floor of the library overlooking the two most likely protest spots on campus and kept all my social media open in case they showed anywhere else. I didn’t have much faith that they would show though. See, when an organization as hungry for attention as Westboro didn’t bother to put a date, time, or location on the press release, it made my journalism spidey-sense go all tingly that something isn’t right. And, my hunch was correct, the WBC never showed. Dejected counter protesters sulked away with their signs and rainbow flags like Linus missing the Great Pumpkin.

But then I got home and my buddy Phil sent me this:

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At first, I was worried that I had gone home early, but then I actually saw the thing full screen. I don’t know what bothers me more, the fact that they didn’t show, that they then Photoshopped one of their protestors into an old photo and then claimed they were there, or that it s just such a bad Photoshop. But it didn’t stop there. Oh no. This went on for most of the night. It only became a more inexplicable decent into madness.

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Now you, like me, are probably thinking that this has to be a joke, probably a fake account trying to mess with the WBC. But no, I can confirm after extensively reviewing this page and where it connects to, this is 100% the official Westboro Baptist account. I just don’t know what to say. There is a bus. That is a goddmaned hot air balloon! Do they expect anyone to believe this? Are they that far off in their own little world? Was the whole thing a joke to them? Did plan to get the entire campus into an anti-protest and news frenzy, only to pull the rug out from under us, and then pour salt into the wound with bad Photoshop? I’m just too baffled to know at this point. In the end, I decided that the only way to fight crazy is with more crazy, and responded with in the best way I could.

Rainbow Lasers!

For, what better way to fight bigotry than a Godzilla firing fabulous, rainbow lasers? Or, perhaps, you know a better way. I strongly encourage everyone reading this to save the screen-caps and shopping them again in the most awesome way you can. Link them back here by next Sunday (3/2/14), I’ll post them, and we’ll have a contest to see which one reigns supreme.