Friday, October 30, 2009

The Shovel Technique...or no technique at all winter has for sure arrived and I have been working hard to keep up with remember, I grew up in Santa Monica Ca, and although I have been here going on my 3rd winter, i am not totally acclimated to the tricks of the trade yet in terms of really dealing with snow etc...since we have moved into a new place that is a larger house with a back deck (above) and driveway etc...this last storm has kept me busy for about 1.5 hours each morning...shoveling and trying to get the lingo and the correct work flow down...I even went online and googled 'winter snow care for the home' or something like that...some of it was pretty obvious, but one that helped was, shovel the snow to the right of the bottom of the driveway (looking at the street) so that when a plow comes by, they take that and push it down the road...if you had a big pile on the left side, the plow would just push it all back into your clean apron...duh....I also have been working on shoveling technique.  I managed to shovel off the above deck this morning which had about 18-20 inches of snow. I was able to figure out that less is I would walk along the length of the pile and carve off about 4 inches vertical along the run of the deck and then like a plow, walk back and push it off the side...pretty easy and alot less effort than throwing it over the side.  I get this funny feeling that people in the neighborhood are watching me and saying things like "gee, don't he know to not do it that way? " or "Marge, hey Marge....check out the new neighbor...he's at it again..."
Oh the other mystery is you have a really nice garage with a new floor that has been painted and when you pull in after a day of driving etc. and let the car sit overnight, what happens?  ummm...water and mud now, I have a filthy floor to contend with every time we park in I bought this awesome floor squeegee...and poured a little warm water on the floor and it was pretty clean after about 10 min...but there has to be a better way!  I haven't found that one out yet.  someone let me know if they already had a brilliant epihany on the matter.

so today I am dressing up as Chevy Chase in Fletch during the airport seen when he comes in as a mechanic...anyone seen that one??  pretty simple really...a one piece Dickie and hopefully some sideburns and will ensue

so this morning is a good day...the sun is shining a bit and the snow is melting a bit and it is Friday and the weekend promises to be grand and relaxing....

nothing to earth shattering today...just had to share my shovel wisdom, or lack thereof.

love and understanding!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Blur

PAINT, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo. I am going to be 38 years old this year...not sure why I awoke thinking about this, but maybe it has something to do with bad backs, moving and waiting for my internet connection to finally arrive...all seem tied to time and age and my excuse for not doing much of anything for the last 10 days or so. Having a bad back is like having a car with no wheels on it...its fun to sit in and turn the stereo on but where the hell can you go? yeah...that's like me with a bad back...

So three weeks ago, in the middle of the night my lower back went into some cosmic spasm which is probably related to the universe telling me i was lacking some sort of support...or something to that effect. I couldn't move or get up to pee even...i just laid there with my wife holding me half on and half off the bed feeling pretty helpless...just trying to breathe. I realized in that moment (as I do a few times a year when i am reminded of this) that we are very, very fragile and it doesn't take much to bring us it takes alot to hold me down, but bringing me down is, well, pretty easy on some level. And this goes for the emotional and mental state as well...

Back to the now, flash forward about a week or so and guess what? I get to move now...with a bad back. And so it goes and continues and the morning air is filled with cussing and moaning and some form of stretching if i can muster it. My wife, the young sweet thing that she is, reminds me to breathe and that things will get better. Yeah...well, where the hell is the cable guy?? Someone tell me that!

My back hurts, I just moved for a whole week and i have no internet!!
Oh and my birthday is coming up and I am going to be 38....well, in March, but soon...and then i'll be 40....WTF? LOL...LMAO (internet slang is the new thing i hear.)

So this morning as the sun rose, and I rolled over in bed and realized that for the first time in 3 weeks, my back didn't hurt, and that I didn't have to get up and coordinate moving anything, or swapping cars, or making appointments for utilities, and that I would be saved by the wizard himself...the man behind the curtain...the cable guy....(they are so under appreciated) day suddenly felt a little bit lighter. My coffee was warmer and sweeter, my toast was perfect and my OJ was just right...I realized that today, life would continue on its way with me in tow and on October 27th, 2009, I was still only 37 years old with plenty of days left to play before the ripe old age of 38....

for now, i'll be down in my studio, meditating in the internet sanctum of belonging and purpose.

Love and Understanding

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Road

The Road, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.
as of late, i am feeling rather inspired and quite powerful. Powerful from the aspect of seeing things with every possibility and making them happen...i don't say this from a place of arrogant power mongering, but from a place of abundant expectation and love of what life deserves.

i was standing in my room last night and just had a feeling of not wanting to ever have any doubts or negative and fearful thoughts ever again...this does not mean that at times i wouldn't feel nervous and anxious, which is completely different than fearful and doubtful...nervous and anxious is what i feel before i go on stage and it makes me feel alive and ready for anything. Fear is what I feel when I stand on the edge of a mountain and it paralyzes me...i don't want to live in fear and doubt....(ok, so I may have to get up that mountain sooner or later and stand on the edge to prove this whole theory, but give me a little time!)

I think as children, if we imagine it possible then it should be something that just happens...or we just think that things are the way they are, not knowing that our parents have built in automatic trust so that we are taken care of...just like adults as we trust the universe to be our parents. It is the energy of knowing things will be ok and the energy of imagining and making things happen no matter what. As a child there was no limit to what we could do...if all we had were sticks and stones, we'd make them into something and have fun....think of all the games we would come up with...some simple, some complicated, but all were just part of the daily experience.

The last few weeks there have been so many amazing things coming together that i have to attribute it to simply believing...nothing more. I believe that we can live the life we want anytime we want. it is just a matter of making that decision. Truthfully, as I am realizing this, I also realize that I still don't have the most specific overall vision, but I am getting better at the visions on a daily basis and looking ahead a few months...i am not sure if looking ahead more than that is the right process as you need to be open for change and the ability to move and adapt, but making the decision to do so and being agile and purposeful is the key.

I feel like today i could write for hours and share 100's of anecdotes in the past month even that would illustrate this process...but i have things to do this morning that continue to move me forward. But, i will share one..a big of the biggest.

It all started with Prairie Dogs. Nita and I spent hours on our road bikes this summer and there was one particular bike path that I loved to ride down because there were literally hundreds of chirping prairie dogs standing near their holes and watching us ride by. Sometimes they would waddle across the path tempting the front wheels of our bikes and other times they would just sit there eating and staring at us...i used to joke that when they stood up they looked like little bears.
Then one day Nita was on a ride by herself in the mountains and a black bear ran across the road in front of her...we laughed a bit, after marveling at the fact that she was so close to a bear, and I said, "gee, it seems like the bear is your totem, which must mean the prairie dog is mine." So the rest of the summer, whenever riding down that path, i would say hi to my totems and generally salute them with my own version of prairie dog speak. I even became obsessed with the YouTube Dramatic Prairie Dog and laughed my head off when watching it.

Flash forward a bit as I am working hard on getting another photo show up and running. I had been courting a cool clothing shop named Topo Ranch. For about 1 year I had occasionally gone in and talked to them about putting up work and having a show. Well, finally the time was right and I was able to meet with the owner and a show was put in the works. Now I had seen their sign and logo many times and not thought twice until Alex, the owner, sent me the logo on email so I could include it in a postcard announcing the show...and then WHAM...there it was....right in front of me....staring at me in the face....

My Totem!!! The Topo Ranch logo is a prarie dog standing up with wings...I will let this sink in....

I couldn't believe it...right there the whole totem...I couldn't believe it...i laughed and exclaimed to Nita that it all made sense! It gets better though....Alex's family decedents were members of the Donnor Party and managed to not only survive, but they started a ranch in Central California that was over run with prairie to honor his family, Alex used the spanish word Topo, for prairie dog, and gave it wings so his dream of owning and having these stores would take multiple prairie dog totems at work here...and now i must let you go as I have truly written a short story...but this is the thing....

At first I thought having a prairie dog for a totem was silly and not as cool as the i realize...flying prairie dogs are way cooler than sleeping bears....

Love and understanding!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.

yep....yessir....i reckin. I read a great article last night that discussed how artists who complain or state that they need new and better equipment (primarily photographers) should take a step back and think about it...I think it was Ansel Adams who said, "the most important part of the camera is the 12 inches behind it..." there it is...the gauntlet has been thrown down. In this day and age, it seems that everything is making it easier to rely on technology for skill...and to use an excuse that says, if only i had the "right" or "better" equipment my photos would be better. nope. this is the part i like. I am paraphrasing some of this but it goes something like this.

A photo is a photo no matter what camera you is the composition and the shape and the light that matters...looking back amongst photographers who were using box cameras in the early days...they didn't have digital zoom lenses and photoshop, they relied on their eye and their vision of what made a good it is true that having the right equipment can help a good photographer achieve the desired results faster, but good equipment does not a good photographer make. Why am I saying this? because as I journey down the road of photography, i sometimes get caught up in the guy next to me who has the huge camera and brand new lens and bla bla...but i realize...that is not the key.

The other day i was walking around with my Diana camera...which is a simple plastic camera with no focus ring, no zoom, no F is basically a contraption that lets light in by holding down a trigger and you control how long that is held down. In using it I realized that I cannot really control what the camera is going to do with the light and focus etc, but i can control what I wanted to try and capture...the fun thing about this camera and film is you never know what you'll get till it is is kind of like going back in time and to think the masters who took great pictures back then could shoot without any immediate output to help them figure out if it was right or not, is awesome...ok, so that brings me back to the topic....the vision of the artist is more important than the equipment. As I get ready to hang another show and spend quality and close up time with many of my pictures as I matte them, i start to see my vision more clearly...they are no longer just a snapshot on the computer, but a piece of art that I have created. They are small in size, but within i start to see the camera in my head and how it works...I see the world through a lens differently than anyone else...and i love that about photography...each photographer has a unique way of looking at the world. Do i still want a sweet bitchin camera? sure...will it change the way I see things? no....this is the key...mastering the simple tools is the thing to do because no matter how big your paintbrush, it won't help you paint i go talking about size again.. oh well...

i felt relieved when I returned home last night after work having read the article that praised the artist, not the equipment....i like that.

Love and Understanding.

Monday, October 5, 2009

school of life

TRACKS, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.

yep...that is what last week and this week and most of last month and most of next month get my drift...feel like...and that is exactly what i love about it. For a bit of time i started thinking that maybe I should go back to school for something. maybe photography for example...then i started thinking...why don't i just create my own curriculum? Now this is not to say that I hate school and think it is a bad a matter of fact, i am very excited to take some very specific classes in the near future, but i have managed to create my own classes...ok...i don't know if I created them, but I go to them every day...Lately the classes have been really shooting a wedding for 6 hours on teacher was awesome and holy crap did i learn alot...mostly that I need to get more serious about my equipment and start working towards the bigger picture of what I need and desire for tools of the trade. Not to mention that my lack of lighting knowledge is staggering and that I need to make sure to take THAT class...but i also learned that I know more than i thought about myself and photography....i somehow forget sometimes that I love to look through the lens and that in doing so, i lose complete sense of time. the first 5 hours went by so fast that I had no idea i hadn't drank a single cup of water or eaten anything....not so great later on for me, but what the heck? All this learning is conducive to introspection and looking at things from a different angle....trying to assess the things i need to do to move forward and also realizing that creating opportunities in the school of life is one of the best ways to get an education...I have to keep thinking this way...

don't take class, make is so much more fun that way....

Love and Understanding

Friday, October 2, 2009

the debut

the director, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.

tomorrow i make my debut as a wedding least as an assistant to my own wedding photographer who is awesome for letting me learn with her....Beth, you are a superstar!

so here are a few things i need to say.

I promise I won't let you down. I promise to shut up and listen and learn. I promise to ask questions when I need to. I promise to not fuck up too bad. I promise to try my best. I promise to laugh and have fun. I promise to not get drunk. I promise to make you look good. I promise to not break your camera. I promise to not swear all the time. I promise to meet you on time. I promise to not get too emotional during the ceremony. I promise to not take too many pictures. I promise to kick some ass. I promise to not say inappropriate things to the guests. I promise to spread joy and love except when using the port o potty. I promise to work harder than i have to. I promise that I will eat anything they put in front of me. I promise to not promise too many more things....

so as I said on my Facebook i feel like i am water skiing behind a cruise my arms might be pulled the wake is too big to surmount, like the boat is going just fast enough to keep the sharks if i fall in, i am done i wish i could just get on deck and eat a ton of food with all the fat people.

yep..that is what i feel like there....

love and understanding

Thursday, October 1, 2009


STAIRS, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.

i often think about my intentions these days...what are they? how do they affect my life and those around me? it seems so important to concentrate on our intention every day even if it feels like a small moment of concentration...more like acknowledgment of intention. sometimes it feels like an attitude adjustment that just reminds us to look up and forward.

these days, with winter fast approaching and the days getting shorter, it is easy for me to slip into a bit of a fog and forget about intentions, but this year, I am focusing on that practice and working towards willing things to work. there are so may analogies out there regarding or two come to mind that I will share...
the first was told to me by a mentor of sorts a few years ago...she is a teacher i had that helped me see the power of intention...her analogy was simple...

"Waiting for your ship to come this life you must send out hundreds of ships into the universe before one will return. This is the idea behind having a ship come in. How many ships are lost at sea and never return? How many find another port and decide it is better than the last? How many are caught in storms and swallowed up? You see the point here I am order for one ship to make it back, the odds must be stacked and the intentions must be clear. By sending many, for sure, one will return." my analogy that I came up with just now before I remembered hers is well, sort of silly but kind of true...I am not a tennis player by any means, but suddenly I thought of intentions as a tennis match...hitting the ball and sending it across the net with the intention of it going to a certain spot on the court and each time it gets returned you must try again...sometimes the ball will get past you...many times you will hit the ball as hard as you can, but only after a great effort and lots of focus and intention does the game come to a conclusion and hopefully the intention of piling up enough points to win has worked and the game is yours....

I suppose you could add this to many endeavors which is key....i often have to come up with tangible analogies to succeed in the not so tangible world of art and my bike riding stories...or boxing perhaps...or simply getting up in the morning....they all have to do with an energetic notion...a theme of purpose and pointed direction....

to be clear....this is not to achieve greatness in one day, it is merely to stay on the track of stay true to our daily work as people, artists, athletes, families and souls. Our universe is a sounding board for intentions and by sending them out, they will respond accordingly.

Love and Understanding.