Does anybody remember the daily food fights in 7th grade?
Does anybody remember being totally lost on the first day?
Does anybody remember what "teams" they were on?
Does anybody remember me trying out for 7th grade baseball?
Does anybody remember me joining 8th grade track?
Does anybody remember me quitting 8th grade track because I wanted to go to 7-11 with Anthony?
Does anybody remember Mike Pagano trying varial heelflips at like 7AM on the first day?
Does anybody remember Mike Pagano's bright red Chad Muska shoes?
Does anybody remember Tyrone v. Ian Salmonsky at Boswell's?
Does anybody remember Aaron Boyanovky (if you see this Aaron, hit me up brosif)?
Does anybody remember cutting Mr. Pellegrino's Earth Science lab just to hang out in the next period's lunch?
Does anybody remember the real Mike Hendricks and Eric Dyrstad?
Does anybody remember New Year's Eve 2001 at Eric Dyrstad's house?
Does anybody remember drinking Elmer Fudd Puckers with James Dillon instead of doing Ms. Friedman's math project?
Does anybody remember Mucow's scooter equipped with a peg so he could do feeble grinds with it?
Does anybody remember skating with Spencer Elias after school?
Does anybody remember when Andrew Bankowski busted himself open rollerblading in the front after school?
Does anybody remember Chris Thatcher doing 540's on rollerblades off the step in the front?
Does anybody remember when Dennis and Wilson both rollerbladed?
Does anybody remember BMX riding with Chris Clark, Anthony Billiteri, and that kid Jeremy?
DOES ANYBODY REMEMBER ARMANDO!?
Does anybody remember Mr. Wojeski and how he liked punk rock?
Does anybody remember Squirrel Dude?
Does anybody remember wedging the can into the back door so we could come back inside and skate on the weekend?
Does anybody remember hanging out on the roof?
Does anybody remember having their mom catch them on the roof?
Does anybody remember pleading with Dennis to shut up so they can concentrate on holding in their poop?
Does anybody remember Sean Mcbreardy duping me into stealing trying to steal the best chromes near school only to be stomped out by Anthony's older brother?
Does anybody remember getting caught stealing chromes on the way home from school and being forced to calling their mom (then deleting the message when they got home)?
Does anybody remember pea shooters?
Does anybody remember when me and Mike Massetti shattered the glass door behing Blockbuster with pea shooters?
Does anybody remember Dan Crighton's pool toy?
Does anybody remember Dan Crighton's sandbox?
I recently wrote that the Middle School years were the worst years of my life. I think I am now switching that to 9th grade.
These two (crappy) shots represent the edge of my turf really. All the way at the end of the train station parking lot lies this desolate land. It is pretty creepy over here especially when you're alone. It's very isolated and has been the scene of various juvenile mischief over the years such as breaking things or lighting things on fire, baby stuff. But, one summer, this place, as well as the reservoir beyond the fence, was "discovered" by a group of kids, who were part of our historic larger group the year before, but were at that time on our second ring, so to speak, and it was then and ever since called Hell. The reservoir is actually pretty interesting historically, it's called Smith's Pond after the original name of our area Smithville, and was man made in the 1800's to provide water that would be pumped into New York City. It, and most of the other similar reservoirs in the area, has fallen to bored teenagers of all types seeking adventure.
Anywho, so there's this place, Hell, and everyone (except us non-partiers) would hang out back there and drink. One night, we met up with some of the kids coming back from Hell and one kid, let's call him John, was drunk, angry, thirsty for mischief, and was about to take us along for the ride. I will tell what I remember, but if I leave anything out let me know. We all took off, running amuck all over the streets, breaking bottles and doing our usual mischief. John decided to step it up. All I remember is him taking a huge metal pipe from somewhere and busting out people's sidewalk lights and shit like that. He was in a raging fury and I saw fire in his eyes as John ran down the block without a care. It was an intense fifteen minutes, the excitement, the anticipation, the fear, and the adrenaline that I felt had me running like mad, and at that point we were really all just watching this kid go crazy.
Obviously this couldn't go on forever. Me and two other kids split from the group and hid out in one of their backyards. His mom knew something was up and was asking us what's going on, we probably said hide-and-go-seek, not such a great story for high schoolers. This led to one of us having to head in, and me and the other lad, let's call him Josh, to fend for ourselves out on the streets, where we were no doubt being sought after by law enforcement and angry suburbanites that were interrupted during their TV dinners. I get a cell phone call, bad news. Apparently one of the lads we were running with, let's call him David, had been apprehended by angry homeowners and they were forcing him to do some late-night gardening because someone tore up their plant (lol). We feel bad because he was innocent, most of us were, and he still got caught.
The next thing I remember is making it back to home turf (Dunkin' Donuts) where our group began to trickle in. Everyone makes it back and I decide to get home. I round the corner of the building and I am confronted by two very angry and very bald men. "So, you like smashing out people's lights, huh?" "Wat?" "Yeah, I'll fucking kill ya next time I catch you doing it." "I dunno what you're talking about dude, I didn't do anything." "Yeah well tell your friends I'll fuckin kill them too!" What a great way to end what has since been known as The (greatest) Destruction Night.
On a related note, Hell is where I have dreamed (seriously) of camping out when the shit hits the fan. Just go inna woods and let it all blow over ya know? Speaking of which, if anyone still cares, Morbid Curiosity's next release will be a four song demo tentatively called Premonition. It will feature two new tracks, one remastered track off the Fuckin' Full Length, and a rerecording of Opinionated Bitch from the first demo. This will have the best sound quality yet, and may actually be heard by more than three people. Or maybe it will be heard by even less and remain true to the underground.
ALSO, I have heard tales of a similar destruction night taking place in the next town over. Car and store windows were smashed and young lads ran amuck. I may or may not know who it was, but I wonder if it achieved the same legendary status in their circles as ours did.
This week was spring break, and I spent a few days in Philadelphia with Steph, some days adventuring and shooting (photos), and some days working. I definitely have been neglecting the blog, but I don't really have any shots that I can either tell a good story about or that I rode the bike to get. But, I do have a ton of unrelated stuff that I can post, so yeah:
This here is Stephanie enjoying the great outdoors at Connetquot River State Park. I made her hike the five mile loop along a really muddy and snowy trail, making for some good times. I was showing off how much I like the mud and I splashed my boots all in it. It was a total accident (mostly) that I splashed muddy goodness all over her pants. Sorry! It was all worth it though. The river was serene and the trout were jumping out of the water. The lake that the river drains into is also really cool. It is full of ducks and swans and we made friends with one that was hanging out on the shore. He probably died right after though. Most normal swans don't let people's girlfriends just lean in to pet them, they usually get pretty angry. Definitely died. Love ya Steph!
This delicious looking concoction is homemade gnocchi. When we were in Italy, the waiters in the restaurants pronounced it "nyo-ki" but I don't give two balls and still say it like "no-key." For those idiots out there that don't know what gnocchi is, it is basically balls of mashed potato and dough. It's usually pretty good, but this here was extremely fuckin gnarly gnocchi that is made from scratch. Yeah, bet you didn't see that coming. In addition to being pro hikers, Steph and I are also accomplished cooks as this is our third dish. We haven't messed up yet. I tried to get Steph to bake some shit last night, but she was having none of it. I'm about to pick her up soon so hopefully she's in the mood (FOR BAKING). I really could use some cupcakes around the house, since everyone around here seems afraid of the grocery store for some reason.
A few posts back, I mentioned that I like taking photos of abandoned shit. It's been my favorite subject for awhile, and seeing other people's shots is pretty much what got me more into photography. I like it because I can get shots like this. I usually only like one photo from a day of shooting, and the lighting and color in this scene definitely do it for me. Not much of a story behind this one. It was taken the other day in a large, mostly abandoned state hospital complex not far from where I live. After avoiding detection at the two wide open back doors, we ninja-ed around to the side and into another wide open door. As you can see, this is a totally pro location for only pro adventurers, so I can't go into more detail.
In other news, I just thought of a good potential post about a little thing that happened around town called Destruction Night. I do have a related picture, so I think there will be another post tomorrow. Those in the know should be excited and on the lookout for that. Also, photo wise, I'm taking another photo class next semester (my last one). So I am excited for that. I got an A in Digital Photography I so hopefully I'll do the same in II. I don't think I will do my shit on abandoned shit though, as I did that shit last time. I want to do dreamlike shit. I am looking around the internetz for some inspirational paintings and whatnot. I think it will either be people in their dreams or just dreamlike environments. Either way, I am sure to sound like a veteran artfag and achieve another A in the course.
Whats up, I'm just updating this to keep track of some music-related stuff that's going on right now. I haven't updated any new stories because for the last week and a half or I've been putting a lot of work into my bands. So, for anyone who may care, here's the current deal:
Morbid Curiosity, quite possibly the most awesome underground Long Island band ever, is going to be putting out two releases in the near future. The first is a full length album, temporarily called The Fuckin Full Length! with eleven new songs. The second is a collaboration with long time friend and musically inclined person Anthony Capozzi, which will consist of six songs from the full length reworked with his lyrics and vocal tracks. For anyone who may not know, MC is a band I formed around four years ago originally based on a basic grind/thrash sound with blastbeats, samples, and plenty of vocal effects (think Mortician, GUT and the like). We (I) have progressed to a sound which blends elements of punk, thrash metal, and death metal. For those lucky enough to have heard MC's only other release (the 2006 demo, Fucked Apart) you can expect to hear better quality on all fronts: production, vocals, riffs, songwriting, themes, ect. As Anthony (hopefully) is working on the artwork for the collaboration album, I will now reveal the (possible) album art for this monumental full-length release:
The temporary front cover for the full length.
Temporary back cover.
In other one-man band news, Of Earth, a black/doom projected I started last year will be releasing its debut album, Elixir. It will have 4 longer songs (think 10 songs shoved into four tracks that probably don't transition very well) and one ambient piece. This band has (might have) the modern pagan/black sound inspired by nature, Drudkh, Askival, Agalloch, ect.
Elixir front cover.
Elixir back cover.
Both of those photos were taken Ireland in case you were wondering.
Anywho, all three of the aforementioned releases will be available for free download. However, I will be making complete packages with an actual CD(-R), jewel case, and inserts with art and lyrics. If you want one of those let me know. These will also be free, but I am sure you will sell them on Ebay for plenty of dough sooner or later.
I am just going to post up some random shit I've taken while going around on the bike. Nothing that really conjures up a good enough story to tell, but they may give a good sense of how things are.
This right here is the side of the store I work at. I'm the manager, no big deal or anything. We handle all your basic surgical supplies; knee braces, wrist braces, wheelchairs, bathroom safety, that kind of stuff. A very non-mom-and-pop gym just opened up a couple of stores over and wanted to buy us out, we told them to fuck off. I hate people that work for/own gyms (and most people that use them) as they tend to be total douchebags.
I always thought these trees were really weird. They are all growing out of this skinny ledge, I guess it's to make the loading area for the supermarket look nicer. For some reason they remind me of a particular Halloween from several years ago, I'm sure a story or two will be posted about it eventually, but there were about 50 of us running around like mad all over town. Good times.
This here is a vacant/foreclosed house I had been wanting to shoot for a long time. I love abandoned shit, and I think it is always the perfect photo subject. Every town has that one haunted house, and in my day we had an entire haunted area called Tiny Town. It's pretty interesting in its own right (you can read about it some here), but I wonder what the kids will think of this house after a few more years of neglect.
Awesome arched hallway at a church in snow at night.
I took the bike the other night, to get some sweet snowy night shots since we had a "blizzard" a couple of days before. I have been wanting to shoot this church for awhile, as I always thought these arched hallways were cool, but the snow was just an added bonus. But, posting this shot has brought to my mind a memory I had stashed deep into a dusty corner of brain, of something that, what I consider to be, the worst thing I've ever done.
I wasn't alone on this, but I don't think the other kids felt as bad about it. Long story short, we took food from a kitchen, but there is much more awesomeness to it, and the spirit of sheer adventure that some of the better youth of suburbia really shines through. It was several years ago, and I only have bits and pieces left, but it should be enough to get the job (post) done, so here we go.
As usual, we were skateboarding around, popping some heelflips, some nollies and just being general rapscallions. It was beginning to get dark, we were ready to head home, and we spotted it: a window open just a crack. It was probably to air out the boiler room, but we knew that inside there was an auditorium with a nice floor to skate on. The adventure's spirit took hold of all of us and within minutes the window was open and we were cruising the glossy floors. There's something about riding a skateboard inside a building. There is a different kind of wind blowing by, you push with more oomph, and you just cruise and enjoy the simple pleasure of being where you're not supposed to be.
Apparently, these simple pleasures were not enough, and we began to partake in what some of us would later call (and get arrested for) "urban exploring." I say some of us because at the time of this story we seem to have had a transition group between the old school days, catholic school kidz, and the contemporaries. Anyway, we wandered into a room of the side and, to us, we hit the fuckin jackpot! Candy, snacks, bagels, frozen stuff, it was a fully stocked kitchen and smorgasbord of food. Packages were torn open, bagels were tossed in oven, something went in the microwave, and we proceeded to gorge ourselves on forbidden food. We did our eats, ninja'd out of the building, and marched home in victory. One of us did not leave empty handed however, and he strode proudly, holding a 3 bound bucket of cheese puffs over his head in pure glory.
Now that I think of it, this wasn't the worst thing we, or I, ever did. Our ninja skills were elite and we just ate some of the Jesus day camps' food.
A couple of things have been of interest to me lately. Firstly, I (and most of the music world) have been eagerly awaiting Varg Vikernes' newest Burzum album. Obviously this is going to be a monster of a release (anyone who says it isn't is just trying to sound cool) and the samples that have been floating around sound promising. Something that surprised me was that he used a photograph for the cover (he usually uses fuckwin illustrations from the likes of Theodor Kittelson):
Varg had this to say about it: "The "Belus" front cover photo was taken about 2 km from my home in Bø. I chose it because it suited the concept; Belus is a solar deity, and he remains a mystery on the front cover, because you cannot see him. You can only see the sun rays though the mist. Also, the deities, all the deities in fact, were originally tree spirits, and therefore I think the tree blocking our view to Belus himself fits perfeclty. The pine tree blocking our view to Belus is, by the way, dedicated to Kaimadalthas (Heimdallr ["world tree"])."
He doesn't say whether or not he took the photo himself, but I just thought it was really interesting that he sees so much in this photo. When I first looked at it I didn't think shit.
I was reading Machiavelli's The Prince the other day (my uncle let me swipe it from his bookcase) and I found there were a couple of his poems added to the backgrounds section at the back of the book. I don't want to type it all, but here's a bit of his "On Occasion" (think "Opportunity" instead):
-Tell me then: who's this person by your side?
-She's pentinence; and this you'd better note,
Who misses me, gets her to be his bride.
And you who stand here talking, you who dote
On idle chatter, while the hour lingers,
Wise up a bit, you klutz, you've missed the boat,
And I've already slipped between your fingers!
Basically, if you've been wanting to something, fucking do it already! Paint some shit, start a band, get outside, whatever. Do it up before you regret sitting on your ass reading my blog instead!
I just remembered another thing about that first period art class. This bad ass type kid, my age, used to hock(?) a loogie into the teacher's coffee almost every day. Pretty nasty, that kid definitely built up some shit karma for himself for that.
I am not particularly happy with this photo of my high school, but some people might like it. I recently read an article by nature photographer Frans Lanting where he said, encouraging the use of black and white in winter, "color takes a backseat to shape, texture and tonal nuance, and depth and dimension are brought out through shadow and highlight." Of course, he was talking about winter landscapes and this is a building shot (although it was fucking cold when I took it), but I thought it would still work. Turns out that the composition is weak and I would like to get a better shot eventually.
As for the subject of this post, high school, I don't have much to say really, which is why I chose to make this "high School Pt.1," in case I post again with more thoughts. When I first started here, most of my friends went to catholic school, and it was a year before I found a group of friends here and two before I met my girlfriend, Stephanie (she also went to another school). So, as far as day-to-day life went here, there's not to much to go on. I spent a lot of time keeping my head down, my grades up, going through the motions and using my lunch breaks for homework, so I would have time to hang out with Steph, skateboard, or throw the frisbee around with my buds.
One story I did actually want to tell occurred in my freshman year, an event that would become legendary throughout the school. It was first period art class, which was awesome, and I was sitting there holding in a dump (as per usual during the first three class periods for me). Across from me were two people: one kid, my age, considered somewhat of a fag, who I rather liked and still do, and another, older, bad ass type kid who I was friendly with in middle school when he rode BMX. Anyway, it went something like this. Bad-ass: "give me that eraser or I'll stab you with these scissors." Kid my age: "No." So, blah, blah, he kept refusing, so older kid proceeds to stab him with the scissor. This is super illegal, easily grounds for a lawsuit, but the kid my age was very reluctant to the teacher (who was a good guy as well) what had happened. eventually, word got out, older kid got in trouble, whole school found out, and the legend of The Time When Billiterri Stabbed BJ In Art Class lives on to this day.
Note: I have encountered a couple of unforeseen problems as I am continuing shooting for the project. First, it's cold as shit out. I had to come back to the house twice yesterday to get more layers. Second, on nice days, especially Sundays, people are walking their dogs all over the place. Dogs also love to chase after my bike, causing the usual awkward "I'm acting like your dog is being cute but its fucking annoying" situation. Lastly, since I wanted to do all the shooting from places I could bike to within the town, I'm not sure what to do with my other work from places I have driven to. I might have to just put " **UNRELATED** " next to the title or something.
These old fences mark (for me) an unofficial border.
My town, which is relatively nice, borders with a not-so-nice town to the west. Obviously, this being suburbia, what defines levels of niceness needs not be said. The border itself, I think, is the exact center of an overpass which crosses the parkway separating the towns. My brother told me once that back in the eighties there was a meeting between the "gangs" of both towns to paint a white line across the middle of the bridge, and it has been obeyed ever since (for the most part). Of course, in recent, more adventurous times, we crossed this bridge plenty. It just so happens that the bridge is nicely paved on the other side, making it excellent for carving down on a longboard, skateboard or whatever. Interesting fact: behind these fences is a trail that leads behind houses for half a mile or so and into the local teen party area behind a school. What's cool about it is that the path has been beaten in by generations of kids going in and out of the woods to just do anything, its like a legacy of boredom. Another interesting fact: Eddie Murphy frequently crossed the border over into our town to steal bikes. Yep, lots of history at this part of town.
One summer, some of the best shit happened right here. It was a gem in an area where we spent most of our time anyway, right in town. Through that door lied an entire dimension of adventure and fun. It was (and still is) an abandoned nightclub! Everything was still there, the stage, the bars in the basement (still pretty well stocked), the VIP office/lounge upstairs, everything. As if that wasn't enough to quench our thirst for adventure for the rest of the summer, there was an empty swimming pool under the stage! A gift from the gods to a bunch of skateboarders with not much else around. It was somehow converted into a pantry, but we all took care of that and made it skate-able. By golly, good times were had. I know I'll be returning here to shoot again, so I am going to save some of the stories, nay, legends, which surround this fantastical place for another time.
Welcome to my blog, Tom's Study of Suburbia. This is basically an idea I had to photographically document the town I grew up in and its surrounding area. I live in Merrick, NY, a suburb of New York City. It's a love/hate relationship with the area, all of us who grew up here have it, but for me it's definitely more love than hate. Many a fond memory has been made out on the streets. From being little kids soccer-ing it up in the backyard, cruising all around on bikes, then skateboards, hanging out with my girlfriend, and causing general mischief along the way, my whole life has been set against the background of this town, and I'm not too sure if I would rather have it been any other way. So, I am going back to square one; me, a bike, and a camera, to try and document the nooks and crannies of where I grew up before I (potentially) move away and out into the 'real world.'