Where am I?

Behind aging eyes open to the sights of daily life, ethereal beauty, and indescribable wonder, and before the infinite expanse of a decaying mind.

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Here are my stories, poems, and thoughts.  Some are of my personal experiences, and some only whispered in my mind.  Told here to live on as new dreams, and beginnings of new stories to come.

Street Convo #2: Denny

October 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Denny exclaimed, "That's a really bright flashlight you have there--I can see it all the way from here!," nodding towards the beach from where I came, the distance muffling the crashing waves.

"Ha ha yeah," I chuckled. "It's a special super bright flashlight." I stopped and looked at him. A young man, maybe shaved three or four days ago?, wearing something like a one-piece painter's suit over his whole body, standing next to a mountain-bike with a sporty trailer hitched behind. Hmm. "What are you doing now?"

"Trying to find a place to pitch my tent."

"Oh, what do you normally do for food?"

"I panhandle."

"Where are you from?"

"I've been biking from... you know San Luis Obispo? Around there."

"You biked from all the way there!? Where are you headed?"

"Washington. I'm going to meet up with my mom."

Amazing. Well I was lonely, so, "You wanna get dinner? It's on me.  We can go anywhere you want, or I guess, where you can bike to."

"How 'bout Denny's?  It's right up the street."  Sigh... Denny's.  The absolute middle of the restaurant spectrum.  Oh well.

Denny rode off and I drove to meet up with him a few blocks away. He met me at my car and asks, "Do you smoke?," and makes a gesture putting his fingers to his mouth, and puffing, relaxing his face as if enjoying the ecstasy of peace.

"Ha ha nope..."

So we sat down at a booth next to the window. "You can get anything you want man. It's too bad that they don't serve alcohol here, but you can get anything you want to drink too."

"You know what I feel like? Sometimes you really want breakfast. Yeah, that's what I really want." So that's what he got. Pancakes, eggs, the basic stuff. I ordered one of their fancier burgers. He only wanted water to drink.

Denny asks, "Where are you from?"

"Well, I just moved up here from LA about half a year ago for a job."

"Oh yeah!? I'm from there. I went to school there."

"Really?"

"Yeah, I just graduated. Got a degree in GTAW/SMAW welding from Cerritos College. I used to work at a BMW dealership [for 4 years I later verified], but I was through with that. I grew up in Bakersfield. But I'm through with working. I don't want the responsibility." He spoke with a smile, not a glint of regret from his eyes.

"But you don't want a job? You got the degree and all."

"I don't want the responsibility.  I hate responsibility."

"So you just stopped working?"

"Well I got into drugs too.  It was bad, but I went to rehab and I'm fine now."

"What kind?"

"Meth."

"Oh that's really really bad.  That can really f[uck] up your brain."

"Yeah I know.  And I can't read either."

"You can't read?" I don't believe I've ever met a person who I knew couldn't read, as of yet. But he spoke so confidently, so eloquently. He was also quite charming. So surprising. "You married man? Got a girlfriend?"

"I almost got married. She really wanted to get married, but I couldn't. I wanted to, but I couldn't."

"Why?"

"She needed to stop whoring around."

..."What?"

"She kept whoring around."

"You mean as in she slept with too many guys? Or you mean that as a job?"

"Yeah, as a job."

"Oh." He still sat there with a half smile, but straight backed, with a mature confidence, as he has been this whole time. Between infrequent bites of his pancakes, and talking to me, he constantly brought his hands together crossed in front of his plate.

"Hey it's really nice of you to do this you know.  I usually go to the local place where they give out food, but their food gets old.  It's really nice to have a good meal like this."

"Oh it's cool man. I don't have many friends up here, and I like your company."

"No, it's really cool of you. Most places are not nice to people like me."

"Like you?"

"What's the word..."

"Um, traveler..., nomad, gypsy?"

"No, gypsies are bad people man. I knew a few. They take what they want and go."

"I did see a TV show, a reality show, about gypsies. And wow, some of them are really f[uck]ing hot."

"Oh yeah. I know."  As the waitress stops by, "Hey what's another word for homeless?"

She stood there pondering. Then guesses, "transient?"

"Ah yes!!! Transient!," he bursts, staring straight forward, hands folded, smile beaming. I don't think the waitress moved. At all. But then it appeared that her senses returned, and she walked away, looking straight away from our table.

I sat there thinking of what just happened while he shoved a few more pancake bits into his mouth. My mind wandered. "Yeah, it's hard man," I thought out loud. "I really just want to meet someone to go places with, or just watch TV cuddled on the couch, and get married and have kids."

"Stop looking man. Nothing has ever happened for me the way I wanted things to. But things always happen to me when I'm not looking."

"Yeah, I know. But sometimes you gotta have a direction to work towards."

"Look, every time I planned something it went wrong. Nothing has ever happened to me the way I planned. Just the other day I had that feeling."

"That feeling?"

"Yeah, you know," looking deeply, and still smiling, directly into my eyes. "I needed it man. I needed a woman. But it's been a while. Months. I just thought that morning I really needed it. And that night, she came by. We talked and smoked. She asked if we could go somewhere, and I mentioned I had a tent. She was so happy!," and an even greater smile pushed open his already happy face. "She followed me back to my tent, and it was great!!!"

"Wow, do you guys still hang out?"

"No, I dunno where she went after that. Probably back to where she came from, a few cities away. She mentioned she came from out there. I think I might have seen her in some other city, but that's it."

"I see."

"You know, I really needed a smoke. I mean really needed it. But I stopped thinking about it. And I was sitting, and I turned my head, and I saw this sitting on the ledge!" He holds up a small plastic jar about an inch and a half in diameter and maybe four inches tall, opaquely painted purple. He smiles even more.

"No way."

"Yeah I know!"

"What the hell. What are the chances of that?"

"Yeah. Things happen when you're not looking man."

 

Denny's Face, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxDenny's Face9/27/14
Denny's
Fort Bragg, CA


Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

 

Denny's Hands, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxDenny's Hands9/27/14
Denny's
Fort Bragg, CA


Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

 

Denny, by Dean Chiang

 

(FYI, the words are from memory, but statements are real.  This was what happened that night.)

 


Sees to East

September 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

"If I could live forever
I would shower in beauty each day."

"If I had the mountain's strength
I would conquer the will of nature."

"If I could defy time
I would proudly behold my ageless face and the infinity of my mind."

"If I could never tire
I would not ever waste the day to sleep."

 

"Hark my bretheren
Behold the soul of the sky."

"Eternal might
Wielding the great light."

"Immortal face
Arms bounding the world."

"The Father of all days
The Mother of all nights."

 

Sees to East, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxSees to EastThe Three Gossips

3-15-14
Arches National Park
Moab, UT


We were running out of gas and it was getting late. So we made the call to leave the park to get gas at the risk of getting to the famous Delicate Arch too late to setup properly for a sunset shot. After swinging around I saw it. There are those moments that all photographers (and wannabes like me) have where you see The Shot in front of you, mesmerizing and calling to you, and you know you MUST get the shot at all costs. So, to the dismay of my friends, I turned the car around again (lucky I was the driver!) and looked for a proper parking spot. Could only find one proper location, but at least I found one, and it was FAR away. I got out and it was crazy windy. Like windy enough to blow over my tripod and camera! Got out a telephoto lens and took 2 brackets, again of 7 shots each. I would have taken more but it was cold and miserable, and I could feel my friends grinding their teeth. So, I packed up and left. ...When I finally got the chance to process these photos some were blurry! I couldn't believe it. I was using a HUGE tripod, one of the sturdiest money could buy, and even then some pictures were blurry!--that's how windy it was! Anyway, thank God one bracket was useable. My favorite shot of the trip.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

See blog entry about this picture:
http://pics.xyclopx.com/blog/2014/9/sees-to-east

Also featured @ 500px: http://500px.com/photo/81801591/sees-to-east-by-dean-chiang

And @ deviantArt: http://xyclopx.deviantart.com/art/Sees-to-East-479707734

 

As all their friends have given to death
After walking the earth

After multi millennia of wind and seasons
As all life has dried away

The Four See to East
Rooted in godliness.

 

by Dean Chiang


They Are Rocks, I See Music?

July 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Sounds and rhythm all about
Listen with our beating hearts
Audible becomes music our souls sought


Light and darkness all throughout
Seeing with our reaching souls
Our vision becomes the art beyond thought

 

by Dean Chiang

 

Crescendo, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxCrescendo4th of July, 2014
San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate Bridge


Sounds and rhythm all about
Listen with our beating hearts
Audible becomes music our souls sought
Light and darkness all throughout
Seeing with our reaching souls
Our vision becomes the art beyond thought

Thousands see these rocks each day. Did they find beauty as they walked by?

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Also featured @ 500px:
http://500px.com/photo/75853333/crescendo-by-dean-chiang
And @ deviantArt: http://xyclopx.deviantart.com/art/Crescendo-466064471


Please read the blog featuring this photo: http://pics.xyclopx.com/blog/2014/7/golden-gate-bridge-they-see-rocks-i-see-music

 

Thousands see these rocks from above, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, each day. Some may take note of the curious threesome, seemingly placed purposely, but perhaps their former Zen garden home was washed away. Or some may see a different profound beauty, the kind found most anywhere if one were to just let their eyes rest and their mind wander.

 

They are rocks, I see music, what do you see?


The Meaning of Independence Day Found in a Photograph

July 07, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

On this year's Fourth of July, I embarked on a mission to take photos, but without a true destination like a traveler only looking for a journey. I've always found photography to be one of the greatest hobbies, because in searching for the great moments to be captured often times raw humanity is revealed during the experience, along with a piece of the puzzle of life.

Independence means different things to different people, and while roaming the streets of The Haight, I found one gentleman and his friends who were willing to show all those that found them what Independence means as an American.

As he and his two friends sauntered past my parked car, looking this and that way and about, enjoying the views of the colorful streets, I stared. They were shocking and openly invited gawkers by nature. And no matter whether one liked what they saw, there was certainly a reaction from each and every person around them. But here, in our marvelous nation, they walked proudly knowing that in America they could be happy in their bodies without persecution.

As I overcame my shock, I saw The Picture walking away from me. I hurriedly hopped out of my car waving my camera at them, and as I neared I asked if I could take a picture. And so the gentleman said sure, he didn't mind, and walked over to the pillar, striking the beautiful pose you see. And there it was, my picture of Independence Day.

 

We Just Like to be Naked, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxWe Just Like to be Naked4th of July, 2014
San Francisco, CA


"So what's the occasion?"

"We just like to be naked."

--Independence Day.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Also featured @ 500px: http://500px.com/photo/75967441/independence-day-we-just-like-to-be-naked-by-dean-chiang

Please read the blog featuring this picture: http://pics.xyclopx.com/blog/2014/7/meaning-of-independence-day-found-in-a-photograph

 

I asked, "So what's the occasion?"

His friend said, "... We just like to be naked."

 

This article can also be found @ POTN: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1387166

And @ 500px: http://500px.com/Xyclopx/stories/3962783/the-meaning-of-independence-day-found-in-a-photograph


Wait For Me Sunset! @ Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

April 19, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I was really not feeling it. I had moved up to NorCal just a couple weeks ago and I knew I wanted to go to Point Lobos for some pics as the ones I saw on the web were very nice. It seemed like the perfect day--a Fri so it wouldn't be so crowded, clouds in the sky, and still Springish (heard Summer would be very crowded) and so there might be a colorful sunset. But there are just those days you don't feel like packing all the gear, doing a 70mi drive, and then stand around for hours taking pictures in solitude.

Well, anyway, did some stuff around the house for most of the day and then I started feeling a bit better and said aw hell, let's do it. Headed down, and man there was so much traffic! Google traffic lied!--1.5hr in traffic my ass! I was worried I was going to miss the 7:42 PM sunset (after I get there I'd still have to scope out a good place, and I've never been there before.) Well, ended up getting there sometime after 5pm, probably closer to 6pm, and it was looking pretty gloomy, like it was going to rain! No sun in the sky. So much for a sunset, ha ha.

Still... though that spectacular burning sky will remain elusive, I didn't drive no 70+ mi in stop-and-go traffic for nothing!  Point Lobos seemed rather small from the map, with lots of little turn-ins to park and enjoy, and so at the first stop I found I got out an surveyed the area.  It was a large cove before me with the ocean out in the distance with lots of rocks peaking from the water.  Not too bad.  Went back to the car and got my gear and set out to walk around.  Well, after climbing some rock stairs I found a nice seascape in front of me, and this little bird posing...

 

My Island, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxMy Island4-18-14
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Carmel by the Sea, CA

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

 

I snapped a bunch of pictures of it, but the sky was getting dark so I hopped back into the car and drove down to what I guess is the "point" of Point Lobos.  Got out of the car and started to hike the trail that was right there.  And man, it's pretty!  Walked around and found a few nice spots, setting up my tripod, snapping some pics, then packing it all up moving from scenic place to place.  Then eventually I decided this was where I was going to get "The Shot" of whatever meager sunrise decides to show up.

 

Taking Pictures of Sunset at Sea Lion Cove, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxTaking Pictures of Sunset at Sea Lion Cove4-18-14
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Carmel by the Sea, CA

Apple iPhone 5s

 

So with my tripod extended and my camera armed, I set off to capture a gazillion images.  Played around with ND filters and such, but I ended up liking the last bracket I took the best, which was without any filter...

 

Hidden Sunset over Sea Lion Cove, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxHidden Sunset over Sea Lion Cove4-18-14
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Carmel by the Sea, CA


Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

 

I wanted to capture the shimmering of the water as the weak sunset warmed it from above.  It did look beautiful as I stood there above the bluffs.

By the time I finished packing up from that picture, it was already getting pretty dark, but I thought the place closed 1.5hr after sunset (and I was wrong, but...) so I set off to see if there was anything left worth taking before having to go back.  So I found this place and took some time to get this:

 

Cove under Dark Skies, by Dean Chiang, XyclopxCove under Dark Skies4-18-14
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Carmel by the Sea, CA


Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC

 

The original picture was extremely blue with little coloring from the rocks.  I had hoped that some of the earthiness with orange and red tones would come out, but it was far overcome by the blueness of the dark sky and water.  Black and white seemed the only way to go.  Well, anyway, by the time I finished it was already past 8pm and I was worried they would lock me in, so I put on my headlamp and headed back to the car.  It turned out I walked quite far away, so I was starting to get nervous trying to find my car.  And sure enough, as I approached there were blinking red lights.  Oh oh!...  The ranger truck drove over and gave me a little verbal reprimand, starting with "Where you live?  You ever coming back here again?"  I thought carefully about my answer and nodded... turns out they close just half an hour after sunset!--not 1.5hr!  Sigh, I misread.  Well, anyway, I apologized and he followed my car to make sure I went straight for the exit.

Point Lobos was beautiful, and I could tell under the right conditions there would be sublime pictures. But for this lonely and cold night, these were my takeaways... hope you liked!

 

Dean Chiang 4-18-14, Xyclopx