For the past few years now, as I have traveled, I have seen a wide array of people living on the streets. Tiny thai men living in tents on top of metals roofs down an ally in Bangkok , legless men in Antigua Guatemala who sweep the walk ways to former anthropology students who started out living on the street as a social experiment then ending up liking it.

This is a collection of men and women who I have interviewed over a nice lunch. I've always struggled with just giving money to these people, so I started taking these people out to lunch in exchange for an interview and some photos. Here is their story:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Carts of Darkness.

Deviating from the norm.  This documentary puts two things that I am currently into together seamlessly. It sounds awkward that I am into homeless people but in light of the direction this blog has taken as of late it seems fitting. right?

It was made by Murray Siple who is a former pro snowboarder who was in an accident that left him partially paralyzed. I love this because its a guy who was so used to being in complete control of his life and how he lived it. He used snowboarding as a means to make him happy, but after his accident had to find other means to do this. Play to your strengths even if it involves going down a hill on a shopping cart at 55 mph with a bunch of homeless men who collect bottles and cans for a living.

All in all I'm a lot like this guy, at the end of the day all I really want to do is good ol hood rat stuff with my friends, regardless of who they are. 

Watch it here:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

With the Grandpa Shine

I think I might make this look like all I meet are really wonderful and charming homeless people. Yep, just said that. I just want to assure you all that I do go through a strick screening process before I go to lunch with these people. It usually involves the same guide lines as one would use while choosing a Taxi. If they smell like beer, probably choose a different cab. If they are bleeding from an open wound- might be a good idea to make sure you are all up to date on your shots. And if they are passed out on the street then their Taxi is probably unmanned somewhere. Really though I am very careful, and it is remarkably easy to do this. Just yesterday I approached a man who Looked down on his luck. When I set forth my terms for a meal he tired to hit me with his empty rum bottle he had hidden in his folds of wool and camouflage blankets. This to me is a good indication that he isn't into talking, so I moved on. Pretty simple right?

On to bigger and better things; Frederick. This guy was nice. I dont mean just any nice, like he will give you his soiled shirt right of his back. When we were getting ready to take his photo he insisted on cleaning up a bit. He did this because he wanted to make my picture "real nice". Much like my failed attempt with mr. crabby pants yesterday Frederick produced a fine comb from the void of blankets he was in and did a smart ol' job brushing that hair of his. And this was much less sinister.

f/8 s/100 iso/200
Frederick passed on some pretty good words of advice for me to live by, and I believe this jolly ol fellow would have done this even with out he meal I promised.  One Perticular lesson I learned - and all of you reading could learn from as well, is how to get a free laundry day. How is this seemingly impossible task accomplished one might ask? Well its simple really. You get arrested. When you go to jail for the night they take all of your cloths and wash them, for free. Yep you heard me correctly - free. First you need to put on as many layers as possible to really maximize your free laundry experience. He was just chalk full of good ideas like these. It kills me.

f/8 s/100 iso/200

He also taught me about the different factions of the street which I actually found insanely interesting. He taught me all about which groups are fine by each other and which ones arnt. He said he has two ladies in completely different groups and it works because they stay so far away from each other. The house of Chaos (which is a half way house named by the homeless because of all the craziness that goes down) and the Division streeters dont get along well so they stay well away from each other... I feel like this is a set up for a new Grand Theft Auto video game.... Chose your factions wisely or suffer the consequences... 

He's a man with all the answers but still a man who remains on the streets. How do you figure that? Those eyes cant lie. I'm going to go out on a limb with this one and say that this guy is genuinely happy, and despite my foolproof screening process I would without a doubt get into his cab anyday.

"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." 
-Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, April 8, 2012

When you are engulfed by flames

Living downtown I see a lot of different characters. Its not everyday that you meet a character that was lit on fire by another character. Meet Brian.
Brian just a block from where he was burned f/8.0 s/125 iso/400

Brian is 38 years old from Yakima, WA. His is an interesting story. We ate hotdogs on the sidewalk in front of a gas station and talked about love. Brain was a Kindergarten teacher when he was 23 years old until that is, about the time that he met his lover Karl. This is one of those love stories that John Steinbeck would be writing about if he were still alive or if he ever really wrote a love story Sweet Thursday aside. Which means there is always a slightly sinister twist to it.

You see, Karl was just about the worst thing that could have ever happened to Brains life. Karl was Brains first real gay lover, and he was into some rude stuff. It was alarming to talk to Brain about all of this because he was so candid about it all. It started out like most things do with a little of this here and a little of that then BAM! you're doing cocaine off of a toilet seat in Chucky Cheese. It was a remarkably fast slop that he slipped down.

He has been off and on with Karl for the past 15 years now.

Brian lives for this guy for some reason- his world revoles around him. It was disturbing to hear him talk about Karl like he was some sort of demigod. In fact it was that which got him kicked out of his aunts house. He refused to listen to his family and friends about how bad this dude was for him and he ended up on the streets because he kept bringing him around.

If you were to ever meet Brian he doesn't hold much back. The part of my notebook which I was taking notes on our interview could probably be deemed by the FCC to be unsuitable for publication in any form... I listened to nothing but Disney songs for a week straight afterwards to counter balance that half hour I spent with him. I believe this to be a blessing and a curse.

One night Brian was sleeping under the Maple bridge in Downtown Spokane when some other gentlemen simply came up threw some gas on him and lit him on fire. He didnt talk much about this to be honest, but it seems that they weren't a fan of his sexual orientation, and that alone folks, will evidently get you dern' dun lit on fire on the streets.

Laugh f/5.6 s/100 iso/400
Is it strange that I just finished reading When you are engulfed by flames, by David Sedaris? Probably the most outspoken gay writer currently being published. It's a shame that Brian gets burned alive for kissing a man in an ally way while David gets paid for writing it.

Dont get me wrong, I love David Sedaris in the most platonic, heterosexual, imma gonna love me some females kinda way, but it does make me think. Two societies living in each others bed. Both moving further and further away. like two train cars who started out on the same tracks then with a simple switch of a lever one went to new york and the other to Florida. When they started it was but inches that switched the paths, but as time progressed they slowly become polar opposites of each other. So it seems with our two societies.

Frederick from Southern California is up next. The man with the grandpa shine in his eyes. Much lighter story from Frederick for sure. That or he complete detached from reality.

“Every day we're told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it's always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos are born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it's startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are 'We're number two!”
David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day

Friday, April 6, 2012


Recently I've met a lot of people at BYU who are going through this. It didnt really hit me until someone I am very close to confided in me that they were going through this very situation. What it did was help put myself in their shoes. When I put myself in their shoes and really think about what I would do. To think about a life without companionship is a really something that would scare me half to death.

I'd like to think before this I was always very understanding, but I have realized that what I took as understanding was really just me doing nothing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

And we're back.

Whether or not I deemed my life boring or unimportant for the past 2 year, Im not sure but I'm firing up the ol' blog.

Lots of things to catch up on that I dont really want to catch you up on. sorry? I'll give you a condensed bullet version...

-Im done with provo. (hail the conquering hero, da daa da daaaa da da daaaaa!)
-I've moved to Washington for a Job
-I live by myself in a little 4 plex with some questionable human beings, who range from a sexually frustrated 40 year old single mother to a nice retired drunk accountant who sounds like Mick Jagger if Mick were to bite off his tongue in the middle of singing Dancing in the Streets with David Bowie. yep that awesome. mind you this would be with a bloody tongueless mouth.
-I have reached a celestial gear ratio on my single speed. This is paramount news because there are a lot more hills in Washington. I should put this at the top...
-I spend my days(while not working) riding my bike. sitting in coffee shops using there internet because of said sexually frustrated single mom that lives above me whom I pay for internet forgets to pay her bill, reading, and taking photos/ interviewing homeless people. Which is what brings me to the source of my new found desire to blog.

For the past few years now, as I have traveled I have seen a wide array of people living on the streets. From tiny thai men living in tents on top of a metal roof down an ally in Bangkok to legless men in Antigua Guatemala who sweeps the walk ways to former Anthropology students who started out living ont he street as a social experiment then ending up liking it. All over i've seen them and always struggled with helping them out with money or straight up giving them food. From Sheva knows where I was instilled at a young age the value of work, in whatever form. Handing these people cash, to me, always seemed like I was enabling them to continue living in a degenerated state, or that they might go out and buy booz..

About a year ago I decided that I would make these guys work for my help. First I fired up a small manufacturing plant that specialized in cat sweaters. Needless to say that went belly up. After recovering from the bankruptcy I decided to try something new. I would take these guys out to Lunch and in return I would be able to Photograph and interview them. I've been doing this just for fun and a chance to talk to some people with a dramatically different outlook on life.

Needless to say I have made quite the collection, and I figured it would be interesting and informative to share some of these guys stories.

I'll start you with Mr. George Streets. Although I would love to give him an entire post all to himself, I cannot. Unfortunately from either PTWS (Post Traumatic War Syndrom) or a hell of a lot of drugs he wasn't able to communicate much besides his military ID# (64-11-18-904-8) and when I asked him why he chose Spokane to live, the only word other than those number he said was "Heaven".
Mr. George Streets. f/2.8 s/50 iso/3200

So, without further adieu, I introduce you to Ken & Eddy:
Ma & Pa. f/2.8 s/80 iso/1600

I met these two while riding around downtown Spokane. I've never felt more at home under the I-90 than I have with these two. Ken is 43 and is the folliclely blessed male. Ken is his 64 year old lover. Momma always said marry up.

What really floors me is the concept of love with all of these people I meet. Here are two (loaded statement) good looking homeless people who are sleeping on the corner of Division st. and I-90 with a homeless shelter not two blocks away. When talking with them they tell me about there lives. They live in what I will loosely call a commune. I use that term because there are probably about 9 homeless people all living in this little area, and each one has a job from look out to camp cleaner to the Mother and Father figure- Ken & Eddy.

What makes them the mom and pop of this little rag tag gang that could easily be mistaken for a bad parody of Lord of the Flies. Is that When ever someone is in trouble or having a particularly hard time walking from inebriation they are the ones who take care of them and nurse them back to health. Needless to say this is a full time job. They stick together and watch out for each other. While I was there I met a gentleman who was kicked out of his girlfriends apartment with no place to go. Its an amazing thing to see 5 homeless dudes scouring dumpsters to give to this well dressed down on his luck exboyfriend with no place to go but the streets. With there help I would like to believe that he slept fairly warm despite the balmy 20 degree weather we were experiencing at the time.

Camp Division St. f/3.5 s/50 iso/2000

They showed me everything, where they slept, other places they would camp. Good places to make love with out being seen, profitable places to panhandle. Through this all what struck me was the sense of community even with in this small group of people. I was fascinating to see how naturally we fall into innate comfort zones. How all these have, at the very basis of love as the foundation. Even on the streets where there thought process follows such a different line than mine. Where as I am thinking of what to do when i get off work they are thinking of how they can stay warm and where they are going to get there next meal. at the very core of our foundation we are all alike in our needs, we just go about much different ways of fulfilling those needs.
Eddy/64. f/2.8 s/50 iso/2000
Ken 43. f/3.5 s/80 iso/1600
I'll stick to skype.

Thats it for now. I feel like I drowned on for too long- for me it is incredible to meet these people and sharing there stories feels so mediocre when I write it.

Next time I write I will fill you in on Brian- The burning man.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


Having dinner with Jonsi from Sigur Ros AND Bjork, Cerebral melt down of everything that is reality, but fun, real fun.