Sunday, January 30, 2011

Laptop Round Up for The Real Update & a stupid thing happened while I was on a mountain bike trail ride

Luiguuy, originally from Haiti met me uptoon on Friday to collect the first three computers donated to the Laptop Round up for the Real
Two of the computers on board in the backseat of Luiguuy's first generation minivan from the late seventies came from Indianapolis and were sent in by Bill Williams and his wife.  The third one in the big brown box was gifted by Rob C., and carried on the back of my little buddy who is about to use a photo of my wayward cap as some sort of blog ante upping.  So, on Friday three of the twelve committed laptops thus far started the journey towards Barbancourt north of Port Au Prince.  Over the next month to six weeks I will be meeting Luiguuy again to drop off the rest of the donations in groups of three.  I am short of my goal, but what I am learning is that without barriers, it always works out.  This project for on the ground real nuts and bolts help is moving forward, send me a laptop and I will hook you up...

Real Ride Story to Unbelievable to be True, but it is.

Early today I lifted my perpetual ban on paying to ride at the U.S. Brown Water Center.  Just one time I would give five in God we trust units to spend three hours on my mountain bike alone in the woods that I rode first a long, long time ago.  She took my cash, the paper nickle then under those heavy power lines I drove.  I could feel the electromagnetic pulse of a mcmillion kilowatts diving down towards ground through the roof of my UN Montero and my skull.

Holy shit, this place truly cracks me out.  I jumped on the bike within a few minutes of arriving realizing that this was going to be a fun three hour transfer. On the way to the 'trail head' half way under the wire crossing a small amount of voltage, or is it amperage  jumped from my gloved fore finger on my right hand to the brake lever I was about to touch. Yikes, that burned like a six volt on the tongue or a bit worse.  Yeah worse.  Pay to park and be zapped, that should be their toon jingle.

Then onto the ride, it would have to get better right?  The weather was perfect, no one was there because they were all racing their little hearts out or cooling it up over at Renaissance.  Down and under across, my first lap started with Metallic in my ears streaming constant on the mountain top removal battery up load.  Fast, like a machine gun from the old days.  Not as fast as I felt, around the lap fighting it the whole way to the new green trail which offered nothing technical at all, however I found the extension a pastoral gift I had not seen before.

One of the many few things good about riding alone is that after an hour and a half without stopping you can go around again without even putting a foot down.  Time passes slowly after the first thirteen miles and the sun moves at least a thousand times more in an outward push from its beginning.  Back around this time I finally saw and passed some people on bikes traveling the trail.  I was fighting with too much effort, sweating too much, and having to stand up on the climbs way earlier than I was used to.

Then it happened.  About half way around on my second lap with a slightly loopy head, I stood up on a short inside left steep and my small right ear phone pumping Micheal Jackson's, Annie are you okay that I misheard over and over as Annie are you walking into my brain housing group fell out and onto my shoulder.  I could hear my surroundings for the first time since I left after plugging myself in the form of an active decision to separate myself from the sensory world around me.  And what I heard was the most annoying thing you could imagine.

It sounded like resistance, in the form of a brake pad against the front disc.  I decided to wait till I got to the top of the climb for the second time in a day to make the inspection.  It was sad.  I spun the fat tire wheel forward and watched in shock as it ground to a halt in about three inches of rotation.  You have to be kidding me, I first thought to myself, no wonder why this ride has been more difficult than an afternoon at Catawba is supposed to be. 

When I looked down the problem became visually apparent, my front wheel was not all the way in the fork.  That's right, I had tightened the wheel in and it was not straight at all.  It looked like the lawyer tab on the right side had gotten in my way when I was bent over the bike putting the wheel in. And I, oblivious with the sound of music in my head brought my own disconnection to the world around me.

Ultimate Bike Shop for the fix.  New tiny Spacers, and zero'ing the pistons makes for a happy front brake.

One of the down sides to riding alone is that there was no one there to laugh at me and my lack of awareness other than myself.   The hundred year old or more smooth bark American Beech Trees at the river front are absolutely amazing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rule 24 Hearing Date Set

On Wednesday afternoon, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's office sent a request for a Rule 24 Hearing in the case of The State of North Carolina vs. Antoine Dion Young(11CRS201626) to the Chambers on the ninth floor of the courthouse.  The request was granted with the signature of the first available judge, then it was returned to the DA's office.  Within twenty fours hours the DA notified the criminal clerk and public record that the Rule 24 Hearing date has been set for March 10, 2011 at 9:30am in courtroom 5350 of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.  
 My contacts in the legal world tell me that it is very important for Radok's friends to attend each hearing related to the case.  The system works when it recognizes the truth, I have seen it many times first hand. And, the truth is that Chris was an amazing human who did not deserve to be killed in the vicious manner that he was.  Please pass the word.

It has also been suggested to me that perhaps it would be a good idea to contact the department of Court Watch that follows first degree murder cases.  Early next week I will look into that unique entity and pass whatever information I find along to you. 

This is just the beginning folks.  I have learned that there are no fewer than seventy murder cases in Charlotte awaiting trial. Violent crime, in this case murder is happening at such a rate that the system cannot keep up with the problem.  Even though the criminal court moved into a newer and larger facility with more staff not long ago, there are still not enough prosecutors and judges to handle the amount of violent criminal cases being brought to them. The smart men and women prosecuting this crime need our help by being patient and in attendance at all of the future proceedings.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

True Bill Discovery

Last night I was doing research on the mechanics of a grand jury when I discovered a few interesting things.  The grand jury has been around since the good old days and was designed to keep the public involved with and aware of the court proceedings when the most serious crimes were committed.   These days perhaps because of the constant volume of violent crime, especially in large metropolitan areas, the grand jury has become regular simple formality, a rubber stamp of sorts in the judicial process. 

The second thing that I learned is that when the grand jury determines that there is enough evidence to indict the accused and send the case to State Superior Court, a written document called a true bill is created then made public.

The following definition of true bill is from Merriam-Webster.

true bill: a bill of indictment endorsed by a grand jury as warranting prosecution of the accused.
*The true bill was first used in 1766, before America officially existed.  

Another definition of true bill that I found at the Free Dictionary by Farlex(what ever the heck that is).

true bill: n. the written decision of a grand jury (signed by the grand jury foreperson) that it has heard sufficient evidence from the prosecution to believe that an accused person probably committed a crime and should be indicted.

Early Wednesday on my first stop to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, I found out through the criminal clerk that the true bills from Monday's grand jury in the State vs. Antoine Dion Young were available to the public.  Within a few minutes I was handed copies of the three true bills that you see posted here below.   

Each one describes the indictment on three separate charges. By clicking the image it will become larger for easy reading. 

Please note that these are scans of the true bill copies and they appear exactly as they were when they were handed to me.  I made several other findings today, but hang in there because I am still researching and that means I will need until tomorrow to get confirmation of my analysis before I go to post.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grand Jury

The scene in the lobby of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse yesterday morning as Gabrielle Macon explains to the friends of Radok that the murder case against Antoine D. Young has been sent to a Grand Jury. 
Sketch interpretation courtesy of Sarah Pollock.

 Sarah and I walked into criminal Courtroom 1150 yesterday morning just before nine for what was supposed to be Antoine D. Young's second appearance, a defense motion for a Bond Hearing.  The deputy in the front faced the packed room, he was very familiar to me because I often work in the same building that he does.  In a soft south southern drawl that sounded like someone in the movies, he slowly stated the rules that were to be followed in the courtroom.  Towards the end of the practical list of what not to do in his courtroom, the deputy talked about his expectations in case of an emergency while the court was in session.  If the alarm was sounded to evacuate the building we were to calmly follow his instructions and then him with the guarantee that he would lead us to safety.   

Minutes pass, it was warm on the verge of hot in the chamber, and there was an aroma in the air of winter coats and human bodies.  Not repulsive body odor, simply a human smell not hidden or covered up with cologne or product.  I watched the yellow light hit the walls and human forms of those sitting sitting tightly close together in the wooden pew-like benches facing the front of the courtroom and the judge's bench. There were plenty of Radok's friends sitting to our left, they took up more than one of the rows.  Even though I could not see them,  I could hear the jingling of shackles on the men and women just on the other side of the wall and door that led to the penalty box on my right.  They were in complete custody waiting to be led in front of the judge for the crimes they were accused of committing.  Those in red in the front row were there as volunteers representing, Court WatchMaybe they were there for Radok, I thought to myself with the complete realization that my hyper active imagination sometimes gets carried away.

At exactly 0915hrs my friend the deputy asked the courtroom to please rise for Judge Regan A. Miller, we all stood without thought as the criminal business of the day was called to order.  Within a minute we were seated again and the activity across the attorney's line began to pick up.  I tried to pay attention to as many details as possible in an effort to pick up on who's who, and what would happen next.  Above all sat the judge, his taught face giving away his education and life experience.  Without warning a tall angelic woman in a black and white checkered suit stepped forward and quietly asked for those who were there in support of the victim, Chris Radok to please meet her in the back of the courtroom.  Over a dozen of us stood up and followed her out through the heavy wooden double doors into the main lobby foyer of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. 

As instructed, we formed a close semi circle around her and the man with credentials around his neck.  She introduced herself as Gabrielle Macon, the Assistant to the District Attorney who would be prosecuting the Young case.  Ms. Macon then introduced the man with her as Bill Stetzer, the head of homicide investigations for the DA's office.  She went on to explain that the bond hearing would not be taking place because that morning the case was headed to a Grand Jury.  Once the Grand Jury sees the evidence she was confident that the case would be sent up to Superior Court for trial.  Ms. Macon then let the group know that the next hearing, a Rule 24 Hearing may happen as early as February 10.  Quietly she confirmed that the Rule 24 Hearing is the start of the process for the prosecution to seek the death penalty as punishment for the capital crime of murder.  In this case it is the murder of Chris Radok.

It was interesting to see the prosecution reach out to the friends of Radok present yesterday morning.  As someone in the group pointed out to Ms. Macon and Mr. Stetzer, "The only family Chris has in the States is right here."  Obviously there is plenty of focus on the proceedings of this case, legal justice is the only thing that any of us can expect because ultimately no result will bring Radok back.  Without any feelings of vengeance towards the accused, I will continue to follow and share with you the events that take place with this case all the way to the end.  None of this came my way by choice or my own control and I realize that clearly.  It is important for me to face this tragedy and do whatever I can to bring awareness to those around me.   There are many problems in society today, our now is blighted with desperation and lack of focus collectively on individual human power and beauty.  The look in may reveal to the masses that they have infinite power to use this one chance on earth in this form for something other than self destruction and throw away waste.  During a small side discussion about our society's present condition yesterday I brought up the thought that Radok was a victim of the Social War that has been escalating in our nation for years.  One of his brilliant friends quietly smiled and then almost laughed a giggle under the sadness of death.  She spoke conveying that if Chris would have been here and heard us talking about him being a casualty of the Social War, he would have rolled his eyes and immediately walked away.  How true.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grand Jury

Bond Hearing Cancelled
Asst. DA just informed us that this murder case is headed to a Grand Jury this morning. Details to follow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Woodlands & Pomegranate Wine, Plus Image of the Week and a few other Items.

A painting, a picture, a poem or a feeling.  Yes, of course her face is apparent in three different positions in this two and a half second exposure that I made while on a walk through the woodlands of Uwharrie last Sunday.  For this shot I used the old 55mm manual lens. The camera was mounted on the Nathan Sprinkle Fabricated monopod which was planted firmly in the thin top layer of the earth's surface.  If I remember correctly, towards the end of the exposure still looking through the glass, I pulled back on the camera slightly without moving the ground end of the monopod.  The pull back was not intentional or thought about, it was more like a feeling, a natural reaction to her moving towards me up the trail.

2.5 second at F22/ISO 100 
Uwharrie Death Trails last Sunday.  Ms. Arcen, Jeff, Grace(not only a name for a girl, as well it is a thought that could change the world) and I walked out Daniel and back in under two hours and forty five minutes.  There was plenty of climb for such a short hike, over 1,250ft gained.  And, the surface condition in spots was an awful mud clay butter.  Despite such, it was a great few hours in the woodlands.

On the backside of Daniel as we were descending, a large wooly man approached on a small horse, an American Paint.  He was wearing denim overalls under a thick brown corduroy long coat, his thick beard looked like no less than two years of growth.  Meeting and passing the man hollered at us wanting to know if we knew where we were because he wasn't sure where he was.  "Of course, let me show you on my map", I said walking down over the loose gray rocks towards the man and his wide eyed Paint.  The man had his own map almost identical to mine, and when I used it to show him where we were standing, he reached into his coat and removed a hand held GPS unit similar to one I had seen before.  He explained that he was trying to get to The Uwharrie River. I showed him on his map that meant all he and his Paint had to do was continue on up, over and down Daniel across the parking lot at the trail head.  When they crossed the fire road at the entrance to the dirt gravel lot it was a short descent down to the river.  Strange transfer to be position orientating a human(and his horse) in the woodlands who had both a map and a satellite linkup. 

Here are my three hiking partners descending Daniel on the way out. 
The Bogen tripod in use.  This recent Header Image is a thirteen second exposure inside the side lobby of the Hearst Tower, a place Uptoon that rarely gets photographed.  "I just want to make a picture of the eagle, is that okay", I asked the friendly familiar G4 Security agent that has seen me proxy my way into the building since the day it opened.  "Just the eagle, go for it", he responded.  The camera was already on the Bogen, so I picked a spot and opened up the tripod raising the head to eye level.  Most people walking by were conscious of the camera and would try to avoid crossing the shot line. No go ahead, I just want the scene to remain constant, without interruption, I am not even here, I thought to myself and would gesture silently with the wave of a hand as if I was actually getting my feelings across.  From this spot I made three images.  In this one, you can see the apparition of a human walking by undeterred by my camera and tripod. 

13 Seconds at F6.3/ISO 100
Tomorrow morning I will be in Courtroom 1150B of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse to witness the Bond Hearing for Radok's accused killer Antoine D. Young.  The murder happened two weeks ago and I am starting to let go.  Sometimes things happen that are too big to carry and too big to let go simultaneously.  Over time and the continual deep look inward, it is possible to release and surrender to the fact that control over any of this is an illusion at best.  Looking into the criminal background of just one 29 year old male in this town has led me to the discovery of what I already knew simply by paying attention and feeling.  Understanding that there are thousands of these violent criminals lurking around town is a simple task.  Seeing them occasionally, making eye contact and acknowledging the severity of their crime just by what they tacitly exude is real energy.  No separation from that here. 

The Dal Bhat Sanji is not on the menu, but if you ask, they will fix it because it is the chef's original creation~

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Honestly, I cannot stop thinking about what happened to Radok.  Here are two images that he made of the Charlotte Bike Scene over the years.  This first one that Chris shot running backwards on Tryon in December of 2002 is my most favorite Courier Image ever made. From right to left: Rich Dillen, Nathan Sprinkle, Josh 'My Rookie' Neeley and me.  Interestingly enough, today three of the four of us are still following the Two Wheeled Path here in Charlotte as our livity source.   The Odd Ball Out is Nate(with red arms), who is presently in Belgrade Serbia goofing off with a pretty girl named Nela.  Oh that's right, I think they call it Blej(sounds like Play) in Serbia, not goofing off. 
To the best of my knowledge Radok made this picture of me on an inbound East Side Stay Alive Commute in the fall of 2005.  This time Chris met me in the light rain on his brand new bike and we rode together for a few hours.  The interesting thing about this composition is that he swore he did not photo shop enhance the Vastus Medialis in my left Quadriceps femoris muscle.  And, I swear that I have never been on a 'medical program'.  

Earth Colored Eyes has put out a second post.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Death Transfer & The Infinite Power of Synchronicity

I made this image of the rabbit's frozen solid body on Monday afternoon roughly twenty hours after its life force died in my arms. 
On the eve of Radok's murder last Sunday, a few hours after dark, I followed my kid and the dogs outside to see if the snow had started yet.  The freezing cold air in the form of a light wind hit my face and hands under a completely black sky as we made our way deep into the out back.  There was no snow yet, however it was coming.  My eyes struggled to make out the four dogs as they sniffed around under the trees in the pitch darkness.  Zoo's white coat stood out a few meters to my right front, she was looking deeper into the blackness as if she could see something that I could not.  The dog was perfectly motionless with her ears perked leaning forward and her nose in the air.  Ms. Arcen was behind me headed to her tree swing with one of the other dogs.  The mood was light. It was obvious that the approaching snow storm would cancel work and school for the next day which would allow us to go play in it. 

The Husky was still for the moment.  I stared at her faint figure for another minute or two, and just as I was about to ask her, "What is it girl", she bolted with a forward lunge instantly pulling herself into an instinctual sprint.  A second later she was gone, disappearing into the void of darkness in front of me.  Another few seconds pass and then a short but shrill scream hit my cortex.  Dammit, I thought to myself as I hurried towards where the dog had ran.  I pulled out the little flash light on the phone in my pocket and cast the light out ahead.  A tiny bit of that photon energy caught Zoo's clear eyes lowered to the ground, level with the rest of her body. 

When I saw what was at the end of the dog's out stretched front legs I may have yelled, "No!"  Over the top of the dog with one leg I pulled her back blocking the victim with the other.  "Zoo get", I shouted, and she did as I turned my attention to the adult rabbit lying on its side at my feet in the cold air.  Its huge black eye ball rolled around once and then looked up into the dim blue light emanating from my phone.  Immediately I did not see any blood, however something was horribly wrong, the hare's body was twitching frantically.  The rabbit's back was broken at a 90 degree angle between its front shoulders and hind quarters, its head was almost touching its tail. 

Just then, Ms. Arcen shows up realizing that something bad had just happened.  Understanding is the key to feeling and what she felt she did not like.  She screamed something at the Husky and took off chasing her back to the house.  My kid lost her bearing for those initial seconds disappearing into the sanctuary of her home leaving me alone with the broken animal at my feet.  Less than a minute had passed since I arrived to where I was now standing.

I shoved the phone back into my pocket and reached down to pick up the dying creature.  It was heavy, warm and liquid limp paralyzed from the hit of a killer.  Cradling it in both my arms, I pulled the warm incredibly soft furry animal into my center Chakras.  All living things are powered by an electrical pulse of light at our quanta, the core center of our being.  When I held the rabbit against my body I could feel its electric pulse against mine.  It almost felt like I was pulling the rabbit inside my human form, our center lights mingled.  Surrounded by cold darkness I recognized the rabbit's electrical center as weak and fading, it must of felt mine completely strong and very much alive not dying.  Minutes pass as I hold onto the rabbit tightly not letting go or running away, but looking in and feeling the natural course of death.  The rabbit's light pulse finally fades out disappearing completely as mine rings loudly and echoes off of the tall line of shadowy hardwoods in front of me.

I was frozen in time for maybe another fifteen to twenty minutes after the life passed from the rabbit's body.  It was a strange feeling, no more cold or fear of agony.  Just silence and a connected feeling to the energy around me.  Could I walk away at this point?  Yes, the power came and with a thought I turned around and made my way back towards the house alone with the dead rabbit still pulled snug against me.  When I got to the barn I placed the body carefully on the roof over the rows of stacked firewood.

As soon as I walked into the house and the light of the kitchen I realize with sight that there is a pool of dark red, almost blue blood in the palm of my right hand.  The blood covered my entire palm below my fingers and above my wrist.  It was already starting to coagulate on the outside edges of the circle.  A voice spoke breaking the silence, "Wash your hands."  So then I did under the warm water that took the deep red blood down the drain.  I watched the liquid blood disappear in the warm water and wondered where on the body it had come from. 

On Monday afternoon, the day that Radok was murdered I went to the barn while snow was still falling out of the sky and dug the rabbit's frozen solid body out from under five or six inches of powder.  Without saying anything I made a digital image of the body, then I carried it to the out back fire pit where I set the body down in the snow.  I got a fire going with the use of some fallen Hemlock boughs and other limbs.  Next, I stagger stacked several big chunks of split Pine forming a pyre in the stone framed circle.  When the flames got high enough, I laid the rabbit's body across the top logs.  
 Natural cremation, the rabbit's form makes transfer from physical body to rising smoke.  I watched closely as the heat first melted the eyes that had looked up into the beam of my flashlight the night before.  Then after the eyes disappeared as liquid evaporation the fur started to burn shrinking the body right in front of me.  There was no repulsive smell or thought, this spiritual event was running its course and there was no denying that I was part of it.  As the powerful flame heat continued so did the reduction of the animal's body.  Within thirty minutes of being in the fire, the vessel that carried the soul of the animal was no longer visible.  All that was left rose into the sky in the form of white smoke drifting upwards towards the now lightly falling snow and cloudy sky above.

On Tuesday Morning I went out to the fire pit and discovered that a few of the bones had survived the heat. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bond Hearing January 24

Antoine D. Young, the accused killer of Chris Radok. We(as friends of Radok) must remain completely focused over the next few weeks and months.  It is very important that each of us are aware of the Judicial Process that will take this case to trial.  I have seen Justice Served when the court is presented with the entire truth related to a crime.  Please join me at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on January 24, 2011(I will post specific time and room number soon) to witness the Bond Hearing of our friend's alleged killer. Check out Antoine's most recent record by clicking here.  Learn as much as you can about this individual's identity, he is most likely responsible for Radok's untimely death.   

Arrested Person Image
Name : YOUNG, ANTOINE D Arrest#:
Alias: PID#: 228424
DOB: 05/29/1981 Race/Sex: B/M
Height: 5'11" Weight: 170
Arrested: 01/10/2011
At:21:40 By:CMPD
Address: CHARLOTTE NC 28205

Charges for Arrest #: 1480535
Court Case Arrest Type Charge Description Bond $ Amount Type Arrest Process

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Radok Portrait

I found this portrait courtesy of Jacqueline Heer this afternoon on The Chris Radok Memorial Facebook Page.  Not sure if this is a Jacqueline made shot or if it is a self portrait, either way the look on his face is classic and exactly how I remember him.  Thanks for the transfer Madame Heer. 

Neutrality Kills

 I found myself inside the barely staffed Mecklenburg Courthouse yesterday taking care of a small amount of work when I received a text message that Chris Radok had been murdered.  Since that moment, through the now, the magical instant before me I still feel the shock of hearing such a tragedy.  Sorting out the details will take awhile, however I am patient in these types of matters and already have my nose to the ground in an effort to not only understand, but to make sure that Radok's killer is brought to justice and his murder is not simply labeled the 'first' of 2011 in Charlotte and then swept cleanly under the rug. The victory society aided by local media not media often uses sporting labels to mark an incident or action in an effort to separate themselves from actually accepting how the outcome created makes them feel.  The feeling I have right now is a sick realization that I will never see Radok alive again.

  This is what I know as of this morning.  On Monday, the day before yesterday 29 year old Antoine Young, a convicted felon with multiple prior criminal convictions broke into Radok's house.  Chris came home while this habitual criminal was still there and a confrontation ensued.  According to my source close to the police, Radok died from blood loss caused by multiple stab wounds and defensive injuries.  In that situation I imagine Radok to have not given up easily.  He was a tall man with plenty of life experience to know that the seconds before him were an immediate time to defend himself with everything he had.  When the Medics arrived they could not save him, he was pronounced dead on the floor inside of his home.  Young was arrested at his father's house on Enfield Road by a CMPD VCAT team later that night.  Antoine Young has been charged with Radok's murder. 

I first met Radok in Late 2002 shortly after he contacted me regarding a photo assignment that he was given to work with me and several of the other messengers in town.  Sam Boykin was writing a cover story for the Creative Loafing about what we do and how it makes us feel called, The Two Wheeled Path. Radok's job was to make the images that would support the article.  If memory serves me right, it was snowing lightly the day he came uptown and introduced himself.  Chris was a tall man, skinny with huge eyes and an articulate skull, there was something about him that was authentic and genuine. I immediately felt like I could be myself in his presence.  He was real.  The shoot took several hours as we moved around town trying to get 'the' shot.  Radok was very physical on the job, I remember him running along side of me a few times with that wide fish eye lens.  At one point he was actually running backwards in between the parked cars and the lane I was in rolling towards him.  His huge reach was extended holding the camera above his head pointed down at me as he made the picture.  When that work was done he thanked us for being easy to get along with and he told me that we would get together soon and look at the images. He had me over his place off of 8th Street a few days later to give me a sneak peek at the pictures before they went to print.  That was the kind of man he was. 

Over the years Radok and I worked on at least one other photo assignment together and we became friends who often shared a coffee and conversation about the world, bikes and photography.  Radok, you will be truly missed.

From Cedar Posts:

You can help: Police are searching for Chris Radok’s 2001 Grey Jeep Cherokee with NC license plate WPH-5769. Should you see the missing Jeep please call 911 or 704-432-TIPS. Anyone with additional information regarding this crime can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Powder Froze to Granular

More images taken by Justin Engel yesterday at the 'BIG' Hill Park off of Parkwood.  Here you see the Bluders and I enjoying the small nuances of a winter day in the south. 
On your mark, get set, MUSH~
All morning the snow was fluffy dry powder. 
White wash. 
I went out on the mountain bike last night after 2000hrs.  The snow con had changed to granular packed after some ice pellets fell from the heavens earlier around the twilight hour.  Work is back on today, I cannot decide whether to take the normal direct drive work bike or my fat tire mountain rig.  Stiction over disc brakes seems to be my answer.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Justin Case, You Missed It

From Left to Right:  Mein Schatz, Zoo, Rommel and myself shot by none other than Justin Engel whose Dad and I have suffered a few times together. This kid has an eye, for sure.  Merry Christmas everyone...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Uptoon Pictorial-The Juggler

Heffrey belled me up a few weeks ago to let me know that he found a gem for me amongst the trash being sold at a junk store out east of The Jar.  I could tell by the ecstatic and borderline crazy tone in his voice that he was pumped to have found such a piece of pro level equipment.  It was a slightly used(the rings around the little rubber boots on the legs are in perfect condition as if they have never touched the floor) Italian Made Bogen Professional Tripod.  The best part of the deal was that the lady only wanted one In God We Trust Unit in trade, 1.08 after tax.  So, he hooked me up and dropped the Bogen off the other day.  What an incredible replacement to the piece of crap yard sale tripod that I have been using for years.  This Bogen is solid.  It feels like it is connected to the molten center of the earth when the legs are out and the camera is mounted to the head.  The action is fluid, smooth in all directions without any play.  A big thanks to Heffrey for looking out for me on this one.  I will be more likely to shoot from a fixed position now that I have a professional grade tripod.

After my work was over yesterday, I loaded up the new tripod, camera and a few lenses into my bad and set out on an Uptoon exploration to find something interesting to make pictures of.  Almost every day it seems like you can find a variety of characters on or near The Square.  On this day The Juggler and his colorful glittery liquid balls caught my eye.

In between juggles I asked The Juggler if I could take his picture. 
He said that was no problem, especially if I gave him a dollar or two. 
The Juggler was from Fayettenam NC where he said he was taught to juggle by the best. 
He was able to throw the balls underhand backwards so that they would come over the top of his head to the front. 
Always looking at the object with focus. 
This artist was a calm concentrating soul. 
Through the glass lens I occasionally thought I saw him talking quietly to the balls as they levitated in front of his face. 
The present header image. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Maria Says, "P is for Park People!"

Meet Humane Society of Charlotte property Fraser(snoozing) and Balsam.  Within the context of this image, these two baby Boxers appear more cute than is physically possible.  However, there has been no trick photography or photo shop work done on the picture, the pups are actually that cute.  This brother and sister pair stayed with us for a two week foster over the holidays and are now back at the HSC, ready for adoption.   
On the drive home after dropping the babies off, I got held up at a stop light on HWY 24/27.   While sitting there still I noticed an out of the ordinary movement to my left, the object was coming towards me.  I looked in that direction and saw a small car rolling out of the gas station parking lot and into the right lane of westbound traffic.  The driver of a small green on coming car hit the brakes, and then swerved right around the back of the unmanned auto just barely missing it.  That must of gave him a woody feeling all over.  The ghost driven vehicle kept coming slowly, but definitely for the middle lanes causing at least two other drivers to brake hard and go around.  When the free rolling car's front wheels hit the cement center island, the car bounced a bit, then starting rolling backwards towards the gas station it had came from. 
By this point I was able to free my eye phone camera from the inside pocket of my messenger bag which was behind my seat.  I took these two pictures as the car was rolling back towards the sidewalk.  The car owner, whom I suspect had run in to pay for the gas when the car initially rolled away was now chasing down his property.  Off camera, he jumped in and safely maneuvered his rig back into the station's lot.  As scholar Grant Baldwin noted about this incident, "Everyone was unscathed, it sounds like. Ah, the fine line between hilarity and tragedy."  How true.  From the perspective of a cycling pedestrian who travels that shitty corridor almost daily, I have been once again reminded of the inherent dangers of powering through our victory society.  Be careful out there folks, auto viper people seem to be in a big hurry these days, and it is costing them more than ever before.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mein Schatz Goes BLOG

"Dad, I want you to to take a picture of me with my hand on this huge rock.  I am not going to smile, this is a serious situation", Ms. Arcen said to me the last time we were at Crowders Mountain. 

I once read that a Blog is born every half of a second.   If that is the case, I wonder how often they die. 
MAJOR TRAFFIC STOP ANNOUNCEMENT:  Ms. Arcen enters the world of Blogging with the launch of Seeing the World through Earth Colored Eyes.  For the record this was her idea, not mine and I am supporting her effort by helping her understand the critical nature of story conveyance through the blog medium.  She plans to update once a week or so as she sees fit and I will help her with that manifestation.  The kid has always had something to say and here is her chance to share those thoughts turned to typed words.  I invite you to check in on this 6th grader's perceptions of the world around her, maybe she will give you a touch of youthful transfer as she does me pretty much every day.  You can find her on the right side of my blog as Earth Colored Eyes  with the rest of the characters under the list: My Little Friends and Other Strong Humans.  I do wish her luck in keeping up the effort required to transfer a story and develop an interested audience.  If you take the time to follow her page she will smile and her eyes will cross with joy.

Now, as for the Traffic Stop.  Christmas is finally over, but have no worries, it will be back soon enough.  This time of the year hurts me more than I am ready to admit.  Everywhere I turned since around the week before Halloween were reminders of what a wonderful time of year this is.  Really?, I would think to myself as I kept seeing these huge glistening and glittery festival balls all over town.  Just yuck, plastic Chinese made and shipped reindeer antlers on the shiny auto vipers whizzing by pissed and in a mad blind hurry to get where ever they are going in the name of the season. I can feel that Holiday entropy as if I were responsible for it all by myself.  Sometimes those antlers blow off the windows and wind up in the gutter for me to ride by and see. Do you know how many times I had spotted such seasonal throw away in the weeks leading up to the big day?  Many, I tell you. The sad part is that the first few times I spotted these deer antlers in the street I would look around for the rest of the deer carcass until I made the connection that it is just trash, everything is fine, nothing is really dead other than the planet.

Yes, the Christmas work up worked on me. So, I bought the kid a bike, a real special Gary Fisher bike that I will share with you soon.  She has ridden it twice and soon I will give you her first trail report.  As often happens I digress without negative context, like being side tracked when someone says. "Free Beer." Now, back to the point.  I have been slack for the past few weeks, sporadic at best.  For that I apologize and plan to get back on the regular dose of crazy talk supporting the adventures in life that I see and feel both on and off the bike.  Today was on the bike, commute and job style.

The Laptop Round Up for the Real is going well with two weeks to go.   I had an amazing meeting with an IT human from one the firms I work for who gave me some positive news that will be confirmed soon.  Updated contribution numbers will be posted by the end of the week that will surprise even my biggest skeptics and naysayers.  Please continue to keep this grass roots project in mind because it would be really nice to exceed the goals of the drive and be able to deliver more than the 15 machines originally requested.  Remember that according to the Crisis Caravan, the only way to get something done, is by dropping all barriers and doing it. 

Maybe one last Christmas Image for your post Christmas enjoyment.  A blown white balance shot I made in Dooleyville on the evening after Christmas Day reminds me of what the Holiday will look like after the Nuke goes off.  Caesium Sky...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Long December Snow

Out in the way back, three of the four big dogs frolic under the snowy boughs of the grand winter Hemlock.
White and black Day after Christmas image, a winter dogwood drawing attention to itself.
Night time, on the edge of Loch Dooley.
Blown shot, but Rommel's emotional transfer still comes through with snow on his nose.