Oh! I went to Virginia and Maryland and Tennessee two weeks ago. I don’t know why. My mother bought me a plane ticket and so I went. Here are roughly a hundred pictures of the weird, dumb dream I lived for nine days.
I landed in and then flew over Los Angeles.
When I briefly lived at my mother’s house after high school, I taped pictures of my heroes to my bathroom mirror so I would look at them every morning.
I went to elementary school here. After I took this picture I hopped the fence and ran around the playground by myself!
My dad is the coolest dude on earth I guess.
This is where I slept. My little sister’s room looks like someone let Tim Burton design a hooker dungeon.
At my grandmother’s assisted living facility there were flat-screen TVs everywhere showing static images like this. Some of them had snippets from the New York Times, others displayed ads for fruit (“Try an apple! They’re fibrous and delicious!”), and then there was this one. A peanut auction. Well, that definitely doesn’t sound like the most depressing thing ever.
My friend Susanna in Providence and I were talking on the phone and she said “Show me what you look like right now!” and I said “Get ready to see a picture of a dead guy.”
My father and I lived here for three years. It was really great. Too bad they tore up the garden and removed the birdbath and all that . . . the front yard used to look really beautiful.
Bye Nokesville Elementary School. 🙁
This guy has been missing for over four years now. We went to high school together and later worked at the same movie theater. He was pretty cruel to me. I remember he brought a pistol into work. A few years later he disappeared. He’s definitely dead somewhere.
This is a picture of my shadow holding a big-ass Monster energy drink. Why the hell did I buy that thing?
Mostly I just drove around Nokesville and listened to music.
Sometimes it rained! It was cool to see rain again. It had been maybe three months since I had seen any.
Somehow I ended up at Spa World, the Korean bathhouse I used to go to all the time. This time I was too broke to go. ;-(
This is my hair! I took this by accident.
I woke up at 4 p.m. every day, never adapting to Eastern Standard Time. Inside my head I was still in California!
McCune and I always joke that white people love chairs in elevators, and then I finally saw one. However since this was in an assisted living facility for the elderly, I’ll let it slide. I mean, hell, those people are tired.
Oh heck yeah.
In my mother’s basement I found a huge folder containing a bunch of my old high school papers. I used to give myself a different nickname on every assignment. On February 8th, 2005 I was “Pedals”!
Yup! I have no idea why I wrote this on the bottom of a biology paper.
For the last three years of high school I worked on our literary magazine. I can’t really remember doing much, though. However I did create this poster to encourage people to submit material.
I found my dad’s last will and testament! When I visited Tennessee a few days later, I gave it to him. It was a weird thing to give someone.
Here you go: this is everything I am in one picture. I must have been three years old. Twenty-three years later and I’m more or less the same damn thing.
The night before I left for Tennessee, I ended up on some back roads in Catlett. It was cold as hell outside. I cranked the heat, rolled down the windows and ripped down those old roads listening to stupidly loud music. Then I got lost in the darkness of the cornfields and almost ran out of gas. I took this picture just as I found my way back onto the highway.
My father: “The skies are so beautiful here, aren’t they, Ryan? See how good that sky looks.”
I helped feed the goats and the chickens! Also the moon was hung up in the sky before the sun even set.
More Tennessee sky!
O say can you fuckin’ see!!!!
Found this dude chilling hard on my dad’s porch.
A skull wearing a helmet with my last name on it.
A skull wearing a helmet with my last name on it.
I sent this to Laura and McCune before I went to sleep, saying, “OFF TO DREAMLAND!!!”
“Ryan, I got this for you,” said my father.
Tennessee was so cold. I sure did love that cold!
Here is a picture of me holding my dad’s Civil War-era pistol at probably five in the morning.
One night I set up a command center in my dad’s kitchen and built several websites! I also made eggs and toast and drank way too much coffee.
When I woke in the morning, Ms. Kitty was hanging out next to me!
There used to be pizza/sub shop in Nokesville called Joe’s. I don’t know what happened to Joe. Maybe he died? Retired? Maybe there never was a Joe to begin with. Anyway the place has a different name now. I haven’t eaten there in ten years so I can’t tell you what it’s like. But one night I put on several layers and sat outside the Restaurant Formally Known As Joe’s and wrote a bunch of letters to my friends back in California.
This is what I looked like. You can even see one of the letters I wrote, which is resting on the roof of the car. I had to write those letters very quickly because my fingers were getting numb and useless as every second passed.
When I got back to my mother’s house I drank a cup of coffee out of a terrible mug.
You try sleeping in a room like this! I had terrible nightmares every night I was there (as opposed to the starless black vacuum I usually see in my sleep).
“I don’t like it here,” said my grandmother. “I have nothing in common with any of these people, and I don’t want to participate in any of their damn activities.”
One night I spontaneously took the exit for Baltimore and ended up at my old college. As I walked around I felt absolutely nothing about it either way. No one would have recognized me—they’ve been gone for years and years, and there weren’t that many of them to begin with.
I also went to Ellicott City. Driving through it was enough—I didn’t even get out.
I once tried to live here. I think it was because of a girl.
I did live here. Back then it was a nightmarish shelled-out post-apocalyptic wasteland. Today it is a place where boring white people made of marshmallow pretend to be artists.
It was a cool place to live! Maybe it is still a cool place to live. Guess I’ll never know!
The last time I saw this street, it was literally a pile of bricks and garbage.
These were abandoned. It felt like being in a fire-bombed city during World World II or something.
This shadow was three years younger!
Once there were people crying and smoking crack here. Now there is a community garden and a few really bad murals.
This was completely boarded up and abandoned. I think it’s some kind of school now.
Back when I was Really Sad, I used to climb this rainbow-colored bridge and watch the trains roll in after midnight. It was dangerous then and it was dangerous when I did it again two weeks ago, mostly because of the wind and the 100-foot drop to the train tracks below! Those three people crossing the street saw me run up the side of the bridge and chanted “Go! Go! Go!” until l reached the top.
I was certain the Copy Cat was going to be demolished, but it lives on! Tons of people are still living in the weird filth of this old factory—most of them, uhhh, pretending to be artists. Hah!
I had a good old time up there!
Here it is from below! From a place where you won’t get blown off the side into the black void of death!
I always forget how deserted Baltimore is at night. It was pretty cool. I like having the entire city to myself.
I was about to drive back down to Virginia when I remembered Fells Point. I had totally forgotten it existed at all. Here’s the dock-thing where I used to hang out. Across the water is the Domino Sugar factory, which I assume has been there since the 1800s became the 1900s.
When I moved to Baltimore in 2006 I used to come to this spot almost every day. It’s on Bond Street. One time I saw a guy getting a blowjob on the pier across the way, and I started screaming the lyrics to ‘Give Peace a Chance’. I don’t know why I did that. Sorry, dude.
I jumped from the stable to the unstable. Maybe I never came back!
This black float-y thing was filled with garbage. I was filled with garbage too!
This is the main square in Fells Point. It mostly looked the same. To the left, which you can’t see, is a restaurant I worked out when I first moved to Baltimore. It used to be called Shuckers or something. Now it has a different name and is much fancier. To the right, which you also can’t see, are a bunch of terrible bars populated by terrible people. When I got here they were shutting down, so all those terrible people were trying to get cabs to go home. There was a lot of screaming and laughing and making out going on so I got the hell out of there.
I guess I miss weird little alleyways. I hadn’t seen one in so long.
It was so quiet! Everyone was sleeping.
I think I saw Edgar Allan Poe jerkin off here but he ran away before I could take a picture. Damn!
This is the American Visionary Art Museum. I’ve been going there since I was 10 years old. I was happy to see it still exists.
I used to work at the restaurant connected to that balcony but I guess it has since shut down.
The mirror egg in the strange little courtyard. Across the street are a bunch of harbor-view-blocking luxury condominiums that are still mostly empty.
This stargate is new!
Here is the mirror egg again sans ghost town designed for rich assholes.
Here is a sidewalk! Yup, that’s what it is.
The mirror tree still stands! The little shards of reflective glass chimed as the wind blew through them!!!!
I ran up the side of Federal Hill and snapped this picture of the Visionary Art Museum from above!
Turning left I saw Baltimore and its disgusting Inner Harbor!
Here is a cannon! I tried to fire it but it doesn’t work anymore.
The park was closed, and so I was alone. I looked as far left as possible!
. . . and then turned right!
I drove from Baltimore all the way to Amphora Diner in Vienna. I sat down and had some stupidly overpriced peanut butter pancakes and wrote more letters to people back in California. By the time I left it was 4 a.m. and I was almost out of gas.
This is what my cousin Jack and I looked like about a year ago. I was super stoned by accident when this was taken. A girl had given me a cookie the night before without disclosing the fact that it was packed with marijuana. I found this picture in my grandmother’s apartment. I didn’t tell her I was stoned when it was taken.
This is what my cousin and I looked like thirteen years ago. We weren’t stoned at all!
I found my gorilla coat in my mother’s basement and mailed it to myself in California.
I made a huge salad! I ate that huge salad too.
I also drank a bunch of cough syrup and drove around my hometown in the rain.
I parked in strange places and alone I made strange faces!
The blood moon was way the hell up there!
Drove away from this sign as fast as possible!
I miss you, Nokesville ;_;
Still twisted on cough syrup I visited the old elementary school and looked inside. Children used to go to school here. Now no one goes here. The place is empty and sad. I felt the same way when I saw this.
I returned from Baltimore / Vienna / Nokesville and went through a bunch of old boxes in my mother’s basement. I was leaving for California in the morning but I stayed up till 7 a.m. looking at pictures and reading crap I had written ten years ago. I found this picture. It maybe explains everything.
I’d never seen this picture before. When I pulled it out of the pile I said (aloud): “Dude, heck yeah.”
The next day I stopped in Washington, D.C. because I had three hours to kill and thought it would be all right to walk around by myself for a while. It ended up being pretty bad. People in DC wear V-neck sweaters and argyle socks and talk about yoga and brussels sprouts. These people weren’t born: they were squeezed out of a tube.
Anyway this is Union Station. I like that place.
The world was wearing me down and I felt lonely and weird, so I sat down on this stone bench across the street from the Library of Congress. I was only there for ten minutes, but three separate people came up to me and asked if I believed in God. I said, “How is that any of your business?” to the first guy. To the second guy I said, “Please, for the love of God, just let me sit here in peace.” To the third guy I said, “I have no idea who I am or where I am and I wish I were dead.”
On the way back to the train station I took a picture of this fountain because I thought it looked cool. The sun was beating down on my face and my body felt like it was going to snap into a billion pieces. I walked for a half mile and got on a train. Then I took a bus to the airport. I got on an airplane in Baltimore, landed in Houston, and got on another airplane headed to Oakland. I was back in California before midnight and I still felt like shit when I got there.