Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Moment ~ Best of 2011

Most Read Post: Living Life with the Heart of a Servant & the Strength of a Fighter

Most Viewed Photo: Pittsburgh, Pa Light Up Night November 18,201

Favorite Book
: Heart & the Fist by Eric Greitens

Favorite Music: Virtuoso by Joe Pass

Favorite Thought: We are all simply flickering verbs in this dance we call life...

Favorite Lesson Learned: This is what I want to share…..It’s possible….whatever you want is possible.  Living with a disease is nothing special. Do not give your body, mind and soul to something that is not special.

Thank you all, see you next year.....

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

Photo by Beth Kukucka.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Pittsburgh Photograpy Workshop | Beginner’s DSLR Workshop

To register click HERE.

Come join us for some serious photography fun! As you can see we cover quite a bit and the one thing not mentioned above is that we will all take a walk across the street to the park (weather permitting) and photograph there for some hands-on instruction.

Please bring your DSLR! This workshop is not for the point-and-click crowd.

Hope to see you there!

Night Photography & Workshops

Up at 5:30am, feeling awake…not sure why. Went to bed at 1am. I did drink my body weight in coffee yesterday morning, maybe that had something to do with it?

Will be going out tomorrow night to do some city-night photography. I love the light and the extreme dark of the winter sky in Pittsburgh, an odd juxtaposition that only happens in the cold. Not a fan of freezing, but a fan of the results and the experience of shooting. The cold weather brings stillness to the city streets, few choose to battle the cold.

For this outing I will be changing myself to shoot night photography in a different way. Typically I perch myself atop one of the city overlooks and shoot long exposures, f/22 ISO 100 & 30seconds is my sweet spot for night compositions. Tomorrow I will be going hand-held shooting wide open with a fast ISO for the conditions. Not sure what will happen, if anything, but I will be leaving the tripod at home (that in itself will be change enough for me).

I will be teaching my last workshop of the year tonight. Next series of workshops will not start until late January. The HOW TO EVERYTHING workshop is back for only one date this year. You can book (HERE) if interested.

Looking for some good novels to read, any recommendations are welcomed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Experiences Not Goals

(Photo by Beth Kukucka)
Guitar, pen, camera...I love them all.  Christianity, Buddhism, Zen...I love them all.  Running, swimming, biking...why not?

42 forever, let me be 42 years old forever…..Hendrix, Morrison, Mozart & Jesus all had 33 years, I want 42 eternally. Ok, I do not want to die, but to live with the mindset that I have experienced a lot of experiences throughout this year of my life. It was the year of my rebirth; I hit the low of the lowest and came out the other end swinging for the fence (even hit a couple of them over).

If you happen to be a daily reader of this blog then you know how the events of this year have transpired for me. If you are new to the blog, Hi! You can catch up on my life (HERE).

With the weather becoming colder I have moved my workouts indoor: spending time on the bike peddling to nowhere and swimming laps in the pool.  This has made me realize the importance of cross-training in all aspects of my life (body, mind & soul).

P.S. For those of you living with MS/NMO swimming is euphoric.  If you live with that heavy numbness and tingling feeling anywhere in your body, it’s gone when you are in the water.

Let's start with the body...transform the body and the rest will follow.  Typically I hate gym workouts, truthfully I hate “workouts”. I enjoy the experience of doing something physical: trail running, hiking, walking.  None of them do I consider working out, to me all of them are about being outside enjoying life.

As my first season of running is winding down due to weather, I did not want to lose my momentum.  I moved indoors to keep my strength up.  At first being in a gym felt more akin to being a hamster on a wheel.  As I started to think about what I could accomplish when the weather breaks my indoor workouts became...well...enjoyable.

I am mulling over  the idea about doing a triathlon next summer (not an Iron Man, not that crazy, yet).  I do not even own a bike, nevertheless, the experience of participating in one is a solid aspiration.

Working out for the sake of working out is boring, this is why most of us fail at it.  We are not meant to be a hamster on a wheel. Placing the experience of a triathlon out there for myself, that's a carrot that I will run after.

This brings me to my lesson learned this year: No goals…..only experiences.

Goals fall short when we are only interested in the ending point (goals create suffering). Place a dream out there and that is something you can enjoy in all aspects of your life.

Set an experience, not a goal, for yourself. Experiences create powerful intentions which you can cross train into all facets of your life.

Cross train the body…health

Cross train the mind...creativity

Cross train the soul...perspective

Too many of us get stuck in being one thing (be it having a disease or job that is overwhelming or whatever it may be for you).

Be open to experience your dream...do not give up on being human.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011


Current Reading: Iron War by Matt Firzgerald
Current Music:
Little Hell by City of Colour
Sounds: Fire place
Smells: Coffee
Temperature: 38 degrees
Thoughts: Cross training workouts for body, mind and soul.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


At 42 you would think that I would have figured “it” out by now. The “it” being what it takes to be a human being.  All I know for sure is that I do not want to give up on being human. Being human, having “human-ness”...whatever the hell that means? Everything is being done for us: pills, plastics and large screen TVs...that's all we seem to need.

Heard a quote last week (sorry for forgetting who said it) and it went something like this: “Transformation happens subtly in the unconscious before it’s ever felt in the intellect”.  I like it.  It got me thinking about simple solutions that I stumbled into over the past couple of years on how to live with this disease.

My greatest hits of simple solutions includes water, walking, breathing and eating real food; the type of food that you would imagine the Garden of Eden had sprouting up all over the place.

I am not sure but I imagine water, walking, breathing and eating could be a formula for being human. At best it's a blueprint on how to live on this planet as long as you're not a fish. Toss in some consciousness with a little contemplation and I think I could be on my way to figuring “it” out. “Human-ness.”

When I look back over the past 50yrs I see the greatest achievements coming from the advancements in digital technology. It has brought us together.  The more I write, the closer I feel to you.  It feels more like a conversation than a blog post.  Digital technology gave that to us. We are connected.  I like that feeling.

The greatest failure of the past 50yrs? Processed food. What we call “food” is not food. With all the achievements in technology, medicine and science our food chain has created a generation of disease.  A planet of obesity or starvation, with few in between those two extremes.

I write this after spending three days in bed getting over my latest episode of a Devics attack.  Some people call them flare ups, exacerbations or an increase in residual symptoms. For me, I call it an attack because when it knocks me off me feet with a stabbing electric shock coming from inside my mid-spine, it’s an attack.  Last month when it happened to me I described it in the following words…

“Friday night at 1:55am, fast asleep, little people climb inside of me. Down my throat, they pass my heart to settle inside the middle of my spine.  They pull out a taser, the kind police use at riots to shock the unruly into submission. The little people start zapping and shocking my spine with large amounts of electricity. I convulse, I clinch all the muscles in my body at once, I flop around back and forth. Think of the image of a man in the electric chair. It’s like that but I’m lying in bed flat on my back. This goes on for three minutes, then the little people stop.  I lay there breathless, scared, aware of the pummeled totality of my insides. I can feel not only my heartbeat but the entireness of my heart. I can feel the the complete circumference of my heart, I can feel the whole of my lungs, I am aware of all the organs in my chest, they all sit there as if they were placed there as foreign objects.”

All of it was pretty much the same this time except I was awake and it lasted for about 15 minutes.

Why do I share this you? Because it’s the comeback story that’s worth telling.

For those of you following my work over this past year, you know about the life change that has occurred in me. 

The above quote “transformation happens subtly in the unconscious before it’s ever felt in the intellect”.  This is what I am getting at. My simple solutions have helped me with my quickest recovery to date.  My body wants to live in a healthy state. Don’t get me wrong, I am still barely getting up on my feet and I just popped two Excedrin before writing this.

This takes me back to why digital technology is good and processed foods are bad.

Digital technology is good because now it is easier to share with each other.  Six years ago when this started happening to me the internet was a little more than a phone book and bunches of scholarly articles. Facebook was still in diapers, my blog was a fetus and the closest I felt to being connected on the web was a pop-up ad that spiked my interest.

Today here we are: you read, I write, we exchange thoughts and even sometimes a letter. This is good.

Food is made fast, food is grown fast, in turn disease spreads fast in you.  Next time you think you are eating food there is a good chance that you are actually eating carbon and nitrogen isotopes, ammonia rather than actual real food (Garden of Eden type of stuff). Why do they do this to food? To move it from factory to the table fast, and being able to do that doesn't just fatten our bottoms, it exponentially fattens their bottom line.  The bulk of our meat and dairy is disease laden exactly because of this process.

So how do we kickstart transformation so it happens fast?  We could log-on to our big plastic screen and see what the Google-God has to say.  We could wait for the pill to kick in, numbing us away.  OR we could go back to eating real food.  Food that is the ingredient, not part of it amongst a gazillion ingredients we can't even read.  Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” has two good rules of thumb that I follow to understand real food: one - would your Great Grandmother recognize what your eating as food? Two - only eat food with five ingredients or less in them (that you can hopefully pronounce).

That ends my rant for today.  I would like to thank digital technology for helping me bring these words to you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Current Reading: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Current Music: Accelerate by R.E.M.
Sounds: Very loud music
Smells: Clean floor smell
Temperature: 38 degrees
Thoughts: Set experience not goals….

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA Light Up Night November 18, 2011

So in light of the Giving Thanks season I would like to give away a photo of Pittsburgh Light Up Night from November 18, 2011.

For a high-resolution copy of the image above just follow this (HERE)

Monday, December 5, 2011

2012 Pittsburgh Photography Workshop | Beginner’s DLSR Workshop

To register click HERE.

Come join us for some serious photography fun! As you can see we cover quite a bit and the one thing not mentioned above is that we will all take a walk across the street to the park (weather permitting) and photograph there for some hands-on instruction.

Please bring your DSLR! This workshop is not for the point-and-click crowd.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Current Reading: The Long Run by Matt Long
Current Music: Re:Creation by Steven Curtis Chapman Mood: Foggy
Sounds: News program, background noise on TV
Smells: Permanent
Temperature: 45 degrees
Thoughts: I think I might do a triathlon?