adventures in Orange County

I was in Laguna Beach, CA from Thursday to Monday for my aunt’s wedding. We stayed in the same hotel where the wedding was, and the beach was at the end of the street and down a staircase. It was great to be back in California again. I mean sure, SoCal isn’t “my” California, and it’s full of douchey people, but it’s pretty. I got to see the Pacific Ocean and eat In N’ Out Burger (animal style, of course), and I think the hottest it got the entire time was maybe 77 degrees. (It’s been over 90 for weeks running in Louisiana.) It was nice to be reminded that there are places in the world where summer isn’t fucking awful. Oh, and I didn’t see a single mosquito.


It was overcast in the mornings when I was on the beach, and the sea and sky were all different shades of the same blue-gray color. I never enjoyed swimming in the ocean–saltwater irritates my skin–but I always liked to sit and watch/listen to it, and walk along the surfline. And the Gulf of Mexico is not a substitute. Maybe Florida has crystal clear water and pristine white sand beaches; but in Louisiana the water is brown and gunky from leaky deepwater oil-drilling platforms, and the beaches are strewn with garbage from lazy Cajun slobs. They love to run their pissflaps about how this is GAWD’S COUNTRY, then throw trash all over it in the same breath.


This my uncle (my aunt’s older brother, not the guy she married) at the rehearsal dinner, which was at the Mexican restaurant across the street from the hotel. They had a tequila list longer than most restaurants’ wine lists, and I talked Mom into doing a couple shots of añejo with me. I also got her addicted to mojitos, she drank 3 the first night and never stopped drinking them the entire trip.


Yes, that is my aunt and her now-husband’s dog in the wedding ceremony, wearing a tiny tuxedo with a boutonniere. In fact, it was a casual wedding, and he was the only member of the wedding party dressed formally.


The day after the wedding we drove to Long Beach and had brunch aboard the Queen Mary. It was like having mimosas on the Titanic, but without the pesky iceberg.

I got to eat a lot of seafood during the trip. Not that Louisiana is short on seafood, but it’s hard to get anything that isn’t Cajun. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cajun food, but sometimes I miss the kind of seafood I grew up eating. I had calamari, lobster mac & cheese and lobster ravioli, seared ahi tuna (raw on the inside, just how I like it), snow crab legs, smoked salmon… the hotel restaurant even had swordfish, although I didn’t order it. I haven’t seen swordfish on a restaurant menu since I was a kid, I think we overfished it.

As I was sitting in the Dallas airport waiting for my connecting flight, it suddenly occurred to me that I only saw like 2 black people the entire time I was in Orange County. Granted, OC is the whitest part of California, but still. People say the south is more racist, and maybe it’s true that white people from the south are more likely to be racist. But there are also a lot more black people in the south, and less self-segregation between black and white here. I see a lot more interracial couples in Louisiana than I ever did in California, for instance. It’s real easy to be smug about how not-racist you are when you never work with, date, or live in the same neighborhood as black people.

Smena 8M: Istre Cemetery

I think I’ve got the hang of framing with this camera, most of the composition in this roll came out as I intended.






I’m still in the honeymoon phase with this camera and would love to bring it to Laguna Niguel to shoot my aunt’s wedding, but the reception is indoors and I’ll need something that will accept a flash. (There’s some kind of adapter on this camera but my flash doesn’t work, so either it’s broken, it used a proprietary flash, or it’s for a light meter.) I definitely want to shoot 35mm, because 120 is only 12 exposures per roll, so it’s probably going to come down between the LC-A+ and the Blackbird Fly. …maybe I’ll bring the Diana and a couple of rolls of 120 too, what the heck.

I leave on July 25th, I can almost taste the In N’ Out animal-style cheeseburger I’m gonna get as soon as I get off the plane. And my aunt is paying for my hotel room and offered to cover processing fees, too.

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