August 9, 1995 San Francisco, CA

On June 5, 1995 I quit my job at The Golf Channel in Orlando, FL and moved a car load of belongs onto the AutoTrain for the trip up to NYC. That night as the train made its way through South Carolina we hit a pick up truck killing a father and his three daughters. I’ll never forget the sound of screeching metal and smell of gasoline as the conductors scrambled around in the dark trying to figure out what happened. I took this a bad omen.

On June 30th I drove from NYC back to Chicago to sell my car and begin my life in NYC. That afternoon while passing through Pittsburgh I heard on the radio that there was traffic jam as Deadheads were waiting in line to get into the parking lot at Three Rivers for a show that night. I changed my plans and ended up seeing one my favorite 90’s Dead shows. The highlight was the folks I met in the parking lot who hooked me up in every way possible – especially when the biblical rain hit at the beginning of the second set. (I still can’t believe they had ponchos!) Rain/Box of Rain/Samba in the Rain/Looks Like Rain/Terrapin Station. Totally cheesy but I felt as though that rain had cleansed me of the bad vibes during my time in Orlando and that train trip.

On July 8th & 9th I saw two unremarkable Dead shows at Soldier Field in Chicago. (although Saturday night’s Visions of Johanna haunt me to this day) This weekend was a symbolic turning point in my life as I left Chicago the next day for my new life in NYC. The pamphlet being passed out at the show was really the symbolic end of the Dead. (This darkness got to give )

My first assignment at my new job at HBO Sports was to research the film archives at KRON in SF,CA for an upcoming documentary about the American Football League. I flew to SF on August 8th – rented a bike and spent the entire day riding around the city. I ended my day photographing the sunset at Ocean beach. The next morning I received a call at 6:10am in my hotel room from my friend Thomas.

Jerry Garcia had died.

My work appointment at KRON was postponed so I spent the day in Haight Ashbury taking pictures as people awoke to the sad news.

Selfishly I’ve always cherished this sequence of events as evidence of the larger, more powerful forces at work in this world. I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to share in the music and community of the Grateful Dead. If you love something it is always sad when it ends but those memories still make me smile, sometimes makeme cry and always leave me dancing.

Where is this kid today?

Morning Magic

Not sure why it is so easy to wake up really early when I’m on vacation but I’m really happy about it. This morning I took Oliver to the nearby bay beach.  Being a city dog he isn’t a huge swimmer or hunter but on this day he wandered into the water. He also had eyes for a beautiful egret clamming in the early morning light.

Maloof Money Cup

Last weekend I caught up with some old friends from Fuel TV at the Maloof Money Cup out in Corona Park in Queens.  Incredible skateboarding event.  Gosh I wish they had skateparks like that when I was a kid.  My father took a axe to the launch ramp we built in my driveway.

Merlino is hitting the rail in front of the world.

Know The Enemy

Waimea Bay, 2004

In surfing it is suggested to sit and watch the ocean before paddling out.  Some guys do it to pick the best spot to ge out or to predict the swell.  The Hawaiians believe this is the way to properly show respect to the ocean.  I snapped this shot at Waimea Bay in 2004.  The waves were 20+ft high demanding the most respect.

A Taste of Botswana

The view of tourism in Africa

This was the first African Lion my wife and I saw  while traveling in Botswana on our Honeymoon.  I was shocked to see how close we got to him.  He was totally chill and I was terrified as it should be in nature.

The view of tourism in Africa