In VT. Safe and sound.


Woke up yesterday morning bright and early to put the second batch of pill flasks up for sale..   There were an awful lot of you up with me.  It was kind of fun!  I’m sorry that I made so few.  I really misjudged how much interest there would be.  When I head back down to NYC after this little break in VT, my brother Zach will be coming with me to spend 3 or 4 days learning a little about metal work.  Since I’ve already made the tooling, and since Zach and I have a history of being able to work together in a pretty efficient way, I think I MAY put him to work and the two of us will turn out another batch.  I made 4 feet worth last time..  Maybe I’ll make 8 feet worth this time and then we’ll move on to something else!   I’m really pleased that you guys like them so much.  And I’m very sorry to those of you who woke up so early in the morning and didn’t manage to get your order through the ether before they were gone..  (perhaps if you all were to just add a +1 comment on this post I’ll have an idea about what the actual interest is out there..  Not promising that I’ll make as many as are wanted..  just testing the water!)

So then!  I madly packed them all up in their flat rate boxes, and printed up shipping labels.  Did laundry, packed up cameras, packed up an entire duffel bag of medical supplies, got the bikes ready to go, walked over to the post office and dropped off all the outgoing mail!  Stopped at the drug store for a new toothbrush and some new 1.50 readers.  Zach had driven down from VT that morning to fetch us, so we threw everything in the car, stopped at fairway on the way out of town for some 21 day dry aged rib eye steak, and hit the road!

We had a wonderful VT summer dinner last night.  Steak, fennel salad, beautiful VT tomatoes with basil from the garden, and new potatoes boiled up and tossed with butter and dill.  Hard to beat.  My best old friends Matt and Shams Helminski came over for dinner, and summer vacation officially started!  (Matt is here with his son Liam all the way from Japan.  He’ll come down a little later in the month and spend some time with me in the city as well).

Today is wide open!   We’ll put the bikes together..  we’ll go and pick blueberries..  This evening my great friend Todd Miller (the PT from VT who was present on the ride when I wrecked my ACL, AND the ride where I broke my arm) will swing by and he and I will hop on bikes and test out some single track that Zach and Gunnar have made in the woods behind the house.  I’m pretty excited.  I haven’t exerted myself since I broke my arm.   A lot has changed in my my body since then.  It’ll be very interesting to see how the old body does.  But I have a good feeling about it.  I’m going to take it VERY easy.  I promise not to fall.

Guys!  I’m happy.  I’m on vacation with the one I love.  I’m with family and close friends.  It’s summer in Vermont and the weather is perfect.  I’m supposed to be dead, but I FEEL great.  In the hospital a month or so ago they said “weeks to months.”  I don’t think so.   With the pain under control, and the little boost of energy I’m getting from steroids, I think my body is making a come back.  The surgeries and the chemo that I had almost certainly DID save my life.  But now..  my body is going to fend for itself, and I think it’s going to exceed expectation.   If I was superstitious I might think that was a stupid thing to write down, but I’m not, so there you go.

I’m going to go load some film in a camera and head out to enjoy VT.

I love you all.  I appreciate you following this story and I feel like we’re just getting to the fun part!


Fast Boy OUT!

The word manic has been thrown around a little..

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling really good.  I’ve been productive.  I’ve been excited about the various projects I’ve been working on.  I’ve had a strange break through and am suddenly playing the best pool of my life!  I’m back to cooking dinner for the family almost every night.  I’m back to bringing Hill her coffee in the morning instead of the other way around.  I’m taking photographs again (the little Fuji x-e1 that you guys bought me by buying lots of my pictures has helped..  a small camera that I really enjoy using..  something that I don’t mind having with me ALL the time).  The daily photos section of my photo website has proved to be a really great outlet.  Without a doubt, though, I’ve been burning it at both ends (as my friend octo-papi would say “If I had a third end I’d be burning that one too!”).  The night before last I came in from the shop with a t-shirt full of pill flasks (finally finished) at 10:15..  yes PM.   Lately, I get in bed at night and pull out my laptop to see about answering a few emails and end up falling asleep mid sentence.  Last night I woke up to Hill asking if she should shut it down for me.

It may be time to slow down just a little bit.   Hill and I are going to take off tomorrow and go up to Putney, VT, my home town.  We’ll spend a week up there.  We’ll take some bikes, and maybe do some nice mellow little dirt road rides.  My arm is healed up.  It feels fine.  I’m not sure that I should be doing any proper mountain biking yet, but a little noodling around the back roads of the town where I grew up is going to feel great.   My best man, Matthew Helminki, is back in the U.S. with his son Liam for almost a month, and he’ll be up in Putney while we are.  I’ll get to spend some time with my Caldwell brothers, Zach and Sam.  Some time with my nephew Gunnar.  I think we’re going to have a wonderful time.  It’s not Nova Scotia..  It’s a different thing..  but there’s plumbing, and there’s hospice care if I need it.   The hospice team has got me all set up with everything I could possibly need for the trip.  SO.  A little decompression.  A little break from this manic pace.  A little break from the HEAT, we’re hoping (there are ponds in Putney!).

I won’t be putting up any new photos for sale this week because I won’t be around over the weekend to do the printing.  Instead!  Pill flasks.  The long awaited pill flasks are going on sale.  Very shortly.  In just a few hours.   A lot of you have asked for these.. have asked to be put on the waiting list, etc.   I didn’t make a waiting list, though.   I think it’s fairest if I simply say when they’ll go on sale, and let you all go for it.   There will be two sales.  One at 1pm today.  I feel like this is fair for both east and west coasters.  The second sale will be tomorrow morning at 7am.  This seems fair for Asia and Europe as well as east coasters who may have been in the middle of a meeting or something this afternoon.  There are NOT a lot of these.  I made 4 feet worth.  With one that perished somewhere along the line (pretty good success rate now that I think of it), that ended up being 23 flasks.   Several of those are spoken for by people who I could not say no to..  my mother, for instance.   At any rate.  You get the picture.  My mom had some really beautiful fabric around that she sewed up and cut up and made nice little diapers for the flasks..   I’m pretty pleased with how the whole thing has come together!




Like everything else I do, the flasks are not HIGH polish.  They’re meant to float around in your pockets with your keys.  Brass is soft..  it’ll get marred up..  but it’ll also develop the sort of polish that life naturally gives things.  My own has become a really beautiful thing over the last month or so of use.

I’m running late.  I need to pack up and get to the pool hall for one last LONG day with Jon Smith before I head off to the country.

BUT.  At 1PM these will go on sale on the fast boy cycles site FOR SALE page.


Fast Boy out.






New photos!

The last few weeks of printing and packaging have been a real whirlwind.  Ben and Mary and I worked a lond day on saturday and managed to get everything out the door from last week’s group (which you bought out in the first day even after I added some extra prints!).  Ben and I were still stuffing envelopes at 6 in the evening!

I appreciate your enthusiasm!   I’m going to try and slow it down a bit here.  These are pictures that don’t relate as obviously to the story that most have you have followed about me.  But the seeds were there.  This was the period of time that I had a really good gig teaching dance..  was being payed very well to work relatively little (in terms of pure hours).  I used the extra time to make wood fenders, and assemble bikes for students who were excited about the idea that one could get around by bike, I played a LOT of pool, AND started getting really excited about photography.  I had just begun developing my own black and white at home..  in fact these pictures span the period that I went from shooting xp2 (a c41 process black and white film that I would take to the lab..  great film!) to shooting mostly tri-x and plus-x and developing at home with diafine.  I wasn’t thinking much about dance, though.  I wasn’t choreographing or performing anymore.   I took my teaching job very seriously and did it very well.  My students were my kids!  I had a wonderful group of professional and aspiring dancers who trained (hard!) with me, many of whom joined me at the house every Sunday night for dinners on the roof.  But DANCE wasn’t where my heart was. I was thining about bikes, and about photography, and about making things.


It wasn’t long after taking these pictures that I did finally quit my rather good gig teaching dance (after the brand new director of the studio dressed me down like a kid in front a class of 40 students, telling me that I couldn’t park my bike in the studio..  something I’d made a habit of doing for the last 6 years..  5 and half of which she hadn’t even been around for..  I gave notice the next day.  It was the push I needed.  Ironic in the end that it was over a bike!).  When I DID quit that job, the path opened up and seemed clear as day.  “Leap and bridge will appear!”  I feel as though that’s more or less where the story that most are familiar with picks up.  I met hillary (who you may spot in one of these pictures..), went off to learn to build bikes, and within a YEAR I had been diagnosed with cancer.  But the seeds were there, planted back then.  The me taking these pictures was ready for a new chapter.

I love these photos.  I hope you’ll take the time to look at them.



UPDATE!!!     It seems that I may have been a little remiss and not included a LINK to the new photos mentioned in the title of this post..  I apologize.  As usual, they can be found over on my photo website:

More specifically, the ones that are for sale can be found at

Busy busy.




A wonderful day of pool with Jeremiah yesterday.  Big Mama Sheridan came to pick me up and watched for the last half hour or so, then did the dinner shopping with me at the farmer’s market and swung through B and H photo with me to pick up the paper that I’ll need to keep up with the orders that you all are placing!!  (and another lens for my new little camera..  I’m so loving the little thing).  A wonderful Nova Scotia-esque meal last night..  Really good potato salad made with this year’s new potatoes parboiled and then rolled in olive oil and grilled.  Lightly smashed and then dressed with sauteed garlic scapes (they just keep showing up at the farmer’s market!!), olive oil/butter, and whatever fresh herbs I found growing in our little garden.  SO nice.  Grilled corn on the cob and purple carrots.  Smoked Andouille.   Not sure exactly what made it feel so Nova Scotia.  Perhaps I’ve just go the place on the brain.

This weeks offering of photos is up, and is all about the longing I’m feeling for that place at the moment, but I’ll let you read about it over there.  It is so gratifying to me that you are buying theses prints.  The chance to go back through the photos I’ve taken over the years and to put them into distinct little sets is a really moving process for me.  Please, if you’ve received prints, let me know what you think!  What sort of shape were they in when they arrived?  Is the packing adequate?  The print, on paper, will NOT look exactly as it does on the screen.  There is the fundamental difference between projected and reflected light, but also, I work with the images a bit to make them look the way I want them to on paper.  If ANY of you are disappointed with the results, please understand that this is a 100% satisfaction guaranteed operation.  Send them back!!   I’ve added a little “how it works” section to the for sale tab..  It includes some instructions for you international folks to save a little money on shipping if you plan to make multiple orders.


Pill flasks.   These things are coming, folks.  In fact, I may finish them up today.  I have gotten more requests to be put on the waiting list than I have made pill flasks.  In addition..   there IS no waiting list.  These will go up for sale and it will be first come first serve.  I’m sorry about that.  But I think it’s the fairest way to do it.  I’m really excited about them.  The other day I made a stamping machine so that I could number them all beautifully.  Now I just need to head out to the shop and make the tops.

They will cost $88.  Because I like the number.  And because it seems like the RIGHT number for a pill flask.  Can’t say why.  People have told me to charge more.  I’m not interested in that so much, though.

I will sell them in two sales.   The times of the sales will be announced ahead of time here on the blog, and on face place.   I will try to pick two times that make it fair for east and west coasters,  AND international customers.

Everyone dig?




The other night I had one of those all night long waking anxiety image/dreams.  I was hurting quite a bit.  Cancer pain.  That pre-sacral where my asshole used to be pain, which I now know corresponds with a tumor that’s quickly growing to fill that cavity.  The dream/image was of a grid of photographs (photos on the brain), OF the pain (aren’t dreams wild, I couldn’t describe these photos if asked to)..  Slowly as the night progressed, and I got up to pee.. to take medication.. to pee again..  the photos in the grid disappeared one by one.  It was clear in this ongoing vision that eventually there would just be one photo left.  One REAL photo of the cancer, and when that one disappeared I’d be dead.  It felt very much as though it could happen that night.

I woke up in the morning, though.  Still very much alive.  Pain somehow back under control.  Proceeded to have a very good day.  More than not, I am feeling pretty good.  Still wishing that the days had a few more hours in them!!  This one already half frittered away on the computer!!  Time to get moving!  I need a few hours in the shop, before I head downtown to gamble on a little one pocket!

Thank you all for such a response to my last post on palliative and hospice care.  I’m thinking about this a lot these days and thinking about ways to get involved.  Much more to come.  Please stay tuned.



FB out.


2:09 adendum
OK gang. I’ve gotten a boat load of emails requesting it. I’ve added a few prints for those of you who didn’t wake up early. This weekend my cousin Ben will be coming down to give me a hand with the labeling and packaging, so I think I can handle it. DON’T expect this to happen regularly!  Now I’m going out to the shop, dammit!!   *winks*



Long overdue update.




I haven’t made a post of any particular substance for a while.  Yet, a lot is happening.  A lot has changed.

Nearly a month and a half ago I landed in the palliative care wing of Mt. Sinai hospital because I had a spike in pain that felt like a real game changer.  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this happened right around the 6 month mark.  That is to say, the point in time about 6 months after the doctors discovered in a PetCT that my cancer had metastasized and were giving me 6 – ? months to live.  During my stay in the palliative care wing the doctors DID opt to take a look at my pelvis (the area of the most pain) and discovered some very aggressive tumors that had not been there 6 months earlier.  At that point, when asked, they said that we were talking about weeks to months.  Just writing this down – recapping it in this way – is a strangely sobering exercise and is honestly taking me by surprise a little.

I don’t FEEL as though I could drop dead any moment.  I am on a LOT of pain medication, but not so much that I am high or drowsy (though I have to admit that as I sit here writing this..  in the bathroom.. multitasking..  performing my strange gut emptying procedure, and perhaps giving you a little more information than you care to have..  SOMETHING is making a me a bit drowsy).  To the point, though.  I am in hospice care now, and the team that is working with me has managed to get me on a cocktail of drugs that are mostly keeping the pain at bay and leaving me with the energy and the clarity to DO things.  Now that I am better medicated, I am realizing that for quite a bit of the spring I was struggling under the load of a lot of discomfort.  Unnecessary discomfort!  The physical and emotional drain of chronic pain is easy to underestimate and it can grow at such a sneaky rate that you aren’t even aware of what’s happening.

I feel that I should be clear.  I don’t feel GREAT.  I DO get tired, I AM weak, and I DO still have pain that finds it’s way to the surface and can be quite debilitating.  BUT!  For a guy who is supposed to be very sick, I am wildly active!  I’m playing pool most days.  I’m cooking dinner most days (and lately have actually had a big surge of excitement and creativity around it – for sunday night dinner last night, a butterflied leg of lamb with mint and pistachio pesto, with grilled summer squash umami bombs – instructions for the latter coming soon).  I’m dreaming up strange little projects in the shop.  I’m printing and selling photographs at a rate that is leaving me shocked.  Humbled.  Grateful.  Yesterday I spent the day printing/packaging/labeling some 70 odd prints!

I am feeling  sure that I would not be where I am right now if I had gone with the “no brainer” decision to treat my cancer aggressively.  Obviously there is no way to know, but my gut tells me (my poor afflicted gut, which so far has never been wrong!) that had I opted to continue aggressive treatment I’d already be dead.

I have a lot I’d like to say about this.  This is a start.  I am so very happy to be alive.  I am so very grateful to continue to have the energy to PRODUCE.

Hill and I both are feeling as though any fund raising that we do (UTA!!  the auction will begin before too long!  More on that shortly.  And a few other things), and any awareness/advocacy work that we do should be done in the service of raising awareness about a palliative approach to terminal illness and trying to make it an earlier and more natural part of the conversation, instead of simply a last stop before you die.

Perhaps I should start by explaining my current situation.  It’s my guess that many of you have only a hazy idea of what hospice care actually is!  Maybe some somber notion about what happens to you when you’ve decided to just throw in the towel, tuck yourself into bed, and wait for death to find time to swing by and scoop you up with his scythe, or whatever it is that he does.  Maybe you imagine a live-in nurse who changes your bed pan and keeps you company from a rocking chair.. cold washcloth at the ready for your forehead.. maybe reading you Robert Frost poems or something.  * As I write this, I realize that that vision of it may very well eventually be what hospice care IS for me, and it will be really lovely when the time comes!  Perhaps a foot rub and some Chopin nocturnes (eventually I’m going to need a very nice stereo in my bedroom..).  BUT! I’m not there yet.  And that isn’t, by default, what hospice care is.  

I am currently under the care of the in home hospice program of the Visiting Nurse Service of NY.  Theirs is not the only hospice program in the city, but it is certainly the largest.  Once you enter hospice care (and you DO have to qualify to do so..  a doctor has to verify that you have less than six months to live..  I was a shoe in), they take care of absolutely everything.  My appointments with my doctor and my nurse happen here at the house.  They take care of prescribing all medications and those medications are delivered to the house as are all of my colostomy supplies.  That is to say, everyone/everything comes to me.  I do not have to go in to the hospital or doc’s office..  I do not need to wait around in waiting rooms.  There are also NO copays for any of the visits, or medications (and here I should point out that VNS is a NON-profit organization that survives partly through compensation from the insurance companies for the services they provide, but mostly through donor giving).  The other day I spent my morning paying the last 6 months worth of medical bills (I like to do things in batches), and except for whatever stragglers dribble in as the system catches up with my current situation, I SHOULD never have to pay another medical bill!  The doctors and nurses (in fact the entire staff of the hospice program, which also includes social workers and chaplains – they have not sent a chaplain by yet) specialize in end of life care.  The treatment goals are decided on a case by case basis with each patient, but the main thrust of hospice care, of course, is to make quality of life everything that it can be as the disease takes its natural course.  For me, explicitly, the goal of their interventions is to make me as pain free as possible, WITHOUT putting me in a drugged stupor that keeps me from being able to be productive, and even more importantly keeps those close to me from having access to ME.  This goal turns out to be one that can only be achieved with pretty frequent adjustments.  VNS has a 24 hour a day 7 day a week phone line that they encourage us to use for anything at all that comes up.  My angelic wife has done most of the talking on the phone, but it has been her experience that the system works very well.   If she requests a call from the doctor or nurse, she gets one in minutes, not hours (certainly not days).

In short, I am being very well taken care of, and it is happening in a way that takes up an absolute minimum of my time.

I am writing all this down, and recapping it in the way that I am, because I feel as though I have entered a very distinct new phase of  my life.  I have been dealing with this disease for 5 years now (three days from now will be the anniversary of my original diagnosis).  At no point during that time have I felt as though I was out of the woods.  There have been periods of optimism, for sure.  But it has never stopped being the reality that I have a terminal illness.  7 months ago or so it became pretty clear that it WOULD be the thing to kill me.   And more recently, after my stay in the palliative care wing, it became clear that it would probably be pretty soon.

So my attention is on the short term.  I am thinking up all sorts of short term projects.  Things that I can get accomplished in a week or two.  These batches of photos.  Pill flasks.  I don’t want to throw out any sort of one day at a time type cliche, but the horizon is definitely pretty close.   I’m thinking about what little thing to make in the shop after the pill flasks are done, and what amazing meal to make tonight, but I’m not thinking so much about what I’ll make for thanksgiving this year..  and I’m certainly not trying to talk Hillary into having children with me (which for me is the biggest heartbreak of this whole fucking thing.  Really.)

I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and can actually FEEL the tumors that are growing in my pelvis.  I can feel them pressing on new and different things.. that one is making it harder to pee, for instance..  And in those wee hours of the night I sometimes wonder whether I’ll actually live until the end of the week.  But in the light of day, I am usually on fire!

More soon.  Time to finish go finish up last week’s photo shipping and get down to the shop.




Big love.

Fast Boy out.


* addition that I made last minute that somehow didn’t make it into the post..   (along with the bead-pan typo correction.  Sorry gang.)

This week is ready to roll.



fish in a barrel


When I first started looking at photographs a few months ago thinking about the possibility of selling some, I was surprised by how many were shot on film, and not digitally.  I was even more surprised by how many of those were 35mm and not even medium format.  Many were shots that looked imperfect to me when I first shot them.  Shots that I may have shot over again if I’d had an LCD screen on the back of the camera showing me what I had!  And yet, over time something has happened to these shots for me.  I like the inperfections.  I like the focus being a little off..  the framing being a little off..  the presence even of dust or scratches, without having to run the shots through hipstagram to get them!

This week I decided to see what would happen if I started the selection process by narrowing it down to 35mm black and white film photos of Putney in bed.  White on white.  Even just choosing from the photos meeting those criteria AND that made it up on to flickr turned out to be a bit overwhelming.  I did not go through 8 years of negative sleeves digging for hidden gems.  But out of around 35 or 40 photos that I thought were strong, it was possible to make quite a number of distinct groups of 9 that ranged astonishingly in terms of overall feel.  Add to that the pitfall of the “cute doggie” trope, and the taboo of exposed nipples (a taboo to which 15 years in the dance world has made me numb), and the task really bent my brain a little.

For better or worse.  Here’s what I landed on.   I hope you enjoy.