When I think of going on a trip, Birmingham isn’t the first place that jumps in my mind. It’s in Alabama. That’s only three hours away. Meh. Give me bluer skies, mountains, beaches, and people with a different accent than the one I hear all the time. But I went and it was actually…fun!
Originally we decided to go because a band I’ve adored for 12 years (Niyaz) was playing a free show at India Fest. Sadly, a three hour car trip in a BMW is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Especially for a person dealing with an IBD flare-up. When we got to the hotel, I just wanted to take a shower, eat my weight in food, and nap. We missed the concert I’d been waiting half my life for. I wasn’t upset. Niyaz might have been missed but we still had two days to roam a city at our discretion. What better way to not plan a vacation? I strongly recommend just jumping blindly into a destination and figuring it out as you go, but why not give you a little ‘Hipster’s Guide to Birmingham’?
Disclaimer: I am not above searching ‘hipster’ in Yelp when I visit places. Ambience, good food, and a little character. For better or worse, places frequented by guys with beards and beanies usually have something good about them. If you have some sort of vendetta against the flannel wearing, typewriter using, and Etsy-shopping niche…go away. The negativity is almost always radiating off someone who is also an hipster. And as the millennial proverb goes, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
First, the hotel we stayed at was…okay-ish. Since this was all very last minute, we had few options thanks to financial and time constraints. Blah, blah, blah. Regardless, I don’t want to send them any sort of press. Good, bad, or otherwise. I will remember what you did; that strange little hair I found on the bathroom floor within 5 minutes; the shower that barely crept above body temperature. I will remember. You’ve been cryptically warned, Nameless Hotel.
Oh boy. Woo-woo. There’s no faster way to earn your very own leper colony than by saying you believe in something “woo-woo”. Trust me. I’ve been on both sides of the equation. With that said, I’d like to say that I don’t believe in a lot of things; levitation, alien abductions, astral projection, love potions, etc. My perspective is a bit more unique than most in that I have a fairly hefty disease. Ulcerative Colitis. It’s very similar to Crohn’s, but my lower intestine takes the full brunt, and I’m more likely to get cancer. Crohn’s has its own fun problems. It’s wild.
Too little too late? Probably. I didn’t even get to grab one for my dad, but I did try one myself. A venti. With soy. It was quite the little adventure for my tastebuds.
Let me just start with this: I have maybe 4 Frappuccinos in a year. They’re milkshakes, not a real coffee option. I think I’m comfortable enough with my level of badassery that I can drink one of these bad boys without being labeled though. It’s just a drink after all. The only drink that should come with a condescending look is if you’re chugging rubbing alcohol alone in your bathroom. (If you do that, please seek help.)
So. I ordered one. I wasn’t mad. Taking precautions to ensure a well-made one were key. We all saw the videos of the crying baristas, and I definitely didn’t want to be responsible for the breakdown of a college student. I ordered it over the app from a Starbucks that’s a little less busy than most. I didn’t have to stand there fumbling over my order and there were no witnesses. Muuuwahahaha. Not to mention I ordered it without whipped cream and with soy milk. Healthy unicorn. Well…a lactose-intolerant unicorn at the very least. I loafed around until they forked over the goods. Like a baby alien unicorn descending from the heavens, my drink had arrived. There might have been trumpets and fanfare. Someone might have set a delicate tiara made of unicorn drool on my head. All of this might have happened.
First, the colour. It’s basically radioactive. Of course these photos are edited, but not much, and I actually turn saturation down…so…it’s even louder in person. Like some hi-lighters that were only available in the 90s, that’s what it looks like. It looks like a Saved By the Bell rerun. Amazing.
At first it tastes good. To me anyway. It immediately becomes some sort of vanilla cake with a tropical fruit filling (that’s the mango syrup). I couldn’t place the flavour at the time, but now I think I can. Pineapple upside-down cake. But it doesn’t last. The sour goop hits you in the face like a Warhead from hell.
I like sour candy, don’t get me wrong. There is a very big difference between casually sucking on some sour gummy worms, and injecting a mouthful of unadulterated liquid Warhead into your face. It’s alarming and stomach-turning. Once the sour syrup took over, I threw it away in about 5 minutes.
So there you have it. I waxed poetic on a drink that made everyone shut up about politics for a bit. It was a nice little reprieve from reality, wasn’t it?
I have always been one of those people who holds wealth in much higher esteem than fame. There’s so much more I could with being wealthy than famous; like buy art. That sentiment was definitely in my mind when I went to the opening of A Better View at ABV Gallery in Atlanta.
I have always been a very moderate person. I’ll do me, you do you. End of story. For ultimate happiness, stay in your lane. Sadly, our new president is doing things I don’t agree with. I don’t want to get too political on here, but I did want to share what I saw at the Women’s March in Atlanta. Unlike the other cities, we didn’t have big A-list celebrities or a million people. We did have a civil right’s leader, John Lewis, and we did have a lot of love and acceptance.
Women and men of all shades and walks of life were represented. Some marched for equal pay, others for clean air and water. There were signs about racial equality, proper healthcare for women, and even more in support of others marching (I’m With Her). I personally feel very strongly about the environment, science, and am a person who is disabled (Crohn’s and Colitis are listed as disabilities, fyi).
More than anything, I wanted to apart of a conversation that is much larger than myself. I wanted to see why people were upset. I wanted to document it. This is an obvious step outside the comfort zone of a fashion and product photographer. I’ve never worked as a photo journalist. So don’t rip me to shreds please. Composition will come later. I was primarily dealing with being an introvert taking photos of strangers. It was a doozy.
Regardless of your opinions, I hope you’ll view this with an open mind.