The other week, my brother, and I had a free day, something that has been a huge rarity in my life as of late. I chose to go to this abandoned Terracottas Factory in New Jersey. What I don’t like more than a 3.5 hr round trip to see abandoned shit on a sunny day, I will never pass that up. Off the weirdest Blair Witch like road I have ever encountered, past train tracks and down a ways I always have this weird feeling in my stomach when I am going somewhere new for the first time. It reminded me of a bit of Walking Dead and Mad Max. Someone I am pretty sure was also getting their engagement photos done here with their Bronco. Like I said, a bit dystopian so close to the beach too, but still 20 minutes from Surf Taco.
The Brooksbrae Terracotta Factory in the Pine Barrens gives me some major nostalgia for Centralia if you don't know me or you live under my rock collection. I have been there over 10 times- it's just an abandoned highway. This is just an abandoned structure in the middle of the woods. If I was a 7th grade boy with a paintball gun I would have a small heart attack.
The decaying Brooksbrae Terracotta Brick Factory sits over the railroad tracks along Pasadena Woodmanse Road in the tiny New Jersey town of Pasadena. Though the location is in Google Maps, the directions bring you to a dead end of residential homes. Upon my arrival, oddly, there was a shit ton of graffiti on the road thus indicating we had arrived. Sweet, rad, cool we made it alive. I got spooky vibes but didn’t pick up anything really that unsettling. I know the Pine Barrens in NJ is kinda known to house some questionable activity. I did get Rob Zombie, Devils Rejects vibes.
I think I just like having a niche little hobby that only a few other people can get. I get excited seeing other people outside at the same spots as me. It feels like a little club. I am always doing research, asking my other photography friends where the best little spots are. I just want someone to go on cool summer adventures, I practically live at the beach on my days off, this summer I have a whole check list of places to go, boxes to check and pictures to take. I would certainly come back here again. It was a quick hit in and out in 30. I am really there for the journey you know- the destination well that can change.
I have a feeling that this summer is going to be interesting for sure.
Until next week I promise it will be a bit longer.
By Ash Catcher
Photo Credit: Harley Maile, Photodelphia
It is all a numbers game, or so I am told.
7 is supposed to be lucky, and it shows.
But for me it has been the number nine.
I have no idea how it started, but it happens all the time.
In ’99 I saw Phantom Menace.
Oh good god another Star Wars reference, lord help us.
In 09’ I saw that movie nine.
It was pretty good, and got me interested in graphic design.
That was also the year I saw AFI with you
I was freshly out of my upmtenth 302.
Fall was tough that year, and winter also
That was it, one and done, gone and blocked now, built up a wall.
It all comes back to that number nine.
I have lost track of how many times you have used “ I am sorry, lets try again”
Iets chalk it up to 9 give or take.
Each time I let you back in my life it has always been a mistake.
But damn can you blame me, you raised an optimistic.
But buy ’19 I know better now, fuck you, fuck off- I am done with this.
I will never let someone run me like I let the 9 of you.
I am done with that submissive shit, this lesson was long overdue.
Written by Ash Catcher
The past couple of weeks have been interesting to say the least. Uh not sure how to put this any other way other than I have been on a somewhat informal spiritual manifestation kick. What exactly is manifestation, one of my new friends asked me that question the other day, and in response I gave the most Ash like response, I changed the topic to something else. I am not 100% sure what it is but it has been happening an awful lot. I think about people, and then they appear, I am listening to music while running and a song comes on that I am thinking of unprovoked. I was looking for a rock the other day in Wissahickon to take home, and then this girl walked by and gave me a rock that was in her hands. It is small things like this that I know can add up to something bigger. The house I was looking at the other day, I got that now ( I am just not looking forward to moving for the 1,000th time but that is okay) This new place has a sunroom, a grotto, a huge tub A Christopher WALKIN closet, I had to - everything I can ever want- and I can't forget the most important thing I have manifested this year was Banner. <3
But Ash you always go on about nothing without saying something so I am going to school you on a little crash course on manifestation. It is 110% a mindset. Get your mind right, and everything will follow suit. Manifestation is defined as an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory, on an abstract idea. ( I have a shit ton of those)
Now Spiritual Manifestation is something that I have been more centered on is that the theory that through regular meditation and positive, constructive thought, you can make your dreams and desires become reality, Spiritual Manifestation holds that if you really want something and truly believe it's possible, it will happen. It's kinda like that feeling you have in your gut, you know it's there but you can see it- it's a feeling- that the whole universe is behind it kinda thing.
I moved to Manayunk a little before Christmas of 2019 and ever since then there has just been an odd ass series of events that have led to this huge chunk of self discovery and independence. I barely notice other people anymore. I think the odd thing about the Yunk is that it is like this weird limbo state, moving here taught me that whatever I put my mind to I can not only achieve it, I feel super at home, I love being around trees, and still being close to the city. It is a really good location. I have found weird little things and people and I have to say I just think it is the universe confirming it all. I feel like everything is divinely guided one way- I will be sure to touch more on this in another blog post. I would love to talk about it more.
I find the more friends I make in the area the more I can look past the “Inauthenticity” that I see on occasion. It is easy to look past when things have made an enormous turn around. I love being at home, with my cat, records, art, and books, I just have this infinite need to create things that I care about. I love going out, now that things are opening back up and seeing music again, and hiking and doing Ash things too but I am doing them more sparingly. I reserve my energy now for myself and put myself first, something I have struggled with for a super long time. I haven’t had a lot of time off yet from work but I have never loved what I have done more- and yes I miss teaching but I think I just like the fact I can make people happy, and I am a very good listener. I love what I am doing with my life- I am nowhere near as complacent as I once felt- I just feel so light.
One more thing I want to say about Manifestation- cause I am writing this in the car on the way to the beach- you gotta put yourself first when you manifest. Avoid what I like to call low vibe people, energy vampires, people who always complain, and bring drama your way. Avoid those people and it is amazing what you can accomplish: Spiritual Manifestation is the theory that through regular meditation and positive, constructive thought, you can make your dreams and desires become reality. Spiritual manifestation revolves around the New Age concept of the Law of Attraction. Simplified down to a single statement, the Law of Attraction states that think and act in a positive way, good things will happen to you, but if you think and act negatively, bad things will happen to you.
So think positive, eat some veggies, drink water (not alcohol), stick to those boundaries, and keep your mind right!
Written By: Ash Catcher
There are a handful of remedies that seemingly have the power to abate — or at least provide comfort in the face of — nearly any problem at hand. I am not talking about another acid trip altho that seems to reset just about any problem I have had in my life. A nice, long shower, an extra few hours of sleep, and a hot mug of your favorite tea can have real healing powers, I am talking more wholesome then MDMA- So it’s no surprise that, in the throes of 2021 we’re constantly reaching for the kettle.
Right now, tea culture is at its peak ( I think!). You’ve likely found yourself scrolling past targeted ads for herbal elixirs or swiping through endless Instagram stories depicting still-steaming mugs. You’ve heard celebrity endorsements for choice brews and you’ve read about “wellness tea” in magazine roundups devoted to self-care. The stuff is more popular than ever but...why now?
I am a tea snob, if you thought my coffee addiction was bad wait till you see me compare kettles. I am a pour over addict- and apparently you can do pour overs with loose tea. GAME CHANGER! Alert the media and my big ass tea box on my kitchen window sill. I am not sure anyone was aware but this past year aged me just shy of like 30 years so now I am in bed by 9, and haven’t had a warm cup of tea in almost 3 years…. I just forget about it okay. I hosted a party one time and drank 12 cups of tea. I am just a feen for the leaves.
Call it what you want there is just this weird satisfaction of having a warm comforting drink- dont get me wrong I drink iced tea in the summer like its going out of style- I do my own blends- I'll get pretty wacky with the combinations too- we go beyond the realms of raspberry mint- or blackberry sage iced tea altho both are good and I would either offer lemonade mixed in with that and/ or some boba pearls. Why not get fancy? Life is too short and if I want something I want it to be worthwhile! —
UNTIL next week- that is the tea!
[Photo Credit: Harley Maili, CEO and owner of Photodelphia Studios]
By Ash Catcher.
"I like odd things, and people, of which I have met, and collected many thoughts about my life…. I am a squirrel. I hide things, and you only see the tip of the iceberg- plus I nut up."
Apparently I come from a family of collectors. This is not news to me, I just thought I had a shit ton of interests and had trouble honing on one specific focus ( very Ash I know) but what I didn’t realize is what or exactly what it was that I had squirreled away. I am almost 30 and I have been collecting records since I was 15, that's almost 2 decades collecting vinyl, which you know if you have had the pleasure of hauling vinyl up and down flights of stairs ya know that shit is heavy. I probably have like close to 200+ vinyls, 7 inch, you name it I have it. I just cleared another record player, I think I am on my 4th or 5th. I just obliterate technology like Jubilee. Headphones, computers, you name it UH PHONES! I am collecting those too apparently… Books, art, clothes PLANTS! I think I just have a lot of stuff, but it all seems to have its own home, and such. I can't even begin to get into how many concert ticket stubs I still have- I am going to have to do something super special with those! SO I wanted to take a quick look at why humans feel the need to keep things. Nine seemed enough to me, and again love those odd things:
I have a shit ton of things, there is no other greater unit of measurement to describe all the things I have acquired. I have a lot of plants, books, clothes, records, artwork ( mine and others) and now cat things. THANKS BANNER! It can sometimes be overwelhming…. Oh and mugs please please if you see me with a mug in my hands if there is nothing hot in it please wack it out of my hands I don't need another mug, but I have been looking for more wicker chairs.
I love collecting things. This problem fills some sort of emotional void that I developed as a child. But what I love more is liquidation. I love selling off my things. I get an enormous rush from getting what is essentially something that just sits there and turning it into fast cash. I do this like close to every other season. I donate clothes, and try to be fashion-conscious. I feel like you got to spend a little money to make money. I really like researching and pricing items, something that I have inherited from my dad I am sure. He has an enormous collection of items as well. I really didn’t have much choice in the matter. it is just something I am weirdly good at. Desire, Acquire, Catalog, and Sell- it is really quite fool proof.
I am always so curious to see who likes to collect things!
See ya next Wednesday!
I just finished both versions of The Cult Classic movie, entitled Suspira. Why oh why do male directors think they can embody feminism is beyond me. The tones of both movies seem forced, and give me strange Black Swan vibes, but uh German? I cannot imagine that working in a dance company is a walk in the park but for it to be portrayed like this cmon. I get the artsy aspect, no I really do I just am failing to see the correlation of this over used stigma, that well women are scary as fuck. To what end are we going to stop remaking movies that didn’t need a remake at all?
The 1977 version was pretty complete in my personal opinion. I feel the exact way about Carrie as well. If you just discovered this minute genre of horror, do yourself a kindness and dont be like me I watched the original Suspira and then the remake or whatever people are branding it as. It just doesn’t work. This late version reminded me so much of that movie with Jennifer Lawrence, Mother that I was like uh WTF. I had to watch that movie twice in a row, but it wasn’t because I didn’t understand the plot…. I got “distracted”.
Suspiria was violent, and gory to be sure, but it was also overwhelmingly poetic in Argento's command of color and visual language I am a huge sucker for lighting in movies, it's very David Fincher / Oliver Stone but like just a dash of Rob Zombie — the knives danced just as gracefully as the film's ballerinas and the splashes of blood more evoked a modern art painting than the slasher film I had expected. It is abstract as all fuck.
My one small problem was this:
But why do women always get to be witches? Is that kinda a bad thing to explore this mysterious trope? I love horror, shocker but it is one of my favorite things to came out of the human race, people are fucking terrifying. I sometimes feel like I am in a horror movie, I think there is a word for that. Now here is the thing about “Suspiria" that I really enjoyed was that avant-garde horror genre. Foreign movies are infanntly a different class of “spookies”. So because I have been all over the fucking place this week, and an ode to witches here are my top 10 fav witchy cult movies.
Witch Movie Should YOU WATCH
Welcome to Vegflix & Chill, the whole plant based cookbook, for the avid fad dieter/ healthier conscious, and self proclaimed movie buff. For all you multiple screen millennial that need a little help in the kitchen, oh boy do I got some cool recipes with just the right amount of passive aggressiveness that reminds you of your nostalgic 90’s upbringing, You, and I are going to take back the kitchen for all those times we got shamed for trying to make something without your mama’s blessing. IE: was anyone else’s ass chased out of the kitchen?Not just me, okay then let's get cookin!
So I am sure you’re not asking yourself this but, why go Vegan? I mean really what's the point? Now we could get into an unethical debate on how the American agriculture treats it’s livestock, and such but I am gonna keep things simple, c'mon this is the first time I have really done something like this, why spoil things, right? I went vegan, mostly plant based, because I was looking to prove to others that not only can plants be tasty, but you have got to be a complete psychopath for eating all those cute animals, unlike you I don’t aspire to be A Bateman of any sorts. But I will flash some sweet new business cards that I just got shamelessly. I got a weird thing for business cards.
So let's just get to it, why did I stop eating meat? I stopped eating meat officially when I was about 15, from then on anytime my family ate burgers I had myself a big ol mushroom cap It wasn’t really discussed openly in my family, rarely anything is. My mom was a hella boss tho she tried super hard when I was a vegetarian, I still ate cheese and ice cream back then, don’t put me on the scarecrow cross for it. I feel like being vegan was something that you progress naturally to. Think of it as a level up. In the days before all these awesome new veggies, and impossible burger options, I was tripping on shrooms since circa 2000 whatever the heck. But boiling down to it I stopped eating meat primarily because I probably watched one too many documentaries on the meat packing, and grain industry, and I was like NOPE! Never again. A big Ol’ N- O- P-E. Plus my family got a dog, and from then on I named every inanimate object ever since. This girl didn’t have a prayer.
Another question I usually get is, why do people sometimes cheat on their vegan diets? I am not really too sure, because maybe we are human, people make mistakes, and sometimes ya want some ice cream other times ya wants cheese. As for me I am notorious, freakin known to go on a cake binge here or there. Most CAKE AINT VEGAN! If you can’t find a vegan substitute for something don’t freak out, just chill. While it’s okay to not always have all substitutes be vegan just try to be more aware of everything you’re putting into your body. 1 egg won’t kill you, but eating red meat every day, c’mon now this isn’t the 1950’s darlin!
But Ash, why movies? Movies offer me a great form of escapism and I'll be the first to admit that not only do I speak with a steady slur of pop culture movie references to break the silence, but I am also that weird ass person that goes to that B or Z rated movie by herself. As long as there are pretzel bites, bitch i'll watch anything. The more weird and obscure the movie or the reference the better!
So yeah plants and movies, so go cook something up and then plant yourself on the couch, go zone out and feel like a human again.
And I am going to try and keep any and all introductions short, I hate, hate, hate when you can’t find the recipe and the food blogger just goes on about their dead dog, the importance of beekeeping, and why only psychopaths keep an army of bees at their disposal, or their ex husband’s weird animal husbandry fetish.
So...... Let's get cookin’
Until Next time,
Written By: Ash Catcher
This past weekend, I ventured off to New York again! I decided to check out The Ossining Castle, an abandoned estate once belonging to David Abercrombie, and his partner Ezra Fitch. This 25 room Medieval Style home was something to see for sure! If those names sound semi familiar congrats you were probably one of those snotty teenagers that insisted on fast fashion, and an ode to expensive/ cheaply made clothes, made from children all around the world. With their exclusive stores, and oddly dim lighting, the obnoxiously loud music made me both hate, and become oddly ready to embrace mid 2000’s clothing trends, by hopping on that "Hot Topic” Man the mall really screwed me as a teenager. . I am not even going to touch on the perfume air that was circulated through all those stores either. I am happy to report the remaining part of their home had no traces of such a smell. Good thing too.
There was however a SHIT ton of other people, including a badass lady with a drone. I got to see most of the place, it has not been properly maintained, apparently the property has been on the market since 2017. Now I am trying to do what I do, snap a few pictures, make polite conversation with passing explorers, etch but there just seems like an awful amount of debris for this place to have been “abandoned” so I had a thought: this castle is smack dab in a neighborhood. Conveniently placed near Sleepy Hollow, and Briarcliff Manor, both places known for some spooky activity. What if this place just kinda ended up here as a mistake? Nothing seemed particularly strange about this place. What seemed strange to me was that…..
Every window was smashed through I couldn’t even get a decent shot of a room without there being someone in it, or some sort of odd item dragged into a corner. i did not move anything, I am not here to deface anything, just observe. Certainly this would either mean there is a person who frequents this property often, and "stages" pictures, or there is a heck a lot of foot traffic coming in and out of this house. On what was almost 50 acres, now stands at less than 2.5 the surrounding houses seem to mask this decaying building that I had to drive past it twice until I could see a bit of it from the road. Priced at 3.2 million it is technically for sale, but best of luck trying to preserve this piece of history.
10/10 for all the spiral staircases. These were terrifying to go up and down on! I think I counted over 10, too! I am so glad i went here during the Spring and not in Winter.
Overall this was an interesting, sort of quick hit on my way home sort of adventure. Much needed in terms of keeping up with my weekly “Ash” like activities. I need to be going to more places this summer, if anyone has any suggestions I am always looking for new places to hit up and explore. I am not sure what the easiest way that would be, send me a pigeon.
See ya next Wednesday!
Addiction is like addition.
I did not ask for your dependency to add over time, yet here we are.
You’re like something a bit extra.
I did not know I needed you until I didn't want to live without you.
Or is that couldn’t. Yea no…
You crept up out of me.
I didn't see it until recently.
You found me when I was a bundle of nerves.
And that's when I knew I was going to be in trouble.
Addiction steals some of the most beautiful souls I have known.
But let it get bad again, and it can leave you so empty, borderline soulless.
Fondly depended on, but if you can get a handle on it- rather than just getting another handle of it
As you say: “More power to you."
I cannot. I know myself, and I am telling you that is something I cannot control. Flat out.
And I think you struggle with it too. It's a we thing.
I just have better things to do than escape reality all the time.
But I think you have a bit more to go.
The compulsion is there.
The damage too, it's a-lot to repair.
It's hard to quit something you can't see.
But you can feel it taking hold of you once again.
This Addiction’s jurisdiction is no longer welcomed.
If you feel like you’re gonna cave, just have some watermelon.
I used lemons, they’re super sour to some.
Either way you can use almost anything to feel numb.
The encryption of your DNA some say.
Recover isn’t speedy, but it can be underway.
It takes a lot of patience, and self love.
All you need is to hit the bottom, no more kid gloves.
I've been reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I found it wedged between a duplicate copy of some Christopher Hart cartoon guide and another Ultimate Guide to Drawing Stuff and Things. It's kind of like a self-help book for creative folk.
In the first few chapters, The Artist's Way introduces the concept of the shadow artist. Shadow artists don't have a badass origin story about being born in a pit of darkness, fulfilling some kind of prophecy, or anything like that. It's kind of a sad one, actually.
You're seven years old. You like to write. Maybe you draw too. You spend hours in your room with a pack of printer paper and colored pencils, pinning your designs to your walls. You write plays you make your siblings perform with you in your living room. You explore all the things that make you wonder. Your parents, your teachers, and all the well wishers cheer you on. Long story short, you create a ton of stuff all the time and you love every second of it.
Fast forward you're in high school. You've got a part-time job because your parents want you to learn some kind of responsibility or how to manage money. Now you just doodle for fun during your lunch break. Instead of writing stories, you're prepping for your SATs and ACTs. You're corralled into an AP Physics course and told it'll boost your class rank—so you take it instead of an art class. Then comes the college applications and career fairs. This is where it gets real. You want to be a painter or a poet or a playwright, but the same people who were once rooting for you are now telling you these things won't pay the bills. (Most have good intentions though). You take a second look at those printer paper drawings, and now they don't look as good as you thought. So you take their advice and put your passions on the back burner. You get the picture.
Shadow artists are basically people who grew up to love to create but walked way for one reason or another. Their parents told them they wouldn't make a living as a playwright. They didn't think they were good enough and that their form sucked. They thought they weren't true artists/creative folk. They hang around other creative people so that they can vicariously live out their dreams through other artists instead of claiming their own “birthright” as a creative person. And you can bet they beat themselves up about it. They're essentially caught between the dream to act and the fear of failing.
Sometimes to ensure some shred of success, a shadow artist pursues a “shadow career,” or a job similar to what he/she wants to do. So instead of being a fiction writer, you're a journalist. Instead of being a director, you're a film critic—and so on.
The other ugly part of being a shadow artist is when you believe you can't be “great” without giving up something else you really, really wanted. That author of that book I keep mentioning says, “In other words, if being an artist seems too good to be true to you, you will devise a price tag for it that strikes you as unpayable.” So, the price of being a talented comic artist means you'll die alone. If you want to be an incredible novelist you have to develop a dependency on alcohol and cigarettes. In your mind, you can't have it all.
I'm saying all this because I'm a recovering shadow artist. (At LSB we don't really like to talk about ourselves on here, but sometimes it just helps to use ourselves as examples.)
I grew up with a passion for drawing. I spent hours in the basement of my old house just drawing and hanging my pictures up on the wood-paneled walls with my mom's hospital tape. As I got older my sister and I started writing short stories back and forth (most of which were Spider-Man themed), and people said I had a knack for storytelling. I skipped AP classes and took art classes instead. At some point, someone said I can't make a living as an artist. I know this person genuinely meant well—most people who say this do. But eventually I started having these crazy thoughts about not being good enough and how all my ideas sucked. So what did I do? I walked away. Instead of being a fiction writer I majored in journalism (because those things are similar, right?). I reduced my art to being a hobby I did on weekends (until I became so self conscious I quit art entirely). Trying to write a story became an excruciating endeavor. This led to an on-and-off relationship with writing for a few years.
Getting back into it isn't easy. In my experience the best place to start is to take yourself seriously. You're an artist. You're a writer. You're a whatever-the-heck-you-want-to-be.
And it's okay to feel like you suck or are out of practice at first. Julia Cameron says, “By being willing to be a bad artist, you have the chance to BE an artist, and perhaps, over time, a good one.” Anne Lammott says something similar in her essay, “Shitty First Drafts.”
Ramble, mess up, get lost in it. You'll be busting your ass learning how to play again, and it'll be hard work.
You owe it to yourself to at least try.